NETTY ROYAL

2002

uploaded: 1 January 2002 / last modified: 29 December 2002

Archived royal news from my old website for the year 2002.

January 1st

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit together with son Marius and King Harald and Queen Sonja visited Asker church for the New Year mass today. The mass was led by Bishop Stålsett of Oslo. There were two reasons for the visit: Asker got their first dean today and the estate of Skaugum was formally handed over from King Harald to Crown Prince Haakon. It is said that the Crown Princely couple will live in Oslo another two years, but from today they are formally established at Skaugum. The inhabitants of Asker welcomed them.

A survey published by The Times newspaper shows the Princess Royal again is the hardest working British royal, with 500 engagements in Great Britain and 155 abroad. The Prince of Wales carried out 455 official engagements in Great Britain and 98 abroad. Queen Elizabeth II reduced her official engagements in Great Britain from 418 in 2000 to 392 in 2001. She undertook only 15 overseas engagements compared with 113 in 2000. The Duke of Edinburgh caried out 69 official duties overseas, 137 fewer than in 2000. However the Queen Mother has worked harder in 2001 than in 2000. She carried out 51 official engagements, which is 6 more than in 2000. The survey is based on the visits and engagements carried in the Court Circular.

January 4th

On Monday British Guyana issues poststamps on the occasion of the upcoming wedding of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta. About 25.000 stamps will be printed in a souvenir sheet. The six stamps with photos of the couple will be surrounded by the wedding locations the Beurs van Berlage and the Nieuwe Kerk. The wedding poststamps in The Netherlands will be on sale on Wednesday, two days after the poststamps of British Guyana.

January 7th

Today Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Their marriage is the longest in the history of the Dutch royal family. They celebrated privately at home.

In 2001 the Mecklenburg castles and gardens in Schwerin, Ludwigslust and Güstrow attracted many visitors. The biggest attraction was Schwerin Castle with 184.000 visitors, while Ludwigslust Castle had 65.000 and Güstrow Castle 40.000 visitors.

The 90-year-old widow of Prince Takamatsu, an uncle of Emperor Akihito, has spoken out in favour of female succession to the Japanese throne.

January 8th

The Prince of Orange officially presented the Dutch team for the Olympic Winter Games of Salt Lake City to the chef de mission Leo Visser, a former Olympic speed skater, by handing over a symbolic torch. The team includes speed skaters, a shorttrack skater, bobsleigh teams and a snowboarder. If the Prince, an IOC member himself, will visit the Olympic Winter Games is not known. He will be on honeymoon and as he said today even his fiancée Máxima Zorreguieta doesn't know yet where they are going, and he wants it to stay a surprise for her. He said that in his thoughts he will certainly be with the Olympic team.

January 9th

The Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta had the banns published today in The Hague. Further they received the first wedding poststamps and Máxima received a crown called 'breakers and daybreak' especially designed for her by artist Jos van den Elzen. He won the contest "smiths for Máxima and Willem-Alexander' by the Goldsmith and Silversmith Society, that was organised to make a wedding present.

The Swedish royal court announced that Princess Madeleine will not go back to continue her studies in London after the Christmas holidays, because of incessant attention from the paparazzi. She moved to Chelsea three months ago, but has enough of the constant attention of the cameras. Her decision was made after it became apparent that her plea for privacy was being ignored. She had shared the London home of a family friend and hoped to live like a normal irl while improving her English. In an attempt to curb press interest, the Princess agreed to meet journalists at the Swedish Embassy in London three weeks after arriving in the British capital.

January 10th

On January 18th a one-hour-interview with the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta will be broadcasted on the Dutch television. Recently they were interviewed by Maartje van Weegen and Paul Witteman at Drakensteyn Castle.

This evening Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Claus, the Prince of Orange, Máxima Zorreguieta, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Bernhard, Princess Annette and Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme attended a ballet performance by the Dutch Dance Theatre. During the evening the Prince of Orange asked the people to sing 'Long may they live' for Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven who celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary today.

Jime de Marichalar Duke of Lugo left hospital today at 20:55 accompanied by his wife Infanta Elena of Spain, and returned to their appartment in Madrid. He will continue treatment at home.

Paul Burrell, the former butler to Diana Princess of Wales, is to face trial at the Old Bailey on October 14, being accused of stealing items from her estate, from Prince William and from the Prince of Wales. Burrell has denied through his lawyers and is on unconditional bail.

January 11th

The Dutch Cabinet has decided to donate about $ 500.000 to the Oranje Fund that will be the people's wedding present for the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta. Next to the fund the couple will also receive a statue for their garden made by artist André Volten. The fund will be handed over to the couple on February 1st during a huge party for 50.000 people at the Amsterdam Arena. The programme includes classical as well as pop music, ballet and show dancing. The theme of the evening is 'More Together Together More', which is also the theme of the Oranje Fonds. Various members of the Dutch Royal House and foreign Royal Houses will be present at the party. Afterwards they'll return to the Amstel Hotel where a private party will be held. The party at the Arena will be broadcasted live on Dutch television.

On 27th January the Dutch Jeugdjournaal (news for children) will broadcast an interview with the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta. They recently were interviewed by Hans Smit and Brechtje van Hulten at Drakensteyn Castle.

The Norwegian royal court has confirmed King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn will attend the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta. From Japan it was announced Crown Prince Naruhito will go to the Dutch wedding, but will not be accompanied by his wife Masako who gave birth to daughter Aiko last December. The Danish newspaper BT Online said that also Queen Margrethe II, Prince Henrik and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will attend the wedding. Other speculations about guests include the Swedish royal family, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias, the Prince of Wales (with Camilla Parker Bowles?), Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince Hassan of Jordan. Also president Johannes Rau of Germany and president Jacques Chirac of France are said to come. Still valid is the invitation for former president Fernando de la Rúa of Argentina.

King Harald V of Norway issued a statement in response to a series of controversial comments made by Princess Martha Louise’s fiancé Ari Behn. The king clarified Ari Behn’s future role, reportedly hoping to distance the politically neutral royal family from the author’s criticism of US policy which featured in a documentary on Afghan culture he made recently. Many felt that his comments, in which he suggested that many Norwegians didn’t agree with US President George Bush’s policies, threatened Norway’s neutrality. Ari Behn will apparently not speak for the royal family on such matters. He will only seldom accompany princess Märtha Louise at official functions. She who will continue to represent the royal family on her own. Ari Behn was reportedly satisfied with the official statement. Ari Behn has previously expressed his intentions to keep writing and adding to the public debate. However, most agree his new role requires a bit of care and temperance. Meanwhile Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn are preparing for their wedding. It was announced the wedding reception will take place at the royal residence of Stiftsgården in Trondheim.

January 12th

On January 22nd the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta will chat with 100 people on the website of the royal house. Already now people can leave their question on the website and from all those people 100 will be choosen to chat with the couple. Other people can follow the chat-session on the website, but are not able to chat with them themselves.

The man who was involved in an accident with Máxima Zorreguieta near Palace Huis ten Bosch last October wants her to pay for the damage to his car as well as his medical bills. He broke his leg and says he is still not able to work. A judge has already said Máxima is not to blame, but the man says the accident was not his fault but hers.

Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal, has been made director of Tailormade Hospitality, a new company which invites people to live like royalty. They organise trips and among others offer a weekend at a country house hotel with an optional tour of Windsor Castle. The company's brochure says this weekend, called the English Experience, epitomises all that people associate with English high society and allows them to live like royalty. They also offer packages for popular sports events. Tailormade Hospitality says Peter Phillips has no role apart from being a director.

January 13th

St James's Palace has confirmed Prince Harry of Great Britain admitted smoking cannabis at Highgrove private parties and drinking heavily at a Wiltshire pub last summer. Harry has experimented on several occasions with the drug over a two-month period. The Prince of Wales had made his son visit Featherstone Lodge Rehabilitation Centre in south London to see the effects of drug abuse. He came for a couple of hours on a day in late summer and talked to several people in recovery - heroin and cocaine addicts mostly. A spokesman said: "This is a serious matter which was resolved within the family, and is now in the past and closed.".

About 300 Turks burned pictures of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia yesterday to protest against the destruction of the Ottoman-era fortress Adschayat in the holy city of Mecca last December.

January 14th

In the Russian Chapel at Wolfsgarten Castle about 60 people have attended a memorial service for Princess Sophia of Hannover, who died on November 24, 2001, in Schliersee. Among them were her brother the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Queen Sofia of Spain, former King Constantinos and Queen Anne Marie of Greece, Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline of Hannover and Landgrave Moritz von Hessen.

Wiltshire Police says they will consider taking action against Prince Harry after reports that he smoked cannabis and drank alcohol while under the legal age. They say he would be treated the same way as other youths and that the licenseer of the pub where he drank may also face action. The headmaster of Eton College added "Any boy possessing, using and selling drugs at school during the term can expect to forfeit his place." Buckingham Palace has said that Queen Elizabeth II supports the way the Prince of Wales handled Harry's cannabis smoking and underage drinking. Many people think the Prince of Wales set a good example by his sensitive handling of Harry's cannabis experimentation.

On December 16th, 2001, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands had to hand in his driving license to the police because he drove 165 km an hour on the motorway around Amsterdam, where only 100 km an hour was allowed. After handing in his license he changed seats with his wife Laurentien, who was sitting next to him and who drove the car further. The next day the prince got his license back, as it was his first offense. He was fined for $400.

January 15th

Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah Emir of Kuwait has returned home after almost four months of medical treatment and recuperation in London. His return has sparked nationwide celebrations that are expected to continue for several days. The next two days have been declared public holidays. The Emir was rushed to London's Cromwell hospital on September 21, 2001, after receiving initial treatment for a brain haemorrhage. He recuperated at the Dorchester hotel.

January 16th

The Royal Train may be scrapped in 2003 in a bid to reduce the burden of Royal travel on taxpayers, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's treasurer, Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Michael Peat, has indicated. The train is regarded as an invaluable asset as the Queen will use it to visit all corners of the UK during the Golden Jubilee year. But as use returns to its usual low level after the Jubilee, a "serious study" will be carried out in 2003 on whether to keep it.

A press conference took place at the Royal Palace in Oslo in connection with the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn in Trondheim on 24 May 2002. As expected Princess Märtha Louise's maid-of-honour will be her second cousin Marianne Ulrichsen. Ari Behn's best man will be Kåre Conradi, an actor. It was also told the bridal gown will be designed by Wenche Lyche, the princess's favourite designer. Among the guests are royals, official representatives from Norwegian, family and friends. They will stay at Stiftsgården (Trondheim's royal property), on board of the Royal Yacht 'Norge' and in hotels. The royal family and the first wedding guests will arrive two days before the wedding, while most of the guests arrive one day later. The same day the government will host a reception for the couple connected with a show at Olav's Hall to which the municipality of Trondheim invites the royal family and their guests. On Friday, May 24th, the wedding will take place at the Nidaros Cathedral at 16:00. The dinner and ball will be held afterwards at Stiftsgården. About 800 to 1000 seats will be available for ordinary people, requests should be directed to the Fylkesmann of Sør-Trøndelag.

January 17th

6000 Policemen will work in Amsterdam on February 2nd during the Dutch royal wedding. 2150 of them are coming from outside Amsterdam. The organisation wedding will cost the city about $ 2.800.000, while security costs will cost another $ 5.000.000.

January 18th

In an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten yesterday Princess Märtha Louise of Norway told that from February 1st she will have the title Märtha Louise, Princess of Norway. She will not longer be Her Royal Highness, won't get her annual royal allowance anymore and will join other Norwegians in paying taxes. From February 1st she will also start her own art and culture firm called "Märtha Louises Kulturformidling" and will earn her own money. She said that she is very satisfied with the decision. Today in a statement King Harald V officially confirmed what his daughter had said: "Her Royal Highness the Princess wants to work with greater freedom in relation to the royal house." He said the princess' royal duties will be reduced, although she will sometimes represent the royal family.

January 19th

Some more wedding guests are confirmed. Buckingham Palace announced that the Prince of Wales will come. In the news it has been said that he'd bring a companion with him (Camilla Parker Bowles), but Buckingham Palace denies that. The Swedish royal court confirmed that King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine will attend the wedding in Amsterdam. The Luxemburg Grand Ducal Court announced that Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla will travel to Amsterdam. The princely court says Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie will represent Liechtenstein. The South-African embassy in the Netherlands confirmed former president Nelson Mandela and his wife will attend.

January 20th

The exhibition "Ja, ik wil" (Yes I do) at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam attracted 125.000 visitors. The exhibition closed its doors today and will reopen on February 3rd at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn.

Democrat chairman Thom de Graaf says that the Prince of Orange was a little bit stupid again by saying that the government inquiry report after his future father-in-law Jorge Zorreguieta by Professor Baud in the beginning of 2001 is just an opinion and that other people might have another opinion about it.

January 21st

According to the German magazine 'Bild' Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is more popular than Máxima Zorreguieta. The magazine compared them with each other, and Mette-Marit won with only a small majority. It is remarkable that in this case the choice of partner finally made the difference. For women the Prince of Orange seems to be less attractive that Crown Prince Haakon of Norway who has an athletic body, beautiful eyes and sometimes a beard.

Tomorrow between 18:30 and 19:30 Amsterdam time the Prince of Orange and his fiancée Máxima Zorreguieta will have a chat session with 100 people who are invited after asking a question on the Dutch royal website. Other people will be able to see and follow the chat session on the website, but are not able to take part in it. The broadcasting already starts at 18:00 with views of the visits of the couple to the Dutch provinces.

January 22nd

The chat session with the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta already ended after five minutes because of a technical interference, the Government Information Service said. The only thing the Prince of Orange was able to tell was that he uses the Internet already for years, and also Máxima Zorreguieta told she uses it a lot. In the beginning of their relationship they have emailed a lot with each other. The network operators KPN (telephone company) blame computer hackers for sabotaging as three billion hits were recorded within a minute of the pair going online. They had expected only tens of thousands of callers to log on to the live chat. The Government Information Service says the KPN is responsible for what happened as they had guaranteed nothing could go wrong, no matter how many hits were counted. There is no chance the chat will be organised again before the wedding takes place.

According to the Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland the Argentinian priest Rafael Braun, who will read a prayer during the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta, has defended the Videla regime. As a columnist in the 1970s he is said to have spoken highly about the authority of Videla in the catholic monthly magazine Criterio. According to Braun Videla pleaded for the Argentinian civilization.

January 23rd

37-year-old Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco, a cousin of King Mohammed VI and second in line of succession, left for the United States yesterday together with his wife and two daughters. They will stay in New Jersey for a necessary period of cooling down to stop the tensions within the family. The Prince says even the police troubled him recently. Because of his progressive point of views he is nicknamed 'The Red Prince'.

Last week Prince Kyrill of Bulgaria and his wife Rosario became the proud parents of a son, Tassilo, who was born in London. They already had two daughters: Mafalda and Olimpia.

The Dutch government says they have investigated whether there are any facts or circumstances that could prevent Father Braun from discharging his limited role in the Church blessing of the marriage of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta. None have come to light. After government questions the Government Information Service denies that the Prince of Orange wanted to relativate the value of the report of Professor Baud in last week's interview. The government calls the report independent, solid and steady and says the opinions of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta are beyond all doubts.

Prince Ernst August of Hannover has appealed against the 8th months conditional sentence and the fine of about $ 500.000.

January 24th

From 6 to 16th May the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta will pay a visit to the Dutch Antilles and Aruba.

A group of eight hackers told the newspaper De Telegraaf they sabotised the chat session with the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta to teach the KPN a lesson. According to the KPN the system (router) collapsed at 126 million visitors. They recognise that the security of the chat session could have been better, but they continue to say that the capacity was good enough. The Public Prosecutor will start an inquiry after the failure and research if there is talk of offences.

January 25th

After more than 70 years the golden coffin of Pharaoh Achnaton is shown in Cairo again. It was given back by the State Museum in München, Germany. The coffin was found in the Valley of the Kings in 1907, but disappeared in 1931. In the beginning of the 1980s a Swiss private collector gave the coffin to the museum in München for restoration.

January 26th

Máxima Zorreguieta provides new supporters of the monarchy. She appeals to groups of people who normally are not interested in the monarchy. That is the outcome of an inquiry by the Amsterdam Office Motivaction in order of the newspaper Trouw. 2000 Dutchmen were questioned. Máxima is very popular among the cosmopolites and younger people and women.

Singer Elton John says he and friend Diana Princess of Wales had a falling-out about a year before she died, but the death of Gianni Versace brought them back together, weeks before her own death. "It was one of her charity things that I'd organized, and she pulled out of it. And I wasn't too happy, and I let her know that. And then she wrote me a very terse letter," the singer said in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" last night. When Versace was fatally shot outside his Miami Beach home in July 1997, Elton John and Diana reached out to each other. "It's one of those things that friends sometimes do. You know, they're too proud to pick up the phone. And it was just due to a tragic event like Gianni's murder that brought us back together again," said Elton John.

January 27th

Today Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has told well-wishers outside the church at Sandringham that the Queen Mother is getting better all the time. The Queen Mother hasn't been seen in public since November 21st. Last week she was said by Buckingham Palace to be confined to her room at the Sandringham estate with a but. A spokeswoman then said: "She is still resting from the bug she caught at Christmas and is continuing her recovery."

January 28th

The Liechtenstein Princely Court announced that Princess Tatjana and her husband Philipp von Lattorff had their second child on Friday. Elisabeth Maria Angela Tatjana was born at the hospital in Grabs, Switzerland. Godmother will be Princess Angela of Liechtenstein, wife of Tatjana's brother Maximilian.

The Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta have lost some of their popularity according to a poll by the Intomart Office in order of RTL News television. In November Máxima Zorreguieta led the list together with Prince Claus, and immediately followed by the Prince of Orange. Now Prince Claus is in first place, with on the places 2 to 10 the following members of the royal family: Princess Juliana, Máxima Zorreguieta, Princess Margriet, Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Marilène, Prince Maurits, Prince Bernhard senior and Prince Constantijn.

January 29th

A spokesman for the fashion-house Valentino Couture in Paris has confirmed that they have designed the wedding gown of Máxima Zorreguieta. It will be kept secret what the dress looks like. Máxima came to Paris some months ago to choose her dress together with Valentino. The dress is already in The Hague.

Within fifteen minutes the municipality council of Wassenaar decided yesterday evening unanimously that they agree with adjustments to the royal estate De Horsten in Wassenaar, where the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta will live. After the wedding they will first live at the house of the prince at the Noordeinde in The Hague until their new house is finished. The prince then will use his present house as his office.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has moved forward with her plans to launch her own business. Her company is now registered with the state as a sole proprietorship. Papers filed with the register, located in the northern town of Brønnøysund, state that the princess' company will offer "cultural arrangements of various types" plus a special brand of physical therapy.

The Prince of Wales has won the Euronatur award for his contribution to the environment. He is being given the award for his long term support for the preservation of nature. It is being given by the European Natural Heritage Foundation and is expected to be awarded at a ceremony in Germany later this year.

January 30th

Together with her brother Martín and sister Inés Máxima Zorreguieta visited the Nieuwe Kerk and the Beurs van Berlage to have a look at the preparations for her wedding.

February 1st

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn of Thailand has secretly married 30-year-old Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya, a university graduate, last year. The wedding was performed at the Nonthaburi palace by his father King Bhumibol. Apparently the Prince's astrological prediction had warned against taking too much effort into the wedding, in case of backfire, so bride and groom were dressed very casually in T-shirts, tracksuits and slippers. The crown prince is twice divorced.

Yesterday Máxima Zorreguieta was handed the summons to appear in court at The Hague in a few months time over the car collision last October. The driver of the other car, Mr van der Bent claims Máxima Zorreguieta was liable because she was exiting from the palace driveway and failed to yield. The royal press office says the palace road has priority. The public prosecutor dropped criminal charges against both drivers.

February 2nd

In sunny Amsterdam the Prince of Orange married Máxima Zorreguieta.

February 3rd

In an interview to the Danish newspaper B.T. Prince Henrik of Denmark says he feels 'thrown over, humiliated and degraded'. After having been number two for may years, now his son Crown Prince Frederik has taken the second place in the Danish monarchy and comes before him at protocolar engagements. "Something like this would not have happened in the United States. There you have the expression 'First Lady', why not 'The First Man?' The First Man is me, not my son.", he said. Now prince Henrik asks himself what his position is and what his value is for Denmark. He says it has nothing to do with his wife Queen Margrethe II and his son. He has gone to his French castle in Caix to take a break and to think about his future. This was also the reason he didn't go to the Dutch royal wedding yesterday.

The Swiss press announced that the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands arrived at Kloten, the airport of Zürich, with an airplane coming from London this afternoon. They travelled further by car from Kloten to an unknown destination. Meanwhile 4000 people took the opportunity to visit the Beurs van Berlage today. The location of the civil wedding could be visited for 10 Euro and for that money you were guided through the building and got a glass of champaigne.

All together about 50 million people all over the world watched the royal wedding in the Netherlands on television. More than 6 million Dutch people watched television, 7,5 million Germans. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, about 600 people watched in a villa hired by the Dutch embassy. 800 Dutch living in France were gathered at the tennis stadium Roland Garros to watch the wedding.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain told well-wishers outside church at Sandringham today that the Queen Mother is 'coming along'. The Queen Mother hasn't been seen in public since almost two months.

February 4th

55% of the British population thinks now the Prince of Wales should marry his girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, a poll claims. But only 16% of those polled for the Daily Telegraph wanted her to be a queen. The wide-ranging survey on attitudes to the monarchy was commissioned to mark Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. A total of 65% of the 3000 asked said she had done a good or excellent job during her 50-year reign.

Yesterday Queen Margrethe II, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim flew to France to talk with Prince Henrik. Together they gave a 20-minute interview this afternoon and there was a photo session.

February 5th

Sigvard Bernadotte Count af Wisborg, uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, died at the nursing home Borgarhemmet at Söder, Stockholm, yesterday late. He would have become 95 on June 7th. The Swedish flag was flown from half-mast at the Stockholm Palace as soon as the royal court learnt about his death. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia had a meeting with the count's son Michael among others to plan of the funeral. The King issued a statement in which he said the Count will be sadly missed and will leave behind a great emptiness. Count Sigvard lost his princely title when he married Erica Patzek in 1934. After he divorced her he married Sonja Robbert in 1943, but he also divorced her. Since 1961 he was happily married to Marianne Lindberg. The count had one son from his second marriage and has one granddaughter, Kajsa. Count Sigvard fought for years to get his princely title back, but didn't succeed. For the past decennia Count Sigvard has been a well-known designer of among others domestic products, industrial engines and jewelry.

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark visited the Denmark House at the Champs-Elysées in Paris, France, to open an exhibition about designs of Danish artists. Afterwards the Queen travelled back to Denmark, while Prince Henrik went back to his wine castle.

University lecturers, students and politicians have staged protests after Prince Philippe of Belgium was awarded an honorary degree today. During the ceremony, protesters handed out degree certificates to passers-by and led a donkey wearing a picture of the prince through the streets. The dean of the Catholic University of Louvain awarded Prince Philip the degree to recognise his efforts to promote world peace. Hundreds of protesters turned out after challenging what the Crown Prince had done to deserve the award.

A majority in the Italian Senate agreed with the abolition of the exile of the male members of the Italian Royal Family. The amendment has now gone to the lower Chamber of Deputies. Then both chambers must approve it a second time before it could take effect. Yesterday Prince Vittorio Emmanuele and his son Emmanuele Filiberto made a statement from Geneva, Switzerland, where the family has lived in exile, to declare their loyalty to the Republic of Italy. Many in the centre-left opposition had demanded that they swear allegiance to the Italian Constitution.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands stay in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland, in the villa of the recently deceased beer-tycon Alfred Heineken. Meanwhile the 27-year-old man who threw a small paintbomb to the windows of the Golden Coach on Saturday, has been released, but will be sued.

Half April the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will pay a visit to Ghana because of 300-year-old ties between the Netherlands and Ghana.

February 6th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain celebrated the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne on the death of her father, King George VI. She thus became the third British monarch to reach this milestone after her ancestors King George III and Queen Victoria. The Queen spent the day at the Sandringham estate. She also opened a cancer centre, the MacMillan Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in nearby King's Lynn in memory of her father who died of cancer. She talked to patients, some receiving treatment during her visit. Also today a portfolio of photographs of the Queen has been published. One of the photos was taken by her son, the Duke of York.

The coffin of Sigvard Bernadotte Count af Wisborg was brought to the Palace Church in Stockholm after a private family gathering at the Royal Palace. The funeral will take place on Friday February 15th at 14:00 local time in the Engelbrekts Church in Stockholm. The Count will be buried at the royal cemetery at Haga. People can say goodbye to him from 12 to 14 February and sign the book of condolences.

February 7th

Crown Princess Masako of Japan is to resume her official duties on Friday, the Imperial Household Agency said today. She is scheduled to attend a commendation ceremony for a youth book report competition in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward together with Crown Prince Naruhito.

In a speech to mark the opening of the parliamentary session Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein has told the Liechtenstein parliament his opponents could impose a dictatorship if they succeed in stripping him of his powers. He also repeated his threat to move his family to Austria if he doesn't get his way in the perennial battle over changing the constitution. He said: "The history of the 20th century unfortunately has all too many examples of self-styled democrats getting rid of a monarchy, without the approval of the people, and then setting up a dictatorship. Do not let yourselves be used by a small group, for whom the parliament is nothing but a piece on a chessboard that can be sacrificed over a constitutional argument." The fight over changes to the constitution has been going on for 10 years in Liechtenstein.

February 8th

The Danish royal court announced that Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra expect their second child in August. Their son Nikolai was born in August 1999. It was said Princess Alexandra will continue with her engagements as long as her pregnancy will allow that.

The Dutch governement has sent a new bill to parliament to reduce the membership of the Royal House. If the law would be accepted, the number of people who are member of the Royal House will be reduced to heirs to the second degree and the ministerial responsibility will only count for them. The ones who are related to the monarch in the third degree will remain in line for the throne. New will be that people can be appointed to the Royal House, but that only counts for people who are in line of succession and who aren't members of the Royal House and their partners. There has been made a temporary provision that until Willem-Alexander takes over the throne, princess Margriet and her sons will remain members of the Royal House. Further members can be discharged from their membership. Only the heir pressumptive is 'Prince of Orange', while the title 'Prince of the Netherlands' can only be given to members of the Royal house, although it can be decided that they keep the title after the loss of membership.

February 9th

Princess Margaret of Great Britain Countess of Snowdon has died peacefully in her sleep at 6:30am in the King Edward VII Hospital in London, Buckingham Palace announced. The Princess suffered a further stroke yesterday afternoon and developed cardiac problems during the night. She was taken from Kensington Palace to the hospital at 2:30am. When she died her children Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto were at her side. Queen Elizabeth II has expressed her great sadness at the death of her sister. It was said she was kept fully informed of developments throughout the night. Today she travelled to Windsor after spending the morning at Buckingham Palace. A spokesman for St James's Palace said the Prince of Wales and his sons were 'deeply saddened'. The Prince of Wales has travelled to Sandringham to be with the Queen Mother. The Union flag at Buckingham Palace was flying at half-mast following the death of Princess Margaret. The last time the princess was seen in public was before Christmas at Princess Alice, the Dowager Duchess of Gloucester's 100th birthday party. All day hundreds of mourners gathered outside Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace and have been placing flowers. Later today it was announced that the funeral will take place on Friday, February 15th, at St George's Chapel, Windsor. It will not be a state occasion. A memorial service will be held at a later date. At 16:00 local time Princess Margaret's body has been taken from King Edward VII Hospital to Kensington Palace in a coffin draped in a Royal Standard and will be moved next week to the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace.

February 10th

The Prince of Wales has paid tribute to his 'darling aunt' and her incredibly vital spirit. She had suffered a dreadful time in the last few years with an awful illness that was hard for her to bear, he said.

A condolence book has been opened at St James's Palace for members of the public to pay tribute to Princess Margaret. Thoughts can also be posted on the Royal Website. The family has requested that any donations in her memory be sent to the NSPCC, the Royal Ballet or the Guides, three charities Princess Margaret was patron of. The Royal Family will be wearing black throughout the week in memory of the princess. A week of mourning will continue until her funeral at St George's Chapel. Official duties are continuing, but social engagements have been postponed. Today at a service at Sandringham the Duke of Edinburgh and about 80 parishioners heard Canon George Hall speak of the princess's beauty and creativity. At the nearby Sandringham estate the Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales said private prayers in its chapel. Queen Elizabeth II remembered her sister with prayers at Windsor.

Spanish crosscountry skier Johann Mühlegg, who won the 30 kilometres freestyle at the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, wants to give his gold medal - the first ever for Spain at the Winter Games - to King Juan Carlos of Spain. The skier, who was born in Germany, says this way he wants to thank the king for his help by getting the Spanish nationality in 1998.

February 11th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has visited Kensington Palace to pay her private respects at the coffin of her sister Princess Margaret and spoke to members of the princess's staff. Later today the coffin, surrounded with white lilies and roses, was transfered to St James's Palace. The Queen's Pipe Major, James Motherwell, and a colleague, played a lament, the Skye Boats Song, as they marched solemnly ahead of the car as the Princess left Kensington Palace.

From tomorrow until April 14th the bridal gown of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is shown at the exhibition 'Ja, ik wil' at Palace Het Loo, Apeldoorn. Also the Argentinian plate on which the wedding rings laid during the ceremony, the kneeling cushions of the church and the original marriage certificate and the pens it was signed with are shown.

February 12th

Buckingham Palace announced that the body of Princess Margaret of Great Britain will be cremated after her funeral on Friday. The ceremony will take place at Slough Crematory following the service at St George's Chapel. No members of the Royal Family will be at the cremation which will be attended by Royal household officials. Her ashes will be placed in the Royal Vault at St George's Chapel. She is not the first British royal to be cremated. Earlier also Princess Louise of Connaught (1917), Princess Louise Duchess of Argyll (1939) and Princess Arthur of Connaught (1959) were cremated.

The Dutch Foundation 'Bont voor Dieren' (Fur for Animals) declared Princess Mathilde of Belgium as FurBitch 020202. This way they want to protest against wearing fur during the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. She got 37% of the votes. Princess Margriet of the Netherlands came in second place with 22%, while Queen Margrethe II of Denmark managed to get 15% of the votes and came in third place. People had been able to vote on the website of the Foundation. Also Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg, Crown Princess Maria of Greece, Begum Inaara Aga Khan and Mrs Ter Haar (wife of one of the witnesses) were nominated.

Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner celebrated her 70th birthday today and her birthday party was held at Holmenkollen Rica Park Hotel. It was attended by 60 guests, including King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Märtha, Ari Behn, Princess Ragnhild and Erling Lorentzen. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are in the USA at the moment to watch the Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Princess Astrid was Norway's first lady from 1954, when her mother Princess Märtha died, until 1968 when her brother Harald married Sonja Haraldsen. In recognition of her work for the nation, the Government has decided to grant her a pension of honour of about 400.000 Norwegian Crowns a year.

Prince Henrik of Denmark returned to Denmark after a short stay in France.

February 13th

A doctor was called to Sandringham after the Queen Mother slipped as she was trying to get out of a chair. She cut her arm and has been bandaged. She still hopes to leave for Windsor tomorrow and attend the private funeral of her daughter Margaret on Friday.

February 14th

Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, ruler of Bahrain, has been proclaimed King and the Gulf Island State a constitutional monarchy, a major step in democratic reforms. The King immediately called national elections for a legislative body on October 24th, and municipal elections in May. One of the Chambers will be chosen, the other - an advisory Shura with experts - will be chosen by the government. The two chambers will get legislative authorities. The King will stay the highest power. In 1975 the Parliament had been dissolved. A referendum one year ago showed 98,4 % of the people wanted a constitutional monarchy.

In the late afternoon the coffin of Princess Margaret of Great Britain was moved from the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace to Windsor Castle. Dean of the Chapels Royal Richard Chartres said a prayer over the coffin as it was carried by pallbearers and carefully placed in a hearse. It was accompanied from St James's Palace by her private secretary, Viscount Ullswater, and a representative of the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Luce. On top of the coffin, shrouded by the princess's standard, are white and pink roses. The Queen Mother arrived at Windsor Castle by helicopter.

Hundreds of people have paid Sigvard Bernadotte Count af Wisborg their last respect at the Palace Church in Stockholm. Over the past three days the lying-in-state was open to the public. The coffin rested before the altar, draped in a Swedish plag and with an enormous wreath of white and yellow tulips.

February 15th

At 15:00 local time the funeral service of Princess Margaret of Great Britain took place at St George's Chapel, Windsor to the day 50 years after the funeral of her father, King George VI. Shortly before the ceremony the Queen Mother confined to a wheelchair arrived from her lodge on the castle estate. Among the 400-450 guests were over 30 members of the royal family, the princess's former husband the Earl of Snowdon, former lover Roddy Llewellyn and her favourite butler Harold Brown. The ceremony was conducted by the Dean of Windsor. Shrouded in her personal standard and adorned in flowers, the coffin of Princess Margaret was carried by 8 servicemen from the nave of the chapel to the quire of the chapel. Princess Margaret chose much of the music and prayers for the service herself, together with her daughter Lady Sarah Chatto. Her son Viscount Linley read the lesson from Romans 8. The music included Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and an organ recital of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. After the service a piper of the Royal Highland Fusiliers played a lament as the coffin was carried to the waiting hearse outside. A crowd estimated at 3000 people fell silent as the coffin was driven from the Castle ground. At the princess's expressed wish only a handfull of witnesses attended the cremation later today at Slough Crematory, among them the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Luce, and the Dean of Windsor, the Rt Rev. David Conner.

At 14:00 the funeral service for Sigvard Bernadotte, Count af Wisborg, was held at Engelbrekts Church in Stockholm. The coffin was shrouded in a Swedish flag and covered with lots of flowers. The minister spoke a lot of about Sigvards contribution to the world of arts and the many talented artists in the Bernadotte family. After the service there was a reception at Waldermarsudde. Among the mourners were King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine and Princess Lilian of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark.

A spokesman of the Princely House of Schaumburg-Lippe confirmed that the marriage of Hereditary Prince Alexander and his wife Marie-Louise (Lilly) was dissolved yesterday at the district court in München at 10:00 in the morning. Their son, Heinrich Donatus, will stay in München with his mother, while Princess Lilly will keep the title Princess zu Schaumburg-Lippe. The couple separated in the summer of 2000 when Princess Lilly left the Castle at Bückeburg.

Instead of the Olympic Winter Games the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will pay a visit to the Paralympics in Salt Lake City that will be held from 7 to 16 March. They will attend the opening ceremony and most likely also some other events.

February 16th

Princess Margaret of Great Britain's ashes have been taken back from Slough Crematorium to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. They will rest in the Royal Vault for an unspecified period. They are then expected to be placed in the vault with her father as the princess wished.

February 18th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived for a three-day visit in Jamaica. Several hundred people crowded outside the perimeter fence as her plane landed at Norman Manley airport in Kingston. They watched the Queen emerge, wearing a tangerine-coloured two-piece suit and matching hat. She was greeted by Sir Howard Cooke, the Governor-General, and invited to inspect the Guard of Honour, from the 1st Battalion the Jamaica Regiment, before being introduced to the prime minister, P J Patterson, and other leading politicians. Along the route from the airport they were welcomed by waving school children and Rastafarian activists asking to be repatriated to Africa. They then moved to the National Heroes Park in Kingston, where the Queen laid a wreath at the Cenotaph and shook hands with members of the Jamaica Legion, a group of former World War I and World War II veterans. The Queen's visit to Jamaica, her second since 1994 and her sixth over all, is part of her Golden Jubilee Tour. After this visit she embarks on a 10-day tour of New Zealand and Australia.

February 19th

In an address to Parliament Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain told legislators that with independence has come interdependence, pointing to the September 11 attacks on the United States as a reason for countries to work closely together. She urged Jamaicans to protect what she called their rich heritage in music, the arts and sport. Later today heavily armed policemen patrolled crime-infested Trench Town, in the Jamaican capital Kingston, as the Queen toured the ghetto under heavy guard. She among others viewed handicrafts made by students at the Boys' Town school and a community centre. In the evening the Queen had to dine in candlelight when a power cut plunged the Jamaican Governor General's residence into darkness. Two power cuts hit the evening. Earlier she was forced to dress during a 10-minute darkness and joked: "I was putting my tiara on when the lights failed. Isn’t it difficult dressing in the dark!" But the lights went out again while 100 VIPs filed in to the dinner at her official residence, Kings House. She had to be shown downstairs by her protection officer holding a kerosene lamp and torch. The Duke of Edinburgh, behind, stumbled in the gloom and grabbed on to a bannister. As the Queen entered the dingy room, she said curtly: "I don’t know where my table is." A kerosene lamp was hastily placed on the Queen's table and candles found to illuminate the room. The blackout - blamed on a generator fault - ended after an hour.

Thailand's Criminal Court has sentenced Chalasai Yugala, the 29-year-old widow of Prince Thitiphan Yugala from Thailand to six years in jail for killing him with poison. The princess told the police she put insecticide in the prince's coffee on August 21, 1995, soon after their marriage, to make him unconscious so that she could escape the palace. The prince, a cousin of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, went into a coma and died eight days later. Chalasai Yugala was an orphan who was informally adopted by the prince at the age of four. She became his lover at 14 and wife when she was 23. After poisoning him, she ran off with her 19-year old lover, a chestnut peddler named Uthet Choopwa. They have since married and have a son.

More than 33.000 congratulations to the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands were received at the website of the Royal House. 6000 of them came from outside the Netherlands. After they have returned from their honeymoon the congratulations will be handed over to the just married couple.

February 20th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh left Kingston early today for the second city of Montego Bay, Jamaica's tourism mecca. At the end of her three-day visit to Jamaica, the Queen thanked the people for their "wonderful welcome". In the evening they left for New Zealand.

Today hereditary prince Maximilian zu Fürstenberg was cleared of buying 2 kilograms of cocaine. Witnesses didn't manage to give a clear evidence.

February 21st

The Court of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai announced the death of the ruler's 22-year- old son Sheikh Rashid bin Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum. He died early today in a tragic accident. He was buried later today.

February 22nd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, this morning where they were greeted by Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright, because New Zealand's premier Helen Clark - a republican - is currently attending a summit of centre-left governments at Stockholm, Sweden. She denied snubbing the couple, saying she would be back in New Zealand for the official part of the Queen's visit. The Queen and the Duke are spending two days recovering after their 20-hour flight from Jamaica stopping briefly at Tahiti. They are staying at the exclusive Huka Lodge at Lake Taupo. It is the Queen's tenth visit to New Zealand in her 50 years as monarch.

A memorial service for Princess Margaret of Great Britain will be held on April 19 at Westminster Abbey, London. It will be attended by Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family. The congregation will include personal friends, representatives from charities, regiments and other organisations.

February 23rd

Prince Albert of Monaco crashed during the third run of four-man bobsled today and slid sideways across the finish line. Driving the Monaco-1, Prince Albert got too high on one of the curves on the lower part of the course and flipped the sled. As it toppled over, the prince's head slammed into one of the side walls as the sled began careening out of control. He was unable to right the sled and it skittered past the finish line on its side, spraying snow and ice as it went. Prince Albert and his crew were helped from their sled by track personnel and happily were uninjured. Prince Albert looked annoyed as he walked to the finish area. After the fourth and last run the team Monaco-1 with Prince Albert, Charles Oula, Jean-François Calmes and Patrice Servelle finished as 28th team over all. The prince appeared in his fifth Olympic Winter Games, and became the first athlete to participate in more than four Olympics in bobsleigh. Being 43 years old he also was the oldest bobsleigh driver to compete at the Salt Lake City Games.

Yesterday evening Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway was admitted to the Rikshospital in Oslo. An influenza she got in Salt Lake City turned into pneumonia, which is probably a complication of a virus illness. She will stay in hospital until further notice. Crown Prince Haakon visited his wife today. The Royal Palace said today she is doing better already.

Princess Aiko of Japan is making good progress at the age of nearly three months, an official at the Imperial Household Agency said yesterday. The update on Aiko’s development coincided with the release of a series of pictures taken with her father, Crown Prince Naruhito, and her mother, Masako, a former diplomat. Aiko is now almost 25in tall and weighs 13lb, according to the agency official, who added that she had developed the ability to laugh. To prepare for solid foods, the princess, who is being breast fed, has recently started drinking barley tea and apple juice, the agency official said, quoting the chamberlain of Tokyo’s Togu Palace, where the crown prince and princess live. When the weather is mild, Aiko’s parents take her for walks in the palace grounds, the agency official said. The Kyodo News agency also reported that on or around 13 March, Princess Aiko will take part in a traditional ceremony celebrating her birth.

February 24th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has received a warm welcome in New Zealand's capital Wellington at the official start of her tour of the country. A large crowd gathered outside Wellington Cathedral. Outside the cathedral the Queen unveiled a consecration stone. The Queen had laid the cathedral's foundation stone on her first visit to the country 48 years ago in 1954. During a service at the cathedral, the Dean of Wellington, the Very Reverend Michael Brown, said a prayer for the late Princess Margaret. Earlier, at a church service in Taupo, the vicar of St Andrew's Anglican Church, the Reverend Geoff Hickman, had expressed his sorrow at the Princess's recent death. At the church in Taupo an estimated 500 well-wishers turned out to see her.

February 25th

Yesterday at Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana have become the proud parents of a daughter, Arrietta. She was born at 18:50 at the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, is 51 cm tall and weighs 3500 grammes. Today King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece, as well as crown prince Pavlos, crown princess Maria, prince Nikolaos, Queen Sofia of Spain and the Prince of Asturias visited mother and child at hospital.

The high court of justice in Bucarest, Romania, has decided in favour of former King Michael I of Romania. On behalf of his father Paul von Hohenzollern (Lambrino), eldest son of the King's elder half-brother Mircea Gregor von Hohenzollern (Lambrino), claimed their part on the inheritance of the Romanian Royal Family, including a residence in Romania. A decision by a Romanian court of justice on April 2nd, 1999, said Mircea Gregor is a legitimate son of King Carol II and thus indirectly also said that he is the heir to the Romanian throne. This decision was now declared illegal. Mircea Gregor is the son of King Carol II of Romania and his first, unaccepted, wife Joana Maria Valentina Lambrino, whom King Carol II divorced before the birth of their son. Afterwards he closed a dynastic marriage with Princess Helena of Greece, from which marriage King Michael was born.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh flew to Christchurch on South Island for an official Maori welcome. The Queen doned her Maori cloak, a mantle of authority, and said a few words in Maori after a traditional welcome by the Ngai Tahu, New Zealand's fourth largest tribe. The royal couple then returned to Wellington for a state dinner at Parliament House at which the Queen delivered a keynote speech. Speaking at the dinner the Queen said New Zealand was known throughout the world because of the outstanding achievements of its 3.9 million people. "From such a small population has emerged a remarkably large number of leaders in their field," she said, praising New Zealanders in six vocations including film-making, art, science, innovation and sport.

February 26th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway reacts well on an treatment with antibiotics and will leave hospital when this treatment is finished. She will have a 14 days sick-leave after her hospital treatment the Royal Palace said. A visit to Mozambique next week to visit development projects supported in part with money from the charitable fund set up last year in connection with the couple's wedding, was cancelled, but the crown princely couple intend to make the visit before the summer-season.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Auckland airport in the morning. There the Queen inspected the team New Zealand entry for this year's Americas Cup yacht race and got an exclusive view of the boat's secret keel design. In the afternoon the Queen walked across Waitemata Plaza and afterwards opened the Liggins Institute for medical research at the University of Auckland. The Liggins Institute is researching how to help premature babies especially those who have brain damage. Meanwhile, the Duke of Edinburgh inspected the Devonport Naval Base. Later today the royal couple attended a garden party at the Government House.

February 27th

A pale and worn Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway was released from the Rikshospital today. She was rushed home and entered via a side entrance generally reserved for police escort.

Public spots for the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn at Trondheim's Nidaros Cathedral on May 24th will be decided by lottery. About 4,500 applicants are vying for between 600-800 seats. The deadline for applications is now past, the daily Dagbladet reports. Letters postmarked latest Feb. 22 will be considered, and 1,400 appeals for a total of 4,500 seats have been received at the regional commissioner's office in South Trøndelag. "We will go through every application to make sure we choose those with a special reason to attend. The others will go into a pot and be drawn at random," said Asbjørn Eide, director of the commissioner's office.

February 28th

Princess Alexia of Greece left the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona with her newborn daughter Arrietta. She was accompanied by her husband Carlos Morales Quintana and her parents.

Wiltshire Police have confirmed they will not take legal action against Prince Harry of Wales over allegiations of cannabis smoking and underage drinking last Summer. They said their investigations into events at the Rattlebone Inn in Sherston, Wiltshire, were now finished. They said they haven't found evidence of Harry's involvement.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Adelaide, Australia, yesterday. Governor-General Peter Hollingworth, under pressure to resign over his handling of sex abuse cases while Archbishop of Brisbane, waited on the tarmac to greet the Queen. Also in the welcoming party was Prime Minister John Howard, as well as South Australian caretaker Premier Rob Kerin and Labor leader Mike Rann. She also was welcomed by a 21-gun military salute and an Aboriginal dance ceremony. Later yesterday the Queen had a private meeting with Mr Hollingworth. In the evening the Queen addressed a state dinner. Today she met fellow corgi breeders. Later in the morning about 1,500 people lined the halls and other vantage points at the Adelaide Railway Station as the Queen arrived to take a tourist train to South Australia's Barossa Valley, a renowned wine valley . The Queen was handed flowers and spoke with several well-wishers as she strolled the 100 metres to her waiting train carriage.

March 2nd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has opened the Commonwealth leaders summit in Australia amid controversy over the possible suspension of Zimbabwe from the 54-nation body. Leaders from 40 Commonwealth nations paraded into a massive marquee erected in the grounds of a tightly-sealed luxury tourist resort at Coolum in Queensland state for the elaborate opening ceremony. The Queen said the diversity of the Commonwealth was its strength and relevance. "The events of 11 September have reminded us all of the need to build bridges between different cultures based on greater knowledge and understanding of our difference," the Queen told 900 dignitaries and delegates. The ceremony opened with a 90-minute display of traditional dancing by Aborigines dressed in loin cloths and daubed with white body paint, together with a performance by young lifesavers with surfboards.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex are both stepping down from their businesses, the Earl of Wessex announced during a speech to the South West regional conference of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme in Weston-super-Mare. He said: "It is quite obvious that in this year, the Golden Jubilee, we are required more than ever to support the Queen and to help my family shoulder some of the increasing responsibilities and workload into the future." The couple will now be focus on various charity works. The Earl is stepping down on March 31st as Ardent's director of production and joint managing director after 10 years in the business world. His wife, who has already ceased her day-to-day involvement in the management of RJH Public Relations, is also to stand down and will become a non-executive director. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed they would not be returning to their respective businesses.

March 3rd

Before leaving for Great Britain Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a service at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane, Australia. The Queen was later given an official farewell by the governor-general in Brisbane's South Bank district, where she inspected a guard and received a 21-gun salute. The Queen said: "We have both been struck by the diversity and the dynamism of Australia, and the vigour and humour of Australians everywhere. We leave with our respect for this great country strengthened and renewed."

March 4th

The Royal Palace announced that crown prince Haakon and crown princess Mette-Marit of Norway will continue their studies in London starting in the fall of 2002. The crown prince will be taking a one-year course, Master of Science Development studies at the London School of Economics, reaching a Master's degree. Crown princess Mette-Marit also intends to study, but there have not been any indications of what subjects she may pursue. The couple and their son Marius will move to London at the end of this Summer and plan to return to Norway in September/October 2003.

March 6th

It was announced King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margrethe of Denmark are the only foreign monarchs to be invited to the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn on May 24th in Trondheim. This week invitations will be sent to all the royal houses of Europe, but with exception of Sweden and Denmark they will go to the younger royals. There have been no other disclosures but the guest list will be gradually posted on the palace's web site as confirmations come in. The palace reckons about 250 guests will attend the wedding dinner. The dinner and ball will be held in a tent in the Stiftsgården gardens. Local authorities have received 4,000-5,000 applications from members of the public. Bjørn Ruud said that the deadline for all applications, whether for seats or to contribute with music or entertainment, had passed. Only about 1000 will be seated.

In an interview with Moss Avis, a Norwegian local newspaper, Princess Märtha Louise and her fiancé Ari Behn say they are considering withdrawing from public life after their wedding in May. "If I have children I will take a year off. We don't know if we can, but we are hoping. But we don't have any strategy - not yet. We will just see," said Princess Märtha Louise, who said she enjoys the company of Mette-Marit's young son Marius. Preparations for the May 24 ceremony in Trondheim's famous Nidaros Cathedral are in full swing and the couple is actively involved. "We are in fact involved with almost everything, from the flower arrangements to the choice of colors and food - which are secret, by the way," the princess said. The same goes for the bride's gown, which Ari Behn cannot lay eyes on before the ceremony. The princess admitted to keeping an eye on what the media write about them, just to stay updated on what is being said. "We didn't manage to keep our relationship secret for very long, and at times it has been very tough reading things that just weren't true," the princess said.

March 7th

Today it was announced that Princess Benedikte of Denmark recently underwent surgery at a private hospital in London because of a painful chronic intestinal disease. Her condition is good, but she'll stay a few days at the hospital and afterwards recover at her sister's house in London before returning to Bad Berleburg. A couple of weeks ago Prince Nikolai of Denmark broke his collar bone during a visit with his parents to Copenhagen.

March 8th

Yesterday the Prince of Orange and princess Máxima of the Netherlands attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City. Today they watched the biathlon, where Dutch Marjorie van de Bunt won the gold medal in her class. In the evening the princely couple had dinner with the complete Dutch team, that includes four sports(wo)men. This weekend the couple will return to the Netherlands. Their honeymoon started with a short skiing-holiday in Sankt Moritz, Switzerland, but it is kept private where they have spend the other weeks of their honeymoon. The couple has also been skiing in Salt Lake City for a few days.

Prince Laurent of Belgium has been caught driving at almost twice the speed limit on the city ring road around Bruges. He was driving 137 km an hour, where only 70 km an hour was allowed. The police asked him to stop, but he refered to his immunity. The case was handed over to the Public Prosecutor in Ghent. Anyway it is said the event happened already 18 months ago.

Norwegian broadcaster NRK cannot use the designer color scheme chosen by Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn for their wedding studio. Shock pink with mint green presents a visual "challenge". Project planner Odd Kaldefoss said the official colors can't be used in the studio for fear of distracting viewers from guests and commentators. But Kaldefoss is sure that he will be able to work ingredients of the scheme in. He reckons that there will be no need to fear color clashing when filming the ceremony since the banners will not decorate the cathedral. "So there shouldn't be a problem for those of us looking for good TV pictures. Because I assume that the princess won't choose a shock pink bridal gown," he said.

March 11th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was admitted to the Amsterdam Medical Centre this afternoon. Just after noon he didn't feel well and he was admitted to hospital where he is expected to stay a couple of days for observation.

March 13th

In one of the first ceremonies of a life that will be filled with ritual, three-month-old Princess Aiko of Japan took part in an ancient rite today to give her a healthy life. Wearing garments given to her at her birth by her grandparents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, the baby was presented to three shrines in the Imperial Palace grounds. There Aiko was held by a lady-in-waiting while her parents waited separately until the ritual was over. After the shrine visit, Aiko was to be formally presented to her grandparents as an official member of the imperial family. This ceremony included a ritual in which the Emperor and Aiko pretended to drink rice wine from a single cup.

March 14th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands won't perform much royal duties yet. She will first pay attention to the continuation and further deepening of her programme to make acquaintance with the various facets of the Dutch society. If it's necessary and it can contribute to this she will visit places and people informally or do work visits. Also she will go on learning the Dutch language in this period. She sometimes will accompany the Prince of Orange during his work visit abroad and in the country and on official days.

Prior to his departure to Spain on 14 March to attend the EU summit in Barcelona, Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski of Bulgaria told journalists that speculation that he plans to resign is unfounded. When asked whether he intends to quit on 6 April and nominate General Boyko Borisov of the interior ministry as his successor, Simeon said: "I read about this rumor in the press, and I am surprised." He added that "much of the chaos in the country that is written about in the press is a result of all possible unverified...statements, theories, and repeated rumors."

March 15th

The traffic offense of Prince Laurent of Belgium is extinguished, Minister of Justice Marc Verwilghen said at the Chamber. The Public Prosecutor had dismissed the case because the warrant arrived to late at the Public Prosecutor in Brussels. The car Laurent was driving in was leased in Luxembourg and it costed a while to find out who had been driving the car.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have thanked the people for the unbelievable amount of letters, 33.000 emails and gifts they received for their marriage on February 2nd from all over the world. The Prince of Orange said that during their honeymoon they could enjoy the many thoughts and memories of all those beautiful and emotional moments and with the help of video's and pictures they have often enjoyed these two great days in Amsterdam. Princess Máxima added that the love and the warmth with which these letters were written, the gifts and the drawings were made, have touched them very deeply. These surely have made the memories to this so very special day for them, even much more special. Unfortunately the enormous amounts of reactions forced the couple to use the television to thank everybody. They will not be able to send everybody a card, but a special picture can be downloaded in a few days from the official website.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands spent part of their honeymoon at Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand, the manager of the hotel confirmed today. It is said they stayed 12 nights.

March 16th

Prince Albert of Monaco, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Prince Ernst August von Hannover and Princess Stephanie of Monaco accompanied Prince Rainier to the annual Rose Ball took place at the Sporting Club at Monte Carlo, Monaco, this evening. The traditional event raises funds for the Princess Grace Foundation.

Replicas of the crown jewels have been added to models at the Legoland theme park. The move comes after special permission was given for them to be displayed at the park in Windsor, Berkshire. The models, including crowns, bangles, orbs and a sword, have been placed in glass cases. Other new models at Legoland, which overlooks Windsor Castle, include one of Buckingham Palace, which is expected to attract increased attention because of the Queen's Jubilee this year. Queen Elizabeth II also features in a new hall of fame, where models of the rich and famous have been built from Lego bricks.

Via his laywer Mr van der Bent made known he has declined the arrangement presented by Princess Máxima of the Netherlands's adviser on Tuesday. She should have offered him too little. Mr van der Bent was involved in a car accident with the princess last October in which he broke his leg, because of which he wasn't able to work for a while and which caused financial damage to him. Now Princess Máxima most likely has to appear at court in The Hague on May 3rd, when several witnesses will give evidence under oath.

March 18th

Prince William of Great Britain is to be the subject of an American TV film, with the search on for a young British actor to play him, it has been reported. The movie is likely to be called Prince William and will be shown on the ABC network in the United States in October. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the storyline for the film, produced by Fox TV Pictures, begins after the 1997 car crash death of the now 19-year-old William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales. About the approach it was said: "We basically took the tack that we were going to do a true coming-of-age of a kid who is going through, in some ways, all of the things that every kid goes through of dealing with adolescence, coming of sexuality and dealing with your dad."

Almost two million people have applied for free tickets to the Queen's Golden Jubilee concerts at Buckingham Palace. A maximum of 24,000 tickets are available - 12,000 each for the rock and classical concerts. At the party at the Palace on June 3 artists appearing include Atomic Kitten, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Sir Elton John, Tom Jones, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Queen and Sir Cliff Richard. The Prom at the Palace, on June 1, stars Mstislav Rostropovich, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

A recent opinion poll conducted by the private MVMD research agency showed a sharp decline in Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski of Bulgaria's popularity, "Standart" reported. He finished in sixth place in the poll behind six other members of politicians. The rating of the ruling National Movement Simeon II also fell. If there were elections now, only 11 percent of the voters would cast their ballots in favor of this party.

March 19th

At Rabat it was officially announced King Mohammed VI of Morocco will celebrate his marriage with Salma Bennani at April 12th at Marrakech in presence of many guests from Morocco and foreigner guests. The wedding contract will be signed at the Royal Palace at Rabat on March 21st.

The Prince of Wales is mourning the death of his 18-year-old Jack Russell Terrier Tigga, who had been ill for some time and was put down by a vet at Highgrove. The prince, who had owned Tigga since he was a puppy, was said to be very sad and upset about the death.

March 21st

King Mohammed VI of Morocco married Salma Bennani today at the royal palace in Rabat.

March 22nd

Letters and cards handwritten by Princess Diana of Wales has sold for £22,000 at auction. She sent them to a former housekeeper, Maud Pendrey, at her family home of Althorp. The collection includes nine letters written by Princess Diana after her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 and 14 Christmas or New Year cards sent between 1981 and 1995. The correspondence, described by auctioneers as "rather special and unique", went under the hammer at GA Keys' salerooms in Aylsham, Norfolk, at 2pm on Friday. It had been expected to sell for no more than £15,000. It was bought by hotel owner Michael Rockall, of Ditchingham, near Bungay, Suffolk, who said he had been very keen to buy the collection because he wanted it to stay in England.

On April 19th Christies at New York will auction an Easter egg called the "Winter Egg", that was given in 1913 by Tsar Nikolai II to his mother on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov family. The egg made of transparent rock-crystal is decorated with 1300 rose-diamonds and 260 brilliants. In the egg is a basket of flowers, made of white quartz, fine wire-gold and 1370 diamonds. It is hoped the egg will fetch $ 6.000.000.

March 25th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands has to stay in hospital some more days, he has decided after consulting his doctors. He is doing well, but needs some more time to recover.

March 26th

Guided tours around the precincts are now available at Windsor Castle. Escorted by wardens, dressed in red-and-black livery, the tours depart at regular intervals from the admissions centre and are included in the general ticket price. The walk begins at the site of the Jubilee Garden, to be completed in June 2002, before entering the castle grounds. Beneath the famous Round Tower, built by Henry II, visitors hear about the castle's 900-year history as a palace and fortress, and its present use as an official residence of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. On arrival at the State Apartments, where the tour ends, spectacular views of the surrounding countryside can be seen from Henry VIII's North Terrace. For those wishing to continue their guided tour, a recorded commentary is available for hire, in a range of languages, and in versions for the visually impaired and those with learning difficulties.

March 27th

The Prince of Wales and his partner Camilla Parker Bowles were together for the first time at Buckingham Palace in presence of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. They attended a classical concert celebrating Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich's 75th birthday last night. But in a carefully stage-managed event Charles, Camilla and the Queen were not pictured together. The Prince and Camilla later dined together at the Palace but, perhaps significantly, the Queen was not expected to join the dinner guests. Members of the Royal Family at the event further included the Duke of York, Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her husband Commander Tim Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael and Princess Alexandra. Overseas royals included Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria, the King and Queen of Greece and Princess Irene of Greece, Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, and, from Luxembourg, the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess along with Prince Henri and Prince Guillanme. Also in attendance were Prince Albert of Monaco, the Prince of Orange and Princess Maxima of The Netherlands.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands has light heart rhytm disturbances it was said yesterday. This afternoon a heart catheterisation was carried out at the AMC hospital in Amsterdam. Two hollow tubes were placed in the coronar artery to widen them. The prince has endured the operation well. Queen Beatrix spent all day with him in hospital. In the evening also the Prince of Orange, princess Máxima, prince Johan Friso, prince Constantijn and princess Laurentien visited the prince.

March 28th

Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Chief of Yendi and Paramount Chief of Dagbon Traditional Area in the Northern Region of Ghana has been killed in factional fighting in Yendi, the traditional capital of the Dagombas. Reports filtering through to the town of Tamale said that the assassins of the Andani beheaded the king, chopped off his arms and burnt him. Royals in the municipality condemned the act as an abomination unheard of in the annals of Dagbon land. Another 50 people are also reported killed in the fighting, some of them burnt in the factional battle which erupted last Monday between the Andani and Abudu chieftaincy gates to Ya-Na Skin. By mid morning yesterday, rumours were filtering in that the king had died when his palace was attacked by a mob. Sporadic gunshots had been heard during the whole of Tuesday despite the presence of armed soldiers and police in the Yendi Township and in spite of a dusk to dawn curfew. The Northern Regional Security Committee deployed armed soldiers and police to the area and banned the celebration of this year's annual Bugum (Fire) Festival at Yendi that was expected to take place on Monday night when security reports revealed the possibility of disturbances. It is yet to be determined what actually caused the flare up but according to sources, tension had been mounting between the two gates since last January over the celebration of the Muslim Eid ul-Adha festival. The Andani Gate that is currently occupying the Dagbon Skin was said not to have been happy when the rival Abudu Gate celebrated the festival in the traditional way at the house of its regent. Since then, there had been rumours of an imminent attack and counter-attack by the rival chieftaincy gates, which boiled over into an exchange of gunfire on Monday morning. The Ya Na's assassination now further complicates the Yendi skin affair and would polarise Dagbon more. This is the first time in Dagbon history when a Ya Na has died at the hands of his own people. President John Kufuor of Ghana has put the Northern Region on a state of emergency and the security agencies have extended the dusk to dawn curfew to cover the entire region. The government has also assured the nation that those found to have been responsible for the tragedy, would face the full rigours of the law. Dagbon is one of the most important links in the Mole-Dagbani Empire, which extends from Northern Ghana all the way to Burkina Faso. The kingdom of Dagbon was established centuries ago and dominated an area near the Dagomba capital, Yendi.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was said to have had a stable night and day. The doctors are satisfied with his condition.

Prince Philippe and princess Mathilde of Belgium, together with the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands attended the second Belgo-Dutch conference organized in the Palais des Beaux Arts of Charleroi, Belgium. This meeting is a structural one on new technologies of information and communication.

New brochures and a HerrenhausenCard must attract more visitors to the royal gardens at Hannover, Germany. With the HerrenhausenCard, that will cost 2,50 Euro, people get discount on the entrance to the New Garden, the Rain Forest House, Princely House Museum, Wilhelm Busch Museum and the Cafe Do Brasil.

The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry travelled to Klosters in the Swiss Alps to begin their annual skiing holiday. They will spend a week on the slopes, starting with a pre-arranged photocall for the media on Friday. It is two years since the three royals were last at the Swiss resort; the holiday was cancelled last year as they felt it inappropriate to go away during the foot-and-mouth crisis.

March 29th

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako wished their first child, Princess Aiko, a life of good health during a traditional Imperial family ceremony. During the Ohashizome -- the child's first chopstick-fed meal -- held at the Crown Prince's palace in Tokyo, the chief lady-in-waiting dipped a pair of chopsticks into some red bean porridge and then held them to the princess' mouth, according to Imperial Household Agency officials. A salted fish and two blue stones were also placed in front of Princess Aiko and the Crown Princess in a ceremony intended to provide the child with intelligence and healthy teeth, the officials said. It marked the end of a series of events honoring Princess Aiko's birth on December 1st.

Prince Harry of Great Britain has glandular fever, a St James's Palace aide has confirmed. The illness is known also as the 'kissing disease' as it is spread by a virus in saliva. The prince is not thought to be severely affected. He has joined his father and brother at the start of a skiing holiday insisting he is well enough to ski.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway broke her right ankle on Wednesday afternoon in a fall during a skiing trip. She was initially taken to a clinic in Vinstra and then to the Oppland Central Hospital in Lillehammer. She spent a short holiday together with Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn at the family's mountain cabin, Prinsehytta, at Sikkilsdalsetra. Crown Princess Mette-Marit's officially been put on sick leave for six weeks, and is hobbling around on crutches with her right ankle in a cast.

From tomorrow the small palace park of Versailles, France, can't be entered for free anymore, but will cost 3 Euro. Visitors still don't have to pay to enter the big park.

March 30th

Queen Mother Elisabeth of Great Britain died peacefully in her sleep this afternoon at 15:15 at the Royal Lodge at Windsor. Queen Elizabeth II was at her side. A Palace spokesman said: "Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had become increasingly frail in recent weeks following her bad cough and chest infection over Christmas. Her condition deteriorated this morning and her doctors were called. The Prince of Wales heard about his grandmother's death at his hotel in Klosters at 4:30pm after returning from the slopes. His sons William and Harry found out later when they came back. They will return to Great Britain tomorrow. The Duke of York, who is on holiday in Barbados with his ex-wife and daughters, is also making arrangements to return home. Other members of the Royal Family were already arriving at Windsor for their traditional Easter gathering when the news broke. The Union Flag is flying at half mast at Buckingham Palace. A notice informing the public of her death was placed on the gate outside. Already soon after the announcement a large crowd began to gather outside the palace gates. Also at Glamis Castle, where the Queen Mother grew up, the flag is flying at half mast in her honour.

The Queen Mother will lie in state in Westminster Hall later this week. The vigil will precede her last journey from Westminster Abbey, after the funeral service, to Windsor, where she will be interred beside her husband in St George's Chapel. Vast crowds are expected to queue to file past the coffin. It will be placed on the same spot where King George VI lay in state in February 1952. The coffin will be guarded round-the-clock by a contingent of Gentleman at Arms and Yeomen of the Guard. The Queen Mother will be only the second British Royal consort in modern times to lie in state. Her mother-in-law Queen Mary, who died in 1953, was the first. The coffin will be brought to Westminster Hall from the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace, close to Clarence House, the Queen Mother's London home. The lying in state will be followed by a ceremonial funeral service in Westminster Abbey conducted by the Dean of Westminster. The coffin will then be taken by road to Windsor. Its arrival will be signalled by the tolling of the Sebastopol bell, which was captured from the Russians in the Crimea War and used only for Royal obsequies. Tomorrow morning the Queen Mother's coffin will first be taken to the Royal Chapel of All Saints, a small private chapel in the grounds of Royal Lodge, where she was a regular worshipper.

Princess Margaret of Great Britain's ashes are expected to be interred with the Queen Mother's coffin in the George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor. Since the Princess's cremation on February 15, the casket containing her ashes has been resting in the Royal Vault at St George's Chapel, Windsor. It is understood that the ashes will now be transferred to the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's when the tomb is opened for the Queen Mother's interment. The Queen Mother's final resting place, beside her beloved husband King George VI, will also be the final resting place of Princess Margaret.

March 31st

A group of about 50 to 100 Royal supporters held an all-night vigil for the Queen Mother outside Windsor Castle. Police said that, by late last night, numbers had dwindled but this morning a few hardcore Royalists who had slept huddled in blankets and coats on park benches were still paying their respects.

Books of condolence were opened in memory of the Queen Mother in London and Edinburgh. From 9am, members of the public are able to express their condolences at St James's Palace, London, and at Holyroodhouse Palace, Edinburgh. A book of condolence will also open at the Sandringham House Visitor Centre today. The books, which are likely to remain open until the day before the funeral, will be passed to the Queen and kept in the royal archives.

The Prince of Wales and his sons arrived back in England together by aircraft with the special permission of Queen Elizabeth II. Normally it is forbidden under royal protocol for the heir to the throne and his eldest son, William, 19, to fly on the same plane. They immediately travelled to Windsor's Royal Lodge to pay their respects to the Queen Mother. The Duke of York also flew home early from a Caribbean holiday in Barbados with his ex-wife Sarah and their children Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

The Queen Mother's funeral will take place on Tuesday April 9, Buckingham Palace has announced. There will be national mourning up to the day of the funeral, which will start at 11.30am. It will be a royal ceremonial funeral, not a state funeral, and will take place at Westminster Abbey. The coffin will then travel by road to Windsor for a private committal service and interment at St George's Chapel there. The coffin will rest at Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park until Tuesday, when it will be taken to the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace in central London. On Friday morning, the coffin will be carried in a ceremonial procession to Westminster Hall where it will lie in state from Friday afternoon until the evening of Monday April 8. The Queen Mother will finally be laid to rest alongside her husband in the George VI Memorial Chapel at St George's Chapel in Windsor. The ashes of Princess Margaret will be taken from the Royal Vault in St George's and interred in the memorial chapel at the same time. In accordance with the Queen Mother's wishes, there will be no official memorial service.

Draped in her Royal Standard, the coffin was carried from Royal Lodge to the nearby Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park by six pallbearers at 4pm. On the coffin was a small wreath of pink camellias picked from the garden at Royal Lodge this morning. Three members of the Queen Mother's staff - two men and a woman - walked behind in black livery. One carried a potted jasmine, given to the Queen Mother by the Prince of Wales for Easter and which was at her bedside when she died. At the stone-arched doorway of the 19th century chapel, Canon John Ovenden, Chaplain to the Queen Mother, and verger Alf Dixon waited to receive the body. The coffin was carefully carried inside the chapel and placed on two simple trestles of Windsor oak. The coffin will rest there until Tuesday when it will be taken to the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace in central London. A short service followed, with the Canon reading Psalm 121: "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help ..." After a reading from the Gospel according to St John, the small congregation prayed, concluding with the Lord's Prayer. Later, members of the Royal Family arrived at the chapel for Evensong.

April 1st

For the first time since her family left the country in October 1959 Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg returned to Cuba, the country where she was born in 1956. She and her sons Felix and Louis arrived last Friday for a private visit. They are staying at a Havanna hotel and plan to stay until next week, relatives at Cuba said. Last weekend they visited the historical centre of Havanna.

Draped in her royal standard and adorned with a wreath of pink camellias, the coffin is before the altar of the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park. This allows members of her staff to pay their last respects. Last night, the Queen led royal mourners in prayer at the foot of her mother's coffin. Some 16 senior members of the Royal Family solemnly filed into the private chapel.

The Prince of Wales has paid a moving tribute to his "darling grandmother", the Queen Mother. In a passionate televised address from his Highgrove home Charles said she had an "utterly irresistible mischievousness of spirit" and her death was a moment he had dreaded. "Somehow I never thought it would come," he added: "She seemed gloriously unstoppable and ever since I was a child I adored her. She was quite simply the most magical grandmother you could possibly have and I was utterly devoted to her. Her departure has left an irreplaceable chasm in countless lives but, thank God, we are all the richer for the sheer joy of her presence and everything she stood for."

April 2nd

At a press conference with Crown Prince Naruhito, held after several traditional ceremonies for the new-born princess Aiko were completed late last month, Crown Princess Masako said she was overwhelmed by the people's response to the birth of her first child and was deeply grateful for their good wishes. She said she had been overwhelmed with gratitude when her daughter was born on Dec 1. "I felt so relieved when I was able to deliver safely," Masako said. "At the same time, when I saw my newborn baby brought close to my chest, I was filled with appreciation for her being born. I can still see the scene right in front of my eyes", she said before beginning to shed tears. After she began to cry, Naruhito reached over to comfort her, placing his hand on her back. Amid the tears, she managed an embarrassed laugh in response to the gesture. It is extremely rare for members of the imperial family, whose public appearances are tightly scripted, to display such emotion in public. She also said: "A tiny life starts inside a womb, grows and when the time is ready it is born with all the might it has. Then it starts its own life in this world. I felt so strongly how miraculous and wonderful it is." In response to a question, Naruhito told the press that he calls his daughter "Ai-chan," using an affectionate, informal diminutive placed after the first syllable of her name.

Draped in her royal standard, the Queen Mother's coffin was taken from the Royal Chapel of All Saints at Windsor to the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace, London. The Queen's Piper Jim Motherwell has played the Dark Island lament as the Queen Mother's coffin was carried from a small Windsor chapel on its way to the capital. Undertakers conveyed the Queen Mother's coffin by road, in a black hearse, on a journey that took about 75 minutes. In the cortege were also the Queen Mother's Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, and her private secretary, Sir Alastair Aird. As the coffin arrived in central London, it passed through the Queen Elizabeth gates, dedicated to the Queen Mother, in Hyde Park. Buckingham Palace staff were standing outside the north-centre gate at the front of the Palace to mark the passing of the coffin on its way to the Queen's Chapel. Finally, the cortege drove past Clarence House, the Queen Mother's London residence, before coming to a halt in Marlborough Road outside the chapel. The coffin was received in London by the Dean of the Chapels Royal, Bishop of London the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, and Sub Dean William Booth. A short service of prayers was said after the coffin was in place on a catafalque before the chapel altar. The coffin will rest at the Queen's Chapel until Friday when it will be taken to Westminster Hall where the Queen Mother's body will lie in state until the funeral and interment in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The next few days, before the public lying-in-state at Westminster, will allow members of the Royal Family, friends and personal staff to pay their private respects.

Buckingham Palace has set up a special post box to cope with the increasing volume of mail being sent to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. In order to cope with the expected influx of many hundreds, if not thousands, of letters of condolence following the Queen Mother's death, a special PO Box address has been arranged. Correspondence should be sent to PO Box 1900, Buckingham Palace, London SW1P 1AA, Great Britain.

The Prince of Wales has asked to travel with the Queen Mother's coffin on its journey to her final resting place. He wants to escort her coffin from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle next Tuesday for its interment. He is set to travel with the undertakers and royal officials in the funeral cortege from central London to Windsor after the funeral service at Westminster Abbey. The Queen Mother will be buried beside her husband in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel at Windsor during a private service.

The Princess Royal has cancelled all nine official engagements until the funeral so she can be at Windsor to comfort her mother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The Queen and her daughter have been out riding together in Windsor Great Park. The Prince of Wales has also cancelled a visit to Northumberland and will no longer attend Saturday's Prince's Trust Pop Idol charity gala in London's Docklands. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester have pulled out of a visit to British Airways headquarters at Uxbridge in west London. The Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of York, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex did not have any planned official engagements during the post-Easter week.

April 3rd

An unofficial guestlist for the wedding of Märtha Louise Princess of Norway and Ari Behn on May 24th has been published by the newspaper Verdens Gang. The newspaper says to count 40 invited princes and princesses, and further various counts, countesses, dukes and duchesses. Further several Norwegian celebrities are said to be invited. On the guestlist are the Prince of Asturias, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of The Netherlands, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Hereditary Prince Albert of Monaco, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Maria of Greece, Prince Philippe, Princess Mathilde, Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz and Prince Laurent of Belgium, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson, the Duke and Duchess of Lugo, the Count and Countess of Palma de Mallorca, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Alexia of Greece and Carlos Morales Quintana, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Prince Gustav, Princess Alexandra and Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, Prince Ali al-Hussein, Princess Haya al-Hussein and Princess Sumaya al-Hassan of Jordan, Princess Alexandra zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein and Prince Philipp von Hessen. The only reigning monarchs that are officially invited are King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark with consorts, although on the list in VG also Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg are listed.

Prince Claus has left the coronary care unit of the AMC hospital in Amsterdam and is now in a normal sick-room. It is still unknown when he will be able to go home.

The Queen Mother's four grandsons - Charles, Andrew, Edward and David - will mount a vigil at her coffin as she lies in state. The Duke of York disclosed that the grandsons will pay the silent tribute to their grandmother in the medieval setting of Westminster Hall. It is expected the vigil, with the four Royals standing guard at each corner of the coffin, will take place on the eve of the Queen Mother's funeral. The poignant ceremony will be reminiscent of the vigil mounted for George V in 1936, on the same spot in Westminster Hall, when his sons, Edward, Albert, Henry and George, stood solemnly at the late King's coffin.

The Queen Mother's funeral procession will stretch for half-a-mile and involve 1,600 servicemen and women. In terms of pomp and ceremony, it will be bigger than the royal funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. The procession, on Friday morning from the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace to Westminster Hall, will be a military spectacular with troops from four Commonwealth countries as well as Britain. The Queen Mother's coffin, surmounted by her crown, will be borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage to Westminster where she will lie in state until her funeral the following Tuesday. Senior Royals, possibly including the Princess Royal as well as the principal male members of the family, will walk behind the coffin from St James's to Westminster. The gun carriage will be drawn by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and escorted by military detachments from British and Commonwealth regiments associated with the Queen Mother during her long life. As the procession leaves for the medieval setting of Westminster Hall, a 41-gun royal salute will be fired - one salvo every minute - from nearby Green Park. Along the route, military detachments, including cavalrymen from the Queen's Life Guards, will give royal salutes and there will be a guard of honour in Parliament Square.

April 4th

The legal inquiry after the car accident in which Diana Princess of Wales died, has been definitely closed. The Court of Cassation in Paris, France, has rejected all accusations against the nine photographers and the motorcyclist who haunted the car of the princess. According to the judge the accident was caused by the extreme speed and the fact that the driver of the car, Henri Paul, had been drinking. The court rejected the ultimate appeal of Mohammed Al-Fayed, father of Princess Diana's friend Dodi - who also died in the crash - and the family of Mr. Paul. In a separate case, however, the nine photographers remain under investigation on charges of invasion of privacy for taking pictures of the victims in their car after the crash.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has been talking of the "kindness" of the tributes to her mother. She has been surveying a sea of flowers left in the Queen Mother's memory at Windsor Castle. She told well-wishers: "My mother lived to 101 which is a great age - she had a wonderful life. It's an amazing sight, isn't it? People are so kind." More than 2,000 bouquets have been placed on the lawn outside St George's Chapel where the Queen Mother's body will be interred on Tuesday. Dressed in black, she spent several minutes with the Duke of Edinburgh looking at the flowers and condolence messages left by people from all over the world. Some 200 people had gathered in the precincts of Windsor Castle as the Queen's Daimler came to a halt by the floral tributes. Later, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh went inside St George's Chapel to watch the preparations for Tuesday's private committal service and interment, and to look at a book of condolence which some 7,000 people have signed since Monday.

Several royal courts have announced that members of the family will attend the funeral of Queen Mother Elizabeth of Great Britain. Among them are Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway and King Albert II and Prince Philippe of Belgium.

Troops have been on the streets of central London in a full-scale rehearsal of the Queen Mother's funeral procession. Though not a dress rehearsal - the servicemen and women have not worn ceremonial uniform - the practice run has followed the route to be taken on Friday morning.

April 5th

The first spectators already arrived yesterday to make sure of their places on the route along which the Queen Mother's coffin will be borne from St James's Palace to Westminster Hall, and spent the night on the street. Thousands of people are expected to line the route, but a dedicated few are in place many hours before the start of the solemn procession to claim prime vantage spots. Spectators arriving early for the procession took the opportunity to inspect the flowers and read some of the messages at the palaces along the route. Further up The Mall, the statue of King George VI - the Queen Mother's beloved Bertie - gleamed in the half light. The 12ft bronze statue had been polished in readiness for the procession, which will be beamed across the globe by more than 100 cameras.

The royal mourners stood in perfect silence for several minutes awaiting the signal to move off on the stroke of 11.30am. Then to the strains of Beethoven's Funeral March, and as the first of a 28-gun royal salute was fired - one for every minute of the procession - the Queen Mother's cortege began its journey to lie in state at Westminster Hall. It was the greatest funeral procession for 50 years. The Queen Mother's coffin, draped in her personal standard and surmounted by her diamond-encrusted crown, was carried from the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace and placed on a horse-drawn gun carriage. Also white flowers accompanied by a card mounted the Queen Mother's coffin reading simply "In loving memory, Lilibet". Three generations of the Royal Family were immediately behind the coffin, followed by members of the Queen Mother's personal staff. A military band played as the half-mile long procession made its way down The Mall. Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in black, was waiting in the medieval splendour of Westminster Hall together with Lady Sarah Chatto when her mother's coffin arrived to lie in state until her funeral. Eight pall bearers from the Irish Guards lifted it from the gun-carriage and carried it slowly to the 7ft-high catafalque covered in Braemar-purple pleated velvet, gold braid and garnet felt. Watching was a sombre gathering of courtiers and senior politicians including Prime Minister Tony Blair. After a short ceremony, the Queen drove back to Buckingham Palace accompanied by a wave of sympathetic applause from crowds in Whitehall, standing up to 20-deep in places. An estimated 400.000 people lined the route to witness the ceremony.

The Princess Royal has broken with the tradition that the mourners who follow on foot behind a (royal) funeral cortège are exclusively restricted to the men, a practice deriving from the ancient custom that only males attended funerals. Matching her father and two of her brothers in full dress naval uniform, she walked behind the coffin of her grandmother.

Thousands of people were waiting to pay their personal respects to the Queen Mother at Westminster Hall after her funeral procession. A queue was snaking back from Westminster Hall over Lambeth Bridge and along the south bank of the Thames as far as Westminster Bridge. Westminster Hall will remain open to the public in response to the long queues of mourners wishing to file past the Queen Mother's coffin. Members of the public will be able to visit the hall until 6am when it will close for two hours before re-opening at 8am.

A week after the gruesome murder of the Dagbon king Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II in northern Ghana, no arrangements have yet been made for his funeral. Police have still not found his head and arm, which were hacked off from his body after he was shot. The region's inhabitants are still in shock and nobody is even thinking about who might succeed him - for fear of reigniting the bloody dispute between rival clans which led to the killing of the king and 27 others. Even now, some people do not accept his death, despite the daily reminder of the fighting. But the truth is that the Lion of Dagbon, as he was known, is no more after a reign of 28 years. The 50-year-old king - a former schoolteacher - was the second most important regent in Ghana after the ruler of the country's Ashanti ethnic group. Soldiers and police are patrolling the streets and the state of emergency and curfew have been extended for another six weeks. The Ministry of Information has announced the arrest of two persons in connection with the March 2 killings at Yendi, assuring that nobody will be shielded in the search for the perpetrators of the criminal acts.

After a 3-month baby-leave Archduchess Katharina of Austria née Katharina (Tita) Countess von Hardenberg, will start hosting her tv-show 'Polylux' at the German television again on April 8th. Since 1999 she is married to Archduke Ferdinand. Their son Jakob Maximilian was born on January 22nd in Berlin.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands is slowly recovering at hospital. It was announced today he is a walking patient now.

April 6th

Westminster Hall has remained open throughout the night to enable mourners to pay their respects to the Queen Mother. A stream of well-wishers continued visiting the hall until 6am when it closed for two hours. Twenty minutes later a queue was already building up outside Westminster Hall to see the Queen Mother's lying in state. The original plan had been for Saturday's public viewing to be between 2pm and 6pm, but the many thousands wishing to attend the lying-in-state led to a change of strategy. By late afternoon as many as 20,000 people were queuing to pay their respects at the coffin. About 2,500 mourners were filing past every hour and those queuing were waiting for up to six hours. By mid-evening, those paying their respects were still having to wait four hours. A mile-long queue was formed in Victoria Tower Gardens in time for the reopening of Westminster Hall this morning. Around noon there was a seven-hour wait and the queue was three miles long. Around 35,000 people had already passed and police said there were over 50,000 people waiting. The Hall will be open on both Saturday and Sunday nights. Police are advising people to wrap up warm and to take refreshments with them. The number of people wanting to view the Queen Mother lying in state has surprised officials.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has been "very touched" by the many thousands of people paying their respects at her mother's coffin, Buckingham Palace said today. A Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen has been very touched that so many people are paying their respects. This is a very rare occasion and it has been difficult to estimate the public response."

Officials announced more details of next Tuesday's funeral service, and confirmed that the Prince of Wales's partner Camilla Parker Bowles would be among the congregation at Westminster Abbey. Mrs Parker Bowles will be at the service as a friend of the Queen Mother, said the Palace. "She knew the Queen Mother well over the years and it is therefore appropriate that she should come," said a Palace spokeswoman. It is, however, unlikely that Mrs Parker Bowles will sit with the Prince, who is taking part in the funeral cortege and royal procession at the Abbey. There will be 25 foreign royals at the service.

The Queen Mother's body will be interred at St George's Chapel, Windsor early on Tuesday evening. Only close family members will be at the private committal service and interment. The Prince of Wales will accompany his grandmother's coffin as it is taken in a hearse by road from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle. The Queen and other senior Royals will travel to Windsor during the afternoon after the Abbey funeral service. The coffin, still adorned by her crown, will be conveyed in a five-car convoy. Preparations are already under way at Windsor for interment in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel in the Castle precincts. The black marble grave stone, covering the entrance to the vault, has been removed and is being inscribed by stone masons with the legend "Queen Elizabeth 1900-2002". The dates of King George VI "1895-1952" are being added to the stone which was previously only inscribed with his name.

April 7th

The soldiers, sailors and airmen who will form the Queen Mother's funeral procession have rehearsed the short journey that will take her coffin to Westminster Abbey. As dawn broke the Massed Pipes and Drums from 13 regiments led the horse-drawn gun carriage which will bear her coffin as it left Westminster Hall to travel the 300 yards to the Great West Door of the Abbey. Royal Marine and Royal Navy contingents, together with Scots Guards, lined the route across Parliament Square, their heads bowed and guns held in front of them in the Royal Salute as the carriage bore a replacement coffin draped in the Union Flag away from the palace of Westminster. Roads around the square were sealed as the funeral procession was rehearsed twice. The public viewing of the lying in state in Westminster Hall, which again continued throughout the night, was halted for three hours to allow the rehearsal to take place. Only a few dozen members of the public watched as the rehearsal procession, which on Tuesday will involve 860 service personnel, passed by.

The Princes William and Harry of Wales have given their own tribute to the Queen Mother at York House, their home in St James's Palace, moments after returning from their march behind the Queen Mother's coffin, on Friday. Recalling fond memories of their great-grandmother, the princes explained how she had inspired and encouraged them, and made them howl with laughter. Harry said: "She was determined to do things without help. She always wanted to walk up steps on her own. She was amazing. And she was very interested in everything we did, whether it was school or polo or anything." William added: "I remember her as being a huge inspiration to me, someone to really look up to and admire." He went on: "She was incredible - nothing stopped her at all. Whenever I felt ill, I always used to remember that in the same circumstances she would battle on, no matter how she felt. She never gave up." William recalled: "Anything that was meant to be formal and went wrong, she enjoyed. She would have a good giggle." William said: "She loved a good laugh, even if the joke was about her. She had such a young sense of humour. Every single thing that went wrong or was funny for any reason she laughed herself stupid about - it kept us all sane." He recalled the day the Queen Mother discovered Ali G - the TV and film character played by Sacha Baron Cohen - and learned how to mimic his trademark finger snap and "Respec"' catchphrase. They remembered how she astonished the Queen at a family Christmas lunch at Sandringham by telling her in a mock accent: "Respec'." "It was two or three Christmases ago, and we were sitting down watching Ali G on TV," said William. "We were laughing when she came in. She couldn't understand what was going on, so we explained to her what he was doing. She saw Ali G click his fingers and say 'Respec', and Harry and I showed her what to do. She loved it, and after three goes she had it. Later that day, we were all in the dining room, having Christmas lunch, when she tried it out." Prince Harry remembered exactly what the Queen Mother did. He said: "It was at the end of the meal, and she stood up and said: 'Darling, lunch was marvellous - respec,' and clicked her fingers." William said the entire family burst out laughing, including the Queen. The fondest memory William has of the Queen Mother was being with her on her 101st birthday, August 4, 2001 when the Royal Family had assembled outside her home, Clarence House, to greet well-wishers and watch a military march-past. "Being with her on her 101st birthday was great," said the prince. "Standing at the gates with your great-grandmother who is 101 years old as her troops go by was quite something." The Queen Mother also liked to keep up to date with the Princes' life at school, Prince William said. "She loved to hear about all my friends and all they got up to and relate it to her own youth," he said. "And she loved to hear about how much trouble I got into at school." William also said: "I remember her as being a huge inspiration to me, someone to really look up to and admire. She was a historic link. I looked up to her because what an achievement it was to live to 101. It was a pleasure to sit next to her at lunch. She always had some great war stories and, to hear them from her, it really brought it all to life." Prince William recalled how he had lunch with the Queen Mother on the day of his arrival at St Andrews University last September. He said that she had made him late by laying on a spread of food at Birkhall, her home on the Balmoral estate in Scotland. "She gave me an amazing lunch, better and longer than normal, and we talked about me going to university and what I was studying. She always took a great interest in all her great-grandchildren." Afterwards, as the Prince set off for St Andrews full of anxieties, the Queen Mother found the words to bring a smile to his face. "As she said goodbye, she said, 'Any good parties, invite me down.' I said yes, but there was no way. I knew full well that if I invited her down she would dance me under the table." About their father's relationship with the Queen Mother they said: "They were very close. She gave him a lot of advice and help. They always joked about everything. They had the same sense of humour." As he grew up, Prince William became protective of his frail great-grandmother. He said: "My favourite photograph of us together was a picture of me aged about nine or 10 helping the Queen Mother up the steps at Windsor Castle. I remember the moment because she said to me: 'Keep doing that for people and you will go a long way in life'."

Crowds of people have continued queuing through the night to file past the Queen Mother's coffin in Westminster Hall. By 1am on Sunday police were warning people at the back of the queue that they would not get in before the Hall closed at 5am. Emergency supplies of foil blankets were brought in to protect thousands of people from the cold. Ambulance workers in Victoria Tower Gardens had to bring dozens of people in from the cold and give them warm tea and blankets. Not everyone realises how cold and windy it is near the river. Today queues are expected to exceed the lengths of 2.5 miles seen yesterday. By 9am, they were already 1.5 miles long and back up along the south bank of the River Thames towards Blackfriars Bridge. Today it was announced that the public will be allowed to view the lying in state of the Queen Mother until the morning of her funeral service. Westminster Hall will remain open until 6am on Tuesday - only five hours before it is carried in procession to nearby Westminster Abbey. The decision to allow the public to pay their respects until the latest possible moment was made as it was announced that it was estimated that by mid-morning today 100,000 people had filed through the hall in tribute to the Queen Mother. People were still joining the end of the line in their thousands this morning, although they were being warned that they faced a wait of up to 12 hours. Around noon the police estimated about 70.000 people lining. Meanwhile the first members of the public have begun claiming vantage points for the funeral procession, preparing to wait on the streets for more than 48 hours.

The Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie have gone to Westminster Tower Gardens to meet members of the public at the head of the queue for the Queen Mother's lying in State. They also met volunteers helping with the crowds. The Prince looked relaxed as he spoke to the crowds in Victoria Gardens, next to Westminster Hall. Followed by his daughters, both of whom were dressed in black, the Duke of York spent several minutes talking and joking with men and women, some of whom had waited since dawn in a queue up to two-and-a-half miles long. The Duke of York looked surprised at the length of the wait before waving his arm and ushering more people along the path.

A mass of the Queen Mother's favourite traditional English summer garden flowers will adorn Westminster Abbey for her funeral service. Arrangers are working in the body of the Abbey on displays of sweet-smelling pastel-shaded flowers with more than 2,000 individual blooms. The flowers, including fragrant lilies and stocks, will be set in informal, rather than stylised, arrangements. "They are the type of flowers that would be growing in the gardens of England in the summer time and of which the Queen Mother was especially fond," said one of the arrangers from the National Association of Floral Arrangement Societies who are working over two days to decorate the Abbey with floral displays. Work is also continuing to transform the Abbey to broadcast the service around the world. Scores of lights have been installed in the 13th Century building to help filming. The final touches were also being put to a massive security operation, in conjunction with police and Buckingham Palace officials.

Most people believe Prince Charles should marry Camilla Parker Bowles, according to polls. Since the death of the Queen Mother, the Prince's popularity has soared, and two surveys show that the population favours Charles marrying his partner. A poll for the Sunday People, found that 57% of the public said the couple should wed and a poll for the Sunday Mirror 69% also backed marriage for the couple, or agreed they should carry on living together. Of the 1,000 people polled for the Sunday People by FDS International, 16% said that Camilla and Charles should get married this year while 20% believe they should wed within the next five years. Some 31% were against the idea and 12% were undecided. Their research also found that 37% of people thought the Queen should step down to make way for her son and heir.

According to the new Sunday Times Rich List the Duke of Westminster retained his place as Great Britain's richest person. The Duke's wealth is thought to lie in his vast land estate, which includes 300 acres of prestige property in London's Mayfair and Belgravia. His personal wealth swelled from £4.4 billion in 2001 to £4.7 billion this year. The list of the 1000 richest people in Great Britain and Ireland contained 140 aristocrates, among them 1 monarch, 9 dukes, 7 marquesses, 16 earls, 6 viscounts, 25 lords, 1 baroness, 8 baronets, 57 knights, 4 dames and 6 ladies. Queen Elizabeth II, whose fortune was estimated at £275m, is in 125th place. See for the complete list: Rich List.

28-year-old jockey Richard Johnson finished second in the famous Grand National horsing-race at Aintree with his horse What's Up Boys just being outstayed by the winner. He said: "My horse has run a terrific race and he's given me everything he had." Since two years Richard Johnson is the boyfriend of Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, and the couple lives together in a house in the Cotswolds.

Two days ago Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and fiancé Ari Behn admitted they are looking forward to the real thing as they completed two days of intensive wedding preparations in Trondheim. Queen Sonja also took part in the flurry of pre-nuptial activities and was as satisfied as the wedding couple. Princess Märtha Louise admits that there is still a lot to do. "We have accomplished a lot these last days. You can say that we have control but that we are nowhere near being ready yet," Märtha Louise said. The couple has spent much time in Nidaros Cathedral studying how the ceremony will take place. "Entering the cathedral was fantastic. Feeling the special atmosphere in there was almost magical," said Ari Behn. Märtha Louise and Ari Behn have also sampled the menu at the Britannia Hotel and examined the accommodations at Stiftsgården, where the wedding party will be held. On Friday the program for the Royal Variety will be unveiled. The concert is a wedding gift from Trondheim Council. All performers are said to be Norwegian, with an emphasis on those from the Trondheim region.

Yesterday a convention of about 1,000 members of Bulgarians ruling National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) adopted the decision to register the movement as a political party under the same name. The founding members included NDSV ministers and lawmakers, as well as prominent figures. The convention adopted a declaration of party values, which described the new formation as a conservative party that will seek consensus on all important issues, and expressed its readiness to cooperate with all political organizations. The assembly also adopted a party constitution regulating the organizational structure of the NDSV. As an "electoral party," the NDSV will be the only large political party in Bulgaria that does not have permanent structures at local levels -- such structures are to be activated only during election campaigns. The convention also unanimously elected Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski, former King Simeon II of Bulgaria, as the party's chairman. At the abortive founding convention of 29 January 2002, Saxecoburggotski ruled out running for the party leadership, but later changed his mind. In a short speech, Saxecoburggotski underscored the necessity for further reforms in Bulgaria. In his new capacity as party chairman, Saxecoburggotski will also be a member and the chairman of the party's Political Council and its National Council. The party will also have a Control Council.

April 8th

Buckingham Palace expects 25 members of royal families from around the world to attend Tuesday's funeral of the Queen Mother it was announced. Bulgaria's former King Simeon II, now Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, will attend the funeral, the Bulgarian government press office said.

The Princess Royal, her husband Commander Tim Lawrence, her son Peter Phillips and the Countess of Wessex spoke to the members of the public waiting in line to view the Queen Mother's coffin in Westminster Hall. They also shook hands and posed for photographs during the walk along the South Bank of the river Thames. "We had been in the queue for several hours, so it was such a nice touch for this to happen. We weren't bothered about queuing up for so long, but this has certainly made it worthwhile." a member of the public said.

The Queen Mother's four grandsons - Charles, Andrew, Edward and David - have mounted a vigil at her coffin as she lies in state from around 5.45pm to some 30 minutes later. On the eve of the Queen Mother's funeral, they echoed history in a poignant ceremony reminiscent of another royal vigil, on the same spot at Westminster Hall, for King George V in 1936. They took their positions around the 7ft-high catafalque. The Prince of Wales wore the dress uniform of a Rear Admiral and the Duke of York that of a Royal Naval Commander. The Earl of Wessex and Princess Margaret's son Viscount Linley, who both don't hold military rank, were clad in black morning coats. Charles and Andrew rested both hands on their swords and all four grandsons stood silently, heads bowed. The Princes William and Harry, the Princess Royal, her husband Timothy Laurence, Peter Phillips and the Countess of Wessex stood in the background as the vigil took place. Also Camilla Parker Bowles was invited but stayed in the background. The Vigil of the Watch took place as members of the public continued to file past the Queen Mother's coffin, paying their respect.

In Norway a seven-part series focusing on life at Oslo's Royal Palace will be broadcasted soon. The documentary will focus on the staff that works for the royal family, many of whom have been in service for years. "We just wondered who really works at the palace, what they do and what kind of personalities they have," said Stig Andersen, director and photographer for Nordisk Film, which has made the series in cooperation with TV2. They agreed to let the palace approve what will be aired. The documentary will offer glimpses of the royals themselves, but they're not the stars for a change. The 130 workers at the palace are. The documentary was shot last year and goes on air on the next seven Wednesday evenings. It follows the behind-the-scenes preparations for both the state visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth and the wedding of Crown Prince Haakon to Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby.

Support for the monarchy has risen following the Queen Mother's death says a NOP survey for The Independent newspaper. It found that 54% of people want the monarchy left as it is now, while 30% feels it should be retained but radically reformed. A year ago, a similar poll found that 34% wanted to scrap the monarchy - an all-time high - and people were evenly divided on whether the country would be better off without the royals. The poll questioned 1,000 people between last Friday and Sunday. The poll reveals strong support among young people for the monarchy. Only 14% of those in the 15-24 age group want to see the monarchy abolished, with 20% favouring radical reform and 58% wanting it left as it is. Backing for the monarchy is strongest among older people, with 64% of those aged 65 and older supporting the no change option and just 10% favouring abolition. The Independent's survey found anti-Royal sentiment strongest in Scotland, where 21% favour abolition and a minority of 48% opt for no change. In Wales, just 9% endorse abolition and 65% want things left as they are now. The biggest royalists are people in East Anglia, where 65% of those quizzed want the monarchy untouched.

April 9th

The doors to Westminster Hall closed at 6am, bringing to an end the public's homage to the Queen Mother. Thousands queued for hours along the banks of the Thames for the chance to spend a few minutes passing silently by the coffin. The final visitors were led through the hall just as dawn broke and the doors closed to allow for the preparations for the Queen Mother's funeral. Officials at Westminster said no one was turned away as the queues had finally dwindled to just a few dozen in the last hour. As the queues began to die down, the final estimate proved slightly lower than originally thought, with just over 200,000 people believed to have paid their respects. Late yesterday evening the Prince of Wales had also returned to pay a much more low-key tribute after the vigil earlier in the evening.

Crowds were gathering around Westminster Abbey, hours ahead of the funeral of the Queen Mother. By dawn, several thousand people had congregated in near-freezing temperatures in Parliament Square. They joined the scores who had been camping in prime positions opposite the Abbey, some since the weekend. Some people were huddled in tents and wrapped in duvets to keep out the chill. The crowd, gathered behind safety railings, was up to five deep in places. A steady flow of people continued to stream into the square in search of any remaining prime viewpoints. Three people were said to have hypothermia after camping out overnight. The Red Cross says the trio, believed to be middle-aged, were taken to hospital after police noticed their distress.

Up to 400,000 people have lined the streets of central London to watch the Queen Mother's funeral procession, while another estimated 600,000 people lined the route from the Westminster Abbey to Windsor. The crowds at Parliament Square fell silent during the ceremony as the sound of the choir was relayed on loud speakers. Many followed the order of service, bowing their heads and reciting the Lord's Prayer as it was said inside the Abbey. Thousands gathered along either side of Whitehall in silence to listen to the service being broadcast over loudspeakers. Barely a sound could be heard along the normally bustling street as the crowds stood three or four deep along either side of the road with heads bowed.

The Prince of Wales flew to Scotland only hours after the funeral of his grandmother and is to spend time at Birkhall, her Balmoral residence where they spent many happy days together. Camilla Parker Bowles is expected to be at Birkhall for at least part of his stay which is likely to be for about a week. Charles and Camilla spend time at Birkhall each year during the spring and the Prince is determined not to miss his nostalgic visit.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has postponed this month’s festivities celebrating his nuptials to 24-year-old computer engineer Salma Bennani, citing the crisis in the Middle East. Originally the festivities were planned for this Friday in Marrakech, but now the three-day celebrations to honour the couple’s will be rescheduled sometime for the future, said a palace spokesman. The main event - a gala celebration attended by Moroccan and foreign dignitaries - is on hold, but the more traditional and private ceremonies may still take place. In these, the bride, her hands and feet tattooed with henna, will accompany private guests and women of the court, who present gifts from the groom. Afterwards, on the second day, she will don a kaftan and precious jewels to rejoin her husband and the royal family. The postponement amended the king’s announcement early Monday that the event would be cancelled completely due to the crisis in Palestine.

The 46-year-old Charles James Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford, the heir to the Duke of Marlborough, was banned from driving for six months yesterday and fined £500 for speeding at more than 100mph. He was sentenced in his absence after citing Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's funeral as the reason for his failure to appear in person. He had been ordered to appear personally because of the likelihood that he would be banned, but Sheriff Craig Caldwell dealt with the case in his absence. He should have been sentenced in Perth sheriff court last month but he was on honeymoon. He had previously admitted by letter to driving at 103mph on the A9 between Perth and Inverness on Sept 24, 2000. The first time the case was called, Blandford, who has more than 20 previous convictions for offences including theft and drug abuse, claimed he was too ill to appear. He was jailed for a month in 1991 for driving while banned.

April 10th

The Queen Mother's final resting place next to her husband George VI in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle is opening to the public from today until April 19th. The chapel also holds the remains of the Kings Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII and George V. Several hundreds of people were queuing to see the place where the Queen Mother was interred yesterday. Four wreaths have been laid around an altar by senior members of the royal family. A wreath of white roses from Princes William and Harry, and a wreath of flowers picked from Prince Charles' garden at his Highgrove Estate, ring the altar on the floor. Princess Margaret's children, Lady Sarah Chatto and Viscount Linley, has also left wreaths of pink and red carnations. All the flowers bear cards carrying personal messages from the grieving members of the royal family. They lay inches away from the black marble gravestone, which had been removed by stonemasons but is now back in place. It originally read simply King George VI, but now the years of his birth and death, 1895-1952, have been added. Underneath it reads simply: "Elizabeth 1900-2002." A bronze plaque will be fixed at a later date to the chapel wall to commemorate Princess Margaret, according to chapel officials.

The Queen Mother is to be honoured with a memorial fund by the British Red Cross. The Queen Mother Memorial Fund aims to raise £1 million to expand the organisation's Tracing and Message Service. It reunites families that have been separated by wars or natural disasters. Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross Society, said: "The Queen Mother was involved with the British Red Cross for nearly 80 years and we hope that the memorial fund will provide a fitting legacy for (her)." The Queen Mother was elected to the governing board of the council in 1923 and became president of the British Red Cross in 1936 following the accession to the throne of her husband.

The life of the Queen Mother will be celebrated with a set of commemorative stamps, the British Royal Mail has announced. The four stamps will feature portraits from different eras of the Queen Mother's life and go on sale on April 25. Originally issued to mark her 90th birthday in 1990, the stamps have been framed in black as a mark of respect. They will carry the inscription "HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother 1900 - 2002." The Queen's head will also be in black. The stamps chart the phases of the Queen Mother's 101 years of life. They show her as Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1907, as the Duchess of York in 1930, as Queen Consort to her husband King George VI in 1948 and finally as the Queen Mother in 1980. Presentation packs containing the stamps together with photographs and information about the Queen Mother will also be available. A commemorative first day cover, containing a set of stamps postmarked "St James's Palace, April 25" will be available for an extended period until May 23.

Today the Lower House in Italy said agreed with the return of the Italian royal family and the ending of the exile of male members of the family since 1946. 375 members agreed, while 54 were against and 48 abstained from voting. The Senate already voted in favour of the ending of the royal exile on February 5th. For an official changing of the constitution it is necessary that the Senate and the Lower House vote again, three months after the first voting. The Italian Constitution from 1946 states that 'the former kings of Savoye, their consorts and their male descendants are not allowed to enter or to stay on Italian territory. In Geneva, where they live in exile, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, his wife Marina and their son Emanuele Filiberto received the news of the votation with great happinness. "Everything went well. It´s fantastic and we are extremely happy. We are celebrating but not too much, as it is not definite yet."

The Yellow Emperor, Huangdi, who reigned from 2697 to 2587 BC and is regarded as the founder of the Middle Kingdom, was buried under the impact of a meteorite, Chinise scientists said yesterday. They believe that a 3ft-long meteorite fragment found near the Emperor's mausoleum in the city of Xian, in north central China, verifies an ancient legend according to which Huangdi 'died when the land was shattered' and was 'broken up by nine dragons'. The discovery of the meteorite hs great significance in answering questions about the beginning of China's 5000-year-old civilisation a Chinese newspaper added.

April 11th

"According to the present opinions there is no doubt that Máxima will be called queen in the future." Prime Minister WIm Kok said in the Second Chamber today during the discussion about the settlement of the membership of the Royal House. He also said not to have any objections against Máxima using the title of Princess of Orange, which she could do as she is married to the Prince of Orange and according to social use a wife is allowed to use the title of her husband. But he also pointed out that there is only one head of state and that person bears the functional title of king. The title of queen will only be a way to address Máxima, as her husband will be the real king. According to Kok the law only is about functional titles and not how to address people, so it will not be necessary to make a new law about it. The Chamber agreed with the words of the prime minister.

The Prince of Orange has written a contribution for the Accra Water Conference in Ghana that will be held from 14-17 April in which he states that half the world population lacks adequate sanitation, and more than two million people die each year from water-related diseases. The Prince, who is an adviser of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, wrote: "The world is in a water crisis, with perhaps the problem most acute in Africa." In the 40 most water-famished countries in the world, some people are forced to live on just two gallons of water a day. Others have to make do with an average of eight gallons. The UN has set a minimum level of 13.2 gallons per person per day to meet all water needs.

April 12th

Floral tributes left in memory of the Queen Mother are being removed and given to the Royal family to read through. The grassy areas in front of at Clarence House, St James's Palace and Westminster Hall have been carpeted with flowers by well-wishers. The flowers will be used in compost for the royal parks, and the cards and messages sent to Buckingham Palace to be read by the Queen. The tributes which came from people from across Britain and from overseas, prompted members of the Royal Family to make a series of impromptu walkabouts to inspect them. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: "The flowers were very much appreciated and I am sure the messages will provide great comfort." The book of condolence at St George's Chapel, Windsor, will remain open until Friday April 19. Messages can also be left in the on-line book of condolence, on the Buckingham Palace website. Meanwhile, the Castle of Mey - the Queen Mother's holiday retreat in the north coast of Scotland - is likely to be opened to the public at the beginning of August.

The Postal Service in Ghana will issue 6 poststamps with the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands on it, on the occasion of the 300-year-old relations between Ghana and the Netherlands. The princely couple will be heading for Ghana on Sunday for the celebrations.

The Second Chamber has given it's consent to a new act on the membership of the Royal House of the Netherlands. According to this new act in principle only relatives and in- laws in two degrees of consanguity from the King will be member of the Royal House. The act still needs the consent of the First Chamber (Senate).

April 14th

Princess Marie of Liechtenstein celebrated her 62nd birthday today at Vaduz Castle together with her family. Two days ago she received among others representants of the parliament, members of the government and Archbishop Wolfgang Haas for a birthday reception at Vaduz Castle.

Thousands more people joined the queues at Windsor Castle today to pay their respects to the Queen Mother on the busiest day so far. Staff said that more than 5,000 people visited her tomb in St George's Chapel - 1,000 more than yesterday. The queue is stretching back 250 yards with well-wishers waiting more than two-and-a-half hours to get into the chapel. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said that the chapel would once again be kept open past the official closing time of 4pm in order to accommodate people who had been queuing for hours.

April 15th

Yesterday evening the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands arrived in Accra, Ghana, for the Princess's first foreign state visit, on the occasion of 300-year relations between The Netherlands and Ghana. They were welcomed with traditional Ghanese ceremony. Afterwards President John Agyekum Kufuor received them in his residence Christian Borg Castle, formerly a Danish castle, in Accra. Today the crown princely couple attended the opening of the international conference on water management 'Water and Sustainable Development in Africa: Stakeholder's Conference for Priority Setting', in Accra, which is a preparation to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August. The prince and princess afterwards flew to Elmina to visit the former Dutch fortress Elmina. In a speech the Prince of Orange mentioned slavery saying: "Many Africans were shipped to America and were to meet a grim future in slavery. Now we look back with remorse to this dark period of human relations and commemorate the victims of this inhuman trade." The Prince and Princess Máxima afterwards made a walking tour through some of the principal streets, the Dutch cemetery and the beach. They also attended the opening of the Elmina City Counseling Meeting - on development plans for the city and its surroundings - and enjoyed a dinner at the resort Coconut Grove. The couple was, later in the evening, treated to a musical concert at the castle.

April 16th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrated her 62nd birthday. For the first time also 2-year-old Prince Nikolai joined his grandmother on the balcony of Amalienborg at noon, enjoying it a lot. Also Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra joined them. For a while the Queen held her grandson on her arm, while Nikolai took the hand of his uncle Frederik when he was standing on the balcony again. The Royal Life Guards played "Happy Birthday". About 5000 Danes were on the palace square to cheer their Queen loudly despite of the rain.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands paid a courtesy visit to the Ashantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi. The rich culture and wealth of the Asante Kingdom were in full display at a colourful durbar of chiefs held in honour of the visiting couple. As the Asantehene, paramount chiefs and chiefs of the Kumasi Traditional Council, dressed in Kente cloths and adorned with gold ornaments sat under big umbrellas of different shapes and colours, the "Fontomfrom and Atumpan" drums throbbed. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima were presented a keg of fresh palm-wine and a carton of paramount schnapps by the Asantehene in line with Asante custom, to welcome them to Manhyia. Speaking at the durbar, the Prince of Orange said Ghana and the Netherlands should look forward to a common future. He noted that on the global level, peoples of the two countries shared common responsibilities and said the environment has one example. He hoped his visit would inspire people in Ghana and Netherlands, both young and old to take interest in each other. "We hope they will learn by modern methods like the Internet and seek inspiration for their personal development". He extended an invitation to the Asantehene to visit the Netherlands later this year, saying, the people would be happy to welcome him. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II plans to pay a visit to The Netherlands from 18 to 25 June 2002. The Ashantehene expressed satisfaction with the closer relationship that had existed between the two countries for a period spanning three centuries. He said the Asante-Dutch relations dated back to the beginning of the 18th century when David Nyendael was sent to Kumasi in 1701 and managed to begin a trade, largely in gold and ivory. He wished the Crown Prince and Princess a blessed and blissful marriage, exchanged gifts with them and later held private discussions with the Prince. In the evening a state banquet - with among others an Indonesian rice-table - took place in Accra, which was hosted by the vice-president of Ghana, during which fragments of the theatre production The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi were performed by the National Dance Company, Accra, and also entertained with melodious tunes from the Winneba Youth Choir.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was said to have had a good night after having been transfered to the Intensive Care again yesterday. His condition is still the same as before, but they moved him to the IC so the doctors were able to observe him better.

The exhibition "Ja, ik wil (Yes, I do)" at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, attracted 206.600 visitors. Two weeks after being opened there the wedding dress of Princess Máxima went on display there too.

April 17th

In the morning the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands attended the prize-giving ceremony of The Lasting Impact - a competition organised by the Ghana Netherlands Business Association - and had a meeting with the African Women's Development Fund, both in the National Theatre, Accra. In the afternoon they attended the presentation of the results of the conference on water management, followed by a reception at the Dutch Embassy. They ended their four-day visit to Ghana with a farewell call on President John Agyekum Kufuor at his office at the Castle, Osu, in Accra. At a press conference at the end of the visit the Prince of Orange talked about a successfull visit.

April 18th

Mohammad Zaher Shah, former king of Afghanistan, has returned to Afghanistan after a 29-year exile. He arrived at Bagram airbase outside Kabul from Rome shortly before noon on an Italian military aircraft accompanied by Afghanistan's interim leader Mr Hamid Karzai and six Afghan Cabinet ministers, who travelled to Rome to take him back to Afghanistan. He was received by a crowd of dignitaries and an honour guard. The honour guard stood on either side of a red carpet. Dozens of tribal leaders in traditional tunics and turbans waited at the airport as women in brightly coloured outfits waved pictures of the king. About two dozen International Security Assistance Force troops also kept watch, but with binoculars from the airport's control tower. Well-armed international peacekeepers and Afghan troops lined the road into Kabul, while tanks and other armoured vehicles stood by at the ready. Thousands of Afghans lined the streets to welcome him. Mohammed Zaher Shah waved and grinned as he shook hands with tribal leaders before heading to his newly refurbished home. "His majesty said it was a great day for Afghanistan, and he is very happy to be back," Karzai's chief spokesman said. He added: "He is a little bit tired, because it was a long trip, but otherwise he is joyous." Mohammed Zaher Shah has said he has no plans to restore the monarchy, but many Afghans believe he will serve as a unifying and stabilising figure for a country devastated by 23 years of war, poverty, and tribal and ethnic divisions. "It's a significant day," Mr Karzai said. "His presence there I'm sure will add to stability and peace in Afghanistan." In June, the former monarch is to preside over a grand national assembly of tribal leaders and other Afghan representatives, a "Loya Jirga", who will select a transitional government that will rule Afghanistan until elections. Zaher Shah was dethroned in 1973 by a cousin, Mohammed Daoud, while on holiday in Italy and has lived there ever since. In an interview with last month, Zaher Shah said he wanted to spend his last years in Afghanistan serving his people and did not fear for his safety. However, as a precaution, a personal bodyguard corps has been trained in Kabul by Swedish peacekeepers, and security for the two-story villa in Kabul where he will live has been reinforced, with the streets around it blocked off.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands moved again into a normal room at the hospital in Amsterdam, where he is staying since March 11th.

April 19th

A 50-minute memorial service has taken place for Princess Margaret of Great Britain at Westminister Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was joined by about 25 British royals in the service of thanksgiving for her sister who died on February 9th. The Abbey was filled with people among them family, friends, dignitaries, foreign royals and people from charities and organisations, who were gathered to pay their respects. The Princess's ex-husband the Earl of Snowdon and her ex-boyfriend Roddy LLewellyn attended. Among the foreign royals attending were King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie of Greece, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josépine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, Doña Margarita Duchess of Hernani and Soria with her husband Carlos Zurita y Delgado, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Prince Karim Aga Khan and Begum Inaara and Prince Amyn Aga Khan. Among the 1900 people attending were 580 members of the public who asked to attend the service and were selected by ballot. Outside, about 400 members of the public waited to catch a glimpse of the royals, though the service was not relayed to them. There were no eulogies to the late Princess. Instead, in accordance with her wishes, the service was set around Faure's Requiem. Opera stars Dame Felicity Lott and Bryn Terfel were soloists, while actress Felicity Kendal - a friend of Princess Margaret - and her son, Viscount Linley, gave readings. At the Princess's request the service was sung by the choirs of Westminster Abbey, King's College, Cambridge, St George's Chapel, Windsor, and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, London. Before the service, led by Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr, an orchestra played a selection of the Princess's favourite music, including Tchaikovsky's "Awakening" pas de deux from the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, and compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. Official court mourning, for both Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, came to an end after the memorial service.

April 20th

British forces have received reports that assassins posing as journalists could be trying to kill Afghanistan's former king, Mohammad Zaher Shah. Since arriving he has been surrounded by specially trained Afghan bodyguards, as well as international peacekeepers and Italian Carabineri paramilitary police. "There is a threat against the king," a British Royal Marines spokesman told reporters at Bagram air base. "They could pose as media to get close enough to him to do it." He would give no further details, other than to say there were "many factions" that would like to kill former king Mohammad Zaher Shah. Thus far Mohammed Zaher Shah has visited the tomb of his father, Nadir Shah, who was assassinated before his eyes in 1933.

At an auction at Christies in New York the Fabergé Winter-egg, that Tsar Nikolai II of Russia presented to his mother at Easter 1913, was sold for 10,8 million Euro.

The 'Koninklijke Serres' at Laeken Castle, Belgium are open for the public until May 5th. Also the Church of Our Lady in Laeken is decorated with flowers for the occasion. The royal family vault at the church is open on Sunday from 14:00 to 17:00.

April 21st

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain celebrated her 76th birthday at Windsor Castle reviewing a Scout's parade. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she received some 550 Queen's Scouts who gained the movement's top award for personal achievement. Specially invited were 60 Venture Scouts who carried out ceremonial duties at Westminster for the Queen Mother's funeral. To reflect the Queen's Golden Jubilee, scouts from Commonwealth countries were also on parade. The Queen chatted to many of the scouts present at the colourful ceremony. Several thousand well-wishers and tourists, as well as the scouts and their families, lined the courtyard. They broke into spontaneous clapping, cheering and whistling when the Band of the Irish Guards played "Happy Birthday" for the Queen at the end of the parade as a surprise. The Queen spent the rest of the day privately at Windsor with family and friends. Royal gun salutes will be fired tomorrow in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and York.

April 22nd

The Norwegian royal court has published a provisional guestlist for the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn on May 24th. Next to the father of the bride, only one monarch will attend: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. From Denmark further Count Flemming and Countess Ruth af Rosenborg will come. From Sweden will arrive Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine, while also Madeleine Kogevinas née Bernadotte with her husband Nicolas, daughters Astrid (with husband) and Sophie will come. Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz and Prince Laurent will represent the Belgian royal family, while the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien will represent the Dutch. The Earl and Countess of Wessex come from Great Britain, the Prince of Asturias from Spain and Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan of Jordan and her husband Nasser Judeh from Jordan. Luxembourg will be represented by Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla. For the Greek royal family Princess Alexia, Carlos Morales Quintana and Prince Nikolaos come to Trondheim.

The present Count of Paris has gone to court to find out how his father frittered away one of Europe's great fortunes, leaving him and his 10 siblings with a far from royal inheritance. He has uncovered a sorry mess, and claims that it is proof of his father's determination to put an end to his family's royal pretentions by destroying its fortune. After the Second World War the Orleans family was the largest landowner in France. But the late count of Paris sold castles, houses, paintings and other family heirlooms, often for knockdown prices. The duke claims that his family grew up believing they were heirs to a great fortune. Then they found their father's estate was worth only £7 million, a fraction of what they anticipated.

April 23rd

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands denies being guilty or responsible for the accident she had last October near Palace Huis ten Bosch, a spokesman for Mr van den Bent, who was hurt in the accident, said. The princess has to appear in court in The Hague on May 3rd to give evidence, together with her bodyguards, two policemen and other persons concerned.

An 800-year-old silk-painting by Emperor Sung Hui Tsung (1082-1135), from the Sung dynasty, was sold on Beijing, China, for about 3,4 million Euro. It was bought by a Japanese collector. Only about 19 works of the Emperor are known.

April 24th

Prince Laurent of Belgium gave a speech about the World Water Manifest as the first unchosen guest-speaker in the Flemish parliament. Only 1/3 of the members of the parliament attended the informal meeting, while three political parties didn't attend. When Prince Laurent arrived the leaders of those parties waited for him outside to explain why they wouldn't attend. The leader of the Vlaams Blok (extreme right) explained they find the monarchy not democratic. Prince Laurent agreed to meet him in the future for a discussion.

April 25th

Today Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra Jamalullail was inaugurated as King of Malaysia in a splendid ceremony. The 58-year-old king is the 12th monarch since the country became independant in 1957 and got a circulating kingship. As the ceremony dictates the new king kissed the royal golden dagger only the monarch is allowed to touch. The new king and queen will live in the palace in Kuala Lumpur for the next five years until a new monarch is chosen.

April 26th

Starting this year the Dutch flag will also wave on public buildings on May 17, the birthday of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands.

April 27th

Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza died at around 1am this morning at his home in Sant Feliu de Guixols, in Gerona, Spain. He died as a result of cardiorespiratory failure, the Thyssen Museum in Madrid said. His Spanish wife Carmen Cervera was with him when he died. He will be buried in the family mausoleum at Schloss Landsberg, a castle near Essen in Germany. The baron was born in The Hague, The Netherlands, on April 2, 1921, having a German father and a mother of Hungarian origin. He held a Swiss passport. The billionaire industrialist had one of the world’s largest private collection of art. His collection featured some 1,500 paintings, sculptures and other works of art. A third of it had been acquired by his father Heinrich, who started collecting art at the end of the 1920s. From five marriages he had three sons. His daughter Francesca married Archduke Karl of Austria. He also adopted the son of his fifth wife Carmen Cervera.

April 29th

Princess Marilène and Prince Maurits van Oranje-Nassau Van Vollenhoven expect their second child at the end of October. Their daughter Anna was born on April 15, 2001.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh along with four previous prime ministers - John Major, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Sir Edward Heath and Lord Callaghan - have enjoyed a Golden Jubilee dinner at present Prime Minister Tony Blair's house, Downing Street 10. The relatives of five other Prime Ministers to have served during the Queen's 50 year reign, but who have since died, were also in attendance. Tony Blair is the 10th Prime Minister during the Queen's long reign, which began in 1952 with Churchill as Premier. The specially-prepared menu included rare ports, fine clarets, duck breasts and seasonal vegetables.

April 30th

Infanta Cristina of Spain Duchess of Palma de Mallorca gave birth to her third son at the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona at 7:15 this morning. Miguel weighs 3950 grammes and is 52 cm tall. Iñaki Urdangarín said they were immense happy with their third child. Miguel's godparents will be the Prince of Asturias and Lucía Urdangarín. In the afternoon King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, together with Infanta Elena and Princess Irene of Greece, visited their fifth grandchild. Even earlier Princess Alexia of Greece with husband Carlos Morales Quintana and daughter Arrietta visited mother and son.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain addressed a joint session of the Parliament for only the fifth time during her reign. The Queen has paid tribute to the work of the Houses of Parliament. She said the "Mother of Parliaments" has played an essential part in guiding the kingdom through the changing times of the past 50 years. She said it was right that the first major event of her Golden Jubilee should be in the Palace of Westminster. The full speech.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family celebrated Queen's Day in Hoogeveen and Meppel. They were surprised with lots of dance and music and a tour on the canals of rainy Meppel, during which a young man jumped in the water and handed over a bouquet of flowers to the Queen. In Meppel Prince Constantijn and Prince Pieter-Christiaan shortly played soccer with a team of people with a handicap, and Princess Laurentien and Princess Marilène had to console a little ballet dancing girl who fell off the stage during the performance of her ballet group for the royals. At the end of the visit to Meppel Queen Beatrix thanked everyone for organising Queen's Day for the second time after the foot- and-mouth disease crisis in 2001 stopped the celebrations. Afterwards the royal family left for Palace Soestdijk where they visited Princess Juliana, who celebrated her 93rd birthday. Queen Beatrix then left for Amsterdam to visit her husband in hospital. Prince Claus followed the festivities on television in hospital. Today it was announced he will be able to leave hospital at the end of the week.

May 1st

The Prince of Asturias as well as the parents of Iñaki Urdangarín visited Infanta Cristina of Spain and her new son Miguel in hospital. Iñaki's parents brought with them Juan and Pablo, the elder sons of Infanta Cristina.

The Princess of Wales's former masseur is auctioning off private letters, Christmas cards and notes she sent him. Stephen Twigg is putting them up for auction in the USA in June. Some of the letters are expected to go for at least £3,000 each. It is said he's selling not out of need for money but because he wants someone else to enjoy them. A Harrods gift voucher note sent to Twigg for his birthday is likely to fetch the most money. The message on the envelope reads: "Stephen, wishing you a very happy birthday and lots of love, from Diana."

May 2nd

In today's issue the Danish magazine Se og Hør has offered a $ 1200 (10.000 kroner) reward for a good photo of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark's Australian girlfriend Mary Donaldson on Danish soil, with or without the crown prince. Other media criticized the action and a newspaper and a television company even offered a reward for a picture of the girlfriend of Se og Hør's editor in chief Peter Salskov. The magazine defended the reward offer and said: "It is a game that the royal palace plays with us and we play back. We have searched for her for a year and now we're trying this." Palace spokesman Søn Haslund-Christensen called it "a hunt" and said he was "shocked" by the offer and that the royal court could take judicial action to block the move. But the crown prince's cabinet secretary Per Thornit said: "This affair does not concern the court. Mary Donaldson is neither a member of the royal family nor fiancee to Prince Frederik, but is simply a private person. The royal palace, in any case, will not get involved."

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, is among the 50 most beautiful people in the world, according to People magazine. She appeared beside a string of Hollywood stars in the list topped by Nicole Kidman. The magazine says Zara "continues to update the face of the stuffy Windsor family". She is also praised for her gold tongue stud and her decision to live openly with her boyfriend, jockey Richard Johnson. They describe her as a "blonde, 5ft 5in knockout" who has inherited a "spellbinding complexion" from her mother.

Prince Laurent of Belgium was fined for seven traffic infractions on February 5th, from speeding to running a red light in a matter of minutes, adding to an already long list of royal traffic complaints, officials said today. The royal palace officially confirmed the latest incident today, which cost the prince a fine of 485 euro. A newspaper wrote that the police had to chase the prince through the busy thoroughfares before bringing him to a stop. The list of infractions also included illegally overtaking another car and driving without a seat belt. The same newspaper highlighted half a dozen other speeding incidents the prince has been responsible for over his driving career.

May 3rd

Infanta Cristina of Spain Duchess of Palma de Mallorca and little Miguel left the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona at 13:30 accompanied by Iñaki Urdangarín. Cristina said to be very happy with their third son. A date for the christening wasn't made known yet.

In court at The Hague the people involved in the accident Princess Máxima of the Netherlands had last October, appeared for an official examination on the accident. Both Princess Máxima and mr van der Bent (the other party involved) as well as the two bodyguards who were with the Princess, the Royal Marechaussees who were on guard and the traffic-police had to testify what they saw. Princess Máxima, who was accompanied by her husband the Prince of Orange, declared under oath she hadn't drunk before the accident she was involved in last October. She said that the test she underwent after the accident showed that she wasn't under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Also the two policemen who did the test said she hadn't drunk. Princess Máxima further said she had looked out very well and that she immediately took her foot off the accelerator when her car touched the one of Mr van der Bent. She declared that she had no troubles anymore with the ankle she broke last year. Directly after the accident she was brought back to the Palace by one of her two bodyguards because this officer did not know if this was an attack. "I refused to go away with the bodyguard; I wanted to go to the victim, to ask him for his situation." Three hours later the police arrived at Huis ten Bosch Palace and the Princess had to do an alcohol test. Mr van der Bent declared that he could not work for months as he broke his leg and claimed damages from the Princess. He thinks that Princess Máxima had to give way to him because she was leaving 'an exit'. He himself had offended the rules by driving on a road which was for destination-traffic (the palace estate) only, with too much speed and not wearing his seatbelt. One of the boduguards was examinated before the Princess. He declared that Princess Máxima drove very carefully, almost at walking pace and was almost not moving before turning on the road. "It was drizzly weather and the situation was not very clear due to the rhododendrons which were on the corner then. Because of those plants you were forced to turn on the road to see if there was traffic coming" he said. And the bodyguard also had doubts if mr van der Bent drove with his lights on. Meanwhile the Government Information Service confirmed Princess Máxima got her Dutch driver's license without the compulsory driving test. She handed over two driver's licenses to the Municipality of The Hague, an Argentinian one and one from the state of New York. For tranferring those two licenses a test is required, but Máxima didn't have to take the test. The Government Information Service and the mayor of The Hague said not to know why she wasn't obliged to take the test.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands arrived back home at Palace Huis ten Bosch around noon accompanied by his wife Queen Beatrix. He had been in hospital since March 11.

May 4th

The Earl of Ulster, son of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, will marry Dr Claire Booth on June 22nd at the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace followed by a reception afterwards in the State apartments there. The couple became engaged last October.

May 7th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have broken off their visit to the Dutch Antilles and Aruba that started two days ago. In the hotel at Curacao where they were staying the Prince said that he and his wife were deeply shocked by the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn yesterday and spoke out his sympathy for the people Fortuyn left behind. On their way back to the Netherlands they'll only make a short stop at Aruba to speak with parliament and government. They promissed to come back later. Queen Beatrix meanwhile cancelled the yearly dinner for foreign ambassadors that was supposed to take place this evening, because of the tragedy. Also the visit of Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven to the Candadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa was adapted because of the situation.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain arrived in Sunderland on the second leg of her Golden Jubilee tour Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh she traveeld to the North East on the Royal Train. They officially opened Sunderland's Winter Gardens and the Queen met winners of a Jubilee Day portrait competition and viewed their paintings of her before going on a walkabout in Sunderland's Mowbray Park. She also took a trip on the Tyne and Wear Metro to formally open the extension from Gateshead to Sunderland. She also performed the official opening of the futuristic Millennium Bridge at Gateshead before unveiling a statue of Cardinal Basil Hume, a native of Newcastle, near the city's Central Station. While on her way to unveil the statue a male streaker has run in front of the Queen 's Rolls-Royce. The young man bared his all to the royal visitor and the Duke of Edinburgh. Onlookers said the Queen and Duke would have seen the streaker's back view as he appeared to pose for photographers in the crowd. The naked man was led away by police. Later, the Queen and Duke attended a gala evening at Newcastle City Hall.

May 11th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway suffered severe sunburn during an an outdoor interview with German television on Wednesday at the Skaugum estate. The first and second degree burns are said to be the result of the combination of strong spring sun on the Norwegian snow and reflection from powerful camera lights. Crown Princess Mette-Marit also suffered snowblindness on both eyes - slight damage to the corneas of her eyes. Crown Prince Haakon's injuries were described by the doctors as less severe. The 65-minute interview was to be a prelude to Haakon and Mette-Marit's five-day tour of Germany.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has urged all his subjects to take an HIV-test. In Swaziland many people are HIV-positive.

May 12th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has been forced to pull out of her tour of Germany it was announced this morning. She will spend the rest of this week resting. She said she was "very, very sorry" that she could not go through with the eagerly-awaited tour. She is unable to continue as doctors are worried it could hamper her recovery. Speaking before the princess had officially pulled out of the tour, television interviewer Sandra Maischberger, who was also sunburnt, told Bild om Sonntag newspaper she was "very unhappy that she might have kept the beautiful Norwegian princess from traveling to Germany". Crown Prince Haakon arrived in München on Sunday evening alone and his extreme sunburn could be clearly seen. During the five-day visit he will also visit Düsseldorf, Bonn, Cologne and Hamburg.

May 14th

Early this morning Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven gave birth to a daughter at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam. The baby weighs 3750 grammes and will receive the names Isabella Lily Juliana. She will have the surname Van Vollenhoven and will not be a member of the royal house of the Netherlands. The baby's father, Prince Bernhard, said he and his wife were very happy with their daughter and that both mother and daughter are doing fine.

Also Viscountess Linley gave birth to a daughter this morning at the Portland Hospital in London. The baby, who hasn't got a name yet, was born by caesarian section. She is the first granddaughter and the fourth grandchild of the recently deceased Princess Margaret of Great Britain. Royal aides said Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was 'thrilled' about the birth. Last night the Earl of Snowdon, the baby's grandfather, said: "It's wonderful news. I am on my way over to the hospital to see them now." Mother and baby are doing well.

Another baby was born in Brunei Darussalam where the Sultan got his first grandson. Princess Hajah Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah, the wife of Pengiran Anak Dato Laila Utama Haji Abdul Rahim, gave birth to a baby boy at 16:00. A 17-gun salute was fired from the grounds of the Istana Nurul Iman following the safe delivery.

The murderer of Pim Fortuyn is also said to have thought about an attack at Minister of Agriculture Laurens Jan Brinkhorst and probably also his daughter Laurentien, because of the clearing of 270.000 animals during the foot-and-mouth crisis. The attack probably would have taken place during the wedding of his daughter Laurentien with Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, but was most likely cancelled because of the high security. This week also Queen Beatrix received a letter in which she was threatened with death. The police takes this threat seriously. Today the Queen received extra security on her visit to Haaksbergen.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands will continue their visit to the Dutch Antilles and Aruba half August.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Northern Ireland amid tight security, as part of her Golden Jubilee tour. At Hillsborough she was greeted by Northern Ireland's First Minister David Trimble and Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid. They carried out engagements in four counties - Tyrone, Fermanagh, Antrim and Down and included a garden party at Hillsborough Castle, where the Queen stayed. In a brief ceremony in the Throne Room at Hillsborough, the Queen and Philip joined more than 30 representatives from the two new Northern Ireland cities for a champagne reception. Lisburn and Newry were awarded city status as part of a competition to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Earlier, Philip presented Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award certificates to some 100 young achievers, with their parents and other guests, in the garden of the castle. A special service at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, with leaders of the four main churches in Ireland among the congregation, marked the royal Golden Jubilee. Further the Queen addressed the Assembly members in the Great Hall at Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast, urging them to work together for future generations. She spoke of the "historic opportunity" they had to build for the future. Sinn Fein members of the Assembly stayed away, but said they had no objection to the Queen speaking to those who wished to attend. The Queen told the politicians that those who held elected office in any society carried a heavy responsibility. She added: "Here in the Assembly you have an historic opportunity to bring the administration of Northern Ireland closer to the people whom you serve. The same is true in Scotland and Wales, but here there is one added dimension. This Assembly, together with the other new institutions governing relations with the rest of the United Kingdom and with Ireland, can meet the aspirations both of those who are proud to be British and those who feel a strong sense of Irish identity." In the County Tyrone the Queen unexpectedly visited the site of the Omagh bombing where 29 people were killed in a Real IRA bombing in 1998. She and the Duke of Edinburgh spent several minutes listening to a description of the horror, looking up at buildings on both sides of Market Street. One side of the street has been rebuilt, while construction work continues on the other.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was hospitalized today for tests after suffering from fatigue and bronchitis, the palace press service said in a statement. He was admitted to the Cardiothoracic Center of Monaco for a checkup that is part of his routine health care. No further details were given.

Prince Laurent of Belgium has met several parents of children who died in traffic accidents. He promised to one of the parents to drive his car less fast in the future. The meeting was organised by the Minister of Traffic of Belgium after the prince made the headlines because of severe traffic offenses.

May 15th

The publication three weeks ago of the wishes of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her coming groom Ari Behn for wedding presents caused noticeable controversy. The extravagant list was topped by a desire for a Flora Danica dinner service for 12, which carries a price tag of nearly $ 71.700. They now have changed their minds and have dropped their wish list in favor of a call for donations to the HRH Princess Märtha Louise's Fund, that was founded on August 15, 1972, and that takes interest in aid to handicapped children in Norway.

Material from the Princess of Wales's wedding dress and hand-written Christmas cards from her are to be auctioned in Norfolk. It will include six pieces of hand-made lace and silk on a blue backdrop with a sketch of the late Princess in the dress. Four hand-signed and framed Christmas cards sent by the Prince of Wales and the Princess to a close friend are also being auctioned on May 25. It's thought apart from Diana's original wedding gown, which is on display at Althorp, no other examples of the material exist. Other items that will be auctioned include one of the original chairs used at Prince Charles' open-air investiture at Caernarvon Castle in 1969 along with the official programme.

May 16th

The Government Information Service said Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven has to stay in hospital a bit longer because her daughter Isabella was born by caesarian section on Tuesday morning. The princess is doing well, but needs to rest a bit to recover from the operation. Also the first pictures were released today.

Yesterday the Italian Senate again voted in favour of the return of the of the former royal family of Italy.

May 17th

With a big hat and lots of make up on her face to hide her sunburns Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway appeared on the balcony of the Royal Palace in Oslo today on Norway's national feastday. She only attended the beginning and the end of the three-hour event. 107 schools took part in the parade in front of the palace. Earlier on the day the crown princely couple had welcomed children at the Skaugum estate in Asker near Oslo. Crown Princess Mette-Marit wore a bunad from Rogaland.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands celebrated her 31st birthday together with the Prince of Orange, family and friends in New York.

The Queen Mother has left her entire estate - mainly works of art and other contents of her houses - to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Some bequests will be made to members of the Queen Mother's staff - although these will be subject to Inheritance Tax. Under an agreement with John Major's Conservative Government in 1993, the Queen will not have to pay the tax.

May 20th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was released from hospital. He was taken there a few days ago because he was exhausted after a bronchitis attack. In hospital also a general health check was carried out.

May 21st

Queen Sonja of Norway arrived in Trondheim today to supervise the preparations for the wedding of her daughter Märtha Louise with Ari Behn on Friday. The Royal yacht 'Norge' will arrive tomorrow carrying silver & tableware for the wedding-dinner from the Royal Palace. (all from the Royal Palace). Meanwhile a strike at the hotel where many of the guests were supposed to stay and where the wedding cake was kept has happily come to an end just in time for the wedding.

May 22nd

Scottish Nationalists have urged Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to change her title north of the border from Elizabeth II to "Elizabeth I, Queen of Scots" in order to correct a 'bad mistake' made by her advisers 50 years ago. The Elizabethan era predated the Act of Union and Scotland therefore never had a Queen Elizabeth I.

May 23rd

The Queen's Jubilee tour reached Scotland. In windy and rainy Glasgow thousands of people turned out to welcome Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Over the next seven days the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will travel 1000 miles across Scotland. The day began with a special thanksgiving service at Glasgow Cathedral, where they were joined by about 1,000 dignitaries, religious figures and politicians. But the highlight of the opening day was a walkabout in the city's George Square where about 2,000 people greeted the Royal couple. The Queen watched a parade of bands from representatives of the Armed Services and a rare fly-past over the centre of Glasgow.

May 24th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway married Ari Behn in the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.

May 25th

Yesterday evening around 10:30pm two-year-old Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth was admitted to hospital in Copenhagen after an asthma fit. He was staying with his grandmother Princess Benedikte of Denmark at Amalienborg in Copenhagen while his parents were in Norway for the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise. Some photographers followed the ambulance to the hospital because there was some confusion about who the patient was, and after hearing it was a boy they thought it might be Prince Nikolai. A photographer from B.T. was arrested. 1 1/2 hour after the arrival little Richard was sent home again.

May 27th

Pieces of Princess Diana of Wales's wedding dress have failed to meet their reserve price at an auction in Norfolk. The collage of six pieces of handmade lace and silk from the dress was accompanied by a sketch of the princess. The item also included a letter from designer Elizabeth Emanuel. It only received a bid of £4,600, with the reserve price set at £12,000. Four Christmas cards signed by Prince Charles and Princess Diana were sold for nearly £3,000, while one of the chairs used at Prince Charles' investiture at Caernarvon in 1969 went for £220.

May 28th

Marie-José de la Ruelle has lost her lawsuit against Princess Maria Gabriella of Italy at court in Bordeaux. Ms de la Ruelle claims to be the daughter of the princess and of King Juan Carlos of Spain.

May 30th

A medieval crown not seen in Britain since it left the country in 1468 has returned to the Tower of London for a Golden Jubilee exhibition. It belonged to Margaret of York who was sister of Edward IV and the aunt of the Princes in the Tower. She took it abroad when she married Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy. The crown is studded with pearls and gems and left England in 1468 and never returned. The crown bears Margaret's name in coloured enamel and is on loan from Aachen Cathedral in Germany. Other ancient pieces of royal regalia have been reunited at the Tower for the exhibition. These include the travelling cases used to transport the Crown Jewels and the menu from Richard III's coronation banquet in 1483. Other items include Mary II's Coronation Ring of 1689 and the long dagger thought to have been used by Colonel Thomas Blood in 1671 in the only attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.

Prince Takamado, a cousin of Emperor Akihito of Japan and seventh in line to the throne, and his wife Princess Hisako arrived in South Korea to attend World Cup matches in a highly symbolic move seen as a sign of rapprochement between Japan and South Korea, which is a former colony of Japan. After arrival at the airport they paid homage at the National Cemetery for unknown soldiers in Seoul. South Korea initially invited the emperor himself, but Japan had said the time was not ripe for him to visit as many Koreans still harbour bitter memories of Japan's 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean peninsula. Apart from attending the championship's opening ceremony, the prince, also honorary president of the Japan Football Association, will meet president Kim Dae-jung on Friday and meanwhile do some bird-watching, official said. During their six-day visit, the royal couple also plans to watch the Denmark-Uruguay and Paraguay-South Africa matches over the weekend.

Yesterday it was announced that Prince Laurent and Princess Astrid of Belgium can keep their government donation for the rest of their lives. Princess Astrid yearly receives 293.000 Euro, Prince Laurent 282.000 Euro. New princes(ses) will not get a donation anymore, except for the King and the heir to the throne. However today Prime Minister Verhofstadt said that nothing has been decided yet, and that the parliament still has to talk about it. The government only agreed that the 'purple-green' parties will take a collective statement. The government took action against a bill that wanted to abolish the donation.

The man who threw a paintbomb at the window of the Golden Carriage during the carriage tour of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has been fined 250 Euro. Demanded was 1000 Euro and two weeks in prison.

Princess Bajrakitiyabha, daughter of Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, found a trainee job at Baker & McKenzie, one of the biggest lawyer's practises in Washington. The princess was educated at the Law Faculty at Cornell, New York.

May 31st

The Royal Court of Saudi-Arabia announced yesterday evening that 43-year-old Prince Al-Mutaz bin Saud bin Abdulaziz died on Thursday night in the USA following a heart attack. The funeral prayer will be held tomorrow after a prayer in Imam Turky bin Abdullah Mosque in Al-Riyadh. Prince Al-Mutaz is one of the youngest halfbrothers of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

For the first time since her marriage in February Princess Máxima of the Netherlands spent some time in Argentina. She was there for a whole week and among others visited a photo exhibition of her half-sister Dolores. After engagements in Indonesia also the Prince of Orange arrived in Argentina.

According to the Swedish tabloids Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has a new boyfriend, 28-year-old Daniel Westling, 28. She met him at a Stockholm gym he co-owns and where he works as a personal trainer for selected customers. "I know Daniel. He is very nice. I don't want to say anything else. You have to draw the line somewhere. I don't want to comment on my private life," Victoria said.

942 pieces of juwellery and personal belongings from the legacy of Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiary, second wife of the late Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran, fetched more than 3,9 million Euro at auction in Paris, much more than was expected.

June 1st

Princess Adélaïde d'Orléans married Pierre-Louis Dailly today at the Iglesia de Santa María Magdalena in Villamanrique de la Condesa. The bride wore a wedding dress designed by John Galliano. Present were among others King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias and Jaime de Marichalar.

Many people have enjoyed an evening of music, dance and fireworks in a classical concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's 50th year on the throne. People came to watch a star-studded array of performers including Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. The evening reached a climax with a surprise appearance by the Queen outside the palace to greet the 40.000 well wishers who watched the evening on widescreens outside on The Mall . It was the first concert of its kind in the grounds of Buckingham Palace which was transformed into a giant arena for the 12,000 revellers who won tickets in a national ballot. Apart from the Queen eighteen members of the Royal Family were among the audience: the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, Commodore Timothy Laurence, Viscount and Viscountess Linley, Daniel Chatto and Lady Sarah Chatto, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra Lady Ogilvy and the Hon. Sir Angus Ogilvy. For the first time in front of the cameras pictured together with the Queen, Camilla Parker Bowles, companion of the Prince of Wales, joined the 125 guests seated in the Royal Box. The concert, which lasted for two hours took two years to prepare. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis, filled the stage and began the evening's entertainment with Sir William Walton's Anniversary Fanfare. At the end the audience loudly sang Land of Hope and Glory and the concert ended with a reworked version of the national anthem greeted with applause and a chorus of singing for the Queen by all present, including the royal family.

June 2nd

Tonight a fire broke out in the loft of the West Terrace at Buckingham Palace. Fire engines arrived at the scene and the area was evacuated after smoke was seen coming from the roof of the East Gallery, which is a large corridor which leads from the ballroom to the state room. No members of the Royal Family were in residence at the time, but the Palace was busy with hundreds of people, including pop stars, TV crews and technicians preparing for tomorrow night's Golden Jubilee pop concert. They were gathered up in the corner of the garden of Buckingham Palace. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Fire Brigade were called at 6.42 to reports of a fire in the roof void (loft) of the West Terrace of Buckingham Palace. "The palace has been evacuated as a precaution. London Fire Brigade are dealing with it." After more than one hour the fire was put out. Rehearsals for the popconcert started again on the stage at around 8.20pm. The palace roof has been damaged. The cause of the fire is not yet known. Happily the popconcert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace tomorrow will go ahead as planned.

The Duke of York has paid a personal tribute to the Queen on her Golden Jubilee weekend. Describing his mother as "the nation's embodiment", the Duke made clear his belief that she was determined to carry on serving her country as long as she could, saying: "There is no other way." He thanked the British people for the support they had shown the Queen following the death of the Queen Mother. The Duke praised his mother's dedication and resilience in the Golden Jubilee year. He summed up how his mother had won and retained the nation's affection over her 50 year reign: "It is her compassion and understanding for everyone and that she knows exactly what everybody wants from her." The Duke spoke of the special relationship he and his brothers and sister have with the Queen as her children: "The nation's embodiment is the monarch and the monarch happens to be my mother. It is a combination that is both fascinating and quite difficult and I would say probably impossible for anybody except the four of us to understand. I think the four of us children have a perspective that is unique. From our perspective she is the most fantastic mother - has been and always will be - and as our monarch we are completely devoted to her and to the service of her."

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain attended an ecumenical thanksgiving service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The crowd outside, through loudspeakers, heard the Dean of Windsor, the Right Rev David Conner, recall the Queen’s promise of lifetime service at her coronation 49 years ago to the day. "That unqualified promise has been given with continuing commitment, dedication, total loyalty and unstinting service to the Church, the nation and the Commonwealth," Dr Conner said in his sermon. Prayers were said by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor. There were readings from Anthony Burnham and Esme Beswick, ministers representing the Free Churches. Other members of the royal family attended Jubilee services around the country. Only the Duke of York travelled to Japan to see the match of the English football team to Sweden.

Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg won her first Danish championship in dressage in Vilhelmsborg today on her horse Fantast S. She received a bonus and a scooter. She also got the traditional bath in the water. At the press conference afterwards she said that her biggest aim this season is the World Championship in September where she wants to be one of the 25 best.

Prince Felix of Luxembourg, born on June 3rd, 1984, celebrated his 18th birthday today with an official press meeting at Colmar-Berg Castle, where the Grand Ducal family lives since one week. Felix studies in Switzerland at the moment.

June 3rd

The huge 3 1/2 hour popconcert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace had a royal start with Queen gitarist Brian May playing the national anthem from the roof of the palace. More than 12000 people joined the royal family in the garden, while more than 1.000.000 people gathered on The Mall to watch the giant screens. The Royals present at the start were: the Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Commodore Timothy Laurence, Peter Phillips, Zara Phillips, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Sir Angus Ogilvy, Viscount and Viscountess Linley, and Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto. Camilla Parker Bowles and her daughter Laura joined in halfway the concert. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived shortly before 10:00pm. and Dame Edna Everidge, who was performing at the time, greeted the Queen with the words: "The jubilee girl is here, possums." As the Queen took her seat, Dame Edna joked: "The show is a little loud. You may enjoy it more in Balmoral. Even Windsor would be too near." The programme included comedians and lots of music and was kicked off with Ricky Martin, followed by among others S Club 7, Annie Lennox, Ozzy Osbourne, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Cliff Richard, Brian Wilson, Emma Bunton, Dames Shirley Bassey, Atomic Kitten, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, Will Young, The Corrs and Paul McCartney. The Princes William and Harry laughed as comedian and compere Lenny Henry mimicked their father. The Prince of Wales went on stage at the end of the show to say the country feels proud and grateful for the 50 years of service of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Princes William and Harry had all been escorted on to the stage to meet the performers by Beatles producer George Martin. Prince Charles started his tribute saying: "Your Majesty... Mummy. Ladies and gentlemen, in my long experience of pop concerts, this has been something very special indeed." He said: "We feel proud of you - proud and grateful for everything you have done for your country and the Commonwealth over 50 extraordinary years," he said. The Duke of Edinburgh has supported her unfailingly throughout, the Prince added. "You have embodied something vital in our lives - continuity," he went on. "You have been a beacon of tradition and stability in the midst of profound, sometimes perilous, change." He finished by saying: "Fifty years ago, at nearly four years of age, I would probably have been playing in the sandpit in the garden just behind this stage. But now you have generously invited everyone in for a thoroughly memorable party... and we probably frightened the poor old geese into the bargain. So, Your Majesty, we are all deeply grateful to you and, in the words of the non-politically-correct second verse of the national anthem, you have defended our laws and certainly given us cause to shout with heartened voice, 'God Save the Queen'."

Soon afterwards the concert ended and then it was time for the Queen to light the final Golden Jubilee beacon in a chain 1,800-strong that stretches around the world. It triggered a spectacular firework display in the night sky above Buckingham Palace. Escorted by 300 children carrying lanterns in The Mall, the Queen ignited a rocket which flew by wire into the National Beacon on the Queen Victoria Memorial. As the flames in the beacon grew, jets of water, orchestrated to music, sprang from the memorial. The flames triggered a spectacular firework display and "Son et Lumiere" with colourful projections - psychedelic to heraldic - on the walls of the Palace. The night sky was lit up with four-and-half-tons of fireworks, choreographed to pop and classical music. The firework ended with "God Save the Queen" projected on to the Palace. The Jubilee beacon chain stretches throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Commonwealth and 14 other countries, from the Artic to the Antartic, and Mount Kenya to Nepal.

Last week King Mswati III of Swaziland married for the ninth time, one week after his eight marriage to Angel Dlamani. The King had to pay a cow to the family of his ninth wife, Nontsetselo Magongo, because he had made love to her before her 18th birthday. In Swaziland the king is allowed to have more wives.

June 4th

The Golden Jubilee celebrations were brought to an end today. The day began with pomp and pageantry, as Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral in the glittering State Gold Coach for a thanksgiving service. The coach was accompanied along its route by the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal on horseback, bands and rolling fanfares. The procession was led by senior royals in three open, horse-drawn carriages carrying the Duke of York, Princes William and Harry and Princess Beatrice. The second coach carried the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Eugenie. The third coach carried Commodore Timothy Laurence and Zara and Peter Phillips. It was the first time the State Gold Coach, which was built in 1762, had been used by the Queen since the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. A huge crowd lined the route of the procession, many of them braved the cold and rain already overnight to ensure a good view. Inside the cathedral 47 members of the Royal Family joined a congregation of 2,400 for an hour-long service of thanksgiving. Attending were next to the members of the royal family mentioned above, Viscount and Viscountess Linley, Daniel and Lady Sarah Chatto, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Earl of Ulster (for the first time with his fiancée Claire Booth), Lady Davina and Lady Rose Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Earl and Countess of St Andrews, Lord Downpatrick, Lady Marina Charlotte Windsor, Lord Nicholas Windsor, Timothy and Lady Helen Taylor, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Lord Frederick Windsor, Lady Gabriella Windsor, Princess Alexandra Lady Ogilvy, the Hon. Sir Angus Ogilvy, James and Julia Ogilvy, Flora Ogilvy, Marina Ogilvy, the Earl and Countess of Harewood, Lady Saltoun, Mark Nicolson and the Hon. Mrs Katharine Fraser. Some foreign royals were present: former King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess Theodora of Greece and Prince Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath of Jordan. During the service Dr George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury, said the jubilee celebrations showed that, unlike so much of the modern world, the relationship between sovereign and people had grown stronger and deeper with the passage of time. He said: "In your commitment to service we have seen not the denial of life but its rich and glorious affirmation." Quoting Queen Elizabeth I, he said: "You do indeed reign with our loves."

Queen Elizabeth II thanked the millions of people who celebrated the Jubilee all over the country and throughout the Commonwealth in a speech at Guildhall during a Jubilee lunch where Prime Minister Tony Blair paid tribute to her 50-year reign. "Gratitude, respect and pride," summed up her feelings, she said. She took the opportunity to mention the strength she had drawn from her own family. "The Duke of Edinburgh has made an invaluable contribution to my life over these past 50 years, as he has to so many charities and organisations with which he has been involved. I want to express my admiration for the Prince of Wales and for all he has achieved for this country. Our children, and all my family, have given me such love and unstinting help over the years, and especially in recent months," she said. The Queen added she had been "overwhelmed" and "deeply moved" by the public response to her Golden Jubilee. She said: "It has been a pretty remarkable 50 years by any standards. There have been ups and downs, but anyone who can remember what things were like after those six long years of war, appreciates what immense changes have been achieved since then."

20.000 people were involved in a huge carnival parade, with lots of singing and dancing. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her family, among them the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry, were sitting in front of the Victoria monument at Buckingham Palace to watch the parade. At arrival the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were met at Admiralty Arch by 400 children who created a stream of gold with golden ribbons. Before they took their seats with the Queen and other members of the royal family the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry delighted the crowd by indulging in an impromptu 25-minute walkabout and mass hand-shaking session. At the end of the parade, just before 6:30pm a unique 27-aircraft flypast over Buckingham Palace took place, while the royal family watched from the balcony of the palace. 1.000.000 people were packed into The Mall and cheered at the final pass by a Concorde and a few Red Arrows. The planes released red, white and blue smoke as Land Of Hope And Glory was played at The Mall. The crowd became a sea of waving Union Jacks and they sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, We’ll Keep A Welcome In The Hillsides and, inevitably in a weekend of celebration that has seen a resurgence of patriotism and national unity, Land Of Hope and Glory. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh briefly reappeared on the balcony twice to an encore of Pomp and Circumstance and finally to the National Anthem.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, the minister in charge of the Jubilee celebrations in Jubilee minister wants equal rights of succession, told the Financial Times that women should be given equal rights of succession to the throne British. The 800-year-old tradition means the monarch's eldest son is always next in line to the throne, even if there is an older sister. Ms Jowell said: "There is now a general acceptance that daughters should be able to succeed to the throne, and not be overtaken by their younger brothers. If legislation were brought forward to give sons and daughters equal precedence I'd support it."

Prince Claus of the Netherlands has summoned the weekly Privé before court in Amsterdam. The prince is very angry about a story the magazine published on May 25. In that story it says that the prince has left Palace Huis ten Bosch and has fled to Germany where he would stay in a clinic for terminal patients. "The publication in Privé lacks each actual basis, is bad taste and infringes the personal life sphere of the prince", the Government Information Service added.

Prince Kubrat and Princess Carla of Bulgaria became the proud parents of a third son. Tirso was born at the Hospital de La Paz, Madrid, yesterday at 14:15. He weighs 2900 kilogrammes and is 48 cm tall.

Miguel, the son of Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urdangarín, will be christened at the chapel of the Palacio de la Zarzuela on June 23rd 2002 at 11:00am.

June 6th

Ildiko, the second daughter of Archduke George of Austria and his wife Eilika, was born today at 11:38 in a private clinic near Budapest, Hungary. She weighs 3,4 kilograms and is 56 cm tall. Both daughter and mother are in good condition. The baby is the 21st grandchild of Dr Otto von Habsburg and his wife Regina.

Senior members of the Royal Family want concerts in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to be an annual event after the success of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee weekend. Senior officials at the Palace are considering staging concerts in August or September when the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are at Balmoral. One option is for a opera festival, complete with picnics in the grounds, spread over a week. The move to open the Palace gardens has won the support of the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal. The BBC would want to broadcast the events because of the prospect of multimillion-pound overseas sales. Sponsors will queue to be associated with the concerts because of the publicity that the unique setting would generate.

June 7th

Princess Lilian of Belgium, widow of King Leopold III of the Belgians, died aged 85 at Argenteuil Castle of cerebral hemorrhage at 13:00 this afternoon. She was the second wife of the King, and the stepmother of the present King Albert II.

During a visit to the Highgate Hill Murugan Temple in north London the Duke of Edinburgh has asked four Tamil high priests: "Are you Tigers?". The Hindu leaders said they had nothing to do with the Sri Lankan militant group, the Tamil Tigers. One of the priests said: "He was just joking. We weren't offended. He was being friendly."

June 8th

Little Isabella van Vollenhoven slept all the time during her first photosession together with both her mother and father. Her parents are Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven and his wife Annette.

The Princely Family of Reuss have won the expropriation-fight at court in Gera and now want their properties in Köstritz - the castle (that was partly demolished in 1972), castle park and other properties - back. They lost those properties after the expropriation in 1945.

June 9th

Yesterday evening at 22:55 Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands gave birth to a daughter at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. Eloise Sophie Beatrix Laurence Countess van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouwe van Amsberg, weighs 3715 grammes and is 51 centimetres tall. Prince Constantijn said: "Laurentien and the baby are doing very well. This is great. We feel intense happy and grateful, as undoubtedly all parents who have gone through the wonder of a birth". Eloise is fourth in line of succession. She is the first grandchild of Queen Beatrix. This morning around 10:30 mother and daughter returned to Palace Huis ten Bosch. Later today the first photos of Eloise were released.

The Belgian royal family has cancelled a few engagements out of respect for Princess Lilian who died on Friday. The 40th birthday party of Princess Astrid at the serres of the Laken Palace for which 1000 people were invited yesterday evening was cancelled. Also an engagement of Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde on Monday is cancelled.

June 10th

The Duke of Lugo left the hospital Gregorio Marañon in Madrid again where he was admitted on saturday after becoming ill on board of a plane during a flight from Madrid to Paris. He and his wife Infanta Elena of Spain were on their way to Paris to attend the tennis finals at Roland Garros. The plane returned to Madrid. The Duke had to undergo some tests at hospital. The doctors have said his current condition may not be related to the earlier illness.

Princess Lilian of Belgium will be buried on Friday June 14th at 11:00 in the royal vault at the Church of Our Lady in Laeken, in accordance with the wish of her late husband King Leopold III. The funeral will be private and will be attended by King Albert II of the Belgians and other members of the Belgian royal family.

Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands has officially given notice of the birth of his daughter Eloise at the Old Townhall in The Hague. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Wim Kok and vice-president of the State Council, Mr Herman Tjeenk Willink, who acted as witnesses because it concerned the birth of a member of the royal house of the Netherlands. The Prince was received by the mayor of the Hague, Mr Deetman, in one of the grand rooms of the townhall. Mr Deetman handed over a commemorative spoon for the baby to the prince. Prince Constantijn told the press he had found the delivery very difficult: "It is hard to see a loved one suffer so much. But if the baby finally is there, you quickly forget." He said that he had spend most of last night singing lullabies for Eloise. He also told that his mother, Queen Beatrix, had hesitated coming to hospital immediately after birth. She called Laurentien's mother to ask Laurentien if she was welcome. Of course she was. Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien will stay in The Hague the coming time, but will go back to London if the prince has to go to work again. But Eloise will get a Dutch upbringing. Prince Constantijn also told that the Sophie-part of Eloise's names is not historical, but that she was named after the best friend of Laurentien, Sophie van de Wouw, also her witness at their marriage.

The long-delayed inquest into the death of Princess Diana could be held in London next year. The breakthrough follows the appointment of a new coroner for the Royal Household, Michael Burgess. He would head the inquest into Diana's death, as well as the inquest into the death of Dodi Fayed. The hearing would allow the events leading up to the car crash in Paris to be explored in detail. It would be the first inquest into a fatal accident involving a member of the Royal Family to be held since 1972, when Prince William of Gloucester was killed in an air crash. British law insists an inquest should be carried out in every case where a body is returned to Britain following a death abroad. Lengthy police investigations and a series of legal complications have so far delayed an inquest into the fatal incident in 1997.

June 11th

A new Dutch law about the membership of the Royal House of the Netherlands was officially published and has taken effect today. The new law was created to gain a smaller circle of members. In the future only the king/queen, the previous king/queen, and relatives of the king/queen in two degrees of sanguity and their spouses will be members of the Royal House, although members of the family in third degree to the monarch are also in line for the throne. The position of the current members will be unchanged. By law the heir(ess) will be Prince(ss) of Oranje, but his/her spouse will not be allowed to use the title. The previous king/queen and the heir will be Prince(ss) of the Netherlands and Prince(ss) of Orange-Nassau with the prefix His/Her Royal Highness by law, as well as the other children of the king and the children of the heir to the throne and their spouses by Royal Decree. By royal decree, when leaving the Royal House the title can remain a personal title and the surname and noble titles can be set within three months after the membership of the Royal House ends. The titles of the children of Queen Juliana and Princess Margriet will not be effected by this change in law.

Police in Toensberg are investigating a disturbing break-in at the Norwegian royal family's summer house at Maageroe on the island of Tjøme, southwest of Oslo. Intruders vandalized the property but it was unclear if anything was stolen. Police in Tønsberg, the town nearest Tjøme, are seeking for witnesses who might have been in the area of the royal summer home on Saturday June 1st, the date they believe intruders approached the property from the sea. The intruders broke windows and flower pots and unleashed the contents of a fire extinguisher. They threw furniture and other items into King Harald's and Queen Sonja's private swimming pool, a Norwegian newspaper wrote. Palace officials declined further comment. No members of the royal family were present when the break-in occurred, but the king and queen generally spend time there in July.

June 12th

101-year-old Natalia Petrovna Bilikhodze, possessor of a 1-trillion-dollar fortune held a press conference in Moscow, at which she said she was the grand duchess Anastasia, the daughter of the last Russian Tsar Nikolai II, and survived the shooting of her family. According to her, Anastasia was not shot and has been living in Georgia under the name of Natalia Bilikhodze. In Georgia, she got married. Only in 1995, she started to bustle about returning to her the true name. Now, Russian citizen Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, despite her declining years, prepares herself for returning to Russia and for returning to Russia the great inheritance of her family. At the moment, the world knows about 30 grand duchesses Anastasia, and not only the living pseudo-Anastasias pretend being heirs of Russian throne, but also descendants of the late pseudo-Anastasias.

Young adults in Great Britain think Prince William should be the next head of state, according to a BBC poll. The Prince of Wales won the support of 47% of all those polled, with Prince William on 33% and an elected president on 14%. But among those aged 18-24, Prince William's support rose, with 35% believing he should ascend to the throne ahead of his father. The Prince of Wales polled 27% of votes amongst 18-24 year olds, the same number of young people who favoured an elected president. Of the 1000 adults questioned 63% did not think the monarchy was out of date while 32% believed it was. Among young people however opinion was fairly evenly split with 44% saying the monarchy was out of date and 45% saying it was not, with the remainder undecided. Asked if the Royal Family cost the taxpayer too much money, 51% of all those asked said Yes, 43% said No with 6% undecided. Among the young, the figures were more marked, with 62% agreeing, 30% disagreeing and 8% undecided.

An electric heater treating rot mould accidentally caused the fire at Buckingham Palace one week ago. The fire started in footmen's quarters, which were closed because of the dry rot. It damaged 10% of the second and third floors of a storage area in the East Gallery of the West Terrace. Most of the damage was caused by water from burst pipes and fighting the flames. Buckingham Palace isn't insured and the cost of repairs will be met by existing grants from the Government for the maintenance of royal palaces.

The Duchess of York is set to host a daily chat show in the USA in the 2003-2004 season. She has signed a development deal to make Fergie, a one-hour syndicated programme with Universal Television Enterprises. If the pilot is successful she will divide her time between New York, where the show will be made, and England with her daughters. The Duchess says she relishes the prospect of doing the show: "I enjoy being with people, so I'll feel in my element with a daily talk show. I am constantly inspired by the many people I meet and I would like to be part of an exciting television programme that celebrates life and the human spirit."

June 13th

After 63 years of exile in different countries of the world, the royal family of Albania will return to Albania from Johannesburg (South Africa) on June 28th. A special plane will land in the runway of Mother Teresa Airport, which will bring King Leka I, Queen Susan and Crown Prince Leka back to Tirana. The news about the return of the family to Albania was announced by the head of Legality Movement Party, Eqrem Spahia. According to him, "along with the return of the king, the hope for a better life, development, prosperity, integration and dignity in the European structures will come back". It is the third time King Leka I comes back to Albania, after the royal family's leaving on 6 April 1939, the day when Albania was invaded by Italy.

A group of English Members of Parliament have condemned the practice of minor royals living in Kensington Palace on a "peppercorn rent" as "an outrage". Those who live at the palace include Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. The MPs are assessing the value for money of the palace, towards which taxpayers pay £15 million a year. It comes after reports that the Kents pay just £69 a week for their magnificent grace and favour apartment in the palace.

June 14th

Princess Lilian of Belgium was buried next to her late husband, King Leopold III, in the royal vault at the Church of Our Lady in Laeken. The private funeral was attended by the Belgian royal family, a delegation of the Belgian government, army veterans who fought under King Leopold III and friends. Among the mourners were also Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, his wife Marina, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy, Elisabeth de Balkany, Laetitia Spetchinsky and the Countess Esterházy. The funeral train left the Castle of Argenteuil, where Princess Lilian died one week ago, at 10:30 followed by two of her three children - Prince Alexander and Princess Marie-Esmeralda and their spouses, while Princess Marie-Christine stayed away - and her two surviving stephchildren King Albert II of the Belgians and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg with their spouses, and Queen Fabiola of Belgium, widow of the late King Baudouin. The service was held at the Church of Our Lady in Laeken from 11:00 to 12:15 and was led by Cardinal Danneeels in Dutch and French. He remembered Princess Lilian as 'a woman who followed her heart' and praised her for her work for her Cardiological Foundation. The service ended with the Belgian national anthem.

June 15th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has marked her official birthday with the traditional Trooping the Colour parade and march past. She took the salute and reviewed her troops as the Colour of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards was paraded. Large crowds gathered in the capital, outside Buckingham Palace, along The Mall and at Horse Guards, to see the pageantry and hear the massed bands.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph Prince Michael of Kent has rejected the idea that he and his wife might voluntarily move out of their peppercorn-rent apartment at Kensington Palace. He hit back at criticism from MPs who said Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain should end the system that allows minor royals to live at the palace for a sum reported to be as low as £69-a-week. The prince conceded that he and Princess Michael did not carry out official royal duties but said they performed "a lot of public ones". He said: "The apartment is in the gift of the Queen so it isn't for me to speculate. We have not discussed it." Asked if the couple might pay a commercial rent - estimated to be up to 100 times higher than the current amount - he replied it was also a matter for the Queen. He defended the current state of affairs, saying: "People assume our lifestyle is paid for by someone else, but it's paid for by us. Except the house, clearly." He added: "We pull our weight for the family and the country. And we do it because we feel we are privileged, and privilege doesn't work without obligation." Prince Michael also said criticism in the press was difficult to take and said the public view of his family was "trivial and uninformed". He added: "We're under siege. But we're not quitters. When you see personal attacks in the papers, of course it's hurtful. But you have to carry on."

June 17th

King Harald V of Norway was officially installed as Knight of the Garter during a service at St George's Chapel, Windsor. He already had been presented with the insignia of the Order at a private ceremony in Oslo during the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to Norway in June 2001. Before the service Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and joined by the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent lead the traditional procession of Garter knights from Windsor Castle to St George's Chapel. Among the knights walking in the procession were Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg. Eight thousand ticket holders filled the castle’s Lower Ward to watch the procession on foot down the steep hill from the State Apartments. Before the service a reception was held in the Grand Reception Room of Windsor Castle for the Garter Knights and a lunch for 80 guests took place in St George's Hall.

In the evening a dinner reception for European sovereigns was held in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle to mark the Golden Jubilee. Those attending the dinner included King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxemburg, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence, the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Lady Gabriella Windsor, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra Lady Ogilvy and Sir Angus Ogilvy. No speeches were made at the dinner on which a brill and lobster roulade, baby chicken with asparagus, courgettes, croquette potatoes and salad, with a peach dessert were served.

June 18th

Eleven European Royals were guests of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain on the opening day of the Golden Jubilee Royal Ascot races. They all rode in the traditional Ascot carriage procession. In the leading carriage Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh were joined by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and King Harald V of Norway. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Silvia of Sweden followed in the second Ascot landau with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Queen Sonja of Norway were accompanied by Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and the Earl of Wessex in the third carriage. Next came Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg with the Countess of Wessex, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Prince Henrik of Denmark. In the fifth and final carriage were Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, the Princess Royal with her son Peter Philips and Vice Admiral Tom Blackburn, Master of the Royal Household.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima will pay a state visit to Argentina, Brazil and Chili in the Spring of 2003.

June 19th

Three watercolours of Balmoral, Ben Avon and Sandringham which were sold on Tuesday by auctioneers Fellows & Sons in Birmingham as paintings by Prince Charles have been exposed as fakes. The two collectors who between them paid more than £20,000 for the paintings have been given full refunds. An investigation by St James's Palace revealed the original paintings are still in the Prince of Wales's possession. Fierce bidding for the watercolours saw the guide price of £500 to £800 for each soar, with two going for £7,300 and one for £6,000. In a statement, the firm said: "Following conversations with St James' Palace, we now feel certain that these paintings are probably copies of original works." They added that efforts are being made to contact the collector who put the paintings up for sale and to verify the letter of provenance which accompanied them. The letter stated that the paintings had been bought at a Royal Variety Club charity auction in 1990. A spokeswoman for the Prince of Wales said: "The paintings sold at auction are not original watercolours by the Prince of Wales. We are looking into the matter and are considering all options." The Prince never sells his paintings, but has occasionally given away originals - though the Palace confirmed none of these were among the collection auctioned in Birmingham.

June 20th

Yesterday Count Flemming af Rosenborg died at hospital in Antibes, France, at the age of 80. After the wedding of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway on May 24th the count and his wife Ruth went back to France, where they live. On 29 May the count suffered a coronary thrombosis and underwent surgery at hospital in Antibes. Yesterday he then suffered a cardiac arrest leading to his death. The count was the youngest son of Prince Axel of Denmark and Princess Margaretha of Sweden. The funeral service will take place on July 3rd in Holmens Kirke, Copenhagen, and he will probably be interred in the Bernstorff Park next to his parents, brother and sister-in-law.

June 21st

Thousands of people waited patiently for their turn at signing one of four get-well books yesterday at Siriraj Hospital, where King Bhumibol of Thailand continued his recuperation following a hernia operation on Tuesday. The king's temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure and respiratory system were all found to be normal, the Royal Household said in a statement. He has slept and eaten well and is also able to walk around his hospital room and the surgical wound is healing satisfactorily.

June 22nd

The Earl of Ulster, son of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, married his long-term girlfriend Claire Alexandra Booth, daughter of Robert and Barbara Booth from Weston Turville, Aylesbury, at the Queen's Chapel, St James's Palace, London. The Earl who is a King's Royal Hussars captain is 18th in line to the British throne. The wedding ceremony was attended by 16 members of the Royal Family, including the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester with their daughter Davina and Rose, the Princess Royal and Commander Tim Laurence, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra Mrs Ogilvy, Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto, Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor. The bride was attended by Miss Lola Eid-Arimoku (fellow-student of the bride), Miss Bruna Carnevale, Russia and Tennessee Blackmore and Arabella Henderson. Mr Alexander Turner was best man. The service was officiated by Prebendary William Booth who was assisted by Canon David Cooper. Wearing an ivory silk dress with train and veil, by Vera Wong, the bride carried a bouquet of red roses. She was given away by her father. After the wedding the newlyweds walked under an arch of swords formed by a guard of honour of eight King's Royal Hussars officers outside the chapel. A reception was held in the State Apartments, St James's Palace. The Earl of Ulster and Claire Booth met at Barnwell, formerly the Gloucesters' country home, through Lady Davina Windsor, who went to school with Claire. The new Countess of Ulster is a 100-hours-a-week junior doctor at Frimley Park NHS Trust Hospital, near Sandhurst. She studied medicine at King's College, part of the University of London, where she graduated in 2001. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain officially gave her consent to the marriage on April 17, 2002, at Windsor Castle.

Dr Mangad Iqbal, who prescribed drugs to Princess Leila Pahlavi before she died of an overdose in the Leonard Hotel in Mayfair, London, in June 2001 was "overawed by her status", a disciplinary inquiry heard yesterday. His prescriptions to her were "irresponsible and inappropriate", the General Medical Council hearing in London was told. Princess Leila Pahlavi died after taking five times the lethal dose of quinalbarbitone, a barbiturate used to treat insomnia. The drug was described as "dangerous and addictive" at the professional conduct committee inquiry. Dr Iqbal said she was "so glamorous" he did not suspect she was a drug addict and accepted her need for tranquillisers and sleeping pills. The doctor admitted prescribing without ever having met or spoken to her, and without having first-hand information about her medical history. The inquiry was told that the princess swallowed 40 Rohypnol sleeping tablets every night, 20 times the limit, and 30 different tranquillisers during the day - 10 times the limit. Dr Iqbal was found guilty of serious professional misconduct. He escaped being struck off but had conditions imposed on his practice for 12 months.

June 23rd

Miguel de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y Borbón was baptised in the gardens of the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid. His godparents were the Prince of Asturias and Lucía Urdangarín.

June 24th

Journalists, invited by the Grand Ducal couple of Luxembourg for an 'off the record'-meeting on June 10th at the Grand Ducal Palace, were told by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa about the tense relationship between her and her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. "My mother-in-law is spreading false rumours about me. She is trying to ruin our marriage. Don't listen to her", the Grand Duchess added: "She could not stop the marriage, that's why she is trying for years to destroy it from inside out". Grand Duke Henri (47), who attented the meeting with the press, declared to support his wife for 100%. According to the Luxembourg media the relationship between the Grand Duke and his mother has been 'icey' for the last years. The latest rumours told that Grand Duke Henri should have an affair. The story was never meant to become public, but the newspaper 'Le Quotidien' decided to publish after all last Saturday.

June 25th

Princess Margaret of Great Britain left £7.6 million in her will. The estate will be divided between her children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto once inheritance tax is paid and personal bequests made to friends and former members of staff. Lord Linley's spokeswoman confirmed that the Princess's estate was worth £7,700,176 gross and, after liabilities were paid, £7,603,596 net, on which inheritance tax was payable at 40%. Cash and property left after tax would amount to around £4.5 million.

Prince Harry of Wales has injured his right ankle again by playing Eton School's traditional Wall Game on Sunday. He has been forced back on to crutches. He inflamed an old injury from last November during a session of the game - often described as a cross between football and rugby - St James's Palace confirmed.

A photograph of Diana, Princess of Wales on her wedding day has fetched £4,500 at auction. The picture was taken by the photographer Patrick Lichfield and shows the Princess with her bridesmaids, and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain smiling over her shoulder. It is one of more than 100 photographs that went under the hammer at Christie's in aid of WellBeing, a health research charity for women and babies, and The LOOC Foundation, for parents who want to adopt babies from Chinese orphanages.

June 26th

The former queen Homaira of Afghanistan, wife of Mohammed Zahir Shah, died in Rome today at the age of 86, two days after being hospitalised for heart troubles, her family said. She had stayed in Italy after the former king returned from almost 30 years in exile to Afghanistan in April. The queen's body will be returned to Afghanistan on Sunday.

Over one hundred letters written by the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Princess of Wales and other royals are to be auctioned. The personal letters have been collected by American businesswoman Alicia Carroll. She has a vast collection of royal memorabilia including a slice of Charles and Diana's wedding cake. Most of the letters were bought from relatives and friends of the royals. Mrs Carroll says she will not be auctioning some of the more personal letters. It's thought the letters will be auctioned in New York later this year.

Only according to the Spanish television Princess Kalina of Bulgaria became engaged today to her long-time boyfriend Kitín Muñoz, whose official name is Antonio Muñoz Valcárcel. He was born in Sidi Ifni on November 19th, 1958. The rumours are not confirmed.

June 28th

Monarchists in Albania have welcomed the return of the exiled royal family. The return of King Leka was made possible by an amnesty granted this month for his part in unrest during a referendum five years ago on the future of the monarchy. He had fled the country amid rioting following the 1997 referendum and a court in the capital Tirana later found him guilty in absentia of organising an armed uprising. King Leka said: "I thank the Albanian people and the parliament for giving me a chance to return to my homeland." Fewer than 500 people turned out to greet him. His supporters had been hoping he would be greeted by a crowd of several thousand. He was accompanied by his mother, his wife Susan, his son Leka and two aunts. They waved at the crowd before entering a white limousine with windows covered with Albanian flags. The family plan to live in a villa in the capital close to government headquarters, a spokesman for them said. King Leka was only two days old when his family fled Albania during the Italian invasion in 1939 and has lived in South Africa for much of the past 20 years.

Police in Albania have found weapons in the suitcases of King Leka. An advisor to the king said that the weapons found by the police - which numbered almost 90 - were trophies and presents, and that the king was an arms collector. The police are still investigating, but said some fairly new grenades and a Kalashnikov rifle were among the weapons found. Two guns were also seized from Leka Zog's South African bodyguards. "Albanian police were not informed of the presence of arms in the luggage and carried out the necessary verifications," police chief Bilbil Mema told. The king could face up to five years in prison if found guilty of illegal arms possession.

New pictures of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan with their daughter Aiko were released. The photos, taken on June 19, show a very happy family.

June 29th

A man has been arrested after being discovered within the grounds of the Prince of Wales's London residence, St James's Palace. A cleaner discovered the man at 6.15am on Wednesday in Lancaster House, Scotland Yard confirmed. Lancaster House is within the environs of St James's Palace and normally used for Government conferences and receptions. The Prince was in London on that night. A Scotland Yard spokesman said of the intruder: "He was arrested and taken to Charing Cross police station. He was later released with no further action taken."

June 30th

Arrietta, daughter of Princess Alexia of Greece and Carlos Morales Quintana, was christened today at 6:00pm at the Chapel of La Purisima Conception in Barcelona. The Greek Orthodox ceremony was officiated by His Eminence the Metropolitan of France, Jeremias. The godparents were princess Theodora of Greece, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, Mrs Maria Teresa Morales Quintana, Philippos Stratos and Manuel Cabrera Cabreara. Among the guests were further Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias, Iñaki Urdangarín Duke of Palma de Mallorca, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Prince Philippos of Greece and Princess Irene of Greece.

Today it became known that the daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Linley will be known as the Hon Margarita Elizabeth Alleyne Armstrong-Jones. She will be baptised in October.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn arrived back in Norway after a five-week honeymoon. The royal court reported they have stayed somewhere in the Pacific. Furthermore the royal court announced that King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner will attend the funeral of Count Flemming of Rosenborg in Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

July 1st

Prince Claus of the Netherlands didn't feel well this afternoon. After a short check-up at the Red Cross Hospital in The Hague Prince Claus of the Netherlands was taken to the AMC Hospital in Amsterdam. The Government Information Service says it is not serious, but that it was decided to take him to the AMC so he can be checked by his own doctors. It is not sure if he needs to stay in hospital.

July 2nd

Prince Claus of the Netherlands stayed the night in hospital. It is said he has to stay there for a few days. The doctors think he suffers from an infection of the bronchial tubes. Yesterday evening he was visited by Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima.

July 3rd

The funeral service of Count Flemming af Rosenborg took place at 1pm at Holmens Church in Copenhagen, Denmark, in presence of among others Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Henrik of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, as well as Prince Wilhelm and Princess Ilona zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Princess Birgitte de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Lorraine and Princess Annette de Bourbon de Parme. The royal guests mainly arrived by boat, while some others came in a bus. Count Flemming's three sons greeted the funeral guests at the door of the church, while their mother Countess Ruth arrived later on with her daughter Désirée. The eldest son Axel held a speech during the service. After the service eight naval officers carried the coffin out to a waiting hearse. The coffin was covered by the Danish flag, and on a velvet cushion were the insigna of Count Flemming's orders, among them the Dannebrog Order and the Elephant Order. Then the funeral procession drove to Bernstorff Castle, where Count Flemming was buried in the park next to his parents, brother and sister-in-law. Most royal guests and further family were driven to Bernstorff Castle, northern from Copenhagen, by bus.

Now it is official. It was announced that Princess Kalina of Bulgaria became engaged to Kitín Muñoz, 17 years her senior, on June 21st at the Vrana Palace in Sofia, Bulgaria. The wedding will take place in September in Sofia. No date has been set yet. The couple met some three years ago.

July 4th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have signed a lease for a flat in Earl's Court, London, the royal palace in Oslo announced. They also said the crown princess will take courses on development cooperation and international development issues at the School of Oriental and African Studies, which is part of the University of London. The crown princely couple will move to London at the end of August or the beginning of September.

July 10th

A softening on the Church of England's stance on weddings for divorcees could pave the way for Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles to marry, according to a former Archdeacon of York. The General Synod has voted to issue clergy with national guidelines on how to deal with divorced people who want to remarry in church. The Synod has also reaffirmed its belief that there are "circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former spouse". But it insisted those circumstances must be "exceptional" and the decision on whether or not a divorced person can remarry in church should be decided by parish clergy. George Austin told the Daily Express: "This decision will be interpreted by the public as the Church giving its backing to Prince Charles marrying Camilla Parker Bowles. She is the love of his life and it is better that they marry."

Yesterday Prince Joachim Egon zu Fürstenberg died of cancer in Donaueschingen, Germany, at the age of 79. He already had health problems for a few years. He will be succeeded by his eldest son Prince Heinrich, who already took over the business in the early 1990s.

July 11th

The male members of the Italian royal family can soon return to Italy after a 56-year exile. The Italian Chamber of Deputies voted to lift the constitutional ban on them in its fourth and final vote on a proposal to change the two clauses in the Italian constitution that forbid male members of the royal family to set foot on Italian soil. The lower house approved with 347 votes in favour and 69 against, while 44 members abstained from voting. "We have received the news of the last vote with great joy", Prince Vittorio Emanuele, who left the country at the age of 9 in 1946, said in a statement: "We wish to express our deep and sincere gratitude to the Government and parliamentarians of every hue who, through their commitment in expressing themselves favourably over modifying the Constitution, have brought this long legislative process to a conclusion". He plans to return by ship, landing at Naples. He still has to wait three months before entering Italy because the measure didn't get a two-third majority in all four votes by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Now opponents have three months to request a nationwide referendum on the constitutional changes. Opponents however would have to rally the support of 500,000 citizens or one-fifth of lawmakers in either chamber or five of 20 regional assemblies to go ahead with the referendum, which is said to be very unlikely. Prince Vittorio Emanuele and his son Prince Emanuele Filiberto, who never has set foot in Italy, both have renounced any claim to the throne.

July 12th

King Mohammed VI of Morocco married Salma Bennani at the royal palace in Rabat.

July 13th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands has left hospital this afternoon and went home to Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. The Government Information Service said he will further recover at home.

Prince Albert of Monaco took part in the World Championships Bobstart and Skeleton for men and women in the centre of Groningen, The Netherlands. He arrived on Friday morning and was going to leave again on Sunday. At arrival in Groningen the Prince told that the event was really the biggest bobsleigh summer event in the world. A very relaxing Prince Albert finished in fourth place (of six teams) in the A-group of the 4-men bobsleigh races, while several teams in the B-group were also quicker than the Prince and his team. In total there were 160 competitors from 18 countries.

July 14th

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden celebrates her 25th birthday today. She gave a party last night at Solliden Castle at the island of Öland. Victoria invited friends, among them her supposed boyfriend Daniel Westling, and friends like Caroline Kreuger, Caroline Svedin and Josephine Génetay. Also several royals were invited, among them were the Prince of Asturias, the Duke of Brabant and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn, Prince Gustav zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth and Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson with her youngest son Victor. Victoria herself arrived at Öland on Friday together with her brother Prince Carl Philip and his girlfriend Emma Pernald. At 14:00 today Crown Princess Victoria and her parents came out of Solliden and were cheered by about 1500 people, who gave their crown princess flowers and presents. In the evening Victoria, her family and the other guests attended a concert in nearby Borgholm in which several well-known Swedish artists performed. The evening started with the King's Anthem during which Princess Máxima of the Netherlands kept on talking to Prince Philippe of Belgium, although it was obvious an anthem was being played (all people had stood up and sang along). In an interview broadcasted on Swedish television Crown Princess Victoria said that she will never get used to the media attention, but that she believes you get a certain ability to shake it off. She also thinks it is sad that the media has become less respectfull towards her, especially in the last year. About her royal guests she said that she was very pleased that they wanted to come and honour her on her 25th birthday and come to Öland. Victoria told that they have lots of common, have lots of fun together and are good friends you can count on as they have the same experiences and understand her better.

July 15th

Already yesterday people lined up to sign the condolence books at the St. Johann Church in Donaueschingen and to say goodbye to Prince Joachim Egon zu Fürstenberg, who died on July 9th, and whose closed coffin stood at the altar. Today at noon more than 500 prominent guests turned up for the funeral service at St. Johann Church, among them Prince Ernst August of Hannover with his wife Caroline, Duke Karl of Württemberg, Margrave Max of Baden, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, Archdukes Ferdinand and Heinrich of Austria, as well as representants of the Houses of Liechtenstein, Hohenzollern, Sayn-Wittgenstein and Schwarzenberg. Around 17:00 the closest relatives of Prince Joachim Egon went to family vault Maria Hof in Neudingen, which since 1337 is the burial church of the Fürstenberg family, where the prince got his last resting place.

The grave of the late Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary, first wife of Shah Mohammed Reza of Iran, was violated by unknown people one week ago. On the dark marble of the tombstone on a cemetery in München, Germany, abusive language, like 'elende Schmarotzerin' (miserable parasite) was written with white paint.

July 16th

In his fight for former propertie in eastern Germany Prince Ernst August of Hannover had bad luck. According to the Russian State Archives in Moscow there is no new evidence that the Soviets theirselves wanted to undo the expropriation in 1948, the Landesamt zur Regelung offener Vermögensfragen in Halle, Germany, announced today. The Russian State Archives declared the documents the prince had handed over for false. The prince among others wants the Big and Small Blankenburg Castle in the Harz back, while the inventory also counts many objects of art.

Today the Italian government's official gazette released that the historical return of the Italian royal family is set on October 15, the date on which the law that passed the Chamber of Deputies last week takes effect. Only a 'no' vote in a highly unlikely referendum could stop Prince Vittorio Emmanuele and his son Prince Emanuele Filiberto from returning from their exile in Geneva, Switzerland.

Plans to build a memorial fountain to Princess Diana are in turmoil after a meeting to choose a final design collapsed in acrimony. A committee, headed by the princess's friend Rosa Monckton, failed to reach a decision after two and a quarter hours of discussion. It means that, nearly five years after the princess's death, a design for the fountain - to be built in London's Hyde Park - has still not been chosen. A budget of £3 million has been earmarked for the fountain. The original 100 artists who submitted ideas were whittled down to three, but the memorial committee of eight are split 50-50 on a final choice, between Bombay-born British artist Anish Kapoor and American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson. It was eventually decided to ask Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell to find "an appropriate way forward".

July 20th

The son of Prince Bernhard and Princess Stephanie von Baden was christened today at Salem Castle as Leopold Bernhard Max Michael Ernst-August Friedrich Guillaume. Among his godparents were Prince Michael von Baden and Duke Friedrich von Württemberg.

July 21st

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was admitted to the AMC hospital in Amsterdam around noon for observation, because he only recovers slowly after his stay in hospital earlier this month.

July 22nd

At 10:56 this morning Princess Alexandra of Denmark gave birth to her second son at the Rigshospital in Copenhagen after a difficult delivery, more than one week before she was due to give birth. The baby weighs 3486 kg and is 52 cm tall. Both mother and son are doing well. Princess Alexandra arrived at hospital about 3:00 in the morning. Prince Joachim had to come from Gråsten where he spent some time with the rest of the family. At noon 21 salutes were shot from Kronborg Castle and from the elekt 'Sixtus' at Holmen in the harbour of Copenhagen as is the the tradition when a royal baby is born. Some hours after the birth of his son Prince Joachim told the press that "I wiped away a tear when I saw my second son arrive into the world." He told that the new prince is blond, but that it is quite hard to say what the colour of his eyes will be. He also revealed that he had cut the umilical cord and videotaped the birth. "In spite of everything, this time I wasn’t about to faint, as I did the first time," he said. "It must be that practice makes perfect." Queen Margrethe II, Prince Henrik and Prince Nikolai arrived in hospital in the afternoon to have a look at the newborn baby. As traditional the names of the newborn baby will not be known until the christening.

Vicente Sartorius y Cabeza de Vaca Marquess de Mariño, husband of Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, died during holiday with his wife at 9:15am at the hospital Can Misses de Ibiza, Spain, of heart failure. He will be buried at the Cemetery de San Isidro on July 24th. He was born on November 30, 1931 in Madrid and married Princess Nora of Liechtenstein in 1988. They have one daughter together, Maria Teresa, who is 9 years old. From an earlier marriage the Marquess has three children. His daughter Isabel was once named as a good wedding candidate for the Prince of Asturias.

Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz passed away today at noon in the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, where he had been receiving medical treatment for the past two months. He was 44 years old. The funeral prayers will be held tomorrow after the Asr prayer at Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh. He was most known abroad for his great interest in equestrian sports and owned a company specializing in horses. He leaves a wife, a son and four daughters. Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz returned from Genève on Monday night on hearing of his son's death.

July 23rd

Another tragedy in the Saudi Arabian royal family, as Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah al Saud died in a car accident on the Jeddah-Riyadh highway early in the morning at the age of 41. He was on his way to attend the funeral of Prince Ahmed bin Salman who died yesterday. The bodies of both Prince Ahmad and Prince Sultan were buried next to each other at Al-Oudh Graveyard in Manfouha, south Riyadh, after the Asr prayers at Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh that were attended by some foreign officials and a large number of princes and dignitaries.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was transferred to the intensive care this afternoon and his condition was described as precarious. Queen Beatrix was almost all day long with her husband in hospital. Later today also Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Máxima, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien arrived. They only left about 10:30 in the evening.

July 24th

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands ended in 7th place at the Pro-Am golf match in Hilversum on the occasion of the Dutch Open. He played in the team of the British player Nick Faldo, former number one of the world. The Pro-Am is a team match for one professional with three amateurs. Also Pieter van Vollenhoven played at the tournament and ended with his team in 20th place. In the past also Prince Bernhard played in the tournament, but in the last years mostly the younger princes took part in the tournament.

July 25th

Yesterday the condition of Prince Claus of the Netherlands slightly improved after a calm night. Queen Beatrix again stayed most of the day with her husband. Their sons, daughters- in-law and granddaughter Eloise, as well as Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven came to hospital to visit the prince. Wegener Press by mistake put an article on it's website yesterday, announcing Prince Claus' death. The article was removed quickly after it was discovered. Today however the condition of the prince deteriorated again and was again said to be precarious. Queen Beatrix stayed with him all day.

July 26th

Princess Alexandra of Denmark left hospital with her newborn son accompanied by Prince Joachim and Prince Nikolai.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will do a one and a half year stint in the Defense Command where he will be in charge of elite troops. He will start the assignment on September 2nd at the defense headquarters in Vedbaek. His job will focus on the participation of the army's Jaegerkorps and the Frømandskorps, in exercises and international military tasks. He will also give courses at the Military Academy.

The condition of Prince Claus of the Netherlands slightly improved again and he had a good night. However his doctors say it is too early to tell if the improvement will go on.

July 28th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands had another good night. The doctors are satisfied. Yesterday morning they already had reported that the slight improvement of Friday seemed to continue. Daily tens of cards arrive at the hospital for the prince.

July 29th

25-year-old Prince Fahd ibn Turki ibn Saud Al-Kabir of Saudi Arabia died today as a result of thirst he endured during a desert trip through Remah Janoub in Omaniya, south of Alomania Center. Funeral prayers will be held at the Imam Turki ibn Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh tomorrow.

British newspapers rumour that the relationship between Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II, and her boyfriend Richard Johnson is over. It is ssaid she has moved out of the estate they shared together and moved in with friends. Zara and Richard had been living together since 2001. They met three years ago at stables. Neither Zara nor Richard has spoken of the break-up yet.

July 30th

Crown Princess Himani of Nepal gave birth to a son at 12:49am. The baby was born by caesarian section and weighs 3.3 kilograms. Both mother and baby are doing well. The baby, who hasn't been named yet, is second in line to the throne after his father, Crown Prince Paras Shah. The crown princely couple already has a daughter, Princess Purnika.

King Fahd bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia left the University Hospital in Genève, Switzerland, on yesterday evening, one day after he was admitted there. In the morning he underwent a successful operation for removal of cataract from his right eye. A number of princes and high-ranking officials including Prince Abdul Rahman, deputy minister of defense and aviation, Interior Minister Prince Naif and Riyadh Governor Prince Salman were present at the Geneva hospital during the operation. King Fahd left Saudi Arabia for Switzerland on May 20 after delegating his responsibilities to Crown Prince Abdullah to run the affairs of the country until he returns from abroad.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands left the intensive care this morning and was taken to the coronary care unit of the AMC hospital in Amsterdam. The prince had another good night and the doctors are satisfied about his recovery and speak about a carefully positive development. It is said that he can go back to his own room in the hospital in a few days.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands underwent surgery at the meniscus of her right knee this evening at the Red Cross Hospital in The Hague, but went back home after the operation. The government information service said the knee had troubled her already for a while.

July 31st

The American landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson is the final designer of the Diana memorial fountain that will be built next to the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. The creation is based on a large oval stone ring. Work on the design will begin almost immediately, with the fountain expected to be in place by the sixth anniversary of Diana's death in August 2003. The £3 million design involves water pouring into the structure from the top of a hill at the Serpentine Bridge and running down in two directions. Both end in a pool in a dished hollow. At night the shape, which can be planted with plants and trees, would be lit up. The water will be shallow enough for children to paddle and play in and spectators would be able to touch the water. The design was eventually chosen by the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, after the memorial committee that was supposed to make a decision became deadlocked and spent months rowing.

August 2nd

Prince Hans Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein have announced a popular initiative for a vote about the changing of the constitution. Most likely the parliamentary process will be stopped. The Prince and the Hereditary Prince say that after a talk yesterday with the constitutional commission they were not sure that the 19 votes in the Diet (Landtag) that are necessary to change the constitution, could be expected. The only thing they could do was announce the initiative. The Prince also said that it is about time that after many years of discussion a decision will be made. As text for the initiative serves the draft of the constitution that was made by the Princely House and the Landtag commission on June 24th and that also was revealed yesterday. It can be read at the website of the Princely House. Prince Hans Adam II said that he will win the 1500 signatures necessary for a possible plebiscite personally. He is sure he will reach it and is also sure he will get a majority of votes. The Prince again said that in case he will loose the Princely House will move out from Liechtenstein and will reign the country from Austria, as was done before 1938. Lots of people critizised the step the Prince and Hereditary Prince have taken today.

Jean and Gisele Paul, the parents of Henri Paul, the chauffeur who was blamed for the car crash which killed Princess Diana of Wales are going to take legal action in a bid to clear his name. They say say they believe the blood sample taken at the time of the accident was not their son's, but may have come from one of dozens of other bodies held at the Paris morgue on the night of the crash in 1997. They will try to force the French authorities to release the blood for an independent DNA test. Mr Paul's parents said they would accept the result of an independent DNA test, if it proved that the sample came from their son. Within hours of the announcements of Henri Paul's parents Mohamed El Fayed said he had instructed his lawyers to launch "a parallel legal action on the same issue". He said he had always believed the samples were deliberately switched to cover up a "horrific murder".

August 4th

Zahir Shah, former King of Afghanistan, has moved back into his former palace in the capital, Kabul, nearly 30 years after being deposed. He was welcomed back to his quarters in what is now the presidential palace by current the Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, at a tea party. Mr Karzai told the other guests that it was a pleasure for the whole of Afghanistan that the king was back in the place where he was born. Zahir Shah's return to the palace was part of an agreement reached at the loya jirga, or grand assembly, in June. "It is like the birds coming back to their nests," Zahir Shah said as he was given a tour of the historic complex by President Karzai. "It gives me great pleasure to come back, great pleasure." Since his return in April, Zahir Shah has lived in a house a few blocks from the royal palace. He and 12 family members will move into what was once the royal harem. President Karzai has his quarters on the other side of the grounds.

The condition of Prince Claus of the Netherlands is slowly improving and the doctors are satisfied, but he still is in a 'vulnerable position'.

August 5th

The new baby son of Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark will be christened at Møgeltønder Church on Friday, October 4th. That will also be the day his name will be known.

August 7th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britian brought her summer of Golden Jubilee celebrations to an end with the first-ever garden party at Balmoral Castle for which 3000 people were invited. The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. During the 14 weeks since May 1, the Queen and Prince Philip have visited 70 cities and towns in 50 counties throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As most 3-year-old Danish children Prince Nikolai of Denmark will attend the local kindergarten starting at September 1st. He will be the first member of the Danish royal family to go to kindergarten. No special arrangements will be made for him.

August 8th

Graham Burrell, brother of Princess Diana of Wales's former butler Paul Burrell, will not face charges over items allegedly stolen from the Princess. He told the Daily Mirror: "It is one hell of a relief. This whole thing has been a nightmare. I could never understand why I was arrested in the first place. Also arrested was his brother-in-law Andrew Hawksworth, 31, and he too has been released from police bail. Neither man was charged with any offence.

August 9th

This morning Prince Claus of the Netherlands got a pacemaker during an operation at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, because he suffered of an irregular heartbeat. He will have to stay at the coronary care unit for a while, although the doctors are satisfied about his condition.

The name of the son of Crown Prince Paras Shah and Crown Princess Himani of Nepal was announced today in a special 'nwaran' ceremony at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, while his title had been announced already a few days ago. The prince who is titled Naba Yuvaraj received the name Hridayendra. His full name will be Naba Yubaraj Hridayendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. King Gyanendra and Queen Komal, the proud grandparents, held a reception at the Palace to mark the occasion. People have been queuing in front of the Royal Palace over the past days to offer their congratulations to the crown prince and crown princess.

After 11 months of tough training at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg finished his education as an army officer. The traditional Sovereign's Parade that closed the year was attended by Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, Prince Félix, Prince Louis, Princess Alexandra, Prince Sébastien and their cousin Archduke Imre of Austria. Also Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duke Henri were educated at Sandhurst.

The Prince of Wales, wearing a Hunting Stewart tartan with a Highland Brigade tie, has unveiled a memorial bench of Caithness stone to the Queen Mother on the site of one of her favourite beauty spots. The bench is inscribed: "This bench has been placed here in memory of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by Her Majesty's friends, trustees and employees at Mey. Queen Elizabeth loved this castle, which she saved from ruin in 1952, spending many happy holidays here between October 1955 and October 2001." The Queen Mother often spent summer evenings enjoying the view over the Pentland Firth while staying at the Castle of Mey in Caithness. The ceremony took place in the grounds of the Castle of Mey. The Prince of Wales said his grandmother had particularly loved the spectacular Scottish sunsets as she holidayed at Mey each year for almost 50 years. The event was attended by around 30 trustees of the Castle, former employees and various friends. Camilla Parker Bowles attended the ceremony after spending a day in the far north of Scotland, and later chatted to guests.

August 12th

The Prince of Wales plans to lend his name to a new range of goods to expand on the success of his Duchy Originals brand of organic food. It is speculated the ideas include a 'country casual' fashion collection and a range of finely-crafted furniture. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman has confirmed that Duchy Originals is considering diversifying into "high-quality non-food products". She says the Prince's aim is to help farmers while increasing his company's donations to charity as he is "deeply concerned" about the difficulties facing farmers and the agriculture industry.

August 13th

Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who divorced Hereditary Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe in February of this year, has become engaged to 35-year-old fashion designer Lambros Milona in Saint Tropez four weeks ago. Her manager Lars Meier confirmed the news after a report by the German magazine Bunte. Lambros Milona was born and raised in New York. His grandfather, who had a fur business, moved from Salonica, Greece, to New York in 1915. Lambros Milona attended New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. After an apprenticeship with illustrator Joe Eula, he worked with Adolfo and then on the licensed collections for Lanvin and Balenciaga in New York. Since 1994 he works in Italy and started in 1996 with his own collection called Lambros Milona Spazio in Milan. In an interview in 1997 he said: "My woman has a mind of her own. She refuses to be dictated to," says Milona. "She's a woman who's constantly changing and evolving. And my woman likes to have fun. Regardless of her age, she's a party girl." In an interview for an Italian fashion magazine in 2001 he told: "Some designers like to do wedding dresses. I like to do the dress you get divorced in."

For the first time Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has spoken publicly about having dyslexia during an address on Monday at a conference on bullying in schools in Örebro. She said both she and her younger brother Prince Carl Philip have struggled to overcome difficulties in reading and writing. "I used to think I was dumb and slow. It wasn't always fun to sit those extra hours and practice words. But today I realize that I've been lucky. I have received a lot of help and support with my dyslexia. Therefore, I don't have a problem talking openly about it." She added that "For me school was a very fun time, but also very demanding. If you have difficulties reading and writing, it can be very tough." Although it was known King Carl VI Gustaf, as well as his children Victoria and Carl Philip have dyslexia, the royal court never speaks about it.

August 14th

Following the baby rumours Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway admits that she and Crown Prince Haakon would like to have children, but there was no hint that an heir is on the way. Yesterday they started a cvisit to the Hordaland region and she made some comments after questions of the press. She also said: "We will answer when the time is righ."

The Countess of Wessex is to describe how she nearly backed out of marrying into the Royal Family. She will make the revelation in a new 11-part series 'Royalty A-Z' made by her husband's TV company and that will be shown on US television, channel E!, on August 21. Also the Count of Wessex, according to publicity material "opens up about his public and private life and the scandals that rocked his marriage". The programmes, which start this Sunday, promise to take viewers "into the lives" of other Royals including the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince William and the late Queen Mother.

The Queen Mother's beloved 16th century Castle of Mey is now open to the public. She spent summer holidays there for over 50 years. Public entry to the castle will be free over the next few weeks, but from the beginning of September an entry charge is expected. Guests are allowed to enter the library room, the equerry's rooms, dining room and butler's pantry.

August 15th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands was transferred to the intensive care unit again because of mucous secretion in his bronchial tubes. Since last Sunday he from time to time received articifial respiration. There is however no change in his condition which last Monday was described as 'frail and vulnerable. Meanwhile the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have restarted their visit to the Dutch Antilles, which they broke off in May of this year after the assassination of politician Pim Fortuyn.

August 19th

Archduchess Ildiko of Austria, who was born on June 6th was christened at the Cathedral of Szekesfehervar, Hungary, today. Besides members of the family also the ambassadors of Israel and Austria in Hungary were present.

August 22nd

Tashala Hayman, a 22-year-old woman from Vaughn, Montana, USA, has been arrested accused of plotting to poison Prince William of Wales. Police raided her trailer park home on August 8th after she was arrested for buying a handgun with a stolen debit card number and found a package containing a soft drink bottle laced with sodium cyanide. The parcel was to be sent to prince William at an address in Scotland. Officers also found the addresses of Senators Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, to whom Hayman is accused of posting two poisoned drinks with a note that read: "Have a Coke and a smile." She faces up to 20 years in jail and £7,000 in fines if convicted. She has been remanded in custody pending a bail hearing. Magistrate Carolyn Ostby ruled after a one-hour hearing that Hayman should be held in custody because there was a risk that she would abscond.

August 23rd

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, is seen as one of the most significant dates in British history, according to a new survey by the History Channel among 1000 Britons. The September 11 terrorist attacks topped the poll of most significant dates in world history in the last 100 years, gaining 41% of votes. Recent events tended to have a greater historical significance for people. Almost a quarter of the 1,000 people surveyed voted for the date Princess Diana died.

August 24th

Former King Simeon of Bulgaria, now Prime Minister, announced that the wedding of his daughter Kalina with Kitín Muñoz will take place on October 26th in Sofia. The church service will be a catholic one.

August 27th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, as well as son Marius, left for London this morning where they will study in the coming year. Crown Prince Haakon will work towards a Master's Degree at the London School of Economics, while the crown princess will study development issues at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Marius will go to an English school. The crown princely couple will be excused from most all official royal representation during the year, but intend to return to Norway next summer and resume royal duties. Yesterday they gave a press conference. They told that they had spent their first wedding anniversary on Sunday celebrating at home with family and friends. Also a special church service was held in the chapel at the Royal Palace conducted by Bishop Gunnar Stålsett. "It was a lovely day," said Crown Princess Mette-Marit. "It was very important for us to celebrate with family and friends, and not let it be an anniversary just for us two." Crown Princess Mette-Marit revealed that she passed an exam in ethics at the University of Oslo last month. She also told: "I stopped smoking while I was in the hospital with pneumonia last Spring. I haven't had a cigarette since." She said she feels fine now. Both she and Crown Prince Haakon said they merely laugh off the near-constant barrage of media coverage and speculation about them, especially in the German press. "We've developed a sort of gallows humor about it," she said, referring to several reports that she's pregnant.

August 29th

The location of the London home of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway's was already revealed on just the second day of their stay. On Wednesday the crown princely couple and Marius had to slip past waiting photographers when they left their new home in Bramham Gardens, Earl’s Court. Their appartment is located on the top floor.

August 31st

Mourners gathered in London and Paris to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In Paris they remembered Princess Diana at the Flame of Liberty, near the scene of the fatal 1997 crash. At Kensington Palace, Diana's former home, hundreds of fans left bouquets and pinned pinned pictures of the late princess to the railings along with balloons and Union flag bunting. Several people had camped overnight outside Kensington Palace. Flowers were also left at her family house in Althorp where she is buried. The princess's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, used the anniversary to rebuke former friends and associates who she says betrayed the princess's trust by selling lurid stories about her private life and also bemoaned the commercialisation of her death and appealed to the people to show more sensitivity to the feelings of Diana's son and other family members. There were no official ceremonies to mark the anniversary. The Royal Family were at Balmoral Castle and a spokeswoman said Diana would be "mentioned in prayers" during a church service on Sunday which the Royals will attend."

Prince Zeid bin Shaker of Jordan died yesterday morning of a sudden heart attack just a few days before his 68th birthday. He was a man who held several significant posts through his military career after he joined the armed forces in 1953. He also was a prominent member of the Jordanian politics. He acted as Prime Minister and Court Chief several times during the reign of the late King Hussein. Today, after the noon prayer, he was laid to rest at the royal graveyard. The funeral was among others attended by King Abdullah II, Crown Prince Hamzah and Prince Hassan bin Talal. The deceased prince was a far family member of King Abdullah II. His father, Emir Shaker bin Zeid acted as a regent of Transjordan in 1934.

September 1st

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales attended the morning service in Crathie Church. During the service Diana Princess of Wales was remembered in prayers to mark the fifth anniversary of her death. Crathie church minister The Reverend Bob Sloan remembered her in the context of recent tragedies, such as the abduction and murder of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Piper Alpha in 1988, Lockerbie in 1988 and the Dunblane massacre in 1996.

74% of the Britons think the British Royal Family has deliberately avoided referring to the late Diana Princess of Wales since her death, according to a poll by MORI last week that was published today in the People newspaper. 73% of people said there should be a permanent memorial for her, and 46% of the people polled said that not enough had been done to honour her memory. However 61% of those questioned also said that the Royal Family was modernised in the past five years.

In the book 'The Victorians' by Andrew Wilson that will be published this week, the writer claims Queen Victoria may have been the illegitimate daughter of her mother's male secretary, Sir John Conroy. He relies partly on the medical history of the royal family for his argument that Victoria was Conroy's child. He says royal family suffered from porphyria which results in madness. But there is no evidence Victoria carried the disease or passed it to her descendants, reports The Sunday Times. He also says the records show Victoria was a carrier for haemophilia even though records for Victorie's ancestors going back 17 generations show no cases of the disease. Wilson says: "It's safe then to assume that Victoria's mother was not a carrier." He suggests haemophilia came into the royal family from Conroy. But other experts suggest the disease more likely appeared as a result of spontaneous genetic mutation in Victorie's ovary. If Wilson's claims are true, it would call into question the royal family's legitimacy, the Sunday Times reports.

Prince Claus of the Netherlands is back at his original room. His condition has slightly improved.

September 3rd

A police spokesman has said that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain had two unexpected visitors during her holiday at Balmoral Castle when two single-seat aircrafts made force landings in the grounds of the castle. They were taking part in the annual UK Mountain Soaring Championships at the nearby Deeside Gliding Club and were forced to land near the paddock area after their aircraft lost natural airlift. The man and the woman landed safely. Police officers at Balmoral helped the gliders when they landed. Shortly after the landing they were picked up by members of the gliding club. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh witnessed the whole event from the drawing room window and were very glad the pair were safe.

September 5th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands, who will celebrate his 76th birthday tomorrow, has been released from hospital. In the beginning of the afternoon Queen Beatrix picked him up. Further recovery will take place at home.

September 6th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium graduated from the faculty of psychology of the University of Louvain-la-Neuve with distinction. Her paper, written under the name Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz, had the subject "La quete de l' identité chez l' adolescent delinquant: de la' accompagnement a la remediation?" (The search for identity by the young delinquent: the accompaniment of the remedy).

September 8th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh as well as Prime Minister Tony Blair attended a special September 11-focused mass in Scotland amid tight security. Afterwards, Crathie minister, Rev Bob Sloan, said: "We prayed for the Queen, the Prime Minister and the US President and we prayed for those who would see Wednesday as a special day. We remembered those who had been physically and mentally scarred by it and those whose pain may never heal." The service was taken by the Right Rev Finlay Macdonald, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. He too said the congregation's thoughts had been with those who had suffered as a result of September 11. "I was saying how important it was that people of different religions should co-operate to make religion a force for good in the world."

Prince Harry of Great Britain is to mark his 18th birthday on September 15th with a tribute to his late mother Diana Princess of Wales, St James's Palace has announced. He will carry out a series of charity visits. The birthday plans were initially his own ideas and were drawn up with help from palace aides. The spokeswoman of the prince said the prince is keen to remind the public of the good works his mother carried out and that he is deeply upset that the fifth anniversary of her death last month was dominated by former bodyguard Ken Wharfe's book detailing his mother's private life. The Prince will have a day off school to carry out a day of engagements which will reflect Diana's interests. He also will accompany his father to a service at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday to mark 11 September, where they will meet families of some of the British victims of the terror attacks in New York and Washington a year ago. Official portrait photographs of Harry by Diana's favourite photographer, Mario Testino, will also be released to mark his birthday. They were taken on Friday at Eton, and Harry plans to have newspapers and magazines using them pay a fee to a charity, but he has yet to decide which one. The Prince of Wales is understood to be fully supportive of Harry's desire to remember his mother with the series of engagements. He has encouraged him to mark his birthday in a positive way and has helped him with the arrangements. Although the palace has not yet released details of Harry's schedule ahead of his birthday next Sunday, the spokeswoman said they would reflect his mother's interests.

September 9th

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden arrived in Berlin, Germany at the end of the morning for a two-month trainee job as a preparation for her role as future queen. After arrival she had a look at her new appartment and then met some of her new colleagues. She will start her job at the Swedish Foreign Trade Bureau in Berlin-Wilmersdorf tomorrow at 8:30. According to an employee of the institute that helps Swedish firms exporting goods to Germany, Victoria will carry out normal duties. A photo session and a press conference will take place on Wednesday. After her stay in Berlin she will also work in Paris for the Swedish Export Bureau.

In Amsterdam Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands started a national campaign against illiteracy of Dutch speaking Dutch today. Princess Laurentien gave lessons to Dutch adult illiterates for a while and says she hopefully has contributed a little to get illiterates out of their isolation. Before her marriage she already said she wants to continue helping this group of people.

September 10th

A message of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was read by Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at an emotional memorial service for British victims of September 11 in St Thomas Church in Manhattan, New York. In the message she tells: "The dreadful attacks of September 11 may have threatened freedom, innocence and other values we hold dear, but they also inspired grace, charity and courage. We admire these qualities in the strength of the families of the victims; in the determination of the rescue workers; and in the extraordinary spirit and resilience demonstrated by the people of New York." Many families of 34 victims from Great Britain at the ceremony were in tears when they heard the Queen's words recalling their loved ones.

Scotland Yard has passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with former bodyguard Ken Wharfe's book on Diana Princess of Wales. Ken Wharfe's decision to publish a book has enraged old colleagues. He chronicles his six years as a protection officer to the late Princess in 'Diana: Closely Guarded Secret'. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Metropolitan Police sent a report to the Crown Prosecution Service seeking their advice regarding this matter - the possibility of legal action over this book." Wharfe is the first policeman to write a royal biography and it is feared his actions could open the floodgates for other protection officers to air their secrets. Wharfe denies betraying the Princess, insisting that his book, is intended to tell the truth about Diana and prevent her memory being "airbrushed from history". In the book, Wharfe among others describes the time the princess allowed him to see her naked and how she once leapt off a balcony to escape the prying eyes of paparazzi photographers.

September 11th

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden showed photographers around her new work space at the Swedish Foreign Trade Bureau in Berlin yesterday. She got settled in at her desk that she shares with a co-worker. Today she told the press at the 30-minute press conference she will also make coffee if she drinks the last cup, as that is the one who has to make new coffee. She said to be happy to be in Berlin and wants to learn a lot, look around in Berlin and sometimes enjoy the nightlife and free evenings as 'I love dancing'. In the weekends she hopes to have a look around in the countryside around Berlin and visit her German family.

September 13th

The second cd of Princess Christina of the Netherlands was released. The cd 'The Me Nobody Knows' is a tribute to New York and a dedication to the memory of those who perished on September 11th, 2001. The proceeds of the cd will go to the survivors who are suffering as a result of what happened. The princess herself lives in New York again since 1996 and also lived there between 1974 and 1984. The cd contains a 19 wonderful Broadway songs from all times, including 'Send in the clowns'. Her daughter Juliana Guillermo sings along with the song 'The me nobody knows' in which also the Young People's Chorus of New York City sings. The princess also sings two songs together with the Dutch singer Rob de Nijs. Meanwhile also Princess Märtha Louise of Norway is busy recording a cd. She will sing on the Christmas cd of the Oslo Gospel Choir. The cd will be on sale on November 13th. A tour of the choir will start on November 30, but it is not known yet if Princess Märtha Louise will take part in it.

September 14th

Prince Harry of Great Britain is getting an official coat of arms for his 18th birthday tomorrow. The crest is based on the one created for Prince William on his 18th birthday in 2000. Prince Harry was involved in designing the crest which incorporates an emblem from his mother's family arms. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain authorised the unique coat of arms for her grandson. Meanwhile it was revealed that the profits from sales of pictures to mark Harry's 18th birthday will go to the small humanitarian charity Merlin that helps save lives in the Third World. The seven photos, a mixture of colour and black and created at Eton College, were taken by fashion photographer Mario Testino, who was a favourite of the late Princess Diana, while also the Prince of Wales commissioned Testino to take a series of shots earlier this year.

The final castle built by Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last independent Prince of Wales, will be opened to the public on Wednesday after over 20 years of excavation work finished. Dolforwyn Castle, near Newtown in mid Wales, has re-emerged from beneath the turf where foundations were first laid in 1272. It was built as one of a number of strongholds to protect the Welsh borders. When excavations started in 1981, only the castle's round tower could still be seen, with a few stones breaking though the ground at the remains of the site. Much of the castle's external wall survived, and the square keep at the west end and the round tower at the east have been completely excavated.

September 15th

Last Thursday Prince Harry of Great Britain carried out his first solo engagements to mark his 18th birthday. He visited sick children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, whose president Princess Diana was until her death, and later went to visit three other charities in London working with children. In an interview this weekend to the Sunday Express newspaper Prince Harry spelled out his mission in life - to keep alive the charity work of his late mother Princess Diana and carry forward charity work she didn't quite finish. For the first time he spoke openly about the immense pride he felt in his mother's legacy. "She had more guts than anybody," he said. "The way she got close to people and went for the sort of charities and organisations that everyone else was scared to go near, such as land mines in the Third World. She got involved in things that nobody had done before - AIDS for example." He said that he was first inspired to carve a future role for himself battling to help lesser-known causes, as Diana did, when he was 15 or 16. "I want to carry on the things that she didn’t quite finish. I have always wanted to, but I was too young." About the visits he carried out last Thursday he said: " It was quite difficult at first, being younger and not as experienced as some of the people I was meeting. I have seen my mother doing it so many times and she was so good at it. But the more I do it in the future, the better I hope to become." Prince Harry also spoke about the stories about his mother’s personal life that have been published since her death. He said that "The fifth anniversary of her death was important because she wasn’t remembered in a way I would have liked." The prince who is currently in his final year at Eton College said his father gave his approval to his plans and "has encouraged me to take an interest in my mother’s work. He rang me after the visits to make sure I was all right and hadn’t taken on too much, but I told him I really enjoyed them." He will celebrate his birthday quietly at home in Highgrove with his father and elder brother.

September 16th

Queen-in-exile Fadila of Egypt is forced to sell her expensive appartment on the Avenue Foch in Paris in an enforced auction on Thursday to pay off her debts. "I have no money at all," she said. "My only income is handouts from Saudi and Moroccan princes and kings. I think there's something very odd about the sale, a sort of plot, if you like. After all, this is really the official residence of Egypt's royal family." Since 1999 Fadila, who was born Dominique Picard, is involved in divorce proceedings with her husband Fuad, the last King of Egypt, who as a baby succeeded his father King Farouk in 1952, but was thrown off the throne six months later. They have two sons and one daughter. Fadila claims her problems began when her husband, who says he is broke, didn't pay her a small monthly allowance. "He accused me of being lazy and wasteful but that's not true," she said. "I believe he's sitting on a secret fortune. Stories that he is suffering from severe depression because I ruined him are nonsense."

September 17th

The yearly opening of the parliament in the Netherlands, Prinsjesdag, took place in The Hague today. Queen Beatrix accompanied by the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima and Prince Johan Friso drove in the Golden Coach from Palace Noordeinde to the Ridderzaal where the Queen read the governmental plans for the coming year, and then drove back to the palace around 14:00. Afterwards the whole family, including Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven, appeared on the balcony of the palace. It was Princess Máxima's first Prinsjesdag.

In the afternoon Prince Claus of the Netherlands was admitted to the Amsterdam Medical Centre again for a further check-up after complaints about his health by the prince. He has fever and it is feared he has infected bronchial tubes again. He lies at the intensive care and is being breathed upon.

September 18th

Prince Claus of the Netherlands has infected bronchial tubes again the Government Information Service confirmed today. Doctors call his condition stable.

September 21st

In an interview in the Sunday Mirror former cavalry officer James Hewitt has denied he is Prince Harry of Wales's father. Although he has been Diana Princess of Wales's lover for five years he said: "There really is no possibility whatsoever that I am Harry's father. I can absolutely assure you that I am not. I can understand the interest but Harry was already walking by the time my relationship with Diana began." St James' Palace declined to comment on the interview.

September 22nd

With a cantata service at the Friedenskirche the 16th European Noble Congress in Potsdam, Germany, ended today. Since last Thursday about 220 nobles from 17 European countries have discussed the subject 'Nobility in the democracy' and its role and values.

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium have given a good example. On the occasion of the European car-free Sunday, in which Brussels as only European capital took part, they cycled from Laeken Castle to the Royal Palace in the centre of Brussels this morning followed by tens of schoolchildren, several other people and journalists. The pouring rain didn't stop them from cycling back to Laeken Castle afterwards, although that wasn't planned.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has chosen himself a tenth wife today after a traditional dancing ceremony in the south of his country. A wedding date hasn't been set yet. The bride-to-be is 18-year-old Ayanda Nolichwa Ntenteza.

September 23rd

Prince Claus of the Netherlands is still at the intensive care, but was taken off the respirator. His condition is satisfying.

September 25th

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands has appeared on a sheet of four poststamps from Moçambique to honour his work for the World Wildlife Fund. He is their international president since the start in 1961. Two poststamps show his favourite animal, the elephant, while two others show the prince himself with a cheetah and a monkey. The used photos come from the prince's own private collection.

Eight human skeletons have been discovered on September 11th in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, one of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's official residences, by gas workers who were laying pipes in connection with the renewal of under-floor services and unearthed the remains in the kitchen. It is believed the bones probably belonged to people who lived near a monastery which once stood on the site during medieval times. Archaeologists are examining the remains of four adults, two young people, a child and a baby but are puzzled by their origin. Strangely, one of the bodies was laid facing west, while the rest face eastwards as religious practice at the time dictated. As the skeletons are still partially buried, only the sex of two - a male adult and young male - have been determined. The experts say they do not wish to disturb the remains and so they have agreed to let the origins remain a mystery.

September 26th

After the TV Danmark 2 programme Lokal Rapporten reported yesterday that Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his girlfriend Mary Donaldson will become engaged on October 2nd, and will get married in Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen on May 24th, 2003, Danish and international press quickly took over writing about it. The royal court declines to comment. The crown prince himself, visiting New York currently until September 30th, said to the press that he can understand the media interest in him, but that it is very comic that the press, who were the ones to start the rumours, asks him to comment. He said he wouldn't comment on announcements that come from the press and not from the royal court.

September 29th

Yesterday evening the news on the Belgian tv-channel VTM announced that Prince Laurent of Belgium and his girlfriend Claire Coombs will get engaged in November and will get married in Spring. The news was confirmed to the VRT radio news service by a good source. The press service of the royal palace says no official announcement is planned. According to VTM King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium already made acquaintance with Claire and did she already follow a Dutch language course in Spa. Claire Coombs is a geometrist in her early 30s. She works in Wavre and lives in Uccle near Brussels. She has a British father and a Belgian mother. The first time she was spotted together with Prince Laurent was in 1998 and since they have been seen together occasionally. Among others she accompanied him to Amsterdam in February 2002 during the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta.

September 30th

In several Belgian newspapers Prince Laurent of Belgium has denied that an engagement with Claire Coombs hasn't been planned. Also a wedding should not be on the stocks. In the newspapers Claire's grandmother Marie-Louise Mertens told about her granddaughter and how she met Laurent during a dinner with friends.

Two days ago the Princess Royal and her husband Commodore Tim Laurence were prosecuted under the Dangerous Dogs Act, Buckingham Palace has confirmed. Their bull terrier is alleged to have attacked a couple in Windsor Great Park in July, while the couple was exercising the dog without having it on its leash. One of the people was allegedly bitten on the leg, though not seriously. They have been summonsed to appear before Slough magistrates court in 10 days' time a newspaper said on Sunday. The offence carries a fine of up to £5,000 and up to six-months imprisonment. Magistrates can also order the destruction of the animal and have the power to disqualify the Princess and her husband from keeping a dog. Thames Valley Police refused to confirm or deny the alleged incident took place.

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.

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. He was surrounded by his wife, Queen Beatrix, and his three sons. Also Princess Máxima, Princess Laurentien and Princess Margriet were at the hospital. The doctors at the AMC hospital stated that the Prince died of a combination of Parkinson's disease and pneumonia. Soon after the news became known people started bringing flowers to the palaces in The Hague and Amsterdam and burned candles. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende made an appearance on television to deliver the news. He described the death as a shock for the country. 'It was a great man who departed from us this day'.

October 7th

The Prince of Orange, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn, deeply moved, accompanied their father's body from the AMC Hospital in Amsterdam to Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague in the early afternoon. They were escorted by vehicles of the Corps National Police Service. Several hundreds of people stood outside the hospital and the palace, while others stopped their cars when the royal cars passed them on the way from Amsterdam to The Hague. At the palace also Princess Irene, Princess Margriet and members of the Von Amsberg family were present. In the afternoon Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende condoled the family on behalf of the government. The body of Prince Claus will lie in state in the garden chamber at Palace Huis ten Bosch until tomorrow to give family and friends the opportunity to say goodbye to him. Tomorrow the coffin will be brought to Palace Noordeinde in The Hague, where the prince's three sons will hold a vigil. On Wednesday dignitaries will be able to say goodbye, while the people are allowed to say goodbye from Thursday to Sunday. The funeral will be held on Tuesday October 15 at the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, where the family vault is situated already since the 16th century. The service will be led by the Rev. C.A. ter Linden. It will be the first royal funeral in the Netherlands since the death of Queen Wilhelmina in 1962. It was announced that the coffin will be brought to the church in a purple coach with silver accents. The family will wear black. The Dutch royal court has announced court mourning, which means that the family will not carry out any engagements until November 1st.

Other royal houses in the world have sent their sympathy to the Dutch royal family after the death of Prince Claus. King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium have said they will come, while the royal houses of Sweden, Spain and Great Britain have said to send someone. For sure Queen Elizabeth II will not be present herself.

Grand Master P. Waldeck officially gave notice of the death of Prince Claus in Amsterdam as head of the royal household. He is also charged with the organisation of the funeral.

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 8th

About 14:45 the coffin of Prince Claus, covered with the Dutch flag, arrived at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague, accompanied by the Prince of Orange, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn wearing a jacquet. Men from the marine corps carried the coffin into the palace where the three princes held a vigil that lasted half an hour. Queen Beatrix arrived at Palace Noordeinde accompanied by Princess Máxima and Princess Laurentien. Also other members of the family were present at the palace.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands placed a death announcement in a special edition of the Staatscourant today. It says: "With deep sorrow I give notice that my beloved husband died peacefully yesterday. My family and I feel strenghtened by the thought that many share this great loss with us. Beatrix."

The funeral service on October 15th will be held from 12:15 to 13:15. According to the Dutch press it is uncertain if Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands will attend the funeral of his son-in-law.

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.

Members of the Dutch government, parliament as well as Dutch and foreign dignitaries paid their last respect to prince Claus today at Palace Noordeinde.

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

October 10th

On the first day the people could say goodbye to Prince Claus 23.000 people lined up to pay their last respect to him. In the afternoon waiting time had become more than 2 hours. High school students gave hot chocolate and cookies to the waiting people. In a tent in the garden of Palace Noordeinde people could also sign a condolence book.

After speculations that Prince Bernhard wouldn't attend the funeral of his son-in-law today it was announced that he will attend. Several more guests have confirmed they come. Among them King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark together with Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. Also said to come from Japan are Prince and Princess Akishino.

The funeral train will leave for Delft at 9:45. 6000 military men will stand along the 9-kilometres-long route. Family joins the funeral train in Rijswijk. It is expected the funeral train will arrive in Delft at about 11:45. After the service the family goes back to Palace Noordeinde for the reception.

The municipality of Delft has ordered that if the funeral train passes windows and doors should be closed along the route. It is also forbidden to sail, drive or park in town or to drink alcohol.

October 11th

Some 25.000 people lined up to pay their last respect to Prince Claus.

October 12th

There will be a huge tv-screen at a square near the railway station of Delft for visitors who can't find a place along the route anymore on Tuesday. Furthermore the municipality of Delft has issued 35.000 folders with information about the funeral.

The Prince of Orange, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn will accompany the coffin of their father already from Palace Noordeinde. The rest of the family will join the funeral train in Rijswijk.

October 13th

Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien attended a church service at the Kloosterkerk in The Hague today. Among the other guests Mrs Renée Smith-Roëll, Queen Beatrix best friend, and Mabel Wisse Smit, girlfriend of Prince Johan Friso.

In four days time more than 90.000 people said goodbye to Prince Claus while he was lying in state at Noordeinde Palace. This evening the gates remained open until almost one hour after midnight. In the beginning of the evening the people were halted for a short while when the police arrested two men queueing. They were suspected of possessing forbidden weapons. Later on it was discovered this was not right.

October 14th

This morning the family was able to say goodbye to Prince Claus at Noordeinde Palace.

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

Thousands of people lined the nine-kilometre route of the funeral procession of Prince Claus, which started at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, where the prince's body lay in state for four days. At 09.45 the funeral procession departed from Noordeinde Palace for the Netherlands Defence College in Rijswijk, accompanied by the Prince of Orange, Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn. In Rijswijk they were joined by Queen Beatrix, Princess Máxima and Princess Laurentien. At 11.35 the complete procession left from there for the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft with full military honours. It arrived in Delft at 12.15. Guests, among them many royals, arrived at the Nieuwe Kerk between 10.30 and 12.00. Members of the Royal Family who were not taking part in the procession, dignitaries from the Kingdom of the Netherlands and visiting members of royal houses assembled in Delft town hall and crossed the Market square to the Nieuwe Kerk on foot between 11.50 and 12.00, followed at 12.00 by the members of the Royal Family assembled in the town hall. About 1900 people were invited. On the cushions that were on top of the coffin during the funeral service were the Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands, the Personal Flag of Prince Claus and the Grand Cross of the Order of the House of Orange and the Medal of the Nijmegen Vierdaagse. Prince Claus' remains joined those of 43 other members of the House of Orange in the vault of the Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, in Delft. The coffin was laid in the section containing the remains of King Willem III (1890), Queen Emma (1934), Prince Hendrik (1934) and Queen Wilhelmina (1962). Only Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, Prince Claus's five surviving sisters (Sigrid, Rixa, Barbara, Theda and Christina) as well as Prince Johan Friso's girlfriend Mabel Wisse Smit, followed the coffin into the vault, where they had last moment to say goodbye.After the moving funeral service the royal family and their guests left about 14:00 for Noordeinde Palace, where guests had an opportunity to offer their condolences to the family.

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

On an average 3,3 million people watched the live television broadcast of the funeral of Prince Claus in the Netherlands. At 12:30, when the ceremony started, about 4,4 million people watched television.

The 5000 kilo heavy stone, which was taken off for the funeral, has been placed again at the family vault in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.

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.

Immediately after the funeral Queen Beatrix travelled to Italy to get some rest. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende will be received next Monday when she returns back to The Netherlands. He will officially hand over the dismissal of the Dutch Cabinet, that fell apart yesterday after having governed less than 100 days.

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.

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.

November 1st

Yesterday Marie Elisabeth Zellinger de Balkany, only daughter of Princess Marie Gabrielle of Savoy, married civilly in Chène-Bourg near Genève, Switzerland, Olivier A. Janssens. The groom is managing director of Coffee World Corporation Ltd.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell was formally found not guilty of three charges of stealing from the estate of Princess Diana, the Prince of Wales and Prince William. The trial came to a premature end because of the sudden involvement of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Prince of Wales. It emerged that Mr Burrell told the Queen in a private conversation following the death of Diana Princess of Wales that he had been keeping items belonging to her for safe keeping. The prosecution had been brought on the basis that Mr Burrell had not told anyone that he had kept items belonging to the princess. After hearing submissions from the prosecution and defence, the judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, instructed that Mr Burrell was not guilty on all three counts of theft. She discharged the jury in its absence in the third week of the trial and told Mr Burrell he was free to go. Mr Burrell left the courtroom surrounded by his lawyers and police without giving much comment. Mr Burrell said the "Queen has come through for me". His solicitor, Andrew Shaw, said: "He's happy and relieved to have been acquitted on all charges after the terrible ordeal of the last 21 months. He has always maintained his total innocence. The prosecution was based on numerous errors. The evidence in the trial has shown up many mistakes on the part of the police. It is a matter of regret that no proper investigation was carried out into the accuracy of the 39-page statement given to the police on 16 August 2001. In that statement, Mr Burrell referred to a private audience granted to him by the Queen. It's surprising that no inquiries were made of the Queen in relation to that meeting." The Royal Family might not have discovered police misled them over allegations against Paul Burrell, until after the trial had started.

The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie thinks it is time for a new debate on the role of the royal house in Belgium. They say the support for the monarchy has dropped low and refer to a recent inquiry. They want to set up a special commission in the Chamber, that has to decide which sections of the Belgian constitution could be revised if the political role of the monarch should be abolished.

November 2nd

A newspaper bidding war has begun for the story of Paul Burrell, with one offer in the region of £1 million, according to sources close to the former Royal butler. He is believed to be considering the offers as he celebrates the collapse of his trial at a secret hideaway in the north of England. His personal manager and media representative Dave Warwick has refused to confirm details of any bids, but admits having received more than 300 emails from media organisations around the world requesting interviews with Mr Burrell. Meanwhile Buckingham Palace is under pressure to explain why the Queen took so long to intervene in the case of Paul Burrell. Labour Members of Parliament say if the disclosure had been known about earlier, it would have ensured the prosecution was never brought. Also any suggestion the Queen's intervention was linked to concerns at the Palace about what might ome out in court was rejected.

November 3rd

Paul Burrell says he didn't reveal details of his conversation with the Queen because he "never realised" what he told her could clear his name. He assumed details of his meeting with Her Majesty should remain confidential. He mentioned to police in various statements that he had held a private audience with the Queen, but did not refer to what was said. He had been concerned about what was happening to documents belonging to Diana following her death. Although he has got lucrative offers to tell all about life with Diana and Charles with reports of bids up to £1 million, his sollicitor Mr Shaw said to BBC that Mr Burrell's original 39-page statement to police - which was not made public - had included references to conversations between Diana and Charles which he had wanted to keep private. "The essence of it was that Paul had been privy to a number of private conversations between the Prince and Princess," his sollicitor said. "He knew what the terms of the conversation were and he was never going to tell anybody about it. So that even though those matters might have been of some significance to him he wasn't going to tell anybody what they were." He indicated that if Mr Burrell had been called to the witness box to testify, he would not have wanted to harm the Royals, but that evidence could have come out that would have been damaging. He says Mr Burrell will now decide whether to pursue legal action against the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Burrell is expected to make an attempt to recover some of the hundreds of items taken from his house in Cheshire by police. Buckingham Palace remains under pressure to explain why the Queen took so long to reveal that Mr Burrell had told her he was safeguarding some of Diana's belongings.

November 4th

The royal family of the Netherlands thanked the people in a letter. The letter says: "As family we sincerely thank all those who showed their sympathy with the death of Prince Claus. / In very different ways you expressed your feelings of sympathy, in flowers, in words, in a quiet goodbye or by expressing your sympathy in the books of condolence on many places in the country. The appreciation and affection for Prince Claus which came forward in those, deeply touched us, his wife and children. / All tokens of sympathy are a great support to us and we are intensely grateful to you for this." The letter was signed by Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Johan Friso, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell has sold his story to the Daily Mirror newspaper for about £300,000. The paper announced it had acquired "exclusive world rights" to the story by fighting off bids from more than 400 media organisations worldwide. Mirror editor Piers Morgan told the BBC members of the Royal Family and the Spencer family could be embarrassed by the revelations. He said: "He will be incredibly frank, I think it will be pretty searing stuff. He will protect the memory of Princess Diana and will honour his pledge to always protect the Queen. But I think there will be many others in the Royal Family and those close to the Royal Family who will be quaking in their boots tonight." Earlier today Mr Burrell spoke on LBC Radio and thanked the British public for their support since his trial collapsed. "I want to come out and tell you what's happened to me. I do have a great story to tell," he said. He said he had been offered more than £1m for his story, "but I am not interested in just making the most amount of money that I can. I believe that the Daily Mirror will let me tell the true story as it is." The Daily Mirror will start publishing Mr Burrell's revelations on Wednesday. Meanwhile hundreds of exhibits from the trial have been removed from court and first taken back to the police station where the investigation started as in every case, but it is still unclear who will lay claim to the property.

November 5th

Prince Harry of Wales was named 2002's most dateable "stud" by Tatler magazine. It was said that "Harry has suddenly emerged as the young royal who has just come of age and is naughty but nice. By a huge majority, he was voted the most desirable new guy on the block. He's got a sense of mischief. There's a certain energy and irreverence, wit and fun about him. He is clearly good-looking and a young man who people are going to watch and girls have got their eye on.". His elder brother Prince William, who was number one in the list two years ago, failed to make it to the top 10. On the women's list Lady Gabriella Windsor ended up in second position.

The Spencer family is understood to be very angry about Paul Burrell's decision to sell his story. A source stated: "What possible good for her children and her family can come out of selling her story to the (Daily) Mirror?" It was "absolutely untrue" that Lady Sarah McCorquodale, the late Princess's older sister, had been the driving force behind the failed prosecution. There was no vendetta against Paul Burrell. "The family gave him £50,000 as a thank you for all that he had done for their sister. They all wish that the whole thing had never come to court," the source added. The Spencers were said to be "absolutely amazed" at the way that the trial had collapsed on Friday.

November 6th

In his first interview to the Daily Mirror that paid £300,000 for his own story, former royal butler Paul Burrell claimed the Queen warned him his closeness to Diana, Princess of Wales, could put his safety at risk during a three-hour meeting with her two months after Princess Diana's funeral and told him: "There are powers at work in this country about which we have no knowledge", and also said "No-one, Paul, has been as close to a member of my family as you have." He also claims that the Queen tried to build bridges with Diana before she died. Mr Burrell also gives an explanation for every single item he was accused of stealing and discloses what he told police when he was arrested. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman would not comment on what was a "private meeting". "There were only two people in the room and it is confidential," she said. Mr Burrell said he was only speaking publicly now because he was concerned that the Queen's reputation was being eroded by speculation over her last-minute involvement in the case.

November 7th

Princess Diana of Wales's former bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, says in an article in the Evening Standard that Paul Burrell's account of his private meeting with the Queen sounds like "a work of fiction". He said that Diana also had called other people her "rock" including himself, her chef, her chauffeur and her secretary. He claims Mr Burrell had become "obsessed" with the Princess to his opinion, and said she was wrongly convinced he was the only person she could trust. Mr Wharfe didn't recognise Mr Burrell's depiction of Diana's relationship with the Spencer family and claimed she was close to her mother Frances Shand Kydd, and sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale. "When Diana was at her most troubled and really needed the most private of counsel, it was to her mother that she would always turn," he said.

November 8th

Earl Spencer has condemned former royal butler Paul Burrell for "yet more hurtful lies" about how his family treated his sister Diana, Princess of Wales and disputes Mr Burrell's version of events. In his third interview to the Daily Mirror Mr Burrell said the earl behaved "disrespectfully" at Diana's funeral and accused the earl of removing the Royal Standard from Diana's coffin in front of the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry at Althorp House before it was buried announcing "She is a Spencer now", and replaced it with the Spencer flag and "depriving" her of her royal status. Mr Burrell told the newspaper "it was not what Diana would have wanted". In a statement Earl Spencer said: "The Queen's standard was removed as part of the ceremony by her own officer in a dignified and pre-agreed manner." In the second interview Mr Burrell had already told that the family had abandoned Diana during her life, only to claim her when she died. He singled out the princess's mother and her siblings for criticism and accused Earl Spencer of being "hypocritical" at her funeral and said: "And I, for one, would never have paraded her life before a museum and charged £10.50 a time." He also claims Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, made "shocking" telephone calls to her daughter late at night. He says the Princess insisted he listen in to conversations with her mother. "It was horrible. She was using the kind of language you would never expect to hear a mother ever say to a daughter." Mr Burrell says Mrs Shand Kydd was angry with her daughter for dating "Muslim" men. He also said that Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, was nicknamed "Lady Sarah McCrocodile", and was "jealous" of the Princess.

While visiting a hospital in Uruguay the Duke of York told his daughter Princess Eugenie is two inches taller after her recent operation to correct curvature of her spine. "She was under the knife for seven hours and she's two inches taller now," he said: "It was quite extraordinary - she had the operation on the Monday, she was walking on Thursday and out of hospital on Sunday. We did it over half-term so she wouldn't miss much school, but because the operation has been slightly more complicated than we thought, she is not yet ready to go back to school. Eugenie wanted to go back but she can't get a knock and schools are notorious for getting knocks, so we've kept her away for about another week and she has a tutor."

November 9th

Emily Bremers, longtime former girlfriend of the Prince of Orange, married Jonkheer Rhoderick van der Wyck today in the St Jozef Church in Kapellen near Antwerp, Belgium. The civil wedding took place yesterday in the Marot Hall at Duivenvoorde Castle in Voorschoten, The Netherlands, and was attended by more than 100 guests. The groom is a descendant of Countess Renira Bentinck.

In today's Daily Mirror interview with former royal butler Paul Burrell, he said that outside interference in the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales meant there was never a chance of recovering. Among the people interfering in the marriage he named the then Prime Minister John Major and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey. The Princess of Wales however always wanted to avoid a divorce. Mr Burrell also admits he put the princess before his wife and family, because she "needed" him more than they did. Tomorrow Mr Burrell will be interviewed on television. A video diary, recorded over the past six months, will form part of the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme on ITV1. During the broadcast, Mr Burrell will also talk about what he saw as the princess's loneliness. "I think perhaps the family was dysfunctional," he tells the programme. "It's difficult to say. From a very early age the princess had a difficult life, living in a huge stately home with parents who were busy doing other things; away at boarding school."

November 10th

King Albert II of the Belgians had a motor-accident on Friday near his country-house in Châteauneuf-de-Grasse in the South of France and broke his ankle. He will not be able to attend the firstcoming engagements. Princess Astrid will replace him tomorrow at the commemoration of the armistice.

This morning Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne returned back to earth after a mission to the international space station ISS, that he started on October 30. On the landing-space the second Belgian in space was welcomed by Prince Philippe of Belgium. During the stay in the ISS Frank de Winne had already spoken with the prince. At the welcome ceremony the astronaut, his two Russian colleagues, as well as Prince Philippe were dressed in traditional costumes of Kazakhstan. To a Belgian television channel Prince Philippe admitted that if they would ask him to take part in a space-flight he immediately would say yes.

On the diary shown on the ITV1 special of Tonight With Trevor McDonald Paul Burrell has admitted being arrested made him consider suicide, but only stopped himself for the sake of his family. He said: "I thought I had brought shame not only on my own family but on the princess too and at my lowest point I did make a decision. I will never forget as I sat in the lay-by in my car with a bottle of water and a bottle of pills thinking I can escape from this 'I can actually finish it now. I can't handle any more of this". Asked whether the Queen would have known the full extent of the items he had , he said: "She didn't ask me and I didn't tell her. That may sound rather presumptive and arrogant but it wasn't meant that way."

November 11th

Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands left hospital today, but needs to rest a few weeks more at home. He was admitted to hospital in Utrecht on November 4th and was operated on gall-stones.

Senior members of the British royal household have met about a homosexual rape case at the royal court. The alleged attacker has been named in an Italian newspaper and across the world on the Internet, although not yet in British newspapers. An aid to the Prince of Wales is accused of raping ex-valet George Smith, but has strongly denied the accusations anonymously this weekend, in a statement through his solicitors following claims made by the alleged victim, labelling Mr Smith as unreliable and an alcoholic whose story differed "substantially and significantly" from what he told police last year. Calls are growing for an independent inquiry into the way the palace handled the rape allegation, which was initially dealt with as an internal inquiry rather than being reported to the police. Mr Smith claims disclosure of the incident would damage the monarchy irreparably and was the "real reason" for the Queen's intervention which brought an end to Mr Burrell's trial. Mr Smith's claims - tape recorded by Diana, Princess of Wales - may have been aired publicly in court. Last year police investigated the alleged incident but Scotland Yard said the alleged victim chose not to pursue the claim and it was subsequently dropped. Meanwhile former butler Paul Burrell believes the tape at the centre of the alleged rape was kept by Lady Sarah McCorquodale, one of Princess Diana's sisters, as he opened a mahogany box belonging to Diana in the presence of her weeks after the Princess's death in 1997 and always believed Lady Sarah kept the tape and the other contents of the box after the discovery. He said Lady Sarah peered inside the box and asked him: "What do you think could be on the tape?" He said: "I told Lady Sarah about the tape. I knew because the Princess had told me, but I have never heard the tape and don't know what its contents are in full." The contents of the box - dubbed the Crown jewels - were said to have included letters from the Duke of Edinburgh, a signet ring from her former lover James Hewitt and the tape. Mr Burrell only saw the box back during his trial at the Old Bailey when the police showed it to the court, but the contents had been removed.

November 12th

The Prince of Wales's office has announced an internal review into the collapse of the Paul Burrell trial and its aftermath. The investigation will be conducted by the prince's own private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, joined by a lawyer, Edmund Lawson. He will examine concerns about the way the trial of former butler Paul Burrell ended. But the Queen will not herself be a "witness" in Sir Michael's review as Buckingham Palace said he already knew her side of the story. The palace inquiry, expected to publish its report for public consumption by Christmas, and will also look at allegations of a cover-up over accusations of homosexual rape by one of the Prince of Wales's key aides and the issue of royal gifts allegedly being sold on for cash. Sir Michael Peat also said that Queen Elizabeth II was unaware of the fact that her revelation would lead to the collapse of the Burrell trial and thought the information she gave was 'irrelevant'. He said she did not realise its importance until she read claims in the papers he had not been selling items belonging to Princess Diana, as the police had claimed. He also said the royal household had been surprised when the Queen's information led to the collapse of the trial two weeks ago. "The conspiracy theories are, the politest you could say, implausible."

November 13th

In an interview Queen Paola of Belgium has promised to improve her Dutch. Since her marriage, 43 years ago, she has been critizised for her ignorance of Dutch, one of the three official languages of Belgium (next to French and German). "I understand and accept the criticism about my imperfect grasp of Dutch. Nevertheless I'm determined to master this language," Queen Paola said.

November 14th

Sir Michael Peat, the Prince of Wales's private secretary, said today that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Prince of Wales sympathise with Paul Burrell's decision to tell his story and says they both believed Mr Burrell had the right to defend himself. He added that he was sure that Prince William and Prince Harry were "delighted that an innocent man did not go to prison".

A party was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in London to celebrate the success of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's Golden Jubilee festivities. It was organised by friends of the Queen. Also the Prince of Wales was celebrating his 54th birthday, and arrived together with his companion Camilla Parker Bowles. The guests included British and foreign royals, some of the Queen's senior staff and friends of the family. Among the royal guests were the Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of York, Earl and Countess of Wessex, Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto, King Constantine of Greece.

November 16th

At the party congress of the liberal party of Belgium, the VLD, the political party decided that they find that the Belgian king shouldn't have political power anymore, but only a ceremonial function. They also said that the king shouldn't be allowed anymore to award noble titles.

The Prince of Wales has won a court order banning the Scotland based Sunday Mail from publishing details of a book written by former Royal housekeeper Wendy Berry. The Prince's legal team had already banned Mrs Berry from telling her story after winning a court order in England in 1995. However, her book, the Housekeeper's Story, was later published in the US.

Former butler Paul Burrell is on his way home after a one week media tour in the USA, together with his wife Maria and his two sons. A party will be thrown for him at his local pub in Cheshire. Mr Burrell's agent said: "They've got to get settled but then he's going to want to get back to the flower shop as soon as possible. He wants to get back in to the sleepy village with people who love him and villagers who have been behind him since this happened - he wants to blend back into the community, which he feels like he has disrupted. But obviously he's not going to be able to relax - there are various phone calls, offers and requests to consider. There's interest there."

November 17th

Celebrations for Archduke Otto of Austria's 90th birthday started today in München, Germany, with a two-hour mass in the St Peter Cathedral starting at 11:15. Cardinal Leo Scheffczyk said that he was impressed "not only by the long time, but also by the contents of this life." It was followed by a reception at the Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK) in the afternoon attended by guests from economical and political circles as well as royal guests. Among the guests Duke Franz of Bavaria, Princesss Metternich, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Prince Ernst August of Hannover. Princess Glroia von Thurn und Taxis said: "I hand over the best wishes of the family. We are very proud of you and when it had been said it was 70 we had believed it too." Archduke Otto himself told "Now I can finally look into the mirror and say: How nice to be here with me." and said "It feels well to meet people who still have earth on their feet." A dinner took place in the evening at the Kaisersaal in the Royal Residence in München. Other celebrations will take place in Vienna and Budapest.

Yesterday Prince Rainier III of Monaco was admitted to the Centre Cardio-Thoracique de Monaco because of a bronchial pulmonary infection. He will have to stay in hospital for several days. He will not be able to attend national day on Tuesday, but is already doing better again. His condition was never serious, but doctors don't want to take any riscs and want to observe him for several days.

November 18th

The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group crowned the Prince of Wales as Beer Drinker of the Year 2002 for his efforts to save rural pubs. He received the award and a glass of Greene King Abbot Ale at a ceremony at St James's Palace. The Prince said he was encouraged by the success of his Pub is the Hub campaign to stem the tide of village pubs closures which was launched last December. The group's secretary, Robert Humphries, said: "We decided to give the Prince this award because it is a fantastic project and him putting his name to it really boosted its chances of success."

November 19th

Crown Prince Mette-Marit of Norway will travel to Washington D.C., USA, and Crown Prince Haakon heads for Berlin, Germany, this weekend to perform official pre-Christmas duties. Mette-Marit will open a Norwegian design exhibition called "Norway Says" at the Union Station and will take part in a design seminar at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. On Friday night she will be one of the guests of honor at a dinner hosted by Norway's ambassador to the US, Knut Vollebaek. She will also visit Johns Hopkins University in nearby Baltimore, show up for church services with a variety of Norwegian associations at a local Lutheran church and tour the World Bank. Crown Prince Haakon will light the official Christmas tree in Berlin, which traditionally comes from the forests around Drobak near Oslo, and will also be on hand for the opening of a nine-day Nordic music festival sponsored by the five Nordic countries' composers' associations.

The Norwegian embassy in Berlin awarded The Golden Salmon-award to German TV journalist Sandra Maischberger, whose interview last summer with Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit left them with severe sunburn. She receives the award in recognition of the enormous exposure her interview created for Norway. Ambassador Morten Wetland said: "Our task is to create positive attention about our country. We want to hit a nerve in Germany and we must do it with limited means. We can only use the ideas we get."

November 20th

The real birthday of Archduke Otto von Habsburg, son of Karl II (the last) Emperor of Austria, started with a mass in the full Stephandom in Vienna led by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and attended by hundreds of clerical, political and royal guests. The Cardinal reminded the varied life of the Archduke, from heir to the Austrian throne to European politician and said "The monarchy has fallen. You have become one of the architects of a new Europe." Archduke Otto hadn't become the leader of a big empire, but his dedication and service would make him a big leader: "You have never left the country that has excluded you your homeland mentally. You have helped it restless in its most difficult times. You have fought for its liberation and for save it from the German separation." The mass was followed by a festive celebration at the Hofburg with 1300 guests. Archduchess Walburga greeted the guests and said to be very happy about the presence of her royal couple, the King and Queen of Sweden (the archduchess lives in Sweden since 8 years) and cousin King Simeon of Bulgaria. In a speech Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel congratulated the Archduke on this special birthday and said that the birthday party was a "Demonstration of the solidarity of Europe". He thanked him especially for the work he had done for Austria and said that "the immovable believe in a big and free Europe had been the central driving power of the Habsburgs in all its work". President of the European Union convention Valery Giscard d'Estaing said that the Archduke was a "leading figure of the united Europe of today" and that as Emperor of an empire that doesn't exist anymore he had made a great choice by not only serve one nation, but a complete continent, Europe. In his own speech Archduke Otto said "There is a right for Europe. Europe is there for all Europeans" and added "But Europe is not ready yet. We still have very huge tasks in front of us." At 18:30 a reception at the hall of mirrors was held followed by a dinner in the orangery at Schönbrunn Palace for which 300 guests were invited. Among the many royal guests were, next to the family and close relatives, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein, the Prince of Asturias, Princess Marie-Christine of Kent, Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria, the Duke of Bragança, the Margrave and Margravinne of Baden and Duchess Tatjana von Oldenburg. For pictures: Royal Press.

Prince Alexandre de Merode died in Brussels today. He was born in Etterbeek on 24 May 1934. Since 1963 he was a member of the International Olympic Committee and since 1967 he was president of the medical commission of the IOC. He also was IOC vice-president from 1986 to 1990 and from 1994 to 1998.

For the first time since the death of her husband, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands appeared in public again. Together with the Prince of Orange she attended the departure of Bas de Gaay Fortman as Professor of the Institute of Social Studies at Palace Noordeinde.

Following the Paul Burrell affair the support for the British royal family is at a record low, according to a new opinion poll. Only 43% of people now say that Great Britain would be worse off without the Royal Family. 60% of the voters believe the damage caused by the Burrell affair will prove to be short-term while only 22% saying that the events of the past month will leave a long-term stain. Almost 30% of the people surveyed are not sure whether they would be better off without the Royal Family, whereas 31% believe we would, the poll found. The only age group which still registers support for the monarchy is the over-65s. It is the lowest level of support since the Guardian survey by ICM was launched in 1987. ICM interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults across the country by telephone between November 15 and 17.

A Paris judge has ordered three photographers to stand trial for pictures they took of the 1997 car crash that killed Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi al-Fayed. The move follows a complaint for invasion of privacy filed by Mohamed al-Fayed, said judicial officials. The cameramen will only go on trial for the photographs they took of Dodi al-Fayed.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco returned to the princely palace in Monaco after having spent some days in hospital. He will rest some more days before taking up his duties again.

November 21st

Prince Takamado (Takamado-no-Miya Norihito Shinno) died at 10:52 this evening at the Keio University Hospital in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, at the age of 47 after collapsing during a private squash lesson with Canadian Ambassador to Japan Robert Wright at the Canadian Embassy around 3:50 in the afternoon. He immediately was rushed to the hospital and was put on a heart-lung machine. He already was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest at the time of his arrival in hospital and never regained consciousness. He died of ventricular fibrillation apparently caused by strenuous exercise. His wife, Princess Hisako, and his mother, Princess Yuriko, wife of Prince Mikasa, were at his bedside. He is survived by his parents, wife and three daughters. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, who had planned to invite Crown Prince Naruhito, his wife, Princess Masako, and daughter, Princess Aiko, to dinner at the Imperial Palace, cancelled their plans because of the death of the prince. Prince Takamado was born on December 29, 1954 as the third and youngest son of Prince Mikasa, brother of the late Emperor Hirohito of Japan and Yuriko Takagi, and was seventh in line to the Japanese throne. He married Hisako Tottori in 1985 and they got three daughters, Tsuguko (1986), Noriko (1988) and Ayako (1990). After graduating from Gakushuin University in 1978, he studied at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, from 1978 to 1981, receiving an honorary doctorate in 1991. He was honorary president of the Japan Football Association and attended the May 31 opening ceremony of the World Cup soccer finals in Seoul. He also held honorary posts within bodies such as the Japan Squash Association and the Japan Fencing Federation. He played squash with the Canadian Ambassador about twice a month. With Prince Takamado's death, the size of the Imperial family is reduced to 23 members.

The Princess Royal and her husband Commodore Timothy Laurence appeared at East Berkshire Magistrates Court in Slough. The case against Commodore Laurence was dropped when the princess admitted the offence. The Princess Royal was fined £500 and ordered to pay £250 in compensation after admitting her English bull terrier Dotty bit two children, aged 7 and 12, as they walked in Windsor Great Park on April 1st. She was also ordered to pay £148 in costs. District Judge Penelope Hewitt also ordered that her dog Dotty be kept on a lead in public places and undergo training. The princess is the first member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence since King Charles I of Great Britain who was beheaded in 1649.

November 22nd

Infanta Doña Beatriz of Spain died this morning around 6 o'clock in Rome, Italy, at the age of 93. She had been ill for some time and her death was not unexpected. The funeral service will take place at the Spanish national church, Via Monserato, Rome, on Tuesday November 26 at 11:30. Infanta Beatriz was the last child alive of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain. She was born at the La Granja Palace in San Ildefonso on June 22, 1909. She married Don Alessandro Torlonia 5th Prince di Civitella-Cesi (1911-1986) in 1935 and had two sons and two daughters. Now there are only two great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria of Great Britain alive, Lady Katherine Brandram and Count Carl Johan Bernadotte.

Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko and other members of the Japanese imperial family paid their respects Friday morning at the residence of Prince Takamado. Mourners were able to write messages of condolence at the residence of the late Prince Takamado in Tokyo's Minato Ward. The Emperor and Empress spent about 20 minutes offering their condolences to the prince's widow, 49-year-old Princess Hisako, and three daughters - Princesses Tsuguko, 16, Noriko, 14, and Ayako, 12 - before returning to the Imperial Palace. Also Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife, Princess Masako, as well as Princess Nori, called on the prince's family. The Imperial household entered a five-day mourning period yesterday and its members have cancelled some of their engagements. A private funeral service - part of a series of Imperial household memorial events being planned by an ad-hoc funeral committee - is scheduled for Nov. 29 at a cemetery in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. The body of the prince, accompanied by his family, was moved from the hospital to his residence in Minato Ward around 3 a.m. this morning. Today the squash coach of Prince Takamado, Hitoshi Ushiogi, told that his condition changed abruptly and said he saw the prince's shoulders quivering several times as he went to pick up the ball during the warmup exercises. The ambassador had the prince lie down while he rushed out to call an ambulance. Princess Hisako rushed to the scene and she and the ambassador accompanied the prince inside the ambulance. The Japanese media today characterized the prince as a down-to-earth and outspoken member of the imperial family.

November 23rd

Last night Prince Laurent of Belgium helped two wounded French people climbing out of their car after an accident on the motorway between Tournai and Brussels in which the driver died. The prince stopped when he saw the accident and informed relief service. He was accompanied by three people, among them his girlfriend Claire Coombs.

In a Sunday newspaper faith healer Simone Simmons had claimed that the late princess had shown her short letters from the Duke in which he branded her a trollop and a harlot. A statement authorised by the Duke of Edinburgh said: "Prince Philip wishes to make it clear that at no point did he ever use the insulting terms described in media reports, nor that he was curt or unfeeling in what he wrote. He regards the suggestion that he used such derogatory terms as a gross misrepresentation of his relations with his daughter-in-law and hurtful to his grandsons."

The US Justice Department is investigating whether the Saudi government funneled money to a pair of students who helped two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, the White House said Saturday. Members of a House-Senate inquiry into the Sept. 11 attacks were concerned about a Saudi link to the hijackers. Newsweek said the FBI uncovered financial records showing payments to a Saudi family family from a Washington bank account held in the name of Princess Haifa Al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States and daughter of the late King Faisal. Administration officials said they are uncertain whether the money was given to the hijackers by the holders of the bank account. The princess' office said "she will cooperate fully with the United States."

November 24th

Yesterday Saudi Arabian officials acknowledged that the wife of their ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, may have unwittingly provided money that eventually helped support two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, but they insisted that Princess Haifa al Faisal, youngest daughter of the late king Faisal, never purposely meant to assist the terrorist conspiracy. A spokesman for the Saudi embassy said that "the assertion that the princess has supported terrorism is simply untrue and irresponsible. She has provided general assistance to people in need only." Justice Department officials said that they haven't uncovered any evidence that the princess knowingly provided financial help to the Sept. 11 hijackers. However among the needy people she helped with money were two Saudis who in their turn gave financial assistance to two of the hijackers. The spokesman said the princess and prince are often flooded with requests for assistance. "It's a tradition in Saudi Arabia that the wealthy and the well-off help those who are less fortunate," he said. "It's been going on for a long time. The king does it himself."

A Shinto ceremony was held Saturday to place the body of the late Prince Takamado into a coffin at his residence in Tokyo's Moto-Akasaka district. His widow Princess Hisako and their three daughters attended the ceremony, along with the late prince's parents, Prince and Princess Mikasa.

November 25th

Also the french speaking Belgian political (green) party Ecolo wants to give the king only a protocollair function and also wants to strike out the authority of the king to confer noble titles upon people.

The Royal Court at Kathmandu, Nepal, announced that Princess Prerana, only daughter of King Gyanendra, will marry Raj Bahadur Singh, son of Usha Devi Singh and Nabaraj Bahadur Singh, on January 22nd/23rd.

November 26th

The funeral service of Infanta Doña Beatriz of Spain took place at the National Spanish Church of Santiago y Monserrat in Rome, Italy. The ceremony was officiated by Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo. Next to the Infanta's children and grandchildren, among them Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg with her husband Guillaume, the funeral service was attended by royals as King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the Prince of Asturias, Infanta Cristina of Spain, Infanta Margarita, Duke Amadeo of Aosta and Grand Duchess Joséphine- Charlotte of Luxembourg. The family afterwards attended the interment at the cemetery of Verano de Roma.

November 27th

Yesterday the Japanese Cabinet approved a plan of the Imperial Household Agency to spend 190 million yen on the funeral services and the construction of the tomb for Prince Takamado, who died last week. Although funeral services held by the Imperial household are religious rites, they are financed by the state treasury as members of the Imperial family hold public positions, the government said. 68 million yen will be spend on site preparations for the main funeral service and 30 million yen for ground preparations of the tomb construction. The construction of the tomb itself is expected to cost 67 million yen. The funeral will be held on Friday when also the public will be allowed to pay their respect to the late prince at Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, and also on December 2nd and 3rd. The Renso-no-gi Shinto funeral service will be held at the cemetery before he is cremated and interred in a tomb there.

In an interview Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife Princess Haifa al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia said that they are loyal partners in US President George Bush's fight against terrorism and that they would never knowingly give money to terrorists. Princess Haifa said she felt as if a bomb had been dropped on her head last weekend when reporters began telephoning to question her about the contributions. The princess said: "My mother taught us never to judge anyone by what you hear without any proof, and it seems that people are judging us without any proof." The White House and the State Department have urged caution in judging the money trail that flowed from the couple's bank accounts.

November 28th

Today the European Court of Human Rights delivered judgement at a public hearing in the case of former King Constantine II of Greece, Princess Irene of Greece and Princess Ekaterini of Greece against the republic of Greece (full text) . The court unanimously decided to award for pecuniary damage 12.000.000 euros to the former king, 900.000 euros to princess Irene and 300.000 euros to Princess Ekaterini of Greece. The Court also awarded 500.000 euros jointly to the three applicants for costs and expenses. In its principal judgment, delivered on 23 November 2000, the Court found that the applicants owned the properties in question - the Tatoi, the Polydendri and the Mon Repos estates - as private individuals rather than in their capacity as members of the royal family. The expropriation of these properties would have been legitimate, however, had the Greek State paid the applicants compensation. The Court held, by 15 votes to two, that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the European Convention on Human Rights and, unanimously, that it was not necessary to examine the applicants’ complaint under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. As the lack of any compensation, rather than the inherent illegality of the taking, was the basis of the violation found, the compensation did not need necessarily to reflect the full value of the properties. The Greek government says it respects the court decision to award the country's former king Constantine compensation for seized palaces and property. Prime Minister Costas Simitis praised the decision and the "huge gap" between the amount awarded and the king's "outlandish and outrageous" demands for £320 million. He says Greece will pay the compensation before a February 28 deadline set by the court, and that the former royal properties will be renovated and opened to the public. "The former king caused incalculable damage to Greece and has no right to compensation," he said. "Greece will pay the compensation. Even though we do not agree with the decision we will respect it."

A wake was held yesterday for the late Prince Takamado at the prince's residence in Tokyo's Moto-Akasaka district. In addition to the imperial family including Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, friends and acquaintances from various circles attended the wake, which will also be held today. The two-day vigil preceeds tomorrow's funeral service. As is the practice, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko paid their respects to the late prince ahead of the wake. They are also expected to pay their respects again before today's wake. Ahead of yesterday's wake Prince Takamado's widow Princess Hisako and other members of the imperial family took part in a ceremony called "Seishinikyu-no-gi." The ceremony transferred the prince's body placed in coffin from the bed chamber to the drawing room where the wake was held.

Another royal engagement in Nepal where the royal palace announced the engagement of Princess Sitiashma, daughter of Prince Dhirendra and Princess Prekshya, with Abinesh Shah, son of Arjun Jung Shah and Aasha Rajya Laxmi Shah. The marriage will take place in Jeevan Kunj (Maharajgunj) on March 5 and 6, 2003.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has been presented with the Sir Peter O'Sullevan Award in recognition of her contribution to horse racing. The trophy was presented at Buckingham Palace and Royal Studs manager Joe Grimwade was handed over a replica for the Queen to keep.

November 29th

This morning a funeral service for Prince Takamado started at Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Bunkyo Ward, central Tokyo. A hearse carrying the prince's body left his residence around 9:00 in the morning and drove to the cemetery in a motorcade, among others passing the Imperial Palace. The Shinto memorial service known as "Renso-no-gi, was attended by members of the Japanese imperial family, among them the wife and three daughters of the deceased, crown prince Naruhito and crown princess Masako. It began with the offering of fruits and other foods as well as some clothes by priests, followed by a eulogy for the prince. Imperial family members then paid their respects to the deceased. Some 800 people attended the service. The prince's body was cremated at a crematorium in Shinjuku Ward, and his ashes placed into a stone chamber at the cemetery.

King Constantine II of Greece issued a statement about the decision of the European Court of Human Rights yesterday. He said that he has never asked for money, but only to get back his home and the graves of his ancestors, and that he not only has lost my home and properties now, but also all his personal possessions that have been in my family for generations. He will study the the Court's judgment and the comments of the Greek Prime Minister and respond in a press conference to be held on December 5th 2002.

The Duchess of York rushed to her father's bedside after his condition became worse. Major Ronald Ferguson is battling prostate cancer and receives treatment in Basingstoke General Hospital after collapsing last weekend. His condition deteriorated yesterday and it is believed he suffered another heart attack. His condition is described as improving. Major Ferguson was first diagnosed with cancer six years ago. After successful treatment, the condition returned last year.

November 30th

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the grave of Prince Takamado this afternoon to pay their respects. They didn't attend the funeral yesterday conform tradition and were represented by Makoto Watanabe, grand chamberlain to the emperor, and his deputy. They viewed the proceedings on television at the Imperial Palace.

December 1st

The Imperial Family of Japan celebrated the first birthday of Princess Aiko with a lunch, tea ceremony and dinner. Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako brought the little princes to see the Emperor and Empress in the Imperial Palace in the morning and then held a lunch for her at the Crown Prince's Palace in Tokyo's Motoakasaka, after which a tea ceremony was held that was attended by some 30 people. In the afternoon, the crown princely couple held a dinner at the prince's palace with the emperor and empress, and prince and princess Akishino. Princess Aiko now weighs 9.32 kilograms and is 74.2 centimeters tall. Japanese reports tell that on recent outings, the little princess has begun to respond to calls of 'Aiko-sama' from members of the public by waving her hand. In April the crown prince and crown princess have started reading to her. The princess is also taken out sometimes twice a day to enjoy fresh air. Also a press conference was held today in which the crown prince and crown princess answered questions of the press. They said they are glad that princess Aiko is healthy. "She is interested in so many things, curious about everything and very active. Among her activities each day, Aiko seems to especially like going for walks, having picture books read to her and taking baths. However, in our family, it seems to work better when her mother puts her to sleep. It would appear that she thinks of her father as a playing partner. When her father tries to put her to sleep, her eyes grow wider with excitement. As such, we have given up on having her father put her to bed." They also told that they hope her, as a member of the royal family, to grow up with a broad understanding of the world.

Police are investigating a suspected arson attack on the florists shop of former royal butler Paul Burrell. The alarm was raised shortly before 1am when police and fire crews were called to the store in Chapel Street, Holt, North Wales. Mr Burrell went to the shop in the early hours to survey the damage. A spokesman for Mr Burrell said there was "an incident" in the early hours of the morning which police were investigating.

December 2nd

Former royal butler Paul Burrell reportedly received hundreds of menacing phone calls before yesterday's suspected arson attack on his flower shop. Paul Burrell's brother Graham told the Daily Mirror that someone had called telling: "I'm going to get you and every one of your family." Mr Burrell, his wife Maria and two sons are reportedly under 24-hour guard and are too upset to comment. The menacing phone calls reportedly began soon after the Mr Burrell's Old Bailey acquittal.

December 3rd

Jewellery was stolen on Monday early in the morning from the Museon science museum in The Hague, The Netherlands. Thieves broke in and snatched jewels from an exhibition about diamond cutting and jewellery making. The Dutch police is investigation the case. Yesterday a museum spokesman said some of the jewellery on display were borrowed from European royal families but declined to give further details as it was not yet clear exactly what had been stolen. Today the Portuguese government said there is priceless diamond royal Portuguese jewellery among the pieces stolen. The museum had them on loan the government. Six of 15 Portuguese pieces, including an uncut 35-carat diamond, a cane handle of gold and jewels, a ring of gold and jewels, a diamond necklace and two brooches - all from the National Palace in Ajuda - were among jewellery stolen. The Minister of Culture of Portugal said they will change its policy of lending out royal jewels following the robbery. The value of the stolen pieces is incalculable.

Also the trial of royal butler Harold Brown and society jeweller Jan Havlik has collapsed at the court. Mr Brown had been accused of stealing valuables worth more than £500,000 from Princess Diana of Wales's estate. Mr Havlik was accused of dishonestly handling the valuables. Prosecutors said there was no realistic prospect of a conviction since the collapse of the trial of royal butler Paul Burrell last month. As Mr Brown walked out of the court his sollicitor read a short statement on his behalf saying that Mr Brown was very delighted by today's result. He also has no intention of selling his story now or in the future.

The failed prosecutions of royal butlers Paul Burrell and Harold Brown have cost the taxpayer an estimated £2 million. Former chief of Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Scotland, Bill Taylor, has now been appointed to conduct an internal review of the Metropolitan Police's investigation of the cases. Questions have already been asked by senior politicians and law officers on the way the cases were pursued, the parts played by members of the royal family and why the prosecutions went ahead.

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Marilène and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven together planted four limetrees for their children - Eloise, Anna, Lucas and Isabella - and thus opened the 'birth forrest' in Mierlo, The Netherlands. After them 30 new parents also planted trees.

December 4th

The Prince of Wales's private secretary Sir Michael Peat denies aides had ever obstructed the police inquiry into former butler Harold Brown who was cleared yesterday of theft. He insists the prince would never intervene in the proper course of justice. He said he found it difficult to understand if police officers involved in the two cases were now claiming that the royals had been anything less than helpful. He said: "We have fallen over backwards to be as helpful as we can and that is supported by the police themselves. I've spoken to the Director of Public Prosecutions and he said categorically that there is no question of the CPS having been misled."

December 5th

On a press conference, also attended by his wife Anne-Marie, Crown Prince Pavlos, Crown Princess Marie Chantal and Prince Nikolaos, former king Constantine of Greece said: "I feel extremely grateful to the court for finding in my favor, but my human rights had been violated by the government of my country." Last week the European Human Rights Court ruled he would get $12.000.000 as compensation for palaces and properties seized after he fled his homeland. He said he will use the money to set up a charitable trust, and will name the fund Anna Maria, after his wife. The fund will help Greek victims of hardship and natural disasters. King Constantine said: "I have never ever claimed any money from the Greek people and never will. I feel that the Greek government have acted unjustly and vindictively. They treat me sometimes as if I'm their enemy — I am not the enemy." He said he hopes to return to live in Greece. The Greek government refuses to issue him a passport unless he formally renounces the throne and adopts a last name. "I consider it the greatest insult in the world for a Greek to be told that he is not a Greek," the former king said. Queen Anne-Marie told the press: "Whatever he does, I support him all the way".

At a press conference at the crown princely palace prior to their official nine-day trip to New Zealand and Australia starting next Wednesday, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan expressed hope to make trips abroad more often. The trip will be their first trip abroad together in eight years. "Trips with Masako are often fruitful as they give me a chance to note things that I would never notice on a trip on my own. I very much hope that we will be able to visit foreign countries together more often," the crown prince said. "I had to make so many efforts in adjusting myself to the situation after marriage in which visiting foreign countries was difficult," the princess said and added she is pleased about the upcoming trip. Their daughter Princess Aiko will remain in Japan during the trip.

December 6th

Former royal butler Paul Burrell has admitted he was naive to think police would not investigate his collection of Princess Diana of Wales's possessions. He said he was unable follow her request to destroy many of the things she gave to him for safekeeping. "After she died, there was no way I could destroy or burn anything of hers," he told CNN's Larry King. "I was going through a deep grieving process. I guess I was kind of mummifying her things." He added: "How naive could I be to think the police would not come to my door? They did come to my door and they found more than they should have." He said that Princess Diana gave him her possessions because she was paranoid about security. "She never knew who was coming in and out of her rooms at any one time...looking at her private things." Mr Burrell said there were still many more secrets he could have revealed. he said: "Of course I held things back. The royal family are still worried about me saying too much. I knew every aspect of her life." He added that he hoped to meet up with the Prince of Wales and William and Harry in the next few weeks. He added: "I look forward to seeing them in the near future and giving them things that Diana kept for them. I want to shake them by the hand and tell them that I am the same person they have always known."

A dramatic 50x80 metre fountain will form the permanent memorial for Diana, Princess of Wales, to the south of the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park. The oval-shaped feature is said to emphasise qualities of "inclusiveness and accessibility". Detailed design plans show one side of the £3 million fountain will see water bubbling down a gentle slope. The other stream will tumble and cascade before both paths flow into a tranquil pool. Designer Kathryn Gustafson said the contrasting halves would reflect the different parts of the Princess's life - the joyous times but also the turmoil she experienced. Work on the fountain is set to begin next year and is expected to be finished by summer 2004. The fountain design will now be submitted to Westminster City Council for planning permission next week. Gustafson said Princess Diana was a "contemporary princess" and they wanted a contemporary fountain to remember her. "The concept is based upon the qualities of the Princess that were the most loved and cherished. These were inclusiveness and accessibility."

December 7th

Thousands of relatives and subjects attended the glamorous and star-studded South African wedding of the year between Princess Nandi, 25, daughter of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, and Prince Bovulengwe Mfundo Mtirara, 32, a Prince of the abaThembu tribe and great-grand nephew of Nelson Mandela who was recently crowned as the Matye'ngqina traditional authority chief, on Friday and today near Umtata. Bride and groom met at college and Prince Bovulengwe paid 120 cattle as lobola and two horses to King Zwelithini already last December. On Friday the couple were married by Anglican Bishop Sitembele Mzamane in St John's Cathedral in Umtata and wearing western clothes. The groom arrived at the church at 10.30am, accompanied by a convoy of the Thembu warriors. Today the bride and groom wore a traditional wedding attire for the traditional wedding at the grounds of AmaTshenqina outside Umtata. The bride carried a shield and a spear and wore the Zulu regal blue and maroon isiCholo (tiara) with four feathers of the iGwalagwala bird, iziNyembezi (a Zulu veil), a leopard skin top, covered in wedding glass, and various types of colourful beads and bangles on her arms, a tiger skin choker around her neck, a huge carefully and intricately beaded isiDwaba (a Zulu cowhide leather skirt) and she was barefooted. She arrived with her father who publicly gave her a white sword as a gift. The bridegroom wore Xhosa attire, a black head band, white vest, a variety of necklaces and beads and a cream royal cloth around his waist - he too was bare foot. The bride formalised the wedding when she plunged a spear into the ground at the entrance to her husband's cattle pen. When the groom drew out the spear, she was formally installed as Queen of Matyeningqina Great Place. Among the prominent guests were former president Nelson Mandela - for the first time in more than 40 years in the traditional dress of his Tembu tribe, two Swazi princes, King Letsie of Lesotho, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and King Ngangomhlaba Matanzima of emaMpondweni. The Swazi royal presence is viewed as an act to support his brother-in-law King Zwelithini as Queen Mantfombi, the sister to King Mswati III, is married to the Zulu monarch. The crowd of more than 5 000 people was entertained by the spectacle of Xhosa and Zulu warriors' traditional dances. About 50 bare-breasted Zulu princesses, including the bride's sisters, danced for about two hours in turn with scores of royal warriors carrying cowhide shields and spears. After the ritual slaughter of a white goat Xhosa maidens danced for their new queen while elders sang praises to Mandela, the Zulu nation and the six bullocks given to Zwelithini by the groom's parents. The wedding was almost spoilt by a squabble between the large contigent of journalists and private photographers who claimed they had exclusive rights to shoot the wedding. It appears the couple had made an arrangement with private photographers, but it was later agreed local and international journalists were allowed to take pictures. Sources close to the royal families said the wedding was to strengthen the relations between Zulus and the Xhosas.

Countess Eloise van Oranje-Nassau, jonkvrouw van Amsberg, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands will be christened on Sunday December 15th in the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The service will be led by Ds C.A. ter Linden. Godparents will be Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme and Mrs Sophie van de Wouw. Next to members of the family, also the prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and former prime minister Wim Kok will attend the christening. Isabella van Vollenhoven, daughter of Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven, will be christened in the same chapel on December 22nd.

December 9th

In a letter sent to the weekly magazine Shukan Shincho the Japanese Imperial Household Agency said to be very unhappy about an article in the magazine on December 5th that says that Prince Akishino's official duties are easy compared with for example those of the Emperor and the Crown Prince. The article was about 'how busy imperial family members really are'. The Imperial Household Agency said in his letter: "The prince does not take more time off than other members of the family in terms of number of days. His days off are rather on the shorter side. He has been actively carrying out his duties." The magazine wouldn't comment on the letter.

December 12th

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, at the start of their official visit to the country. At the welcoming ceremony they were greeted by Maori and watched traditional dancing. They were also greeted by lots of children waving with Japanese flags, while the Air Force band played. The crown prince also picked up an arrowhead, symbolizing a formal welcome. Thereafter they were received at the Government House by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright and pupils from Chartwell School and St Mark's School. They are scheduled to visit both the North and South Islands (Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland) and will inspect the multi-million dollar yachts getting ready to compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup. They will among others also visit a children's hospital, a museum, an international Antarctic center as well as going sightseeing in Te Anau and Milford. On Monday they will travel to Australia, where they will visit Sydney and Canberra, and they will return to Japan on December 19th. Prior to leaving Japan, the prince said he was looking forward to learning about the indigenous culture of the country. The princess, who is a Harvard graduate and fluent in five languages, meanwhile stressed the importance of Asia-Pacific cooperation.

The Imperial Household Agency said that the 90-year-old Princess Takamatsu was discharged from St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo today. She had been receiving treatment for a suspected case of pneumonia over the past three weeks. The Princess is the widow of Prince Takamatsu, younger brother of the late Emperor Hirohito.

December 13th

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden passed his officer examinations today and is a second lieutenant in the marine now. He was presented with a sabre by his proud father. Prince Carl Philip said he plans to study design in the spring.

During his annual television speech only the photograph of the 76-year-old Emir Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah of Kuwait in the corner of the TV screen was shown, while the news announcer read the speech, telling that the emir was pleased with the way the country celebrates the Islam's holy month and calling on his countrymen to care for their young people. As the Kuwaitis know that the Emir is not in a good health, after suffering a brain hemorrhage last year. But the Kuwaitis are more afraid for the future as also the crown prince, 72-year-old Crown Prince Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah, is widely believed to be sick with colon problems. That leaves the question of succession weighing heavily on the country. And these days, the question is magnified by the the fear that another war with Iraq may be coming. There are no rules set on princely succession in Kuwait. Instead, each emir selects his own crown prince after secret consultations within the 3,000-member family. So the dual illnesses have created a palace puzzle that has unnerved many Kuwaitis and, according to politicians and observers, set off a spate of lobbying for position by younger members of the ruling clan. "It's legitimate for people to aspire to power," a liberal parliamentarian said, adding that he is regularly visited by young members of the family looking for support. But, he said, the competition "is creating an unhealthy atmosphere." It is said the possibility of change in neighboring Iraq requires more openness from the family on the succession issue. The family remains silent about the issue and family members say it is the way it should be. "The family will solve the situation. And however they solve it will be accepted by Kuwaitis," said Sheik Humoud Al Jaber Al Sabah, a cousin of the emir. The Al Sabah family has governed what is now Kuwait for nearly 250 years. The present emir has held power since 1977.

December 14th

The Prince of Wales is looking for a housekeeper to run Birkhall, his grandmother's holiday home, which he inherited. The Balmoral Estates Office placed an advertisement in a local weekly newspaper without mentioning who the employer will be, but the advertisement states that applicants will be security checked. The advertisement also reads: "You will have at least three years' experience in a senior housekeeping role, ideally within a large house, with an established track record of being meticulous, tactful, extremely discrete and trustworthy. The successful candidate will manage the housekeeping staff and ensure the highest standards of cleanliness, good order and presentation of the house and other buildings are maintained at all times. You will also have excellent communication and practical housekeeping skills, together with the proven ability to manage, motivate and train staff effectively. A current driving licence and good IT skills are also essential." The Birkhall post was left open after the previous housekeeper resigned after the death of the Queen Mother. The closing date for applications is January 6th, 2003.

December 15th

Countess Eloise Sophie Beatrix Laurence van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouw van Amsberg was christened this morning in a Dutch reformed service at the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, led by the Rev. Carel ter Linden. The organ was played by Jan van Hemert and Jozien Jansen played the cello. De Veluwse Cantorij was the choir that sung during the service. After the service photographers were able to make some pictures. The little countess's godparents were Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme and Sophie van de Wouw. The christening was among others attended by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima, Prince Bernhard, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène with son Lucas, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette with daughter Isabella, Prince Floris, Prince Carlos and Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Christina, Juliana Guillermo, Laurens-Jan and Jantien Brinkhorst and Mabel Wisse Smit (girlfriend of Prince Johan Friso), as well as Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg.

Yesterday Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, where they were greeted by 200 people, most Japanese. The imperial couple chatted with the crowd for about 15 minutes. They visited the Antarctic Center. Staff presented them with a giant cuddly toy penguin for their daughter Aiko. Before flying to Te Anau they attended a reception hosted by the mayor of Christchurch. Today they took a cruise on Milford Sound.

James Hewitt says if he would sell the 64 love letters he exchanged with his former lover, the late Diana Princess of Wales, it would reportedly cost the buyer $16 million and a promise to keep them private. Lawyer Michael Coleman says Mr Hewitt has the right to sell the letters, but he would insist on a promise that they will never be published. The statement followed a tabloid report that Mr Hewitt offered the letters to an undercover reporter, posing as a middleman for a fictional Swiss tycoon, for $16 million. Mr Coleman read extracts from the letters to the reporter including intimate admissions of love and shared fantasies. The princess's relatives and the British royal family made no comments. A spokesman for Earl Spencer said: "It is not something we would comment on."

Two British newspapers today report that Michael Peat, the private secretary to the Prince of Wales, received a letter from an ex-policeman last week containing details of a plan to steal the hair of Prince Harry to obtain a DNA sample. The letter was given to the police and the Prince of Wales and his son Harry were alerted. The Sunday Times said that, according to an unnamed source close to the princes, the letter claimed that a media organisation had hired a private detective to steal the hair. According to a report in the Mail on Sunday the hair was supposed to be sold to a foreign newspaper to test rumours that James Hewitt is Harry's father. It said that an attractive girl would have been used to pluck a hair from Harry's head.

An inquiry has been started after an intruder entered St James's Palace shortly before midnight on Wednesday 11 December without being stopped by security. A report says that the man was only apprehended after he started drunkenly knocking at the door of the Princess Royal, apparently asking for directions to Victoria Station. A police spokesman only said that a man was stopped within the precincts of St James's Palace by a police officer. "He was questioned and his identity established. He was escorted from the premises." The spokesman says inquiries are continuing into how the intruder gained access to the Palace. He added that no officers had been suspended as a result of the incident. St James's Palace declined to comment on security issues.

December 17th

Rumours are becoming stronger and stronger that Prince Laurent of Belgium will become engaged to his girlfriend Claire Coombs on the 19th. It seems he has told the news himself at a private birthday party of one of his protégés. Meanwhile the official website of the Belgian Royal Family has finally been redesigned and was transferred to an own domain.

A source close to the royal palace at Rabat says that Princess Lalla Salma, the wife of King Mohammed VI, is pregnant and that the child will be born in 2003. Nothing has been made official.

December 18th

Belgian newspapers say that the wedding of Prince Laurent of Belgium and 28-year-old Claire Coombs will take place on April 12th, 2003. The Belgian government is said to discuss tomorrow at 10:30 to give permission to the couple to get married, after which the engagement will be made public. That might be followed by an official announcement by the royal court.

The former apartments at Kensington Palace in London of the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain will be opened up to the public as an education centre and extra exhibition space for the royal ceremonial dress collection, as they will be taken over by the Historic Royal Palaces. Buckingham Palace also confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will pay £120,000 a year from her own funds in rent for Prince and Princess Michael of Kent to remain at Kensington Palace. No decision has yet been made on the future of the former Kensington Palace apartment of Diana, Princess of Wales.

December 19th

Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs became engaged. The wedding will take place on April 12, 2003 in Brussels, Belgium.

December 21st

Emperor Akihito of Japan will be admitted to the Hospital of the Imperial Household on Tuesday to undergo a biopsy on his prostate. He will stay there until Wednesday. According to the agency, ultrasound tests have not shown any abnormalities in the emperor's prostate, but doctors at the hospital have been concerned over blood test results in the past few years. Experts from other hospitals will be invited to check the results of the biopsy.

December 22nd

Isabella Juliana Lily van Vollenhoven, daughter of Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau Van Vollenhoven was christened at the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn this afternoon. The service, attended by family and friends, was led by the Rev. A. van der Meiden. Godparents of Isabella are Prince Maurits, José Sekrève (sister of Princess Annette) and Menno de Jong (a friend of Prince Bernhard).

The complete Norwegian royal family attended the final concert of the Oslo Gospel Choir in Oslo today. Princess Märtha Louise took part in the whole tour of 28 concerts since November 30. She both read out loud from her own Christmas fairy tale, called "The Christmas Lights" (Julelysene), and sang, backed by Sigvart Dagsland and the choir. Princess Märtha Louise says she’s thoroughly enjoyed her experience of touring with the choir, although it has been demanding. Before entering the Oslo Spektrum arena this evening her husband Ari Behn told: "I've seen six of them, so I'm what you'd call a 'super fan'". The album she made with the Oslo Gospel Choir meanwhile has become double platinum, as more than 200.000 copies have been sold. The Norwegian royal family is looking forward to spend Christmas together at the Kongsseteren lodge.

December 23rd

Just after 9:00 this morning the Italian royal family landed at Ciampino military airport, Rome, in a private plane, ending an exile of 56 years. At 11:00 they were received by Pope John Paul II for a private audience. Prince Vittorio Emmanuele spoke of experiencing "indescribable emotion" at his return. At the end of the day they returned home to Switzerland.

December 25th

In her Christmas speech Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands referred to a year that brought her family a wedding, birth, christening and a death, going through all stages of life. She told that "Many shared our grieving about my husband. The farewell stressed him as a human being. Living with his principles of truth and equality he was allowed to be an example for many. With conviction he worked hard for humanity, justice and truth. Sincerely attached to life he found his strength in his bond with his fellow human beings, also on other continents." She also spoke about injustice and violation in the world. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain spoke about the loss of her mother and sister this year and also looked back to the great Golden Jubilee celebrations. She said: "As I look back over these past 12 months, I know that it has been about as full a year as I can remember." The Christmas speech of King Albert II of the Belgians mainly spoke about the meaning of culture for society.

Prince Turki ibn Faisal ibn Saad of Saudi Arabia passed away at the age of 50 on Monday in a Swiss Hospital.

The British royal family attended church on the Sandringham estate. Queen Elizabeth II arrived in her Rolls Royce together with the Countess of Wessex. Despite suffering from a strained ligament of the right knee the Queen walked without a walking stick, although she slightly limped. Earlier this week a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "She is making a quick recovery with the occasional use of a stick." Other members of the royal family at the service included the Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and his daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, Viscount and Viscountess Linley, Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto.

December 28th

Emperor Akihito of Japan was diagnosed with prostate cancer during a recent medical checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said. The Emperor will undergo an operation in mid- January to have the cancerous tissue removed and will remain in hospital for about one month. He was hospitalized Tuesday for a prostate checkup and spent the night at the Hospital of the Imperial Household as a precaution. The Emperor underwent the examination because blood tests over the past three years showed "slightly worrisome" figures. At a press conference Doctor Ichiro Kanazawa said the Emperor was notified of the condition because he has a very good chance of a full recovery and will be treated accordingly. "The emperor is a scientist and took the notification calmly." Kanazawa said.

The Prince of Wales has been accused of hypocrisy for urging the Government to help struggling farmers by ordering its departments to buy British products as such a policy would have an enormous impact on the viability of Britain's farms, he says in an interview with Farmers Weekly. He said: "I have been told that EU tendering rules mean it is impossible to specify the type of food you wish to buy under contracts that are worth over a certain amount. However the University of Wales has recently completed an excellent piece of work showing there are perfectly legal mechanisms to avoid this." The prince said such methods were used by other EU countries who understood the value of good-quality home-produced food. However hours after this appeal came out it became known that the Prince of Wales has bought a few new cars from the German firm Audi to replace a Vauxhall Omega which is no longer produced. A St James's Palace spokeswoman said: "Vauxhall have decided to stop making Omegas so he has had to pick another car and has chosen Audi. Audi was the car that met the required specification." She said the decision did not contradict his article in Farmers' Weekly because "he was talking about food, not cars".

December 29th

Near the oasis of Al Fajum in the Ahanassya area, some 100 kilometres southern from Cairo, Egypt, Spanish archeologists have found four graves of pharaohs from 2260 to 2050 BC. Sepulchral chambers have been found with beautifully decorated walls with religious motives and pictures of the deceased.

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