NETTY ROYAL

2005

uploaded: 3 January 2005 / last modified: 19 January 2006

Archived royal news from my old website for the year 2005.

January 1st

In his New Year's speech King Harald V of Norway centered on the tsunami catastrophe that hit South East Asia as well as many Norwegian families. "It is with horror we have followed the dramatic newscasts of the last few days, covering the catastrophe which has hit in such an incomprehensible way. Also many Norwegians who had looked forward to days of pleasant cacation were torn away by the floodwaters. Many have suffered great pains and sorrow, and I fear that the number of Norwegians who have been injured or have died, will increase. What has happened is incomprehensible, and it says something about how short the distance is between joy and despair, between life and death, between a normal every day and the catastrophe. We, the Royal Family share with you in the pain and the sorrow, and our thoughts go out to both you the next of kin and you who are injured." The King said he was glad to see the great commitment shown by the Norwegian people to help those hit by the floodwaters.

Only 7 million people watched the Christmas speech of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain this year, the lowest viewing figure of recent times. Appealing for tolerance and understanding between religious and cultural groups, the Queen warned that extremists threatened to wreck peace and progress in a multicultural society. She said: "Religion and culture are much in the news these days, usually as sources of difference and conflict, rather than for bringing people together. But the irony is that every religion has something to say about tolerance and respecting others." In her New Year's speech Queen Elizabeth II said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost family or friends, and also with those who still await news of loved ones who are missing. The dreadful events in Asia have shocked us all. No one could fail to be moved by the pictures we have seen of the devastation across the region. As the world comes to terms with the scale of the disaster, I have been impressed by the willingness of people in Britain to give generously in support of the international response, through donations, time, money or help with the relief effort on the ground. To all those people, I send my heartfelt thanks."

Some days ago Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark was chosen Dane of the Year for the seventh time. In the past eight years he was beaten only once. Crown Princess Mary ended in third place, Princess Alexandra in 6th place and Queen Margrethe II in ninth place. Gallup questioned 2000 Danes in order of the newspaper Berlingske Tidende.

Newly releases secret papers about the attempt to kidnap the Princess Royal in the Mall in London on 20 March 1974 yesterday revealed that the Princess Royal told a would-be kidnapper it was not 'bloody likely' that she would get out of her car when the man pointed a gun at her and said: "I want you to come with me for a day or two because I want £2 million." The princess told him: "I haven’t got £2 million." The papers reveal that the princess later told: "I nearly lost my temper with him, but I knew that if I did, I should hit him and he would shoot me." Four men were wounded trying to protect the princess. The reaction of the princess is revealed in a secret briefing report for Harold Wilson, the former prime minister. He sent a message to the princess telling her: "You yourself displayed great bravery and presence of mind in facing your assailant."

The Duchess of Calabria gave birth to her second daughter, Maria Chiara Amalia Carola Louise Carmen, at the Clinic Mater Dei in Rome soon after midnight. Maria Chiara weighs 3460 grammes and was one of the three first babies born in Rome, Italy, in 2005. It was a natural birth and the Duke of Calabria was present. Mother and daughter are doing fine.

Princess Maria Theresia von Hohenzollern who died on December 13 was buried at the family vault in Sigmaringen-Hedingen on December 29. She was born at Sigmaringen Castle on 11 October 1922 as one of seven children of Prince Friedrich von Hohenzollern and Princess Margarete of Saxony. She remained unmarried. The Rev. Karlheinz Berger who led the service described the princess as a natural, humane personality who lived her life in Grünwald near München, Germany, far away from the media and the publicity. However she set value on it that she was a princess, a dream all girls dream about. "And she was one from top to toe."

January 2nd

Today 75.000 well-wishers received the annual New Year's greetings of Emperor Akihito of Japan in seven appearances at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. "I am truly pleased to celebrate the New Year with you," the emperor said in a speech from the balcony of the Chowaden Palace. "I wish happiness and peace in our country as well as the whole world." Crown Princess Masako of Japan appeared at the balcony during the first appearance. The event was also attended by Empress Michiko and other members of the imperial family. As each year on Saturday the Imperial Household Agency released poems written in the 'waka' genre by the Emperor and Empress.

The Japanese government is considering sending Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan to South Korea as early as fall 2005, a newspaper reported yesterday. The visit is meant to deepen relations between Japan and South Korea in light of this year's 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties. If the visit is realized, the crown prince will make a statement regarding Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula during the trip, the newspaper said.

58-year-old Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, cousin of Emperor Akihito of Japan, was hospitalized on Saturday for fatigue, the Imperial Household Agency said. He will stay for a few days at a hospital in Tokyo's Minato Ward, the agency said.

January 3rd

As usual the Princess Royal has been the most hardworking British royal in 2004. She made 599 visits, of which 131 overseas. The Duke of York undertook 581 appearances, of which 309 foreign in his capacity as an official trade ambassador for Great Britain. He broke his own record for overseas engagements. The Prince of Wales undertook 478 engagements at home and 94 away. The Duke of Edinburgh had 356 engagements at home and 67 abroad. Queen Elizabeth II attended 387 in Great Britain and 49 abroad. The Earl of Wessex made 431 visits, of which 232 overseas. With this amount he ended up at the bottom of the list of royals. Only his wife, the Countess of Wessex, performed fewer duties than him but she spent part of the year on maternity leave.

January 4th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has contributed a substantial amount of money for the victims of the tsunami in Asia. After the disaster she also sent telegrammes to the heads of state of the countries that were hit.

Lady Helen Taylor has given birth to her fourth child on December 21. The baby girl's name is Estella, a family spokeswoman said. Lady Helen and her husband Tim Taylor already had two sons Columbus, 10, and eight-year-old Cassius, and a one-year-old daughter Eloise. "Mother and baby are doing well and the Duke and Duchess of Kent are delighted with the arrival of their latest grandchild." it was said. "It’s a good bit of family news after the sad loss of Sir Angus."

January 5th

The funeral service of Sir Angus Ogilvy took place at 12:30pm in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, today. Princess Alexandra had laid a floral tribute of white roses, lilies and heather on top of her husband's coffin. Draped in a Union Flag, the coffin was carried by a bearer party from the Scots Guards, Sir Angus's former regiment, as a piper played the lament, Flowers Of The Forest. A hearse took the coffin to the Frogmore Royal Burial Ground, in Windsor Home Park. The private funeral was attended by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and 31 other members of the royal family. Also Camilla Parker Bowles attended the funeral, as well as former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. A wreath of white roses and lilacs, from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, bore the message "In Affectionate Memory". The Prince of Wales and his sons, William and Harry, sent a wreath of white and purple pansies with the message: "For dear Angus with so many affectionate and everlasting grateful memories." Outside the chapel other floral tributes included a wreath from King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway. A thanksgiving service is planned.

January 8th

25-year-old Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad ben Jalifa al Thani of Qatar has married Jawaher, daughter of Sheikh Hamad ben Shim al Thani today at Doha. Sheikh Tamim is the fourth son of Sheikh Hamad ben Jalifa al Thani and became a Crown Prince in August 2003 after his brother Sheikh Jasen renounced. Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani received congratulations at Al Wajbah Palace. In the evening the marriage contract ceremony was being held at Al Wajbah Palace. Afterwards a dinner banquet was held at the palace. The wedding was among others attended by King Abdullah of Jordan, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al- Khalifah of Bahrain and Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco.

Marie Therese Hug Princess of Prussia died in Weinheim on January 3 at the age of 93. She was born on May 2, 1911, as the eldest daughter of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia and Princess Agathe von Ratibor und Corvey Princess zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst. In 1932 she married Rudolf Hug (1885-1972) with whom she had eleven children. She is survived by nine children, 20 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She was the last member of the Albrecht-Line of the family and with 93 years reached the eldest age in the history of the House Hohenzollern.

January 9th

The health of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg worsened this evening.

January 10th

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg née Princess of Belgium died at Fischbach Castle this morning at 5:55 after a long battle with lung cancer. She was born on October 11, 1927 as the eldest child of the later King Leopold III of the Belgians and Princess Astrid of Sweden. She spent her childhood at Stuyvenberg Castle. At the end of 1940 she entered a boarding school, then from 1942 she continued her education with private teachers. Together with the rest of the family she was deported to Germany in 1944. After the war the family lived in Switzerland for a couple of years where Joséphine-Charlotte continued her studies at the Ecole supérieure in the rue Voltaire in Geneva. Afterwards she followed the lectures on children's psychology at the University of Geneva. In 1953 she married the later Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg. The couple had five children and 21 grandchildren. She was President of the Luxembourg Youth Red Cross from 1959 to 1970. From 1964 she was President of the Luxembourg Red Cross and since 1990, she headed the Movement of the guides of the Grand Duchy as chief guide. A six-week mourning period was declared. "The death of the Grand Duchess is a great loss for the country and its people," said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker: "With her husband, Grand Duke Jean, she always made an effort to represent Luxembourg at home and abroad with dignity." The funeral service will be held on Saturday January 15 at 11.30 at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Luxemburg. Thereafter she will be interred in the family crypte in private.

Upon the death of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg also the Belgian royal court has announced a mourning period until 21 January. People can sign a condolence book at the royal palace in Brussels from 11 to 13 January.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden attended a memorial service at the Town Hall of Stockholm today for the victims of the tsunami catastrophe in Asia. In his speech the king told young survivors of the tsunami to turn to the adults for help. "We adults will listen to you, you who are children and young, to your stories of what you experienced and feel. Show us your drawings, your tears, sorrow and anger. We adults are here to protect and to help you." Referring to the "many children who have lost one or both parents", the king said: "I believe I know what that is like. I myself have been such a child. My father died in a flying accident when I was very small. So I know what it means to grow up without a dad." Archbishop KG Hammar also spoke at the ceremony and told the audience that "our understanding of reality becomes more truthful if we take death into account. Sorrow shows the meaning of love." Prime minister Göran Persson said: "Pain is all around us, in our country and throughout the world. But also consideration is growing and spreading between people and generations and across continents."

In an interview with Dagens Nyheter King Carl XVI Gustaf has criticised the reaction of the Swedish government to the tsunami disaster in Asia. In the interview King Carl XVI Gustaf said that he had waited over 36 hours to be briefed on the tragedy unfolding in Asia. He said: "In certain circumstances it is better to act than to do nothing at all." He told: "We were at my sister's, Princess Christina, on the Boxing Day, as we are every year. And we all stood there in front of the TV and watched. Then we tried to get information from the foreign office... and after a lot of hassle we managed to get hold of cabinet secretary Lars Danielsson on the evening of the 27th." He said that "It's better to ring the ambulance and then send it back if it's not needed. But here in Sweden it's often the case that nobody dares to take responsibility. People are afraid to get things going. I think it is important that people dare to take responsibility. Then you'll certainly be hung out to dry but it's better than passively standing by." In Sweden the interview is regarded as an attack on the government despite the royal press office’s insistence that the king was referring to Sweden in general, and not the government in particular.

January 11th

Today the mortal remains of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg were transferred to a chapelle ardente at the Salle de la Balance at the Grand-Ducal Palace in Luxemburg City. Just after noon the grand ducal family were the first to pay their respects to the Grand Duchess. The chapel will be open to the public on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

At the New Year's reception for representants of the Dutch society at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam Queen Beatrix said in her speech: "Against the background of a terrible distress it seems our problems are non existing. It is almost impossible to simply wish each other a happy new year under these circumstances. These words now sound unreal." She praised the Dutch who have donated money and summoned the people present to offer help.

January 12th

Today, as part of the research project by the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt in which tens of Egyptian mummies will be canned, the mummy of Pharaoh Tutankhamon was scanned. In 15 minutes 1700 images of the mummy were taken. The scientists hope to find out why he died exactly. If all goes as planned, the results will be announced in three weeks. The project's purpose is to provide important information for conservation of the mummies and, at the same time, to study health and disease in ancient Egypt. The project is being led by Dr Hawass. A team of Egyptian scientists operates the CT system.

January 14th

Prince Harry of Wales has been highly criticised after a photograph of the prince in Nazi desert costume and swastika armband taken at a friend's fancy dress birthday party in Wiltshire at the weekend was published in a newspaper. The prince apologised in a statement saying "I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise", but Conservative leader Michael Howard has led calls for a public apology. The lord chancellor however has said there is no need for Prince Harry to make in person a second apology: "He apologised straight away after the mistake became public. I think we should leave it at that." Clarence House said there were no plans for the prince to say more. Meanwhile the prince's aunt the Duchess of York told the BBC's Today show: He's apologised and people have accepted his apology, and let's move on." She said: "It is time for the press to back off. I know what it is like to have very bad press and be continually criticised - it is very tiring and unpleasant."

Marita Ulvskog, secretary of the Swedish party Social Democrats has attacked King Carl XVI Gustaf for his comments on Sweden’s slow reaction to the Asian tsunami. In an interview on Swedish radio, she said that the king had 'crossed a line', and broken the constitutional rule that the monarch shall not get involved in politics. She was however backed by Prime Minister Göran Persson who, when asked about Ulvskog's comments, told reporters that there was no reason to criticize the king, and that he had acted within his rights. As a reaction to Ulvskog Dagens Nyheter today wrote that blaming the king was a sign of desperation.

Proposals have been withdrawn to give female members of the Royal Family the same rights as males. It would also have torn up ancient legislation banning heirs to the throne marrying Roman Catholics. The government refused to back Lord Dubs' Succession to the Crown Bill, saying it was too complex and raised too many constitutional issues. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, agreed the 1701 Act of Settlement, which governs the succession, was discriminatory but added that "for all practical purposes its effects are limited". However the changes proposed by Lord Dubs were a "complex and controversial undertaking raising major constitutional issues", he said. Lord Falconer said there were 22 members of the Royal Family in the line of succession after the Prince of Wales - all of who were eligible to succeed and had been unaffected by the act. "It is not a simple matter that can be tinkered with lightly. While we wish to remove all forms of discrimination... this isn't the proper form," he added. Lord Dubs agreed to withdraw his bill after its second reading in the House of Lords, but urged the government to think again at a later stage. "We cannot forever say we don't want to change things because it is too difficult," he told peers.

January 15th

The funeral service of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg was held at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Luxemburg today at 11:30. As the coffin left the Grand Ducal Palace, borne by military pallbearers, trumpeters played a salute, church bells tolled and a 21-gun salute sounded. The coffin was followed by the family and a group of royals. At the entrance of the cathedral Grand Duke Jean awaited the coffin with the mortal remains of his wife. The Cathedral was decorated with white roses: the grand duchess’ favourite flower was the rose and her favourite colour, white. The funeral ceremony was among others attended by King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, the Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Prince Lorenz and Princess Astrid of Belgium, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Countess Ruth af Rosenborg, Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Duke of York, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Prince and Princess Akishino, Prince El Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan and Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco. The grand duchess's body was cremated and the ashes interred in the family crypt at the cathedral, during a private service attended by close relatives, at the end of five days of national mourning in the wealthy but tiny country.

January 20th

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hit back earlier this week at critics who felt that he overstepped the mark with his comments about the Swedish government's handling of the tsunami catastrophe in Asia. In a press conference the King said: "I think the debate is exaggerated and unnecessary when we really ought to be talking about the actual problems we already have. What I said was thinking out loud about what I was feeling and experiencing in that situation." He declined to answer the media's questions about Marita Ulvskog's criticism, saying that she should answer them herself. He revealed that he and Queen Silvia intend to visit Thailand in the near future. "When things have stabilised a little we will visit the Thai king and say thank you for the support which the Thai people have given. There is no official programme yet but we also plan to visit the new consulate in Phuket."

January 21st

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway celebrated her 1st birthday today. Two series of photos were released showing the princess outside in the snow sleighing with her halfbrother Marius. Also her paternal grandparents King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway and her parents Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are on the pictures. The other series shows the princess playing inside of Skaugum, where the family lives. Also a video was released.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco appeared in public again on Thursday. He attended the opening of the Monte Carlo Circus Festival. The crowd honoured him with a huge applause. He was joined by Prince Albert and Princess Stéphanie.

Alfonso de Borbón Medina, son of Don Alfonso de Borbón Pérez del Pulgar and Doña Inés Medina Atienza, died at the Hospital de la Paz in Madrid yesterday after having been involved in a car accident in the early afternoon near Madrid. He leaves behind a wife and a son. The funeral today was among others attended by Queen Sofia, the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina, Infanta Margarita and her husband, María Zurita and Simoneta Gómez-Acebo. The deceased was a far cousin. He descended in male line from Infant Enrique (1823-1870), who was a brother of Francisco de Assís, husband of Queen Isabella II of Spain.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan may accompany her husband Crown Prince Naruhito at the opening ceremony for the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games next month in Nagano Prefecture, Imperial Household Agency officials said. It would be the first official trip outside Tokyo for Princess Masako since November 2003, when she attended the opening ceremony for a national sports competition for disabled people held in Shizuoka Prefecture.

A commemoration service for Count Lennart Bernadotte was held at the Stadttheater in Konstanz. Mayor Horst Frank honoured the 'king of the Bodensee' as an 'extraordinary personality' and praised his merits for the town and the region. Count Björn Bernadotte, one of Count Lennart's sons, and medicine noble prize winner Werner Arber held a speech.

January 23rd

Samuel Bernhard Louis van Vollenhoven, son of Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven was christened this morning at the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The ceremony was led by the Rev. A. van der Meiden. The baby's godparents were his grandmother Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Mr Diederik de Rooij and Marjolein Sekrève.

January 24th

On Tuesday a panel of 10 people advising Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan will meet for the first time. Topping the agenda is whether to revise the Imperial House Law to allow a female emperor and the children of a female emperor to succeed to the throne. The law, which permits only male heirs in the line of succession, has never been revised since it took effect in 1947. The panel is to produce a report in the fall, and the legislation to revise the law could be submitted to the Diet as early as next year, howeve experts say it could take much longer. Apart from female succession the panel is also likely to discuss whether women in the imperial family should be allowed to set up new branch households after marriage and keep their imperial status. Female members currently lose their special status upon marriage. Recent public polls have shown most people support the idea of a female emperor.

Since the Asian tsunami disaster support for the Swedish monarchy has grown. 80% of the Swedes say they support the royal family.

The Duke of York was highly criticised after a report was published by the Mail on Sunday that the National Audit Office had prepared for Labour MP Ian Davidson. According to the report the Duke of York ran up a £325,000 bill hiring helicopters and planes in 12 months both for official and private trips. Royal aides were reported to have told Sir John Bourne, the Comptroller and Auditor General, that Prince Andrew was reluctant to go by rail because it was too "unreliable". A palace spokesman claimed the criticisms were based on an "unbalanced version" of a letter sent by the NAO to the MP for Glasgow Pollok and a member of the public accounts committee. He said the palace believed the letter should now be published as public money was involved. Mr Davidson last night defended his decision to call for an investigation into the prince's travel expenses. "As far as I am concerned it comes across as viewing the public purse as bottomless and that he has been extravagant and wasteful," he said. "I couldn't think of any example of frugality within the report. It is just that some examples are more extravagant than others." Mr Davidson wants the public accounts committee to consider whether the rules on royal travel need to be tightened. An NAO spokesman said the information passed to Mr Davidson was termed as private correspondence rather than a report because it was not among the NAO's official reports for Parliament.

Scotland Yard is to examine the Mercedes in which Princess Diana died, it was revealed yesterday. The car will be secretly shipped to Great Britain later this year for a forensic and technical examination with the permission of French police. In Great Britain, it will be examined by detectives and police scientists involved in an inquiry into Diana's death. "The British are welcome to have the car but they won't find any clues in it as to what caused the crash," said a French police spokesman.

January 25th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven attended a very emotional commemorative ceremony for the victims of the Tsunami at the Ridderzaal in The Hague. In his speech Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said every Dutch person was forming a symbolic circle around the victims and their families. "Missing someone you love feels like a gaping hole. Whoever misses a loved one has lost part of themselves, perhaps even the most beautiful part." He also said the Dutch people have shown their good side in the past few weeks, and asserted the nation was "standing still" on Tuesday to commemorate personal tragedies. He said houses can be rebuilt, but the sadness and loss of a loved one could not be repaired. Poet Rutger Kopland read his poem, pointing out that people had lived between hope and fear for weeks on end waiting for news of their loved ones. After the ceremony the royals and the Prime Minister offered their condolences to victims and families of the disaster and talked with them.

The Duke of Gloucester has resigned as president of the Institute of Advanced Motorists after being banned from driving for speeding in Cambridgeshire. Institute officials removed the Duke from their membership list when he was given a six- month driving ban by magistrates in Ely in December last year. The Duke was however able to keep the honorary title of president. A spokesman said his resignation had been received by the full IAM council.

January 27th

Around 10.000 people attended the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland by the Soviet army. Among them were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Albert II of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, the Earl of Wessex and Prince Joachim of Denmark. In a moving ceremony in the freezing cold several survivors and world leaders held a speech. After the speeches, the assembled heads of state or representatives placed candles on the stark granite monument between the ruins of two gas chambers.

January 28th

Although Bhutan has banned smoking nationwide on December 17, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck keeps on smoking. During an hour-long meeting with Indian journalists he explained that you still can smoke in the privacy of your home, but will have to pay 100% sales tax and 100%import duty on the import of cigarettes. Smoking in public places is a 'no-no' as is the sale of tobacco within the country. When it was pointed out that he would now have to pay more for his cigarettes, the King responded that he planned to cut down on the number of cigarettes, although he didn't reveal how many cigarettes he smoked in a day.

36-year-old King Mswati III of Swaziland has chosen his 13th wife at the traditional yearly Incwala harvest ceremony. 17-year-old Xolile Magagula has reportedly travelled to South Africa to undergo an HIV test. When she has passed the test she will be presented to the Swazi public and will be blessed by the Queen Mother. In line with Swazi tradition, the three royal fiancees who have not yet fallen pregnant are not recognised as wives. At 36, King Mswati has 24 children.

January 30th

Queen Rania of Jordan gave birth to her fourth child, a boy called Hashem, at Al Hussein Medical Centre in Amman this evening. Mother and son are both in good health. Hashem is the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandfather and the founder of the Hashemite dynasty to which the Jordanian monarch belongs. A statement of the royal court asked Jordanians to give money to charities rather than sending flowers or publishing expensive congratulation advertisements. On the occasion, King Abdullah ordered assistance and food items to be distributed to needy families around the Kingdom. Today also is the 43th birthday of the baby's father King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The formal engagement of Princess Sayako of Japan and Yoshiki Kuroda is to be held in mid-March in a traditional court ceremony sources familiar with the matter said Saturday. The "Nosai no Gi," or ceremonial exchange of betrothal gifts, is a private court ceremony where an emissary for Kuroda's family would visit the Imperial Palace bearing betrothal gifts including sake, sea bream and silk as well as a list of the gifts.

Princess Fawzia of Egypt died on Thursday at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland, after a long strungle with cancer. She was born in Cairo on 7 April 1940 as the second daughter of King Farouk I of Egypt and his first wife Farida. The princess remained unmarried and last resided at Terriret-Veytaux, Switzerland. She was buried this evening at the royal mosque Rifaii in Cairo after having been repatriated from Geneva. The coffin was among others escorted by her brother King Fuad II of Egypt.

January 31st

King Abdullah and Queen Rania of Jordan presented their son Hashem to the press today.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will pay a visit to Thailand from 17 to 19 February to thank King Bhumibol and the Thai nation for their help to the Swedish victims during and after the tsunami from December 26.

February 1st

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

February 3th

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

February 4th

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

February 5th

Tonight King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway attended a huge 100-minute show with 100 actors at the theatre in Drammen celebrate the start of the centrenary celebrations in Norway. 100 years ago Norway became an independent country.

February 7th

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

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

February 8th

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

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

February 10th

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

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

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

February 11th

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

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

February 12th

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

February 14th

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

February 15th

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

February 16th

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

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

February 17th

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

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

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

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

February 18th

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

February 20th

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

February 21st

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

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

February 22nd

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

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

February 23rd

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

February 25th

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

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

February 26th

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

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

February 28th

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

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

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

March 1st

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrived in Sydney on Friday night. Crown Prince Frederik who is taking part in the worldchampionships Farr 40s sailing already arrived a few days before his wife. Two days ago the couple held another royal match race. Like last May in Copenhagen, also this time Crown Princess Mary managed to beat her husband 2-1 in a series of three 20 minute yacht races on Sydney Harbour. The couple pays a state visit to Australia from February 28 to March 11. Their tour will take them to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart. Yesterday the visit started with a lunch with Premier Bob Carr of New South Wales and his wife at Governor Macquarie Tower in Sydney. Tomorrow evening the crown princely couple will attend the Red Cross 90th Anniversary Gala dinner at the Westin Hotel in Sydney. On Thursday Crown Princess Mary attends a lunch for the Mental Health Foundation at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney and in the evening she and her husband will attend a state dinner at Government House. On Friday Crown Princess Mary will visit the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute at Darlinghurst, and in the evening the couple will attend the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute ball at the Wentworth. On Saturday Crown Princess Mary will visit the Australian Cancer Research Foundation at Westmead Hospital and meet children who are being treated there. In the evening the crown princely couple attends the foundation's dinner at Boomerang House, Elizabeth Bay. On Sunday the couple will attend a Danish church service at Pennant Hills. On their last day in Sydney, on Monday, the couple will visit the Sydney Opera House for the announcement of the Hans Christian Andersen bust at Observatory Hill. Here Crown Princess Mary will be appointed an honorary Hans Christian Andersen ambassador for Australia by her husband. In the evening there is a reception by the Danish community at the Sydney Opera House. On March 8 the couple will fly to Canberra where they will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial and attend a state dinner. On Wednesday a tour at Parliament House is planned. On March 10 a short visit to Melbourne is planned with visits to the Government House and Federation Square. There will also be a state reception. In the afternoon they will fly to Hobart, Tasmania, hometown of the Crown Princess. There they will visit the University of Tasmania Centre for the Arts and attend a state dinner. On Friday March 11, the last day of the visit the couple will visit the Government House and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. At noon a lunch at Port Arthur is planned. The couple will also attend a state reception at Wrest Point Cassino and the Save The Children Fund Ball at Wrest Point. The couple will also hold a press conference to end their tour. After the official schedule the couple is expected to stay a few more days at Tasmania to spend some time with Crown Princess Mary's family.

Yesterday an interview of Andrew Denton with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was broadcasted in the programme Enough Rope at ABC TV. The interview was recorded at Christian VIII's Palace, Amalienborg, in Copenhagen shortly before they were leaving for Australia. In the interview Crown Princess Mary said that her work is very varied: "A normal day would be - up quite early. I might have some Danish lessons sometimes. Or it might be an official event that I'll be going to so it's last-minute preparations for those sorts of things. Right now, a lot of the time is spent with meetings, for example, for our Australian tour. You wouldn't believe the amount of detail that goes into preparing for such a trip. I don't think we can believe it either. Obviously there's a lot of protocol questions and security questions and who would we like to invite as well." The couple said that they like to be very involved in what they do. About their first meeting Crown Prince Frederik said: "It was just after the Olympics had started and it was one of those evenings where... I mean, the whole city was just... Seen from my perspective, but I think it also goes for the inhabitants of Sydney, the whole thing was bubbling of expectations, of excitement. And suddenly you're just put in together with a group of locals that you don't know but who are in for a good time as well. And so... We had a sort of handshake around. "Hello, my name is..." And we sat differently at a table and it wasn't until later in that evening that we actually started talking. We're still talking!" Crown Princess Mary says she gave Frederik her telephone number and he rang her the next day. Frederik added that she was definitely worth another call. Mary told that about half an hour after they first met, her then flatmate said "These are actually European royalty that we're with." So she knew that Frederik was a prince about half an hour after meeting him. About her first meeting with Queen Margrethe II Mary told: "It actually was a bit of a surprise to me because it was, 'Oh, the next day, Mum's coming over for tea.' What? You know, I need to prepare for this. This is not just a... What should I do? What should I do? So, actually, it was quite entertaining because Frederik should show me how I should greet her with a curtsy and so forth. So it was quite fun to see him..." Crown Prince Frederik confessed that he proposed to his wife in Rome. He says he wrote a letter to Mary's father to ask him for his daughter's hand. John Donaldson wrote back that he'd be delighted to see Frederik as a future son-in-law. To the question what he was thinking when Mary entered the church for the marriage Crown Prince Frederik replied: "I could feel that now Mary was... You could hear the crowd outside sort of starting to...to rumble and cheer and then you know you're getting closer to the countdown, to the, sort of, final countdown, and I think that was probably a lot of...you know, things that I... Unprocessed feelings that I had kept within me - for, you know, I would say maybe years - suddenly could not be held back and should not be held back. So I said, 'Oh, to hell with all the being a...keeping the facade. This is THE moment and this is...' I was also very... Not concerned, but I was very... I wanted to have the moment when Mary came up and we were at the ceremony was just going to be Mary and I. So there might as well have been no people in the church. To me it was just the two of us living that intense moment. It was quite the most fantastic part in that day, I think, the church." They said they were very surprised about the interest in their wedding in Australia. Frederik said that "It's one of many great things about being married, is that we are two persons now and we can share things with each other. We can also get...unload on each other sort of thing, which was not the same case before with me, for example." They told that they had a wonderful photo safari as honeymoon, just south of the equator. Mary told that living in Denmark for a year before her engagement was a very good experience for her and for her and Frederik together, because she got the opportunity to experience Denmark and the people and culture as well as the royal family. She says she has gotten lots of freedom to try and find her own way. Frederik said to be very impressive what his wife is currently doing and has done already. Mary said that the language has been quite a challenge for her. The couple says they do lot of sports together. Crown Princess Mary said about their visit to Australia: "It's very exciting. We're very much looking forward to it."

March 2nd

The Registrar General, Len Cook, has confirmed yesterday that he is conducting a formal investigation into claims that the civil ceremony of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles is in breach of the law. He is studying claims that Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, was wrong to state that the Prince of Wales’s intended civil marriage to Mrs Parker Bowles is legal. The legal complaint was made by the Rev Paul Williamson, the vicar of St George’s Church in Feltham, West London, who has filed, by fax and by registered post, formal objections to the ceremony. The vicar claims that the law is clear: “A member of the Royal Family cannot have a civil marriage, cannot be divorced, cannot marry a divorcée, cannot marry in church, and cannot marry abroad if he wants to become king." A spokesman for the General Registrar’s Office said: “If the objection is upheld we would not issue a licence and the marriage could not go ahead.”

In a letter to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo the Spanish Royal Household has denied that the Princess of Asturias suffers from anorexia. The newspaper had commented about the Princess's extreme thinness recently. The letter that was written by the mediator between the Royal Household and the media Juan Gonzalez-Cebrian says "it’s absolutely false" the Princess suffers anorexia. Mr Gonzalez-Cebrian demands the publication of his letter so that "El Mundo" readers have "truthful information" at their disposal.

Family, friends and colleagues of Princess Alexandra of Kent’s late husband, Sir Angus Ogilvy, have attended a memorial service at Westminster Abbey today. Among them were Princess Alexandra of Kent, Marina Ogilvy, James and Julia Ogilvy with their children Flora and Alexander, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Earl of St Andrews, Lord Nicholas Windsor, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Windsor, as well as the Duke of Gloucester. The Dean of Westminister officiated, assisted by the Rev Chris Chivers, Minor Canon and Precentor of Westminster. Mr Jesse Peters and Ms Liz Jackson, Recipients of Business start-up loans from The Prince’s Trust, said prayers. The Hon James Ogilvy, brother, and Sir Timothy Colman, KG, read the lessons. Mr Timothy West read If by Rudyard Kipling and Mr James Ogilvy, son gave an address. During the service a recording of music from the short film Engaged and composed by Miss Marina Ogilvy, daughter, with a cello arrangement by Emily Burridge was played. The Band of The Scots Guards, conducted by Major Robert J Owen, Director of Music, also played during the service. The Skye Boat Song was played by Piper Graham Gray after the service and outside the Great West Door Mr Mark Tennant, nephew, and Mr Edward Tennant, great nephew, bagpipes, played the March: The Bonnie Hoose O’Airlie and Salute to Sir Angus Ogilvy.

A member of the Zulu royal household, Prince Thulani Zulu, was shot dead in Nongoma in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday afternoon. Police Director Bala Naidoo said Zulu was driving when a red vehicle pulled up next to him and several shots were fired. He died instantly and two of his passengers were wounded. Naidoo said the red car was later found abandoned close to the scene of the crime. The deceased was the branch chairman of the African National Congress in Nongoma. ANC provincial spokesperson Mtholephi Mthimkhulu said the party was "shocked and devastated".

March 3rd

Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan's apology to his parents last week over a controversial remark about his wife Masako signaled an improvement in family ties. Analysts of Imperial household affairs say the apology will help cap an unusually turbulent nine months for the world's oldest hereditary monarchy. A senior Imperial Household Agency official said the Crown Prince "reaffirmed family ties." But Hiroshi Takahashi, a professor at Shizuoka University of Welfare, said the Crown Prince had no choice but to apologize because he had underestimated the impact of the remark. "I doubt he had imagined his remark would have such a huge impact. Actually, it was totally unexpected for him to be criticized by some agency officials for speaking out too much," he said. "The last nine months were quite unusual for the Imperial family." He says that aides to the Imperial family believe that attracting media attention does not necessarily benefit the Imperial household.

Anyone who opposes next month's marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles has just 24 hours left to object, Britain's main registry office said before adding that it was already investigating a number of complaints. A spokesman for the General Register Office of England and Wales said: "We are not discussing numbers but we have had more than one. We will wait and see what comes in by the deadline. The registry office in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, which covers The Prince of Wales's countryside retreat of Highgrove, has received at least three objections, British newspapers have reported. The spokesman for the general registrar's office said if one of the complaints under investigation is upheld "then no certificate of marriage will be issued."

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton has been appointed as private secretary to Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales, Clarence House has said. He will work part-time from 2 May. Mr Lowther-Pinkerton works as a security specialist in London, and had been an equerry to the Queen Mother from 1984-86. His new job will involve contact with Sir Michael Peat, private secretary to Prince Charles, and Helen Asprey, personal secretary to the princes.

A court has denied Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn access to Paco, his pet dog. The animal will stay with his estranged wife, Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn had taken the case to court, saying he had not seen the dog since last year and he missed Paco very much. The court decided that since the Princess paid for the dog, she owned it and could decide who had the right to visit it. Princess Margarita's name has been named as owner in the family tree of the dog and she also paid for him.

March 4th

Nine formal objections have been made against the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles. The deadline for objections passed and the details have been sent to the office of the Registrar General who will decide whether they are valid. No certificate of marriage can be issued until all objections have been dealt with. Should the objections not be deemed valid, applications could be made for judicial review at the High Court. The objections were lodged at the local register offices at Chippenham and Cirencester where the Prince and his fiancée have their homes.

The Prince of Wales started his five-day visit to Australia on March 1 when arriving in Perth. It is his first tour of Australia for 11 years. He said he was glad to return. On Wednesday he spent some time in the outback around Alice Springs where he was greeted at the airport by Aboriginal dancers. He visited the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT). After an official reception the Prince headed for Melbourne. This morning 7-year-old school girl Pamela Kenneally-Murphy told him after giving him a hug during a visit at a primary school: "I hope you're in love with the woman you're marrying." The Prince of Wales replied: "Yes, very much." Pamela then burst into tears and said: 'I hope he'll have a great time at the wedding." This afternoon the Prince of Wales visited Sydney where he had lunch with the Governor of New South Wales, visited Sydney's Botanic Gardens as well as the Opera House forecourt and Man O'War steps. He also made a cruise through Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River. He visited the Sydney Cancer Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital before leaving for Canberra, where he attended an official dinner at Government House in the evening. Tomorrow he will lay a wreath at the Australian War Memorial and meet Prime Minister John Howard. He will also visit a farm. In the afternoon he will leave for New Zealand. On March 10 and 11 the Prince of Wales will visit Fiji, where he will be welcomed according a full traditional Fijian ceremony hosted by the President.

March 6th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has agreed to a set of stamps to commemorate the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple are said to be "delighted" and the designs will be released next month. The Queen will be shown a number of designs by executives at the Royal Mail in the next fortnight so that the stamps can be approved and printed to coincide with the wedding on April 8. The Queen's image appears on every stamp and she personally approves each design. Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate, has said that he intends to mark the occasion by writing a poem. Mr Motion said yesterday: "I feel it is an important part of my work as Laureate to mark significant events in the royal calendar. I can't give any details because I have not written it [the poem] yet."

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, has voiced his support for Prince Charles' wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles. He has urged people to "get behind" the happy couple. He said the forthcoming marriage was good for the monarchy and set a good example to society at large. "I think it's good for the country because it's important that at the heart of the monarchy we have stable relationships," Lord Carey explained.

It is said that Prince William of Wales wants to enlist for military training at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst in January 2006, when his younger brother Prince Harry starts his third term. Courtiers hope that the presence of William might improve Harry’s chances of adapting successfully to the armed forces. One source said: “Life is about to get much more serious for both boys. It should be easier for them to go through it together.” The sources say that recent events have pushed William into 'getting a grip'. After his studies Prince William is to lose the special protection from media intrusion that he has enjoyed since April 1999 under a deal with the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). At a meeting this month, palace officials will urge the PCC to consider reimposing special rules for media coverage of the princes during their stints at Sandhurst. However, they are not optimistic.

In a Channel 4 Film on the life of Princess Margaret of Great Britain the Duke of Edinburgh is portrayed as a bully who ruthlessly promotes the interests of the house of Windsor while boasting in private about his predilection for “rather striking” women. The film shows Prince Philip threatening his sister-in-law that she will lose her income if she goes ahead with her marriage to a divorced battle of Britain veteran. A leaked script of the film reveals that Princess Margaret is shown having sex, kissing the daughter of the American ambassador and high on drugs. The film, Margaret Rose, begins with her affair in 1955 with Group Captain Peter Townsend and continues through to her romance with Roddy Llewellyn, a socialite and gardener, in the 1970s. It ends with her alone on Mustique island in the West Indies.

March 7th

The Swedish royal family has decided to sue German media companies as part of efforts to stop inaccurate reports, the palace said today. Media lawyer Matthias Prinz has been asked to prepare suits demanding damages, palace spokeswoman Ann-Christine Jernberg said. She added that apologies are insufficient; "The apologies which have been published have only related to certain specific articles." If any sums are awarded, the money will be used for charity in accordance with the royal family's wishes, Mrs Jernberg said. Mr Prinz has reviewed what the gossip magazines have published during the past five years and found hundreds of articles that were erroneous or made up, the palace said. Although several magazines have published front page corrections, fake stories continue to be published.

March 8th

The Registrar General has dismissed 11 objections to the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. "I am satisfied none of these objections should obstruct the issue of a marriage certificate," said Len Cook, Registrar General for England and Wales. He ruled that the relevant legislation, backed more recently by the European Convention on Human Rights and 1998 Human Rights Act, did not prevent the royal marriage.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco again has been hospitalized with a chest infection. He was admitted to the Centre Cardio-Thoracique de Monte-Carlo on Monday. His condition had improved Tuesday but he was expected to remain hospitalized for a few more days. "Given the medical history and respiratory problems created by this new health incident, appropriate medical surveillance and complementary examinations are necessary, and will be conducted in the coming days," the palace said.

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway have ended a nine-day official visit to the USA on the occasion of this year's centennial celebrations of Norway as a free and independent nation. The visit started at February 27 with a visit to the Norwegian Seamen's Church in New York, where they also met many members of the Norwegian community in the city. One day later Queen Sonja opened an exhibition at Scandinavia House, which includes paintings from her own private art collection. The royal couple also had lunch with UN Secreatary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane and visited Ground Zero. In the evening they attended a concert by the Oslo Cathedral Choir at the St. Thomas Church on Manhattan. On March 1 Queen Sonja presented "This is My Norway" at Scandinavia House. On Wednesday the royal couple continued their visit in Houston where King Harald opened the oil and energy conference INTSOK. They ended their visit in Washington. The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Kennedy Centre in Washington at the end of the visit yesterday. Yesterday the royal couple also had lunch at the White House.

Marius Høiby Borg, son of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, has gotten a little brother on Sunday morning. His father Morten Borg and his wife Celine had their first child together.

A CT scan of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun's skull indicates he was not murdered by a "blow to the back of the head." He may have suffered a badly broken leg shortly before his death at age 19, a wound that could have become infected, Egypt's top archaeologist Zahi Hawass said Tuesday, about two months after the CT scan was performed on the mummy of the pharaoh. He said that the remains of Tutankhamun showed no signs that he had been murdered, dispelling a mystery that has long surrounded the pharaoh's death. Mr Hawass said some members of the research team interpreted a fracture to Tutankhamun's left thighbone as evidence that the king may have broken his leg badly just before he died. "Although the break itself would not have been life-threatening, infection might have set in. However, this part of the team believes it also possible, although less likely, that this fracture was caused by the embalmers."

March 10th

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are going to sell their Gloucestershire manor house, Nether Lypiatt. It goes on sale for £4.5m. The couple bought the house in 1981. It was built in 1698 and has eight bedrooms, four reception rooms, staff quarters and 20 acres of land.

March 11th

At the end of their Australia visit Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark held a press conference in Hobart, Tasmania. Crown Princess Mary said she was overwhelmed to be home in Tasmania. "It's hard to put words on such strong emotions," she told. "I think it was, you come to think of all those things from your childhood. Of course I thought a lot of my mother." She added:"It was a beautiful feeling to see Tasmania below me." Crown Prince Frederik said that the Australia visit had has been an incredible journey that had brought them immense joy and happiness. "It's something we'll never forget," he said. He said he was happy that his wife had claimed the largest share of attention during their Australian tour: "I think it's fantastic she gets the attention. I think it would be a bit strange if she didn't get that much attention in Australia." About future children Crown Princess Mary said: "I think it's only natural that our children will have some Australian influence because a lot of me is influenced by my upbringing in Australia. I'm sure they will have desire to come and see where I have grown up as well."

68-year-old Sven Høiby, father of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has remarried. He married 34-year-old former stripper Renate Barsgård in a civil ceremony at the Norwegian Embassy in The Hague, The Netherlands. The couple met last year in a bar at Kristiansand. The couple will go to Thailand for their honeymoon.

March 13th

Andrew Parker Bowles, ex-husband of Camilla, Parker Bowles is to get an invitation to the ceremony when she marries Prince Charles at Windsor Guildhall on April 8. He has been asked along at the insistence of the Queen. A friend said: "Andrew's on very good terms with many of the royals. He's an ex-boyfriend of Princess Anne, and the late Queen Mother saw him as one of her favourites. Charles wasn't too thrilled at inviting him, but the Queen thought he should be there."

March 14th

It emerged that the official engagement photograph of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles was made by Carolyn Robb, one of Britain’s leading organic chefs, who took the picture when she was working for the Prince at Birkhall, his Scottish hideaway, in January. She asked why it was being taken and was told the couple wanted a photograph of themselves dressed in their new green tweeds on their way to church. A few weeks later Ms Robb, a consultant product developer for the Prince’s Duchy Originals food range, claimed she was shocked to see the photograph flashed around the world as an official engagement picture, which also appears on a stamp to commemorate the royal wedding. She told a Sunday newspaper that the image had been used without her consent and without any fee being agreed. She said that she felt duped, bitterly disappointed and insulted. When Ms Robb contacted the Prince’s office about financial compensation, officials attempted to force her to waive international copyright, she said. She claimed that she was asked to sign over all rights and to accept that she would not receive any compensation. Yesterday a spokeswoman for Clarence House insisted that Ms Robb had given permission for the photograph to be distributed free and had also been asked to sign a contract that would assign copyright to the Royal Household. The contract was optional, she added. “If Ms Robb does not want to sign, then that is fine. Ms Robb has asked us to make it clear that she is now happy with the situation and as far as she is concerned that matter is closed.” It is understood that Ms Robb has agreed a fee for the photograph. Ms Robb was reported to have told the Mail on Sunday that she was hurt and upset by the way she had been treated by palace officials. “I want to make it clear that I am not upset at Prince Charles or Mrs Parker Bowles. I have known the Prince for many years and I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for him. And I am very fond of Mrs Parker Bowles, who is a wonderful lady. I have always been so loyal to them both. That is why it is so hurtful and upsetting to be treated in this way. But the people in Charles’s office have not dealt with this in a decent or professional fashion. It is a classic example of how out of touch they are with reality,” she was quoted as saying.

March 17th

King Harald V of Norway will undergo heart surgery just after the Easter holiday at the Rikshospitalet in Oslo, to correct a defective valve. Crown Prince Haakon will be regent while his father is on sick leave. The King is expected to be off work for at least two months. Palace officials hope he will be able to resume his duties as quick as possible. His current ailment is known as aortic stenosis, the narrowing or obstruction of the heart's aortic valve, which prevents it from opening properly and blocks the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta. Doctors said the monarch's heart trouble has progressed slowly for many years. The king hasn't fell ill. During his last routine physical exam it turned out the King's condition was considerably reduced and that surgery was necessary. He's expected to be in the hospital for two weeks. "The king has taken this news calmly. He is in fine form," said professor Halfdan Ihlen, the king's personal physician, at Rikshospitalet.

March 18th

During an official function Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway today said that King Harald is grateful for all greetings and messages of support that he has received since it was announced that he will undergo a heart operation after Easter. It is expected that she and the Crown Prince will take over many of the official functions which King Harald was scheduled to have attended for the next two months, while he is on sick leave. Greetings and flowers have arrived from all over the country as well as from abroad. People use both e-mail, letters and the phone. We think this is very nice, said the Palace acting information director Sven G. Gjeruldsen.

Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg expects her second child, a girl, in July. She and her husband Lambros Milona live in Italy, but the baby is planned to be born in München, Germany. From her first marriage to Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe Lilly has a 10-year-old son.

March 19th

Princess Nori, only daughter of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan this morning was formally engaged to Yoshiki Kuroda in a traditional betrothal rite called Nosai no Gi at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. In the privately held ceremony lasting about 15 minutes a messenger from Mr Kuroda, his cousin Naoyuki Kuroda, formally conveyed Kuroda's proposal to marry the Princess to Grand Steward Toshio Yuasa of the Imperial Household. The messenger offered traditional engagement gifts of two fresh sea bream, three bottles of sake and two sets of silk, the Imperial Household Agency said. The grand steward then reported to the Emperor and Empress in a different room, also attended by the princess, about the proposal. The Imperial Couple granted approval. The princess and Kuroda became formally engaged when the grand steward returned to the messenger and said that the princess and her parents accepted the offer of marriage. The Imperial family then sent a messenger to Kuroda's home in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, carrying another set of gifts: two fresh sea bream, three bottles of sake and two sets of dark blue cloth to make two business suits. The fabric was selected by the emperor, empress and the princess. Princess Nori, in the meantime, reported her engagement to other members of her family and received their congratulations. The imperial family also had a celebratory lunch. The heads of three branches of government, senior agency officials and others also visited the princess to offer congratulations. In the afternoon, Mr Kuroda and his mother, Sumiko, visited the Imperial Residence for a meeting with the Emperor and Empress and the princess. They talked over tea for over 90 minutes, longer than the scheduled one hour, the agency said. After the ceremony, the 35-year-old princess said in a statement, "I would like to express my deep gratitude to both the Emperor and the Empress for blessing us and for having Nosai no Gi completed smoothly." Also Mr Kuroda expressed gratitude for the blessing and the ceremony. The agency set out books at the palace for the public to sign and offer congratulations. The princess and Mr Kuroda will marry sometime after the summer, following a series of court rites, the Imperial Household Agency has said. The Nosai no Gi was the first ceremony in the series. The Emperor and Empress are expected to attend the wedding ceremony and reception banquet to be held at a private marriage hall. The princess and Mr Kuroda hope to hold a Shinto-style wedding, the sources said. The wedding date will be announced later at another rite called Kokki no Gi.

The Monegasque royals have marked the arrival of Spring with their traditional Rose Ball at the Monte Carlo Sporting Club. This year's theme was Brazil. The ball was attended by Princess Caroline. Her father Prince Rainier is in hospital and Princess Stéphanie was not present either. The abll is the most important event in Monaco's social calendar, and is attended by the Monegasque society, showbiz stars and aristocrats from all over the world. Proceeds go to the Princess Grace Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children.

March 21st

Camilla Parker Bowles will automatically become Queen when the Prince of Wales succeeds to the throne unless there is a change in the law, the Government confirmed tonight. The Department for Constitutional Affairs admitted legislation would be needed no matter what Camilla wished to call herself when Charles becomes King, to prevent this happening. Clarence House has previously insisted that the Government agreed with its view, taken from legal advice, that it was only a convention for the wife of the King to be known as Queen. The Prince's aides did admit, when the royal engagement was announced, that legislation might be needed to tidy the issue up later on. Mrs Parker Bowles will be known as the Duchess of Cornwall after her marriage at Windsor on April 8 and intends to take the title Princess Consort when the Prince accedes the throne. A Department for Constitutional Affairs spokeswoman confirmed that legislation would be needed for her not to become Queen automatically on Charles's succession."I think traditionally that's probably the case because in all similar circumstances in the past in past royal marriages that is what has happened," said the spokeswoman. "But I think she is not going to be referred to as Queen, she will be referred to as the Princess Consort." Tony Blair's official spokesman said: "The position at the moment is limited to what the title would be on her marriage. In terms of any future events, let's wait until future events arise. A Clarence House spokesman said tonight: "With any legal situation there are always different views. If the Government said legislation would be needed it wouldn't be a problem. It can easily be done in the Civil List Act. "This is something which is a long way in the future, we hope."

Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn will soon demand via the courts that his estranged wife Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme pays him EUR 5,000 in alimony. The princess withdrew her request for divorce earlier this month. Amsterdam Court had earlier ruled that Margarita should pay her still husband EUR 5.000 per month. The amount was based on the lifestyle of the couple and the financial status of Princess Margarita.

Researchers who have spent the past 10 months prising open the tombs of the Medicis of Florence, have got more than they bargained for. They have found the remains of eight children they cannot place on the family tree. Worse still, some of the bodies appear to have been switched around or muddled up over the centuries. The resulting confusion is making yet more difficult an already immense and challenging undertaking that is shining light into the recesses of the Renaissance. The aim of the project, which reached the end of its first phase last week, is to build up a picture of the lives, and deaths, of the members of a family that ruled Florence for more than 300 years. One of the researchers, Dr Lippi, said it could be decades before the last conclusions were wrung from the evidence being discovered. Last week team members received their latest shock when they opened the tomb of Filippino, son of Grand Duke Francesco I, who ruled Florence from 1574 until 1587. "We know, from historic evidence, that Filippino was four years and nine months old when he died," said the leader of the project, Gino Fornaciari. "But what we found were the remains of a one-year-old child. Now, there is a margin of error. But it is only plus or minus four months. So, clearly, it was not the body of Filippino." About the remains of eight children the researchers cannot place on the family tree Dr Lippi said: "It cannot be ruled out that at least some of these children were illegitimate," said Dr Lippi, the team's historian. Dr Fornaciari, a lecturer at the University of Pisa, said he expected that some of the mysteries surrounding the crypt would be cleared up when the team created a "DNA map" of the Medicis at a later stage in the project. "It was always going to be done, but now it has become even more important," he said. However Dr Lippi was sceptical that DNA tests could provide all the answers. They might be able to show which children were born of which parents, but they could not distinguish between siblings without documentary evidence which, in some cases, might not exist. "You have to remember that, in earlier times, the rate of infant mortality was extremely high," she said. Grand Duke Cosimo was said by his doctors - and thus by historians - to have been crippled by gout. In fact, Dr Fornaciari and his fellow paleopathologists have established that he suffered from a form of arthritis called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, or Forestier's disease. Two of Cosimo's children were rumoured to have met violent ends. Yet no trace of a violent death was found on the remains of either.

March 22nd

Historian odd Arvid Storsveen has written a highly critical review of a book by author Tor Bomann-Larsen in the magazine Historisk Tidsskrift. In the book, Bomann-Larsen raises the possibility that Norway's first modern queen, Maud, may have been artificially inseminated with sperm either from her doctor or her doctor's son and that King Haakon was not the father of King Olav. Storsveen claims he can't find adequate sourcing for Bomann-Larsen's "hypothesis" that Olav wasn't the son of King Haakon. "King Olav's descendants can take it easy," Storsveen says, adding that Bomann-Larsen's claims lack credibility.

The Duchess of York has told that her daughter Princess Beatrice struggles with her schoolwork because she is dyslexic. The princess is due to take her GCSEs this summer and is receiving extra help with reading and writing from the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre. She described her daughter's experiences during a visit to the London school attended by the murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor. The Duchess is patron of a charity called Springboard for Children, which sends volunteers into inner city schools to help pupils who are behind in their reading and writing. She said Princess Beatrice would probably continue to receive extra help in literacy "for the foreseeable future". "She loves history - coming from Queen Victoria and her family, she wanted to learn about history but she couldn't because she couldn't read. "She is such a kind person. She didn't get frustrated. I would have," she said at Oliver Goldsmith School in Peckham, south London. The Duchess said Princess Beatrice was "very proud" that everyone should know of her literacy problem. "She said 'Please tell everybody because it's very important'," the Duchess said. "She is very good at oral French, drama, numbers, just like her mother." The Duchess said she was also "a little bit" dyslexic: "I had a problem at school. I think I am fine now but I think I did because it took me ages to read and no-one listens."

Prince Rainier III of Monaco has been moved into the intensive care unit at hospital because a lung infection he is being treated for has worsened, his office says. The palace's press office said the prince had initially been responding well to treatment since his admission to hospital on March 7.

A skeleton held in the collection of the National Museum of Scotland for nearly 100 years has been identified as the remains of a lost Egyptian queen. Scientists using forensic investigative techniques to uncover the history of the woman, who has been part of the museum collection since 1909, also examined the skeleton of her daughter, which was found at the same site. The bodies were discovered by Sir Flinders Petrie in 1909 at the village of Qurna on the west bank of the Nile, a site known for illegal excavations. Sir Flinders excavated two coffins containing the skeletal remains of the mother and her child as well as jewellery and other items. The bodies were acquired and displayed at the Royal Museum a year after their discovery, although relatively little was known about who the mother and child were. The new study was carried out by experts from NMS and scientists working for Atlantic Productions, who are filming a documentary for the Discovery channel. Researchers used advanced technology to put a face to the child, but the exact identity of the lost queen may have to remain a mystery. Dan Oliver, of Atlantic Productions, said: "The evidence suggests that this was a queen of Egypt and the child was an heir. It is pretty clear the adult was one of the most important people of her time."

March 23rd

The Prince of Wales authorised one of his most senior officials to go public to deny that legislation would be required to prevent Mrs Parker Bowles becoming Queen when the Prince succeeds to the throne. Paddy Harverson, the Clarence House communications secretary, said: “Mrs Parker Bowles’s wishes have been made clear from the start that she does not wish to take the title of Queen and the Prince is in full agreement. The implication of some of today’s media reporting is that Mrs Parker Bowles would have to be called Queen unless there is legislation. This is incorrect and not in accordance with the Government’s advice.” Mrs Parker Bowles will take the title Duchess of Cornwall on April 8 and Princess Consort on succession." Mr Harverson added: “Mrs Parker Bowles can, as she wishes, be referred to as Princess Consort, rather than Queen, without legislation. Legislation would only be required if it was deemed necessary to confirm formally that she should not have the title and status of Queen.” The remarks will put Clarence House in direct confrontation with the Department for Constitutional Affairs, headed by the Lord Chancellor, the head of the judiciary, which stated on Monday that an Act of Parliament was required to stop Mrs Parker Bowles automatically becoming Queen on the succession. A spokesman for the department said: “We have nothing further to add.” It emerged that Mrs Parker Bowles, according to constitutionalists, would also be entitled to call herself the Princess of Wales after her marriage on April 8. Patrick Cracroft-Brennan, editor of Cracroft’s Peerage, said: “Under English common law, Camilla Parker Bowles will become the Princess of Wales on April 8. While there is nothing to stop her choosing to be known as the Duchess of Cornwall, the fact is she will be the Princess of Wales. There has never been a Prince of Wales who has not been married to the Princess of Wales.”

Prince William of Wales and Tom Parker Bowles will be the witnesses of their parents the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles at their wedding on April 8. Some details of the wedding guests were announced today. The civil wedding at the Guildhall in Windsor will be attended by the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence, Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales, Major Bruce Shand (father of Camilla Parker Bowles), Tom and Laura Parker Bowles. The civil ceremony is expected to last for just 20 minutes and will be witnessed by about 30 people. The Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles will arrive together and leave the Guildhall from Windsor Castle in a 1962 Rolls Royce Phantom V previously used by the Queen Mother. A preliminary meeting will take place before the ceremony in the Guildhall's Ascot Room, during which Clair Williams, the Registrar, will confirm the bride and groom's details. For the St George's Chapel blessing afterwards some 700 guests are invited, including European royalty. A reception will follow in the State Apartments of Windsor Castle where a finger-food buffet is expected to be served.

Prince Rainier of Monaco is on an artificial respirator suffering heart and kidney trouble but his condition is stable, according to the palace. A palace communique said the prince was being treated for a lung ailment complicated by a heart condition. He suffered a relapse of a lung infection which, together with a weak heart and kidneys, required him to be moved to intensive care. "His breathing troubles made it necessary to use artificial respiratory assistance," the communique added. His children Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie went to see him in the intensive care unit at the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Centre last night after he was placed there on Tuesday.

Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark have filed for a divorce, the Danish Royal Court announced today. It was announced in September that the couple wished to part, and the couple was separated on September 22. Danish laws forbid full divorce until six months have passed from a legal separation. ‘The sympathy and support that we have felt from so many directions during the separation have helped us both through a difficult time and contributed to give our children, His Highness Prince Nikolaj and His Highness Prince Felix, a good and safe framework in their everyday lives,’ the couple said in a joint press release. ‘We want to do everything in our power to maintain that framework after the divorce.’ After the divorce, Princess Alexandra will lose her title as Her Royal Highness and is only to be addressed as Her Highness. She will continue to live in the royal household at Amalienborg until her house north of Copenhagen is ready for her.

The Swedish National Audit Office has criticised the Swedish royal household for not fully accounting for the way that it spends the money it receives from the state. Last year the royals received 96 million kronor of state money. Around half of this went towards the upkeep of the royal palaces at Drottningholm, Gripsholm and Tullgarn. The other half went directly to the king to pay for the royal family’s living expenses and to cover staffing costs. The money paid directly to the king is covered by secrecy, and the royal household is under no obligation to account for it. However, the money for the upkeep of the palaces is in the public domain, and the national auditor has a right to inspect it. Of 200 staff working in the royal palaces, 60 are employed by the king directly, while the rest are paid out of the budget for the palaces’ upkeep. But auditor general Kurt Öberg has told Sveriges Radio that it is impossible for him to carry out his duties as the palace does not have adequate systems for keeping the two budgets separate. This means that parliament does not have an effective way to judge whether the royals are being funded efficiently, he argued. “In my experience, there is no other example in the public sphere where accounting practices have made it impossible for us to draw conclusions,” he said. However, Marshal of the Realm Ingmar Eliasson told Svenska Dagbladet that the royals need more money for security, claiming that the palace is less well protected than parliament and government offices. “We need to improve protection of the Royal Palace in Stockholm and of Drottningholm,” he said. “In some respects, we also need to improve personal security,” he added. According to Dagens Nyheter, this meant paying for bodyguards for more members of the royal family. Currently only the king and Crown Princess Victoria have personal protection officers.

March 24th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will attend the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. From the Netherlands Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien will attend. According to a Clarence House spokesman also the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands were invited, but the Government Information Service says that the couple hasn't received the invitation. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark haven't accepted the invitation to be present at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and camilla Parker Bowles on April 8. The wedding collides with the Crown Prince's sleigh-tour in Greenland. The couple has decided that Crown Princess Mary stays home. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden also has other engagements.

Princess Saskia zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, wife of Prince Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, gave birth to the couple's first child and heir, Max Leopold on Tuesday. The little hereditary prince was born in München at 22.33. He was 52 centimetres tall and weighed 3600 grammes. The new parents are very happy. According to tradition the birth was celebrated in Langenburg with salutes, bell-ringing and flags.

March 25th

Earl Spencer is to rent the old bedroom of his late sister Diana Princess of Wales for £30,000 a night. He is hiring out his family ancestral home Althorp for "weekend stays or longer". He is advertising the Princess of Wales Room, where she slept with Prince Charles, as one of its main attractions. Guests will have full run of the mansion and grounds and can stroll around the lake that encircles Diana's island resting place. He expects groups of around 30 people each paying £1,000 a night. The Earl promises guests will have total privacy when the Northamptonshire mansion is available for rent at the end of summer, after it shuts to the public. The Earl stopped renting it out after her death for fear of being accused of cashing in on her memory. His new offer will cause dismay. Last night a royal source said: "It's actually quite shocking. The Earl is very wealthy already, but apparently there's no end to his desire for commercialism. I'm sure he believes no one will find out." Yesterday, a spokesman for the Earl insisted: "Althorp has hosted corporate and private hospitality for clients for 30 years. This is a normal way of helping with the upkeep of a historic house."

March 26th

Camilla Parker Bowles is getting her own official coat of arms. She will share a new version of the Prince of Wales's original crest, which is being redesigned to reflect their status as a married couple. It has been specially authorised by the Queen and will be designed by Peter Gwynn-Jones, the Garter King of Arms. Charles and Camilla can use the crest on their personal possessions such as cars and flags flying over Highgrove. It should take around six months to finish. A spokesman for the prince confirmed a coat of arms was being created. He added: "It is under discussion." Camilla Parker Bowles is also to get her own armed guard, policeman Les Turner. The royal protection officer has previously worked as minder to Charles and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

An ICM poll for the Daily Mail has found that 65% of the people believe the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Camilla Parker Bowles will weaken the monarchy, up from 49% six weeks ago, when the wedding plans were announced. The poll found that 73% of the people do not believe Camilla should become Queen, while 60% believe she should not be given the title Her Royal Highness. Of those surveyed, 31% plan to watch the marriage on television. However, 57% said they approved of Charles marrying Camilla, while 37% said they did not approve. ICM Research interviewed 511 people by telephone on March 23.

Pope John Paul II has sent a special blessing to Monaco's Prince Rainier, who remains on life support. The Pope, who is in bad health himself, wished Prince Rainier well. "Informed of the health problems affecting Your Serene Highness, the Holy Father joins with you in thought and prayer with warm wishes towards you," said the message signed by papal secretary of state Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

March 27th

Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau gave birth to her first child, a daughter, on Saturday evening 26 March at 19.17 in London, Great Britain. The baby weighed 3085 grammes. The baby will receive the name Luana. Her full names are Emma Luana Ninette Sophie. Prince Friso lets know that he and Mabel are very happy and that mother and daughter are doing well. The baby was not expected until the end of April.

David Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury has said that the Prince of Wales is required to apologise to Andrew Parker Bowles for breaking up his marriage to Camilla. He said church rules dictated that the prince should atone for committing adultery. “The Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles will be taking part in prayers of penitence at the service of prayer and dedication following their civil marriage,” he said in a statement. “Preparation for the formal expression of such prayers includes the making good of any hurts, the restoration of relationships and serious attention being paid to the relationships fractured or damaged by misconduct.”

Prince Rainier III of Monaco is conscious and his heart, lung and kidney functions have stabilized, the royal palace said Sunday. The medical update came a day after the palace issued the most pessimistic report yet. He remains on a respirator. "The cardiac, lung and kidney functions that did not stop deteriorating have stabilized," the palace said in the new health bulletin, signed by three doctors. The Prince "is conscious, but under sedation, which allows him to withstand respiratory assistance that is absolutely indispensable," it said. The prince's prognosis remains "very reserved," the palace said — apparently a notch less severe than the "extremely reserved" judgment given by doctors Saturday. Rainier's health remains "worrisome," it said. The Prince is hospitalised since March 7 and was transferred to the intensive care unit on Tuesday.

March 29th

King Harald V of Norway was hospitalized this morning at the Rikshospitalet. His heart surgery will likely take place on Friday 1 April 2005. The king was greeted by officials when he arrived for admission at the hospital. He was accompanied by his wife Queen Sonja.

A House of Representatives panel on Japan's Constitution revealed a draft for its final report today supporting a revision to the supreme law, including allowing females to assume the imperial throne, lawmakers said. The report was officially presented to senior lawmakers. A majority of the panel members approved the continued existence of the current system that recognizes the emperor as the symbol of the state. Meanwhile, they agreed to allow for a female to assume the throne, which is currently limited to male heirs under the Imperial House Law. The report is scheduled to be submitted in mid-April to House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono.

March 31st

Prince Albert of Monaco has taken over the regency of Monaco because his ailing father is unable to exercise his royal functions, the palace says. A royal commission, the Council of the Crown, decided that it was difficult for Rainier to "exercise his high functions," the statement from the palace said. "From now, the regency is assured by His Serene Highness Prince Albert," the statement said. The commission said that a recovered Rainier could resume his royal powers. However the palace said: "After three weeks of hospitalization, after nearly eight days in intensive care, Prince Rainier remains in a very fragile state."

Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands as well as Crown Princess Mary of Denmark attended a gala dinner at Kronborg Castle, Denmark, to celebrate 400 years of diplomatic relations between the Netherlands and Denmark.

José Luis Ortiz Velasco, paternal grandfather of the Princess of Asturias, died at his home in Sardéu at the age of 82 yesterday morning. He suffered from a lung disease for several years. The funeral service took place at 18.00 today at the Iglesia del Carmen. The service was attended by the Prince and Princess of Asturias.

April 1st

Doctors at the Rikshospitalet in Oslo said they performed a successful heart surgery on King Harald V of Norway. He will recover at the intensive care unit. Surgeons started operating at 8:30am and said they finished at around 11:45am. Palace officials and doctors said this afternoon that the king is in stable condition. The operation proceeded without complications. The King's heart was stopped for nearly one hour, while surgeons replaced his defective valve with a what was described as a "biologic" one. The team also performed a bypass procedure on him. The King is expected to remain in hospital for the next two weeks.

During a five-minute photo session yesterday with his son during their skiing holidays in Klosters, Switzerland, the Prince of Wales was caught muttering "I hate doing this". Microphones picked his comments up as the Prince and his sons William and Harry posed for pictures. He looked uncomfortable when being asked about the forthcoming wedding of him and Camilla Parker Bowles. At the question of BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell how he was feeling before the big day, he said: "I'm very glad you have heard of it." However he then muttered: "Bloody people. I can't bear that man anyway. He's so awful, he really is." The comments were only noticed afterwards when the recordings were played back. Harry, 20, was also caught on tape declaring sarcastically: "This is so much fun". William urged his brother: "Keep smiling." Clarence House said the Prince of Wales had not been looking forward to the photocall. "He prefers it when he skis and he just wanted to get up into the mountains," a spokeswoman added. "He was upset at the paparazzi photographs." Aides said Charles had been angered by paparazzi photos in the press of William and girlfriend Kate Middleton the day before.

Further details on the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles were given two days ago. The Service of Prayer and Dedication will take place at St George's Chapel, Windsor. A combination of choral and orchestral music will be played during the Service. The music, which has been chosen by the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles, includes some of their favourite pieces such as Bach’s Cantata “Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland” and excerpts from Handel’s Water Music. Among the musicians performing at the Service are members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which the Prince of Wales is Patron, and the St George’s Chapel Choir. A Russian version of The Creed, set to music by Gretchaninov, will be sung by Ekaterina Semenchuk, a young Russian contralto who has been specially flown over as a wedding gift from the Mariinsky Theatre Trust of St Petersburg, of which HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron and a benefactor. At the beginning of the Service of Prayer and Dedication, a number of organ and orchestral pieces will be played. These include Farewell to Stromness by The Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and which has been specially arranged by Rosemary Furniss for strings. Other pieces include works by Walton, Bach, Handel, Finzi, Grieg and Elgar. As The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles join the congregation, the orchestra will play the Adagio movement of Albinoni’s Oboe Concerto in D minor. During the Service, three hymns will be sung, all of which are The Prince’s and Camilla Parker Bowles’s favourites. They are: Immortal Invisible (tune: St Denio), Love Divine All Loves Excelling (tune: Blaenwern), and Praise My Soul The King of Heaven (tune: Goss). After the concluding blessing, a verse of the National Anthem will be sung, followed immediately by a specially commissioned “Celebration Fanfare” by the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott. The Service will conclude with the orchestra playing excerpts of Handel’s Water Music and excerpts from works by Bach for organ. The organist for the Service will be Roger Judd and the choir will be conducted by the Director of Music of St George’s Chapel Timothy Byram-Wigfield. The Philharmonia Orchestra will be conducted by Christopher Warren-Green.

Weissenhaus Castle at Ostholstein, since 1739 the possession of the Platen Hallermund family, is on sale for 6 million euros. Auction House Schopmann in Hamburg has been asked to find a good buyer. The Auction House has confirmed that there are several people interested among them a film company, various hotel companies as well as private investors. Sebastian Count von Platen Hallermund said: "Because of a complete restructurisation we have made the difficult decision to sell the head building with about 300 square metres. Another 16 houses that form the village belong to the land. Such an estate needs lots of maintenance and is an enormous financial load." The family lives in a nearby house, that isn't included in the sale. The family hopes for an investor who leads the house further for the public.

April 3rd

King Harald V of Norway has already begun excercises to rebuild strength following his successful heart operation Friday. He was visited by family members on Saturday, and was said to be in good spirits. The operation, which included a bypass, was successful, and the King will return to full health, his doctors say. However, the doctor's also say the King and Queen have agreed to reduce their heavy work load in future.

The celebrations of the 200th birthday of fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen started on Friday at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors from all over the world attended, like Roger Moore and Isabel Allende. Apart from about the whole Danish royal family the celebrities were attended by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands. On Saturday Princess Benedikte of Denmark opened the celebrations in Germany by opening an exhibition about Hans Christian Andersen with collages, paper cuts and drawings at the Nordish Embassy at Berlin. The other royals paid a visit to Odense, where author Günter Grass received the honorary Hans Christian Andersen Price. On Saturday evening the official opening of the year took place with a big show at Parken in Copenhagen called "Once Upon a Time". Among the performing artists were Tina Turner, Olivia Newton-John and opera star Renee Fleming. Today there was a reception at the town hall in Copenhagen. More than 3000 events will take place this year all over the world to celebrate the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.

April 4th

Doctors at the Rikshospitalet in Oslo said today that they are "extremely satisfied" with the recovery of King Harald V of Norway so far. Palace officials said King Harald is up from his sickbed several times a day. His rehabilitation started right away, on Saturday, and is in accordance with the hospital's ordinary routines. He will remain hospitalized for at least another week. His condition remains stable and his team of doctors promised to issue regular reports on the status of his recovery.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco is in a stable condition and receiving intensive care, but his hopes for a full recovery remain dim, doctors say. There has no been no change in his health, they say. His condition on Friday was described as "precarious".

The wedding of the Prince of Wales and camilla Parker Bowles has been postponed until Saturday due to the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The couple has changed their plans when the Vatican announced arrangements for the service earlier today. Clarence House said the prince, but not Mrs Parker Bowles, would represent Queen Elizabeth II at the funeral in Rome. Clarence House said the postponement of the ceremony was "a mark of respect" for the pontiff. It is hoped the majority of the guests that were going on Friday will be there on Saturday too. The Prince's spokesman added: "It is expected that the arrangements will be largely the same as previously planned and more details will be announced as soon as possible." Paddy Harverson, Prince Charles' communications secretary, said Mrs Parker Bowles had agreed with the prince that postponement was "absolutely the right thing to do. The wedding is still going to be a good day, but it has just been pushed back 24 hours." Lloyd White, of Windsor and Maidenhead council, said: "We are happy to accommodate this alteration in the plans." Three other weddings booked for the Guildhall on Saturday will not be disrupted, he added. The Prince of Wales cut short his Swiss skiing holiday to attend the Vespers for the Dead service for the Pope at Westminster Cathedral this evening. He was accompanied by Camilla Parker Bowles.

The Government Information Service announced today that the civil wedding of Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Anita van Eijk will take place in Apeldoorn on Thursday August 25. The religious wedding will take place on Saturday August 27 at The Hague. The civil wedding of Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Aimée Söhngen will take place on Thursday October 20 at Naarden. The religious wedding will take place on Saturday October 22 also at Naarden.

April 5th

Presentation packs sold with stamps to commemorate the wedding of the U.K.'s Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will still be issued, even though they bear the wrong date after the couple postponed the wedding for a day, the Royal Mail said today. The Royal Mail has prepared two stamps bearing images of the couple, which were due for release on April 8. The stamps themselves don't carry the date of the wedding, but the special presentation sheets incorporating them do bear the date April 8. The stamps will now go on sale on April 9. Presentation packs with the wrong date will also be sold, and collectors who have ordered so-called first day covers, or letters with a special design and the stamps, will be able to have them franked with either date. A spokesman wouldn't say how many presentation packs, first day covers and presentation sheets have been made. Millions of stamps have been printed, he said.

April 6th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco died at 6.35am this morning at the Centre Cardio-thorachique de Monaco the royal palace announced. A palace statement said the Prince died from the "broncho-pulmonary, heart and kidney conditions that caused his hospitalisation". Prince Albert was at his father's side when he died. The Prince is survived by his children Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie, seven grandchildren and his elder sister Antoinette. His son Prince Albert will succeed. Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi was born at Monaco on May 31, 1923 as son of Prince Pierre of Monaco (born Count de Polignac) and the Duchess of Valentinois, only daughter and heiress of Prince Louis II of Monaco. His parents divorced and the little prince went to an English prep school, Summer Fields, at St Leonards some time afterwards. He later went to Stowe, but in 1936 to his happiness he was sent to Le Rosey, in Switzerland. Second World War broke out shortly after he had started studying at Montpellier University. While his grandfather Louis II supported the Vichy regime, Rainier developed sympathy with the Free French. In 1943 he graduated from Montpellier and went on to the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris. Rainier joined the army in June 1944 and became second-lieutenant in the First Algerian Regiment of the First French Army and went through the winter campaign in Alsace. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery under fire. Subsequently he became a liaison officer with the Americans at Strasbourg, and at the end of the war went to Berlin, where he served in the Economic Section of the French military mission. He left the army in 1947 and took a villa at Beaulieu-sur-Mer. He succeeded his grandfather upon his death on May 9, 1949. Rainier strengthened the sovereignty of Monaco as enshrined by a 1917 treaty with France, its territorial waters and air space were recognized and it won a United Nations seat. When Prince Rainier succeeded his grandfather in 1949 Monaco was best known for its casino but by the 1990s, gambling accounted for less than five percent of Monaco's annual income, the bulk of revenue coming from value added tax, tourism, commerce and industry. In 1956 Prince Rainier married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly. She died in a car crash in 1982. Rainier III was the longest reigning monarch of Europe.

The funeral is due to be held at noon on 15 April at the cathedral of Monaco and will be attended by many local and international dignitaries. From today until the day following the funeral the flags on all public buildings will be half-mast. The Chapelle Palatine will be changed into a chapelle ardente for the mortal remains of Prince Rainier III. Members of the Corps Constitués will be able to say goodbye on Monday 11 April 2005 from 9.30am to 12.30pm, the Corps Diplomatique and Consulaire from 14.00 to 18.00pm. The people from Monaco and justified residents will be able to say goodbye to the Prince on Tuesday 12 April and Wednesday 13 April from 9.00am to 10.00pm. External visitors will not be allowed to go inside. A Condolences register will be available at the Prince's Palace for a month after the day of the funeral. Big screens will be standing in front of the Churches Saint-Charles, les Carmes, Sainte-Dévote, le Sacré Cœur, Saint-Martin and Saint-Nicolas. Administrations and public services as well as schools will be closed on the day of the funeral. Private establishments have to close also. Showbiz establishments are being asked not to be active from the day of the death of the Prince until the day of the funeral. The casino will be closed in the 24 hours following the announcement of the death of the prince, as well as on the day of the funeral. There will be no sports events on the day of the funeral. The princely family will have a mourning period of three months until July 6. The State and Communal Departments will take mourning until May 6.

Two tourists have managed to climbe over a fence and cross a golf course to reach the walls of Windsor Castle. They were found quickly, Scotland Yard has said. They were not arrested, but an investigation's been launched into how this could have happened so close to the royal wedding. Reports say they entered the private area of the castle, but a spokeswoman for Windsor Castle said "the secure area of the castle was not breached at any stage" during the incident.

April 7th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco will be interred in the crypte of the Cathedral of Monaco on April 15 next to his wife who died in 1982. "It will be a simple funeral in accordance with the prince's wishes, similar to the one for Princess Grace," said Monaco Archbishop Bernard Barsi. As news of his death spread yesterday church bells tolled across the principality. Television and radio stations interrupted normal programmes to air classical music and tributes to the late prince.

Prince Ernst August of Hannover, husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, was hospitalised at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco on the night of April 4 for a pancreatic infection, it has emerged. The palace hasn't commented yet. According to unconfirmed reports the prince's illness is not thought to be serious, although it is unclear as to whether he remains in hospital continuing treatment.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to host a lunch for foreign royal guests when the Prince of Wales and camilla Parker Bowles return to Windsor Castle after their civil wedding. The Prince of Wales is spending the night before the wedding at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, after returning from Rome and the Pope’s funeral. Camilla Parker Bowles is staying at Clarence House, the Prince’s London residence. They are due to arrive at the Guildhall at 12.30pm and leave around 1pm as the Queen and her guests begin their lunch. Some 2,000 people, mostly supporters of the Prince and Camilla’s charities, have been given tickets to Windsor Castle precincts to see the arrival and departure of the royals and almost 800 guests attending the couple’s wedding blessing which is due to begin at 2.30pm. After the church ceremony at St George’s Chapel the Queen is hosting a private reception in the Castle’s state apartments, St George’s Hall, the Waterloo Chamber and the Grand Reception Room. A harpist will play for guests as they arrive but there will be no other music or entertainment at the reception.Hot and cold food will be available as well as champagne to toast the couple who are due to depart for their honeymoon in Scotland at 5.45pm. Police pipers will greet them at Aberdeen Airport and airport staff will make a brief presentation before Charles and Camilla drive to the privacy of Birkhall on the Queen’s Balmoral estate. They are due to attend church at Balmoral on Sunday. About 20 guests who had been invited to the original celebrations on April 8 have cancelled because of the change of date, but four who were unable to make it on April 8 can now come after all, officials said.

Police are to investigate another security breach at Windsor Castle after a journalist drove a white van containing a box labelled 'bomb' close to the Queen's apartments, it has emerged. Reporter Alex Peake and photographer Gary Stone also drove past the chapel where The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles are due to be blessed on Saturday. The Sun newspaper said they posed as delivery drivers. Their van carried a brown box which had been clearly marked with the word "bomb". A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "This apparent breach of security at Windsor Castle in the run-up to the royal wedding properly raises serious concern. It is only right that the facts are established before any action is taken against any person who may be culpable."

No members of the Dutch royal family are attending the funeral of Pope John Paul II in the Vatican tomorrow. The Government Information Service didn't give an explanation for this other than to say the Netherlands will be adequately represented by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. Almost all other royal houses in Europe will be represented. However on Saturday morning the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima will attend an eucharistic mass in memory of the Pope at the St Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem.

April 8th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has given birth to her second daughter. Leah Isadora was born this morning at 8.20am at home at Bloksbjerg in Hankø in the municipality of Fredrikstad in Østfold County. There were no complications and both mother and child were doing well. The newborn weighed 3,760 grams and is 52 centimeters tall. The king and queen expressed their joy at the birth of their third grandchild. The baby is fifth in line of succession to the Norwegian throne. Queen Sonja immediately visited her granddaughter after returning from Rome this evening.

The funeral of Pope John Paul II took place today at the Vatican. The funeral was attended by several royals. Attending were King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Queen Sonja of Norway, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Prince of Wales, Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber al Sabah of Kuwait, King Letsie III of Lesotho, the Prince and Princess of Naples, the Prince and Princess of Venice, King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, King Constantine of Greece and Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança.

The Danish royal court announced that the Ministry of Family and Consumer Affairs today has granted a divorce to Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra. Now they are divorced Princess Alexandra will be addressed as Her Highness Princess Alexandra instead of Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra. She will remain a member of the royal house.

The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles will pay penitence during their blessing ceremony tomorrow for previous 'sins and wickedness'. During the service at the private St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, the Prince of Wales will be asked directly by the Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, whether he has "resolved to be faithful to your wife, forsaking all others, so long as you both shall live?" The Prince will reply: "That is my resolve, with the help of God." Eschewing more recent updates, the couple will join the congregation in reciting the act of penitence from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The confessional prayer, written by King Henry VIII's Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, is considered to be the strongest act of penitence in the Church of England. The Prince and the new Duchess of Cornwall will join in, saying: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, Which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, Against thy Divine Majesty, Provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings."

Prince Ernst August of Hannover has been taken into intensive care with an acute illness of the pancreas. A statement from the royal palace said the prince's condition was serious and he needed constant medical attention. Doctors are carrying out tests to determine the extent of his illness. The Prince was taken to the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace with acute pancreatitis early on Tuesday morning the royal palace said in a statement. Rumours go that he slipped into a coma on Tuesday evening, but the palace statement doesn't mention anything about that.

According to a poll by Maurice de Hond 47% of the Dutch thinks it is not right that the Dutch royal house is not present at today's funeral of the Pope. More than 30% thinks that the decision not to go is right. From the catholic Dutch 80% finds it not right, and 58% even finds it an insult for the catholic Dutch. 57% understands the opinion of former Prime Minister Dries van Agt, who critisized the decision of the royal house yesterday. Vice Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm however said that it has never happened before that the Netherlands sends such a high representation to the funeral of a Pope. The Netherlands was represented by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

April 9th

The Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowles at Windsor.

April 10th

Prince Albert II of Monaco said today in a nationally televised address that the recent death of his father left residents of this tiny Riviera principality feeling orphaned and united in a profound sense of loss. "The sad time we never thought would come, is alas upon us," Prince Albert said. "Today, we are all orphans of this great man, and the profound sadness and mourning we feel bring our hearts closer together and binds our community like never before."

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who married yesterday, attended a church service at Crathie Parish Church. The Prince of Wales wore a tartan kilt. His new wife wore a matching fuchsia hat and coat. Robbie Middleton, a lay preacher, delivered Sunday's sermon, which focused on tuning into one's spirituality and did not refer to the wedding. "I wish them every happiness and a fulfilled life together," Middleton said after the service. The newlywed couple shook hands and chatted with villagers after the sermon, then returned to their honeymoon estate Birkhall.

April 11th

King Harald V of Norway had surgery again yesterday after complications arose from his recent heart operation. The king's personal physician said that it was a common procedure and that the king is doing well. The operation took 2 hours and a collection of fluid around the heart was removed. Queen Sonja visited him yesterday evening.

The Norwegian royal house today released two pictures of Leah Isadora Behn, who was born on Friday. The photos were taken by her father Ari Behn on Sunday.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have released the official photographs of their wedding ceremony. In one of the pictures they are joined by Princes William and Harry, while another features the Duchess' children Tom and Laura Parker Bowles. One shows the couple flanked by family, including Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh as well as Camilla's father Major Bruce Shand. The photos were taken in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle by official photographer Hugo Burnand.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco is lying in state at the Chapel Palatine at the Princely Palace in Monaco.

April 13th

The health of Prince Ernst August of Hannovers is improving. Aides said that he is recovering from acute inflammation of the pancreas and could soon leave hospital. On Monday, the palace said his health was "improving" but that the possibility of complications justified keeping him in the intensive care unit.

April 14th

The Belgian royal court announced today that Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde are expecting their third child in October 2005. The couple already has a daughter and a son. The royal family and Princess Mathilde's family join in the happiness.

The circumcision of Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan of Morocco was held today at 2.20pm at the Private Clinic of the Royal Palace in Fès. It took place under the best conditions and in family circle. King Mohammed VI had pardoned 7,179 prisoners, including 26 foreigners, on this occasion.

Also the second attempt of the Habsburg family to get back their fortune that was expropriated in 1919 failed. The Verfassungsgerichtshof has turned down on formal grounds the objection against the rejection of the request by the court of arbitration. It was decided that the court of arbitration doesn't issue documents that can be disputed at the Verfassungsgerichtshof. The decisions of the court of arbitration are more 'recommandations' to the government and they can't be fighted at the Verfassungsgerichtshof. However it was said that the Habsburg family can make a claim for return of the fortune in other courts.

In Romania the Juridical Commission of the Senate yesterday adopted a favorable report of the legislation resolving the legal situation of property that used to belong to Michael I, former king of Romania. The report was adopted with five votes for and three against. The delegate minister for relations with the Parliament, Bogdan Olteanu explained that if the case were to be judged in court, the costs would have been greater, adding that this project has "important political meaning." Olteanu also said all obligations between the state and the king will be "extinguished" regarding the buildings that have to be returned to Michael I. Several buildings and land were taken from the king by the communists in 1947, when he was forced to abdicate. Up to now, legislation regarding the former king's possessions has been postponed three times by senators in the commission. The former government released last year an emergency ordinance that says the state owes 38 million euros to King Michael I.

April 15th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was buried today at the Cathedral of Monaco. His coffin was draped in a white and red flag bearing the coat of arms of the Grimaldi family. Members of the staff carried the coffin from the Palatine Chapel at the palace. Soldiers from the Prince's Company of Carbineers then carried the coffin out of the palace via the Gate of Honor. After the coffin passed the gate, the gate was closed symbolically. The family followed the coffin - with the exception of the children of Princess Stéphanie - including the two sons of Prince Ernst August of Hannover. Also following the coffin was Odin, the 6 1/2 year old dog of the Prince. While the coffin was carried up the aisle several guests bowed. Archbishop Bernard Barsi, opening the service, said Rainier had “entered into the sleep of death” and had been a father “both loving and loved.” In his eulogy the Archbishop said that Prince Rainier was affectionately known as the “builder prince” who oversaw a 20 percent expansion in Monaco’s territory by land reclamation from the sea. It still remains, however, no bigger than New York City’s Central Park. “For all of us, the prince was, of course, the sovereign, but he was also a friend, a member of the family,” Barsi said. “His family cries for him.” The archbishop said that Prince Rainier and Princess Grace were “an exceptional couple, united by the heart and spirit” and that Rainier bore “with dignity the terrible ordeal of the brutal death of his wife. We are convinced that those who were united here below by the fidelity of their conjugal love are forever united in the fullness of God’s love,” he said. The funeral was attended by many royals including King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Albert II of the Belgians, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Sonja of Norway, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, the Prince of Orange, Prince Joachim of Denmark, the Duke of York, Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein, Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako of Japan, Prince Faisal of Jordan and his wife, King Constantine II of Greece, Prince Michel of Greece and his wife Marina, Prince Kardam of Bulgaria, Archduke Karl of Austria, Duke and Duchess of Bragança, Duke and Duchess of Savoy, Prince Emanuele Filiberto and Princess Clotilde de Savoy, Princess Marie Gabrielle de Savoy, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Catherina of Yugoslavia, Prince Serge and Princess Eleonore of Yugoslavia, Princess Ferial of Egypt, Empress Farah of Iran, Duke Franz von Bayern, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula von Bayern, Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie von Baden, the Count and Countess of Paris, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, Prince Heinrich zu Fürstenberg, Hereditary Prince Christian zu Fürstenberg, Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg, Prince Andreas and Princess Alexandra zu Leiningen, Grand Duke Georgi of Russia, Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Princess Maria Theresia von Thurn und Taxis, Duke Eberhard von Württemberg. After the funeral the cathedral was closed to the public for the Prince's burial in the family crypt alongside his wife Princess Grace who died in a car crash in 1982.

A legal suit over Prince Paul of Romania's claim to membership of the Hohenzollern royal family will be retried after the High Court yesterday accepted an appeal submitted by former King Michael of Romania to a previous court ruling. In January last year, the Bucharest Court of Appeals acknowledged Prince Paul's relationship with the Hohenzollerns, through the line of his father. Former King Michael appealed this decision, saying his right to defense had not been respected. The High Court accepted his appeal and sent the case back to the Court of Appeals.

April 16th

The balcony at Amalienborg was a bit empty this year at Queen Margrethe II's birthday. The Queen was only accompanied by her husband Prince Henrik, her son Prince Joachim and his sons Nikolai and Felix. The crown princely couple were abroad. Huge crowds cheered her and her family when they appeared on the balcony.

Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg celebrated his 50th birthday today. With his wife and son Felix he arrived at the Grand Ducal Palace in Luxemburg on a motor cycle. There were several celebrations during the day.

April 18th

Princess Sayako of Japan offered thanks to her parents on her 36th birthday today, her last birthday as an imperial family member before leaving the palace to marry a commoner. In a written reply to questions of reporters she said: "What I think has been truly meaningful for me is to have lived for the past 36 years with Their Majesties and to have been able to observe and learn from them. The figures of His Majesty walking straight and with ease and of Her Majesty happily engaged in her duties while also attending to family matters, will remain in my heart forever." Although being uneasy about her new life she said to be prepared to accept the uncertainties, hesitations and failures that accompany first-time experiences. "I will be happy if I can gradually grow accustomed to my new life, while receiving help at times from the people around us," she said. About Crown Princess Masako Sayako said her sister-in-law was "well on the way to recovery", but added that she was troubled over Crown Prince Naruhito's comments last May that there had been moves within the household that 'denied' Masako's career and personality. She said she was "saddened by the unjustified criticism directed at the Emperor and Empress, affecting even overseas perceptions of Japan's Imperial Family."

Prince Ernst August junior and Prince Christian of Hannover, sons of Prince Ernst August of Hannover, are selling EUR 12 million worth of Royal House of Hannover heirlooms, the German branch of Sotheby's announced today. The art auctioneers quoted the young princes as saying they would use the proceeds to maintain two stately homes that are both open to the public. Prince Ernst August transferred some of his property to Prince Ernst August junior last year. The 29 September to 8 October sales at Marienburg Palace near Hildesheim in Germany will clear attics and basements of some 5,000 unused items of furniture, glassware, silver, china and paintings from the collections of the Royal House of Hannover. Sotheby's said none of the items, gathered in from German and Austrian homes, was subject to export restrictions. The princes would devote some of the proceeds to creating a family trust to maintain Marienburg and the Herrenhausen royal palace and museum in Hannover.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has enraged his people once again by splashing out on a fleet of luxurious German cars at a cost of £500,000. He bought eight S-350 Mercedes Benz vehicles with gold-plated number plates. In 2004 the King bought BMWs for his 11 wives. "He was so taken with the car when he saw it in a brochure that he ordered eight on the turn as a birthday present for himself," said a South African dealer. "He could not wait for them to be shipped in the normal way so they were air-freighted directly from the factory in Germany."

April 19th

Prince Ernst August of Hannover has been discharged from hospital after two weeks of treatment for an acute pancreas problem, the palace said today. A brief statement from his office at the palace said the prince's doctors allowed him to leave Monaco's Princess Grace hospital yesterday afternoon. The statement gave no other details.

April 20th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has on the occasion of her birthday on April 16, 2005, granted Princess Alexandra the title and name of Countess af Frederiksborg. She will be known as Her Highness Alexandra Princess of Denmark, Countess af Frederiksborg. The title as Countess af Frederiksborg is given the rank Class 1 No. 1 which entitles her to the qualification of Excellency. In case she remarries she will loose the qualification Highness and the title of Princess of Denmark, but she will keep the personal title of Countess af Frederiksborg.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands won a case against the magazine Privé and broadcaster SBS. A Court in Amsterdam has ordered Privé and SBS to pay damages for illegally using images and footage on a digital camera stolen from Princess Máxima. The court ruled today that using the images was illegal and ordered Prive to pay EUR 15.000 in compensation. SBS was told to pay EUR 10.000. They both also have to publish or broadcast an apology and are not allowed to use the material again. The camera was stolen from Princess Máxima last year. Photos of the couple's daughter Princess Amalia and other private images were later offered for sale. Despite warnings from the Government Information Service both Prive and SBS used the images. The royal couple said their privacy was violated. "It is unacceptable. The footage was purposefully taken from Máxima's handbag during a barbeque. We have author's rights," the Prince of Orange said almost a year ago.

April 21st

The christening of Leah Isadora Behn will take place in the chapel of the royal palace on Thursday June 16 at noon. The service will be led by the new bishop of Oslo, Ole Christian Kvarme. After the christening King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway will host a private luncheon at the palace.

King Harald V of Norway has left hospital this morning after his heart operation. The king will be staying at the royal residence at Kongsseteren during the day but will return to spend the nights in hospital for the next few days. King Harald told the assembled press that he was looking forward to going home. "I have been in decent shape for a long time and have been conscious throughout. Today I feel very good," he said. He told that is in recuperative training after the two operations and that he would be commuting to and from the Rikshospitalet University Hospital daily as part of the rehabilitation therapy.

A son of former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, said Thursday that his father's health was worrying, as it was of the interest of all Cambodians. "The Chinese doctors did not find any new illnesses of His Majesty the King, but his health is getting weaker and weaker," he said. The former king is receiving medical treatment in Beijing for various ailments, including diabetes and colon cancer. Prince Ranariddh said his father's health was so precarious that his half-brother, King Norodom Sihamoni, will visit him in Beijing on Saturday to be at his side. Prince Ranariddh plans to follow after attending an assembly session on April 26.

April 23rd

Royal biographer Andrew Morton claims that the late Princess Diana of Wales would have loved the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles. He said: "Diana would have looked at the wedding and said, 'I told you so'. For years during her royal lifetime she was told she was mad and sad for thinking Charles was having a relationship with this woman. Now, in terms of them marrying, her views have been totally vindicated". He said it would have proved the late princess' allegations the couple had an affair during her marriage. Mr Morton said he would love to write a book about Camilla.

Prince Ernst August of Hannover is recovering at the Clinic of his friend Christian Schenk in Schruns, Austria. Dr. Schenk said that as a good friend of the couple he flew to Monte Carlo on Sunday: „He was not doing well. Very bad actually. His condition was life-threatening. Ernst August next to his acute pancreatitis also had gotten pneumonia." On Monday the Prince said that he wanted to get out of hospital. In dialogue with his doctors the Prince then was flews to Schruns. Now the prince does a rehabilitation programme, walks a lot and enjoys the nature. He will stay another week. According to Dr. Schenk the prince knows that he has to take care, but that he is very motivated to do everything to become healthy again.

April 24th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel posed this morning at Palace Huis ten Bosch with the couple's newborn daughter Countess Luana. It is Luana's first visit to the Netherlands. The Government Information Service announced that the name Luana origins from the old-German and means gracious warrior. The Prince and Princess named her so because they think it is a beautiful name. Her other three names, Emma, Ninette and Sophie, come from the circle of family and friends of the princely couple.

Several royals attended the investiture of Pope Benedict XVI in Rome today. Among the guests were King Juan carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Orange, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein and Duke Franz of Bavaria.

April 25th

The Chief of the Court of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Per Thornit, today announced that the couple is expecting their first child at the end of October 2005. The childbirth is expected to take place at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. The baby will be second in line of succession to the Danish throne.

The Norwegian royal court today announced that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway expect their second child together in December 2005. On the advice of her doctor the crown princess will take it easy in the near future. The situation isn't dramatic, but the doctor's advice may lead to changes in Crown Princess Mette-Marit's program in the next few months, the palace said. In an interview on Norwegian television with the couple in Kristiansand the Crown Princess herself said that the baby was expected early December. The couple said to be very happy. The couple said that they wanted to have some control over information about themselves and their family, opted to announce early that Crown Princess Mette-Marit is pregnant. She visited the women's clinic at the Rigshospital last week and also cancelled a few engagements, claiming illness. "The pregnancy is very noticeable, therefore we're announcing it so early," Crown Princess Mette-Marit said. She plans to carry out most of her official appearances. The baby will be third in line of succession to the Norwegian throne.

Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani of Qatar today faced a Czech court for allegedly sexually abusing underage girls in the Czech Republic. In his more than six months in custody, Sani has lost 21 kilogrammes and said he now has to take medication and see doctors daily. Before the process in court started Sani also said he does not trust the judge or the the prosecutor and wants the trial to take place in his absence. "I feel that I am seen as an enemy and I feel hatred towards my person," Sani said. He also said that he should have been released and the trial suspended after Justice Minister Pavel Nemec decided on his trial being moved to Qatar. Sani said he would not answer any of the court's questions. According to the police, he abused underage girls in his flat for a long time. Police have so far found sixteen such girls, four of whom were under fifteen years. According to the police, the three women charged along with Sani, addressed young girls in the street asking them whether they would like to earn 2,000 crowns. The girls who consented to the offer were brought to Sani's flat where he had sex with them. The procurers received 1,000 crowns each for one girl. Sani has stayed in the Czech Republic for more than ten years as a private businessman. He does not enjoy diplomatic immunity on the Czech Republic's territory.

April 26th

Accoding to a poll by the Algemeen Dagblad 51,5% of the Dutch think the royal house costs too much. However the monarchy itself is still very popular. Queen Beatrix is allowed to reign as long as she wants. The Queen is especially popular among women and people who are originally not from the Netherlands. They think she is doing very well and has a good radiation. Although about 75% of the Dutch thinks the Prince of Orange is ready to take over the throne, almost 80% of the people questioned think that he should get the time to built up a family life. About 75% thinks his reign will be more modern, more open and especially closer to the people. 30% of the people would like the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima to live at Soestdijk Palace, however 40% wants it to become a museum. 83% of the people is in favour of the monarchy, while only 10% thinks the monarchy should be abolished. However 43% thinks the royal house should get a more ceremonial role.

April 27th

Former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has posted an unusual announcement on his website, making clear that he is still very much alive. He said that although "many people want me dead as soon as possible", he wanted to present his "humble apologies" for not yet obliging. He was responding to reports that his health was deteriorating. "I present my humble apologies to everyone who wants my death," Sihanouk wrote. "But, for the moment, God and the Buddha have not decided to send me into the afterlife."

April 29th

Queen Beatrix, her sons, daughters-in-law, sisters, the children of Princess Margriet with partners and Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme attended the unveiling of the national present on the occasion of the 25th reigning jubilee of the Queen at the New Church in Amsterdam. Artist Marc Mulders had designed the glass-stained window. After unveiling the window the Queen had a closer look at the window and shook hands with the artist. The royal family was very content with the window. The window is nine metres high. The theme is 'garden' The window shows a garden that each day comes to life again by light. Afterwards the family attended a huge classical concert at the Dam Square. Romanian singer Angela Gheorghiu sang, once together with Jeroen Willems, and Janine Jansen played her violin. They were accompanied by the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. Also the National Ballet performed a pas-de-deux at the Royal Palace.

April 30th

A special Queen's Day was celebrated in the Netherlands, as Queen Beatrix celebrated 25 years on the throne. In the morning therefore there was a festive gathering of the first and second chamber at the Knight's Hall in The Hague. Among the guests were 125 people from the 125 bigger municipalities in the Netherlands and 25-year-olds from smaller municipalities. They were all accompanying a member of the first or second chamber. The Queen was accompanied by her sons, daughters-in-law, sisters, the children and children-in-law of Princess Margriet and Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme. Inside the Knight's Hall the Queen was greeted by a children's choir, and the royal family sang along. At the end a special choir of chamber members sang the national anthem. After several speeches and some music the Queen also received the first jubilee stamps from the Netherlands and the Antilles. Outside again the royal family listened to a choir of 400 schoolchildren from The Hague and some professional choirs who sang an aubade of old Dutch songs. After a lunch at home the family - apart from Princess Irene, Princess Christina and Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme - visited Scheveningen for a traditional Queen's Day celebration. About 100.000 people stood along the way to catch a glimpse of the royal family. In the two hours the visit took, there was lots of singing, traditional games and jobs, even a children's press office, animals and sports. Heavily pregnant Princess Marilène only joined the family at the last part of the walk through Scheveningen. At the end the family took an old tram back to nearby The Hague. Just before leaving Queen Beatrix held a short speech to thank her family for having helped her during her reign, and to thank the people who organised Queen's Day. In the evening the Queen, her sons, daughters-in-law, sisters, the children of Princess Margriet and even Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, attended a huge concert at the Malieveld in The Hague that was broadcasted live on television. "Dit is een land om lief te hebben" (This is a country to love) showed a varied programme with cabaret, show, sports, musical and even a tango. The royal family enjoyed it as much as all normal people from all over the country, politicians and celebrities around them. And as the highlight of the past 25 years was chosen the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima.

Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya, wife of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand, delivered a healthy baby boy through Caesarean section yesterday evening at 6.35pm at the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. The baby weighs 2680 grams, is 47cm in height, is fit and healthy, has big eyes and a beautiful nose, a statement of the royal house said. The baby was due to be born half May but she developed labour pains and doctors agreed that in her case, a Caesarean section would be safer than a natural birth. The mother remained at hospital to recuperate. The Crown Prince was present at hospital. People waiting at the hospital to greet the couple said they were overjoyed about learning of the imminent birth of the Prince’s son. Queen Sirikit, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana and Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya arrived separately at the hospital later in the evening.

King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand presided over the cremation ceremony of their grandson Khun Poom Jensen at the Debsirin Temple in Bangkok this evening. The ceremony was also attended by other members of the Royal Family, including Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, as well as politicians, officials and the general public. The procession carrying Khun Poom's body to the temple began at 1.30 p.m. and took around 50 minutes to complete. Several roads leading to the temple in central Bangkok were closed from noon to 7:00 p.m. He died in the tsunami disaster on December 26.

Hereditary Prince Maximilian zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg and his wife Marissa proudly presented their daughter Louise Helene Agnes Delia. Delegations of societies had come to the inner court of Rheda Castle to congratulate the couple with the birth. The little Princess Louise let hear that she was there. She was born at 22 April at 1.13am at the Evangelischen Krankenhaus Rheda. She weighs 3500 grams. The couple already has a son, Moritz.

May 1st

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton on Tuesday will start his job as private secretary for Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales. He will become their key aide and will guide them in their royal duties. He is expected to be particularly helpful to Prince William when he finishes his degree at St Andrew's University in Scotland later this year. Clarence House said William, Harry, and their father Prince Charles made the decision to appoint Lowther-Pinkerton together. He will work closely with Sir Michael Peat, private secretary to the Prince of Wales, and Helen Asprey, personal secretary to Prince William and Prince Harry, who organises their diaries. He will work for the princes for 2 1/2 days a week. As the princes grow older and assume more royal duties, Lowther-Pinkerton will advise them about which engagements to take on, and what charities to support. Mr Lowther-Pinkerton was a former equerry to the late Queen Mother Elizabeth.

May 2nd

King Harald V of Norway has finally left hospital for good just over four weeks after he underwent open heart surgery. He was allowed to leave the National Hospital last week, but had to return in the evenings. On Monday he was officially released. He will continue his recovery at the royal lodge of Kongsseteren. It's important, doctors say, for the king to go for walks outdoors and get some mild exercise. That's not easy at the royal palace, which is surrounded by a public park. It remains unclear when the king will start his duties again.

The Danish royal family overspent by 17m kroner ($3m) in 2004, its first annual financial report has revealed. The 59m kroner Europe's oldest monarchy received from the taxpayer to run their household with 125 staff was insufficient to meet last year's costs. The family was in the red mainly due to the cost of Crown Prince Frederik's wedding and Queen Margrethe II's purchase of a new car, the report indicated. However, it did not offer any detailed breakdown of the expenditures. "Most of the amount can be traced to the celebration of the crown prince's wedding in May 2004," the report said. In addition to the wedding the document put the overspend down to extensive renovations to the newlyweds' palace. It also revealed that the royal house was worth 12.8bn kroner ($2.2bn).

Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Presidential Affairs, has married a daughter of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai. President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan held a luncheon at Jumeirah City that was attended by a large number of dignitaries, including members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the United Arab Emirates, their crown princes, deputy rulers, shaikhs, ministers and senior officials. Among them were Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain, Crown Prince Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, Prince Mut’eb bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Shaikh As’ad bin Tariq al Busaidi and the Duke of York.

Former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has delayed his return home from China because his health has deteriorated. He is suffering from cancer. He has been receiving medical treatment in Beijing on and off for several years. He was due back in Cambodia next week. In a statement posted on his website, Sihanouk said doctors believed his tumour was "in a very severe state". "They asked me to delay my stay in Beijing for a while so that they can offer me treatment," he wrote. His son King Norodom Sihamoni, who is currently visiting his father in China, is still expected to return to Phnom Penh as planned on 8 May.

The Prague City Court has already decided in the case of Qatari Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani, charged with sexual abuse of underage girls, during a closed trial today, but the verdict will be released only following its delivery in writing to all participants in the case. "I expect the verdict to be sent by a messenger to the district court on Thursday," Prague City Court spokesman Lubos Vlasak said. It is thus not yet known whether Sani will stay in custody and whether the district court senate and judge have been biased or not.

May 3rd

According to Swiss researchers Emperor Napoleon I of France suffered from stomach cancer at the end of his life. The Swiss study compared nine pairs of trousers worn by Napoleon both before and after his exile on the island of Saint Helena. They concluded that the emperor lost more than 11 kilos during the last five months of his life. When Napoleon died in 1821, he weighed 75.7 kilos at a height of 1.67 meters. According to the study, there is no dispute that the French emperor suffered from a malignant gastric tumor in 1820. His health deteriorated progressively with bleeding in his digestive tract complicating the cancer. The Swiss study was led by Alessandro Lugli, a specialist in anatomical pathology at the university hospital in Basel in collaboration with the institute of medical history at the University of Zurich.

May 4th

33-year-old former air stewardess Nicole Coste, who is originally from Togo, claims that Prince Albert II of Monaco is the father of her 21-month-old son Alexandre. In an interview with Paris-Match, accompanied by six photos of the Prince holding Alexandre, she says that she met the Prince on a Paris-Nice flight in July 1997 when she was working for Air France. “Before landing, he asked for my phone number,” she said. For five years, she saw him once a month, she claims. She said that the Prince had never hidden their affair, but that the relationship had soured after she had been introduced to Prince Rainier at a dinner in Monaco. The next day Prince Albert told her: “I think it’s better if we just stay friends.” In December 2002, they met again for a meal and ended up in bed, when Nicole Coste, who already had two children, fell pregnant. “Neither him nor me wanted that,” she said, adding that she had forgotten to take the pill because she had just returned from a long-haul flight to New York. She said that at first the Prince told her: “Keep the child. I’ll look after it. You’ll never go without anything. I don’t promise to marry you, but keep the child and don’t worry. I’ll slowly get it accepted in my family.” Then, when she was five months pregnant, he told her: “I’ve asked for advice. This child is impossible.” Later, he said: “You’ve trapped me.” After the birth, Prince Albert changed his tone, telling Nicole Coste that he would “sort all the problems out”. She claims that he pays her an allowance, that she lives in his flat in an expensive district of west Paris and that he regularly visits his son. She said also that a paternity test carried out in 2003 confirmed that Prince Albert is father to her son. She told: "Albert signed the certificate stating that he was the father. He did it out of respect for me, on the condition that the certificate not be given to city hall until after the death of his father." Miss Coste said she no longer had a copy of the signed birth certificate but had asked several time for a copy from the authorities. She told Paris Match that she had decided to make the disclosure so that “Alexandre can grow up like a normal child with a father. I want the lies to stop. I’m fed up with lying, with hiding myself and pretending to be (Albert’s) friend’s mistress. I just want him to assume some of his responsibilities, I'm not a gold-digger." The Royal Palace in Monaco has refused to confirm or deny her claims, saying only a "legal strategy will be determined in the coming days". Thierry Lacoste, lawyer for the Monaco royal family said: "One has to wonder why this matter is coming to the forefront at this time."

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is offering a reward for the safe return of his pet dog Khun Khao Pod Thien after it went missing on Saturday late afternoon on April 30 at the royal palace in Hua Hin. Royal aides have now offered a 20,000 baht - around £270 - reward for his safe return. The search is being headed by the local police chief and the district's mayor who have made public announcements on local television and radio stations asking for help in finding the royal pet. The dog is described as being particularly important as he is a descendent of the King's favourite dog, Khun Tongdaeng.

May 6th

The troubled Diana memorial fountain has reopened this morning without ceremony after months of improvement work. Turf worn away by visitors has been replaced with tougher grass and a path around the site resurfaced to enable wheelchair access. Visitors are now allowed only to dip their hands and feet into the water. Works to improve drainage and tackle flooding began in January. New additions include a 35mm hardwearing rye grass turf, normally used on sports pitches, to replace existing waterlogged grass. The resin-bonded path has also been lengthened by about 250m, drainage improved, and metal bars put underneath the bridges to prevent debris getting trapped. A Royal Parks spokesman said about 80 visitors had arrived for the reopening and many more were expected throughout the day. "It's just business as usual," he said.

May 7th

Today Kira Marina Liepsner, daughter of the late Princess Kira of Prussia, married Andreas von Bismarck at the St.Peter und Paul Kirche at Nikolskoe, Berlin. The ceremony was led by Bishop Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Huber. Almost the whole House of Hohenzollern was present. The bride wore a dress designed by her cousin Duchess Rixa von Oldenburg. The couple's daughter Luise was born in 2002.

The engagement was announced at Turin, Italy, between Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta, Duke of Apulia, and Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark. Prince Aimone is the only son of the Duke of Aosta and Princess Claude of France. Princess Olga is the youngest daughter of Prince Michel of Greece and Denmark and his wife Marina née Karella. The engagement took place already in November and has become official some days ago during a private supper with the couple and their parents. On the occasion Princess Olga received from her fiancé a golden ring with a diamond and some emeralds. The date of marriage has not been set yet.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand yesterday took his wife Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya and their newborn son back home to Sukhothai Palace. The Crown Prince, who was accompanied by his daughter Princess Siriwanwaree Mahidol, pushed Mom Srirasmi in a wheelchair as she held their son in her lap out of Centennial Pavilion at 4.46pm amid cheers from waiting well-wishers. They received some gifts. Child singer Chonnipa Saengtong presented them with a roosted-shaped doll and some of her albums. Mom Srirasmi apparently had tears of happiness in her eyes. They went to pay respect at the statues of Prince Mahidol of Songkhla and the Princess Mother Sri Nagarindra, grandparents of the crown prince, in the hospital’s compound. They finally left hospital at 5.35pm. A doctor said that a medical team would pay daily visits to Mom Srirasmi and her son at Sukhothai Palace to provide medical care. He believed Mom Srirasmi would fully recover within two months. Sukhothai Palace will provide books for well-wishers to convey their congratulations.

May 8th

The Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, announced today that Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, wife of the Prince of Asturias, is pregnant with her first child. The baby will be born in November. A brief statement said: "The Prince and Princess of Asturias are delighted to announce they are expecting the birth of their first child next November. Their Majesties the King and Queen wish to express their great happiness at this joyful announcement." When King Juan Carlos arrived at the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona later on Sunday he said: "All the family is very happy, my grandchildren are saying they're going to have a new cousin, so it's all wonderful."

Prince Harry of Wales, accompanied by his father the Prince of Wales, arrived at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in Surrey to begin his carreer in the army. "I am really excited. I want to get on with it and do the best job I can do," he said in a statement. Prince Harry had to pass a four-day assessment, featuring fitness tasks and a military planning exercise, to win his place at the academy. The Prince was one of 270 recruits joining the academy for the 44-week officer training corp. Prince Harry is joining the Alamein company and will belong to one of its three platoons of 30 men. After enrolling and picking up the keys to his modest room, Harry emerged from the old college building wearing a new red name badge with just the word "Wales" printed in white capital letters. Senior officers are understood to be planning to call him Mr Wales or Officer Cadet Wales while his fellow soldiers will just use his surname.

May 11th

More than 80 years after the discovery of the mummy of King Tutankhamun scientists have finally reached some agreement on how King Tutankhamun appeared in life. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary-General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, commissioned three independent teams, from France, Egypt and the United States, to produce fresh reconstructions using the CT scans. The 1,700 high-resolution images were produced chiefly to determine whether King Tutankhamun had been murdered. Each team used facial-reconstruction techniques commonly used to assist in the identification of murder victims. Dr Hawass said: “The three reconstructions are all very similar in the unusual shape of the skull, the basic shape of the face, and the size, shape and setting of the eyes. The noses of all three are different, although the French and the American versions are more similar to each other than the Egyptian.”

May 13th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to have her portrait painted by Rolf Harris as part of her 80th birthday celebrations next April. She will have a formal sitting with the Australian entertainer for a Rolf on Art special for BBC One. Harris said he was "thrilled to bits". When the BBC put the idea to Buckingham Palace, they were told the Queen would be delighted to take part. The show will go out later this year or in early 2006. Rolf Harris said his oil painting would be "impressionistic" rather than "photographic". He hoped it would also be "representational of the way the Queen looks and her obvious charm and friendly quality, rather than the very formal", he added. "I want to get the real person rather than the state image," said Harris. BBC One controller Peter Fincham said the programme would be "a unique television event". "It's a huge coup for the BBC to be able to show Rolf painting such a great supporter of the arts, the Queen," he said. "We're delighted that permission has been granted - it's a painting everyone will want to see."

May 14th

Prince Albert II of Monaco will be enthroned as ruler of Monaco on July 12 at the end of a three-month mourning period for his father, palace officials said today. He will thus formally become the 30th sovereign of the Grimaldi dynasty. The officials said the day would be a paid public holiday and would be marked with festivities for all citizens of Monaco as well as foreigners residing in Monaco. The official mourning period for Prince Rainier III ends July 6.

May 15th

Delphine Boel, illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of the Belgians, said today in a 10-minute interview on France 3's "On ne peut pas plaire a tout le monde" that King Albert once planned to divorce his wife and renounce his royal title. Delphine spoke about her childhood living with her mother. She said that her father used to pay regular visits to them, especially at the weekend. When she was 9 years old, in 1977, she and her mother moved to Great Britain. It was at that moment that King Albert wanted to leave his wife, Delphine said: "He wanted to divorce Paola. He had completed the paperwork. The government and the palace agreed to the divorce of Albert and Paola. He was going to have to abdicate." According to Delphine her mother and Albert remained in touch with each other for 18 years.

May 16th

Prince William of Wales has been invited by the British and Irish Lions rugby team to join them on their tour to New Zealand in July 2005. During his visit the prince will also undertake two official engagements representing his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in Wellington and Auckland at events to commemorate the end of the Second World War. Sir Clive Woodward, Head Coach of the touring party said: "I am delighted that Prince William will be spending some time with us. It will be a great boost for the team as he is a great supporter of the game. He is going to be with the team for certain periods and it all adds to the sense of occasion around these key Tests." The prince will join the Lions squad for the second and third Test matches in Wellington and Auckland, at the beginning of July.

The health of Crown Princess Masako of Japan is improving "slowly but steadily", the Chamberlain of Togu Palace, Hideki Hayashida, has confirmed. "The crown princess now seems to regain a positive frame of mind more quickly, and we recognise that her condition has apparently improved." However it may take some time before the Crown Princess resumes official duties. She has been seen out and about more frequently over the past two weeks. She attended the 50th anniversary celebrations for Japan's UNICEF office on May 1 and last week she was photographed at Tokyo International Airport as she sent off her in-laws, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, on their eight-day tour of Ireland and Norway. On Saturday she was there to greet the Imperial couple upon their arrival home on Saturday.

Queen Rania of Jordan received the 2005 'My Way' Award today. The award was presented by the chairman of the Executive Board of the My Way Private Foundation of Austria and Mayor of Hagenbrunn Ernst Fischer. The Queen received the award in recognition of her extensive social work and contributions. During a meeting with Mr Fischer Queen Rania lauded the friendly relations between Jordan and Austria, thanking the Austrian foundation and commending them on their efforts. The meeting included a video screening on the foundation's work and past recipients including the former Polish President Lech Walesa (2003) and the late Pope John Paul II (2004). The Austrian prize is intended to raise public awareness of social consciousness and initiatives, providing individuals with personal encouragement to achieve their goals and pursue their `own way.'

A gold diamond-studded ring bearing the royal monogram on white enamel that once belonged to Emperor Alexander III of Russia was sold at the spring Bukovsky antiquarian auction in Finland yesterday. The ring was the Emperor's gift to bandmaster Adolph Frederick Leander, whose performance immensely pleased the Emperor as he was visiting Finland in 1888. The ring was auctioned off at 31,000 euros, as against a 7,000-euro starting price. The deed that confirmed the provenance of the jewel, and a photograph of Leander's army band appeared at the auction together with the precious item. The ring was bought by a Finnish national. The Finland's Museum Board however prohibited the buyer to remove the jewel from the country because of its exceptional artistic and historical value.

May 17th

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway made her debute at National feastday. In the morning she appeared with her parents at the stairs of Skaugum and stole the show. She was brought inside after about ten minutes. Her halfbrother Marius took part in the children's procession. Crown Princess Mette-Marit for the first time used her new Vest-Agder bunad (costume). Later Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit appeared on the balcony at the royal palace in Oslo. The Queen wore a bunad from Telemark, Crown Princess Mette- Marit one from Rogalan. As usual Crown Prince Haakon wore jacquet with high hat, which he takes off for each delegation that passes the balcony.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain officially opened the British parliament today. Dressed in her lavish robes of office the Queen travelled from Buckingham Palace in a horse- drawn carriage to deliver the annual Queen's speech -which outlines the government's lawmaking plans over the next 18 months - and open the new parliamentary sitting. She and the Duke of Edinburgh will jet off to Canada for an official state visit tomorrow. They will fly into Regina, in Saskatchewan province, where they will be met by Canadian Prime Minister, Paul Martin.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation will give the Duchess of Cornwall the Ethel LeFrak award for her work raising awareness about the debilitating condition of osteoporosis. Both the mother and grandmother of the Duchess of Cornwall died of osteoporosis. The Duchess of Cornwall is president of the National Osteoporosis Society. She has sent a video message of thanks for the New York ceremony on 24 May. A Clarence House spokesman said: "The duchess is very honoured." The foundation's executive director Judith Cranford said: "She (Camilla) has worked for several years and has seen the consequences of the disease within her own family." The duchess is visiting an osteoporosis unit in Southampton on Monday, her first solo engagement as a member of the British Royal Family.

The Prince of Wales has called for a more holistic approach towards medicine and the nation's health. Complementary and orthodox methods of tackling diseases should be used in tandem, Prince Charles told the Royal Society of Medicine conference of medics in London. And he stressed the important role nutrition had to play in fighting growing health problems such as childhood obesity and allergies. He also praised TV chef Jamie Oliver's efforts to improve school meals. He said there had been a real shift in thinking since he first raised the issue of homeopathic medicine 23 years ago. We need to harness the best of modern science and technology, but not at the expense of losing the best of what complementary approaches have to offer. The prince was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Society today.

Sarah Forsyth, a sacked Eton art teacher was heard at a tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, Great Britain, today. She said she taped a conversation with Prince Harry of Wales because claims she was forced into improperly helping him were ignored. She wanted proof that she was pushed into doing some of the prince's AS-Level art coursework. The college and royal aides deny any suggestion of "cheating". Ms Forsyth is claiming unfair dismissal. She claims that Harry was a weak student who needed to be helped and that the school's head of art had ordered her to write a few pages of text to accompany a project by Prince Harry. She also alleged that the head of art had completed some of the Prince's artwork - a claim he denies. The tribunal's decision is expected by early July.

Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi ambassador for Great Britain, was following in the footsteps of his father King Faisal by climbing Wales' highest peak, the Snowdon, as part of a trade-boosting trip. His father had visited both Snowdon and Caernarfon during an official UK trip in 1919, but he was unable to get to the summit of the 3559ft peak because of bad weather. Speaking at Caernarfon Castle last night the prince, a nephew of King Fahd, said of his climb: "It was very nice, a bit cloudy but I enjoyed the journey very much." It was the prince's first visit to Wales. During the past three days he has visited Portmeirion and Bodnant Gardens. He added: "The people of Wales have been very generous and hospitable."

May 18th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh have begun a tour of Canada. The nine-day trip marks the centennials of the incorporation of Alberta and Saskatchewan into Canada. She received fully military honours upon arrival. It begins just two days before Paul Martin's Liberal minority government, hit by a corruption scandal, faces a vote of no confidence. If he loses, an election would be called and the Queen's schedule changed so she is not seen with politicians. Mr Martin met the royal couple when they touched down in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Tuesday afternoon. They visited the First Nations' University of Canada where the Queen participated in a tribute to First Nations Indians veterans. The royal couple were at an official welcoming ceremony today, when the Queen and Mr Martin were giving speeches before the legislature of the western Saskatchewan province from the steps of the legislature. In her speech Queen Elizabeth said: "My mother once said that this country felt like a home away from home for the queen of Canada. Ladies and gentleman, six decades later it still does, and it is good to be back." The Queen then unveil a plaque inaugurating the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens at the front of the building and a statue of herself riding a Saskatchewan-bred horse presented to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969. They afterwars were going to travel to the town of Lumsden for a lunch where the Queen will be greeted by school children.

Princess Nori of Japan will marry Yoshiki Kuroda in a shinto ceremony at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on November 15, the Imperial Household Agency said today. The princess's parents, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko will be present. According to reports the princess is also taking driving lessonsin the palace grounds.

May 19th

Sir Michael Peat, private secretary to the Prince of Wales, lost a briefcase full of royal papers earlier this week. It fell from the back of a top aide's bike, it has emerged. Sir Michael Peat only realised the bag had dropped onto the road when he arrived at Clarence House. Police searched for the bag which contained a draft copy of a budget for Prince Charles' London residence. Royal aides said the briefcase did not contain any sensitive material. A Clarence House spokesman said: "It wouldn't have contained anything sensitive - documents like that are always locked away".

The Danish Royal House backs the decision to move from Denmark to Russia the remains of Empress Maria Fyodorovna, mother of Russia’s last Emperor Nikolai II. Prince Henrik of Denmark told Itar-Tass: “We still regard Maria Fyodorovna as our Danish princess, since she was born in Denmark. On the other hand, she was definitely a Russian Empress. She had to flee from Russia during the revolution and to go back to her home country, where her nephew had reigned at that time. After the changes that had occurred in Russia, we deem it legitimate to take her back to St.Petersburg. The Danish Royal Family will attend this important ceremony since it is an outstanding event for our two countries. Unfortunately, neither I myself nor the Queen will be able to go to Russia, but Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will definitely be there.” The Empress now lies buried in the Cathedral of Roskilde in Denmark. She ceremony is scheduled for September 26, 2006 and will take place on the 140th anniversary of the Danish Princess Dagmar’s arrival in Russia, where she was converted to the Orthodox faith and named Maria Fyodorovna.

Madame de Pompadour's porcelain toilet ensemble was sold to an anonymous buyer for $ 1,8 million dollar, the highest price ever paid for a French porcelain, Christie's auction house said today. The toilet was made in 1754 for Louis XV's mistress and includes a faucet with a spout in the form of a dolphin's head and a basin, all in Vincennes porcelain and decorated with garlands of flowers, on a gold stand. It had been estimated to bring between USD 150,000 and USD 300,000.

May 20th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is "very unhappy" with the negative media reports that surfaced this week over her accelerated naturalisation in 2001. "It particularly pains her that the impression has arisen something went wrong and that it is her fault," the Government Information Service said. "All Dutch people must observe legal procedures, also the members of the royal house." Earlier this week television programme Twee Vandaag and the magazine Nieuwe Revue indicated that Princess Máxima breached normal regulations when she applied for citizenship with the Queen's Cabinet instead of with the mayor of her city of residence. The Government Information Service said the request was subsequently passed onto the Justice Minister. "The Queen's Cabinet only did what a municipal council would have done in other cases." They also said that the situation of Princess Máxima was different because she was to become a member of the royal house. It was pertinent then that she became a Dutch citizen prior to the parliamentary proceedings relating to her Amsterdam marriage in February 2002 to the Prince of Orange. The granting of Dutch citizenship to Princess Máxima was applied via article 10 of the Dutch statute law. Some 880 people had already availed of this article prior to Máxima. This procedure means that in exceptional cases Dutch citizenship can be granted on commission of the Justice Ministry by royal decree. It can only be used when special circumstances apply.

Preparations for the wedding of Princess Nori of Japan and Yoshiki Kuroda have had a dramatic effect on the value of shares in the Tokyo hotel hosting the event. Since the royal household announced on Wednesday that the princess would be getting married at the Imperial Hotel, its share price has risen by 23%. The Imperial Hotel has an illustrious past dating back to 1890, when it was built on a site close to the imperial palace and became Tokyo's first European-style hotel. In the 1920s, the original structure gave way to a new building designed by US architect Frank Lloyd Wright, which was in turn replaced by the current hotel in 1970.

Queen Rania of Jordan was awarded the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize at the World Health Organisation Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday. An international recognition of Queen Rania's commitment and active involvement in health development issues, the prize was presented at a special ceremony during the annual World Health Assembly. The Health Minister of Jordan, Saeed Darwazeh, received the award on the Queen's behalf.

Archeologists have uncovered a 5.000-year-old chamber believed to have been used in the burial rituals of Egypt's first major pharaoh, Hur-Aha, who was founder of the First Dynasty and ruled around 3100 BC. They also found a cache of 200 rough ceramic beer and wine jars, Egyptian authorities announced. "It is a very important discovery because it would provide us with new information about the First Dynasty," Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said. The mud-brick enclosure was discovered by a joint American excavation from Yale University, the Pennsylvania University Museum and New York University at Shunet El-Zebib, near Abydos. Many of Egypt's earlier pharaohs are buried in Abydos, a holy city 400 kilometres south of Cairo.

May 21st

500 people attended an open air commemoration concert at Mainau for Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, who died last December. Among the guests were King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Count Axel and Countess Johanna Douglas, Count Wilderich and Countess Claudia von und zu Bodman as well as politicians, businessmen and actors. Before the concert the Swedish royal couple unveiled a bronze bust of Count Lennart, together with members of the Bernadotte and Romanov family. At the concert the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie led by Vassilis Christopoulos played Swedish and Russian music, as well as Italian opera arias. Between the musical pieces the five children of Count Lennart and countess Sonja told about the life of their father.

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have put their 36-acre Nether Lypiatt Manor near Stroud, Gloucestershire, up for sale for £6million. The manor dates back to 1703. An agent said: "It's a wonderful house." The house has eight bedrooms and four staff apartments. Three barns, garaging and stabling for nine horses, plus gardens, grounds and paddocks are included in the sale. The royal couple are now expected to live full-time at their five-bedroom, five-reception room Kensington Palace apartments. The £10,000-a-month rent there has been paid by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain from her own private funds, since December 2002.

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini will today be accused of failing in his duties to unify the Zulu Nation. The SABC is in possession of a document which will be presented by the chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal House of Traditional Leaders, Mangosutho Buthelezi, at today's imbizo in KwaZulu-Natal. The documentation also alleges that the king is more inclined to be concerned about himself and his personal future - ignoring the welfare of his nation. It also further criticises the government for allegedly failing to provide protection for local government and traditional leadership powers. Buthelezi called today's imbizo to discuss what he says are matters pertaining to the Zulu nation. The king has distanced himself from the gathering. There is a strong police contingent at the Princess Magogo stadium where the imbizo will take place.

May 26th

51-year-old Prince Rüdiger von Sachsen has placed an advertisement in a German newspaper that reads: "Genuine prince, sweet natured and industrious, is seeking after much disappointment a decent woman aged between 25 and 50 for marriage. Pocket money of 2,500 euros a month. I will lay all my love and treasures at her feet. My future wife will marry into one of the oldest dynasties in Europe, one that ruled the Kingdom of Saxony for 829 years." However, commoners need not apply: "I am looking for a princess to marry, ideally one from Saxony," he explained. But he is willing to seek candidates among Britain's royal set too if a suitable German cannot be found. The prince was already married twice and he hasn't officially divorced yet from his second wife.

The Norwegian newspaper VG says the German magazines have gone too far in their efforts to boost sales by spinning wild tales about Norway's royal family. Action is being weighed now after inventions were printed about Marius Borg Høiby, Crown Princess Mette-Marit's son from a previous relationship. They have tended to ignore the weekly magazines despite occasionally offensive fictions, but are not likely to tolerate stories that focus on children. "They (the royal couple) react to the clear focus on children, in this case Marius," palace information chief Astrid Versto told VG. "They will now assess what they will do about these stories." Peter Viktor Kulig, editor of German weekly 7 Tage told VG that "it is no secret that there is an element of fantasy in the articles we write", but he said that Germans wanted to read these tales, and that it should not be a problem for young Marius. "He doesn't read German and he can't get our magazines. They aren't sold in Norway," Kulig said.

May 27th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium was appointed UNICEF and UNAIDS Special Representative for Children and AIDS today. On the occasion of the granting of an honorary doctorate to UNICEF at the University of Antwerp Princess Mathilde announced her acceptance to become a UNICEF and UNAIDS Special Representative for children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. She said: “The HIV/AIDS epidemic also strikes children indiscriminately. Children infected, or otherwise affected, by this terrible disease are very vulnerable. They are often without defences once they become orphans - abandoned and alone with no one taking care of them and, therefore, prone to becoming victims of abuse, violence, trafficking and other types of exploitation. I want to give these vulnerable children a voice. I want to draw more attention to this growing problem.” She is planning to make field trips with UNAIDS and UNICEF to generate more attention and support for children affected and infected by AIDS.

May 28th

Today Countess Vanessa von Bismarck married Maximilian Weiner, son of Gabor and Brenda Weiner, in a religious ceremony at the Bismarck Mausoleum at Friedrichsruh in Aumühle. The civil wedding took place in Aumühle on Thursday. The bride wore a lace gown designed by Derek Lam and sparkling tiara. She was led to the altar by her father Prince Ferdinand von Bismarck. The oecumenical ceremony (the groom is anglican) was led by 85-year-old family priest Hans-Joachim Arps. Among the 300 guests were Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and her husband Lambros Milona. The newlyweds met each other four years ago in New York.

May 29th

Andrea Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Monaco was reported to police after scuffling with a photographer during a stroll with his girlfriend through central Rome, Italy's Corriere della Sera reported today. Andrea Casiraghi knocked over photographer Stefano Meloni in the scuffle and grabbed his camera after he emerged from a famous Roman gelateria with a female friend. Meloni reported the incident to police guarding the nearby parliament building. The newspaper said Meloni had not yet decided to press assault charges.

May 30th

In honour of the memory of the late Queen Mother Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York will be confirmed in her favourite chapel, the All Saints Chapel in Windsor, on June 5. They will receive confirmation from the Dean of Windsor, the Right Reverend David Conner.

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia's health condition is 'stable and reassuring' medical tests showed. Crown Prince Abdullah said this on Monday in a cabinet meeting. The King was admitted to King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh on Friday for medical examination.

Prince Hamid Bin Abdul Sani al-Thani of Qatar has been convicted in the Czech Republic of sexually abusing young girls and sentenced to 30 months in prison. He was tried in Prague after a Czech judge turned down a request from Qatar to have him sent back home to face trial. He was found guilty of paying to have sex with four girls aged under 15 between 2001 and 2004. He was arrested after one of the girls told her mother about the offer of sex. Al-Thani was arrested last year and has spent 10 months in custody awaiting trial.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has married 21-year-old Noliqwa Ntentesa as his eleventh wife. She was selected by the king three years ago at an annual ceremonial dance. She is pregnant with his 25th child. Two more young women have already been lined up to marry the king. Noliqwa Ntentesa, who was forced to give up high school when she was picked three years ago, was smeared in traditional red ochre and married in a secret wedding service held last week at a royal palace.

May 31st

Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, wife of Prince Maurits, has given birth to her third child this morning at 2.34. The girl was born at home in Amsterdam, is healthy and weighs 4380 grammes. She will be named Felicia Juliana Bénedicte Barbara. She is the fifth grandchild of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Later today Prince Maurits showed his daughter from the balcony of the house to the waiting press outside.

Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana of Wales, is producing a new line of furniture based on the thousands of antiques that fill Althorp Estate, the home where he and his sister grew up. The collection is being manufactured by furniture company Theodore Alexander. Royalties will be used to pay for a 10-year renovation project at the Northamptonshire mansion. Each piece in the range is an exact replica of an item from Althorp. "The house has been looking after the furniture for hundreds of years," the Earl explained. "It's time for the furniture to look after the house. I was brought up to look after Althorp. It was drummed into me at a very young age that it would be mine to have, not in a way to enjoy it and abuse it in any way, but very much as a duty that I should look after this piece of Britain's heritage."

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz said today that King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is recovering and can be expected to leave hospital soon.

June 2nd

Almost 40 royals and royal descendants of the Bernadotte family gathered at Sofiero Castle in Helsingborg today for a family meeting. The meeting among others was attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden with their three children, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Prince Joachim of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark with husband and children, King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece with children, Princess Margaretha Mrs Ambler, Princss Désirée Baroness Silfverschiöld, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson and Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Margrethe opened some new gardens at Sofiero. The day ended with a dinner at the royal yacht Dannebrog at the harbour of Helsingborg. The meeting took place almost exactly 100 years after the marriage of the later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and his first wife Princess Margaret of Connaught. They received Sofiero as a wedding gift and it was Princess Margaret who turned Sofiero into a flower paradise.

During a visit to Rwanda King Mswati III of Swaziland claimed he is not an absolute monarch, insisting the southern African kingdom is moving towards democracy. He said: "I am not really an absolute monarch. I am a monarchy which normally takes decision after consultation with the people. The king does not take decisions on his own. He takes them after long consultation." About the recent new Constitution he said: "It is important that everything we do, whether on democracy or whatever it might be, the most important thing is that we start from the grassroots level. Before the constitution was sent to parliament, every Swazi was given an opportunity to participate. Parliament is only implementing what the whole of Swaziland has decided."

June 3rd

Prince Maurits van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven gave notice of the birth of his daughter Felicia at the registrar's office at Amsterdam Out-Zuid. He arrived at a carrier cycle. He said to the press that Felicia means 'the happy one', the name Juliana comes from his daughter's great-grandmother, but he didn't want to tell where the names Bénedicte and Barbara come from.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands has broken her sacrum in a fall at home. It could take some weeks before she is recovered.

Fragments of the wedding dress of the late Diana Princess of Wales are being sold on internet auction house eBAY - for a staggering $2 million. The seller, Gavin Young, claims he was given the fabric pieces from his parents, who received the gown from London dress designers Elizabeth and David Emmanuel following the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Diana in 1981 wedding as a thank you gift, because their daughter Kerry had been their children's au pair for nine months. Mr Young has placed the five scraps of silk and lace in the higher-priced property section, but insists the remarkable price tag is negotiable. He says, "They are possibly the most exclusive and undoubtedly unique piece of royal memorabilia ever to come out of England. "Obviously, if the price is right, I'd be a fool not to sell. It depends who wants it."

June 4th

A French-Egyptian expedition working in the Karnak Temple complex in Luxor has discovered a life-size statue of a 13th Dynasty king that can provide insight into this period in history, Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities said today. "This is very important because we actually have very little to know about the 13th Dynasty. The statue shows a very high quality of craft and art," he said, adding it was discovered a few weeks ago. "It's one of the most beautiful statues." The limestone statue of King Neferhotep was unearthed in a niche below the foundation pit of an obelisk. The second half of the double statue remained buried in sand. It was unclear whether the statue belonged to King Neferhotep I or Neferhotep III, Hawass said. The unearthed part shows the king in the customary royal striding position, holding a mace, or sceptre, in his right hand. "The part already revealed suggests the two figures are holding hands and Neferhotep's cartouche (tablet containing the hieroglyphs of his name) is carved between their shoulders," the council said. "This discovery suggests the existence of an important installation in this zone before the New Kingdom." Hawass said the statue was now covered with water and cannot be dug out before the water receded in winter. He said he advised against digging it out at all for fear of damaging a wall or other monuments in the area. "We should leave the statue under the water and under the sand and make a small museum next to the statue," he said. "If we take it out, maybe we will damage the temple." A similar statue of Neferhotep was unearthed in 1904 and is now on display in the Egyptian Museum.

June 5th

Infanta Cristina of Spain gave birth to her fourth child and first daughter today at 15:55 at the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona. She weighed 3,685 grammes and measured 50 centimetres. The baby was named Irene. The proud father, Iñaki Urdangarín, said to the press: "If God gave us a daughter some day, we always thought about calling her Irene. We always liked it because of its meaning and beauty." Both mother and child are doing fine.

June 6th

Swedish National Day was opened in presence of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princes Madeleine at 10.00 in the morning at Slottsbacken, with the participation of the Swedish Army Drum Corps. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrived at Stockholm's famous open-air museum in a horse-drawn carriage while their daughters, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine both donned traditional costumes for the festivities. They were joined by thousands of well-wishers and royal watchers. The King and Queen later visited Mariefred to celebrate National Day and Mariefred's 400th anniversary.

June 7th

King Harald V of Norway has returned to work after heart surgery. His return coincides with the celebration of Norway's centennial today. People broke out in spontaneous applause as his open car rolled down Oslo's main street on the way to Parliament. The royal family sat in front at a special session of Parliament this morning. The session began promptly at 10:35am, the same time that the Parliament declared dissolution of the union with Sweden on June 7, 1905. The entire Norwegian royal family, including Princess Märtha Louise and the king's sisters, Princess Ragnhild and Pincess Astrid, and their families were present at a special Centennial performance in Oslo's Concert House this evening.

June 9th

Infanta Cristina of Spain and her newborn daughter Irene left hospital today. Together with husband and children she posed for the photographers who were waiting outside. Infanta Cristina told that Irene "is behaving well and eating well". She added that Irene's three brothers had taken to her quite well and are "calmer than we had hoped they'd be," alluding to the possibility of sibling rivalry. The princess, who gave birth on Sunday, said that "all the children behaved well at the hospital," adding that "we'll have to see how they behave at home." The proud parents said that, with her very blond hair, Irene resembles her brother Pablo.Some 250 people waited in the garden of the Teknon Hospital for the princess and her family to appear.

Unlike what was said before the religious wedding of Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Anita van Eijk on August 27 will not take place in The Hague, but will take place at the Grote of St. Jeroenskerk in Noordwijk. The wedding will be led by the Rev. Henk Leegte from Amsterdam. The civil wedding will take place two days earlier at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn.

Three of four academics told a government panel on Imperial succession yesterday it would be acceptable to revise the current law to allow females to sit on the Chrysanthemum Throne, although two said males should be given preference. It was the second time the advisory panel heard expert opinions; the first was at the previous meeting on May 31. The panel has been discussing a proposal to revise the 1947 Imperial House Law, which stipulates that only a male heir with emperors on his father's side can assume the throne. The panel is discussing ways to ensure a stable Imperial succession, as the Imperial family is facing a difficult situation since no male heirs have been born since 1965. Japan had eight female monarchs between the sixth and 18th centuries with two of them reigning twice. But the throne always reverted to a male from the male line.

The palace will stop giving cigarettes away as gifts to its employees and volunteers in April 2007, the Imperial Household Agency announced. The palace said it was responding to a decline in smoking in the country, amid efforts to discourage the habit. The palace will not ban smoking and will continue to offer cigarettes to guests. The Imperial cigarettes, each imprinted with a gold chrysanthemum flower, are made by Japan Tobacco, and went into production in 1934. The number of such cigarettes the company produces has dropped from 280m in 1944 to 1.4m in 2003, said Japan Tobacco spokesman Kei Koro.

June 10th

Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah of Kuwait has been admitted to hospital. It was said that he has been suffering from a high level of blood glucose. He has been deputising for the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who is in the US recovering from medical treatment. In 1997, Sheikh Saad spent seven months abroad for treatment and recuperation from colonic bleeding. He became crown prince in 1978, and was prime minister until July 2003, when the Emir appointed Sheik Sabah as prime minister, breaking with a political tradition that crown princes also serving as heads of government. Like the emir, Sheik Saad has made few public appearances in recent years.

Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia Charles IV (1316-1378) was chosen the most prominent personality in Czech history in the Greatest Czech poll. He won 38.713 votes. In second came the first president of Czechoslovakia Tomas Garrigue Masaryk followed by former president Vaclav Havel. Charles IV is known among others for having founded the oldest university in central Europe and for having brought the impowerished country to unprecedented prosperity.

June 11th

Prince William of Wales has achieved a 2:1 honours in his geography MA degree from St Andrews University, where he studied for four years, Clarence House has announced. "William got an upper second class honours," a Clarence House spokesman said: "He's delighted. Everyone is absolutely delighted. His father's very proud." Prince William logged on to a secure internet site to find out his Master of Arts results on Saturday. He wrote his 10.000-word dissertation on the coral reefs of Rodrigues. The announcement was made as the prince attended the annual Trooping the Colour with other members of the Royal Family.

For the first time the Duchess of Cornwall joined the British royal family during the balcony scene at Buckingham Palace after taking part in the Trooping the Colour ceremony. She took her place between Prince Charles and stepson Prince William to watch an RAF flypast, spearheaded by two Typhoon Eurofighters. During Trooping the Colour she shared a carriage with Prince William, the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Some 1,220 troops took part and the Colour of the Irish Guards was paraded. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh rode in an open carriage, Queen Victoria's 1842 phaeton, along The Mall to the parade ground near Admiralty Arch. Also taking part in the procession were Prince Andrew, his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie, and Timothy Laurence, the Princess Royal's husband. Prince Charles, the Princess Royal and Duke of Kent all rode on horseback.

June 13th

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia's health is improving more than two weeks after being taken to hospital. “The news is good and reassuring and his Majesty’s health is continuously improving and, God willing, his stay in hospital will not be long,” Interior Minister Prince Nayef said late on Sunday, without specifying when the monarch would be discharged. “I think now it is only about completing medical procedures.”

King Mswati III of Swaziland secretly married 18-year-old Nothando Dube on Saturday morning as his 12th wife, only weeks after his 11th marriage. She is now called Inkhosikati La Dube. She joined the royal family about a year ago when she was still in school, but had to drop-out because she is not allowed to mix with commoners.

Makobo Modjadji, the rain queen who led South Africa's Balobedu people, has died yesterday aged 27. It is not known what killed the rain queen, who was crowned in 2003 at the age of 25. She was the sixth and youngest queen in the history of the tribe, and the first to be formally educated. She was descended from a female royal line stretching back more than 200 years, and was said to have inherited magic rain-making powers. Makobo Modjadji followed her grandmother, Mokope, who died in 2001. She combined the traditions of the tribe with certain modern habits. The Modjadji Royal Council confirmed her death at Polokwane Medi-Clinic at the weekend, but did not say how she died. Medical staff declined to discuss her illness, but local rumours abound that her symptoms were those of the complications caused by the HIV/Aids virus which is ravaging much of South Africa. She is survived by her son, who is thought to be eight years old.

June 14th

The late Prince Bernhard left most of the more than thousand elephants he collected during his life to the World Wildlife Fund. The elephants will be auctioned by Sotheby's in October. From 29 June until early October the elephants will be shown at an exhibition at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. This includes the elephants that were inherited by family and friends.

Later this year at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, a dispute between King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and one of his wives, will be aired in public. 57-year-old Janan George Harb is suing the King for increased maintenance from his £32 billion fortune. She says she needs the money to maintain a suitable lifestyle at her Knightsbridge home. She has lived in London for much of the past 30 years and is now a British citizen. She has pursued her claim despite attempts by the king’s lawyers to keep the case out of the public eye. Previous High Court hearings were cloaked in secrecy and were listed simply as Maple v Maple. Her claim is believed to be the first of its kind for the Saudi royal family. In March 2001 the King’s lawyers agreed to pay Mrs Harb “a very substantial sum” on condition that she entered into a binding agreement to reveal nothing of their relationship. Precise details of the maintenance settlement and Mrs Harb’s demands for more money remain unclear but wives of the Saudi royals are known to lead opulent lifestyles. At previous hearings the King had successfully argued that as a head of state he had sovereign immunity. Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, then President of the Family Division, upheld his argument in December last year. But Lord Justice Thorpe has ruled that Mrs Harb’s claim must be held in open court. The judge said: “I see no legitimate ground for imposing reporting restrictions that would thinly disguise the identity of the sovereign. The identity of the sovereign seems to me to be relevant to any public debate of the issues raised by the plea of immunity.”

June 15th

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium have denied their marriage is on the rocks. The couple today opened a new ward of the Edith Cavel Hospital in Brussels. Renewed rumours were sparked when Prince Laurent was shielded from the media at a ceremony to open a training school for police dogs yesterday. One of the attending police officers later said Claire had left Laurent and the prince didn't want any difficult questions. A source told the newspaper "Het Nieuwsblad" that Princess Claire, fed up with recent arguments, had packed her bags and left for Chaumont-Gistoux, where her parents live. She was still with her parents on Tuesday night. However her mother denied Claire's marriage was over, stressing that her daughter visits two or three times each week with her daughter Louise. The denials were later repeated by Claire as well, who opened up the boot of her car at her parents house to show she simply had a black leather bag with a few clothes in it. "We three still form an excellent family," she said. Today Prince Laurent told the press: "I don't know any family that doesn't have problems: these take one hour or one and a half hour." He called the rumours all pure sensation.

The father of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Sven Høiby, and his wife Renathe Barsgaard, are to file for divorce after just three months of marriage. Mr Høiby told Se og Hør magazine that "the mutual confidence and respect" to continue the marriage were no longer there. His wife was more specific, saying she was "tired of this wild life" which she said centred on parties and pub crawls."When I got home, it was always me who would tidy up while he watched television," Barsgaard told. The marriage went rocky after just two months, she said.

King Bhumipol of Thailand today by royal command bestowed on the youngest daughter of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn Her Serene Highness Princess Siriwanwaree Mahidol the title of Her Royal Highness Princess, and made the crown prince's consort Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya a princess. He promoted HSH Princess Siriwanwaree Mahidol to the higher title of Her Royal Highness Princess as she is now a grown-up and her royal duties and academic performance had pleased him. He also appointed the crown prince's consort Mom Srirasmi Phrachaoworawongther Phra-ongchao Srirasmi Phraworachaya nai Somdej Phraborom Orasathiraj Siammakut Rajakumarn since she is the crown prince's wife and the mother of the prince's son.

The Crown Prince of Kuwait has recovered from hyperglycaemia and was discharged from hospital today. A statement said: "His Highness Deputy Emir and Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al- Abdulla al-Sabah left hospital today after God helped him recover from the illness he suffered."

June 16th

Leah Isadora Behn, daughter of Ari Behn and Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, was christened at the Royal Palace chapel in Oslo today (photos). She was carried to the font by her grandmother and godmother Queen Sonja. The other godparents were Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Gry Brusletto, Katharina Salbu, Espen Bjørshol, Didrik Vigsnæs and Jon Andreas Håtun. In an interview with the newspaper Aftenposten Princess Märtha Louise said about the names of her second daughter: "I've always been a big fan of Star Wars – Princess Leia has always been the most beautiful in the whole world!" The second name, Isadora, was inspired by Ari Behn's fascination for Isadora Duncan. She also said her decision to give birth at home last spring wan't meant to criticize Norway's public health system. She says she simply found it natural.

A security review has been launched after a reporter of the newspaper The Sun gained access to Sandhurst military academy, where Prince Harry of Wales trains. The Sun said its journalist walked in the grounds of the academy for seven hours after posing as a student. Once inside, the reporter constructed a fake bomb in his car and took grainy video footage of the prince. Defence Secretary John Reid demanded a "quick investigation" into what he termed a "serious security breach". An MoD spokesman confirmed Sandhurst was conducting a security review. "We will be implementing any changes we feel are necessary," he said. The Sun said it had acted after being tipped off by a "concerned insider" worried about the state of security at the academy. Clarence House later today announced that video footage taken by The Sun at Sandhurst doesn't show Prince Harry. A Clarence House spokeswoman said: "Having reviewed the footage and spoken to those who were with Harry we are of the opinion that it is not him in the footage." But The Sun insisted the video did show the prince. A spokeswoman for the newspaper said: "The footage is Prince Harry. We stand by it 100%. The Clarence House denial is absurd."

June 17th

A royal ceremony was held to celebrate the Month and Getting into the Cradle for the newborn Thai prince this afternoon. King Bhumipol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand presided over the auspicious ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Thrown Hall. During the welcoming ceremony the King poured holy water on the newborn Prince, cut his hair and anointed the baby Prince. The King and Queen each fastened a thread around the newborn Prince's wrist to welcome his good spirit. Ten Buddhist monks, led by Somdej Phra Phuttajarn from the Saket Temple, offered a prayer. This was followed by a drum beating and a Brahmin horn blowing. The new Prince was then be gently placed in his cradle's bedding, set by the chief Brahmin and the King with auspicious items, including a gold bar bearing the name of the newborn Prince. The chief Brahmin sang a lullaby, while the Chief Royal Astrologer beat a gong and blew a horn. The costume offiicial shook a two-faced drum, while celebratory music was played.The new Prince, His Royal Highness Prince Tipangkorn Rasmichoti, was born to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and His Royal Consort, Mom Srirasmi Mahidol na Ayudhya on April 29. The event was attended by members of the Royal Family, the privy councillors, court officials, cabinet ministers, leading parliamentarians and senior government officials. The Crown Prince and his royal consort granted an audience to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin who offered gifts to the royal child. Interior Minister Chidchai Wannasathit also presented the royal couple with the baby prince's birth certificate.

The Countess of Wessex has begun sittings for her first official portrait. She is colonel-in-chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, and the portrait will hang in their Surrey HQ. Richard Stone, who has painted many royals, has been given the commission. The countess has already posed several times at her Bagshot Park mansion in Surrey. Mr Stone said: "She is a very natural person and lovely to be with. We often chat during the sittings and I have found she is extremely interested in the arts." Sophie is wearing an evening dress for the threequarter-length portrait, with an embroidered jacket.

According to recently uncovered documents the late Emperor Hirohito of Jpan spent the remainder of his life strongly supporting close ties with the USA. Researchers said six documents dating from between 1953 and 1972 record conversations Hirohito had with US diplomats and military officers. Among the comments attributed to the late Emperor was his desire to see a continued US military troop presence in Japan. He also expressed his gratitude for US efforts to help Japan rebuild itself from the devastation of World War II. Past research has shown that the late Emperor had a strong personal interest in Japan-USA relations and national security during the Allied occupation. The latest discoveries show that he continued to make such comments long after the occupation was over. Koji Nakakita, professor of Japanese political history at Rikkyo University, found a document at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. The rest were tracked down at the National Archives and Records Administration by Kosuke Yoshitsugu, associate professor of diplomatic history at Okinawa International University. Mr Yoshitsugu said more work had to be done to determine what effect the emperor's words and deeds may have had on Japan's diplomacy. "The important point is that throughout the Cold War the emperor consistently placed extreme importance on the Japan-US Security Treaty and the continued presence of the US military in Japan. However, in order to more specifically determine what influence the emperor actually had on diplomacy and what changes occurred in his thinking and actions as the times changed, there will need to be more disclosure of historical documents from both the Japanese and US governments, and in particular from Japan." Narahiko Toyoshita, professor of international politics at Kwansei Gakuin University, said further disclosure of historical documents would allow for a more complete appraisal of the role the emperor played in politics.

Makobo Modjadji, the late Rain Queen, will be buried on Monday. This follows an agreement between the Modjadji Royal Council and the Bolobedu Tribal Authority. Earlier, the two groups had both claimed the right to bury the queen, but resolved the dispute after intervention by the Limpopo provincial government. The funeral service will start at 7am and the queen will be buried in the absence of her brother Mpapata. He left the area before the queen's death last Sunday, apparently on visit to another African country, and cannot be traced.

June 18th

Baron Carl Silfverschiöld, son of Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld and Princess Désirée of Sweden married Maria Fredrikson at Falsterbo Church in South Sweden this late afternoon. The 30-minute ceremony was set to start at 16.00. After the guests had left church they lined up outside so the bride and groom could walk out of church in their middle while the guests were throwing rice. In the evening a party took place at the local golf club in Falsterbo. There were many family members attending.

Odysseas Kimon, son of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his wife Marie-Chantal was christened today at 11.00am at the Church of the Convent of St John the Baptist in Karea, Athens. The Godfathers were Prince Philippos, Mr Nassos Thanopolous, Mr Arki Busson and Mr Chris Thomsen. The Godmothers were Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Olga of Greece and Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. A reception was held in the evening at the Yacht Club of Greece, Microlimano, Athens. The christening among others was attended by the parents and siblings of Crown Prince Pavlos, the parents of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal, the godparents, Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and stepson Marius, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia, Princess Irene of Greece, Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies with husband Markos Nomikos, the Duke of Apulia and Tatiana Blatnik (girlfriend of Prince Nikolaos of Greece).

June 22nd

The Dutch Governement Information Service has issued a media code today. It is meant to protect the privacy of the members of the Dutch royal house as much as possible without affecting the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. Media who respects the code will be able to attend mediamoments around the royal house that belong to the personal sphere of life. On the other hand it is expected from the media that they respect the personal sphere of life of members of the royal house and don't make photos at moments they are not around on the occasion of their official engagements. The mediacode especially counts in case of the youngest members of the family as long as they follow education.

June 23rd

Luxemburg celebrated its national day. Yesterday afternoon Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited Ehnen, while Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was present at the start of National Day in Esch-sur-Alzette. All three of them, as well as Princess Alexandra and Prince Sébastien in the evening were present at the torch-procession with fireworks in Luxemburg. Today the Grand Duke, Grand Duchess and Hereditary Grand Duke first attended a parade in Luxemburg. Afterwards the family attended a Te Deum at the cathedral in Luxemburg.

A farewell party was held yesterday evening at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in Tokyo for Princess Nori of Japan who will marry in November. According to sources the princess will quit her work as a part-time researcher at the Institute's laboratory. It was said that she has decided to quit because she has wrapped up her research at the facility.

June 24th

Princess Badiya bint El-Hassan of Jordan married Khaled Blair at Amman today. The wedding was attended by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, as well as many other family members including Queen Noor. Among the guests were also several European royals: Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Prince Maurits, Prince Bernhard, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven (the last two with fiancées), Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Prince Félix, Prince Jean, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, Prince Kardam and Princess Miriam of Bulgaria, the Aga Khan, Margrave Max von Baden with his wife Valerie, his sons Bernhard, Leopold and Michael, daughter-in-law Stephanie and several other family members.

Delphine Boel, illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of the Belgians was not welcome at a gala dinner of the Belgian employers association VBO on Thursday night. The dinner was attended by Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde. Delphine's mother, Sybille de Selys-Longchamps therefore gave an angry interview to the Belgian tv-channel RTBF. She was also critical of the fact one of her daughter's artworks had almost been banned from an exhibition to celebrate 175 years of Belgian independence in Brussels. Mrs De Selys-Longchamps said her daughter is being discriminated against and claimed it was not the first time either.

June 25th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, accompanied by the Prince of Orange and some members of the Von Amsberg family including the sisters of the late Prince Claus, unveiled a double bronze bust of Prince Claus in his birthplace Hitzacker. The bust was made by Barbara Westphal. After the unveiling the Queen and Prince visited a photo exhibition at the Museum Das Alte Zollhaus. Some 2000 people had shown up to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

June 26th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 14.40 at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. The baby weighs 3490 grammes and is 50 cm tall. Prince Willem-Alexander was present at birth. Princess Máxima was furthermore supported by gynaecologist Maddy Smeets and children's doctor-neonatologist Mrs Kreijen-Meinesz, as well as a nurse. "We again have a beautiful and healthy daughter", it said in a statement. Princess Máxima was taken to the hospital this morning at 9.00. Shortly after the birth of the baby Máxima's parents arrived with Princess Amalia. Queen Beatrix was on her way from Germany to the Netherlands and only heard that she again had become a grandmother after the landing in the Netherlands. She immediately travelled to the hospital, before heading for Luxemburg to attend the opening of the concert hall Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. Also Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien with their children came to visit.

At 16.30 there was a press conference at the Bronovo hospital in which Mrs Smeets and Mrs Kreijen-Meinesz answered some questions of the press. Afterwards the Prince of Orange proudly showed his newborn daughter to the press. According to Mrs Smeets Princess Máxima had a natural birth. A very happy Prince Willem-Alexander told that he and Princess Máxima aren't sure about the name of their daughter yet. He said to be very proud of his wife and said she had done fantastic again. He told that Princess Amalia wanted to go to the swimmingpool and that she didn't completely understood at first why she had to go to hospital with her maternal grandparents instead. Amalia at first didn't know what to do when she saw her little sister, but soon started stroking her.

June 27th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and her newborn daughter have left hospital early this morning. The Prince of Orange will officially give notice of the birth of his daughter tomorrow at 10.00 at the old townhall at The Hague.

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium are very happy to announce the future birth of twins. The birth is foreseen in the course of January 2006.

Prince João de Orléans e Bragança has died at Rio de Janeiro yesterday. He was born at Boulogne on 15 October 1916 as son of Prince Pedro de Alcántara and Countess Elisabeth Dobrzensky de Dobrzenicz. He is survived by his second wife Tereza, by his son from his first marriage Joãozinho, his daughter-in-law Stella and grandchildren João Filipe and Maria Cristina. The funeral will be held tomorrow.

The party of former King Simeon of Bulgaria was defeated by the socialist party in yesterday's Bulgarian elections. Four years ago the former king made a remarkable return to politics. The Socialists however failed to gain an overall majority at yesterday's elections and are battling to form a government that could lead Bulgaria into the European Union. Former King Simeon's governement was credited with gaining Nato membership and signing the treaty to make Bulgaria an EU member in 2007. But it was punished for failing to improve the economy.

The state attorney's office has appealed against the verdict for Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani of Qatar, who was recently sentenced to two and a half years in prison for sex with 16 underage and juvenile girls. "We are convinced that the penalty is too lenient," state attorney Kamil Svec said, adding that he would demand roughly five years in prison. Also Prince Hamid bin Abdal Sani appealed the verdict on the spot and the case will now be dealt with by the Prague City Court, whose panel is to have the proceedings in the summer. The Qatari authorities have tried in vain to take over Sani's prosecution.

June 28th

The Prince of Orange officially gave notice of the birth of his second daughter at the old townhall in The Hague. Also present were Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Vice- president of the state council mr. H.D. Tjeenk Willink as well as mayor drs. W.J. Deetman of The Hague. The Prince of Orange announced that his daughter will be called Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien. Her titles are Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau. The Prince received a ceramic statue by Jan Jaap Horstink as well as a wooden stork. The Prince of Orange said: "I have had the great honour that Máxima wanted to name our daughter after me. And the other three names, Juliana, Marcela and Laurentien - we wanted her from all generations above her - also three generations - to give three special women, from whom she hopefully will benefit."

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has been diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in her back, the Danish royal court announced today. In a press release it was said that the Queen had been suffering from pain in her knees and her back for some time, and that she had now been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a common disease caused by the breakdown of the cartilage that serves as a cushion between the bones of the joints. The Queen had been examined at the orthopaedic surgery at the University Hospital in Århus on Friday. The statement further said: 'Further treatment of the osteoarthritis in the Queen's knee was deemed unnecessary for the time being. The results of the back operation the Queen underwent a few years ago, are entirely satisfactory. The examination on Friday, however, revealed further osteoarthritis in her back, which will be treated with medicines.' Doctors advised the Queen to reduce some of her planned activities for the time being. The court plans to announce changes in her schedule in the near future.

June 29th

Prince Albert II of Monaco has won 50.000 Euros in damages against the French magazine Paris-Match for its recent 10-page spread and photos alleging he had a love child with a Togolese stewardess. The court in Nanterre found the prince's right to privacy had been violated by the magazine. Paris-Match also has to pay 4,000 euros in court costs and publish a front-page declaration of the verdict in its next issue. Prince Albert has said through his lawyer he plans to sue several European publications for reporting on the alleged affair with flight attendant Nicole Coste. His lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, said in May that suits were also to be filed against Britain's Daily Mail and the German weekly Bunte. Mr Lacoste told that Prince Albert is to issue a statement on the reports about the child on July 7, when the official period of mourning over Rainier's death comes to a close.

July 1st

Prince William of Wales arrived in New Zealand on Thursday for a 10-day visit. He will join the British and Irish Lions rugby team's tour there to watch the games. During his trip the prince will carry out his first jobs on his own for the Royal Family. He will represent the Queen at two ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II.

In a book, therapist Simone Simmons claims the late Princess Diana of Wales was ordered to arrange a blood test for her youngest son to prove James Hewitt was not his father. She says this followed Diana's TV interview in which she revealed she and the ex-cavalry officer had been lovers. Mrs Simmons said William also underwent a blood test but neither prince was told the reason. Both tests proved Charles was the father, she says. The DNA claim is the latest in a series of allegations by Simmons in her second money- spinning book about the late Princess Diana. Earlier this week she claimed Diana had a one-night stand with John F Kennedy Jr, a claim derided on both sides of the Atlantic. She followed that up with a claim that Diana once took cocaine and yesterday said Diana ridiculed Charles in bed, awarding him one out of ten.

July 2nd

Laura Ponte, wife of Beltrán Gómez Acebo (a son of Infanta Pilar of Spain), gave birth to a son yesterday at 17.30 at the Sanatorio de Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Madrid. The baby received the names Luis Felipe, weighs 4,5 kilos and is 55 cm tall.

From her home in South Kensington, London, Janan Harb, one of the wives of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia who has accused him of neglecting his marital obligations, gave an interview. Mrs Harb says that her motiviation is not primarily financial, but designed to force the Saudi Government to fulfil the King’s obligations. "It is not about money. It is about taking responsibility for someone who lived with you, who gave power to you, who was a great support to you,” she said. “You don’t just leave people when you want. I myself take responsibility for a lot of people. It is my duty. Even if you have billions, why don’t you take responsibility?" Ms Harb declined to comment on her feelings for the King, but does not blame him for the legal dispute, adding that his decisions have been influenced by courtiers. "It is his advisers. He is sick. If it was him, he would not go on (to court)," she said. The case will be heard in court in London in November.

July 3rd

Prince William of Wales was at the centre of a bomb scare on an Air New Zealand flight between Los Angeles and Auckland last week. The pilot of the aircraft considered turning the plane back after a mobile phone was found in an ice bucket just metres from the Prince, by cabin crew 20 minutes into the Los Angeles-Auckland leg of the trip from London. "The cellphone appeared to belong to the catering company that provides food for the flight. Nevertheless, security procedures were implemented to assess whether the phone posed a safety risk. Concurrently, the catering company was contacted and confirmed the phone belonged to one of its staff members. As a result, the cellphone, which appears to have fallen from a caterer's pocket, was deemed not to be a risk to customer or staff safety. Therefore, the flight carried on as planned - and without incident - to Auckland."

On Saturday the marriage between 32-year-old Princess Nombuso, eldest daughter of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and Queen Sibongile Madlamini, and Dr Seshi Chonco was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity in Pietermaritzburg. The bride wore a light-cream gown and wore roses in her hair. Her bouquet was made of deep peach-coloured roses. A traditional wedding ceremony took place on Sunday afternoon at the Ashdown Stadium. The highlight of the festivities was traditional dancing by the bride's and groom's imithimba (representatives). Among the guests were members of the royal family, royal household representatives, as well as politicians and businessmen from the Eastern Cape and Swaziland.

July 4th

Sarah Forsyth, a sacked Eton College art teacher who secretly taped Prince Harry of Wales in a bid to save her job has won her case for unfair dismissal against the school. A tribunal ruled that she was sacked unfairly after being bullied by Eton's head of art. But it rejected her claims that she was told to do some of the prince's written work for him to help him pass AS art. And it criticised her decision to record a conversation with Prince Harry in which she claimed he admitted this. A spokesman for Clarence House said: "We are delighted that Harry has been totally cleared of cheating." Miss Forsyth, through her solicitor, said she welcomed the findings, but was "saddened by the fact that she was forced into a position of conflict with the school."

July 5th

In a break with tradition Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan will attend their daughter's wedding reception in November, the Imperial Household Agency announced Monday. The wedding ceremony for Princess Sayako and Yoshiki Kuroda will be held in Shinto rites on the morning of November 15. About 150 people, including the imperial couple and other royal family members, will attend the wedding reception in the afternoon. The Imperial Household Agency was unable to say if Sayako's wedding would mark the first time an emperor had been to his daughter's nuptials.

July 6th

Prince Albert II of Monaco has acknowledged that he has had an illegitimate child with Togolese flight attendant Nicole Coste, his lawyer Thierry Lacoste said in a statement. He said the prince wanted to face up to his responsibilities. The child will not be in line to the throne and will not have the name Grimaldi. The boy, Alexandre, will have the same rights to inheritance as any other child of Prince Albert, should he have any others. In the statement it says that the Prince regrets the fact that Paris Match has gone public with the story so close to his father's funeral and hopes his son can avoid the media spotlight. "Prince Albert II asks the press to adopt responsible behaviour, similar to what it has adopted in similar circumstances for other public figures, and to respect his private life and that of the underage child," the statement added.

King Harald V of Norway and his crew of 14 won the European Championships in sailing this week. The regatta took place off Sweden. The royal sailboat Fram XV sailed to first place after five stages. King Harald said he'd keep sailing as long as he was able to stand on his own two legs. "Yes, I'm satisfied," the King said. "But you mustn't forget that there are 13 other persons on board. I just pay the bills." He celebrated his crew's victory at Sandhamn, outside Stockholm and said they "were lucky with the wind" towards the end.

July 7th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain says in a statement she is 'deeply shocked' by the wave of terrorist attacks on London Underground trains and a bus today. She sends her sympathy to those affected. "The dreadful events in London this morning have deeply shocked us all," the Queen said in a statement. "I know I speak for the whole nation in expressing my sympathy for all those affected, the relatives of the killed and injured. I have nothing but admiration for the emergency services as they go about their work." In the immediate aftermath of the blasts security at Buckingham Palace was thightened. Police armed with machine guns and army personnel sealed off the Palace and cordoned off the area nearby. Royal engagements in London due to have been undertaken by the Earl and Countess of Wessex were cancelled or postponed, said the spokeswoman. The Queen herself arrived at Windsor from the G8 summit in Scotland. "The Queen is being kept informed of developments," said a Palace spokeswoman.

July 8th

In an address to an audience of 250 staff in the canteen of the Royal London Hospital Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain said about the terrorists behind the London bombings: "Yesterday's bombings in London have deeply affected us all. I know I speak for everyone in expressing my sympathy to those who have been caught up in these events and, above all, to the relatives and friends of those who have lost their lives. My thoughts are also with the injured, some of whom I have been able to see and talk to today. I also want to thank you and all the members of the emergency services and Transport for London who are working with such care, professionalism and sensitivity, often in very difficult condition. You have the respect of us all as you go about your business. Finally I want to express my admiration for the people of our capital city who in the aftermath of yesterday's bombings are calmly determined to resume their normal lives. This is the answer to this outrage. Sadly we in Britain have been all too familiar with acts of terror and members of my generation, especially at this end of London, know that we have been here before. But those who perpetrate these brutal acts against innocent people should know that they will not change our way of life. Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense of community, our humanity and our trust in the rule of law. That is the clear message from us all. It underlines the gravity of what has happened." The Queen had visited the hospital starting in the Accident and Emergency Department, thanking staff for their work in the rescue operation. She later visited a ward where survivors are being treated. A Buckingham Palace spokeswomen said it was "highly unusual for the Queen to speak so soon after an event like this".

July 9th

Yesterday Prince William of Wales has expressed his sympathy for the victims of the London bombings. He said the events left him 'Shocked and saddened'. Prince William said: "At this time I'm sure that I'm joined by New Zealanders and Lions supporters alike in extending to the families and loved ones of all those directly involved, my heartfelt sympathies. Our thoughts and prayers are with you." Today the prince signed a book of condolence at the British Consulate-General in Auckland, New Zealand. He wrote: "Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and families" before signing his name as simply "William". He has cancelled plans to go whale watching as a mark of respect to those killed or injured in the blasts. Prince William is due in the northern city of Auckland on Saturday to open a water polo competition and watch the third Test between the Lions and the All Blacks. He is expected to return to London on Sunday after a memorial wreath-laying to mark the end of WWII.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has unveiled a monument to the sacrifices made by civilian and service women during the Second World War. Amid tight security hundreds of war veterans watched the event. Six helicopters performed a fly past. The Bishop of London led prayers celebrating the veterans' achievement, and spoke of the recent terror attacks, vowing that Britain's "spirit of unity, defiance and compassion which brought us to victory 60 years ago" would do the same now."He then prayed for "London and Londoners of every faith and culture" who suffered as a result of the blasts. After a final fly past from two jets, the Queen spent some time with seven women who received the George Medal for bravery during the war.

July 11th

The Government Information Service announced today that the Dutch gossip magazine Privé will not be invited to the photo session for the media during the holiday of the Dutch royal family. The RVD warned in a letter sent to Privé that the magazine will be sued if it buys or uses images from another publication or photographer. The harsh measure stems from Privé's refusal to give a commitment to respect the personal privacy of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, even during their holiday. The magazine's unwillingness to enter into this undertaking was "very disappointing", RVD boss Gerard van der Wulp said.

In an interview with French TF1 television Prince Albert II of Monaco said that he was 'extremely shocked' at the way the existence of his nearly 2-year-old son Alexandre was made public by the press. The prince said that he remained quiet about his son because "I wanted to protect him". "I was extremely shocked by the manner in which this was treated and the totally inopportune moment when it came out in the press", the prince added, and said that the child "is totally part of my private life." Asked if there might be other such cases, the prince said: "I know there are other people who have nearly the same cases." He refused to elaborate. He didn't indicate whether there was any truth to 'cases' that might come forward. The prince said he had acknowledged paternity privately for the child "practically two years ago before a notary" and that "I did what I had to do rather early". Prince Albert added that Alexandre will "want for nothing" but the Monaco constitution does not place him in the hereditary line of rulers, so he will never inherit the throne.

July 12th

Prince Albert II of Monaco formally ascended the throne of Monaco today. Banners of the national colours, red and white, adorned windows and buildings across the country. The day started at 11.30 with a Mass and Te Deum at the cathedral of Monaco. Prince Albert was joined by his two sisters and other family members. During the Mass archbishop Bernard Barsi of Monaco said: "We praise God for our new prince of Monaco, whom we receive ... as a gift." In the afternoon and evening there were several parties. The mayor of Monte Carlo symbolically handed over the keys of the city to the prince. An official ceremony and reception took place in the evening at the palace square, followed by a concert by the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo led by Marek Janowski. At 22.00 there was an open-air ball ending with a firework display at the Quai Albert 1er. The day was billed as a "family" affair for Monegasques. A more formal ceremony is to be held around November 19 with foreign heads of states.

Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has made a substantial donation to the London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund, because she recognises that the aftermath of the terrorist bombings on 7 July 2005 will lead to financial hardship. The Queen hopes that her donation, along with donations from others, will go some way in helping the victims and their families to cope with it.

July 13th

Former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia has announced in his testament that he will hand over the house, in which he was born, to the state, nation and people to use as a museum. The house, located across the street from the capital's Independence Monument, currently houses the embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

July 14th

Irene Urdangarín Borbón was christened with water from the River Jordan in the garden of the La Zarzuela Palace this evening. Her godparents were Princess Rosario of Bulgaria and Pedro López Quesada. The christening was attended by around 50 people.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden led the singing on his daughter's birthday. A thousand well-wishers gathered at the royal family's summer estate this afternoon to wish Crown Princess Victoria happy birthday as she turned 28. The crown princess wore a light green summer dress and a crown of Swedish summer flowers. This year's celebration began with two minutes' silence in memory of the victims of the London bombings a week ago. Crown Princess Victoria made a walkabout during which children met the Crown Princess and gave her flowers and other gifts. She also handed over 25,000 kronor to this year's winners of the Victoria Stipendium, Olympic gold medallists Christian Olsson and Stefan Holm. The celebrations concluded with an early-evening birthday concert at the Borgholm sports ground.

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is stil in hospital. The Saudi minister of defense and aviation, Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, said that the health condition of the King has been improved six weeks after he was admitted to hospital. But he stressed that the king will not leave the hospital. He added that "we are not in a hurry for the King's check-out." Prince Sultan gave no further details on the King's health conditions.

July 17th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands posed with their daughters Amalia and Alexia for photographers in their garden at Villa De Eikenhorst in Wassenaar. After the photosession the couple answered a few questions of the press. The Prince of Orange started by thanking everyone in the Netherlands for the ‘incredible flood’ of gifts, flowers, cards, e-mails and other congratulations his family received after Princess Alexia’s birth on 26 June.

The Duchess of Cornwall has been granted a Royal coat of arms, Clarence House has revealed. The design, in bright blue, red, gold and green, shows both the coat of arms of her husband the Prince of Wales and her father, Major Bruce Shand. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain authorised the coat of arms. It was unveiled to mark the Duchess's 58th birthday. Its central shield is divided down the middle, showing elements from the Prince of Wales's own arms. The shield is flanked by the "Royal lion supporter" from the Prince's arms on the left, and a boar from Major Shand's arms on the right. It also features a single arched crown, taken from the Prince of Wales's own arms.

July 18th

Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia has celebrated his 60th birthday in Belgrade in the past days. Among the foreign royals attending were King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, as well as Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, Princess Chantal of France and Baron François-Xavier de Sambucy de Sorgue, Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and Mr Desmond De Silva with their daughter Victoria, Prince Serge and Princess Eleonora of Yugoslavia, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança. Also attending were prominent politicians and members of the British aristocracy. The celebrations started with a gala concert by the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra at Kalemegdan Fortress on July 15. The concert was open to the public who could listen to pieces of famous composers. During the performance of the Handel’s “Royal Fireworks Music” a magnificent fireworks was displayed above Kalemegdan. On July 16 a business breakfast was organised at the White Palace at which occasion investment possibilities and economic situation in Serbia and Montenegro were presented. After breakfast the guests visited the Refugee Women’s Handcraft Bazaar organized at The White Palace terrace. In the evening a gala dinner was organised at the Royal Palace. Crown Prince Alexander cut the birthday cake, and the Choir sang “Many Years to Come“, and then a magnificent fireworks was displayed. The actual birthday of the Crown Prince started with a morning liturgy and thanksgiving at The Royal Chapel of Saint Andrew The First Called. The employees of the royal palace and the foundation of Crown Princess Katherine surprised the birthday boy with a symbol of strength and health: a “Pancic” blue spruce. At night an artistic and cultural spectacle was organised at the Yugoslav Drama Theatre performed by the National Orchestra and Choir of the Academic Cultural Society ”Lola”, The Royal Strings of St. George, the actors of the National Theatre and the National Ensemble ”Kolo”. Through music and dance, the program presented the national identity of our country in the best possible way. The birthday celebrations ended on July 18 with a visit to the Foundation of King Peter I at Oplenac.

July 20th

Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg and her husband Philipp Haug had their first child, a son called Emil Gustaf, yesterday at 7.55 at Konstanz. He is 51 cm tall and weighs 3830 grammes. The parents are very happy.

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan were greeted today by crowds at the U.K. pavilion at the Aichi World Expo. The Crown Princess resumed her official duties outside Tokyo for the first time in 20 months. She was all smiles during the visit. The Imperial Household Agency said the Crown Princess has not completely recovered from her illness, but she had wanted to visit the expo with her husband, who is the event's honorary president. The couple visited the U.K. pavilion and the expo's centerpiece, Global House, to view the rare frozen remains of a mammoth from Siberia and other exhibits. The trip was kept to one day in consideration of the princess's health, officials said.

Lee Ku, son of the last Korean Crown Prince Yongchin, died of a heart attack in a hotel room in Japan, on Saturday at the age of 73. Lee Ku was born in Tokyo in 1931 to Prince Yongchin - the younger brother of Choson¡'s last monarch Sunjong - and Masako Nashimoto. The prince used to work as an architect in the USA, was the second son in the marriage, but his elder brother Chin died as a baby. He divorced his American wife, Julia Mullock, whom he married in 1958 in 1982, and never had children. His death signifies the end of the main lineage of the Choson¡'s royal descent. A spokesman for the Royal Family Association said: "The Japanese police have confirmed through an autopsy that the cause of death was a heart attack." The prince's funeral will be held on July 24 after the official nine-day mourning period, when the coffin will be placed at Naksonjae residence. The burial ground will be within Hongnung royal mausoleum in Namyangju, Kyonggi Province.

July 21st

On Belgian National Day King Albert, Queen Paola and Queen Fabiola attended the traditional Te Deum at the St Michel and St Gudule Cathedral in Brussels, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde attended the Te Deum in Hasselt, while Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz were at Eupen. In the afternoon almost the whole complete royal family was present at the parade in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels, while in the evening they attended the spectacle '175-25' with final fireworks.

July 22nd

Prince William of Wales is set to have a waxwork double at London's Madame Tussauds museum. The museum plans to unveil the new model on August 3 and they are already expecting it to be a huge hit with female visitors. They have even predicted that William's waxwork will become more popular than the model of pop heartthrob Robbie Williams. "The Royal Family is extremely popular at Madame Tussauds and we're confident William will be no exception." The wax double of the prince will stand next to his father, the Prince of Wales, and his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, in the World Stage area of the museum. The prince could not pose for the waxwork - which took three months to make - so artists created the dummy from photographs. They decided to create the prince's model due to high public demand. A Madame Tussauds spokesperson added: "We did get people coming in and asking if there was a Prince William model here. So it was just a matter of time."

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is expected to leave hospital soon after two months spent recuperating, according to a government minister. Deputy Interior Minister Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz told the Okaz Daily that the monarch's health was steadily improving and he was recuperating in hospital. Prince Ahmed said King Fahd is expected to be discharged from hospital soon, although the date will be "left up to the doctors."

July 23rd

Prince Harry of Wales is suffering from a condition familiar to many new recruits at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst - blisters. Clarence House confirmed yesterday that the 20-year-old prince had spent the previous night in the medical centre, but denied reports that health problems could jeopardise his place on the 44-week course. It described the prince as "upbeat" and determined to finish the course. He was suffering from a bug and had earlier developed blisters on his feet. The spokesman said the prince was expected to be released from the medical centre yesterday and would go on light duties.

The Lee Royal Family Organization announced yesterday that Lee Won, 42, will be adopted as the son of the late Lee Ku, who died last Saturday without children. The family organization's chief director, Lee Hwan-ui, said Lee Ku had signed an adoption agreement while he was alive in order to advance the royal line. Lee Won is a great-grandson of King Gojong. "I will faithfully conduct my duties as an adoptee," Lee Won said yesterday.

July 24th

Lee Ku, the son of Korea's last crown prince, was buried today. Thousands of mourners in black suits and traditional white robes followed the coffin of the last direct heir to Korea's throne through the streets of Seoul on Sunday, paying their final respects to the dynasty that ruled the peninsula for more than 500 years. "May he join his parents in enjoying all the happiness that he did not enjoy this life," said Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, a relative of the deceased, in a funeral address at Changdeok Palace. The former wife of the deceased, Julia Mullock, watched the ceremony from across the street from the palace. Lee Ku was buried in the royal burial grounds east of Seoul, alongside his parents and his brother, who died as an infant.

The remains of Prince Vladimir of Kiev [980-1015] have returned to the Monastery on the Caves in Kiev, Ukrain, today. The relics were brought back from the Rostov-on-Don diocese in Russia. Prince Vladimir introduced Kiev to Christianity in 988. His remains were uncovered by archeologists in 1635, in a marble sarcophagus of the Church of the Tithes-Kievan Rus' first stone cathedral. Part of the relics went to the Moscow Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral. The other part was placed at the Caves Monastery, where it remained almost until World War II. Before the war the Kiev-based relics were loaned to Leningrad for an anthropological study, on whose basis a sculpture of Prince Vladimir was to be created, but went missing during the war. The relics that are now returning to Kiev were in the 1980s transferred from the Moscow Kremlin to the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Rostov-on-Don.

July 25th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to go green after full planning permission was granted to run Windsor Castle on hydro-electric power. The innovative £1million four turbine energy-efficient plant will be built at Romney Weir on the River Thames. It will generate 200 kilowatts which will be used to power around a third of Windsor, the largest occupied castle in the world. Buckingham Palace said the royal household was pleased the project had been approved. "We're constantly looking at ways of saving energy. We use energy efficient lightbulbs at Buckingham Palace and recycle 99 per cent of green waste," a spokeswoman for the Queen said. Tony Juniper, director of the pressure group, said: "We're delighted that the Queen is taking a lead in the use of green electricity to help tackle global warming. Construction is expected to begin next year with Windsor Castle set to start using green electricity before the end of 2006.

15-year-old Princess Eugenie of York has revealed that she wants to take a degree in cultural subjects. Eugenie, who is currently visiting Marlborough College, said: "Once my GCSE exams are out of the way [next year] I want to specialise in History of Art. I hope to do a degree in it eventually."

Archaeologists in Bulgaria have unearthed the treasure-filled tomb of what is thought to be a Thracian king. A golden crown, ring, armour and other artefacts dating back 2,400 years were found with the skeleton in a tomb near the south-eastern town of Zlatinitsa. A crown wreath of gold was found among the ruler's belongings. National Museum of History director Bozhidar Dimitrov said the Thracian king was a young ruler who was buried with two horses and a favourite dog. "He seems to have died suddenly," he told. The bones are still being excavated and will be sent to Sofia for examination. Investigations are continuing as to the identity of the ruler. The professor's theory is that he was a ruler called Sevt, referred to in Greek writings relating to the period. But he says there were around 23 kingdoms in Bulgaria during the same period, so finding the exact identity will require further research. The treasure will be sent to the National Historic Museum in Sofia tomorrow and will be displayed to the public in the end of October.

July 26th

A 41-year-old schizophrenic man with a dangerous obsession for Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has been arrested by the Danish police today after he had escaped from a psychiatric clinic in Roskilde last Friday. The Swedish tabloid Expressen said security around Crown Princess Victoria was increased after the escape, though Swedish security police refused to comment on the report. "He is very interested in royals in Sweden and Denmark. He has said he wants to marry Victoria," Roskilde chief police inspector Ib Meng told.

A government panel on imperial succession has presented its report today. According to the panel of experts Japan should break with more than 2,000 years of tradition and allow an empress to reign. Under current laws, only males can succeed. As a result, the throne would fall vacant beyond the next generation because no son has been born to the Japanese imperial family for more than 40 years. Under alternative options listed by the panel, the imperial family could adopt sons descended from one of 11 branches of the family that were made into commoners in reforms in 1947. Among these, the closest relatives to today's royals are descended from an emperor who ruled about 600 years ago. Alternatively, these branches could be re-ennobled and thus brought back into the line of succession. This would preserve the principle of male to male succession, which Japanese believe has been unbroken for 2,600 years, but would be unlikely to win support from the public. None of the men who would be put in line to the throne are well-known figures, whereas the Japanese public is watching adorable three-year-old Princess Aiko growing up. The panel's report is intended to serve as a starting point for public debate, leading to formal proposals in the autumn.

July 27th

The Belgian Royal Trust has decided to sell the former Royal Villa in Oostende. The villa is located close to the Zeedijk at a top location in the city, but has been vacant since May 2004. In recent months, the villa has been targeted by vandals and squatters. The Oostende City Council then indicated it wants the location to be used better and said it was open to changing the zoning. On that basis, the Royal Trust decided to sell the villa and a special sales committee will be asked to draw up a property assessment. A Royal Trust director said the adjoining King's Park will not be sold and will remain publicly accessible.

Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece is to open her first children's clothes store in the USA in the first week of August. She opened her first shop in London in September 2003. Her collection is featured in specialty and department stores throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. A shop was opened in Thessaloniki, Greece in September 2004 and another shop will be opened in Athens, Greece, in September 2005.

Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has donated more than 17m euros towards building an Islamic art gallery at the Louvre museum in Paris. He said he hopes that the gallery will help people to gain an understanding of Islam as a religion of humanity and tolerance. The Louvre says the new wing will house its Islamic art collection. The museum says it has 10,000 artefacts from Islamic civilisation, ranging from Spain to India - most of which is now in storage because of lack of space. The museum says the new wing will cost nearly 58m euros.

July 28th

The car in which the late Diana Princess of Wales died has been shipped to London for forensic examination by the Metropolitan Police. Investigators will comb the wrecked Mercedes for clues to the cause of the crash that killed her, her friend Dodi Al-Fayed, and their chauffeur Henri Paul. The evidence, gathered using state-of-the-art technology, will be used to create a three-dimensional computer model of the crash scene. It will form an important part of the Met's probe into the 1997 Paris crash. A police spokeswoman said the computer-generated model would recreate "exactly the movement of the car on the road" in the Pont d'Alma tunnel where the crash happened. They would then try to reach "the best possible understanding of what happened", she added. The car had been loaned to the Met with the assistance of the French authorities, the spokeswoman said.

Germany must pay 10,000 euros in damages to Princess Caroline of Monaco after failing to stop press photos violating her right to privacy, the European Court of Human Rights ruled today. The ruling validated an accord the two parties reached amicably after the court at Strasbourg condemned Germany last year for letting newspapers publish photos of her. Germany's Constitutional Court ruled in December 1999 that the princess was a contemporary public figure who had to tolerate photos of herself in public places, rejecting her bid for an injunction stopping further photographs being published. But the Strasbourg court said in June last year this constituted a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights, which grants the right to respect for private life. At the same time the court put off a decision on damages and the two parties worked out an agreement that also satisfied the court. Princess Caroline of Monaco will also receive 105.000 euros for legal costs and expenses, the court stated.

Bulgaria's Socialist Party (BSP) - the winner of last month's election - has failed to form a new government, its leader Sergei Stanishev says. He wanted to form a coalition with a small, mainly ethnic Turkish party, but MPs voted against the plan. Former king Simeon II might now get another chance to form a government - but analysts say that will be difficult. The Simeon II National Movement (NMS) came second in the election with just under 20% of the vote.

July 29th

The Princess Diana Memorial Fund that was set up in 1997 is to be closed after losing a multi-million pound legal battle with US souvenir firm Franklin Mint. The fund will close as soon as it has distributed the £38million it has left. The late Princess Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, will step down as president. A source yesterday confirmed: "It's shutting. It always did have a limited life span but the legal problems haven't helped."

The political party of former King Simeon II of Bulgaria is readying to invite the Socialists to a ruling coalition, after slamming them about two weeks ago. That was announced by the Simeon II National Movement in a televised interview today. The party is now bracing up to receive an exploratory mandate for forming a government after the socialists failed to do so.

A 1,700-year-old carved marble head of Emperor Constantine has been found in a sewer in central Rome. Archaeologists found the 60cm head while clearing an ancient drainage system in the ruins of the Roman Forum. Eugenio La Rocca, superintendent of Rome's artefacts, described the head as a rare find and said it was possible it had been used to clear a blocked sewer. The white marble head was confirmed as a portrait of Constantine by experts who compared it with coins and two other giant heads kept in Rome's Capitoline Museums. Probably carved between 312 and 325 AD it may have belonged to a statue of the emperor in full armour. "Recovering a portrait of this size and in this state of conservation in the very heart of the city is really extraordinary," said Mr La Rocca. "We have concluded that the head did not fall by accident into the passage, but was put there on purpose. It could have been used as a big piece of stone to divert water from the drain, or it could have been put there to symbolise the resentment of a pagan people for their Christian emperor." The head's unceremonious insertion in the drain may have saved it from the plundering of the Forum after the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th Century. It is expected to go on display in Rome's museums after a brief period of restoration.

July 30th

Princess Alexia of Greece gave birth to her third child and first son today at 13.45 at the Clínica Teknon in Barcelona. The boy who weighs 3760 grammes and is 52,5 cm tall will be called Carlos after his father Carlos Morales Quintana. Mother and son are doing well.

Hideki Hayashida, grand master of the Crown Prince's Household, said that the Aichi Expo trip earlier this month was a major step towards Crown Princess Masako of Japan's future activities. Up until their departure, some of her aides had recommended that the couple's visit was to be postponed until September. However, they decided that the couple would go ahead with their visit because the Crown Prince serves as honorary president of the expo and Crown Princess Masako wanted to show to the people that she is fine. During her visit, she had difficulties going to some events on several occasions because of fatigue. He quoted the Crown Princess as saying that she was "grateful" to expo visitors who encouraged her to take care of herself. Imperial Household Agency officials said it will likely take the Princess considerable time before she can fully resume her public duties.

August 1st

The Saudi Arabian court announced "With all sorrow and sadness, the royal court in the name of his highness Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz and all members of the family announces the death of the servant of the two shrines, King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz". The King died early today at the age of about 82 at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. He had been admitted to hospital on 27 May for medical test after having been in frail health for some time following a stroke in 1995. King Fahd became ruler of Saudi Arabia in 1982. He was a son of King Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi Arabia, and Hassa. The King's half-brother 80-year-old Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz, who has been de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia for some years, has been named as his successor. Another half-brother, Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz is the new Crown Prince. Members of the royal family have already pledged allegiance to King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz. An official ceremony confirming him as the new king is due to be held on Wednesday

August 2nd

Prince Constantin and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein had their second child, a daughter, in Vienna, Austria, on 23 July. The baby was named Georgina (Gina) Maximiliana Tatiana Maria

Before the funeral of King Fahd bin Abdel Aziz of Saudi Arabia a mourning prayer was being held at a packed Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque. The King's body was brought into the mosque on a wooden plank carried by his sons and placed in the middle of the mosque. Afterwards the body of the king was taken to the cemetery by ambulance, He was buried in an unmarked and simple grave at the Al-Oud Cemetery in keeping with the Saudi Arabian austere Islamic tradition, The King's body was wrapped in his own brown abaya cloak as it was lowered into the grave by family members. Western leaders and dignitaries, including the Prince of Wales, were due to arrive to offer condolences. Funeral prayers will be led by the kingdom's top cleric at a Riyadh mosque and attended by Saudi royals and influential tribal leaders.

Princess Alexia of Greece and her newborn son Carlos left the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona today. She was accompanied by Carlos Morales Quintana and their two daughters Arietta and Ana Maria, as well as her parents King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Little Carlos spent most of the time snoozing in his mother's arms.

Princess Maria Chiara of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, second daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, was christened today at the Stella Maris Church in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Prince Henrik of Denmark, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were among the guests.

August 3rd

In an interview 17-year-old Princess Beatrice of York says her parents are "the best people in the world, always there for me and my sister" and that her grandmother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is "I honestly can say she is the most amazing woman anyone could ever meet. She is so fantastic. So wise, so kind and I just love her to bits. I love going to Windsor and doing things like getting lost in the library." As fifth in the line to the throne, Princess Beatrice will be seen a lot more in public since turning 17 this summer. "I don't see myself as a stereotypical princess, so people often expect one thing when they first meet me and I give them another." She and her sister Eugenie share six bodyguards on a rota 24 hours a day. "My friends call them the BGs," she says: "It's just like having a constant buddy with you. My friends love them as well. They are very good at just melting into the background to try and make my life as normal as possible." About her life she says: "I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's. I know I'm very lucky. I love being who I am and feel very happy with that. A lot of it is quite normal, scooting around the supermarket with a shopping trolley and things like that. With one parent being a prince and the other being an amazing sort of business woman." Beatrice says: "I am very, very lucky with my life. I know that I have been given circumstances that anyone would wish for and I do believe that I must do something good with it. That was one of the reasons that I came out publicly to let people know that I am dyslexic. It was my decision to do that because it was a problem that I know is helped by more people knowing about it." About men she says: "What do I look for in a guy? Well, I have a huge thing about trust and as long as I can trust the person, it doesn't much matter. I have to trust them and have them make me laugh, and everything else is fine." She likes listening to James Blunt. Her favourite television programmes are Desperate Housewives and The OC. And she loves old films, her favourite being 'High Society' with Grace Kelly.

Prince Albert II of Monaco will embark upon a dog sleigh expedition to the North Pole from the Russian Borneo base situated at around 100 kilometres from 10 to 19 April 2006, the princely palace has announced in a communiqué on Wednesday. The decision follows up a study tour to Spitzberg the prince has just undertaken from 25 to 31 July "trailing the footprints of his great-great-grandfather Albert I of Monaco."

August 5th

Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her husband Lambros Milona had their first child together, a daughter called Lana, at 19.20 on August 2 at München, Germany. Lana is 50 centimeters tall and weighs 3410 gramms. Princess Lilly already has a son from her first marriage to Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Heinrich Donatus.

August 6th

Prince Manuel of Bavaria married Princess Anna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in Stigtomta, Sweden.

August 7th

Balmoral Castle is to become a mecca for businessmen and newlyweds as part of a money-spinning venture to promote the estate as a venue for dinner dances, corporate team- building exercises and wedding receptions. In an apparent bid to help to cover the costs of maintaining the estate, the British royal family is promoting Balmoral as an upmarket venue for corporate entertaining. It is understood the Duke of Edinburgh is behind the attempt to make the royal castle more profitable. Last week it emerged that the royal couple had been forced to move into a hunting lodge to make way for the growing number of tourists flocking to the castle.

August 10th

The newspaper Daily Mirror says that the Earl and Countess of Wessex are expecting their second child. The royal couple are said to be "unbelievably happy" that the countess is 12 weeks pregnant. A source at the couple's Surrey home told: "They have wanted this baby for a very long time. Obviously they will be worried after everything that happened before but it's fantastic news for them." However a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said about the report: "It is purely speculative and we are not putting out a statement. It's a private matter between the couple."

Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah of Kuwait has returned home yesterday from Switzerland after undergoing surgery on his leg in May in the United States. It was said that the Sheikh had been on private holiday in Zurich.

August 11th

Princess Alexandra of Denmark is reported to have a new boyfriend, the 15 years younger photographer Martin Jørgensen. They have met each other during recordings for a tv-portrait on the occasion of the Princess's 40th birthday.

Princess María de la Esperanza de Orléans e Bragança née Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, aunt of King Juan Carlos of Spain, died at her home in Villamanrique de la Condesa, Sevilla, at the age of 91 years on August 7 or 8. She was born at Madrid, 14 June 1914 as daughter of Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies Infant of Spain and his second wife Princess Louise of France. In 1944 she married Prince Pedro Gastão de Orléans e Bragança, who survives her. The couple had four sons and two daughters. The funeral took place today at Sevilla and was among others attended by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia as well as Princes Peter, Alexander and Philip of Yugoslavia (grandsons of the deceased).

Simeon II National Movement has decided to reject the second mandate to form a government in Bulgaria due to the 'complicated political situation in the country'. The decision comes nearly two weeks after the failure of the mandate of election winning Socialists.

August 12th

Prince Masopha Edwin Modjadji, son of Rain Queen Modjadji V, died in the Mankweng Hospital in Limpopo on Wednesday at the age of about 40. The prince will be buried at the royal cemetery Maolwe on Sunday after a funeral service that starts at 7.00am at the Modjadji capital, Khetlhakone. His sister Queen Modjadji VI died in June 2005.

August 13th

The Royal House of Württemberg announced yesterday that 40-year-old Duke Michael of Württemberg has become engaged to 40-year-old lawyer Julia Storz. The groom-to-be leads the family-vineyard at Stuttgart, his fiancée is a lawyer in München, but is originally from Stuttgart. It is not known yet when the couple will get married.

Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg married Max Soltmann in a civil ceremony at Obertaukirchen in Bavaria. A religious ceremony is to take place somewhere in 2006. The couple is expecting their first child.

August 16th

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent had to be rescued from a £30million yacht after it crashed into rocks at Porto Cervo off Sardinia, Italy, shortly after setting sail from the port. They were badly shaken but unhurt after the crash and had to be taken to safety by motorboat. Three people on the yacht - owned by Lebanese billionaire Mouna Ayoub - were left seriously injured in hospital. The Duke and Duchess of Calabria had invited the couple to join them on holiday. It is thought the nanny of the children of the Duke and Duchess of Calabria was among the injured. It is not known how or why the crash happened.

August 17th

Countess Lukardis zu Erbach-Fürstenau died on August 9 in a tragic accident at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. She got stuck in the lift between the 2nd and 3rd floor of the AFE-tower. Although she was requested to stay in the lift, she tried to reach the 2nd floor. She fell into the lift-shaft and suffered fatal injuries. The Countess was born in Darmstadt on 2 April 1953 as daughter of Count Eugen zu Erbach-Fürstenau and Countess Elisabeth zu Erbach-Fürstenau. The deceased was unmarried. She was buried at the Bornheimer Friedhof today.

August 18th

After having competed in the Red Bull Ultimate Dirver Race outside the royal palace in Stockholm at the weekend, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is criticized for advertising the energy drink Red Bull. His pictures were all over the newspapers the next day, a really good PR for the drink. “This kind of thing is great marketing for us, and we are honoured that Prince Carl Philip wanted to take part,” admitted Red Bull’s press officer David Ask. “I think that the prince should stop turning up for commercialized jollies such as this – especially when it’s for such a controversial drink,” said Louise Ungerth of consumers organisation KSF. Royal press secretary Ann-Christine Jernberg said: “This was a well for Carl Philip to test his wings and not to promote Red Bull in any way.”

August 20th

According to Norwegian magazine Se og Hør Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn are expecting their third child. The story is based on signs of morning sickness at an appearance in early August. The magazine claims to have spoken with friends of the Behns who confirm that the princess is again expecting a child. Today King Harald V of Norway denied the story saying: "I don't like this. I think this was well over the line." The editor-in-chief of Se og Hør apologized on Friday evening for the erroneous story. Also Ari Behn rejected the story in an interview with local newspaper Moss Avis saying that it was not true as far as he was aware.

In an interview with De Telegraaf Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and his fiancée Anita van Eijk said that it was love at first sight when they met in the autumn of 1999 in London where they both worked, and that the humor brought them together. Anita said she had no idea who he was, but thought he was very nice and had a sweet and good radiation and lots of charm. And to her great surprise he turned out to be a good dancer. Anita says she wants to be self-employed in the area of fashion and is busy setting up her own company. The couple has bought a new house in Amsterdam.

76-year-old Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah of Kuwait will travel to Britain on Monday afternoon for a private vacation during which he will undergo some usual medical check ups, a statement said.

August 22nd

The Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that Princess Claire of Belgium nearly had a miscarriage on Independence Day. Prince Laurent was to represent the royal family with Princess Claire on July 21, but the prince arrived alone and quickly left after the ceremony ended. He didn't show up at the military parade in the afternoon, but was home with his wife. The newspaper quotes a friend saying: "On the national holiday, Claire had severe stomach pain. The gynaecologist was able to avert a miscarriage, but the princess has had to take a lot of rest since then." The royal palace has officially denied the rumours saying that Princess Claire was feeling well before 21 July, on 21 July itself and after 21 July. However they didn't want to say why both Prince Laurent and Princess Claire didn't attend the National Day.

Antoine 13th Prince de Ligne died at chateau de Beloeil yesterday at the age of 80. He was born at 8 March 1925 as son of Eugène Prince de Ligne and Philippine de Noailles. He married Princess Alix of Luxemburg who survives him. He is also survived by seven children and 18 grandchildren. He will be buried at Beloeil on 27 August.

August 23rd

A helicopter carrying Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands made a precautionary landing while on the way to a royal engagement on Tuesday. The incident took place in Rosmalen, Province of Brabant. The Government Information Service stressed the incident could not be described as an emergency landing. The Queen was travelling to De Peel air force base near Eindhoven when the pilot decided the weather conditions had reduced visibility below an acceptable level. The helicopter landed on grass next to the Mercure Hotel in Rosmalen and the Queen continued her journey by car.

Count Augustinus Heinrich Henckel von Donnersmarck has died at Hamborn Abbey - of which he was one of the founders in 1959 - on August 19 after a long illness. He was born at Naklo on 29 June 1935. In 1953 he entered the Premonstratenser Order and became a priest in 1961. He was leader of the catholic office in Düsseldorf from 1985 to 2000. He was honorary canon of Köln and Essen. He will be buried at cemetery of Hamborn Abbey on 2 September.

The Supreme Court in Brno has ruled that Prince Hamid bin Abdul Sani al-Thani of Qatar, who is convicted in Czechia for sexually abusing young girls, may be extradited to his homeland. The decision marks the end of a quarrel between Justice Minister Pavel Nemec and the Supreme State Prosecutor Marie Benesova. The prince himself left Prague's Pankrac prison immediately after the decision was taken although it's not clear where he is now. The Justice Ministry told the media that the Qatari authorities had promised he would be transported to Qatar on Tuesday, where he faces trial and possibly a life prison sentence. However his lawyer said that as soon as leaves Pankrac he is essentially a free man.

August 24th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is suffering from low blood pressure, and her doctors have adviced that she should get more rest. This will mean that her official program will be reduced. She is pregnant and the baby is expected early December.

August 25th

Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven married Anita van Eijk at the audience hall of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn today at 14.00 in a civil ceremony. The couple arrived at Het Loo in a Rolls Royce Phantom V State Limousine, a former court car of King Olav of Norway. The bride wore a two-piece ensemble: a three-quarter jacket with skirt, made of silk and with a coral print, in turquoise, yellow and green colours. The sleeves and neck-line are decorated with precious stones (jade). It was designed by the originally from Singapore, now in Paris working couturier Andrew Gn. The wedding bouquet was in Biedermeier style and adapted to the colours of the two-piece ensemble of the bride. The ceremony was solemnized by mayor G. de Graaf of Apeldoorn who in his speech referred to their meeting and to the fact that both of them actually hadn't wanted to go to the party where they met but were persuaded by friends to go after all. He quoted Anita as having said: "Pieter-Christiaan is the love of my life, my soulmate." And he quoted Pieter-Christiaan as having said: "I have the feeling to be able to manage the whole world with Anita and she is absolutely my pal." Witnesses for the groom were Floris Leeuwens and Eelco de Graaf, for the bride Sandra Chollet and Saskia Lahaye-Meulemans. With saying yes the prince lost the membership of the Royal House, because he hasn't asked for permission of the First and Second Chamber. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven with fiancée Aimée Söhngen, Prince Carlos and Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and both chairmen of the chambers.

Princess Beatrice of York is said to be "delighted" after getting two A*s, two As and five Bs in her GCSEs at St George's School in Ascot. The princess, who suffers from dyslexia, achieved top grades in history and drama, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said. She was also awarded As in French and art and Bs in English literature, English language, maths and dual sciences. The Palace spokesman said: "She's delighted. The Duke and Duchess are so proud of both their daughters but especially Beatrice on the day of these fantastic results. "The family celebrated together this morning."

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has crashed his brand new BMW M3 CSL. No one was hurt in the Thursday morning wreck just north of Norrköping. "The king was driving and had an assistant in the car," confirmed royal spokesman Ann-Christine Jernberg. "It was at a roundabout just outside of Norrköping. The driver in front apparently had to brake quickly for a cyclist and then the king's BMW hit the other car's back bumper." Both cars sustained damage but police say that neither driver was seriously injured. The king continued to Stockholm with security staff while police handled the cleanup after the crash. Police spokesman Tomas Norin says the accident will be investigated like any other: "We'll find out what was happening and if any driver was careless. If everything seems to be in order, we'll turn this over to the insurance companies to handle."

Princess Margareta zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg née d'Otrante died peacefully this morning at Berleburg Castle at the age of 96 surrounded by her family. She was born at Elghammar Castle, Sweden, on 28 March 1909 as daughter of Charles Count Fouché Duke d'Otrante and Countess Madeleine Douglas. In 1934 she married Prince Gustav Albrecht zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who went missing in World War II in the Summer of 1944, and was pronounced death in 1969. The couple had two sons and three daughters, who survive her, as well as 19 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren. The eldest son, Richard, married Princess Benedikte of Denmark. The funeral service will take place on 31 August at the evangelical church in Bad Berleburg. Afterwards she will be buried at the family vault at the Waldfriedhof in Bad Berleburg.

Bunte magazine reports that Prince Philipp von Hessen (grandson of Princess Margareta zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg) and Laetitia Bechtolf are engaged and that they will get married in June 2006, possibly on the isle of Sylt.

The office of the Sultan of Brunei on Wednesday night confirmed that Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah married former TV3 personality Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday. In a statement issued by the Brunei Information Department on Wednesday night a local newspaper report saying that a wedding ceremony would be held in Brunei next month was denied.

August 27th

Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven married Anita van Eijk at the Great or St Jeroens Church in Noordwijk in a religious ceremony at 15.00 today led by baptist clergyman ds Henk Leegte. In the morning already the official photos were made at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. The groom arrived at church wearing the ceremonial uniform of a major of the Koninklijke Marechaussee. Shortly afterwards the bride and her father arrived at church. Anita van Eijk wore a dress of cream-coloured french Satin duchesse double and lace in the same colour. The lace top with boat decolleté had a higher waist from where the dress fell in flowing line. From the back, closed with little buttons, the three metres long train fell down. She wore a tulle veil with french lace. The dress was designed by Frans Hoogendoorn. Her bridal bouquet existed of ivory-coloured roses (the bride's favourite flowers) combined with Alchemilla Mollis, Asperagus Plumosa, Amaranthus and Sedum. Bridesmaids were Wendela van den Broek and Christiane Rohleder, and the flower children were Anna van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven, Isabella van Vollenhoven and Eric van der Toorn. Witnesses for the groom were Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, and for the bride Caroline van der Toorn-van Eijk and Countess Alexandra de Witt-Cavard. During the service bride and groom often held each others hands and looked at each other. Lectures were read by Prince Jaime de Bourbon de Parme (John 21, 1-14) and Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema (Corinthians 13, 1-13). Henriette Feith beautifully sang a Sung Prayer and the Ave Maria. After the couple exchanged rings, singer Katie Melua sang 'Nine million bicycles'. When leaving church the family stood next to the entrance, and while bride and groom passed colleagues of the groom lining the path, the flower children strew rose leafs. The bridal couple left Noordwijk in a Mercedes Benz 380 SEL, Cabriolet, which had belonged to Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. Reception and dinner took place at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, with a party at the coach-house near Noordeinde Palace. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau (Princess Mabel attracted attention by wearing her mother-in-law's engagement dress), Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and his fiancée Aimée Söhngen, the Duke of Parma, Prince Carlos, Prince Jaime, Princess Margarita and Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Juliana Guillermo, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke Michael and Archduchess Christiana of Austria and Hereditary Prince Alexander von Isenburg.

Antoine 13th Prince de Ligne was soberly buried at Beloeil today. He was the husband of Princess Alix of Luxemburg. The funeral was attended by the couple's children and grandchildren who arrived by foot in a procession led by candle carriers followed by priests and valets carrying a wooden late engraved with the coat of arms of the deceased and his date of death, followed by his medals. Before entering the church, the coffin, covered with the Belgian flag and the prince's flying casque, was carried outside the car. At the end of the funeral mass, a moving gesture as different impressive (oldtimer) aircrafts paid tribute to the prince. Near the church door were several wreaths, among others from the Belgian royal family. Someone Among the guests were Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg, Countess Marie-Gabrielle Holstein-Ledreborg née Princess of Luxemburg, Grand Duke Henri of Luxemburg, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Archdukes Christoph and Alexander of Austria, Archduke Carl Ludwig and Archduchess Yolande of Austria, Countess Hélène de Limburg-Stirum née Princess of France. At the end of the afternoon a rememberance mass was held at Laeken.

August 28th

German actor Hans Clarin died today in Aschau am Chiemsee surrounded by his family. He was born on 14 September 1929 at Wilhelmshaven. He married three times, the last time with Countess Christa-Maria von Hardenberg. From his first two marriages he had five children.

August 29th

Mary Rhys-Jones née O'Sullivan, mother of the Countess of Wessex, died yesterday at the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells at the age of 71 after a short illness, Buckingham Palace announced. The Countess was with her mother at her hospital bedside and is said to be "deeply saddened". She is survived by her husband Christopher Rhys-Jones and her children David and Sophie, as well as her grandchildren Oliver, Harry and Louise. There will be a private cremation. A thanksgiving service will take place on 16 September at St George's Church, Benenden. Mrs Rhys-Jones, a charity worker, received hospital treatment in May.

A diary of Frances Shand Kydd, mother of the late Diana Princess of Wales, was revealed yesterday. The diary had been kept by a friend. In the diary Mrs Shand Kydd calls the Prince of Wales a "spoiled brat", describes Mohammed Fayed as "evil" and says the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was not as sweet as her public image suggested. The diary suggests that Princess Diana's family came close to boycotting the princess's funeral service at Westminster Abbey after the Dean insisted that they arrive at 10.24am, 36 minutes before the Royal Family. She described the conspiracy theories surrounding her daughter's death as "crap", thought Prince Harry was a "rascal", and denied that Princess Diana and the Queen did not get on, claiming they had a "lot of mutual respect and admiration". The diaries were written by Mike Merritt, a freelance journalist who met Mrs Shand Kydd, who lived on the island of Seil, near Oban, in 1996. He told a Sunday newspaper that he was her "main conduit" when she wanted something in the newspapers. He added that he kept diaries of their conversations for nine years.

Princess Helga Lee zu Schaumburg-Lippe née Roderbourg died on July 9 in New York at the age of 94. She was born in Köln on 24 February 1911 as daughter of Carl Hermann Roderbourg and Claude Lennox Miller. She married Prince Max zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1898-1974).

August 30th

Twenty culturally and historically significant bronze objects were stolen during a break-in at Rosendal Palace in Stockholm's Djurgården last week. All of the missing items are gold-plated and were produced in Paris around 1820. They originally belonged to King Karl XIV Johan of Sweden. All the bronzes which were on the table in the dining room, including confectionery and fruit bowls, were stolen. Three pairs of candelabras and a table clock were pinched from further into the palace. The objects were owned by the Bernadotte family foundation and the king personally.

Danish Politicians back up a government proposal to change the law of accession so that Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark's firstborn child inherits the throne regardless of gender. The government wants to change the law of accession to give men and women equal rights to inherit the Danish throne. The change would ensure that Crown Princess Mary's unborn child is heir to the throne regardless of whether it is a girl or a boy. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced that the proposal had full political backing in parliament, after meeting with party leaders on Monday. The bill is to be introduced in the first week of October. 'I'm very pleased for the broad support in parliament for the proposal to change the laws of accession,' Rasmussen said.

August 31st

Princess Margareta zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg was buried at the cemetery of Bad Berleburg today. The funeral was attended by about 200 guests. During the funeral service wreaths of the family were inside the church in front of the coffin. Outside the were wreaths from among others Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark, King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Prince Stephan and Princess Maria zur Lippe with children.

September 2nd

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway arrived in Sweden yesterday on the royal yacht Norge for a two-day-visit to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the break up of the Norway-Sweden union. In Stockholm they were joined by Crown Prince Haakon. The first day of the official visit was filled with culture, exhibitions and fine words about all the things that Sweden and Norway have in common. At Waldemarsudde King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden inaugurated an exhibition entitled Myth and Landscape – The Dissolution of the Union and Cultural Affinity. Queen Sonja presented the Prince Eugen Culture Prize to Norwegian singer Merete Lökkenberg Meyer and Swedish poet Jenny Tunedal. In a speech at the Norwegian Church in Stockholm King Harald V said: “We are twin souls as much as we are good neighbours", but added that despite this it was still “particularly pleasing when we beat Sweden on the sports field.” Journalist Linda Skugge from Expressen called Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who stayed home to rest, 'spoiled' in her web log. "I'd like to meet the doctor who thinks low blood pressure is a problem during pregnancy ... I don't believe for a minute that the princess has been forbidden to travel."

On 31 August 2005 Princess Yasmine bint Asem, daughter of Prince Asem Bin Nayef and his first wife Firouzeh Vokhshouri, married Jordanian Basel Yaghnam at the bride's father's house in Amman, Jordan. The official wedding took place today in Aqaba. The bride is the eldest sister of Princess Noor Hamzah, who attended the wedding with her husband Prince Hamzah. The wedding was also attended by Queen Noor.

September 4th

Prince Harry of Wales is to join the Household Cavalry, The Sunday Telegraph says. The Prince is said to have been attracted to the regiment because it will offer him the chance of taking part in military operations and because the unit's equestrian links will enable him to continue his polo career. The Household Cavalry is the most glamorous of the Guards regiments, not least because of its extraordinary ceremonial uniforms, which are marked by their plumed helmets, gleaming breastplates and thigh-length black leather boots. Prince Harry will need to apply officially to join the Household Cavalry, which consists of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st The Royal Dragoons), in the final term of his 42-week course at Sandhurst, which begins in January. Most of the training in the first two terms at Sandhurst is based on infantry tactics, and cadets previously considering careers in other branches of the Army often switch to the infantry towards the end of the Sandhurst course. A senior Army officer said: "There is time for Harry to change his mind but he looks set on joining the Life Guards - after all, they are a very fine regiment."

September 5th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway had to cancel another public appearance. She was supposed to attend the opening of a new Red Cross center in Sandvika on Monday, but the visit was called off. Last week the crown princess was also not able to take part in a long-planned royal state visit to Sweden. Her husband, Crown Prince Haakon, said his wife was suffering discomfort associated with her pregnancy.

September 7th

Halfdan Ihlen, personal physician of King Harald V of Norway said that the king has totally recovered from a heart operation in April, but questioned the king's return to a hectic schedule of duties. He said: "The king is healthy but I stand by my former advice that he should scale down his duties and take it a bit easier. I do not wish to say anything about what discussions I have had with the king. The only thing I can say is that King Harald is healthy and his progress and rehabilitation have gone as expected."

The wedding of the Prince of Apulia and Princess Olga of Greece has been postponed to Spring 2006. It is said it is nothing serious, but the couple and their parents thought they need some extra months to put the finishing touches at the organization of this royal ceremony. It seems the groom's parents didn't agree with the wedding location (the Greek island Patmos) and the number of guests (only 40 guests were invited). The wedding will now take place in Spring 2006 in Turin, Italy, with 1000 invited guests.

September 8th

A 29-year-old mentally ill man drove a stolen car into the wall of the Royal Palace's courtyard in Stockholm at 6am on Wednesday, hoping to get the attention of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. The man told police that he was hoping the princess would notice him: “He is convinced that they are a couple.” The man was under the influence of drugs and was confused. Ann-Christine Jernberg, spokeswoman for the royal family, said: “It’s just very sad.” The royal family were at the palace at the time, but in a different part of the building. Police say the man is now receiving psychiatric treatment.

Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria and her husband Daniel Terberger had their first child, a son, on August 30. The baby is called Maximilian. The proud grandfather Duke Max in Bavaria said: "He is the most beautiful Maximilian born ever to the house of Bavaria."

September 9th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her family have finally moved into their new house in Lommedalen, west of Oslo, two years after buying it.

Princess Maria Laura of Belgium and six expat students escaped unscathed on Thursday after the bus they were travelling in caught fire after a multi-vehicle collision. The bus rolled over, but the seven youths on board were able to exit the vehicle before it burst into flames. None of them were injured. The drivers of the vehicles involved were all slightly hurt. The accident occurred on the Brussels ring road when they were travelling home from St John's International School in Waterloo. Princess Maria Laura was taken home by palace officials and later taken for observation to hospital. "Everyone is safe and this is the most important thing," a spokeswoman said.

September 10th

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as the Princes William and Harry of Wales attended the wedding of the Duchess' son Tom Parker Bowles to Sara Buys at Rotherfield Greys near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. The bride, who was 15 minutes late, wore an Alexander McQueen dress. The service lasted about 45 minutes and guests sang the hymns Jerusalem, Glory, Glory Hallelujah and I Vow To Thee My Country. Both sets of parents, Caroline and William Buys and the Duchess of Cornwall and Andrew Parker Bowles, witnessed the signing of the register together with the Prince of Wales. About 450 guests attended the reception at the bride's home near Henley.

In an interview in the New York Times Prince Albert II of Monaco said he was “set up” by the mother of his son, Nicole Coste, with whom he had a relationship. Prince Albert has accepted paternity of the two-year-old Alexandre, but said it was “a very difficult moment for me” adding that he is still "coming to terms" with the unintended fatherhood. He says he has seen Alexandre only once since the news became public, blaming it on Nicole Coste’s “attitude toward me” and says “It is not a very pleasant situation. My only concern now is the wellbeing of the kid.” He says that his son is not a possible successor. About other paternity claims he said: "I don't know of any others that could be true." He denies he paid money to Tamara Rotolo, a California woman who claimed she had a daughter, Jazmin, by the prince 13 years ago. "Other people will jump on the bandwagon," he said. He says he is not involved with anyone at the moment and is 'too busy' to look for a bride, but says that finding someone to fill the shoes of his mother “has not only scared me, but also many women I have known. It has scared them away. It will be very difficult for whoever will be with me, not even in marriage, whoever goes out with me seriously. Even if she doesn't look remotely like my mother, she will be compared to her." He also says: "There was pressure, not so much from the family, but people outside were expecting, and are still expecting, something big to happen." he said, adding that it has taken him a long time to feel ready for that challenge. "Some called it immaturity. I don't think it was immaturity, but I wanted to do it in the right way."

September 11th

Prince Harry of Wales will face the toughest challenge of his Army career this week. After a term of marches and early runs at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the Prince faces the "demanding course", which involves war studies, international relations and management and communications studies when the second term at Sandhurst begins tomorrow. Cadets who do not make the grade are "back-termed". Prince Harry is believed to have coped reasonably well at Sandhurst. His instructors are understood to have been impressed with his attitude, physical performance and leadership skills.

Princess Stéphanie zu Windisch-Graetz has died at Uccle, Belgium, on 7 September. She was born at 7 July 1909 in Ploschkowitz (now Czechia) as daughter of Prince Otto zu Windisch- Graetz and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria. She married first at Brussels in 1933 to Count Pierre d'Alcantara de Querrieu, who died in 1944. In 1945 she married Karl-Axel Bjorklund. The princess has decided that her body will be left to science, the religious service will be celebrated in private. The Belgian tv-channel VTM mistakenly announced the death of the deceased niece, Princess Stéphanie zu Windisch-Graetz, who has been very busy in the past days denying her own death.

September 12th

The Swedish royal court is furious at the newspaper Aftonbladet, after they published a story about the magazine Solo alleging that King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden had been unfaithful. The magazine had named three Swedish celebrities who were said to be his mistresses, and said the King was conducting his affairs in an apartment in Stockholm 'which was used by his father and his grandfather for the same thing'. Solo's editor, Annika Leone, said she believed the king would be flattered to be linked in this way with three young, attractive women. Aftonbladet - which tried and failed to contact the three women for their side of the story - stated that Ann-Christine Jernberg had not ruled out legal action against Solo. It was the headline of Aftonbladet 'King unfaithful with Swedish famous women' that made the royal court angry. "This is a new low," said Ann-Christine Jernberg, the palace press secretary. The palace lawyer, Bengt Ljungkvist, is said to be looking into the possibility of court proceedings or reporting the paper to the press complaints commission.

Zara Phillips and her horse Toy Town this weekend took double gold at the three-day European Eventing Championships in Oxfordshire. She was watched by her proud mother, the Princess Royal, and her boyfriend Mike Tindall. Zara rode off with the top individual prize, in addition to winning Britain's team gold. Her success surpasses that of her mother who, in 1971, won the individual title but missed out on the team event. Zara said: "The crowd were fantastic. I tapped quite a few fences but the horse was a good boy. It has always been a massive dream to win gold like this. It is so bizarre to think I have one more than my mother, but it is even better to have a team gold." It was the Princess Royal herself who presented her daughter with the medal. Zara had been a late replacement in the team after another rider had to withdraw.

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, was injured on his right hand in a diving accident at Malta. While climbing on board of the boat on Thursday his finger became stuck between boat and stairs. He lost a part of the top of his right forefinger - it fell in his diver's suit - but it could be put on again at the place of the accident by a doctor who was in the diving team. It is thought it will take a few weeks before Mr van Vollenhoven has recovered. He came back to the Netherlands yesterday.

September 13th

The Dutch Government Information Service has again written a letter to the weekly magazine Privé. This week the magazine published photos of the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima and Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands during their vacation in Italy. With that Privé has broken the media code again, by breaking the personal sphere of life of the family. It is decided that Privé will not be invited for royal events in the near future, including the christening of Princess Alexia and photosessions.

Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven and his fiancée Aimée Söhngen have had the banns published on September 6 in Naarden.

September 14th

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was admitted to the Obstetrics Ward at Rigshospital (Copenhagen University Hospital) with contractions last night. Professor Bent Ottesen, of the Rigshospital, and Morten Hedegaard, Clinical Head of the Obstetrics Ward, say “The Crown Princess has approximately 6 weeks to her due date. Crown Princess Mary’s condition is stable and she feels well. The Crown Princess will remain under observation until further notice”. Crown Prince Frederik has been at the hospital with his wife. On the advice of her doctors, the rest of the Crown Princess’s public arrangements are cancelled.

In his first public role as patron of a charity, Prince William has shown his eagerness to continue his mother's legacy of helping the homeless. Centrepoint, the charity he has chosen to back, was one of Princess Diana's favourites and she remained a supporter throughout her life even at times when she pared back her other commitments. "My mother introduced that sort of area to me a long time ago. It was a real eye-opener and I'm very glad she did," Prince William revealed during a visit to another of the charity's centres this week. "It's been something I've held close to me for a long time." He spent two days serving meals to young people at the organisation. As well as helping them find temporary housing and fill in benefit claim forms Prince William sat in on workshops where they could talk through their difficulties.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has become patroness of Scouting Netherlands. She follows in the footsteps of Prince Claus of the Netherlands who held the position until his death in 2002.

September 15th

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was discharged from hospital late this afternoon and has returned home to Chancellery House at Fredensborg. She is well, and on the advice of her doctors will continue to rest for the duration of her pregnancy.

Prince Harry of Wales will spend his 21st birthday today at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In an interview with several journalists at his father's farm in Gloucestershire he says: "I am who I am and I'm not going to change." Prince Harry says he had grown up in the past few years, but still had a "child streak" that he was in no hurry to lose. About being criticized for wearing a Nazi uniform at a party in January Prince Harry said: "Maybe it was a sign of my own immaturity. I'm becoming 21 ... something like that I will never do again. It was a very stupid thing to do and I've learnt my lesson." About his education at Sandhurst he said that during the intensive induction he had received the same treatment as fellow officers, including being yelled at by superiors and "treated like a piece of dirt," but he said he was relishing his officer cadet training course. "I do enjoy running down a ditch full of mud, firing bullets, it's the way I am. I love it." Prince Harry said that his stepmother, the Duchess of Cornwall, has always been close to him and his brother, William and that he enjoys her company. "She's a wonderful woman and she's made our father very, very happy, which is the most important thing. William and I love her to bits," Harry said. About his girlfriend Chelsy Davy Prince Harry only said that she was "special" and "amazing." Prince Harry said that he is eager to do more charitable works, including in Africa, where he worked with AIDS orphans during a break in his studies last year. "I'm not going to be some person in the royal family who just finds a lame excuse to go abroad and do all sorts of sunny holidays and whatever," he said. He decided not to have a birthday party, like his brother had: "I didn't feel like one just because I've got other things to think about, more important things to concentrate on."

The christening of Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, which will take place at the Village Church of Wassenaar on November 19, will be led by the Rev Deodaat van der Boon. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have chosen for a smaller and more intimate christening of their second daughter.

King Abdullah bin Abd Al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia has banned people from kissing the hand of any member of the Royal family, including his own, in a bid to modernise his country. He has made the decree while meeting princes, officials and citizens at the Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Saturday where he said only ones parents deserved levels of such respect. He said: "Kissing hands is something alien to our values and ethics, and is refused by free and honest people. It also leads to bowing, which violates God's law as the faithful bow only to the one and only God." He added: "I hereby declare my total rejection of this matter, and I ask everyone not to kiss the hand of anyone except their parents as a mark of devotion." Saudis traditionally kiss the hands of royals as a sign of respect and loyalty when they visit. On August 18, King Abdullah already banned citizens from addressing him as 'My Lord' , stressing that God is the only Lord of the people.

September 16th

The Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris has taken Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg to court. Yesterday they clashed in court over a €122,000 unpaid bill and allegations that the princess had removed several priceless antiques from her home in the capital that were about to be seized by bailiffs in lieu of the bill. The princess's lawyer, Emmanuel Trink, regretted his client could not attend the hearing. He denied she had tried to keep her furniture out of the hotel's grasp. A ruling is expected on September 21.

Prince William of Wales is to become the next president of the Football Association, the FA announced today. He will succeed his uncle, the Duke of York, next May. As president- designate until next year's Cup final on May 13 Prince William will support the Duke of York in his duties. "I am really excited to be taking up this role," Prince William said. "Football is a game I love playing and watching. It is also the national sport and generates extraordinary passions among millions of people. It certainly did last year for me when I followed England with my friends during Euro 2004, and will no doubt do so again next summer during the World Cup in Germany. Over the next few months I look forward to getting to know the FA well with the help of my uncle, and to understanding better the role the organization plays in promoting the game at all levels." FA chairman Geoff Thompson met Prince William and FA chief executive Brian Barwick at Clarence House on Friday to discuss his new role and the issues facing English soccer's governing body as well as the game as a whole at home and internationally. Mr Thompson said after the meeting: "Everyone at The FA is delighted that Prince William has agreed to be our next president. In 2000 the FA asked the Duke of York to take the role for five years. He has done a terrific job for which we are enormously grateful. Prince William's enthusiasm for football both as a player and a fan is well known and we believe his presidency will prove a great asset to the national sport."

September 17th

Another 21st birthday picture of Prince Harry of Wales was released today. The photo, also made by Mario Testino, shows the Prince straddled across a motorbike, wearing red, white and black biker gloves, a grey T-shirt and wristbands. The prince said the photo was to capture something of the real Harry. "We had this idea - instead of making sort of fake photos - for me to be who I am. Well, to a certain extent, rather than turn up in scruffy clothes." Prince Harry said: "It's something that we bomb around the fields on - it's a way of shaking the cobwebs out." Three images of the prince have been released, along with press interviews, to mark his birthday on Thursday. The latest was taken at Prince Charles's organic Home Farm in Gloucestershire.

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, will become a practice professor in risk management at the University of Twente. He will start the job at October 1 and will work one day a week.

Prince Ali bin Hussein and his wife Rym have become the parents of a baby girl. Baby Jalilah was born on Friday at night.

Princess Anna Cecilia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies married Count Rodolphe de Vincens de Causans at the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin, Italy, today. The civil wedding took place at Les Verchers-sur-Layon, France, on 18 August 2005. The bride wore a dress designed by Gilles Neveu. Ushers were Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Archduke Martin of Austria-Este. Present were among others Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium with their children Joachim and Luisa Maria, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, the Duke and Duchess of Aosta, Archduchess Margherita of Austria-Este, Archduke Gerhard of Austria-Este, Archduchess Isabelle of Austria-Este and Andrea Czarnocki-Lucheschi, Archduchess Catharina of Austria and Count Massimiliano Secco d'Aragona, Prince Michel and Princess Marina of Greece, Princess Ines of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Michele Carrelli-Palombi, Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Princess Caroline Napoléon. A reception for 450 guests took place at Racconigi Castle, decorated by Belgian designer Guendalina Litto. Dinner was served in the French-style, with gilded crystalware, plates monogrammed with the couple’s initials and huge crystal chandeliers. For dinner and ball about 200 people were invited.

September 18th

An intruder sparked a security alert at Buckingham Palace yesterday when he broke into the grounds at 2.10pm. The man climbed the metal railings at the front of the palace and vaulted in to the forecourt. He ran past guards and entered a tunnel at the front of the palace. Onlookers described how the man took them all by surprise by climbing the railings. Police were called and the man was arrested. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The man is now in custody at a Central London police station." Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was still at Balmoral so she was in no danger.

September 19th

During a four-day visit to the USA King Harald V of Norway has unveiled a statue of his mother, Crown Princess Märtha, outside the residence of the ambassador of Norway to the USA in Washington yesterday. He was accompanied by Queen Sonja, his sisters Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid with husbands. The bronze statue is a gift from the Norwegian American Foundation and is meant to mark Norway's 100 years as a sovereign nation. It was made by Norwegian artist Kirsten Kokkin, who now lives in Colorado, USA. The King, his sisters and his mother lived in exile in Washington during World War II.

A survey about the monarchy was held by Norwegian Social Sciences Data Services among 41.000 Norwegian high school students between 16 and 19. Only 12,7 % of them say they are glad Norway has a monarchy, and that it means a lot to them. 16.3 % want to abolish the monarchy. 71 % says they are indifferent. The amount calling for abolishment is greater than previous surveys have suggested.

The marriage between Princess Nandi, daughter of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, and Thembu Chief Mfundo Mtirara has collapsed. Palace insiders said the princess had left her husband almost 11 months ago without notifying the Thembu royal family and there were no signs that the marriage would be revived. Princess Nandi has been living with her parents for a while, but has since moved to Durban. The couple wed in a glamorous ceremony two years ago. Mfundo Mtirara doesn't want to comment. Zulu Queen MaDlamini however says: "He knows the reason for the separation better than any other person." "He did not respect his young wife," said a family member.

September 20th

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway paid a two-day visit to Buskerud together with Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who undertook her first official engagement in weeks. The couple told the press that the baby is not due early december as was said earlier, but that they now think the baby will be born at the end of November. However they don't know the exact due date.

About 35.000 people lined the streets of The Hague today to watch Prince's Day in the Netherlands. The first royalty watchers were already standing in front of Noordeinde Palace early in the morning. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven left the palace at 13.00 by carriage for a short ride to the Knight's Hall where the Queen held her annual speech of the throne. In her speech the Queen referred to her 25th jubilee thanking the people who have welcomed her everywhere this year with enthusiasm. To the big disappointment of the crowds outside Noordeinde Palace the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima didn't take their two daughters Amalia and Alexia with them when appearing on the balcony of the palace after the family had returned.

According to the plans of the Dutch government for 2006 which were revealed in the speech to the throne today Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will receive 3.896.000 Euros, of which 715.000 as income and the rest for costs. That is 4000 Euros less than in 2005. Also the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima will each receive 1000 less on personal income, but will receive 3000 Euros more for costs of staff and other things. In total costs of the royal house in 2006 are estimated at more than 5.500.000 Euros, which is 600.000 Euros less than in 2005. The reason is that Prince Bernhard has died. Another 71.000.000 Euros is reserved for security of royals and buildings, transport and state visits.

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia has launched his official website, on which he will keep his subjects up to date. The website is divided into five sections - news, biography, social activities, correspondence and video - and will be written in three languages, English, Khmer and French. Before the king used the internet site run by his father, former King Norodom Sihanouk.

Bulgarian archaeologists have uncovered the remains of a Thracian city and a royal residence near Hisar in Central Bulgaria, the National Museum of History announced. The first two floors of the palace, spreading over 104 square meters are preserved and the archaeologists, led by Ivan Hristov, have found many artefacts confirming royal presence, among others a short two-face ritual iron axe and a number of coins depicting the Thracian kings Tereus, Kotis and Amatok among others. The artefacts date the city and palace at the end of the 5th century B.C. The archaeologists assume that they have found the capitol of the Odris King Amatok.

September 22nd

The Luxemburg grand-ducal court announced today during a meeting of the press with the Marshall of the Court that Prince Louis of Luxemburg, third son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and his girlfriend Tessy Antony are expecting a child in spring 2006. The prince is 19, his girlfriend 20. They are a couple since one year. The couple have chosen not to get married for the time being. Their parents are supporting them. Tessy Antony lives in Niedercorn and is in the Luxemburg army since 2003, although she has stopped working some weeks ago. From March 2004 to July 2004 she joined the Kosovo Forces. She attended the technical lyceum in Pétange.

The news that the royal palace in Stockholm is recruiting a new head of information has led to new rumours that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her boyfriend Daniel Westling will get married next summer. Current information officer, Ann-Christine Jernberg hardly clarified matters. She said: "One could naturally see it that way." She said that the recruitment of a new head of information, far from being in preparation for anything exciting, was simply because the press office has been understaffed since last autumn, when Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg left to become the Crown Princess's advisor. She added that if and when a royal wedding is in the offing, it will be declared through formal channels. "There will be an announcement from the palace. The routine has not changed since the king and queen married," she said.

The divorce between Prince Ferfried von Hohenzollern and his third wife Maja Meinert hasn't been settled today. Princess Maja had forgotten to take several important documents with her at the trial. Prince Ferfried von Hohenzollern wants to marry his current girlfriend Tatjana Gsell in Bavaria in May 2006.

September 23rd

John Ulick Knatchbull Lord Brabourne died peacefully yesterday at the age of 80 at his home in Kent surrounded by his wife Patricia Countess Mountbatten of Burma, whom he married in 1946, and six children. He was born in London at 9 November 1924. Lord Brabourne began his film career as production manager on such movies as 1956's The Battle of the River Plate. He produced films as Sink the Bismarck!, Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. His 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet and in 1985 A Passage to India received an Academy Award nomination for the best picture. He was director of Thames Television, Euston Films and Thorn EMI and was made a fellow of the British Film Institute in 1979. The funeral is to take place on 30 September at Mersham Parish Church near Ashford, Kent. A service of Thanksgiving in London is to be announced later.

September 24th

Princess Kira of Yugoslavia née Princess zu Leiningen died today at London at the age of 75. She was born at Coburg on 18 July 1930 as daughter of Prince Karl zu Leiningen and Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia. In 1963 she married Prince Andrej of Yugoslavia, but they divorced in 1972. The couple had three children: Lavinia, Karl Wladimir and Dimitri.

In an interview on the occasion of their 20th wedding anniversary Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia spoke about how they met, how they decided to meet again, and how to get married, where they spent their honeymoon. Crown Prince Alexander said: "Those twenty years went by too fast – says her husband. – So much happened. My wife is a lovely lady, a caring mother who is concerned for our country, who helped me in everything I was doing and that wasn’t so easy. Not only that I love her but I admire her. We travelled a lot, spent time with friends and but she was always not only lovely but incredibly positive." The couple met each other at the lunch in Washington arranged by a common acquaintance of Greek origin in 1985 shortly after both having divorced. Only two months later they decided to get married. They spent their honeymoon traveling by Orient Express from London to Venice. Crown Prince Alexander said: "We sat next to each another and saw that we have many things in common, sparks lightened up and we decided to see each other again and shortly afterwards we started living together. We both had children, went through hard moments when we divorced from our first marriages but all that didn’t stop our decision to live together." The Crown Princess said: "I believe that my husband is one of the Serbs who cares and thinks the most about this country, this people, every single moment. That is why I love him. I’m often asked what attracted me to him and my answer is – his honesty. He is always so honest. He simply doesn’t like muddy games and does not have time for them." The interview also reveals that Crown Prince Alexander has a huge passion for the Internet.

September 26th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway's former live-in boyfriend speaks out for the first time about the couple's relationship in the mid-1990s. He's contributed to a new book about Mette-Marit, due out in October, and says he'll never be able to forget her. The 46-year-old resident of Lillestrøm, where he and Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby once shared an apartment, still doesn't want his name to appear in print, but agreed to talk to journalists Frode Hansen and Tommy Fossum, who have written the book. "Every time I look around inside a store, I see her face on the front page of magazines. It's not possible to just close your eyes to it. I just have to accept that I'll never be finished with her." He also said he and Mette-Marit were engaged and planned to travel to Las Vegas to get married. That never happened. He said he didn't want to discuss why their relationship ended. He added that he only has good things to say about Mette-Marit. "Only superlatives," he said. "Not a bad word."

King Mswati III has chosen a 17-year-old as his bride-to-be. He picked Phindile Nkambule in August when she was dancing at the annual reed dance. According to Swazi tradition, the king is always meant to have a bride in waiting, but can only marry her when she is pregnant. The King currently has 12 wives, one other bride-to-be and 27 children.

September 27th

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is in the second week of a two-week visit to China. Last week was spent as an intern at the Swedish embassy in Beijing. The Swedish foreign ministry said that an important aim of the trip was "to learn more about this emerging World power." The Crown Princess's programme in Beijing keeps its focus on arts and culture. The princess will meet the Chinese culture minister, Sun Jiazheng, before moving on to visit Canton and Hong Kong. On Monday she visited the Forbidden City where she opened an exhibition of Swedish-owned Chinese porcelain.

During her visit to the province of Flevoland today Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited the also 25-year-old municipality of Lelystad. She visited some of the first pioneers of Flevoland and sailed on a ship. Highlight of the day was a performance by rapper Ali B who afterwards jumped of the stage, greeted the Queen with the youth greeting and hugged her.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands surprisingly took her daughter Princess Catharina-Amalia with her while ordering the first children's poststamps and cards 2005 at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague.

September 28th

The only life portrait of Prince William of Wales in existence, by artist John Wonnacott, has gone on display at Agnew's Gallery in Mayfair, London. The portrait was painted when Prince William was at Eton and was painted in preparation for a group picture of the royal family to celebrate the late Queen Mother's 100th birthday. However the portrait has already been sold to a mystery buyer who reserved the painting at the £100,000 asking price. Three other portraits also went on sale - two of the Queen Mother and one of the family group featuring the Queen, the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry. They have also been put on reserve by the same buyer at £100,000 each.

Eighteen members of the Moroccan royal household have been arrested and questioned after thieves stole valuable possessions from King Mohammed VI of Morocco. Police were called after some of the monarch's belongings - including silverware and crystal carafes bearing the monogram of the King's father, Hassan II - were found on sale in local bazaars.

September 29th

In a speech during a congres about the monarchy in Groningen, that was attended by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Professor Dr P. Schnabel said that about 75 % of the Dutch wants the country to stay a monarchy. However they think the job is a burden for the monarch and almost unjust. Half of the monarchists thinks it is a pity that the youth of Princess Amalia also destined by the fact that she will become the Queen in the future. He says that the constitutional monarchie in the Netherlands is an emotional monarchie. The emotion gives the royalty in the modern times context again. The life of the monarch is allowed to look like your own life. The need for recognition and sympathy is much bigger than the wish of idealising of the past. Marriage, birth, divorce, illness and death are carrying elements in the modern monarchy. According to the professor the television has had a huge influence during the reign of Queen Beatrix. He thinks the position of the monarchy has become stronger instead of weaker, which according to him is because the Netherlands has already queens for more than 100 years.

September 30th

ABCs breakfast show Good Morning America is to be broadcasted live from several British palaces it has been announced. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has given her permission for the unusual television event which is aimed at boosting the UK's tourist industry. On Thursday 6 October the show will be broadcasted from Windsor Castle's state rooms and St George's Chapel. On October 7 the presenters will be at Buckingham Palace in London as well as Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. A Palace spokesman said: "We're delighted that ABC has agreed to broadcast their flagship breakfast programme in the UK, especially at such an important time for the tourist industry. The Queen has given her approval." The Duke of York has given ABC an interview about the tourism industry.

The royal family of Hannover may face illegal gun possession charges after police discovered that 37 items in the family collection of muskets, pistols and rifles were still in working order. Police scientists are still checking the weapons, which are listed in an online Sotheby's catalogue for an 11-day antique auction starting next week at Marienburg Castle near Hannover. Public viewing of 20,000 items including cannons and suits of armour being sold off by the Royal House of Hannover began Friday. The vendors are the two sons of Prince Ernst August. The prosecutor said it was illegal to own unregistered guns, even antique ones. Police seized the weapons Tuesday and were investigating who owned them, whether they were covered by any permit and whether they were dangerous.

October 1st

The heads of the European royal households have come together for secret meetings for more than 20 years, it was revealed by accident. The 2005 meeting was held at the end of September at Amalienborg, Copenhagen, Denmark. The heads of the royal households share experiences and discuss upcoming issues and challenges for the royal families in each respective country. The meetings have never been publicized and their content has never been made part of the public record. The recent get-together in Denmark was discovered only after a reference to it was published on the website of Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark. When a reporter from Danish newspaper BT asked about it, the reference was quickly removed from the web site. "It's an unofficial meeting that takes place behind closed doors, so I can't say anything about what they discuss at the meeting," the information chief at the Danish palace, Lis Fredriksen, told BT.

Biographer Jonathan Dimbleby said in an interview for the BBC programme Panorama that questions still remained over the future role of the Countess of Cornwall. He says that since the wedding there had been a massive shift in public opinion. The Duchess of Cornwall is no longer the "other woman", but is "being seen now as a very attractive spouse who makes the prince happy, who appears in public, who is gracious, who joins in - in a crowd, who communicates very effectively". Mr Dimbleby said: "We'll see more and more of her in that role, and therefore she will go up and up in public esteem. It's quite conceivable that public opinion will say ... yeah, why shouldn't she be Queen, she's done a lot of good public service over the intervening years between the marriage and whenever this day arrives."He also claims the couple were denied a church wedding because the Archbishop of Canterbury did not think Church leaders would support such a ceremony. He said: "Although it would have been within his gift to do so, I think he took the view that there would be too many distressed communicants inside the Anglican Church for it to be a good idea."

Love letters allegedly sent by the Prince of Wales to a mystery girlfriend have been put up for sale on internet auction website eBay. The letters, owned by American royal collector Alicia Carroll, were on offer for £34.000. One of the letters was said to be written in June 1980 - a year before he married Princess Diana. The other five were sent in 1976 when Charles, who was then serving in the Navy, was regularly linked with a string of women. In the 1980 letter - said to be written on official Windsor Castle notepaper - the Prince complains of his frustration with the Press and not being able to sneak ladies into his hotel room during royal tours. He refers to the pressure on him to wed by writing: "I shall just have to get married as soon as possible and then all these people will relax a little."

October 2nd

The elephant collection of the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was auctioned by Sotheby's at Palace Het Loo. The €379.250 raised from the auction will go to World Wildlife Fund conservation efforts in Borneo. “This auction has risen far more than we ever dared imagine,” said Niek van Heijst, CEO of WWF-Netherlands. “We are extremely pleased that so many people, by buying one of the prince’s elephants, contributed to the protection of Borneo’s forests. The elephant was Prince Bernhard’s favourite animal and during his lifetime amassed a collection of 1,000 elephants in all shapes and sizes, ranging from precious art objects and wood carvings to stuffed animals and toys. An elephant donated by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands raised €7.500 at the auction, while a bronze elephant made by Belgian sculptor Tremont sold for €16.000 and an elephant clock from the 19th century sold for €11.000. "I have never led an auction where every single item was sold," said Sotheby’s auction leader Patrick van Maris van Dijk. "It was clear that not only did people very much want to have a personal item in remembrance of the prince, but that they also wanted to support WWF. A terrific combination.” A small number of elephants will remain in the possession of the royal family in remembrance of the prince.

October 3rd

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, beat glamour model Katie Jordan in a poll by Mattel, the makers of Barbie, among more than 1000 girls under 12 years old. Mattel asked the girls which female celebrity shares the same characteristics of their new Princess Annika Barbie doll. According to the girls Zara has the right mix of style, beauty, independence and sporting success. Zara Phillips got 69% of the votes, much to the surprise of Mattel.

Princess Adela Bint Abdullah daughter of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, said in the newspaper Al-Hayat on Saturday: "I think the participation of women in the [all-male 150-member] Shura council is just a matter of time." She continued: "We sense our leadership's keenness to expand women's participation in decision-making in the boards of several institutions, such as the journalists' association and ... soon the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry." As to the chances of Saudi women being allowed to drive, the Princess said that that was "a local issue, which is a function of society's needs and convictions. The Princess called for giving Saudi women a greater role after they have "proven their competence in many of the functions that were assigned to them". Hence I expect it to come at the appropriate time." "Women in whatever field should "spread enlightened thinking and open up prospects of dialogue", she added.

October 4th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium gave birth to her third child, a son, at the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht at 1.06pm today. The Princess gave birth naturally, without anaesthesia. The prince has been given the names Emmanuel Leopold Guillaume François Marie. Emmanuel weighs 3900 grammes and is 50 centimetres tall. Both mother and son are doing well. The birth was only foreseen for the second half of October but like Gabriel the baby arrived a couple of weeks early. Prince Emmanuel is fourth in line to the Belgian throne following his father Prince Philippe, his sister Elisabeth and his brother Gabriel. Princess Mathilde was admitted to hospital at 8.15 in the morning. Prince Philippe was with her. When leaving hospital in the afternoon Prince Philippe told the press that they didn't know beforehand if it would be a boy or a girl. He said: "It went well, but it wasn't easy.", "My wife is fantastic.", "He has family features." and "We are very happy. I am very proud of my wife and I am now going to catch the children and they have to get acquainted." Prince Philippe returned to hospital to visit his wife and son, together with Elisabeth and Gabriel. Later also King Albert II and Queen Paola as well as the parents of Princess Mathilde visited their new grandson. The godparents of the baby will be Countess Elisabeth d'Udekem d'Acoz, sister of Princess Mathilde, as well as Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxemburg.

The enquiry into Diana's death has been told that the late Diana Princess of Wales was secretly engaged to her lover Dodi Al-Fayed when the pair were killed in car crash in Paris, France, in 1997. It is said she was on her way to Fayed's apartment in the city where he was to present her with a $234,000 emerald and diamond encrusted ring she had already picked out. The wedding plans were disclosed by Monte Carlo-based jeweller Alberto Repossi after he was questioned by detectives from Scotland Yard in London. Repossi says he has video evidence of Diana being measured for the rock to back up his astonishing claim. In a statement, he says, "In order to avoid any distortion of the facts, I am enclosing herewith a copy of my consignment book, which clearly indicates that the jewel in question was, at this early date, annotated by me as being an engagement ring." He adds, "Diana chose it herself and Dodi picked it up from my shop in Paris the night before they died. I met them both in St Tropez and Diana picked the ring herself."

Kevin Knott, a top royal aide in charge of the wedding of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall shambles has quit. He was blamed by senior palace figures when the couple had to ditch plans to wed at Windsor Castle and instead use the nearby Guildhall.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway will set off on an 11-day tour of the USA this month to promote the children's book "Why Kings and Queens Don't Wear Crowns"she has written. She is already been booked onto two TV programs. The princess will travel with her six-month-old daughter Leah Isadora Behn, whom they will try to shield from photographers.

Dutch newspaper 'De Telegraaf' reported today that general practitioner George F.M. of The Hague was held in custody for two weeks and was questioned extensively about the suspected murder of 95-year-old widow Sophie Gorter-Hin in 2000. He assisted during the euthanasia. Three weeks ago, the public prosecutor (OM) ordered that her body be exhumed for forensic tests. Three people — including the doctor whose patients included Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her late husband Prince Claus — were arrested. The chief suspect is Hague surgeon Rob S. who inherited almost EUR 3 million after the widow's death. A nurse was also arrested. All three were released on September 22. 'De Telegraaf' said it is not clear how strong the case against the three is. The Government Information Service described the case as a private matter and declined to comment further.

In name of Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven the Government Information Service in the Netherlands has communicated to the press that they are not happy with the interest of the press in their family. It seems that often photographers are near their house in Amsterdam. According to them the press wrongly thinks that the couple don't mind the publications in the magazines. They want their children to grow up as normal as possible.

October 5th

Prince William of Wales recently started working as a farmer on a country estate and is thoroughly enjoying it. The prince will spend two weeks managing the land on the Peak District estate, where the new 'Pride and Prejudice' movie was filmed, which is owned by the Duke of Devonshire. A royal aide is quoted as saying: "William has done his first day's work and he absolutely loved it. He is learning all about how to run a large estate. He enjoys this kind of work and wants to continue it later. He has a real passion for the countryside and is fascinated by the environment. He shares this with his father." The work placement is part of Prince William's plan to work in a variety of positions at different organisations before he finally decides what to do with his future. William will also plans to spend time working in London and will join a mountain rescue team. He said: "The work experience in the city was something I was particularly keen to do as I feel this is an area in which I could learn a lot, and it may well help me with charitable fundraising in the future. The land management will hopefully allow me to develop skills and an understanding of how to best look after the countryside." He added: "Joining a mountain rescue team really appealed to me as I can learn at first hand how these amazing people help save lives on a regular basis."

Princess Sayako of Japan received a messenger today who formally set her wedding date in the latest ritual before the nuptials. In the Kokki no Gi ceremony, or the rite of announcing the date, a messenger from her fiance Yoshiki Kuroda told the chief palace courtier that Mr Kuroda would like to marry Princess Sayako on November 15. Imperial Household Agency Grand Steward Shingo Haketa then relayed the message to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko who were waiting in a separate room. He returned to announce that the date was accepted. The princess, dressed in a light green long skirt with a pearl necklace, appeared briefly before the cameras to watch the 15-minute ceremony. Mr Kuroda and his mother Sumiko were to meet the emperor and the empress later. There will be some more traditional rites until their wedding ceremony, including the princess reporting her marriage to the past emperors enshrined in the palace and meeting the emperor and the empress to show her gratitude on November 12.

October 6th

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, together with their children Elisabeth and Gabriel, presented their newborn son Emmanuel to the world at the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht. They had invited a befriended cameraman to film them.

Princess Sayako of Japan paid her respects today to the spirit of her grandparents Emperor Showa and Empress Kojun at Musashino Mausoleum in Hachioji, Tokyo, and reported to them that she would marry and leave the imperial family. It was announced that the government will give the Princess 152.5 million yen upon her marriage. The money could be described as a dowry from state coffers to celebrate her marriage. The aim of the gift is to help preserve the dignity of Imperial family members when they become commoners. The Imperial Household Economy Law stipulates that the maximum size of the tax-free gift be 152.5 million yen. The money will be given to the Princess by money transfer to a bank account.

The first day of the Sotheby's sale of heirlooms belonging to the Royal House of Hannover undertaken in connection with art advisor Dr. Christoph Count Douglas brought € 6.278.630, more than double the pre-sale high estimate for the day. On the opening session of the ten-day sale a crowd of nearly 300 people overflowed the auction tent set up in the courtyard of Marienburg Castle. The session was covered by ten television crews and 40 print and electronic media. During the four-day pre-sale exhibition from September 30 to October 3, more than 8.000 art lovers, private collectors and dealers came from all over the world. During the sale more than 20.000 items will be offered, divided into some 4.740 lots, estimated to bring € 12 million. No comparable auction has been held in continental Europe since Sotheby's held the Thurn und Taxis and Baden Baden sales in the 1990s.

October 7th

Prince Philippe of Belgium gave notice of the birth of his son Emmanuel at the town hall of Anderlecht this afternoon.

The American breakfast TV programme Good Morning America has broadcast live from Buckingham Palace in a second day of Royal programmes. The first was from Windsor Castle. The presenters toured the state rooms and palace gardens of the royal residence in London, while another team was at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was at Balmoral while the broadcasts took place. The Duke of York was interviewed about his life, the Royal family and the Palace, as part of the broadcast. He played down fears that the number of foreign visitors to the UK had dropped rapidly since the 7 July terrorist attacks. "It hasn't necessarily reduced as much from overseas tourists as we would have expected," he said. "Politicians, policemen, they are working extremely hard to make sure something like this doesn't happen again." He told he supported his nephew Prince Harry's decision to do Army officer training, saying his own 22 years in the armed forces had put him "in very, very good stead". Talking about his own childhood inside the palace, he admitted playing cricket and football there. "We were fairly rough and tumble as children," he said.

A campaign to prevent Japan from changing the law to allow female monarchs started yesterday as a government panel on imperial succession neared reaching a conclusion expected to be in favor of such a change. A group of opponents of allowing female monarchs said at a press conference that Japan should protect the almost unbroken tradition over the centuries of the imperial succession passing to male heirs having emperors on their father's side.

A manuscript found in a Scottish cottage hidden among a pile of belongings, believed to have been written the day after Emperor Napoleon's death on 5 May 1821 by a doctor who examined the Emperor's body after his death in 1821 could put an end to the theory he was murdered. It is known six unnamed British army doctors attended his autopsy and although the document is unsigned it is believed the document's author was one of the six. The document seems to confirm the official theory that the cause of death was stomach cancer. Many historians have claimed that the Emperor was poisoned with arsenic. The manuscript will be auctioned by Thomson Roddick & Medcalf of Carlisle on Friday. Steve Lee, military auctioneer at the firm, said he was convinced the document is genuine. He said: "We believe it is an extremely significant document which puts an end to the theories that Napoleon was murdered. The author of the document describes Napoleon's insides in great detail and the cancer. We honestly don't know what it will go for, it may fetch just a few hundred pounds and be of limited interest, or it could go for five figures to a specialist collector."

October 9th

Luis Felipe, son of Beltrán Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and Laura Ponte y Martínez was christened in a intimate ceremony at the residence of Infanta Doña Margarita of Spain and Carlos Zurita in Madrid. His godparents were the Prince of Asturias and an aunt of Laura Ponte. The christening was attended by the Prince and Princess of Asturias and Infanta Cristina of Spain, as well as the brothers and sister of Beltrán Gómez-Acebo and María Zurita.

The Prince of Wales is to charter a flight to the USA for his first official foreign tour with the Duchess of Cornwall, at an estimated cost of £300,000, The Sunday Telegraph revealed today. The couple had considered flying on a scheduled flight next month, but advisers cautioned against it after the July terrorist attacks on London, which will lead to increased security problems for the royal party. It will be the first official visit to the USA by the Prince of Wales since 1997.

Prince Saud bin Saud al-Thani of Qatar was arrested by Qatari authorities upon arrival back home. During an illegal car race in Egypt with an Egyptian motorist on Cairo International Airport on September 23 he ran into onlookers, killing five Egyptians and injured 10 others. He left for Qatar shortly after the incident. The Egyptian government has sent an extradition request to the Qatari authorities.

After four days of auctioning the Sotheby's sale of heirlooms belonging to the Royal House of Hannover still goes well. The sale still brings much more than the estimated proceeds. So far the sale brought 25,7 million Euros.

October 10th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium and her newborn son Prince Emmanuel left hospital, accompanied by Prince Philippe of Belgium. Just before leaving and saying goodbye to hospital staff and patients, they held a short press conference at hospital. Being asked why they chose the name of Emmanuel, Prince Philippe said they thought the name Emmanuel sounded nice and Elisabeth and Gabriel found it ok. Asked if they chose it because of the religious meaning of the name Prince Philippe said: "You can look at it like that, but we for all let our hearts speak." He didn't want to answer too many questions, saying: "I have received too much attention already". Princess Mathilde said: "He is beautiful! It is really a fine boy. He eats very well. He slept last night 7 hours, so I hope that it will be like that tonight, and the next nights." Being asked what their other two children think of their new brother Princess Mathilde said: "Gabriel is very generous. He wants to share all his toys with him, so I am a bit afraid when he comes with a tractor above his head. And Elisabeth is a big sister. She is very ..." Prince Philippe added: "She takes the responsibility." Princess Mathilde said: "He looks like Elisabeth. I think he has the same eyes as Elisabeth. And Elisabeth looks like the prince. So he looks like his father." A journalist wanted to know whether there are plans for a fourth child. Princess Mathilde answered: "Everything on its time. We first are going to enjoy." Prince Philippe added. "Three children is already a lot. We will see what they think about it. Maybe they have also an idea about it. But we are going to wait a bit." About the delivery Mathilde said: "I think that is our private life. I think that is an intense moment for a couple and I was very happy that Philippe was present." A journalist asking if he could hold the baby, got the answer from Philippe: "I haven't hold him myself yet. I am a jealous father."

Prince William of Wales is to join HSBC for work experience next month, a spokeswoman for the prince said on Monday. "In early November, Prince William will be starting some work experience in the City. He is going to be there for about three weeks, and the majority of his time will be in HSBC in the charity section," the spokeswoman said. She said his decision to work in HSBC was "his own personal choice". He will also be visiting other institutions. He is among others to spend time with the Braemar Mountain rescue Team. He said this "really appealed" to him, because: "I can learn at first hand how these amazing people help save lives on a regular basis." However he has been banned from saving climbers as part of his stint with a mountain rescue team - because too many girls will pretend to be in trouble. He is mainly goinging to clean equipment, wash emergency vehicles and answer phones. Prince William passed entry examinations for Army officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in June and is expected to join his brother at Sandhurst in January 2006.

Sergeant Leslie Turner, a former bodyguard to the Duchess of Cornwall, is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police. He was the first black personal protection officer to closely guard the Royal Family and is alleging race discrimination. He was one of the Prince of Wales's bodyguards for seven months until he switched to protecting Camilla following the announcement of their wedding. Before he has also guarded the Countess of Wessex. After four months in that role he was replaced by Inspector Sandra Perry. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "The Metropolitan Police can confirm that a Sergeant attached to Specialist Operations has lodged a claim alleging race discrimination against the Metropolitan Police." A Clarence House spokesman said: "It's for the Metropolitan Police to comment." He is said to be working now in the back-up squad of the royal protection unit.

Russian and Danish Foreign Ministries have signed a memorandum of understanding that specifies the two sides' oblitations pertaining to a re-burial in St Petersburg of the remains of Czarina Maria Feodorovna, the wife of Czar Alexander III of Russia. The re-burial ceremony has been scheduled for 26 September2006 at the Alexander Nevskij Cathedral at Peterhof. On 28 September 2006 the coffin will be driven to the Isac cathedral and later to the St. Peter and Paul cathedral.A memorial service will be held on 23 September 2006 at Roskilde Cathedral in attendance of the Danish royal family. A Danish warship will carry the coffin to St. Petersburg, where it is to arrive on 26 September 2006. The Danish Crown Prince couple will be present in St. Petersburg. The Czarina, who was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, died and was buried in Denmark in 1928. The memorandum on re-burial was signed by the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for historic documents, Alexander Churilin, and the director of the Danish Foreign Ministry's protocol department, Christopher Bo Bramsen. The document stresses, among other things, "the two sides' deep respect for integrity of relics of the Dowager Empress." Both countries will hold a number of cultural events, like exhibition and a film on Czarina Maria daughter-in-law, Czarina Alexandra.

On the website La Estrella Digital Spanish royalty reporter, Jaime Penafiel, wrote last week that the royal families in Spain, Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway can disappear in the coming years. He thinks that the Norwegian royal family will be asked to bow out first, because Crown Princess Mette-Marit's "brutal past with sex and narcotics" will make it impossible for the Norwegian monarchy to survive.

October 11th

The British royal family was out in force tonight to share in the festivities marking the 70th birthday of the Duke of Kent at the home of Lord Kelvedon in Chelsea. Also attending were King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

In an article with the magazine Story called 'How to become Princess in Serbia' Princes Peter, Philip and Alexander of Yugoslavia were presented to Serbian girls as eligible bachelors. The princes did their best to promote themselves in the article, all looking very hard for their dream princess.

Shaikh Salem Al Ali Al Sabah of Kuwait, head of the National Guard, has called for a three-member committee of senior family members to assist the emirate’s ailing leadership. He told Al Qabas daily yesterday that the proposed panel should include himself, Prime Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah and leading member Shaikh Mubarak Abdullah Al Ahmed Al Sabah. He said the committee will “assist the leadership” of the Emir, His Highness Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, and Crown Prince Shaikh Saad Abdullah Al Sabah, both of whom are undergoing medical treatment for various illnesses. This has so far been the strongest call for change within the ruling family. “The present situation is wrong and we should not remain silent. From my position in the ruling family, I must draw attention to this serious constitutional flaw in which procedures outlined by the constitution and law are not being observed. Legislation must pass through proper constitutional channels,” said Shaikh Salem who accused the minister of the royal court, Shaikh Nasser Mohammed Al Ahmed Al Sabah, for exceeding his powers. “This situation makes some believe that most government decisions and legislation are unconstitutional” and accordingly, it is feared that the position of the government itself is unconstitutional, he said.

Janan Harb, a former wife of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, has allegedly demanded a DNA sample from the Saudi Royal Family to find out if her 30-year-old daughter, Rania Boueiz, is the king's child. Rania is registered as the daughter of Harb's third husband, Sami Boueiz. But friends say Janan Harb was still married to King Fahd nine months before her daughter was born, in January 1974. Harb's lawyers wrote to the Saudi Embassy two years ago demanding a DNA sample but have not yet received a reply. Mother and daughter have so far declined to comment.

Empress Farah Pahlavi has been awarded the 2005 Anne Morrow Lindbergh Award for Living with Grace and Distinction. The recipient of this prestigious award serves as the keynote speaker during the luncheon at the annual Women's Health Summit of the Baylor College of Medicine's Huffington Center on Aging.

October 12th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has visited the site of the London 2012 Olympics Park for the first time and said the project was "exciting" and "fascinating". She saw where the 80,000-seat stadium and other venues will be built in east London. London 2012 chairman Lord Coe, who accompanied her said afterwards: "I was explaining the project and she said it was exciting. I told her that this is where we took the IOC members who were impressed by what they saw. She said she could understand that and said it was fascinating. She asked where the stadium was and I pointed out all of the venues." Lord Coe later said: "The Queen and Royal Family were strong supporters of London's bid and it was a delight to show Her Majesty how the Olympic Park site has continued to develop since winning the bid." London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell were also present.

Eight German magazines have been reprimanded by the national press committee for inventing scandalous stories about Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and her family. Walter Keim from Germany became so sick of seeing the stories in the weekly press that he filed a series of complaints to the national press committee. "I wanted to establish that it is in fact unethical to invent and spread false rumors about people, also those who are members of a foreign royal house. Now, after four months of corresponding back and forth, I have finally heard from the official German press committee that all of the complaints have been processed and upheld," Keim said.

Prince Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria, eldest brother of Queen Paola of Belgium, has died in Rome on October 11 at the age of 82. He was born at Rome on 6 December 1922 as the eldest son of Prince Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Countess Luisa Gazelli. He was the head of the family. He married twice: in 1953 to Maria Vaciago (divorced 1990) and in 1991 Luisa Cristina Carbajo. From the first marriage he had five children. Queen Paola and Princess Astrid, who was a godchild of the deceased, will attend the funeral on October 14.

Walid al-Tabtabai, a member of the Kuwaiti Parliament has called for Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah to step down, two days after allegations of chaos in the government. He said that would be the first step towards defusing the crisis. Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah said on Tuesday that he would take "decisive action". There has been concern over Kuwait's future leadership since June when Crown Prince Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah was admitted to hospital.

October 13th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh attended tonight's 80th birthday celebrations for Lady Margaret Thatcher at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. Nearly 700 of the former Conservative prime minister's friends and colleagues, including some former enemies, were attending also, as well as showbusiness celebrities as Dame Shirley Bassey, Andrew Lloyd Webber and his old partner, Tim Rice.

October 15th

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark have become the proud parents of a son. He was born at 1.57am at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. The Crown Princess had been admitted to hospital yesterday at 15.00. The baby is 51 cm tall and weighs 3500 grammes. The name will only become known at the christening, although the baby is likely to be named Christian. The Crown Prince was present at the birth of his son and helped cutting the umbilical cord. He left the hospital this morning. To the press he said: It looks like a little baby." About being prepared for such a big moment he said: "It's a feeling love and warmth that grows from within. You can't act like a superman at at time like this." He told that he and Mary hadn't known before that they would have a son. Morten Hedegaard, head of the medical team present during the birth, then told the press: "It was an attractive and healthy baby," adding that both mother and father had done well during the birth. He also said: "The birth lasted 10 hours. This was really fast for a woman who gives birth for the first time." He also informed that the crown princess got an epidural. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visited her third grandson in the morning. Mary's father John Donaldson and his wife Susan arrived at hospital in the afternoon. Prince Henrik, who had been in France, visited his grandson in the evening and said to be very pleased with the birth. 21 gun shots were fired at noon from batteries in Copenhagen and from the Kronborg Castle. In the evening, the Danish Home Guard lit hundreds of bonfires across the country.

After nine days and eighten sessions, the sale of heirlooms belonging to the Royal House of Hannover at Sotheby's realized a total of € 41,7 million. On the tenth day, one marathon session of additional lots that were not included in the catalogue, added another € 2.2 million to the total, bringing it to an amazing €44 million. The result of the sale more than tripled the expected € 12 million and exceeds the results of Sotheby's historic house sales of Thurn und Taxis and Baden. The sale offered over 20.000 objects in 4.400 lots. The Princes Ernst-August and Christian of Hannover reacted: "We are overjoyed that our foundation has had such a positive start " Dr. Christoph Graf Douglas, who organised this sale in co-operations with Sotheby's, said: "Overflowing cellars and attics are usually dead weight. A well funded and well managed foundation will secure the future. I am very pleased that the courageous step of the two princes was so successful and that the cultural heritage of the family in Lower Saxony will now have a future." Duke Philipp von Württemberg, Managing Director of Sotheby's Germany, commented: "The sale was an extraordinary success. We are delighted with the enthusiastic response from all over the world. We are also pleased that most of the buyers come from Germany and over 50% of these come from this region. On behalf of Sotheby's I would like to thank everybody who has participated in this sale". The highest price realised during the ten-day sale, € 1,694,000, was for a pair of 19th century Russian vases made in the Imperial Porcelain Factories in St. Petersburg. Both were decorated with old master paintings after Rubens and Honthorst. The Portrait of Salieh Aga, ambassador of Tripoli to the Court of King George I of Great Britain, painted by Sir Godfrey Keller, catapulted to a second place when it was hammered down at € 653.400. The lowest price of the whole sale was paid for a small 19th century jar that sold for € 60.

October 16th

Princess Beatrice of York is planning to study at an American college. She is in the first year of her A-levels studies at St George's School, Ascot, right now. She hopes to win a place at an Ivy League university - one of the eight most prestigious colleges in the US.

About 84% of the Japanese support female ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne, the newspaper Tokyo Shimbun reported today. According to a poll conducted Oct. 1-2 among 1746 adults aged 20 years and older by the Japan Association for Public Opinion Research only 6% of those surveyed favored the current system of male-only succession. The support rating for a female monarch was the highest since the group began the polls in March. About 47% of the survey's respondents were against the idea of bringing back the aristocracy, while 21% thought it was a good idea. Of those supporting female succession, 55% cited gender quality as the reason.

The National Movement Simeon II n Bulgaria has re-elected the former Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha as their leader on Saturday during the second Annual Meeting of the party. In a speech before delegates of the congress Simeon said that the party would aim at finalizing successfully the four-year mandate of the three-party coalition.

October 18th

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and her newborn son left the Rigshospital at Copenhagen today at 14.30. She was accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik. There was a brief photosession at the vestibule of the hospital. Crown Princess Mary told the press that she was feeling great. "He has a very calm personality," she said about her son. "There are no words to describe how happy I am." She added that Crown Prince Frederik had been a big help for her during the birth. Crown Prince Frederik said he was looking forward to coming home and spending the next few days changing diapers and getting to know his son. Before leaving for Fredensborg, the couple thanked the staff there for treating them kindly. In the evening five pictures of the family were released, taken by Steen Evald.

October 19th

More than Bt 104 million was fetched yesterday from bidding for and buying special wristbands to mark the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol of Thailand's ascension to the throne and there is continuing demand for the big hit item. The wristband costs Bt 100 each. Most of them 'sold like hot cakes' on Monday, the first day of sales and bidding. Each piece bears a number from 1 to 1,000,000. Many people queued up at Siam Commercial Bank's Ratchayothin branch Wednesday morning before the bank opened to buy a limited number of special wristbands. Some asked for more bracelets for their families and relatives. The proceeds from the auction will be presented to the King.

The regional court has confirmed the late grandson of the last emperor, Prince Louis Ferdinand (who died in 1994), as full heir in the longstanding inheritance dispute. With this his four children are legally entitled to their compulsory portion on the Prussia inheritance worth millions. Among others Burg Hohenzollern near Hechingen belongs to it. Prinz Louis Ferdinand had excluded his two sons, Friedrich Wilhelm and Michael, from the succesion because of their morganatic marriages and instead made his grandson Georg Friedrich sole heir. The rest of the family had sued against it and they were conceded by the Federal Constitutional Court last year. The FCC considered unanimously that the inheritance paragraph of the house of Prussia restricts the liberty of his great-grandson to marry whomever he wants. This guideline is unethical and therefore invalid. The Karlruhe judges refered back to the Hechingen regional court in Baden-Württemberg. Georg Friedrich had to return his certificate of inheritance. Should the involved parties accept the decision, the inheritance dispute in the house of Preußen-Hohenzollern would be finished after 11 years.

October 20th

The civil wedding of Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven and Aimée Söhngen took place at the townhall of naarden. The family and other invited people arrived at the townhall at about 11.00. Bride and groom arrived shortly before 11.30 for the half an hour ceremony in a Mercedes Benz 380 SEL cabriolet, bought by Queen Juliana in 1985. The bride was dressed in an apricot-coloured dress with jacket, designed by Lidy de Joode. The short dress was made of lace on flowered voile and unicoloured satin duchesse. The jacket was made of shiny birch-crepe in a warm mandarin colour, and the shoes were of the same material. The bridal bouquet was in autumn colours with roses, hypericum and small leafs. The couple was married by mayor Peter Rehwinkel. The witnesses (all friends) for the groom were Wybe Bast and Mark Hesselink, and for the bride Uusje Asser and Jeanette Huisman-Quist. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Prince Carlos, Prince Jaime and Princess Carolina de BOurbon de Parme. After the ceremony the couple gave a short press conference. Prince Floris called it an 'emotional day'. On the question why he didn't ask for permission of the government to get married he said that his cousins and brothers had already done that. Princess Aimée said that she already had gotten used to the attention. She finds it a wonderful feeling to be married. Afterwards they had lunch at the Muiderslot.

On the occasion of her 71st birthday on Thursday Empress Michiko of Japan recounted memories of the time she spent with Princess Sayako and told of how she would miss her when she leaves the Imperial household to get married November 15. The Empress said she has not decided what she will tell her only daughter on her wedding day and might even be at a loss for words. "I would like to tell Sayako just what comes to my mind on the morning of the wedding, but like my mother before me, perhaps I too might not be able to say anything at all," the Empress said in a written response to questions from reporters who cover the Imperial family. "Sayako was a child who would be the first to come to me serenely and say, 'Don't mind,' whenever I was disappointed about a mistake I had made or about something that had happened unexpectedly," the Empress wrote. Writing that Emperor Akihito sometimes calls the princess "our Miss Don't Mind" even now, the Empress added, "How fondly we will remember and miss this tender and heart-warming 'Don't mind' in the days to come." The Empress wrote that Princess Nori, despite having to face a number of restrictions in her life as a princess, was "tranquil and patient, and took responsibility for all her actions, and had a personality that rarely ever slighted others." The Empress also wrote she is happy that Crown Princess Masako, who was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder in July 2004, "appears to be gradually getting better." "While creating as quiet an environment as possible, I would like to watch over the recovery of the Crown Princess," the Empress wrote.

Shaikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait, has returned from a long trip abroad yesterday amid expectations of leadership changes in the oil-rich Gulf ally of Washington. He had been in London since August on a private visit and for medical tests.

October 22nd

The religious wedding of Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven and Aimée Söhngen took place at the Grote Kerk in Naarden. Bride and groom arrived shortly before 11.30. They used an old royal car from 1927. The bride wore a wedding dress from cream-coloured mikado-silk, designed by Lidy de Joode. The train was about 3,5 metres long. The veil of silk tulle was almost four metres long and embroidered with small glittering stones. She wore the ear of corn diademe. The bridal bouquet was made of ivory coloured roses, hydrangea, lily of the valley, wild lathyrus and several kinds of pieris japonica. The bridesmaids were Magali Söhngen and Loes Korthals. The flower girls were Julie Hoppenbrouwers, Anna van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven and Isabella van Vollenhoven. The ceremony was led by dr. Anne van der Meiden. Witnesses for the groom were Prince Bernhard van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven and Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme. Witnesses for the bride were Hans and Magali Söhngen. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, the Duke of Parma, Prince Carlos, Princess Margarita, Prince Jaime and Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Christina of the Netherlands, Bernardo, Nicolás and Juliana Guillermo, Archduke Michael and Archduchess Christiana of Austria, Prince El-Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Princess Badiya of Jordan and Khaled Edward Blaire, Fürst Aloys Konstantin and Fürstin Anastasia zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. After the wedding, around 12.45, a reception for about 600 guests was being held at the nearby Het Arsenaal. Most guests had to walk the short route. Bride and groom were driven to the reception in a gala landau from the royal stables with four Friesian horses in front. Some guests had to queue for about two hours to congratulate the newlyweds. In the evening there was a party at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn.

The newborn son of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was taken back to hospital on Friday night to be treated for jaundice, according to the newspaper B.T. Crown Princess Mary and the newborn prince checked out of hospital on Wednesday, and had spent three days at home at Fredensborg Palace, before beign taken back to the hospital. A group of doctors and nurses treated him with ultra violet rays. He went home with his parents on early Saturday morning.

October 23rd

Princess Sayako of Japan visited Tamagawa University in western Tokyo on Saturday to view an exhibit commemorating the upcoming release of her book on the research of 19th century British ornithologist John Gould. The book is to be published by the university in late November. The princess worked at the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, after graduating from university in 1992 until last June. She was involved in research on kingfishers.

October 24th

MPs are to quiz officials on the fiasco surrounding the Diana, Princess of Wales, memorial fountain. The Hyde Park monument was beset with problems, ranging from blockages and muddy grass to slippy paddling areas. The Public Accounts Committee will question Dame Sue Street, permanent secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Mark Camley, the Royal Parks chief executive, next week. A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks said: "The fountain has been very successful since it reopened. We had 500,000 visitors between May and September. We've very proud of the way it's been progressing." The PAC hearing will take place on Wednesday November 2.

October 25th

King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit started a three-day visit to London. The visit is part of the continuing centennial celebrations, with Norway marking 100 years as an independent nation, after a break from a union with Sweden. At the start of their visit they were driven up The Mall to Buckingham Palace in a gilded carriage of the Horse Guards. At Buckingham Palace, where they were staying, they were received by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke of Edinburgh and King Harald V inspected a guard of honor, and then a gun salute was fired from nearby Green Park. After lunch at the palace, the Norwegian royal family visited a special exhibition of Norwegian items from the Royal Collection. In the evening a royal banquet was being held. The Duchess of Cornwall made her first dinner appearance at a state visit, wearing a huge diamond tiara, originally crafted for Queen Mary in 1911, and loaned from Queen Elizabeth for this occasion. King Harald's speech referred to the cooperation between British and Norwegian troops in the Balkans and Afghanistan, diplomatically neglected the topic of Iraq, and included a confession that he shared Norway's passion for English soccer. Queen Elizabeth praised Norway's generosity and devotion to helping developing nations, and took the opportunity to thank the Norwegian people for their sympathy after the terrorist attack on London this summer.

A Japanese government advisory panel said it would recommend allowing women to succeed to the Chrysanthemum Throne. If the recommendation becomes law, it would resolve the succession crisis. At present only males can ascend the throne. “We agreed that from next meeting we will proceed with putting together a report that recommends expanding imperial succession to include females and their descendants,” Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, the head of the advisory panel to Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister, told a news conference. If the rules are changed, Princess Aiko, could one day become reigning empress. Prime Minister Koizumi said that the Government was considering submitting a Bill to parliament next year to revise the 1947 Imperial Household Law. The report is expected late next month after the wedding of Princess Sayako.

October 26th

In an interview in Vanity Fair the Duke of Aosta reveals that he will have a baby with someone else than his wife. He doesn't want to reveal the name of the mother-to-be. His wife knows about it. The child will be born within the next months.

October 27th

King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, accompanied by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Norwegian Ambassador's Residence at 10 Palace Green in West-London for the unveiling of the Queen Maud Statue and Blue Plaque. They were also accompanied by Princess Astrid, Mrs Ferner and her husband Johan Martin Ferner. The statue was made by Ada Madssen, who also made the Queen Maud statue outside the royal palace in Oslo. After the unveiling the Norwegian royals hosted a lunch for Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Yacht "Norge".

October 28th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to spend her 80th birthday at Windsor Castle, a statement from Buckingham Palace has revealed. The April 21 celebration will take the form of a family dinner hosted by Prince Charles. Senior family members, The Queen's children and grandchildren are expected to be there. The dinner will be followed by a family service of thanksgiving held at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on April 23. The Queen's 80th year will be also be marked by several other events, including a service at St Paul's Cathedral on June 15. In addition, The Queen will host a lunch and reception on April 19 for UK citizens also celebrating their 80th birthdays on April 21.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan failed to attend the Royal family's annual autumn garden party after doctors ordered her to take it easy. The crown princess has been told not to rush back into the public eye. Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan said at the garden party: "They seem to think that Princess Masako has a tendency to try to attempt too much and try too hard." The other members of Japan's Royal family enjoyed themselves at the annual event, which was held in the gardens of Tokyo's Imperial Palace.

October 29th

The Duke of Kent received the German Great Order of Merit at a ceremony in Dresden. He received the award for his contribution to the two countries' reconciliation since the Second World War. Georg Milbradt, governor of Saxony, praised the duke for helping close the wounds left by the war and lauded his patronage of the Dresden Trust, a British group that raised money for the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche cathedral at Dresden. The rebuilt church is to be dedicated on Sunday. The duke said he was "deeply moved" to receive the award, the highest possible for a foreigner who is not a head of state.

A drug addict has managed to get into the royal palace in Brussels on Thursday night. He simply walked through the garden and smashed a window. At first he was too quick for security, but reinforcements managed to catch him. No member of the royal family was present at the palace.

October 31st

The Prince and Princess of Asturias have become the proud parents of a daughter, called Leonor. She was born at 1.46am at the Ruber International Clinic in Madrid. She is 47 cm tall and weighs 3540 grammes. She is second in line to the Spanish throne after her father. Leonor is the seventh grandchild of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. During a press conference Prince Felipe said that things went so fast and he was so moved that he didn't even notice the sex of the baby when the doctor put her in his arms and had to ask. He said that the name Leonor has many historic meanings for him and his wife, but it was simply a name they liked. He also said that Leonor is a big and strong girl. The baptism will take place after Christmas and the names of the godparents are still to be announced. Gynaecologist Luis Ignacio Recasens said that Leonor was born by caesarian section. There were no complications. He thinks that Letizia and Leonor will be released from hospital in about one week. At noon King Juan Carlos II and Queen Sofia visited their granddaughter. Among the first visitors were also Jesús Ortiz, his wife Ana Togores and his mother Menchu del Valle.

November 1st

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a memorial service for the victims of the London bombings on July 7 at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. More than 2000 people attended the service, mostly relatives and friends of the victims, people who were injured and emergency workers. Candles marked with the names of the targeted Underground train stations and the location where a bus exploded were carried to the cathedral's altar by emergency and transport workers who were flanked by victims' relatives and people who were injured in the blasts. After the service the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met relatives of victims on the steps of the cathedral.

Yesterday Karl Albrecht Fürst zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst was interred at the princely mausoleum at Schillingsfürst. The Fürst died on 23 October in a hospital in Mergentheim at the age of 79 as a result of an heart attack he had some months earlier. He is survived by his wife Ladislaja née Countess von Meran, and his daughter Marie Aglaë Countess von Schaesberg. His son Philipp Ernst predeceased him. With Karl Albrecht the main branche of the family has become extinct in male line. The requiem was held at the catholic church of Schillingsfürst and was led by deacon Roland Tschunitsch. Some 150 people attended, among others Kraft and Katharina Fürst and Fürstin zu Hohenlohe-Oehringen, Constantin and Karl Albrecht Princes zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, Nikolaus Prince von Ratibor und Corvey, Moritz and Lioba Fürst and Fürstin zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen- Wallerstein, Franz Count von Meran as well as Alfred and Myrtha Count and Countess Schenk von Stauffenberg. After the requiem the guests came together at the inner court of the princely castle with representatives of the local societies. Around 16.00 the funeral procession left from the inner court to the princely mausoleum. Mayor Friedrich Wieth held a speech next to the mausoleum.

November 2nd

Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín camee to Madrid today to meet their new niece, Infanta Leonor. They had lunch at the hospital with the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena of Spain and Jaime de Marichalar. Queen Sofia, who celebrated her 67th birthday today spent lots of time at hospital yesterday and today. She said her new granddaughter Leonor was the 'best birthday present'.

Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Princess Haya bint Al Hussein of Jordan are among the three candidates for the presidency of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports. The present president Doña Infanta Pilar of Spain doesn't run anymore for the job. A general assembly will take place on 1 and 2 May 2006 at Kuala Lumpur, where the election will take place.

November 4th

Princess Margriet opened the exhibition 'The Brides of Het Loo' at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn this afternoon. The exhibition shows the bridal gowns as well as the dresses for the civil weddings of Princess Margriet and her four daughters-in-law Marilène, Annette, Anita and Aimée. Also the suits of the grooms are being shown, as well as dresses of flower girls. At all four weddings Palace Het Loo was used for the civil wedding and/or the wedding party.

Prince Tomihito Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito of Japan, said that old traditions, such as allowing concubines, should be revived first before allowing a woman to ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne. "We should try various other ways first," the prince wrote in an essay published in a newsletter from September 30 circulated among staff of the Imperial Household Agency. In his article he argued that he should be allowed to speak freely because the newsletter is not for sale and is distributed only to a limited number of people. "The question is whether it is a right thing to change the unique tradition and history so easily." In the essay, titled "Sea Lion's Chat," the prince suggested bringing back male royals who were forced from the old aristocracy after World War II, allowing the adoption of sons of former royals, or reviving a system in which the sons of concubines were allowed to ascend to the throne. "Using concubines, like we used to, is also an option. I'm all for it, but this might be a little difficult considering the social climate in and outside the country," he wrote, noting that both the father and grandfather of his uncle, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, were sons of concubines. Responding to the prince's column, one of the 10 members on the government panel said, "While it is private writing, I believe members of the Imperial family should be cautious in making political statements. We will just continue to proceed in our discussions toward the final report. The direction we plan to move toward will not change," said the anonymous member.

November 5th

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have met survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. They visited the lower Ninth Ward, one of the areas worst hit, and climbed a levee to view the storm's destruction. When asked by a reporter what struck him most, the prince said: "Incredible resilience, despite awful loss. Where there's life, there's hope." The royal couple, on the fifth day of their US tour, also went to a Catholic school in the French Quarter. The royal couple met emergency workers and the Jones family, who lost their home in the hurricane. The family are among people temporarily living in one of two cruise ships brought in to provide emergency accommodation. On Thursday, the Prince of Wales donated $25,000 (£14,000) from an architecture prize he received in Washington to help in the reconstruction of hurricane-hit towns. The couple's US visit has included a stop at Ground Zero in Manhattan where they honoured victims of the 11 September attacks. They will later fly to San Francisco where their tour will end.

Princess Xenia zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and her husband Max Soltmann had their first child, a son called Ferdinand, at Bad Mergentheim early today. At Langenburg Castle the baby was welcomed with several salutes and also the flag was hoisted.

November 6th

Prince William of Wales scored seven out of 10 in the "raw intelligence" test, when he took part in a gruelling assessment at the Regular Commissions Board in Westbury, Wiltshire. His younger brother Prince Harry is understood to have scored four in the same test in September last year. Senior officers who witnessed Prince William tackle the various physical and mental trials described him as "athletic, well co-ordinated and quite bright". Prince William's high score at the commissions board should ensure that he will have little difficulty with the most intellectually demanding parts of the Sandhurst course. Prince William is to enrol at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in January, when Prince Harry will be entering his final term.

Queen Silvia of Sweden has asked the Swedish people to think of the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. "It [All Saints Day] is a weekend when we think of those close to us who have passed away, but it is important also to think of those who are still alive," the Queen said. "I want therefore to ask Swedes to contribute to the collections being made in all the Swedish churches." The Church of Sweden said all collections made on All Saints Day would go to catastrophe relief in Pakistan. "The situation in the affected areas is desperate, and people need all the help they can get, so I want to support the church and others who collect money and encourage everyone to contribute," the Queen said.

November 7th

The Princes of Asturias and their newborn daughter Leonor left the Clínica Rúber Internacional in Madrid at 12.10 today. 300 journalists and hundreds of curious people were awaiting outside the hospital. The presentation lasted 10 minutes. The baby has blue eyes according to her father. The Princess of Asturias said that they were very moved by the birth of their first daughter and that one cannot describe what it is to be a mother. The Princess also said that both her and her daughter are well, even though "a C-section causes discomfort". She said her daughter is "beautiful, lovely and very quiet", whereas according to the father she "eats a lot and sleeps all the time". Princess Letizia also stressed that she didn't know whom the baby looked like and asked the journalists whether they found that the little infanta looked like anybody. She explained that she'll go back to work after the breast feeding period. She also said that Leonor was in their list of girls' names because Prince Felipe liked the name a lot; he was thrilled by it and she was herself delighted with the choice. When asked whether they intended to have more children, the couple gave the same answer they had given when Letizia was presented to the press as the Prince's official fiancée: "more than two and less than five". The couple thanked the press for their patience and for waiting under a rainy and cold weather the night Leonor was born.

The Danish royal family, including Crown Princess Mary who made her first public appearance three weeks after giving birth, attended a concert in honour of the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark at Tivoli Garden's concert hall yesterday evening. The concert was organised by Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece as a tribute to their mother. The concert was conducted by Leonard Slatkin, who was asked to perform after Mstislav Rostropovich was forced to cancel last week. An audience of over 1500 attended the concert, the proceeds of which were donated to scholarships for young musicians.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway want to build a holiday home on the island of Flekkerøy near Mette-Marit's Kristiansand. The couple faces opposition from some local politicians. The local mayor supports the royal couple's plans, but the Socialist Left is firmly opposed. The fact that the building would take place on state- owned property, would mean giving the couple privileges that ordinary citizens would never get. The present owner of the island, the broadcasting company NRK is busy selling the island to Kristiansand township, which in turn would open it up to public use. A portion of it, however, would be set aside for the crown princely couple. Gro Hareide of the Socialist Left in Vest-Agder told newspaper VG on Sunday: "Many people want the entire area opened up for recreational use. It's nice that the crown couple wants a holiday home in Kristiansand, but this would be unfair for others." Local mayor Jan Oddvar Skisland disagrees: "Kristiansand is the crown princess' hometown. It would be nice if we could make it possible for them to have a summer home in the area." The Royal Palace says that no agreements have been signed regarding the royals' purchase of a holiday home.

During a speech at the United Nations in New York, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands said that the Year of the Microcredit 2005 has become a tremendous success, although still many things must happen in the fight against poverty with microcredits, small loans to people in the Third World. She made several trips this year and says "It is striking how women are empowered by microfinance and not only economically." The Princess said: "During the year I have become more convinced than ever of the benefits of microfinance, not only in reducing poverty but also in building trust and dignity.

In an interview at TV 7 Show at Rai Uno, the Duke of Aosta reveals that he is going to have a child with 38-year-old film-producer Kyara van Ellinkhuizen. Although he never intended to disclose the name of the mother of his child, she herself went on television last Sunday to speak about it. He said: "Perhaps she could have been more discrete. Although she's free to keep on talking, our story is over." The duke met Kyara van Ellinkhuizen last May on a train between Venice and Torino. They then found out that they had many common friends. They exchanged phone numbers and called each other many times. Only a bit later their relationship began. In August Kyara told him that she was expecting a child. "But ours was not a love that could have lasted," the Duke explains. "I feel I have much resposibility towards people who are close to me, my children, my grandchildren." The Duchess of Aosta said there had been much stress between her and her husband lately and that they weren't together anymore last August. But the Duke of Aostra came back home mid-September and told her everything. In an interview Kyara van Ellinkhuizen, who is five months pregnant says she has loved the Duke since she was 15 years old. "I love Amedeo, I'm not the other woman," she says. She asks the Duke to take a decision: "The child I'm expecting, your child, needs a father." She has already contacted her lawyers, for she intends to safeguard her future baby.

November 8th

The Oukwanyama Royal Family at Namibia has appointed 75-year-old Martha Christian Nelumbu as the successor of the late King Kornelius Mwetupunga Shelungu. The long-awaited installation of the King of Oukwanyama will go ahead as planned next Saturday. She was nominated by the late Shelungu as his successor. She will be the first woman leader to preside over a traditional authority. The late Shelungu has been suffering from ill health for a long time. He died at Oshakati Hospital last Thursday, November 2, at the age of 89. He was survived by his wife and 13 children. A memorial service for the late King Kornelius Mwetupunga Shelungu was being held at Onandjaba Elcin Church on Monday evening, whereafter the King's wife Analisa Kakiya suddenly became sick and was taken to Oshikuku Roman Catholic hospital. A funeral service was held at the offices of the Oukwa-nyama Traditional Authority at Ohangwena this morning. He was buried this afternoon at the Ovakwanyama royal family cemetery at Omhedi from En-gela Elcin Church. He received a military funeral, attended by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President Sam Nujoma, Ministers, Government officials, Governors, Regional and Local Councillors, Traditional leaders led by King of Uukwaluudhi Josia Shikongo Taapopi, the new Oukwanyama Queen Mwadinomho Martha Kristian Nelumbu, members of the Royal family, the late King Shelungu's children, grand- and great-grandchildren, business people as well as other community members, and many school children. Other burial activities will take place at his private house.

November 9th

In a new biography by Herman Lindqvist to mark King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s 60th birthday next year, the king tells of his feelings over becoming Sweden’s head of state in 1973 at the age of 27. “The King ascended at a politically turbulent time. He paints a graphic picture of how difficult it was to always be the youngest – younger than the members of the cabinet, younger than other heads of state, Lindqvist told Aftonbladet. The author also interviewed Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria for the book, revealing details of how the king conducted a four-year secret relationship with the then Silvia Sommerlath before the pair could go public. Lindqvist told Aftonbladet that Silvia would sometimes wear wigs to conceal her identity. The book also contains chapters written by Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, former royal press secretary and now head of Crown Princess Victoria’s household, in which she talks about the King’s constitutional role and gives personal reflections on her life in the royal household.

Prince Tomihito of Mikasa was hospitalized on Monday for suspected pericarditis, a heart ailment, at Keio University Hospital in Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said. He had complained of slight chest pain on Monday. Today he was already discharged from hospital.

Janan Harb has lost her case at the Court of Appeal. She claims to have been married to the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and having a daughter with him. She claimed among others part of the fortune of the late King and wanted a DNA test to determine whether her eldest daughter was his daughter. The Matrimonial Causes Act section used by Janan Harb to claim maintenance applied only while husband and wife were alive, three appeal judges ruled. She cannot claim under the Inheritance Act either, as the king was not a UK resident. The appeal judges refused permission to take the case to the House of Lords. Giving the lead judgment, Lord Justice Thorpe said the king's solicitors had written to the court in September saying the proceedings had abated because of his death. The judge said the case could indicate a gap in the law that only Parliament could address.

A Romanian Constitutional Court today dismissed a legislation to grant former King Michael I 30 million euros in compensation for his property confiscated in 1947. "The constitutional court examined the law and decided with a majority of votes that its provisions are not in line with the constitution," the court said in a statement. In October last year, the former Romanian regime decided to make compensation to the king for his financial losses in the property confiscation in which the Peles royal castle in Sinaia, 120 km north of Bucharest, was involved. The former King was also granted the right to use the Peles castle for free throughout his life. He was allowed to use the Elisabeta Palace in the capital of Bucharest as his permanent residence. The bill was passed in June by the Chamber of Deputies, but senators of the Great Romania Party opposed the decision vehemently, saying it went against the constitution. They filed a lawsuit to the constitutional court later.

November 10th

Tatjana von Lattorf née Princess von und zu Liechtenstein and her husband Philipp von Lattorff had their fourth child, a daughter, at Monza, Italy, on 4 November. The girl will be baptised Camilla Maria Katharina.

November 11th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands ended her tour through all twelve provinces of the Netherlands and the Dutch Antilles with a visit to the Province of Zuid-Holland. At the press conference afterwards she said she will have to get used to it that the tour is over and called the tour an unbelievable present. She thought it was a nice and interesting tour, and she has met lots of heartiness. She also said to have learnt a great deal during the tour and met new things everywhere despite of knowing the country quite well. She feels that everything she went through during the tour has strengthened her. A poll by the tv-programme Twee Vandaag among 32.000 people says that most Dutch people think that Queen Beatrix has done very well in the past 25 years. 48,2 % of the questioned people have much to very much trust in the Prince of Orange. 32 % thinks Beatrix should abdicate within the next five years, but 30 % says she should only when she wants to. 67 % is in favour of a monarchy, 24,1 % wants a republic. Also 67 % thinks that in 25 years the Netherlands will still be a monarchy.

Lord Lichfield, royal photographer and first cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, died at the age of 66 after suffering a major stroke. He was being treated in the stroke unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford after falling ill. He had been staying in the area with friends when he suffered a stroke. He died at 4.00am this morning. Lord Lichfield's long-term partner was Lady Annunziata Asquith, and he had had three children with ex-wife Lady Leonora Grosvenor - a son, Tom, and two daughters, Rose and Eloise. Queen Elizabeth II was among the first to pay tribute to Lord Lichfield, saying she was "deeply saddened" at the news. Lord Lichfield was the official photographer at the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Diana. He also photographed Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh for her Golden Jubilee in 2002.

November 12th

Princess Sayako of Japan has said her formal farewells to the imperial family ahead of her wedding to a commoner. Wearing a 12-layered ceremonial kimono, she also paid her respects at the shrines of her ancestors during a traditional ritual in the imperial palace grounds in Tokyo that are dedicated to Japanese gods and emperors of the past. Television footage showed her slowly walking along a wooden balcony with a fan in her hand. Later, having changed into a white dress, the princess met her parents to exchange parting cups filled with Japanese sake. "I hope that even in your new life you will continue to be a good member of society while looking after your household," Empress Michiko of Japan said to her daughter.

Thousands of people from accross Namibia gathered at the new palace (Ouhamba) of the Ovakwanyama today for the crowning of the new Queen of Ovakwanyama, Mwadinomho Martha Kristian Nelumbu. The ceremony started with the traditional anointing of the new queen, a ceremony that was conducted by the royal family behind closed doors inside the palace. From there, the Queen and other members from the royal family went to the Olupale, the main reception area in the Ouhamba, where she was greeted by all her senior traditional councillors. The Queen was then taken to the inauguration ceremony area, where President Pohamba and former President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, the kings and chiefs of other traditional authorities in Namibia and thousands of her people were waiting for her. The ceremony was opened with the national anthem, the EU anthem and a prayer by Anglican Bishop Shihala Hamupembe. The history of the Ovakwanyama tribe was narrated by the historian of the Ovakwanyama, Abednego Nghifikwa, while the Queen's acceptance speech was delivered on her behalf by her personal secretary, Nahas Ndevahoma. In the address she said she would abide by the Namibian Constitution as well as to the Traditional Authority Act, to the rule of law, national reconciliation and democracy. She said that she would accept good advice from all her people and that the doors of her Ouhamba would be open to all people, especially to the Ovakwanyama. She thanked the committee responsible for the restoration of the Ouhamba of the Ovakwanyama. She said she would see to it that traditional laws and the laws of the country are respected and adhered to, and that all traditional leaders in Oukwanyama adhere to the traditional laws. The queen called on all Ovakwanyama people to work hard in their mahangu fields and not to be lazy and become beggars. She also appealed to people to put an end to domestic violence. The King of Ondonga, Kauluma Elifas, welcomed the Queen to the Traditional Authority leadership and said they would all support her. In his address, President Pohamba welcomed Queen Mwadinomho Nelumbu to the Namibian leadership, but emphasised that she ruled only over the Ovakwanyama in Namibia and not in Angola.

November 15th

Princess Sayako of Japan married Yoshiki Kuroda today at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. The day started after Princess Sayako bid farewell to her parents at the Imperial Palace. Wearing a long white silk dress and a pearl necklace, the attire she wore for the ceremony, she was greeted by Naoyuki Kuroda, the bridegroom's cousin acting as the Kuroda family's envoy. Just after 10 a.m., a black limousine carrying the bride drove slowly through the main gates of the palace as hundreds of palace staff members stood by. The princess waved through an open window to the hundreds of well-wishers who lined the 1.5-kilometer stretch to the hotel and shouted, "Congratulations," as the car drove by. The 20-minute Shinto ceremony was attended by 23 relatives from the bride's side, including Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako, Prince and Princess Akishino. Also eight relatives from the groom's side, including the groom's mother, Sumiko, attended. The couple took part in a ritual of sharing sips of sake signifying an exchange of vows. Kuroda then read out his vows. After the ceremony, Imperial Household Agency officials submitted a marriage registration document to the ward office where the couple will live. With the submission of the document, Princess Sayako formally left the imperial family genealogy and was registered as commoner Sayako Kuroda. "While holding dear to my heart my memories of the time I spent with the emperor and the empress and other members of the family, I want to start my new life as a member of the Kuroda family," Sayako said at a brief news conference at 2 p.m. following the wedding ceremony. Mr Kuroda said, "There may be things that are unexpected, but we would like to proceed one step at a time." The wedding reception was held in the afternoon with about 120 people attending, including the imperial couple and the newlywed's friends. The bride wore a kimono borrowed from Empress Michiko. Sayako was the first daughter of an emperor to marry in 45 years. It was also the first time an emperor's daughter married a commoner with no blood ties to the nobility or the imperial family. It was also the first time for an emperor and empress to attend the wedding reception of a princess, according to the Imperial Household Agency.

A poll, conducted by research firm Opinion for the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, asked Norwegians whether they'd vote for the monarchy or opt for turning Norway into a republic. Only 52 % of those questioned in the Oslo area favoured the monarchy, while 30 % want Norway to become a republic. The remainder had no opinion. On a national basis, 63 % of all Norwegians questioned favoured a monarchy, while 20 % favoured a republic. The other 17 % had no opinion. The poll showed that the monarchy has the most support in Norway's outlying areas, while people in the city were most negative.

King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan cancelled a state visit to the Netherlands late this month because of the recent terroristic attacks in Amman. It is not known when they will come now.

November 16th

In the past three days the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands paid a visit to Morocco. On Sunday they were welcomed at the airport of Marrakech by Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco. On Monday the Prince of Orange held the opening speech of the Watercongress between Windmill and Watermill at the University of Marrakech, while Princess Máxima took part in the Women's World Banking Conference at the Palmeraie Golf Palace Hotel. In the afternoon the couple visite the Bassin Hydraulic du Tensift. The Prince of Orange was received by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, while Princess Máxima talked with Princess Lalla Salma. In the evening they visited an Art en Tour Marrakech, an intercultural music- programme. On Tuesday the couple visited the medina of Marrakech and the Al Amana-office where microcredits are handed out. In the afternoon they visited the Koran school Medersa ben Youssef and attended the opening of the exhibition 'Respect. Forms of living together' at the Museum Dar Si Said. On Wednesday the couple visited Amizmiz outside Marrakech and a girl's Internate, as well as the weir Barrage Lalla Takerkoust.

The former royal villa in Oostende will be bought by the town of Oostende for 3,8 million euros, it was decided on Wednesday afternoon. The villa will be given to the Belgian Sea Institute for Orthopedie of doctor Georges Casteur who will house a rehabilitation centre at the villa.

November 17th

Exactly 100 years after the birth of Queen Astrid of Belgium née Princess of Sweden, an exhibition about her life was opened at the BelVue Museum at Brussels. The opening and lunch were attended by a huge group of royals, among them King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Princess Astrid of Belgium and Prince Lorenz of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Laurent of Belgium, Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Prince Jean of Luxemburg, Prince Nikolaus, Princess Margaretha, Princess Maria Anunciata and Princess Marie Astrid of Liechtenstein, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen and Mr Erling Lorentzen, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn, Princess Kristine Bernadotte, Countess Ruth af Rosenborg, Mrs Madeleine Kogevinas and Sophie Ullens de Schooten.

The Prince of Wales is to stop playing polo after a series of injuries, Clarence House has announced. A spokesman said Prince Charles felt that the time was right "to bow out gracefully, but regretfully. The Prince of Wales will not be playing polo next season," he said. "He made the decision recently to retire from the game after playing for over 40 years." The Prince has played only in charity matches since 1992, but prior to that he played competitively in teams across the world.

November 18th

A diamond necklace that once belonged to the Russian Empress Catherine the Great has been sold at auction for $1.5m in Geneva. Auction house Sotheby's says the necklace is a rare survivor from an era when jewellery was broken up for reuse. It was passed down through the imperial family until the collection was confiscated after the 1917 revolution. Sotheby's executive director David Bennett said: "It's the most important historical necklace that we have sold at Sotheby's" in 30 years, he said. Around 200 dealers attended the day-long auction at Geneva's Le Beau Rivage hotel. Sotheby's would not reveal the name of the buyer of the necklace. Of the former owner, the auction house said only that she was a woman from a "noble family". The necklace was bought by a London jeweller in 1927. It was then sold on to an unnamed collector and has remained in private hands ever since. Before the sale, Sotheby's described the necklace as "a beautiful row of 27 large cushion-shaped diamonds within a border of stylized foliate motifs, close set with smaller similarly cut stones, embellished with a ribbon bow clasp, which can be worn separately".

Princess Maria Antonia von der Leyen und zu Hohengeroldseck died on November 11 at Starnberg after a long and difficult illness. She would have celebrated her 78th birthday on 22 December. The funeral took place today at 14.00 at the Parish Church St. Anna in Waal. More than 100 people, among them the sister of the deceased Maria Adelheid Freifrau von Freyberg-Eisenberg, her husband and lots of nobles, said goodbye to the princess whose coffin was covered with a flag in the colours of the family. The requiem was officiated by The Rev. Johann Zahner and Father Aretin, The Rev. Anton Frick and Father Karl Stribny. The princess was buried at the family vault under a side altar.

November 19th

Princess Alexia of the Netherlands was christened at the village church of Wassenaar at 11.30 am by the Rev. Deodaat van der Boon. Upon arrival she was accompanied by her parents, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and her big sister Princess Catharina-Amalia. When the little princess was carried inside by Nicole Friling-von Oswald a children's choir sang a christening song. Furthermore Het Residentie Kamerkoor sang, as well as singer Christianne Stotijn. Mienke van der Velden played the gamba, Erica Waardenburg the harp, and Paul Pleijsier the guitar. Alexia's godparents were Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Prince Friso van Oranje-Nassau, Juan Zorreguieta, Alexandra Jankovich de Jeszenice and Jonkheer Frans de Beaufort. She was christened with water from the River Jordan. She wore the christening gown which was designed for the christening of Princess Wilhelmina in 1880. Among the around 500 guests were furthermore Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Jorge Zorreguieta and Maria del Carmen Cerruti de Zorreguieta, Dolores Zorreguieta, Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands with daughter Eloise, Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, Prince Carlos, Princess Margarita and Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme and Prince Philippe of Belgium. After the christening there was a lunch at the Orange Hall at Palace Huis ten Bosch.

Prince Albert II of Monaco was enthroned today. He was blessed by the archbishop of Monaco, Monsignor Bernard Barsi, at a Mass said in Monte Carlo's cathedral. "By rising to the Grimaldi throne, Prince Albert finds his place in the continuity of this dynasty," the archbishop said between strains of organ music and Handel's Messiah. He was also told his destiny was to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty after 700 years. The mass was attended by Monegasque royals, foreign dignitaries and royalty, although no kings and queens, were at the Mass. As the Prince emerged from the cathedral after the mass, he was greeted with cheers by about 1,000 loyal Monegasque subjects. "It's very moving," Princess Stephanie said after the mass. "I was thinking above all of my brother and what this represents for him, for our country. It's a new beginning for all of us in the family." The formal transfer of power was held at the palace where the prince was presented with a royal banner bearing his emblem. The prince today also attended a football match between Monaco and St Etienne and a performance of Rossini's opera Voyage to Reims at the grand Monte-Carlo Opera. The enthronement followed three days of festivities. Among the royals who attended the ceremony were Hereditary Prince Alois and Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxemburg, Prince Joachim of Denmark, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Faisal bin Hussein of Jordan, Prince Moulay Rashid of Morocco, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, the Duke of Vendôme, the Prince and Princess of Venice, Prince Serge and Princess Eleonore of Yugoslavia.

November 20th

Japanese imperial princesses should be able to maintain their status as part of the Imperial family even after marrying commoners, according to a proposal being considered by a panel advising Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on the matter, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Saturday. Currently, the Imperial House Law stipulates that both "naishinno" and "nyoo" princesses must secede from the Imperial family once they marry commoners. The sisters, daughters and granddaughters of an emperor are called naishinno, or blood princesses, while princesses who are not naishinno--such as nieces of an emperor--are referred to as nyoo princesses. The male counterparts of nyoo are called o princes. The panel on the succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne wants to allow them to set up their respective royal families even after marrying commoners, sources close to the panel said. The panel is likely to maintain part of the current stipulation that nyoo princesses as well as o princes are free to renounce their royal status from the age of 15 at their own behest, even if they have not married. The private advisory group is scheduled to file a final report with Koizumi later this month. Their 16th meeting is set for Monday.

November 21st

This week marks 100 years since the current royal family of Norway was officially established. On the occasion King Harald V and Crown Prince Haakon gave an interview to newspaper Aftenposten, joined by little Princess Ingrid Alexandra. Crown Prince Haakon insists that all his children will be treated as equals regardless their sex. There will be a difference, however, regarding her level of consciousness about her future role as monarch. "We will always be open that Ingrid is the heir to the throne, and tell her what that involves," Crown Prince Haakon told. "She'll gradually discover that she's the heir, maybe she's already discovered it. It's important to talk about these things in relation to the other children, so they know where they stand. But in the family, everyone of course is an equal." King Harald said he intends to stay in his role as reigning monarch as long as his health allows, and has no plans to retire. He is feeling good and has "good energy," especially after a summer with a lot of time off that featured swimming and sailing." He also stopped smoking, saying it "was disappointingly simple" to quit. King Harald said he has respect, however, for those who can't manage to quit. He said he never thought he'd be a doting grandfather, "but I have. Both the queen and I take great joy in being together with the whole family." King Harald said he and Queen Sonja often take on the role of babysitter for their grandchildren, "not for several days in a row, but at the Palace when their parents need it," or in the evening during summer holidays. King Harald says he never thinks about tactics in winning the people's favour. "We have been given an assignment as a monarchy, and we do as well as we can. We try to be as little populistic as possible. We don't do anything on the spur of the moment to win an opinion poll, or short-term popularity." Crown Prince Haakon said that if he hadn't been born as heir to the throne, he probably would have wanted to work within either music or film, or foreign aid. Several nice photos were released.

An opinion poll at the Spanish newspaper El Mundo on the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Spanish monarchy suggest that almost 25 % of the Spaniards consider themselves republicans. A 50% increase in declared republicans over five years was the result of the number of 18 to 29-year-olds who prefer to scrap the monarchy. Declining support among young people could mean future trouble. Nearly four out of 10 young voters defined themselves as republicans, slightly more than those who said they were monarchists. It was the first time in 30 years that polls had produced such a result. Both King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Prince of Asturias are still popular as individuals, with only 4 % of Spaniards holding a poor opinion of the former and 6 % disliking the latter.

Chelsy Davy, girlfriend of Prince Harry of Wales, has been invited to stay at Highgrove for the first time. She met up with her boyfriend and his family at their Gloucestershire home this weekend after having arrived in Great Britain on Friday evening. Chelsy and Harry hadn't seen each other since they took a holiday in Botswana last September, as Harry has joined the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst. Both the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Prince William, were present.

November 22nd

Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco has launched the Lalla Salma Association Against Cancer. It is a non-profit association whose general strategy is defined by the Board of Directors, chaired by the Princess. It musters 15 members maximum, elected by the General Assembly. The association will fight cancer in Morocco through four intervention fields, as the association will bring assistance to patients and relatives, and in particular improving the living condition of cancer-stricken citizens, and of their parents. Princess Lalla Salma also launched the construction of an assessment and anti-pain center at the national oncology Institute in Rabat.

November 24th

The Spanish royal family hosted a reception at the Royal Palace in Madrid last night to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of King Juan Carlos I. 200 people attended the official reception. The complete Royal Family was present at the reception in the Throne Room. The Princess of Asturias attended briefly, still recovering from recently giving birth. The Palace have made it clear that her attendance was exceptional and does not mark a return to public commitments as yet. The Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and nearly all his ministers were present, and the leaders of the opposition parties were also present with the exception of the IU left winger Gaspar Llamazares and the ERC Catalan Nationalist leader, Josep Lluís Carod-Rovira. The Church and Judiciary were also represented among the guests.

After 10 months of debate, a government panel yesterday submitted recommendations on imperial succession that will break a male-lineage tradition. The panel proposed that females and their descendants should be allowed to ascend the Chrysanthemum throne. The panel said changes are necessary to maintain stability in imperial succession. "I think it is a very meaningful report," Koizumi told reporters at his official residence. "I believe that the report was created with the understanding that an imperial system based on hereditary succession depends on a stable succession system. I believe the government should begin preparations to submit a bill (to revise the Imperial House Law) during the regular Diet session next year." "We have studied various circumstances, including the possible birth of a baby boy, and concluded that our proposals are the best from a medium- and long- term perspective," the report said. "We have discussed public sentiments desiring a baby boy in the imperial family, and there is a related mention in the report," a member of the panel told The Asahi Shimbun. "But the panel's position is that the priority is to revise the Imperial House Law as soon as possible. My understanding is that if a boy is born before the law is revised, it is the government that has to discuss the new situation, if necessary, separately from the panel's proposed revision of the law." The panel's report said even the imperial family has been affected by the rapidly declining birthrate in Japan. "Under the circumstances, we cannot help but believe that it will be extremely difficult for the imperial family to expect a situation where there will be enough male heirs of the male lineage in future generations," the report said. The report further says: "It is meaningful to expand the scope of members qualified for succession to the throne by adding women, including those from the female lineage, so that the imperial family will be able to stabilize its succession system, which is the most fundamental tradition to the emperor system, in the future." The report also said public opinion surveys indicate a majority supports the idea of having female emperors. "It should not be forgotten that the current system where the emperor is the symbol of the state is based on the people's values," the report said.

November 26th

Bruno Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and his wife Bárbara Cano de la Plaza had their second son, Guillermo, on November 23rd at Madrid. The baby is the sixth grandchild of Infanta Pilar of Spain.

Carlos Morales de Grecia, son of Carlos Morales Quintana and Princess Alexia of Greece, was christened today in a greek-orthodox and catholic ceremony at the iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios de Yaiza on the Island of Lanzarote. The christening was attended by around 150 family members and friends, among them Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina of Spain, Jaime de Marichalar, Princess Irene of Greece. The baby wore an antique christening gown flown in from Greece. His godparents were Prince Nikolaos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Infanta Elena of Spain, Gonzalo Morales Quintana, Luis Morales and Noemí Surol. After the 45-minute ceremony the entire party headed to an upmarket restaurant in nearby Puerto Calero for a lunch.

November 27th

The festivities that marked the 100th anniversary of an independent Norwegian monarchy were closed today with a huge ball at the Royal Palace in Oslo. King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, Mr Erling Lorentzen, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner, Mr Johan Martin Ferner, Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn, Elisabeth Ferner, Alexander and Margrét Ferner, Benedikte Ferner and Aage Hvinden, Haakon and Martha Lorentzen with their sons Olav Alexander and Christian Fredrik attended the ball. Apart from political leaders also representatives from organisations and from all over Norway were invited. Series of photos from Aftenposten and VG.

Prince Andreas and Princess Lena of Liechtenstein had their second child, a daughter called Tyra Wiola Josefin Lucia Filippini, at Stockholm on November 15.

November 28th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands started a visit to Brasil and Argentina in connection with the Year of the Microcredit 2005. She arrived in São Paulo today, and will also visit Florianopolis and Brasilia in the next three days. From 4 to 7 December she will be in Argentina, where she will visit Jujuy, Périco and Buenos Aires. In interviews to Argentinean newspapers she said to be happy to be able to do something for Argentina, as there is much to do there in the microcredit sector. She hopes to be able to talk with all people involved in the microfinance sector in the country.

Prince Albert II of Monaco attended a press conference at the Oceanographic Museum in Monte Carlo to present the Monaco North Pole Expedition in which he will take part from April 10 to 19, 2006. Following in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather Prince Albert I, Prince Albert wants to study the effects of pollution on certain species of marine life in the food chain and monitor the eventual impact from pollution on the ecosystem and arctic populations. The seven-people expedition, including two guides, accompanied with 40 dogs and six sledges, will mark the 100th anniversary of the Museum created by Prince Albert I. The expedition will start from the polar drifting station of Barneo and cover 75 miles during the trek.

November 29th

The Hon Timothy and Isabella Knatchbull had their fourth child on November 23. The girl is names Isla Selina Edwina.

November 30th

Prince Akishino of Japan told at a press conference on the occasion of his 40th birthday that he seldom talks to his brother Crown Prince Naruhito. “Regarding communication with the crown prince, we are not visiting the crown prince’s household actively from our side ... since the crown princess is sometimes feeling good and sometimes not,” Prince Akishino said. “We will come over whenever they call us.” He said his family was “trying to have a chat, even briefly” with the crown prince and princess, who live on the same sprawling palace grounds in central Tokyo, when Naruhito and Masako play tennis or take part in other activities on the weekend. His remarks come amid speculation of a feud within the world’s oldest royal line. Last week a government panel recommended to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi letting females ascend to the Chrysanthemum throne. Prince Akishino, who has two daughters, said: "In principle I want them to let their personality and matters of interest grow although it is important for them to recognize their position.”

December 1st

Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands expect their third child in the course of June 2006. They already have a daughter, Eloise, and a son, Claus-Casimir.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has won a legal battle against the magazine Paris Match after they revealed he was father to an illegitimate son. A French court at Versailles ordered the magazine's publishers Hachette Filipacchi to pay 50,000 euros in damages to the Prince on 24 November. The court also ordered HF to publish the case outcome in red letters across a white band, covering a third of the publication's front cover. The decision confirmed a lower court ruling of June 29 against the publishers, claiming their article about the prince's private life had violated French privacy laws and breached the prince's legal rights over ownership and distribution of photographer of his son Alexandre and the child's mother Nicole Coste.

December 2nd

During an archaeological study at Westminster Abbey, London, the site of the original grave of King Edward the Confessor of England, who died in 1066, has been discovered in a forgotten, underground chamber. The site of the original grave has remained a mystery since his body was moved twice in the 12th and 13th centuries, finally being laid to rest at the tiered shrine at the altar of Westminster Abbey. It was known that Edward III, who was born in 1003, was buried beneath the sacrarium floor, but no one had been able to locate his original tomb until now. Archaeologists stumbled across the forgotten chambers while using the radar to investigate the construction of the Abbey's Cosmati mosaic pavement, dating back to 1268, in front of the High Altar. The current team identified other tombs under the shrine, in an area of the Abbey never before surveyed and on which no known records exist. It also revealed a series of royal tombs dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries, including a line of what appear to be diminutive graves, possibly for children. Warwick Rodwell, the Abbey's consultant archaeologist, called it an "extraordinary discovery" which was of "unparalleled" historical interest.

The Duchess of Cornwall has made her debute on the royal christimas greeting of her and the Prince of Wales. The holiday greeting shows the official wedding photo of the Duchess and the Prince of Wales together with their four children. In keeping with royal tradition, the couple have chosen to highlight a family event to mark the festive season, and this design clearly commemorates the most momentous change to both their personal lives.

Two Celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand were held separately by the government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) at Sanam Luang yesterday, paralyzing traffic for hours. Sanam Luang was turned into a sea of yellow T-shirts, flags, marigolds and placards bearing the specially inaugurated emblem to commemorate the occasion. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the government’s festivities. Before the government’s celebrations began, more than 50,000 monks gave prayers for the monarchy. Governor Apirak Kosayodhin kicked off the BMA-celebrations by leading some 500 city officials in giving alms to 170 monks, after which he opened an exhibition to showcase various district achievements that were inspired by the King’s past speeches. At the end of the afternoon more than 80,000 city officials and temporary staff, all clad in yellow T-shirts with “self sufficiency” emblazoned across the front, joined Apirak in pledging allegiance to the King and vowed to work honestly for the benefit of the country. The government event ended with a candle-lit vigil and a grand fireworks display. A grand ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the King's ascession to the throne will take place on 12-13 June 2006, which will be organised for foreign monarchs and dignitaries. The ruling monarchs of 29 countries around the world have been invited to the special celebrations. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world's longest-reigning monarch. He became the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty in June 1946.

Archduchess Regina of Austria was admitted to hospital in Nancy after suffering a stroke on Friday. She was fully conscious when aid arrived at the Hotel de la Reine where she was staying. She had accompanied her husband, Archduke Otto, to a colloquium held in Nancy.

An education board in Japan’s Nara Prefecture said Thursday it has discovered a luxurious tomb most likely that of a king from the ancient Baekje kingdom from Korea who went into exile in the island country. The tomb is in the ancient Kazumayama burial grounds, often referred to as "the kings' ravine," which house many royal tombs including Takamatsuzuka. It is a stone chamber built with flagstone-like bricks in the Baekje style, and judging from the earthenware excavated from it is likely to have built in 660-670 B.C., the Asukamura Education Board said. Kunihiko Kawakami, a professor of archeology at Kobe Yamate University, said, "It’s highly likely the tomb is that of the Baekje king Changseong, who fled to Japan with his father Seongwang in 631 and died in 674." Father and son were unable to return because of Baekje's fall in 660.

December 3rd

Crown Princess Mette-Marit gave to a son on Saturday morning at 10.45am at the Rikshospitalet in Oslo. She had arrived at hospital around 8.00am. The birth went quite quick. A press release from the royal palace says that all is well with mother and child. The child is third in line to the throne. In the afternoon at 15.00 Crown Prince Haakon held a press conference and told he was just as moved by the occasion as the first time. He told that the new prince was slightly larger than average. "We have had a son, and mother and child are fine," the Crown Prince said. He cut the umbilical cord himself. The little prince is 52 centimeters long and weighs 3944 grams. He said that they haven't chosen a name for their son yet. Due to strict official protocol and the logistic problems of a weekend, the name of Norway's new prince will not be made public until Monday. On Monday at 9.00am an extraordinary Cabinet meeting will be held at the palace, and the Prime Minister will make the announcement according to protocol. Crown Princess Mette-Marit and her newborn son left hospital at 15.40.

King Gyanendra of Nepal returned to Kathmandu from overseas yesterday to be greeted by the largest republican demonstration since he seized absolute power in a coup in February. The royal motorcade was stoned as it sped through the city to collect him from the airport after a three-week tour. The car in which Crown Prince Paras was travelling was hit by stones and a senior policeman had his hand broken when a stone flew through an open car window. Later the monarch drove to his palace through streets lined by silent, disapproving crowds. Republicans manhandled a group of red-robed Buddhist monks who had arrived to greet the king. The King is in an increasingly isolated position at home and abroad. Two weeks ago the democratic opposition, including the CPN-UML, reached an agreement with Maoist rebels which offered an end to the Maoist insurgency. Peace talks with Maoist rebels in 2001 and 2003 failed and the king has appointed a cabinet and taken the armed forces under his control. The media has been restricted and critics detained.

December 4th

The Norwegian royal court released several photos of the newborn prince taken by both his parents. The birth was greeted with a 21-gun salute at 1pm today from the canons at Oslo's Akershus Castle and Fortress, and at fortresses elsewhere in Norway.

The Japanese government plans to include the official title of a reigning empress's husband in its bill to allow a female on the throne, government officials said on Saturday. Of Japan's few reigning empresses through history, none was married while on the throne. After setting up a preparatory office last Thursday at the Cabinet Secretariat to draft the bill to revise the Imperial House Law, the government is planning to decide on the issue by around March, the officials said. The panel did not decide on the issue of what to call the husband of a female monarch on the grounds none of the panel members specialize in Japanese literature, according to a panel member.

December 5th

In an extraordinary State Council at the royal palace in Oslo King Harald V of Norway announced that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, in agreement with the King, have decided to name their newborn son Sverre Magnus. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced the name of the prince outside the palace after the State Council. He said the name has "long and good traditions in Norway," and also reflects the names of family members on both his parents' sides. Prince Sverre Magnus will not be a Royal Highness, nor will his birthday become an official flag-day. There also won't be any salutes from the Marine on the occasion of his birthday in the future.

A survey on Imperial succession showed today that 71,9 % of respondents support allowing the male-line Imperial tradition to be broken, saying the child of a female monarch should be able to become an emperor or reigning empress. Only 16,1 % want to see a continuation of the tradition of passing down the throne only to heirs who have emperors on their father's side, which experts say has been in place for more than 2,000 years. The survey also showed that 75,3 % are in favor of female monarchs.

An attorney for Grand Duchess Maria of Russia has sent documents demanding the rehabilitation of Tsar Nikolai II and his family to the Prosecutor General’s Office at Moscow. If a court acknowledges her evidence, Nicholas II and his family members will be considered victims of political repressions. However, the head of the House of the Romanovs’ office, Alexandra Zakatova, said today that the offspring would not make any property claims against the Russian government.

December 7th

Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands celebrated her second birthday in Argentina on the last day of her mother Princess Máxima's visit to the country where she was born. As a surprise the photographers were able to shoot some beautiful pictures of Princess Máxima and her daughters Amalia and Alexia outside the Dutch embassy in Buenos Aires. Amalia loved all the attention and put her arms in the air when the photographers sung 'Happy Birthday' for her. During her press conference today Princess Máxima said that she was very much impressed by the enormous warmth she received during her visit. She looks back at the year of the microcredit 2005 with satisfaction and said to have had lots of fun in her work this year. She'd like to continue the work in the future, but doesn't know how yet. On the question how she can do this work as member of the Dutch royal family she answered that "in our Dutch family we are used to use our talents." Amalia's birthday was celebrated with the Argentinean family. Princess Máxima told she wants to show Princess Alexia to her brothers and sister, and of course also Amalia has grown a lot. Princess Máxima said she has had little time for the children in the past days and will make it good in the coming days. The Prince of Orange is expected in Argentina tomorrow.

December 8th

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry are all to take part in a live ITV1 television event at the Tower of London to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Prince's Trust in May 2006. The show centres on a music concert at the Tower in May to mark three decades of Prince Charles's youth charity. During the show, the three princes will give a joint interview to presenters Ant and Dec, the first time they have been interviewed together. The public will be able to obtain tickets for Prince's Trust 30th Live through a number of ways, including a text ballot, while television viewers will be asked to pledge money by telephone to the charity, which helps disadvantaged young people in Britain. A spokesman for The Prince's Trust said: "We're approaching lots of people but no acts have been confirmed." In a statement, Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly said: "As ambassadors for The Prince's Trust, we are really excited to be presenting this live event. We enjoyed interviewing the Prince of Wales four years ago and we're thrilled to have the opportunity to interview him again, this time with William and Harry."

December 9th

Two teenage boys managed to get inside an enclosed courtyard in Windsor Castle after a late-night drinking binge, a youth court at Maidenhead heard yesterday. The pair scaled two walls, a steep embankment, a shrubbery and a long flight of steps before staggering over a barrier into a courtyard near St George's Chapel in the early hours of October 30. After setting off an alarm the pair were seen on a thermal imaging camera making their way up the 100 Steps which lead to the Dean's garden and courtyard. After one was filmed clinging on to a moving CCTV camera, grinning into the lens, the pair were eventually detained under the Terrorism Act and questioned. While one was cautioned, the youth who was filmed hanging on to the CCTV camera was charged with trespass and obstructing the police's security efforts and given a six-months referral order by magistrates at the court. The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was warned that he could have found himself facing an armed response and a magistrate described his drinking toll as "unbelievable". The court heard that between them the two boys had put away two beers, followed by another pint of beer, a double vodka red bull, a further vodka red bull, a sambuca, two bottles of Smirnoff Ice, two to three further vodka red bulls and two more bottles of Smirnoff Ice. The Queen was not in residence on the night in question and the pair reached the opposite end of the castle from the royal apartments. One of the boys was told that under his referral order he would be assigned to a Youth Offending Panel who would organise activities to prevent him re-offending.

Prince William of Wales hitched a lift home in a fighter jet to pick up a pair of boots at a cost of £20,000. He jumped in an RAF Hawk for the 250-mile, 25-minute trip to save himself the five-hour journey by road. Royal aides said he needed to go home to collect his Army boots after arriving at an RAF base for secret training without them. Military officials are furious at the waste of public money and insisted the cash should only be used for combat exercises and not to ferry around forgetful young princes. The Prince drove to Sandhurst army college in Surrey yesterday to pick up his military footwear. Clarence House said he needs to wear in the boots before he starts officer training in January. A source added: "He had to obtain the correct boots. He could not buy them on Anglesey because they are issued by the college. It is a long way from Wales to Sandhurst. I suppose he thought it was too far to take a taxi." Prince William has been given secret flying lessons by the RAF since he arrived at Valley on Sunday. He is said to have asked the commanding officer for the lift. A source added: "The RAF are pleased to have William training with them. They had no problem at all with giving him a lift. He enjoyed every minute of it." Prince William, who hopes to become a helicopter pilot, has been on two missions in Hawks and was allowed to take the controls. Royal aides say officially he is doing work experience with a mountain rescue team. But he has spent almost all his time at Valley in different sorts of aircraft.

In a statement on the occasion of her 42nd birthday Crown Princess Masako of Japan said she is recovering from stress-induced illness and has begun appearing at public events. "I am gradually getting better and have begun attending public events little by little," Crown Princess Masako said in her statement. She also expressed her gratitude to the Emperor, the Empress, Crown Prince Naruhito and the public for supporting her in her efforts to recover from stress-induced adjustment disorder. Her daughter Princess Aiko will enter Gakushuin Kindergarten in the spring of 2006. "In no time at all, Aiko has turned four. I feel very emotional at the idea that next year she will already enter kindergarten." She said: "I feel her growth when I see humor and thoughtfulness in her behavior and words." She also hoped that Princess Sayako will enjoy a happy life in her marriage to Yoshiki Kuroda. "She (Princess Sayako) has extended me help in a variety of ways since I entered the Imperial Family. I am now deeply grateful to her kindness," Crown Princess Masako said. Imperial Household Agency officials said that Crown Princess Masako has met with visiting foreign dignitaries at Togu Palace in Tokyo and received lectures by Foreign Ministry officials. She also inspected the Aichi Exposition in July. Her doctors also issued a statement that the crown princess is on the path to recovery. The doctors said, however, that her disorder has not completely gone away due to the "chronic stress" she had been suffering. They said her stress had been "beyond the imagination" of the doctors. "It is desirable for the princess not to hastily return to her official duties but gradually to do so," the statement said. As to signs of her recovery, the doctors noted that she was attending functions again and taking less medication. Still, they said that stress could easily affect Masako's health. The doctors also called on the office of the Crown Prince's Household to consider ways to enable the princess to take on new kinds of official duties as well as life-long projects in which she could use the knowledge and expertise she gained prior to her marriage. They noted that her current disorder was likely triggered by resuming official duties soon after giving birth to Princess Aiko four years ago. The doctors noted a need to devise ways to allow Masako to balance child care and official duties.

Archduchess Regina of Austria was released from hospital in Nancy, France, yesterday. She said she was doing very well. She was accompanied by her husband and three daughters. They left by airplane to Bavaria, where they live.

December 10th

Prince Emmanuel of Belgium was christened in a private ceremony today at the end of the morning at Ciergnon Castle. He was dressed in a long satin gown with a lace overlay. His godparents were Countess Elisabeth d'Udekem d'Acoz and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg. During the ceremony, which was led by Cardinal Gottfried Danneels, Queen Paola read from the bible and Queen Fabiola held a rememberance moment with quotations by the late King Baudouin about the family. The Choir Schola Cantorum Cantate Domino sang. The ceremony was attended by family and friends, among others King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Prince Lorenz of Belgium Archduke of Austria with daughter Luisa Maria, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Count Patrick and Countess Anne d'Udekem d'Acoz.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and other members of the royal family took part in Make a Difference Day yesterday and today by doing voluntary work. Queen Beatrix spent several hours this morning helping out in a live and care centre in Amersfoort. Also this morning Prince Constantijn, Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita were present at a football match for disabled people. Princess Laurentien this afternoon packed food-parcels in Lelystad. Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette assisted at Mappa Mondo in Wezep and in the evening Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène served food to families of asylum seekers at the Happietaria in Groningen. Also in the evening Pieter van Vollenhoven appeared in the Make a Difference Day tv-broadcasting. Already yesterday Prince Floris and Princess Aimée took part in an action of the Voluntary Police in Maastricht.

The wedding of Archduke Konrad of Austria, youngest son of Archduke Heinrich and Archduchess Ludmilla of Austria, and Ashmita Goswami took place this morning at the Catholic Parish in Anif, Austria. A luncheon followed at the Hotel Schloßwirth.

December 11th

The Prince of Wales has been questioned by a former head of the Metropolitan Police over the death of his former wife, Princess Diana, it has been confirmed. The Sunday Times says Lord Stevens and the Prince of Wales met for several hours last week at Clarence House. It reports that the Prince was asked about events leading up to the death of Princess Diana. Lord Stevens is studying suggestions the crash was not an accident. A Clarence House spokeswoman said: "The Prince of Wales has recently met with Lord Stevens as part of his ongoing inquiry."

After over a year of inviting couples to hold their wedding receptions at Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's home in the Highlands, only one couple has bothered. And Balmoral admits it has no other bookings. The residence has been thrown open to wedding receptions, corporate events and other celebrations as part of the Queen's plans to maximise her income from her holiday retreat. The decision was taken because the monarch wants to generate more money from Scottish weddings in the winter months when visitor numbers are down. Balmoral was particularly keen to cash in on the Highland weddings business. But factor Peter Ord has revealed that the only non-royal wedding reception at Balmoral was for the daughter of a member of staff. He said: "The only wedding was involving a local girl. Business functions have also been slow. We do not have many booked, in fact less than last year. I don't know the reason why?" Couples cannot marry on the estate as it has no licence to perform weddings. However, the Balmoral website points out that there are churches in Ballater, Crathie and Braemar, and two registrar's offices in the area. If ordinary brides and grooms want a royal setting for their celebrations, Balmoral is offering exclusive access to the Queen's Buildings, effectively the estate's 30-year-old shop and 120-seat restaurant, about 200 yards from the castle.

The Countess of Wessex has outraged animal rights campaigners by killing pheasants during a Royal shooting party yesterday. She and her husband were staying with friends at the Royal retreat Wood Farm on Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain's estate in Sandringham, Norfolk. The Countess wore ear muffs to protect her from the noise of the gun. The Earl of Wessex also took part in the shoot. An onlooker said: "She was knocking birds out of the sky and went out to pick up some of the ones she killed." Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, accused the Countess of being "despicably cruel".

Using radar equipment along a northeast corner of the Aliiolani Hale building, military specialists Saturday quickly located a time capsule buried more than a century ago by King Kamehameha V of Hawaii. until now the capsule's exact location was unknown. "We found it within the first 10 minutes we were here," said Larry Conyers, a University of Denver professor. "It never happens like this," he said. The capsule was left undisturbed. Digging it up would destroy the building above, which is also a historic treasure, experts said. They located the capsule so it could be protected during future renovations or natural disasters. The small casket was buried Feb. 19, 1872 more than two decades before the kingdom was annexed by the United States during a celebration where Kamehameha V laid the cornerstone of the Aliiolani Hale. It contains photos of royal families, Hawaiian postage stamps, the Hawaiian Kingdom constitution, 21 Hawaiian and foreign coins, 11 different local newspapers, a calendar and books, such as a Hawaiian language dictionary.

December 13th

In the morning it was reported in the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that Princess Claire of Belgium had to rest in bed for the rest of her pregnancy. However she didn't have to take rest very long. In the evening it was announced that she had given birth to two boys at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc at Brussels. The first prince was born at 18.54, weighs 1980 grammes and is 44 centimeters tall. The second prince was born at 18.55, weighs 2210 grammes and is 45,5 centimeters tall. The names will be announced later. The twins were born early, as they were only expected in January. Princess Claire gave birth by caesarian section. King Albert II and Queen Paola visited their new grandchildren this evening.

December 14th

Prince Laurent of Belgium spent the night at hospital with his wife Princess Claire, their daughter Louise and his mother-in-law Nicole Coombs. When leaving hospital this morning he said to the press that he was very happy, but that his work goes on. He hadn't seen his sons yet today. He could tell that his sons will have to spend three to six weeks in the incubator.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has to miss her own New Year's reception on January 10 at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima will now host the event. At the end of the year the Queen will be operated on her knee.

December 15th

The names of the newborn Belgian royal twins were announced today. The eldest will be called Nicolas Casimir Marie, the youngest Aymeric Auguste Marie. During a press conference this afternoon Prince Laurent of Belgium said both mother and sons were doing fine. He said that the babies had arrived so quickly that he and Princess Claire needed some more time to think about the names of their children. He liked the name Casimir, although Claire didn't, and Marie was chosen because the Prince admires the mother of Jesus Christ a lot. The name Auguste is, like Nicolas, a name that appears in the families of the couple. Claire's parents are called Nicholas and Nicole. It is not known yet if the twins are identical or not. The godparents are not known yet, but the Prince said that they will be people who will inspire the life of the children, and will help them to respect all languages, cultures, religions and colours. Princess Claire will be able to leave hospital early next week. Prince Laurent said tht Princess Louise will be there when her little brothers can leave hospital, and that there won't be photos of the twins as long as they are in the incubator.

King Harald v of Norway has decided to reduce his workload, and may have made his last state visit to remote destinations. After a series of major operations in recent years, he has opted not to take on any highly demanding duties abroad in 2006, newspaper VG reports. A planned state visit to India next autumn is reportedly already cancelled for King Harald, and it is most likely that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will go in his place. "I have been informed that the King has decided that he will no longer take the most exhausting journeys. I think this is very sensible," said Halfdan Ihlen, the king's personal physician. Ihlen has previous advised King Harald to scale down his official program and relax more often.

December 16th

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, was named Event Rider of the Year at the London International Horse Show yesterday. In September Zara had triumphed at the European Championships, taking two golds on her mount Toytown. As she was handed the heavy silver trophy Zara said about her performance. "I have never been so wet in my life", but added that the support of the crowd during the competition in Oxfordshire was fantastic and helped her confidence enormously. On Wednesday evening Zara had been at a gala, where she was picked as the Sunday Times' Sportswoman of the Year, an honour voted for by the public.

Prince Harry of Wales has marched for the first time in the 149th Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, now tthat he is in his second term. There are three such parades a year, at the college. Today's proceedings involved 475 cadets. Around half of them were "passing out" and receiving their commissions into the Army, having completed their officer training course. On January 8 he will be joined at the Academy by his elder brother Prince William, Clarence House has announced. Prince Dasho Khamsum Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan successfully completed the Commissioning Course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst today. Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck of Bhutan attended the parade.

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, her son Prince Floris and her daughters-in-law Princesses Marilène, Annette, Anita and Aimée visited the exhibition 'Brides of Het Loo' at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. At the exhibition their wedding dresses are on display. They also opened the annual Christmas presentation 'Christmas at Palace Het Loo'.

December 17th

With a government dinner at the Knight's Hall in The Hague hosted by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende the silver jubilee year of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands came to an end. The dinner was attended by the Queen, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, as well as Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. Among the guests were all ministers from cabinets since 1980, ministers of state, Prime Ministers and Governors of the Dutch Antilles and Aruba since 1980, as well as the chairmen of the First and Second Chamber. All together about 130 people were invited. From the government the Queen received an art work of Wouter van Baalen. In her speech Queen Beatrix she can't imagine herself a better conclusion of her jubilee year as the dinner that was offered to her and her family this evening, as she met again governmental people with whom she had gone through a lot in the past 25 years.

A royal security review has been launched after the location of the London flat of Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William of Wales, was revealed in the German magazine Das Neue. The magazines showed photographs of the home with a red arrow pinpointing the flat in which the couple spend evenings together. Senior protection sources have described the publication as "grossly irresponsible". Prince William has not returned to the flat since the privacy breach was discovered. The magazine also published a picture of the couple getting into a car outside after a night together. A senior police source said: "To do this is just irresponsible. Everything has to be reviewed in light of this." Prince William is understood to be furious over the intrusion.

The late King Olav V of Norway has been voted Norwegian of the Century by viewers of NRK TV. Public was being invited to nominate candidates for the election. Eligible were all Norwegians who had lived between 1905 and 2005, the first 100 years of Norwegian modern day independence. Six hundred persons were nominated. This was in the process first reduced to 50 candidates, the public then by sending in their votes narrowed this down to 10 candidates for the semifinals, and finally to five candidates for the Saturday finals. The very popular late King Olav V received 41 % of the more than 400.000 votes given.

December 18th

Countess Luana van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouw van Amsberg was christened at Palace Huis ten Bosch today. The service according to the rites of the Amsterdamse Studentenekklesia was led by Huub Oosterhuis, a good friend of the parents of Luana, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau. He red a part of the book Jesaiah: "Look then, I want to make a new heaven and a new earth and on what was before will not be thought anymore, it will not appear in any heart anymore.". Also a part of the gospel of Luke was read: "And it happened that all people were christened, when also Jesus was christened, when he stood there to pray, that heaven would open and the Holy Spirit, in bodily stature, as a dove, would come down to him. And a voice came from heaven: You are my son, my much loved, I am pleased with you." The christening song was from Bernard Huijbers. Luana will not be registered with any church community. The parents want to let Luana make her own decision, but will raise her in the spirit of their own Christian belief. Her godparents were Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Eveline Wisse Smit, Sophie Baroness von der Recke and Emma Bonino. The christening gown was a design by Viktor & Rolf, who also designed the wedding dress of Princess Mabel. Among the guests were the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien with their children, Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène with their two eldest children, Prince Bernhard and Princess Annette with their children, Prince Floris and Princess Aimée.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan has said he will step down when the country will hold its first national democratic elections in 2008. He would be succeeded as leader of the country by his son, the crown prince. He said he would begin handing over responsibility to 25-year-old Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck immediately. "I would like our people to know that the first national election to elect a government under a system of parliamentary democracy will take place in 2008," the 50-year-old told the crowd gathered in Trashiyangtse. The king, who has ruled for 33 years, gave up absolute power in 1998. He currently rules in conjunction with the government, an assembly and a royal advisory council.

December 19th

Copying the Prince of Wales's private journals was a "blatant, outrageous and wrongful interference", a High Court judge was told yesterday. The prince of Wales is trying to stop the Mail on Sunday publishing more material from the journals which have already revealed unflattering comments by the prince on the handover of Hong Kong to China. Hugh Tomlinson, QC, representing the prince, told Mr Justice Kitchin that the prince was trying to stop any further disclosure about the journals and their contents before a main hearing in February 2006. Legal action was launched last month after the Mail on Sunday published extracts from the prince's private commentary on the Hong Kong handover in 1997 in which he described Chinese diplomats as "appalling old waxworks". The prince called his 3,000-word journal The Handover of Hong Kong - or The Great Chinese Takeaway. Mr Tomlinson said the prince was claiming the Mail on Sunday article was a breach of confidence and infringement of his copyright and he sought the return of the copied journals. The Mail on Sunday has already given undertakings not to publish more details before the main hearing next year. The prince has sent loyal courtiers his private journals for 20 years. An insider says: "There is a clear suggestion that he no longer trusts his friends. Prince Charles does not want to offend these people and has not singled out any one of them as untrustworthy. But he feels very betrayed, misunderstood and criticised at every turn." The prince believes the documents were leaked by a former member of his staff. The Prince's private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, has been in touch with members of the prince's inner circle to ask for photocopies of his journals to be returned.

Television artist Rolf Harris has unveiled his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain at Buckingham Palace. The portrait, commissioned to mark the monarch's 80th birthday next year, is said to be an "impressionistic", rather than a "photographic", representation. "I'm not making any claims that this is the greatest painting in the world," said Harris. "I've done the best I can." The story of the painting will be shown in a BBC documentary on New Year's Day. "I was really thrilled with the impressionistic look, especially the hands," Mr Harris added. "I really like the way you get the blueness of the veins coming through the skin." Mr Harris had two sittings with the Queen over the summer. The portrait took him two months to complete. "I would get dressed and switch on the lights and start painting, night after night, sometimes painting for three hours, working on the little details." The Queen last viewed the portrait following the second sitting and remarked that it looked "very friendly". Mr Harris aimed to capture the Queen's "obvious charm and friendly quality". "I wanted to avoid the formal sort of portrait with all the jewellery and pomp and splendour," he said. "I wanted to capture the lady as she is with all her humour and reality." He added that the Queen appeared to enjoy the sittings: "I'm only too happy to be sitting absolutely motionless, doing nothing," she told him. The portrait will go on display to public at The Queen's Gallery in London from Tuesday.

Countess Feodora af Rosenborg and her husband Eric Patte have split up after seven years relationship. They married on July 31, 2004 at Copenhagen. Divorce papers have been filled in. The couple remain friends.

Swaziland has been shocked by the theft of King Mswati III's leopard-skin cape. The "umdada" cape went missing about three weeks ago, as the king prepared for the "Incwala" kingship ceremony that tests his fitness to reign. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported that the costume was found in the possession of a royal adviser. It says that the adviser said he had bought it from one of the king's valets. Prince Masitsela, the king's brother, said that ancestral spirits would deal with the thieves. "Anyone who came in contact with the costume is in for a shock," said the prince. "In the history of the Swazis, anyone who touches anything belonging to the king, be it a trouser or anything that he wears, angers the gods who will cast a spell on him."

December 20th

A new survey conducted by Norwegian Social Science Data Services at the University of Bergen, shows a major decline in the popularity of Norway's royal family. The survey showed that only 13 % of young people questioned said they were fond of the royals. That's down from 30 % in 1991. The survey reveals the opinions of Norwegian youth, and was taken in connection with the national school elections last September. The results were published Tuesday in the national newspaper Vårt Land.

Versailles Palace today unveiled the fruit of more than a year of dusting, polishing and patching up to return its Hall of Mirrors to a semblance of its 17th-century splendor. The section was closed to the public for 18 months as part of a $14.4 million facelift. "This is harmony rediscovered," said Frederic Didier, the architect behind the project. "You really feel the unity between the walls and vaulted ceiling _ between the marble that kept its brilliance and the paintings that had faded." Restoration of the hall's other section, which remained open to visitors during the work, is to begin in February and will last until 2007.

December 21st

At the end of the year Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will receive a new left knee in an operation at the Haga Hospital, location Rode Kruis in The Hague. Afterwards she will spent some time at the Bronovo Hospital for rehabilitatin. It is expected the recovery will take more than two months. The Queen hopes to return to work completely afterwards.

December 22nd

This morning Prince Laurent of Belgium registered his sons at the townhall of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert in Brussels. He said that his wife and children are doing well and that he hopes that his sons will be able to leave hospital in three weeks. When she acted as a witness for Prince Laurent gynaecologist Corinne Hubinont said that twins Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric will remain in hospital until mid-January. Hubinont signed the birth register together with Viscount Etienne Davignon. The third witness was Count Cédric du Monceau de Bergendal, and the fourth naval captain Georges Vanlerberghe. As a gift from the municipal council, Mayor Georges Désir gave Prince Laurent of Belgium two rocking horses in the form of a cow.

The whole building of the Farmer’s Palace in Peterhof, or Petrodvorets, was almost completely enveloped in fire today, over an area of 500 square meters. Firefighters have so far been unable to extinguish the fire. The Farmer’s Palace was first built as a one-storey farm in 1830 with one of the pavilions for Tsarevich Alexander, the son of Tsar Nicholas I. In 1859, it was rebuilt and became a two-storey residence for Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The palace was seriously damaged during World War II. Recently, it had been undergoing restoration.

Speculation has arisen over the health of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga after a report that he has been rushed to New Zealand for medical reasons. Since December 19 Tonga's Prime Minister Prince 'Ulukalala Lavaka Ata had been running the country as Prince Regent "until the king returns". "The King of Tonga left Tonga to go to New Zealand ... for medical reasons in what appeared to be a hasty departure," a newspaper reported. The trip was unexpected since the king had only recently returned to Tonga from New Zealand and had been expected to be at home over Christmas and the New Year. Sateki 'Ahio, the acting secretary for the palace office, told the newspaper that he was not sure if the king would stay in Auckland or return to Tonga for Christmas.

December 24th

The Prince of Wales has reportedly considered using the name George when he becomes King. He has discussed ditching the title Charles III because of associations with some of the bloodiest periods in the monarchy's history, the Times says. But Clarence House said that a choice would not be made until the coronation and the report was "idle speculation". A senior Royal official quoted in the Times said there had been an assumption the Prince would keep the name Charles. The Prince of Wales was christened Charles Philip Arthur George. Former Buckingham Palace press spokesman Dickie Arbiter said by using the name George, Charles would be paying tribute to the both his grandparents. "It would not just be a tribute to his grandfather, but a sort of loving memory to his late grandmother, whom he absolutely adored," Mr Arbiter told BBC Radio Five Live.

Count Christiaan and Countess Willemijn van Rechteren-Limpurg had their second son, Florian Nicolaas Erik, at Amsterdam on 20 December. Their first son is called Alexander.

December 25th

The youngest generation of the royal family of Norway stole the show in the past two days. The Christmas Eve church service at Asker Church was attended by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, as well as their children Marius, Ingrid Alexandra and even three-week-old Sverre Magnus. They were accompanied by the Crown Princess's mother, brother Espen and his partner Renate Jonassen with their baby son. Today the service at Holmenkollen Chapel near Oslo was attended by King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn with daughter Maud Angelica and by Princess Kristine Bernadotte. On December 19 already the traditional family Christmas photos were published, taken at the Royal Palace. Only Ari Behn doesn't appear on the pictures, as he was ill.

The British royal family was greeted by more than 2000 of flower-bearing well-wishers when they attended the Christmas church service this morning at St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham. The Duchess of Cornwall clearly enjoyed her first church service with the family and needed help carrying the many bouquets presented to her. She, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales, Peter Phillips and Princess Eugenie made the 500 yard walk from Sandringham House to the church. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain arrived separately by car accompanied by the Countess of Wessex and Princess Beatrice. The service, conducted by the rector of Sandringham, the Rev Jonathan Rivierie, was held in private, though it emerged that the duchess had been mentioned by name during the traditional prayers for the Royal Family. Prayers were also said to the victims of the London bombings in July and the Asian tsunami last Christmas.

In her annual pre-recorded Christmas speech from the Chapel at Buckingham Palace Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain praised the "quite remarkable" humanitarian responses to natural disasters and terrorist acts in 2005. She recalled events from the Asian tsunami to Hurricane Katrina and the 7 July London bombings and highlighted the efforts by people of all faiths. "This world is not always an easy or a safe place to live in, but it is the only place we have," she said. "This Christmas my thoughts are especially with those everywhere who are grieving the loss of loved ones during what for so many has been such a terrible year." She referred to the events to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, saying the "need for selflessness and generosity in the face of hardship is nothing new". She said the last year "I believe also that it has shown us all how our faith - whatever our religion - can inspire us to work together in friendship and peace for the sake of our own and future generations."

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's traditional Christmas speech was dominated by the natural catastrophes of 2005, but at the same time, the king pointed out that the misery and chaos was not without glimmers of hope. "One year has passed, but we will never forget the catastrophe which happened on the other side of the world on Christmas Day and which came to affect our country so badly," said the king. "But my wish is that all you who find it so hard will be able to feel hope in an existence which is now unbearable, an existence which could also offer happiness and harmony." Finally, he encouraged everybody to reach out and offer a helping hand to those in need. "We can all, one by one, light a candle in the darkness," said the king.

Yesterday evening King Juan Carlos I of Spain in his Christmas speech called on the Spanish people to show ‘consensus and moderation’ in times of tension and to defend the Constitution. He said that an end to terrorism continued to be the priority objective. He called on the Spanish people to ‘overcome our differences, look to the future, and work day by day to make Spain the modern just and solidarity thinking country which we can all be proud of’.

From Palace Huis ten Bosch near The Hague Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands reminded people to be thankful for the good in life during her Christmas speech. "We live in a time when what we lack is constantly emphasized. Thankfulness begins with the recognition that there is a lot that is good," She said at the end of her silver jubilee year. She had been received everywhere with cordiality during her jubilee year for which she was indebted. Her office made her aware of how important the support of others was to carry out her duties. She also thanked her late husband, Prince Claus, for all that he had done for and meant to the Netherlands. She included her sons and other members of the royal family in this thank you, saying that "With the strong support from my family I can fulfil my duties." Tensions between different groups in the population threatened the cohesion of society even in the Netherlands, the Queen said.

December 27th

Clarence House yesterday issued a denial of claims that the Prince of Wales has held private discussions with "trusted friends" about the possibility of reigning as George VII rather than risk the negative connotations attached to the name King Charles. Officially the Prince's office said yesterday: "No decision has been made and it will be made at the time."

Princess Ubol Ratana of Thailand, who lost her son in the tsunami at Christmas 2005, presided over the final tsunami memorial ceremony in Phang-Nga, organised by the Thai government, yesterday evening. The event started with inter-faith memorial services comprising Buddhist, Christian, Islam, Sikh and Hindu religions. A video with the song Winds of Hope was played showing the events of the day. After two poems, read by a British girl and a Thai boy, the Princess held her speech. She shared her painful experience, and gave moral support to victims' families and encouraged them to move on. Then the lighting of candles was marked with a final minute of silence and 5,000 beautiful lanterns floated up into the sky ending the final moments of a memorable day of memorial ceremonies.

December 28th

A row between Tonga’s Prince Regent, Prince Ulukalala Lavaka Ata and the widowed daughter-in-law of the King, Lady Alaileula Tuku'aho has forced her to leave the island kingdom, Matangi Tonga reported. Lady Alaileula is the widow of the late Lord Ma’atu, the King’s second son who died suddenly in February last year. She described her departure from Tonga on December 20 as the “end of that chapter of my life.” She returned to Apia, Samoa, where she comes from originally, with Hon. 'Etani Tuku'aho, the youngest of her four children. She said she did not want to comment on the events surrounding her hasty departure. “I don't really want to talk about what happened - I have left Tonga and that is the end of that chapter of my life,” she told the Tongan online news service. Sources close to the Tongan Royal family in Nuku'alofa confirmed the row between the two resulted from the killing of a King’s cow on the royal estate.

December 29th

Television newsreader Anna Lindmarker from Sweden has made an official complaint against her own channel, TV4, after it was said in the satirical panel game Parlementet on 25th September she was the mistress of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. Panelists were invited to comment on "the unfaithful king", following the naming in Solo magazine of three of the King's supposed mistresses. In the complaint to the Broadcasting Commission, the channel is accused of violating Mrs Lindmarker's private life, of not observing its duty to provide accurate information. According to Lindmarker's lawyer Percy Bratt, the programme breached the conditions of its licence. "The accusations in the programme about Anna Lindmarker's sexual relations with the king have been given currency by being repeated again and again," Bratt wrote in his complaint. The newsreader's bosses at TV4 say they support their news anchorwoman's decision to file a complaint.

December 30th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands arrived in hospital this afternoon accompanied by her sons the Prince of Orange and Prince constantijn. The operation on her left knee took place this afternoon. The 1 1/2 hour operation went well.

December 31st

Children was the main theme in this year's New Year's speech of King Harald V of Norway that was broadcasted tonight. He also recalled reflections made during his own hospitalization earlier this year. "Lying there in a hospital bed, one looks at life in a different light, and what is really meaningful becomes even more important. Not least one understands how imporant family and friends are. For me, to be a grandfather and see new grandchildren borne into the family has enriched my life", the King said. "On this New Year's Eve it is the coming generation which is on my mind. A small child carries within it the future. That it why it is important that that it be given the opportunity to develop in a secure environment. Children need to be recognized and to develop faith in themselves." He continued: "Children are unfortunately easy to trade with, because thay are helpless, trusting and seek protection. This is part of the slave trade of our times, and a threat to all positive values in our international society." He also recalled the Tsunami disaster in from Christmas 2005 and the catastrophes which followed.

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