Royal News 2003

Last modified: 4 January 2004

Archived royal news from my old website for the year 2003.

January 1st

A survey of The Times says that the Duke of Edinburgh was the busiest member of the British royal family in 2002 carrying out 578 engagements, of which 487 were in Great Britain and 91 abroad. Queen Elizabeth II completed 545 engagements, of which 74 abroad. That the total of the Duke of Edinburgh is higher than his wife’s is the first time in six years, although the score can be explained by his presence at celebrations marking the Golden Jubilee. They even worked harder than the Princess Royal, who has long enjoyed being the highest ranked member of the family.

At the Imperial Palace Emperor Akihito of Japan received New Year’s greetings from government officials, saying: “I’m praying for this country’s prosperity and people’s happiness.” Earlier, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko received Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, followed by Prince Akishino, his wife Princess Kiko and other members of the imperial family. However the Emperor had to cancel his attendance at some imperial rituals in the morning. In his New Year’s greeting, released through the Imperial Household Agency, Emperor Akihito said he hopes 2003 will be a better year for the Japanese people, despite the difficulties they face. I can well imagine that there are various hardships and difficulties in people’s lives, but I sincerely hope that this new year will be better, even if only a little, for each and every one.” Tomorrow he will receive well-wishers from the public at the Imperial Palace. Later this month the Emperor will undergo an operation to remove a gland and he will rest at the Imperial Palace for more than one month. Crown Prince Naruhito is expected to take over the emperor’s constitutional functions during his father’s absence.

The weekly Moroccan magazine Tel Quel has chosen Princess Lalla Salma, wife of King Mohammed VI, as ‘person of the year 2002’ because of ‘appearing in public, her common origine and her character’. The magazine also mentioned that the King and the Princess will have their first child in March, although nothing has been officially announced so far.

January 3rd

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family will celebrate Queen’s Day on April 30 in Deventer and Wijhe in the province of Overijssel.

January 4th

Princess Fadia of Egypt died on December 28th in Lausanne, Switzerland, of natural causes, according to Swiss medical records. She was born on December 15, 1943. Today she was buried at the El-Rifai Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, next to her father King Farouk and her grandfather King Fouad I. Princess Fadia’s brother Fouad, the last king of Egypt who was deposed in 1953, her sister Princess Ferial, as well as Fadia’s husband Pierre Orloff and their two sons Michel and Alexandre accompanied the coffin to Egypt.

The 18th century French castle of Lunéville, similar to Versailles Palace and therefore also called ‘little Versailles’, was almost completely destroyed by a fire on Thursday night. The fire broke out at the roof of the chapel of the castle. Despite the hard work of 150 firefighters, who only had the fire under control after six hours, the original interior and a valuable porcelain collection couldn’t be rescued. Most likely the fire was caused by current failure. The castle is situated near Lunéville in the north east of France, in Lorraine. It was once occupied by the deposed Polish king Stanislas.

January 7th

Princess Michael of Kent has revealed that she has been diagnosed with skin cancer. “People tend to panic at the mention of the word cancer, but I wasn’t upset or frightened when the doctor told me,” she said in an interview. “I’ve always covered up in the sun and it seemed so ridiculous that I developed cancer despite taking precautions.” She said: “This cancer isn’t life-threatening so I consider myself to be very fortunate. In the course of my charity work I meet so many people who have suffered terribly – what I’ve got really isn’t an issue.” When the Princess first noticed a spot of red skin on her face she simply covered it up with make-up, thinking it was just a sign of age. Another patch developed on her right leg, however, and when she discovered a third on her right arm she decided to consult a doctor. “The patches I had were like mini-craters: raised dark pink circles with a dip in them.” The mark of a scar on her nose is barely noticeable thanks to the work of a renowned New York surgeon. “I have a little scar but I can conceal it with make-up and now I’m happy as a clam!”

The Princess Royal has been named one of 2002’s Worst Dressed Women by designer Mr Blackwell. She takes the fifth place behind Anna Nicole Smith, Kelly Osbourne, Shakira and Cameron Diaz. Mr Blackwell says that the Princess Royal is “dreary, drab and dour.” He adds: “Wake up Anne, you’re getting worse by the hour!” On the list of the Best Dressed Women, lead by Reese Witherspoon, another princess, Princess Firyal of Jordan – former wife of Prince Mohammed bin Talal, a brother of the late King Hussein – takes the sixth place.

January 8th

The Imperial Household Agency announced that Emperor Akihito of Japan will undergo a prostate cancer operation on January 18th. He will be admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital in the morning at January 16th to prepare for the operation. He will remain hospitalized for about one month and will rest at home afterwards.

On January 21st Christie’s in Amsterdam will auction a painting of a Norwegian mountain landscape (Evening at the Bygdin Lake, Norway) by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, painted around 1932 during a vacation in Norway. It is 40 x 59 cm big and is valued at 4000 to 6000 Euro, although it could catch much more because the painter is so well-known.

January 9th

Prince Hridayendra of Nepal (Nava Yubaraj Hridayendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev) made his first public appearance during a Hindu ritual in which he was fed solid food for the first time by his parents at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu. The prince, son of Crown Prince Paras and Crown Princess Himani, was born almost six months ago and Hindu tradition in Nepal requires that babies will be fed rice in a ceremony (Annaprasan) days before they reach their sixth month. Following the ceremony he was taken around the city in a horse- drawn carriage on his first trip outside the royal palace, visiting holy sites in the old town. Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand officiated as the “guardian” carrying the baby royal to the Maru Ganesh and other temples near Hanuman Dhoka. Thousands of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the little prince. Later, Queen Mother Ratna gave a reception for select invitees at the Narayanhity Royal palace, that was also attended by King Gyanendra and Queen Komal and the parents of the baby, as well as other members of the royal family.

James Hewitt, former lover of the late Princess Diana of Wales, told Larry King at CNN that he is prepared to sell his love letters from the late princess. He has already been offered £4 million for 10 of the 64 intimate handwritten letters composed during their affair. He said ideally the intimate correspondence, written between 1989 and 1991, would go to a private collector or a museum. “I think it’s important to understand that they are or will become important historical documents.” And he said selling the letters is better than leaving them to sit and “rot in a safe”. “I think it might be irresponsible not to sell them and to generate something one can do some good with.” He added that “They are extremely well written, loving and nothing to be ashamed of.” Meanwhile the British Library has said they would like to house the letters in its collection saying that it will respect the privacy concerns of the late Princess’s family by “restricting or prohibiting access for a period of reservation to anyone other than heirs”. The Library’s collection of royal and aristocratic correspondence since the 16th Century. The Library hoped that the letters would be donated to it by a wealthy benefactor as there is no way the British Library would be able to afford some of the sums that have been mentioned.

January 13th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has undergone a successful 45-minutes operation to remove a torn cartilage from her right knee at the King Edward VII Hospital in London after having been admitted to hospital last night. The minor operation took place under general anaesthetic. The operation follows a scan on the knee last week at King’s Lynn Hospital, near Sandringham. She is due to remain in hospital until tomorrow. The Queen is expected to be fully active again within a few weeks. She will rest at Sandringham over the next two weeks. The operation was necessary after the Queen wrenched her knee walking on uneven ground during a private visit to Newmarket on the Friday before Christmas.

January 14th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has left hospital after yesterday’s surgery. Walking with the aid of a stick, she smiled as she was helped into a Range Rover that took her back to Sandringham. Unusually for the Queen, she wore a grey trouser suit, which covered her bandaged knee. She is facing daily physiotherapy now.

January 15th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was admitted to Århus Kommunehospital yesterday. Today she had a four-and-a-half-hour surgery on her spinal column. She will remain hospitalized for a week, but the full recovery will take months. Because of pain in her back she had been forced to sit receiving traditional News Year’s wishes from the diplomats on January 6th. The Palace said she is recovering in good condition. Prince Joachim took over the regency as Crown Prince Frederik is sailing at Tasmania.

January 16th

Today Archduchess Maria of Austria, wife of Archduke Simeon, gave birth to their fourth child and second daughter, Carlota Adelaïde Teresa Maria. She was born in Grabs, Switzerland.

Emperor Akihito of Japan was admitted to the University of Tokyo Hospital this morning where he is to undergo a prostatectomy on Saturday. Empress Michiko accompanied the emperor when he was admitted to the hospital and is expected to stay overnight. The emperor is scheduled to undergo a few additional checkups Thursday and Friday before the operation to remove the entire prostrate gland on Saturday morning. It will be the first time for a Japanese emperor to undergo surgery outside the Hospital of the Imperial Household. He will stay in a special room designed to accomodate top dignitaries. The emperor is expected to remain hospitalized for about one month, and after being released, is to recuperate at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and temporarily refrain from public duties. Earlier today, books for signing get-well messages for the emperor opened in front of the palace’s Sakashitamon Gate. As of noon, 541 people had signed the books. Crown Prince Naruhito will take over his father’s constitutional duties during his father’s absence the Japanese government decided on Tuesday.

January 17th

In a private swayambar ceremony at the Narayanhiti Royal palace in Kathmandu this afternoon 24-year-old Princess Prerna of Nepal, only daughter of King Gyanendra and Queen Komal, became engaged to 29-year-old Nepalese Raj Bahadur Singh after exchanging garlands and gold rings with him. The chief royal priest chanted vedic hymns. King Gyanendra, Queen Komal, Crown Prince Paras and other family members attended the ceremony. The King conferred the title of ‘Kumar’ or Prince on the bridegroom, raising his position to that of a royal family member. The ceremony was the first of a series of ceremonies taking place before the wedding. The two-day wedding ceremony is to begin on Wednesday when the groom is expected at the bride’s home and spend the night there undergoing lengthy ceremonies. On Thursday, when the wedding is to be solemnised at the Narayanhiti Palace, the groom and his bride leave in a horse-drawn carriage, the bride dressed in red and wrapped in gold jewelry. On Friday the princess will be taken to the bridegroom’s residence in a procession followed by the Prime Minister, other ministers and high-ranking military officials. The marriage was arranged by both sets of parents, a common tradition in Nepal, said a palace official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Though the engagement had already been announced, in Hindu tradition couples do not officially become engaged until a formal ceremony is held, usually shortly before the wedding date. Meanwhile Nepal is preparing for the first royal wedding since 1997, when Princess Shruti – one of the members of the family who was killed in the massacre on June 1, 2001 – married. The wedding ‘is a time to rejoice for the royal family and the Nepalese people, who have been hearing nothing but bad news,’ said royal family expert Nischal Nath Pandey. ‘It will be a good break from sorrow and despair.’ The royal palace is being painted light blue while workers pitch tents for the reception and prepare the ceremonial grounds for hundreds of guests, the streets and sidewalks around the royal palace are being repaved and workers paint the perimeter walls, while craftsmen are carving new tables and chairs for the bride, a gift from her parents.

January 18th

A team of six surgeons successfully removed Emperor Akihito of Japan’s cancerous prostate gland at the University of Tokyo Hospital during a 3 hours and 40 minutes operation. After awaking from the anesthetic he was returned to his room. “There were no visible signs of cancer having spread, but to be certain, we will make an announcement after a pathological check has been conducted,” the medical supervisor of the Imperial Household said on a press conference in the afternoon. The Emperor is fine and spoke with his wife and daughter after waking up. Today 4,893 well-wishers went to the Sakashitamon Gate of the palace to leave get-well messages.

Today Crown Prince John Barigye of Ankole, one of Uganda’s monarchies, gave blessings to his daughter Princess Caroline to marry the Irish dairy farmer Eamonn Ryan. Mr Ryan is the first European in the more than 600-year-old history of Ankole who has been allowed to take a bride from the royal family. Prince Edward Kiraaka said it was vital for the royal family to adjust to changes. The cultural ceremony (okuhingira=give away) was held at the Muhabura Kariro Palace and was attended by over 2500 guests. The groom and his party arrived at the palace around 2:40pm wearing traditional clothing, much to the amusement of local people, as the traditional clothes are usually not worn by white people. After the lunch had been served the Crown Prince and other important guests took their seats. The veiled bride then slowly walked to the reception area led by a Rwandese dancing group. Prayers were led by the Archbishop of Mbarara after which the ceremony began. The bride was given away by her two younger brothers, who presented a set of milk containers to the groom. The wedding is scheduled to take place next Saturday in Kampala.

On Thursday the Romanian government decided that the remains of King Carol II of Romania and his third wife Elena Lupescu will be repatriated to Romania. Their remains will be transported from Estoril in Portugal and will be reburied at the Monastry Curtea de Arges on February 13 during an official ceremony. Former king Michael and the royal family have given their consent for the transfer and reburial.

January 19th

Recently Duchess Fleur von Württemberg became engaged to Count Moritz Louis von Goëss. Fleur is the daughter of Duke Carl von Württemberg and his wife Diane, born Princess of France. Moritz is the son of the late Count Ernst Friedrich von Goëss (1932-1999) and the late Countess Gabrielle zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Krautheim und Dyck (1941-1985). He was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, on June 5, 1966. The wedding is said to take place this summer.

January 20th

Police said assailants opened fire this morning near Ulundi, about 270 miles southeast of Johannesburg, South Africa, on a Mercedes car belonging to Prince Gideon Zulu, a leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party and social welfare minister in the KwaZulu-Natal province. The car carried princess Madlamini Zulu and her 38-year-old son Prince Mazwi. A car drove up next to their car and assailants opened fire. They wounded Prince Mazwi and the family chauffeur Mdlalose, who lost control of the car when the shooting began, drove up an embankment whereafter the car overturned. Princess Madlamini was treated for injuries she sustained when the car overturned. Prince Mazwi is in critical condition with gunshot wounds to torso and head and were taken to a nearby hospital. The prince later was airlifted to a hospital in Durban for emergency surgery to remove a bullet lodged in his skull. Police said they did not know why the car was attacked. Zulu’s spokesman, Mike Gumede said: “At this very moment it is difficult to associate it with a robbers, as much as it is difficult to think of a political assassination.” Meanwhile the police has launched a manhunt for the suspected robbers.

Emperor Akihito of Japan is recovering from Saturday’s operation. He has been talking to his wife and daughter on Sunday. After waking up at around 6am he was able to shift his body slightly while in bed, the chamberlain of the Emperor said, adding that newspapers reporting the success of the operation were delivered to the Emperor’s room. The Emperor was still restricted from meals but is scheduled to start eating small portions of thin rice porridge today and is also scheduled to begin attempting to stand and walk around his bed. The total number of well-wishers who signed the books exceeded 20,000.

The new BBC1 costume drama ‘The Lost Prince’, about the life of Prince John (1905-1919), the hidden son of King George V and Queen Mary of Great Britain, attracted nearly 8 million viewers on Sunday evening. The second part of the drama will be shown next Sunday. Now the two-part drama is heading for a USA release and it is thought that the BBC might sign a deal with a USA distributor to release the drama in re-edited form in American cinemas.

January 21st

Prince Mazwi Zulu died at the St Augustine’s hospital in Durban, South Africa, today just before 3pm after being shot in the head during a drive-by attack yesterday. He had been connected to a life support system and died without being disconnected from the machine. He was already brain dead earlier today. Prince Gideon Zulu and his wife Princess Madlamini were at the hospital when their son died. The funeral will take place on Sunday at the royal residence near Nongoma. The Zulu-led Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said it was shocked at Mazwi’s death. “It is indeed a very tragic death … He was in the prime of his life,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango. Police would not comment on motives behind the killing, but said they were questioning four men. A bag carried by Prince Mazwi containing cheques was missing from the scene.

The Earl of Wessex’s 11-part royalty documentary ‘The A-Z of Royalty’ will be shown on E! this Sunday, which will be the first showing in Great Britain. It was already broadcasted in the USA. ‘The A-Z of Royalty’ sparked outrage last summer following the filming of Prince William at university – without his permission.

As part of her training to become a queen, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will spend three weeks at Swedint, the international arm of the Swedish military, beginning on March 3rd. The military camp is based in Almnaes, south of Stockholm, where Swedish troops undergo training ahead of international peacekeeping missions. Brigadier General Claes-Göran Heden said today that she will be treated just like any other recruit. She will live with other recruits in the barracks, learn to handle weapons and practice survival skills. A spokeswoman of the royal family said that when she finishes the course she will head for Washington to study conflict resolution.

January 22nd

Tonight Priests performed pre-marriage rites of Princess Prerna of Nepal and Raj Bahadur Singh on a giant flower-festooned dais set up on the lawn in front of the pagoda- style Narayanhiti Royal Palace, whose red and blue walls were freshly painted. They chanted hymns and offered prayers to oil lamps, water-filled jars and images of the elephant deity Ganesh, the god revered for removing obstacles. Five pipe bands accompanied Raj Bahadur Singh, wearing a traditional Nepali dress, when he entered the palace grounds where he was received by King Gyanendra and Queen Komal. The king placed garlands of marigolds around the groom’s neck upon arrival. During the ride from the groom’s house in Chhauni to the palace (bar-yatra=wedding procession) he was cheared by thousands of people who lined the streets. Afterwards at 19:31 they tied the nuptial knot in a colourful ceremony in accordance with the Vedic Hindu tradition at the heavily guarded Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu. The ceremony was attended by relatives and royal guests, as well as other distinguished guests. The bride, dressed in a gold embroidered red sari and veil, was given away by her parents in ‘Kanyadaan’, a Vedic ritual in which the parents and relatives of the bride also wash the feet of the groom. On Thursday, the king and queen will bid a ceremonial farewell to their daughter who will be taken in a horse-drawn coach to the home of her husband, before another marriage ceremony will take place. Also a grand feast is being organised at the palace tomorrow for special invitees, which include members of the royal family.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has applied for an AOW-pension (for people over 65) previous to her 65th birthday at the end of this month. She has said that the complete amount of money will be donated to charities, like her husband the late Prince Claus did also in the past.

28.680 Euros was paid for a painting by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, painted around 1932 at the Bygdin lake in Norway. The buyer is a private person who will give the painting on loan to the museum Palace Het Loo.

January 23th

Thousands of people lined the streets of Kathmandu to cheer Princess Prerna of Nepal and her husband Raj Bahadur Singh as they rode through the city in a black carriage pulled by four white horses decked with flowers. Pipers played traditional Nepali music. Bride and groom waved during the 7 kilometres ride from the Narayanhiti Royal Palace to the house of the groom, which was a wedding present of King Gyanendra. Earlier King Gyanendra had accompanied his daughter, who was dressed in a bright red sari weaved with gold thread, when she was carried from the palace to the carriage in a palanquin studded with yellow stars.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was released from hospital today. She was driven back home to Amalienborg by ambulance. She will need a few months to recover from her back operation.

Emperor Akihito of Japan took a walk of about 100 metres in the corridor at hospital on Wednesday morning as well as around noon and in the evening, the Imperial Household Agency said. His intravenous drips for nutrition have also been removed and he has started having normal food since lunch Wednesday. Today the Emperor was visited by Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, as well as Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko.

January 27th

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands visited Leeuwarden today. First they visited the Tresoar where the first copy of the inventory of the archives of the Frisian Nassaus was handed over to the couple in presence of among others people who had attended the congress about the Nassaus earlier that day (among them myself). After a push on a button an antique bookcase, once belonging to stadtholder Johan Willem Friso, showed up with in it the copy. Afterwards the at the same time opened website of the Tresoar was shown, on which the archives also can be searched. The Prince of Orange could have a look at the letter the private secretary of his mother wrote in 1985 on his behalf to ask if he could become a member of the Eleven Towns Association. When they walked out of the room, the Prince and Princess could have a look at the original of the letter as well as the skates he skated the 11-town race on in 1986. After a short walk the couple arrived at the Museum Het Princessehof where they opened the double exhibition about the Frisian Nassaus (the other part is in the Fries Museum, also in Leeuwarden).

January 28th

Erling Lorentzen, husband of Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen celebrated his 80th birthday with a big party at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway. Among the 122 guests were King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn, as well as Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner.

January 29th

Confidential documents related to the abdication of King Edward VIII, his exile and marriage, released by the Public Record Office after an initial 100-year secrecy order was overturned, reveal that Wallis Simpson cheated on both her then husband Ernest Simpson and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) with the married car salesman Guy Trundle. The romance was discovered by Special Branch officers who reported on July 3, 1935: “The identity of Mrs Simpson’s secret love has been definitely ascertained. He is Guy Marcus Trundle.” He is described as a very charming adventurer, very good looking, well bred and an excellent dancer. He met Wallis Simpson quite openly at informal social gatherings as a personal friends, but they also had secret meetings. She paid him money and bought him expensive presents. It is not clear where the liaisons took place. Furthermore they tell about a private one-time meeting in early 1936 between King Edward VIII and Ernest Simpson during which the King “broke down” after telling Simpson that he was “in love with his wife and that he wanted to marry her”. The note in the documents says: “Simpson told the King that he must be mad to entertain such an idea, that he must realise that she was already married and, even if she were divorced, it would be impossible for him to marry a woman who had been twice divorced. He had a long talk with the King on this aspect of the matter, pointing out the position held in the State and the traditions of the Royal Family with regard to family life.”

The released documents on the Abdication Crisis in Great Britain in 1936 reveal that the late Queen Mother was instrumental in preventing the Duke and Duchess of Windsor from returning to Great Britain in the wake of the crisis. She told her husband, King George VI, she had no wish to meet the Duchess of Windsor. In a hand-written letter, dated December 14, 1938, to the then Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, George VI said: “I think you know that neither the Queen nor Queen Mary have any desire to meet the Duchess of Windsor, and therefore any visit made for the purpose of introducing her to members of the Royal Family obviously becomes impossible.” Letters from the Duke of Windsor show that he was very angry that he was not allowed to return to his homeland.

The released documents on the Abdication Crisis say that the British government prevented King Edward VIII from making a radio broadcast appealing for public support during an impassioned speech in the hope of marrying Wallis Simpson and still retaining his throne. However Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin blocked the idea and the King was confined to making a farewell address. The speech can be found among the released documents. In it he speaks of his love for Mrs Simpson and hints at the possibility of a morganatic marriage whereby she would not have been Queen. It says: “I could not go on bearing the heavy burdens that constantly rest on me as King, unless I could be strengthened in the task by a happy married life; and so I am firmly resolved to marry the woman I love, when she is free to marry me. Neither Mrs Simpson nor I have ever sought to insist that she should be Queen. Now that I have at last been able to take you so fully into my confidence, I feel it is best to go away for awhile, so that you may reflect calmly and quietly, but without undue delay, on what I have said.”

February 1st

In the morning Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited Oude Tonge where she attended the rememberance service for the 1835 people who died during the floods in the south-west of the Netherlands in the night of January 31st to February 1st, 1953. Afterwards she visited the cemetery of victims of the floods where she laid a wreath together with Prime Minister Balkenende. In the afternoon the queen visited Ouwerkerk where she spoke with people who survived the disaster and relatives of the deceased for more than one hour.

Emperor Akihito returned to the University of Tokyo Hospital yesterday evening after spending the night at his residence in the Imperial Palace. He was temporarily released from hospital on Thursday afternoon, when he arrived at the palace by car with Empress Michiko who had been staying with him at the hospital since he was admitted on January 16. According to the Imperial Household Agency the Emperor is recovering steadily. He is taking meals as normal and has begun to take walks in the corridors of the hospital. The emperor’s temporary return home was recommended by his doctor as a part of his recuperation.

February 2nd

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam has announced the first stage divorce “Talak Satu” upon his second wife Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam binti Haji Abdul Aziz. A royal announcement was made by Prince Sufri Bolkiah and broadcasted on the national television and radio last night. “By the command of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the council of Adat Istiadat of Brunei Darussalam announced that His Majesty with the guidance of Syara’ Laws pertaining to marriage and divorce that is in relations to wed with good intention – Ma’aruf – and to divorce with good intention – Ihsan – as stated in part of verse 229 of the Surah Al-Baqarah of the Holy Quran. On this Sunday, the 30th of Zulkaedah 1423, corresponding to the 2nd of February 2003, His Majesty announced that the first stage divorce – Talak Satu – upon His Majesty’s second wife, HRH Pengiran Isteri Hajah Mariam binti Haji Abdul Aziz. In this regard, by the command of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, with effect from the date, titles conferred by His Majesty to His Majesty’s former wife are now withdrawn.” Under sharia law the Sultan can change his mind within 100 days.

February 4th

The Belgian royal court announced that on April 12 the civil wedding of Prince Laurent and Claire Coombs will take place at 10:00am at the townhall of Brussels and that the religious wedding will take place the same day at 11:00am at the Cathedral of the Saints Michel and Gudule. After the marriage a lunch will take place at the royal palace at 1:30pm. At the occasion of the wedding a concert, followed by a reception, will be organised on Friday 11 April at 19:30 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels.

February 5th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn have announced that they will move to Manhattan, New York, this autumn. They don’t know yet how long they will stay there and say they will just see how things go. Family will all be invited to visit and long return trips to Norway for summer holidays and Christmas celebrations are also planned. The couple is hoping for a quiet, anonymous life in the urban crowds. They started thinking about moving to New York after visiting Manhattan during their honeymoon. Their new address is not yet been decided. Furthermore the couple has decided that the child they expect in May will have the family name Behn, since as Princess Märtha Louise says “I don’t have a surname.”

February 7th

Intimate letters between the late Duchess of Windsor and the Irish Edward FitzGerald 7th Duke of Leinster have been stolen from a car parked outside the house of the Duke’s son Adrian FitzGerald in Trevarrian, Great Britain. Mr FitzGerald said the stolen photocopied letters and diary entries showed a close friendship between the Duchess and the Duke of Leinster. “The car was full of expensive power tools, but they ignored those,” said FitzGerald. “They took only my writing case, containing all my personal documents and also some rather sensitive papers used for research for my book concerning my father and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. This had all the appearance of a robbery to order, but I have no idea by whom.”

February 8th

Prince Alexander von und zu Liechtenstein, son of Prince Philipp Erasmus – a brother of Prince Hans Adam II – and his wife Isabelle, married Astrid Kohl, daughter of a industrialist from Italy, at the Franziskaner Church, richly decorated with flowers, in a snowy Salzburg, Austria. The wedding was supposed to take place at 16:00, but because of the snow the choir was too late, so the ceremony started one hour later. Afterwards dinner took place at the Prince-Archiepiscopal residence. Among the 300 guests from all over Europe were Archduke Karl and Archduchess Francesca of Austria, the Duke and Duchess of Württemberg, Prince Alexandre and Princess Barbara of Yugoslavia, the Duke of Vendôme, the Aga Khan and the Begum Inaara, as well as Countess Celia von Bismarck. Already on Thursday the bridal soirée had been held at the Leopoldskron Castle, on Friday followed by a pre-wedding party at Stiegl’s Brauwelt in Salzburg.

Emperor Akihito of Japan was released from hospital today. Accompanied by Empress Michiko he left hospital around 4pm in the afternoon. The Emperor will recuperate for the time being and refrain from any public duties for about a month, the Imperial Household Agency said. The Emperor was initially scheduled to stay in the hospital for about one month, but doctors recommended an early release because the Emperor has made a steady recovery. Upon his return to the Imperial Palace the Emperor released a statement expressing gratitude to everyone who had wished him well. The Emperor will have regular checkups, including blood tests, to ensure the cancer does not recur.

In the lawsuit against Prince Ernst August von Hannover because of bodily harm and insulting, his lawyer now proposes an agreement outside court. The prince seems to be willing to withdraw his revision against the first sentence, in case the fine will be lowered and the Public Prosecutor also withdraws its appeal. In December 2001 the prince was sentenced to an eight-month custody and a fine of 255.646 euro for beating a disco-owner up in Kenia and insulting journalists. Both Prince Ernst August and the Public Prosecutor had appealed against the sentence.

February 10th

The fashion collection of the late Princess Lilian of Belgium, which included some of the greatest names in haute couture from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Jacques Fath to Givenchy and Balenciaga, is to be sold in a sale entitled ‘Fit For A Princess’ on Monday, May 19, 2003 at Sotheby’s, Olympia in West London. The collection features exquisite items capturing the distinctive styles of the early 50s, groovy 60s and classic 70s and contains more than 200 pairs of shoes, 100 hats, 400 pairs of gloves, riding habits and boots in every colour and fabric, handbags by Hermès, pairs of silk stockings in original wrappers and handkerchiefs. The collection, which is estimated to realise in excess of £200,000 is being offered for sale by Princess Lilian’s family. Also some 60 pieces of jewellery from Princess Lilian’s collection will be sold. Highlights include a gold and enamel bracelet by Schlumberger, a gold chain as well as a pair of gold and diamond earclips by Cartier. In September, Sotheby’s Amsterdam will offer paintings, fine silver, furniture and works of art from Château d’Argenteuil, where Princess Lilian lived for many years.

Paul Hohenzollern, son of Carol Hohenzollern, whom a Romanian court recently recognized as the first legitimate son of King Carol II of Romania, on 7 February submitted claims for property restitution, including the Peles Castle in Sinaia. Mr Hohenzollern, who submitted the claims as representative of his ill father in London, says Carol Hohenzollern is entitled to 62% of all claims for property restitution submitted by former King Michael I of Romania because, in addition to half of the properties that belonged to Carol II, he is also the testamentary inheritor of Carol II’s last wife, Elena Lupescu, and of Carol II’s brother, Prince Nicolae.

February 11th

A rare collection of personal gifts and letters sent by the late Diana Princess of Wales to one Stg Ronald Lewis, a member of staff at St James’s Palace for many years, will be auctioned in Cambridge on March 19. Huge interest is expected in the sale, which could fetch as much as £20,000. The 80 seperate lots include Christmas cards, thank-you letters, signed photographs and gifts. Stg Lewis died in 2001 and his widow has decided to sell the collection. The last time a collection of similar royal artefacts was sold was around five years ago in Norfolk, but it was auctioned as one lot.

February 12th

An interview with Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn in the Dutch magazine HP/De Tijd and the German magazine Stern has caused a row in The Netherlands. In the interview the princess, daughter of the Duke of Parme and Princess Irene of the Netherlands, and her husband attack her family and the royal family of the Netherlands. They say it is an effort to end a string of negative media reports about them and to tell people what really happened. They say that the family has tried to destroy their relationship, because they didn’t like Edwin. The couple tells about Margarita’s youth, her parent’s divorce in 1981, their first meeting in 1998 and the start of their relationship in 1999, the first meeting of Edwin with Margarita’s parents which went pretty well and their engagement at the end of 1999. Early in 2000 the problems with Margarita’s family started with a cross-examination of Edwin by her parents, followed in May 2000 by a meeting with the Duke of Parme. The Duke told that he had heard some things from the past of Edwin that he wanted to talk about, as Edwin had lied about it to the family. Edwin should have been without work for years, shouldn’t have been graduated at all, and he should have brought his family in financial problems. Finally the Duke wanted an explanation of the story that Edwin should have had an homosexual relationship and possibly was infected with the HIV-virus. Edwin told the Duke that those stories weren’t true and afterwards it became clear to him that the Duke must have seen his Social Service file, which wasn’t even at the disposal of Edwin himself. At parties after this meeting it was made them clear in a hardly subtle way that Edwin wasn’t a very welcome guest. It is also reported that shortly after the religious wedding in September 2001 the princess and her husband turned to prime minister Wim Kok of the Netherlands for help, but he didn’t want to interfere in a family matter. In Stern Margarita also revealed a family secret by telling that her father has an illegitimate son with a Dominican housekeeper, Xavier, born in the early 1980s. The interview in HP/De Tijd is the first in a serie, so more statements will follow in the coming weeks. The royal family of the Netherlands issued a statement in which they regret the articles and say they don’t recognise the portrait of them painted in it. Out of love for Princess Margarita the family restricts itself to this reaction.

February 13th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium expects her second child in the beginning of September. The princess and her husband Prince Philippe already have a one-year-old daughter, Elisabeth. The announcement said that the whole family is very happy. Meanwhile Prince Philippe’s sister Astrid, who is 6 months pregnant with her fifth child, was admitted to hospital last week. During a medical check up she has decided, in consultation with her doctor, to stop her public activities to avoid becoming too tired and allow a normal course of her pregnancy.

An Orthodox service, attended by diplomats from Romania and Portugal, was held in a Roman Catholic cathedral in Lisbon, Portugal, for King Carol II of Romania. Pretender to the throne, Paul Hohenzollern, grandson of King Carol II, who didn’t receive an invitation, was spotted outside the cathedral. The coffins of the king and his third wife Elena Lupescu, his draped with the Romanian monarchist flag, were afterwards flown on a military plane to Bucharest, Romania, where they will be reburied tomorrow. At a brief airport ceremony to receive the body of the king back Prime Minister Adrian Nastase of Romania said: “This moment is significant for us because it is another sign of our reconciliation with ourselves and with our past.” The ceremony in which the national guard carried the coffin and played the national anthem was broadcasted live on television. In Bucharest the royal family of Romania was represented by Princess Margarita and her husband Prince Radu of Hohenzollern-Veringen. Former King Michael, Carol II’s son by Princess Helena of Greece, had approved the repatriation of the remains, but did not attend the ceremony today, nor will he attend tomorrow’s ceremony. Prince Radu held a short speech on his behalf at the ceremony this evening, saying: “The events which we are witnessing today are a credit to our own national traditions. The man who was our head of state for ten years, a Romanian who died at the other end of our continent, in exile, is finally returning home. We should leave it to historians to debate the achievements of King Carol II and the disputes will, no doubt, continue. You would accept that, for the Romanian Royal Family, today represents both a national and personal event. All HRH The Princess Margarita and I can say on behalf of the entire Royal Family is that we salute the efforts of the Government in accomplishing this Christian and patriotic act. We are also grateful to the Government and people of Portugal, that Latin sister of ours, which has provided a home to King Carol for decades. This is not simply a ceremony of reburial, but a reconciliation with the past, a powerful act of historic justice. The troubled heart of Carol II is now returning to where it belongs: among the other kings of this country, his predecessors who have achieved Romania’s independence and our Union. The long journey of a king who served this nation has now been completed.”

The Socialist Party has asked for an explanation of the role of former Prime Minister Wim Kok in the family quarrel between Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and the royal family of The Netherlands. The SP also wants to know if the Social Service file has come into the hands of third persons in a legal way.

February 14th

King Carol II of Romania was buried today in the royal crypt at the 16th-century cathedral of Curtea de Arges, 50 years after his death in exile in Portugal. Orthodox Bishop Calinic of Arges led a somber 50-minute ceremony with full military honors, supported by priests. Soldiers carried a sepia portrait and his military medals on three red cushions. The royal family of Romania was represented by Princess Margarita and her husband Prince Radu of Hohenzollern-Veringen. Former King Michael sent a wreath of butter-coloured roses that was placed near the coffin. The remains of the king’s third wife, Elena Lupescu, were buried at the cemetery and will be marked by a simple marble slab adorned with posies of mauve and yellow freesias.

February 16th

Using a Danish passport former King Constantine of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie as well as crown prince Pavlos and his wife Marie Chantal, princess Alexia with her husband Carlos Morales y Quintana and prince Nikolaos, paid a short visit to Greece. After flying from Milan to Athens yesterday morning they drove to Tatoi Palace to visit the grave of the king’s parents, King Pavlos and Queen Frederika, and to attend a short rememberance service for them. In the afternoon the family visited a sailing club in Piraeus, where they had lunch with some Greek friends and visited the museum of the club, where the king showed his children the boat in which he won gold at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. Thereafter they enjoyed dinner with friends. At night Pavlos, Marie Chantal and Nikolaos discovered the nightlife in Athens. The family stayed at an hotel near Tatoi palace.

February 19th

The second part of the interview of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn in HP/De Tijd criticize Queen Beatrix for not supporting them and tell that she also is against their relationship. They also reveal that they wanted to hold a second engagement dinner at her mother’s house on December 16th, 2000, and that many members of the family told they would be absent. The real reason didn’t become clear to them until they read the day before that Prince Constantijn and Laurentien Brinkhorst would become engaged that day, something that only they didn’t know. Interestingly Princess Margarita also tells that Queen Beatrix and the Prince of Orange wouldn’t have spoken which each other for months in 1999 because the queen thought the prince’s girlfriend Máxima, whom he wanted to marry, wasn’t strong enough. Margarita and Edwin say that late in 2000 they were under the impression that their telephone was being bugged and that their mail was opened. Princess Margarita also reveals that Prince Bernhard has had a relationship with his personal assistant Cocky Gilles for many years. In this interview she also says that she has met her halfbrother Javier, son of the Duke of Parme and their Dominican nanny Charro, once, when she was about 18 or 19 and he was about 8 years old.

Handwritten letters of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, proving that in 1956 the prince had asked the foreign press for help in the Greet Hofmans affair, were discovered at stables in England by the Dutch AVRO television while making a documentary about the prince. At the stables the archive of the late British journalist Sefton Delmer (Daily Express) was kept. In the letters the prince thanks Mr Delmer for the fact that he had made the Greet Hofmans affair publicly known. Healer Greet Hofmans, who had lots of influence at Queen Juliana, had to leave the royal court in 1956 after reports in the foreign press. In another letter from 1960 the prince complains that he is in need for money as the government hadn’t increased his allowance over the past two years.

The Countess of Wessex announced yesterday that she is to be patron of eight charities: the Brainwave Centre in Bridgwater, Wessex Heartbeat at Southampton General Hospital’s cardiac unit, the Dyslexia Institute, the Healing Foundation, Tomorrow’s People, St Mary’s School in Bexhill, Vision 2020 and the New Haven Trust in Toronto (Canada). She has chosen organisations specialising in helping people with speech and communications difficulties. The countess has let it be known she wishes to be actively involved in the charities, and not just a figurehead. Although she has carried out some solo engagements after her marriage in 1999, yesterday’s announcement confirms a higher profile with her own mantle of charitable causes. It is expected that the countess will take over some of the organisations that have lost a royal patron after the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret in 2002, and that more patronages will be announced in the coming weeks.

February 20th

The swayambar of Princess Sheetashma Shah of Nepal, second daughter of the late Dhirendra Shah and the late Princess Prekshya, with Abhinesh Shah was held today at Jeevan Kung. King Gyanendra and Queen Komal, as well as other members of the royal family, were present. The marriage is being solemnized on March 5 and 6.

Princess Katharina zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, born Countess von Podewils-Dürniz, will lead Sotheby’s in Hamburg, Germany, after March 1. The wife of Prince Bernhart zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein started her carreer in London in the 1980s where she worked for an art-shop, led Sotheby’s in Prague from 1993 to 1997 and afterwards led the Mucha Museum in Prague.

February 21st

On the occasion of the wedding of Prince Laurent and Claire Coombs a concert will be given by the National Orchestra of Belgium led by Mikko Franck on April 11 at 19:30 at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. The following works are on the programme: ‘Vrolijke ouverture’ of Marcel Poot, ‘Cantus Arcticus’ of Einojuhani Rautavaara, fragments of ‘Roméo and Juliet’ of Sergej Prokofiev and ‘L’apprenti-sorcier’ of Paul Dukas. At 20:30 the concert will be followed by a reception on which the marrying couple and their families will share their joy with about 1500 guests, among them 220 people representing all the various populations from all provinces of the country. Also the route of the wedding cortege on April 12 was made known. 1. Royal Palace – Townhall: Palace Square, Koningsstraat, Koloniënstraat, Putterij, Europa Kruispunt, Putterij, Infante Isabellastraat, Agoraplein, Grasmarkt, Heuvelstraat, big Market Square; 2. Townhall – St Michiels and St Goedele Cathedral: big Market Square, Heuvelstraat, Grasmarkt, Agoraplein, Infante Isabellastraat, Putterij, Europa Kruispunt, Putterij, Koloniënstraat, Kanselarijstraat, St Goedele forecourt; 3. Cathedral – Royal Palace: St Goedele forecourt, Kanselarijstraat, Koloniënstraat, Koningsstraat, Palace Square.

February 22nd

Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is preparing a claim against the Dutch state of tens of millions of euros it was said today by a lawyer. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn was director and shareholder of Fincentives from 2001 to 2002, and sold the company in June 2002 because he found out that his own person seemed to be an obstacle for the continuity of the company. The company, founded in 1999, was successfull until Edwin married princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme in 2001. The lawyer, Prof Mr W.J. Slagter, says: “If you notice that time after time negotiations go well, but that companies are backing out as soon as the contract can be signed, one can say a boycot is taking place”. He further says: “In essence it is about two things. Edwin feels attacked in his sense of honour and wants rehabilitation. Besides that he wants indemnification for all the damage which was done to him personally and to his company.” Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn will ask for testimonies and statements of tens of people involved. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is said to have lost his whole capital due to the boycott of his business.

During the opening of a new research centre at York University the Duke of Edinburgh made a gaffe. He told onlookers that “It is surprising the way things have changed since I first became chancellor of the university 50 years ago.” However the university was only celebrating its 40th anniversary, and the Duke of Edinburgh isn’t the chancellor of York University, but of Cambridge University. The Duke is thought to have become confused by his schedule. He was later a guest at a dinner hosted by the Cambridge Society of York.

February 23rd

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden will move from the Drottningholm Palace to his own appartment at Slottsbacken 2 in the centre of Stockholm. Soon the prince will start an education for graphic design at a school in Stockholm.

February 24th

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday. Prince Philippe held a speech at the Area’s Chamber of Commerce promoting international trade, while princess Mathilde visited a youth arts programme and a rehabilitation centre. Later they went up north to San Francisco, met the mayor and visited the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Royal House of The Netherlands won’t give any further reaction to the Princess Margarita-case. The case has been discussed during a regular discussion at Palace Huis ten Bosch this morning.

The Royal Palace in Oslo opens his doors for the public from June 22 to August 17. This year special attention will be given to the 100th anniversary of the birth of King Olav V with an exhibition at the small and the big feasthall. On the day of his birth, July 2, the palace will be closed.

February 25th

From her holiday address Annemiek Rade, former private secretary of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, has said that she has never received the order from Mr Felix Rhodius to copy bankcopies of the princess and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, as they had stated in an interview to the magazine HP/De Tijd. Meanwhile the newspaper De Volkskrant says that it owns copies of the correspondence between Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and the Amsterdam Social Service. A journalist of the German magazine Stern has given the number of the file of Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn at the Social Service, although the Social Service last week denied having a file about him. Further Simmons and Simmons Trenité has fired lawyer, Prof Mr W.J. Slagter, immediately, because he has communicated with the media about the case of princess Margarita and her husband.

February 26th

In the third part of the interview of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn to the Dutch magazine HP/De Tijd some letters of members of the royal family to Margarita are quoted. A note by the Prince of Orange, also seen on a picture, reads: “Dear Margarita. Unfortunately it seems to us that under the present circumstances it is not opportune to invite you for our wedding. Hoping for a better future, I wish you lots of success and wisdom. Love, Alexander”. The note makes clear that the couple thus not was invited for the wedding on February 2, 2002, although the media stated that they were not present due to financial problems. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn says that if in such a television programme it is said that you are almost bankrupt, you are going to become bankrupt. A letter by Queen Beatrix is also quoted in which she says that she finds the accusations of Margarita in her letter pretty paranoid.

According by an inquiry by Bureau Intomart 48% of the Dutch don’t believe the stories of Princess Margarita and her husband about their fight with the royal family that were published in the magazine HP/De Tijd. 500 Dutch were asked what they thought about the case before the third part was published. 10% thinks the stories are true, while about 25% have doubts or think the stories might partly be true. A small majority of the people questioned think that the position of the royal house hasn’t been damaged by the stories, while 41% thinks the stories have caused damage. 84% however says that their opinion about Queen Beatrix hasn’t changed, while 8% thinks more positive about her and 4% more negative.

A fire broke out this afternoon at Meilgaard Castle in Denmark. The fire could be seen from a few kilometres distance. One woman jumped out of a window and was taken to hospital with severe injuries. Meilgaard Castle is owned by Michael Iuel, husband of Princess Désirée zu Schaumburg-Lippe, but the couple doesn’t live at the castle.

February 27th

The Duke of Parme has denied ever having seen the Social Service file of his son-in-law Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn nor having had access to the file. He says that it was Edwin himself who told him that a file was existing. He however confirms that he has confronted his future son-in-law with the rumours he heard about the long time unemployment and HIV- status. Meanwhile both Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and Mr R. Oudkerk, the Amsterdam alderman who is responsible for the Social Service, demands a clarification from the board of the Amsterdam Social Service Office. Mr Eef Brouwers, head of the Government Information Service says that nobody has given an order to investigate Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn.

Yesterday evening a confused man passed the guards in front of Soestdijk Palace, The Netherlands, in his car with full speed and ended up against the stairs leading to the entrance of the palace. He had already warned the palace in the morning that he would come to make troubles. The man was arrested.

The plans for the permanent memorial to Princess Diana south of the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, have been approved by Westminster Council. Work on the ring-shaped stone fountain is expected to be finished by summer 2004.

February 28th

As promised Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands has paid the fine of 600 euros of an employee of a supermarket in Amsterdam who was fined for assaulting a supermarket robber after he and a colleague had detained him last August. During the robbery the robber threatened a cashier with a knife and escaped with an amount of cash. Two employees of the supermarket set off in pursuit of the man and overpowered him. After the police had handcuffed the thief, the employee allegedly punched the man in the face.

Seven men arrested in connection with the murder of Prince Mazwi Zulu last month briefly appeared in Eshowe Regional Court. They are facing murder and armed robbery charges. The case has been adjourned to March 20 for a formal bail application.

According to the annual list of the world’s billionaires by Forbes magazine Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia appears to be the richest royal in the world, being listed as the fifth richest in the world with investments worth $17.7 billion.

March 1st

Jewelry and clothes of the late Princess Lilian of Belgium will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London on May 19. After the Sotheby’s selection the auction-house Vanderkinderen in Uccle was allowed to clear out Argenteuil castle afterwards, after the children of Princess Lilian had sorted out the household effects. It turns out that many very personal items of the royal family were left, among others toys of the late King Baudouin, portraits of King Baudouin and King Albert II as a child, the ski equipment of King Leopold III, his hunting trophies. The items can be seen at the auction-house on 28, 29 and 30 March. They will be auctioned on 2 and 3 April.

March 3rd

Lady Helen Taylor, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, has given birth to a daughter yesterday, Buckingham Palace announced today. The statement says: “Mother and baby are doing well.” However the palace refused to say where the baby was born. The newborn baby had yet to be named. She is 29th in line to the British throne. Lady Helen and her husband Timothy Taylor already have two sons, Columbus and Cassius.

Today at 1:00 a.m. Archduke Sigismund of Austria-Tuscany and his wife Elyssa became the proud parents of Tatyana Maria Theresia Laetitia Juliet. Tatyana was born in Livingston, Scotland and weighs 3550 kg.

The Danish royal court announced today that Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her husband Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth expect their second child in August. They already have a three-year-old son, Richard.

March 4th

In an exclusive interview with the television programme Nova this evening Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme says she and her husband want to be fully rehabilitated and that they came out with their story to tell the truth and to be respected by the people. She said it is very important people know who the Oranjes are ‘who are said to be allowed to reign the country, because they do abuse their power. She thinks they have enough proof to show that illegal things happened. She thinks that the negative rumours about her and her husband came from the Dutch royal family and the Bourbon de Parme family and says she also has proof for that. Margarita says that Edwin and she stand so strong that they can’t be driven apart, if the campaign against them continues or not. She says Queen Beatrix could stop the campaign, but that she doesn’t know if the Queen is prepared to do so, and that she blames the Queen for not giving her the protection she could have given. Furthermore Margarita tells about their visit to the office of Eef Brouwers of the Government Information Service and tells that she discovered a small microphone on the wall. She tells they also taped the conversation with Mr Brouwers. Margarita is sure also Queen Beatrix records conversations she had with her.

March 5th

King Gyanendra of Nepal welcomed the wedding procession of Princess Shitashma, daughter of the late Dhirendra Shah and the late Princess Prekshya, and Avinesh Shah when it arrived at Jeevan Kunj, Maharajgunj, this afternoon. Also other members of the family were present at the occasion. King Gyanendra and Queen Komal performed the Kanyadan rites (giving away the bride) as well as other rites for bride and groom.

The Government Information Service considers to take juridical steps against Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme because she accused director-general Eef Brouwers of bugging in an interview to the television programme Nova on Tuesday. Brouwers called the accusation of Princess Margarita ‘unheard and unknown’ and ‘absolutely not true’. In the interview Margarita spoke about a microphone in the wall, but Brouwers says it was the screw of a painting. At a press conference today Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also rejected the accusations of Margarita against the royal house. At the press conference he called the case ‘outmost painfull and hopes that the case ends quickly’. However he confirmed that the Internal Security Service (BVD) has collected information about the then future husband of the princess in 2000. According to the Prime Minister this is the normal procedure when new candidates enter the royal family. He said that the results of the investigations were the reason for ‘conversations in the family circle’.

March 6th

In a letter to Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn the Ministers of Interior, Kingdom Relations and Justice, also on behalf of the Prime Minister, have apologied. The letter says in addition to the declaration by the Prime Minister yesterday and the answers to the questions asked by the Second Chamber: “We are attached to announce you that this belongs to the regular job of both services, fitting within the legal frames. Such collection of information usually takes place without a special authorization at ministerial level and there was no motive to inform us about that. Moreover such information of the General Intelligence and Security Service, the former BVD, is only very restricted accessible within the service. The above has led to the fact that to our regret this information from both services, wrongly and in retrospect incorrect, was not included in the reply to your previous correspondence.”

Just released British government documents reveal that in total £1,227 was spent on wines, spirits, liqueurs and cigarettes at the reception at Buckingham Palace on the occasion of Princess Margaret of Great Britain’s wedding to Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960. This accounts for a large slice of the £2,701 spent on the reception and wedding breakfast and easily outstrips the £527 food bill for the occasion. The total costs of the wedding were £26,000. Questions were raised in Parliament afterwards about the cost to taxpayers who were footing the bill through the Privy purse. There was particular concern over the use of the royal yacht Britannia for the six-week honeymoon in the West Indies.

An announcement in The Times today says that the daughter of Lady Helen Taylor and Tim Taylor is named Eloise. She was born at The Portland Hospital in London.

March 7th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has unveiled a bronze portrait bust of her mother, the late Queen Mother Elizabeth, at Sandown Park Racecourse in Surrey, one of the Queen Mother’s favourite venues. A second, slightly different bust of the Queen Mother, also by sculptor Angela Connor, is due to be unveiled by the Queen next week at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Today it was officially announced that Claire Coombs, upon her wedding to Prince Laurent on April 12, will receive the title of princess. Her family will not receive any noble title.

Yesterday king Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodge unexpectedly offered to abdicate. He didn’t give a reason for his offer, but people say that the decision is connected to the political tensions in the country previous to the elections in July. The king is said to be unsatisfied about the political situation in his country.

March 8th

Prime Minister Balkenede says that the case of Princess Margarita wasn’t discussed with Prime Minister Wim Kok, although there has been a file at his ministry, with in it the letter of the princess to Wim Kok.

March 9th

In the controversial TV programme Spirit of Diana, aired on an American channel, British mediums Craig and Jane Hamilton-Parker claimed to have contacted the spirit of the late Diana Princess of Wales. They say she is ‘having fun’ in the afterlife and that she is working with children while watching over her own sons, after first having spent some time with Mother Teresa. The mediums also claim that she told them she was not pregnant at the time of her death, but did plan to marry Dodi el-Fayed. She also said the car crash was an accident. Parts of the show will be broadcasted in Great Britain tomorrow.

St James’s Palace will consult the Press Complaints Commission after pictures of Prince William of Wales at St Andrews University in Scotland were published in the News of the World. A Palace spokeswoman said: “We take a dim view of the publication of these pictures as we thought there was an agreement between the Press Complaints Commission and newspapers not to pursue William at university. We will be contacting the PCC to discuss this matter.” They further said: “We acknowledge that William was in a public place but, because of sensitive issues around his privacy at university, we hope newspapers will show restraint.”

Former bishop Mgr Philippe Bär, who consecrated the wedding of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, has stated that there was no campaign against the couple from the side of the royal family. Although Mgr Bär doesn’t want to talk about the case any further, he declares that the Duke of Parme had told him to be against the wedding of his daughter, but that he hasn’t asked him why. Mgr Bär says that ‘For me the princess and Mr De Roy van Zuydewijn were two lovers who wanted to marry in front of God’.

March 10th

A poll by the NIPO shows that 54% of the Dutch calls the case of Princess Margarita pretty or very damaging for the Royal House. 48% of the people questioned hardly believe the stories and 19% of the people don’t believe anything at all. Only 3% of the people think that the statements of the couple are mainly right. About 38% of them thinks the case damages the Prime Minister. Still 81% of the Dutch think The Netherlands should remain a monarchy. About 20% of the Dutch say not to follow the news about the couple at all, while 49% don’t follow it very much. 48% of the Dutch above 56 years follow the news intensively, while only 13% of the people between 18 and 35 follow the case intensively.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn have officially informed against former Prime Minister Wim Kok and the ministers De Vries of Home Affairs and Zalm of Finances. They are among others accused of forgery, swindling and violation of the official secret. They also informed against officials of various ministries and the former Internal Security Service (BVD), in connection with the inquiry after Edwin De Roy van Zuydewijn before his marriage.

March 11th

In a letter of Prime Minister Balkenende to the Second Chamber about the Princess Margarita case it is said that Director Rhodius of the Cabinet of the Queen has asked the then deputy-head of the Internal Security Service (BVD) in January 2000. He then said that ‘questions were raised about the integrity’ of Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn. Thereafter it was decided by the deputy head to research the files of the BVD, as well as other files. No special authority, like bugging, following or observing, was used. The inquiry wasn’t reported to Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn or the Minister of Home Affairs, although the last thing should have been wise. Because still some questions were left open, the report of the BVD was handed over to Rhodius, who informed the Duke of Parme and his eldest son Carlos about a few data from the report, because he found that Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn himself had to give a clarification personally and that the father and brother of Margarita were the persons to conversate with him. Also Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands was informed later on.

In the German magazine Stern Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn demands personal and public excuses of Queen Beatrix to him and his wife. We don’t accept less than that. Meanwhile the Public Prosecutor investigates if the complaint against the former Prime Minister Wim Kok and two ministers, lodged in Amsterdam, can be considered.

Member of the Second Chamber, Harry van Bommel of the Socialist Party, has given other members of the Second Chamber the chance to inspect the correspondence between Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and Queen Beatrix as well as former Prime Minister Wim Kok, which he possesses. The other parties have asked the Socialist Party to be able to have a look at the correspondence to be able to prepare for the debate in the Second Chamber tomorrow. The letter hardly contains any new information.

BBC’s royal correspondent Jennie Bond is leaving the corporation after 14 years to pursue a freelance career. She will continue in her present role until August before seeking new opportunities which will allow her to spend more time with her family. She said: “I’ve been mulling over this for the past year – and have now decided that it’s time to branch out into new fields. I’ve had a wonderful time and feel I have got the best out of my job, during one of the most tumultuous decades for the Royal Family. I can’t wait to turn my hand to some different projects and to spend more time with my family.”

The Prince of Wales is to undergo surgery to treat a hernia injury on March 28. It is thought that the injury happened as the Prince was laying hedges in the gardens at Highgrove. The prince could take a number of weeks to recover.

March 12th

The Luxembourg Grand Ducal court announced that Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte suffers of a pulmonary tumor which was discovered at a medical check up. She has been hospitalised and is being treated at the moment. Her health is improving and she will leave hospital within a few days. The official celebrations of the golden wedding of the Grand Duchess and Grand Duke Jean, that were planned for April 5, will be postponed.

Unexpectedly Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, accompanied by their lawyer Mr Nicolaï, followed a big part of the discussion in the Second Chamber about their case from the public gallery. Prime Minister Balkenende of the Netherlands didn’t succeed in convince the Second Chamber that it is reasonable that information about Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn turned up at Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme’s family. The Prime Minister said that ‘there was space to share this information with the family’, while the political parties want to know why it wasn’t left to the BVD to question Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn. The Prime Minister says that the action wasn’t illegal, but that it has to go different in the future. During the debate it was said that the Commission for Information- and Security Services of the Second Chamber finds that the extra inquiry to Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn was right, as the suspicions against him were serious enough to justify the extra inquiry. It was not mentioned what the suspicions against Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn were, and also the question if the couple was bugged remained unanswered.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn have informed the police in Amsterdam to two freelance photographers. Both photographers followed the couple in two cars when they came back from The Hague where they attended the debate in the Second Chamber about their case. The photographers of the television programme ‘De Week van Willibrord’ should have made several traffic offences. The two were arrested in the centre of Amsterdam and taken to the police station for questioning. They were released after a few hours.

March 13th

Today a report was released by the Prince of Wales’s private secretary Sir Michael Peat after a four-month inquiry. In the report he investigated allegations of serious financial and sexual misconduct among the prince’s staff. The report paints senior royal aide Michael Fawcett as an unpopular man who intimidated other staff, accepted valuable gifts and made palace enemies, but did nothing corrupt or improper. Peat found that a few of Charles’s private gifts had been sold by servants over six years, but only on the prince’s authority and mostly for charity. The report also criticised the handling of a claim by servant George Smith that he had been raped by another, more senior male servant. “A serious allegation of this sort should not have been treated so dismissively even though there was universal disbelief as to its veracity,” the report said. In a statement the Prince of Wales said: “The review does not make comfortable reading in some parts but I accept full responsibility and all the recommendations.”

Michael Fawcett, the senior royal aide at the centre of an inquiry into allegations of misconduct in the Prince of Wales’s household, has resigned despite being cleared by Sir Michael Peat’s report. He will keep on working for the prince on freelance basis. Mr Fawcett is to set up his own event management business and has been guaranteed work by the prince, who also gave him a cash severance package. The Prince of Wales said: “I am enormously grateful to Mr Fawcett for all he has done over many years and I wish him well with his new business.”

The lawyers of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn will call Prime Minister Balkenende as first witness. He among others should answer the question if Queen Beatrix ordered the inquiry by the Interior Security Service, lawyer Nicolaï said in a tv-programme this evening. And he will have to answer questions he left open during the debate in the Second Chamber on Wednesday, like the question if the Cabinet of the Queen was allowed to hand over information from the inquiry to third persons. The newspaper Algemeen Dagblad says that also Princess Irene will be asked to appear as a witness, as well as Princess Laurentien, Princess Annette, the Duke of Parme, Princes Carlos, Jaime and Princess Carolina de Bourbon de Parme, director Rhodius of the Cabinet of the Queen, former Bishop Philippe Bär and treasurer Baars of the court will be called to witness. The couple might claim much more than 50 million euros. Furthermore Princess Margarita wants to make excuses to director-general Eef Brouwers of the Government Information Service because she accused him of bugging her during a conversation with him, as it now is clear that it was done by another service.

On April 25 a special Queen’s Day concert will be given at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on the occasion of the 65th birthday of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The concert is only accessible for invited people. The concert will be played by the Concertgebouw Orchestra for this occasion led by Mstislav Rostropovich.

March 14th

Today and on Sunday morning Liechtenstein votes about the fate of Prince and people, thus in favour of the constitutional reforms by Prince Hans Adam II (the Princely Initiative) or against it. People also have to vote in favour of or against the Constitution Peace Initiative, which is an alternative proposal of modifications to the Constitution, which among others intends to limit the Prince’s prerogatives. Today already 60,9% of the 16931 people entitled to vote have voted. It looks like a record-voting will be the result, although it might not reach the 96,4% votes for the Landtag elections in 1958. With tension the results are awaited. With the voting a more than ten year long fight about the Constitution should end. From the three political parties in Liechtenstein only the Bürgerpartei stands completely behind the initiative of the Princely House. The Vaterländische Union recommends not to accept the initiative nor the Constitution Peace Initiative, while the Freie Liste is against the Princely Initiative but in favour of the Constitution Peace Initiative. The initiative of the Princely House has the approval of the Princely House, the government and the majority in the Parliament. The Princely Initiative calls for the increase of the powers of the Prince, claiming the right to dismiss the government, even if it retains parliamentary confidence, and individual ministers subject to approval by Members of Parliament. The Prince also wants to be able to over-ride the constitution and give the royal family the right to choose the princely succession, but would grant the people the option of calling a referendum to abolish the monarchy. Constitutional experts from the Council of Europe have severely criticised the prince’s proposals as “a serious step backward” that could isolate Liechtenstein. Meanwhile it was announced that soon after the elections Prince Hans Adam II will hand over his authority to Hereditary Prince Alois. An exact term isn’t known yet and will be discussed after the voting.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme wants her own website on which visitors can find more information and ask questions about the quarrel between the princess and her husband with the royal family. The princess said this in an interview with the Youth News on television. She further says that in fairytales everything always comes allright, so she hopes this also has a happy ending.

March 15th

For the second time Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, his wife Marina and son Emanuele Filiberto have arrived in Italy. They arrived at the airport of Naples this afternoon and will stay for three days, that will be filled with receptions and gala. In the afternoon a mass was held at the cathedral in presence of the royal family, while outside opponents protested. In the evening a reception was held on which the royal family will meet the aristocracy of Naples – about 150 aristocrats refused to show up, among them the Duke and Duchess of Calabria. Tomorrow football-fan Emanuele Filiberto will visit a match between Naples and Verona, together with Prince Serge of Yugoslavia and Prince Nikolaos of Greece. On Monday the family will visit the royal palace in the morning and will depart around noon.

March 16th

In the afternoon all votes in Liechtenstein were counted. From the 14845 people who had the right to vote, 87,7% voted. The Princely Initiative was accepted and got 64,3% of the votes. The Constitution Peace Initiative was rejected with 83,5% of the votes, while only 16,5% of the people voted in favour of it. In all 15 Liechtenstein municipalities the Princely Initiative was accepted, with most division in the municipality of Balzers where it only got 51,8% of the votes, while the Princely Initiative got 73% of the votes in Gamprin. Soon after the results were revealed Prince Hans Adam II and Hereditary Prince Alois issued a statement in which they said to be very happy with the results and thank the people for the trust they showed in them.

A YouGov poll, appearing in the Sunday Mirror today, shows that only 42% of the Britons questioned think the Prince of Wales should succeed Queen Elizabeth II. Only 39% thinks the prince would make a good king, while 46% said he would not. Prince William is chosen by 32% of the people as the next monarch. The poll was taken last week after the publication of a report by Charles’s private secretary, Sir Michael Peat. The results show a change since the last poll in April when 58% of the people thought the prince should succeed, and 60% thought he would make a good king.

Prince William of Wales’s 21st birthday party is to take place at Windsor Castle in June, on or close to William’s coming of age birthday on June 21. The party will be attended by hundreds of family members and friends. It will be organised by Michael Fawcett, who resigned from the Prince of Wales’s household last week.

Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy confirmed today that he has the intention to move from Switzerland to Italy and that he doesn’t have the intention to get involved in politics. The next visit of the family will be to Rome in April.

March 17th

Major Ronald Ivor Ferguson, father of the Duchess of York, died last night at the age of 71 at The Hampshire Clinic in Basingstroke after a heart attack. His second wife Susan was at his bedside when he died. He had been battling against prostate cancer since 1996 and had suffered a series of heart attacks. The Duchess of York had spent some time at her father’s bedside on Sunday but then had travelled to Australia to carry out commitments for WeightWatchers. She heard the news during a stop in Bangkok. She will return home early at the end of the week together with her sister Jane who lives in Sydney. A spokesman for the Duchess said: “She is grieving but is grateful for the time she had with her father to say goodbye.” The Duke of York was said to be ‘deeply saddened’ by the news, as was the Prince of Wales. Buckingham Palace said that the Queen had been informed and would send a private message of condolence to the Major’s widow. Major Ferguson was a former deputy chairman of the Guards Polo Club and had been polo manager ot both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. He leaves a wife, two daughters from his first marriage and three children from his second marriage.

March 20th

During a press conference at the state visit to Chile Queen Beatrix told the press: “We are of course very worried about her [princess Margarita] and it is clear that this sad case touches us all deeply. I repeat again emphatic that we don’t recognise ourselves in the story that are revealed about our family. I don’t want to talk about it further, as it is about the daughter of my sister and I really hope that they will succeed in peace and privacy to bring the problems to a solution.” She also said that the role of the Cabinet of the Queen that came in the news because of the inquiry to Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn will be discussed quietly and extensive after her return to The Netherlands. She further told that she will continue the state visit despite the start of the war against Iraq, although the war casts a shadow over the visit. Princess Máxima, for who it is her first state visit abroad thinks that she learns a lot from the visit. The Prince of Orange reveals that he is still taking a course in Spanish and that it goes very well.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has sent a message of support to the British troops in the Gulf. She told the troops: “May your mission be swift and decisive, your courage steady and true, and your conduct in the highest traditions of your service both in waging war and bringing peace. My thoughts are with you all, and with your families and friends who wait at home for news and pray for your safe return. At this moment in our nation’s history, I would like to express my pride in you, the British service and civilian personnel deployed in the Gulf and in the vital supporting roles in this country and further afield. I have every confidence in your professionalism and commitment as you face the challenges before you.” In the coming days several members of the British royal family will visit military bases in the country.

March 21st

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima finished a three-day state visit to Chile today. On Wednesday Queen Beatrix and Princess Máxima were welcomed at the airport of Santiago de Chile by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In the centre the Prince of Orange waited for them, he arrived in Chile seperately after having attended a water conference in Japan. In the evening the state banquet with the president of Chile, Lagos Escobar, took place. Yesterday the Queen visited the parliament of Chile and she also met writer Isabel Allende. Furthermore she visited an art exhibition. The Dutch royals finished their state visit today by visiting the copper-mine Chuquicamata, the biggest in the world and later the Moon Valley with its wonderful folded layers of salt. In the weekend they will travel to Brasil where they will start another state visit on Monday.

March 23rd

Two British newspapers today reported that friends have said that the Countess of Wessex is eight weeks pregnant. A close friend said: “Sophie is very wary of saying anything because it’s still early in the pregnancy. They are both worried that it can still go wrong. They have been very careful about not telling anyone. The last thing they wanted was the news getting out. Obviously they are very excited but I think that after the 12th week they’ll begin to feel a bit less anxious.” Recently the countess began her third course of IVF treatment. But friends claimed the baby was conceived naturally. The countess of Wessex had an ectopic pregnancy in December 2001 and according to a friend also had one miscarriage. Buckingham Palace refused on the couple’s orders to confirm or deny the reports. A spokeswoman said: “We are offering no comment. If and when it happens, she will let people know in her own time.”

March 24th

This morning the Duke and Duchess of York and their daughter Beatrice attended the funeral of the Duchess’s father Major Ronald Ferguson who died last week. More than 300 people gathered at All Saints’ Church, Odiham, for the service to celebrate his life. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was represented by her former private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes. Lord Palumbo of Walbrook read out some thoughts written by the Duchess. She wrote: “Our father was a military man born and bred – ‘an officer and a gentlemen’ as one commentator recently put it. He was given to briskness, precision and punctuality, a gentleman’s virtues. To some who didn’t know him well he might have seemed a bit formal and reserved. But to those who knew him, those who loved him, Dad was a British institution in the very best sense. He was brave, kind, loyal, sensitive, outspoken, a champion of the underdog and devoid of any pomposity or malice. He had a rare sense of humour, he was willing to see the absurdity in any situation. Rarer still, he was willing to laugh at himself.”

March 25th

Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs signed the wedding register at the town hall in Brussels today to announce their intended marriage.

Prince Ernst August of Hannover has to go to court again, this time he is charged with deliberate inflicting bodily harm on a technician who was just reparing a video-beamer at a party at the ski-resort Zürs in Austria at the end of February. The prince kicked the technician’s bottom so hard that the technician suffered bruises.

March 27th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain ended in 8th place in the yearly voting for ‘Celebrity Mum of the Year’. The Quality Street award was won by a former model who declared that “It is an honour to beat the Queen, who I have never been up against for an award.”

March 28th

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg paid a state visit to Italy from 25 to 28 March. The Grand Ducal couple were received on Tuesday at the Palace de Quirinale in Rome by the Italian president Ciampi and his wife. There was also a dinner at the palace in the evening. During the afternoon Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited the Casa di Peter Pan association where children with cancer can stay with their parents during their medical treatment. On Wednesday the Grand Duke met the president of the Senate, while the Grand Duchess visited the Santa Maria de Trastevere Basilica. Afterwards the Grand Ducal couple was received by the mayor of Rome, while in the evening they attended a concert. Yesterday morning after having said goodbye the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess accompanied by their children were received by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. Afterwards they travelled to Milan to attend the closing of a forum consecrated to the Luxemburg economy. Today the couple was received at the town hall of Milan, before returning to Luxemburg.

On Monday Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima started their state visit to Brazil in the capital Brasilia, after having spent the weekend at the waterfalls of Foz Iguazu. After a tour through Brasilia and a meeting with Dutch people living in Brazil, the official welcome took place with a huge military march-past. On Tuesday the royals visited Rio de Janeiro where they visited a home for street-children and the famous statue of Christ. The last part of the visit led to Recife, which has been Dutch for some time in the 17th century. From 1637 to 1644 the governor was Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen. The royals visited among others the Instituto Materno Infantil de Pernambuco, where children and women from the poor northeast of the country receive basical help. The Dutch royals finished their state visit at the Fortress Oranje in Recife, where they saw a Brazilian carnival performance.

March 29th

Prince Armin and Princess Traute zur Lippe celebrated their Golden Wedding today. With a service in the chapel of Detmold Castle they wanted to renew the blessing of their wedding this afternoon. Their family as well as members of befriended princely houses attended the service. While entering the chapel the couple was accompanied by their four grandchildren. After the service a reception was given at the castle and in the evening they had dinner with the family.

The Prince of Wales left the King Edward VII hospital in London today after a routine hernia operation last night. He arrived at hospital yesterday afternoon with Camilla Parker Bowles. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “As you would expect after a fairly routine operation the Prince of Wales was very cheerful as he left hospital and is looking forward to resting this weekend in Highgrove.” The Prince of Wales will stay at Highgrove all week and will travel to Balmoral next weekend.

March 31st

Hereditary Prince Maximilian zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg and his wife Marissa announced the birth of their first child, Moritz Friedrich Carl, on March 27 at the evangelischen Krankenhaus in Rheda. Mother and child are doing fine and were able to leave hospital today.

In a television-programme former bishop of Rotterdam, Philip Bär, said this evening that he wants to mediate in the conflict between Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and the Dutch royal family if he will be asked to. He is however not sure if he should do as he has only played a role in the life of the princess and her husband during the preparations for their wedding in 2001. Although he knew what was going on then, as he has had one conversation with the couple about the conflict before their wedding, he has carefully kept himself away from the case.

April 1st

The day after their wedding Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs will hold a thanksgiving service at 2:00pm in the Church of Our Lady Immaculate Conception in the working- class neighbourhood the Marollen in Brussels. The service will be led by the Parisian Father Guy Gilberts, a good friend of Prince Laurent who will also play a part at the wedding ceremony. Everybody who wants to is allowed to attend the mass on Sunday.

April 2nd

The Belgian royal court issued a list of members of foreign royal families who have confirmed they will attend the wedding of Prince Laurent and Claire Coombs on April 12. The guestlist mentions Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg, Archduke Carl-Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria, Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein, Prince Jean of Luxemburg, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Infanta Cristina of Spain and Iñaki Urdangarín, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven.

April 7th

Princess Tenagne Worq, daughter and advisor of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, last member of a dynasty that was said to descend from the Queen of Sheba, died on April 6. Born on January 29, 1912, she was the eldest and only surviving child of the Emperor. She was 18 when her father ascended the throne in 1930 and always had a close relationship with her father. At a young age she married Ras Desta Bamtaw with whom she had four daughters and two sons. The Princess remarried in 1944 to Ras Andargatchew Massai. She was imprisoned together with her daughters from 1974 to 1989 and was then released.

April 8th

The Norwegian royal court issued a statement today confirming that Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn’s child will in accordance with the Constitution enter the line of succession to the Throne, but won’t receive a title. As soon as possible after the Princess’s delivery among others politicians, the bishop of Oslo as well as European royals will be informed. Then also an official announcement will be issued. Salutes will be fired from the fortresses and naval ships at the same or the following days in accordance with the salute rules. Flags will be flying on the same or the following day from public buildings. The child’s birthday will not become an official flag-day. People will be able to sign congratulation registers at the Royal Palace from noon to 15:00 on the first working day after the delivery.

April 9th

50 Years ago Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg married Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Luxemburg. The celebrations that were going to be held today unfortunately had to be cancelled when the Grand Duchess was diagnosed lung cancer some weeks ago. The Luxemburg court asked people who want to congratulate the couple with their Golden Wedding Anniversary to donate money to the Luxemburg Red Cross.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn are said to hold a press conference early next week, the couple’s sollicitor Mr Nicolai confirmed. They will ask some attention for the forthcoming lawsuit against the Dutch State and will inform the press how the preparations are going, while they will also reveal the names of some of the witnesses. Princess Margarita will also launch a website.

The names of Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband were taken off the guestlist for the wedding of Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs.

April 10th

On April 1st a Royal Decree was issued telling that the title of Princess of Belgium is confered upon Claire Coombs. Surprising is that the title will follow her own name. She will be known from her weddingday as Her Royal Highness Claire Louise Coombs Princess of Belgium.

April 11th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has set 1000 places aside at her Westminster Abbey 50th anniversary service for members of the public. The places will be offered free and admission will be by ticket only. If more than 1000 people apply, a ballot will be held to decide who gets in. Those wishing to attend on June 2 can apply to The Assistant Receiver General Protocol, Room 2, The Chapter Office, 20 Dean’s Yard, Westminster Abbey, London, SW1P 3PA, Great Britain. The closing date for receiving requests for tickets is Friday, 9 May 2003. Tickets will be posted by 19 May 2003.

April 12th

Prince Laurent of Belgium married Claire Coombs today in Brussels.

April 13th

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium attended a thanksgiving service this afternoon in the Church of Our Lady Immaculate Conception in the working-class neighbourhood the Marollen in Brussels. The service was led by Parisian priest Guy Gilbert and attended by some 700 guests. Outside some 4000 people were waiting to catch a glimpse of the couple and the priest.

Prince Gero of Saxony died at the Quinte Health Care Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital in Picton, Ontario, Canada, on April 10, at the age of 77. There will be a private cremation at Elmwood Cemetery and Crematorium in Corbyville, Ontario. Prince Gero was the youngest son of Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony, third son of the last king of Saxony Friedrich August III, and Princess Sophie of Luxemburg.

Prince Majid bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia died yesterday at the age of 69 after suffering a chronic disease. Funeral prayers will be performed at the Grand Mosque after the Maghreb (sunset) prayers today. The prince had occupied the posts of Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Governor of Makkah Region.

April 15th

Almost 1.500.000 people watched the wedding of Prince Laurent of Belgium and Claire Coombs on television.

April 16th

Details of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s Coronation on 2 June 2003 have been announced. To mark the 50th anniversary of the coronation ceremony a service will be held at 11.30am on 2nd June 2003. It will be attended by members of the Royal Family and invited guests. In the afternoon the Queen will host a children’s tea party in the garden of Buckingham Palace that will feature pop stars, DJs, a funfair, a circus big top, children’s entertainers and military bands. More than 500 youngsters aged 6 to 12 will be invited from all over the UK through Barnado’s, the London Taxi Drivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children and SAFFA Forces Help. Children at the party will include some with special needs, orphans and others from Service families involved in the Iraq conflict.

For the first time Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrated her (63rd) birthday at Marselisborg Palace in Åhus. She usually appears on the balcony of Amalienborg in Copenhagen, but changed her plans this year as she is still recovering from an operation on her back. More than 10.000 people took the opportunity to enter the park around the palace and to pay a tribute to the Queen. Just after noon the Queen with her husband, sons, daughter-in-law and grandsons Nikolai and Felix came outside on the terrace. The lifeguard played the Queen a birthday song.

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands were officially received by the mayor of Wassenaar, the village near The Hague where they will start living soon in the house that earlier was occupied by the Prince’s aunt Princess Christina. The couple also unveiled a bronze statue of a couple dancing the tango.

April 20th

A 25-year-old drunk man was arrested for suspected burglary on Friday night in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The police were called to The Mews, a row of houses on the grounds of the estate, around 10.30pm. Residents reported that the man had been seen trying to open doors. He was released yesterday after being questioned. No further action was taken. At the time of the accident Queen Elizabeth II was in residence, but a police spokesman said: “At no time was the security of any member of the royal family at risk.”

April 21st

Lucas Maurits Pieter Henri van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven, son of Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, was baptized today at the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The service was lead by Reverend Nico ter Linden and Father G. Th. Oostvogel. The godparents were Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, Mr Jeroen Pit and Mrs Emilie Pit-van Karnebeek.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain celebrated her 77th birthday today at Windsor Castle. She spent the day privately with the Duke of Edinburgh, members of the family and friends. To mark the occasion 21 Salutes were fired in Hyde Park in London, from Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle.

April 23rd

Princess Astrid of Belgium gave birth to her fifth child at the Clinique Générale Saint-Jean in Brussels at 13:38 today. The baby girl received the names Laetitia Maria. She weighs 3820 grammes and is 52 cm. tall, with blue eyes and chestnut-brown hair. Mother and daughter are doing fine. Laetitia Maria’s godparents will be Princess Nora of Liechtenstein and Prince Joachim of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este.

Former king Constantine of Greece, Queen Anne-Marie and their sons Pavlos and Nikolaos arrived in Saloniki this afternoon. They want to celebrate the Greek-Orthodox Easter in Ioannina and will go back to London on April 29.

Earl Spencer, brother of the late Princess Diana of Wales, and his second wife Caroline are expecting their first child together in six months time. Earl Spencer has four children from his first marriage while his wife has two sons from her first marriage.

April 24th

Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was accused today of incorrectly informing the Parliament about a letter from state lawyer Eric Daalder, who wrote him in early March to inform him about a possible misconduct by the director of the Cabinet of the Queen, Felix Rhodius. Apparently Mr Daalder alleged that Mr Rhodius might be guilty of releasing information to a third party about an investigation of the Dutch secret service into Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, husband of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. The couple’s lawyer, Mr Peter Nicolai, said the letter of Mr Daalder supports his clients’ claims and that the court action will be partly based on the letter. However the Government Information Service says Mr Daalder didn’t investigate whether an illegal act had been committed, but only wrote a memo about the various legal aspects that could arise if Mr Rhodius had acted unlawfully. Meanwhile the Parliament received a letter of Princess Margarita and her husband asking members of Parliament to carry out further investigations on the role some members of the royal family should have played. The members of Parliament have reacted negatively and think the couple should leave the decision to the court of justice.

The Prince of Wales visited the Territorial Army Centre in Paisley, Scotland, today. He paid tribute to the British reserve forces after meeting more than 100 relatives of Britons currently serving in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and the Royal Air Force in the Gulf area.

April 25th

The Norwegian Royal Palace has protested against the made up stories that regularly appear in the German press, especially about crown princess Mette-Marit. “What we want, first and foremost, is to give a signal that enough is enough. There are limits to what we can accept,” palace spokeswoman Wenche Rasch said on Norwegian television. She said the royal family in particular was offended by stories about alleged pregnancies and abortions. Wenche Rasch has given interviews to both German newspapers and television on behalf of the crown princely couple lately.

A concert was held at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam today on the occasion of Queen’s Day and the 65th birthdayt of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Almost the whole Dutch royal family was present. Also Prince Johan Friso’s girlfriend Mabel Wisse Smit attended the concert. Princess Margriet was in Chile for a meeting of the Red Cross. Mstislav Rostropovich started the concert with the Sarabande from the Suite nr 2 of Johann Sebastian Bach as a rememberance to Prince Claus. The rest of the programme mainly existed of Russian compositions of among others Shostiakovich and Mussogorsky. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was led by Mstislav Rostropovich. About 1600 people attended the concert. After the concert a reception and dinner took place.

April 26th

Princess Astrid of Belgium and her husband Prince Lorenz of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este, together with their four eldest children, proudly presented their newborn daughter Laetitia Maria.

Today Elisabeth Zellinger de Balkany, daughter of Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy, married 38-year-old Belgian Olivier Janssens in a religious ceremony in the gothic church in Sainte Mesme near Versailles, France, where the bride’s father Robert Zellinger de Balkany owns a castle. The bride wore a dress designed by Italian-Venezuelan Guillermo Mariotto. The bride arrived in a green carriage. The service was led by archbishop Alberto Maria Carreggio of Chiavari, assisted by Bernard Dagron. After the wedding a reception was held at the castle of the bride’s father. A civil marriage already took place on October 31, 2002, in Chene-Bourg near Geneva, Switzerland. The couple lives in Thailand, where Olivier Janssens works.

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands will officially quit his job at the bank Goldman Sachs & Co in London at May 1st. The bank said that the prince is a very talented banker and that they are very sorry that the prince leaves the company. It is unknown what the prince will do in the future.

April 28th

Eight letters and a Christmas card from the late Princess Diana of Wales to the late fashion editor Liz Tilberis are being auctioned on Wednesday at the Cyr Auction Gallery in Gray, southern Maine, along with 300 other items from Tilberis’s estate.

April 29th

At 8:10 pm Princess Märtha Louise of Norway gave birth to a daughter at the Rikshospitalet in Oslo. Maud Angelica Behn is 50 cm tall and weighs 3516 grammes. Ari Behn was with his wife. During the natural delivery Princess Märtha Louise received accupuncture to relief the pain. She was assisted by the director of the hospital Professor dr. med. Thomas Åbyholm, Professor dr. med. Tore Henriksen, midwife Bente Rønnes and child nurse Turis Pettersen. The birth was without complications and mother and child are doing well. Ari Behn said to the press late in the evening that the baby is beautiful and looks a lot like her mother, but looks like himself around the eyes. Maud Angelica Behn is third in line to the Norwegian throne after her uncle Crown Prince Haakon and her mother. She was named Maud after her great-great-grandmother Queen Maud, who was married to King Haakon VI of Norway. Princess Märtha Louise went into labor early this morning and was admitted to hospital around 3pm. Security at the hospital was sharpened immediately and a special room was made available for the quickly arriving media and two palace officials were there to answer questions. After the nearest family, the president of the Norwegian parliament, the Norwegian prime minister, the Norwegian Supreme Court Justice, the bishop of Oslo, the military and other royal houses in Europe were called to make the news of the birth of Maud Angelica known. Queen Sonja hurried back to Norway after a trip to London and arrived at Oslo airport. She told Norwegian television she had heard the news while on the plane. She said: “I am very grateful that everything has gone well.” She then left for the hospital to pay a first visit to her granddaughter together with her husband King Harald.

April 30th

Queen’s Day in the Netherlands was wet and pretty cold. It didn’t seem to bother the royal family. They didn’t act so enthusiastic in years. The Queen woke up with a Mexican dance and sing group in her garden, sent to her as a present from her father Prince Bernhard. Thereafter the royal family travelled eastwards to the province of Overijssel. The visit started in Wijhe, where it was dry, and where some 40.000 people had gathered to have a look at the royal family. The programme there was pretty traditional with folk-dancing, but also art. Despite of the pouring rain some 100.000 people were standing along the route in Deventer in the early afternoon. The Queen and her family arrived by boat (catemaran) about half an hour too late, as they had enjoyed the programme in Wijhe very much. At the end of the visit Queen Beatrix held a speech and thanked all the people who had made the day a ‘fantastic’ event.

Two polls about the Dutch royal family were issued today, one by the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, the other by the Nipo in order of NOS Actueel (television). The Nipo inquiry says that some 86% of the people are satisfied with the royal family, while 57% thinks hereditary succession is old-fashioned. Almost half of the people thinks the Prince of Orange is ready to ascend the throne, while 28% finds him still too unexperienced. However he has passed his mother in popularity, while Princess Máxima is the most popular member of the royal family. The inquiry by the Algemeen Dagblad reveals that about 65% of the Dutch people thinks Beatrix should celebrate Queen’s Day in a different way with unexpected visits instead of the planned ones, as her yearly visits don’t really show how most of the Dutch celebrate Queen’s Day. By the way some 69% of the people thinks there is some thruth in the accussations of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme towards the Dutch royal family.

The birth of Maud Angelica Behn was marked with a 21-gun salute from the Akershus Castle at noon today. The Norwegian flag flew on all public buildings. A congratulatory protocol was set out at the Royal Palace in Oslo today and was available for signing from 11am to 3pm. King Harald and Queen Sonja paid another visit to their first grandchild in the morning. Early in the afternoon also Ari Behn’s mother, Marianne Solberg Behn, arrived together with her husband Jan Pahle and her children Anja and Espen Bjørshol. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will pay a visit this Saturday. A photo session of Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn with Maud Angelica will take place on Friday at noon.

In the morning Princess Astrid of Belgium with her newborn daughter Laetitia Maria left hospital. At 3 pm Prince Lorenz of Belgium Archduke of Austria-Este accompanied by three of his children, Maria-Laura, Joachim and Luisa-Maria, arrived at the townhall of Brussels to give notice of the birth of his youngest daughter who was born on April 23. They were received by the Mayor of Brussels, Freddy Thielemans. The newborn baby was registered as Laetitia Maria Nora Anna Joachim Zita.

Delphine Boël, (most likely) illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of the Belgians, confirmed the rumours that she is pregnant. She expects her first child this autumn. The father is James O’Hare, a Texan who works in London. They have been a couple already for three years and now will start living together.

Prince Harry of Wales beat his brother William and was chosen the favourite young royal in a survey of Mizz Magazine among girls aged 10 to 14. 72% of the girls, especially in Wales and London, liked Harry more than William. However William won the race in Scotland. Sharon Christal, editor of Mizz, said: “Our readers love Harry’s fun, devilish ways and his wacky hairdo – at last, a student Royal who doesn’t know what a hairbrush looks like and doesn’t care.”

May 1st

Queen’s Day was watched live on television by some 2,1 million Dutch people. The summary in the evening was watched by more than 900.000 people. For the first year there was also a children’s programme about Queen’s Day. That was watched by some 253.000 people, included 77.000 children under 13.

May 2nd

Most of the time sleeping, Maud Angelica Behn made her debut for the camera’s today at noon in the Rikshospitalet in Oslo. Together with her proud parents, and with a dove of peace of white gold and diamonds on her clothes (a present from her maternal grandparents), she posed for the first official photos. Palace spokeswoman Wenche Rasch said that they plan to remain in hospital another night and that they are scheduled to leave tomorrow. During the press conference Princess Märtha Louise said she herself was in good shape and that the birth itself wasn’t more exhausting than she had expected. “Everything really is fantastic, wonderful,” she told reporters. She also thanked for all the congratulations and good wishes they have received since the birth of their daughter on Tuesday. The couple confirmed the christening of Maud Angelica will take place in Oslo and that preparations were held already, but no date or exact place was given.

A poll for the newspaper Verdens Gang among 977 Norwegians says that 66% like the names Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn have chosen for their daughter – 76% of the women and 56% of the men. 20% didn’t like the name – 13% of the women and 27% of the men – while 14% didn’t have an opinion. 70% said to agree with the decision of King Harald V of Norway not to grant his granddaughter the title of princess, while 15% disagreed.

May 3rd

At 12:10 Princess Märtha Louise and daughter Maud Angelica travelled home to their house in the Professor Dahlsgate in Oslo, accompanied by Ari Behn, who carried his daughter most of the time. Some 150 to 200 people had gathered outside the hospital to get a glimpse of the new member of the royal family. Already soon afterwards Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and son Marius arrived from London to admire the new baby.

It seems also Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands has resigned her job and will establish her own communication’s office in London. This should enable her to schedule her work herself, so that she could even work from the Netherlands. She will keep on working for Weber Shandwick Worldwide as an independent consultant, but will also become a strategic director of African Parks, and will become the patroness of Cinop, an expertise center for remedial methods for illiteracy. Also Prince Constantijn has taken a break from his job, it was said last week. He wants to orientate himself on non-commercial business. It is denied that the decisions of Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn, as well as Prince Johan Friso, have nothing to do with their position of a member of the royal family.

May 4th

Newly published diaries of politician and minister Lewis Harcourt claim that the Rev Norman Macleod, chaplain of Queen Victoria of Great Britain, made a death-bed confession that he had married Queen Victoria and her servant Mr John Brown in a secret ceremony and regretted it for the rest of his life. On February 17, 1885 Harcourt wrote: “Lady Posonby told the HS a few days ago that Miss Macleod declares that her brother Norman Macleod, confessed to her on his death bed that he had married the Queen to John Brown, and added that he had always bitterly regretted it.” Although the diary doesn’t give absolute proof that the marriage took place, the new material is said to be fascinating. For more than 130 years there have been speculations that Queen Victoria had an affair with Mr John Brown, and there were rumours at the time that the couple married, but never any evidence for the claim ever came out.

May 5th

Yesterday Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima attended the commemoration of the dead of World War II at the Dam Square in Amsterdam. They first attended the service at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam and just before 8:00 pm the Queen and the Prince of Orange laid a wreath at the national war monument at the Dam Square. Today at Liberation Day Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven attended the commemoration ceremony at the Grebbeberg Military Field of Honour. Today Prince Bernhard and Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven were in Wageningen to remember the German capitulation. Like every year veterans marched passed Prince Bernhard. In the evening Queen Beatrix attended the liberation concert in Amsterdam. Meanwhile the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima travelled to the USA to visit New York City and Washington DC. They will arrive in Washington DC today and meet American veterans of WW II and representatives of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Tomorrow they will among others visit the FBI and have lunch with representatives of Dutch companies in the USA. On Wednesday they will visit New York City where the Prince of Orange will hold a speech at a special meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development of the United Nations and visit an exhibition at the UN Visitors Center. Meanwhile Princess Máxima will visit the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. In the afternoon the prince and princess will meet the mayor of NYC, Michael Bloomberg. In the evening a gala dinner of the Netherlands Club and the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce takes place.

May 6th

Buckingham Palace announced that the Countess of Wessex expects a baby in December. It will be the first child of the Countess and the Earl of Wessex, who are said to be thrilled and excited with the news. In December 2001 the Countess lost a baby after an ectopic pregnancy. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the family are delighted with the news. A spokeswoman said that the Countess is feeling a bit tired but is absolutely doing fine. However she will not be undertaking official engagements for the time being on doctors’ advice. The baby will be 8th in line to the British throne.

Maud Angelica Behn will be christened at the Chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo on July 2 at 10:30 am. The service will be led by Gunnar Stålsett, bishop of Oslo. On the same day is the 100th anniversary of the birth of King Olav V. Maud Angelica Behn will be christened in the gown sewn by Princess Ingeborg for her first grandchild, Prince Georg of Denmark, in 1920. Since then the gown has been used at baptism ceremonies for both the Danish and Norwegian royal families.

May 8th

Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco gave birth to a son this morning at 6:40 at the royal palace in Rabat. King Mohammed VI decided to name the new crown prince Moulay Al-Hassan, after King Mohammed VI’s father, the late King Hassan II. The baby weighs 3750 grammes and is 51 cm tall. The crown prince and his mother are well and in perfect health it was announced. News of the birth was followed by a traditional 21-gun salute inside the palace grounds in Rabat. A golden book, in which everyone can write down their wishes, will be available at the headquarters of the department of the Royal Protocol and chancellery of the Royal Palace, in the different provinces and prefectures in Morocco as well as in Moroccan embassies and consulates abroad. On the occasion of the birth King Mohammed VI granted amnesty to 47.988 prisoners, of which 9459 were granted free pardon and 38.529 had their jail terms reduced.

Members of the Imperial Family of Austria have asked for restitution of 200.000 hectares of wood (worth about 200.000.000 euros) and some real estate from the Republic of Austria – among them Laxenburg Castle, possessions around Mürzsteg Castle and houses in Vienna – on ground of the indemnification fund law, Archduke Christian of Austria made known today speaking in name of his father Archduke Carl-Ludwig and his uncle Archduke Felix. It is about the private Habsburg fortune, fortune that was earned by own means by members of the family. This fortune was first expropriated in 1919, given back in 1936 and again expropriated in 1938/39 by the Nazis.

May 11th

While unloading his gun a royal protection officer accidentally fired a shot inside Sunninghill Park, the residence of the Duke of York, while the Duke was in another room, on April 25th. Scotland Yard has started an inquiry following the incident. The officer has been taken off firearms duty pending the outcome of the inquiry.

May 12th

Prince William of Wales will feature on 20 million stamps issued on the occasion of his 21st birthday. They will be released on June 17. It is the first time a British royal appears on stamps for such an occasion. All four images were taken in September 2001 and show Prince William arriving at St Andrews University, visiting Anchor Mills in Paisley and at home in Highgrove, Gloucestershire, before his gap year. In addition, the Royal Mint is creating a special collectors’ edition £5 coin bearing the image of Prince William. which will show a portrait of the prince modelled by sculptor and artist David Cornell and will also display Prince William’s personal coat of arms. The coin will go on sale on June 21, and will be available only for less than four months.

May 13th

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan died in Boston, Massachusetts yesterday. He was born in Paris on January 17, 1933. Since the late 1950s he held several posts at the UNHCR. From 1959 to 1960 he was Head of the Mission and Adviser to the High Commissioner for Refugees, from 1962 to 1965 Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees and from 1965 to 1977 he was High Commissioner. Since 1978 he was consultant and Chargé de Mission to the Secretary-General of the United Nathions.

May 14th

On the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen and her husband Erling Lorentzen invited family and friends to a cruise at the ‘MS Prinsesse Ragnhild’ from Oslo to Kiel and back. The cruiseship left Oslo this morning and will return tomorrow. King Harald and Queen Sonja had to turn the invitation down, as they already had other engagements. Among the guests are Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and her husband Johan Martin Ferner. Of course also the three children of the golden bride and groom attended with partners.

May 15th

Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana had their second daughter today. She got the name of Anna-Maria. She was born at 3:50am at the Centro Medico Teknon in Barcelona, Spain. She is 52 centimetres tall and weighs 3.900 grammes. Mother and daughter are doing well. Princess Alexia’s parents said they are delighted with the birth of their fifth grandchild.

An inquiry by Radio Contant says that Prince Laurent of Belgium is the most popular Belgian at the moment. He got 70% of the votes. On places two and three were tennisplayers Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, while Princess Claire ended in fourth place.

May 16th

Crown Prince Moulay Al-Hassan of Morocco was feted in a traditional Moroccan ceremony in Rabat today. King Mohammed VI, Princess Lalla Salma and other members of the royal family attended.

In an announcement in today’s Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten the engagement of Ragnhild A. Lorentzen, daughter of Erling Sven Lorentzen and Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, with Aaron Long is announced. They got engaged on board of the ‘MS Prinsesse Ragnhild’ on May 14. The couple lives in San Francisco.

May 17th

Prince Heinrich Donatus von Hessen married Countess Floria-Franziska von Faber-Castell today at noon in the Johanniskirche in Kronberg im Taunus, Germany.

King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit appeared on the balcony of the royal palace in Oslo on the occasion of the National Feastday to see the children’s parade. Other members of the family, including Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen with her husband and Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner with her husband with several of their children and grandchildren were watching the parade from the palace windows next to the balcony. Earlier in the morning Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit had already watched a children’s parade in Askerfrom the stairs at Gut Skaugum.

May 18th

The BBC will mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s coronation with a series of tributes. The commemorative service at Westminster Abbey on June 2 will be broadcasting on television, radio and online. Other tributes to the Queen include a documentary on the preparations for the Coronation and original footage from the day.

Princess Alexia of Greece left hospital together with her newborn daughter Anna-Maria and were accompanied by Carlos Morales Quintana and Arrietta. Also King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie joined the couple.

May 19th

Sotheby’s in London auctioned jewels, couture and some personal souvenirs from the collection of the late Princess Lilian of Belgium and various other owners today. In total the sale fetched 844.812 British pounds, of which about 3/4 will go to the children of the late Princess Lilian and the late King Leopold III of Belgium. Auction results and photos can be seen here. Some of the dresses were sold for up to ten times more than was expected.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Chelsea flower show. Among the people joining them were the Countess of Wessex, Princess Alexandra and her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy, Lady Sarah Chatto, the Duke of York, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Michael of Kent. It was the Countess of Wessex’ first official engagement after the announcement of her pregnancy earlier this month.

May 20th

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway started a three-day state visit to Belgium. In the morning they were welcomed at the military airport of Melsbroek near Brussels by the Duke and Duchess of Brabant. At noon the welcome ceremony took place in front of the royal palace in Brussels, also attended by King Albert II of the Belgians and Queen Paola. After a lunch with the Belgian royal family the king and queen of Norway were received at the townhall of Brussels by mayor Freddy Thielemans. Thereafter they were at the opening of the exhibition ‘Bibliotheca Alexandrina’ and were received by prime minister Guy Verhofstadt. The day ended with a gala dinner in which almost the whole Belgian royal family took part.

May 24th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Sonja of Norway, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, as well as Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen and her husband Erling Lorentzen attended the opening of the Danish-Norwegian summer exhibition at the Blaafarveværket in Modum, Norway. One of the exhibitions of this summer is an exhibition of découpages of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and can be visited at the museum until September 28.

May 26th

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark celebrated his birthday with a personal website. It gives information about the crown prince’s life, house and achievements. The Crown Prince’s private secretary Per Thornit said: “Frederik himself uses the internet a lot to get information. So we thought it would be good if he had his own home page.” Crown Prince Frederik already celebrated his birthday on Sunday, when he invited friends at Amalienborg.

May 28th

Prince Hans Adam II and Princess Marie von und zu Liechtenstein were happy to announce the birth of their grandson, Moritz Emanuel Maria, on May 27 in New York City, USA. Little Moritz is the first child of Prince Constantin, youngest son of the reigning couple of Liechtenstein, and his wife Marie. Mother and son are doing fine.

Hordes of journalists, photographers and onlookers crowded outside the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen this morning hoping for an official announcement of an engagement of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and his girlfriend Mary Donaldson following a cabinet meeting attended by both Queen Margrethe II and Crown Prince Frederik. But they were disappoined as nothing happened despite of strong rumours in the weeks before the meeting.

May 31st

Prince Rainier III of Monaco celebrated his 80th birthday today in private with his children and grandchildren.

Today Caroline, daughter of Prince Philipp Reinhard zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and his wife Marie née Fouché d’Otrante, married Swedish Per Frederik Liljenqvist in the Marienstiftskirche (church) in Lich.

Yesterday Max, youngest son of Prince Johannes von und zu Liechtenstein and his wife Kerstin née Lundberg, married Jaana Pietilä in Stockholm, Sweden.

June 1st

Princess Laetitia Maria of Belgium Archduchess of Austria-Este was christened at Stuyvenberg Castle today. Her godparents were her brother Prince Joachim and Princess Nora von und zu Liechtenstein.

June 2nd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has attended a special service at 11:30am at Westminster Abbey in London to mark the 50th anniversary of her coronation. Among the people who attended the service were 16 members of the British royal family, among them the Prince of Wales and Prince William, politicians and 34 people born on Coronation Day in 1953. Also Camilla Parker Bowles attended. Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in light gold, arrived to a majestic fanfare of trumpets. The service was led by the Dean of Westminster, Dr Wesley Carr who said: “From Christmas Day 1066 until June 2, 1953, this Abbey has resounded to the acclamations of the people for their sovereigns. For here is held the ceremony of coronation, the anointing and crowning, as the monarch commits herself to lead and serve the nation.” After the service the Queen opened the Golden Jubilee Mall Extension to the Jubilee Walkway in London’s St James’s Park, which now extends for 14 miles around London. After a private lunch, the Queen was presented with a replica of her coronation bouquet. It was presented to her by Louisa Harrington, a 9-year-old seriously ill schoolgirl, at 12.30pm – the exact moment the monarch was crowned 50 years’ ago in Westminster Abbey.A relaxed Queen later held a tea party for more than 500 underprivileged children in the garden of Buckingham Palace that was for the occasion transformed into a fairground complete with clowns and a bouncy castle. At the end of the day the Prince of Wales hosted a celebration dinner at St James’s Palace and Clarence House.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has appointed the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex Knights Commander and Prince Michael of Kent a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.

In an apply for a rule nisi Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme has claimed about 74.000 Euro from the bank MeesPierson because they took $ 100.000 from her bankaccount in 1998 without her permission. She says her sister Carolina gave permission for the transfer of the money to their father’s bankaccount. The lawyer of the bank said today at court in Amsterdam that Princess Margarita had given verbal permission for the transaction herself and that the bank considers such a permission as very safe.

June 3rd

A new public opinion poll by TNS Gallup for TV2 says that only 22% of the Norwegians think Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will be a good future king and queen. 21,4% thinks they are not suited for the job. The rest of the people think they will do a fair job. However half of those asked said they supported a referendum on the future of the monarchy before 2014.

June 6th

Prince William of Wales will pay an official visit to Wales on June 19, two days before his 21st birthday, together with his father the Prince of Wales. He will visit a Food Fair in Anglesey and a project helping single homeless people in Newport. A St James’s Palace spokeswoman said that “He wanted to highlight the importance of two issues – rural communities and the homeless – and he wanted to visit Wales, seeing as one day he will be the Prince of Wales.”

June 7th

Hereditary Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn married Donna Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta in a civil ceremony at Sayn Castle in Bendorf-Sayn around 11:30am. After the wedding the couple appeared on the terrace of the castle for a short photosession. About 350 guests attended the reception afterwards, among them some royals, friends and locals. In the evening a party was held at the old Sayn Castle above the new castle. The religious wedding will take place in Bolgheri, Tuscany (Italy), on June 21.

June 8th

Today new pictures of Prince Harry of Wales were released by Buckingham Palace to mark his final week at Eton College. He will complete his final A-level exam in art on Thursday. The photos reveal that he has some photographs of his mother in his room and photographs of pin-up girls and sports stuff on his walls. Among the photos is one of the prince playing rugby, some in his room at Eton College, one of him with his own paintings (according to some people he is a talented painter) as well as one of the prince performing in the school’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’.

Yesterday unknown people have tried to steal the 1,50 metres broad and 1,70 metres high show-case with the coronation badges of King Friedrich I of Prussia and his wife Sophie Charlotte, with a value of about 28 million Euros. The thiefs came in as visitors of Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin and tried to break the glass of the show-case, but didn’t succeed. When the alarm went off they fled.

June 9th

On the occasion of the 10th wedding anniversary of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan new photos of the couple and their daughter Princess Aiko were released by the Imperial Household Agency. The photos were taken on May 30 in the garden of their palace in Tokyo.

British Egyptologist Joann Fletcher from the University of York announced today that her team might have identified the mummy of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, wife and co-ruler of pharaoh Akhenaten. Queen Nefertiti is believed to be one of the three mummies discovered in a secret chamber of a tomb known as KV35 in the Valley of Kings in Luxor, originally located in 1898. She said that: “Although we can only suggest the identity as a strong possibility, the findings certainly have some wide-ranging implications for Egyptology.” Dr Fletcher said she became interested in the mummy after identifying a wig, which had been found by the three mummies, as being a Nubian-style wig favoured by royal women in the 18th dynasty. Further examination of the mummy in the side room revealed the remains of the younger woman had a doubled-pierced ear lobe, shaved head, and the clear impression of the tight- fitting brow-band worn by royalty. The mummy also had an arm removed, which was found in its wrappings bent at the elbow, a possible sign that it had originally held a royal sceptre, Dr Fletcher said. The other two mummies, a teenage boy and an older woman, have not yet been identified. However, critics have expressed doubts that the remains could be that of the famous queen and say that without DNA evidence to verify the claims, it is unlikely to be the remains of the queen. Egyptologist Susan James says: “Physical evidence known and published prior to this expedition indicates the unlikelihood of it being the mummy of Nefertiti. Without any comparative DNA studies, statements of certainty are merely wishful thinking.”

June 10th

47-year-old Sherif Ali Ibn Hussein, pretender to the Iraqi throne, arrived in Bagdad today after 45 years of exile. The Sherif is the son of Badiaa, a cousine of Ghazi – second king of Egypt, and is a banker living in London. After arrival he visited the royal cemetery of Azamiyah in the centre of Bagdad where the three Iraqi kings are buried.

The Duke of Edinburgh has celebrated his 82nd birthday with a visit to the Windsor theme park Legoland together with his wife Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. More than 2,000 excited children from Berkshire schools cheered and waved Union Flags as the Queen and Duke made their way through the crowd. The royal couple boarded the Legoland Hill Train which took them to Mini Land and among others saw a lifesize statue from Lego bricks of the Duke of Edinburgh himself, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as the Crown Jewels. Several other members of the British royal family also paid visits nationwide aimed at boosting the flagging British tourism industry.

June 11th

Yesteray 26-year-old Princess Salote Lupepeu’u Tuita of Tonga, sevent in line to the Tongan throne, married Mata’i’ulua Fusitu’a in a Christian wedding service, followed today by a traditional ceremony at the royal palace. During the traditional ceremony the couple was heavily massaged with coconut oil and dressed in tapa or bark cloth and formally presented to royals and nobles while they received dozens of cooked pigs from villages and islands across the Pacific kingdom. The wedding feast will be followed by a major church conference and on July 4 by the 85th birthday of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga. The bride is his first granddaughter to get married and is Tonga’s consul in Beijing, China. Her groom is of a noble family and has previously been married to the kingdom’s beauty queen, but that marriage was annulled.

Some weeks before Christmas Hereditary Prince Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Saskia Binder became engaged. The wedding will take place on September 13.

June 12th

A St James’s Palace spokesman announced Prince Harry of Wales wants to be a career soldier and will apply to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst after a gap year in which he might partly travel abroad. More details about the gap year will be announced in September. He will be assessed by the Army before going before the Regular Commissions Board. The Pre-RCB assessment will take place during his gap year and, if successful, Harry is expected to join the Army late next year. He hasn’t chosen a regiment yet but speculation says he wants to join the Welsh Guards. It was also disclosed that Prince Harry took two A-levels during his final year at Eton College, in art and geography.

The Countess of Wessex is to become the new president of Girlguiding UK, a post previously held by the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain. The Countess will chairing the council, presenting members with the Queen’s Guide Award and perform some informal duties. Last month the Countess was presented to the Chief Guide Jenny Leach and other members. Ms Leach said: “We are thrilled that the Countess of Wessex has agreed to be our President. Girlguiding UK, formerly known as the Guide Association, is Britain’s largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women, with 620,000 members.

In the apply for a rule nisi the court of justice has decided that the bank MeesPierson is not responsible for the transfer of $ 100.000 from the private bankaccount of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme to the bankaccount of her father, the Duke of Parma. Princess Margarita had demanded 74.000 Euro. The judge also questioned the fact that the princess must have known about the transaction at least by the end of 2000, but didn’t complain until more than two years later.

June 14th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has marked her official birthday with a pompous and splendid ceremony. For the first time also Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales rode in a carriage to the pageant, together with the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Queen Elizabeth II took the salute and reviewed her troops as the Colours of the Grenadier guards was paraded in the ceremony. Thousands of people stood outside Buckingham Palace, The Mall and at Horse Guards to be able to see and hear something. After the ceremony the royal family gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where the Queen took an aerial salute from an RAF fly past of 11 different aircraft, flown by pilots from the Iraq war.

The 14th Duke of Bedford died yesterday at the age of 63. He was born at the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly on January 21, 1940 as Henry Robin Ian Russell. The Duke had only succeeded his father, the 13th Duke, last October. However already since 1974 he had been running the family estate Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire. Furthermore the Duke was a stockbroker in the City of London. The Duke is survived by his wife Henrietta and their three sons, the eldest of whom, Andrew Ian Henry Russell, born in 1962, will succeed to the Dukedom. He already took over the running of Woburn Abbey from his father last year.

With an exhibition about the Oranje dynasty Oranienbaum Palace near Dessau reopened its doors after more than 60 years. The main part of the building is yet to be restored, but the public will be enable to watch how the restoration is proceeding. The palace was built in Dutch baroque style by Princess Henriette Catharina of Oranje-Nassau, married to Prince Johann Georg II of Anhalt-Dessau. The exhibition ´Oranienbaum – House of Orange´ shows an insight in the Oranje dynasty from Prince Willem of Orange (1533-1584) to Queen Beatrix and her descendants.

June 17th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at the Royal Ascot in an open top carriage. Also present on the first day of the horseraces were the Prince of Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and her daughter Zara Phillips with boyfriend jockey Richard Johnson.

June 18th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is just over two months pregnant it was announced shortly after 17:00 in The Hague. The baby is expected halfway January 2004. The Princess and her husband The Prince of Orange announced the news themselves at a first meeting with the Union for Journalists of the Royal House. Until now the pregnancy is going very well and they can’t wait until the baby is born. The most important is that the baby is healthy, and they don’t want to know before the birth if it is a girl or a boy. Princess Máxima told that she could hardly believe it when she found out that she was pregnant. When she told her husband he gave her a huge hug. There has been a periode in which she didn’t feel very well, but now Máxima is doing fine she says, but she likes to eat sweet things at the moment. She plans to continue her work and have maternity leave from four weeks before birth until ten weeks after, as all Dutch woman have. The Prince of Orange told he will try to support his wife as much as possible, and Máxima added that she hopes he will also do part of the work, including changing diapers. They have no idea how their life will look like after the baby is born, but they will see, they say. Máxima’s parents were very happy, for her mother it is the first grandchild, and the Prince of Orange added that his mother was almost dancing around when she heard the news. The couple first wanted to have some time for themselves after the wedding. ‘We have become pregnant very quickly’, the Prince of Orange said, and Princess Máxima added that she might have felt the pressure of the media if she hadn’t been pregnant that quick.

The meeting with the Union for Journalists of the Royal House at The Hague had already been planned at least one month ago, although not with the intention to announce the news of a pregnancy, but to talk about co-operation between press and royals. But today the Business News Radio, a commercial newschannel, made known the existence of an email in Spanish and English of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to friends announcing the pregnancy. Princess Máxima acknowledged that the email was hers and said it was an email to inform closest friends about the pregnancy. She finds it a pity the email leaked out. In the email it among others says: ‘All types of tips are welcome, where to buy pregnancy clothing (no tents please), larger shoes than EVER, trollies (small-medium-large, inside the car-out of the car), maternity nurses, nannies, yoga exercises, pre-birth rattlers, etc.’ It also says the baby will be born in the beginning of January 2004.

June 19th

Prince William of Wales and the Prince of Wales paid an official visit to Wales. A Welsh choir of children from the Theatr Ieuenctid Mon sang Happy Birthday to Prince William in English and Welsh before the Prince blew out 21 candles on a cake iced with the message Penblwydd Hapus William. The prince and his father visited a Welsh Food Fair in Anglesey where they were offered brandy and ale, and also visited a project helping single homeless people in Newport.

Most political parties in the Second Chamber in the Netherlands say Jorge Zorreguieta, father of Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, is welcome at his grandchild’s christening next year. They say a christening is a pure church and a private event.

During an official visit to the Norwegian school in London yesterday, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway said about the one-year-stay of himself, his wife and her son Marius: “It has been a very good year. We have had the opportunity to study and to experience some peace and quiet. It has been enjoyable being able to live in London. We have had a lot of visitors, which is very nice, and we have also met a lot of new people. And, maybe most importantly, we have become familiar with the British society and that is very useful.” The Crown Prince will complete his exams of trade politics at the London School of Economics on Thursday and will then start writing his paper. Crown Princess Mette-Marit has finished her exams and thinks it went well. She will move back to Norway with her son, while Crown Prince Haakon will return when he has finished his paper, most likely in September.

June 20th

Almost 3000 pages of correspondence from King Edward VIII of Great Britain written to his five-year-long mistress Freda Dudley Ward between 1921 and 1923 will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York and are expected to fetch £100,000. In a letter from 1922 he writes: “What I wouldn’t give to chuck this P of W (Prince of Wales) job, I’m so fed up with it you know, and don’t fit in.”. This shows he hated the responsibilities of his royal role already long before he abdicated as a King after a short reign in 1936.

June 21st

In the first part of his 21st birthday interview held at St James’s Palace Prince William of Wales says that his guiding principles in life are ‘to be honest, genuine, thoughtful and caring’. “I’m not an over-dominant person,” he said, “I don’t go around and expect everyone to listen to me the whole time. But I like to be in control of my life because I have so many people around me, I can get pulled in one direction and then the other. If I don’t have any say in it, then I end up just losing complete control and I don’t like the idea of that. I could actually lose my identity.” Prince William spoke about the love for his brother Harry, saying that they have a very good relationship and that they will always share that common bond, and about the influence on him of his mother the late Diana Princess of Wales. He said: “I was influenced by my visits to hostels with my mother when I was younger. I learned a lot from it, more so now than I did at the time. My mother used her position very well to help other people, as does my father, and I hope to do the same.” About his father he says: “He does so many amazing things. I only wish people would see that more because he’s had a very hard time and yet he’s stuck it out and he’s still very positive. And he’s very happy and protective towards Harry and me as well.” He also said that he his one of his father’s biggest fans in the sense of rural issues like organic farming. “He’s been given quite a hard time recently and I just wish that people would give him a break.” Prince William shares his father’s concern for the future of the countryside: “To me, one of the worrying things is the lack of affordable housing for the younger generation. If younger people leave, there’s no future for the countryside. All the inherited skills you get passed down from farmers, for example, will be lost. But I know this is a problem, beyond the countryside, for young people who are just starting out.” Prince William steps into the role of Counsellor of State with delegated powers to act on behalf of the Queen. In this he joins his father, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex. In taking up the high office, he replaces the Princess Royal.

Official 21st birthday photographs of Prince William of Wales by Mario Testino were issued today. They were made in Mr Testino’s London studio and the prince posed in different settings, wearing a variety of outfits. Mr Testino says the prince oozes the same self confidence as his mother and says the prince was very relaxed and open and also very photogenic. The proceeds from the sale of the photos will be donated to homeless people (Newport Action for the Single Homeless) and hard-up farmers (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution) in Wales. Prince William met representatives of both charities during his visit to Wales last Thursday. Furthermore poet Laureate Andrew Motion has released two poems on the occasion of the 21st birthday of Prince William of Wales today. One of them is in rap form. The tribute is called ‘On The Record’ and consists of a kind of rap and a sonnet. They reflect the prince as a new kind of royal figure. The form of the poem with an “A Side” and “B Side” was inspired by LPs and 45s. Yesterday also some footage of a relaxed Prince William, his father and brother Harry playing polo together was released.

Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn married Donna Priscilla Incisa della Rocchetta in a religious ceremony at the church in Bolgheri, Tuscany (Italy) today. The bride arrived at church on foot accompanied by her father. In church were only about 80 places available, so the rest of the guests followed the wedding at the guesthouse ‘Enoteca Tognoni’. The wedding was consecrated by Dr Johannes von und zu Eltz. The wedding was attended by many royals and nobles, among them Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and their daughter Lady Gabriella Windsor, Archduchess Francesca of Austria, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and her son Albert, as well as Princess Maya von Schönburg-Glauchau. After the religious ceremony a reception took place, and in the evening a huge ball at Villa al Poggio, the house of the parents of the bride.

The Government Information Service announced today that the Dutch Royal House has founded a special foundation last January called ‘Sigillis Regiis Praesidio’ (To the protection of the Sovereign’s Seal) to prevent abuse of the arms, emblems and other symbols of the House of Orange-Nassau. In case of abuse the foundation will act as juridicial owner of the arms, emblems and symbols on request of a member of the Royal House or on own initiative if it is in the interest of the Royal House and other members of the royal family. The Government Information Service protects portrait rights of members of the Royal House.

June 22nd

300 guests partied at Windsor Castle until the early hours this morning to celebrate the 21st birthday of Prince William of Wales. The strictly private party, attended by family and friends, had the theme ‘Out of Africa’ – the prince was inspired by his stay in Africa during his gap year – and the guests were all suitably dressed. Unfortunately it wasn’t disclosed what the royals wore themselves. Among the guests attending were Camilla Parker Bowles, Rowan Atkinson, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Lady Helen Taylor. The Earl Spencer and his wife Caroline were dressed as Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Others were dressed as witch doctor, a banana, a foreign legion member, Tarzan, a Biggles-esque pilot and even one in a furry lion suit topped with a gold crown. Inside, the castle’s ancient rooms were transformed into scenes from the African bush, which include a life-sized elephant made out of papier mache. Outside crowds lined the streets of Windsor to greet and cheer arriving party guests and even some of them were appropriate dressed. Guests could dance on the music of the Botswanan band Shakarimba and another band chosen by the prince to play funk and soul hits.

At 23:20 yesterday evening, during Prince William of Wales’s birthday party, an unarmed man was arrested inside Windsor Castle. He is held at the Thames Valley police station. Nobody was injured, but a thorough review into all the circumstances surrounding the incident is under way. “We consider any breach of security to be a serious matter and a thorough review into all the circumstances surrounding the incident is under way. It would be inappropriate for us to discuss this matter any further at this time.” A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.

The second part of the 21st birthday interview of Prince William of Wales was released today. Prince William said: “All these questions about do you want to be King? It’s not a question of wanting to be, it’s something I was born into and it’s my duty. Wanting is not the right word. But those stories about me not wanting to be King are all wrong. It’s a very important role and it’s one that I don’t take lightly. It’s all about helping people and dedication and loyalty which I hope I have – I know I have. Sometimes I do get anxious about it but I don’t really worry a lot. I want to get through university and then maybe start thinking seriously about that in the future.” He added: “I’ll take each step as it comes and deal with it as best I can.” He says he wants to wait undertaking solo royal engagements until the end of his education. During the interview the prince also praised his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who is a huge role model for him: “You only have to look at my grandmother and see the amazing things she’s done. That to me is a huge inspiration – the work she’s done and the work my father’s done and a lot of the family. The monarchy is something that needs to be there – I just feel it’s very, very important – it’s a form of stability and I hope to be able to continue that.” Prince William also said he doesn’t have a current girlfriend, but says that if he finds the right girl, he is ready to make his move. He realises the media scrutiny a girlfriend would be subjected to and is protective towards any potential date. He said: “There’s been a lot of speculation about every single girl I’m with and it actually does quite irritate me after a while, more so because it’s a complete pain for the girls. These poor girls, you know, who I’ve either just met and get photographed with, or they’re friends of mine, suddenly get thrown into the limelight and their parents get rung up and so on. I think it’s a little unfair on them really. I’m used to it because it happens quite a lot now. But it’s very difficult for them and I don’t like that at all.” Prince William says he will always be a HRH, but out of personal choice he likes to be called William for now. Prince William thanked the media for giving him space while at St Andrews, and promised to treat them with maturity when he left university.

June 23rd

Yesterday British Home Secretary David Blunkett has ordered an urgent inquiry into the security breach at Prince William of Wales’s 21st birthday party celebrations at Windsor Castle on Saturday evening, set up by Scotland Yard and to be led by Commander Frank Armstrong from City of London Police and royal security advisors. An initial report on events will be delivered to the Home Secretary today. More in-depth inquiry may be ordered depending on the outcome of the initial review of events. Scotland Yard today has apologised for the wholly unacceptable breach of security. The News of the World reported yesterday that the man came on the stage where Prince William was making a speech to thank the Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain for organising the party. He is said to have grabbed the microphone before security guards and police pulled him away and took him out of the Great Hall. Prince William was said to have attempted to lighten the mood by later reclaiming the microphone and joking: “I didn’t know my brother could do an accent like that.” Meanwhile the man was identified as the stand-up comedian Aaron Barschak who gatecrashes events dressed as Osama bin Laden.

The Municipality of Wassenaar might forbid people to photograph and film the estate Eikenhorst in Wassenaar to protect the privacy of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and their family. The couple has decided to move into the house very soon. People who break the rule could get three months in prison.

June 24th

King Juan Carlos of Spain announced today during a visit to Galicia that his eldest daughter Infanta Elena and her husband Don Jaime de Marichalar expect their third child. Infanta Elena is three months pregnant and the baby will be born at the end of December 2003. The baby will be the sixth grandchild of the King and Queen of Spain.

The Duke and Duchess of Calabria became the parents of a daughter, Maria Carolina Chantal Edoarda Beatrice Januaria. She was born in Rome on June 23. Mother and daughter are doing fine. Maria Carolina is the first Princess of Bourbon-Two Sicilies born on Italian soil since Prince Carlos on November 10, 1870.

36-year-old Aaron Barschak, who infiltrated Prince William of Wales’s birthday party last Saturday evening dressed as Osama bin Laden told the Daily Mail he took the microphone from the prince and launched into his comedy routine, saying to the prince ‘We love you’. He then kissed William on both cheeks before walking away to the sound of applause into a bar area and asking for champagne. The full inquiry into the failing security at Windsor Castle will be completed within four weeks. Home Secretary David Blunkett has offered his ‘deep regret’ to the Royal Family and said he intends to make public the inquiry. Mr Blunkett said: “Mr Barschak’s actions have exposed an appalling failure in the security at Windsor Castle which simply should not have happened. I am determined that the lessons should be learned from this incident.”

June 25th

Only one day after it was announced that she expected her third child Infanta Elena of Spain lost her baby. She was 14 weeks pregnant. During today’s check-up at the Clínica Ruber Internacional in Madrid it was noticed that the baby wasn’t alive anymore. Surgery was performed to remove the baby from the uterus. Infanta Elena’s condition is satisfying, but she has to stay in hospital tonight. Don Jaime de Marichalar was in Pamplona when he heard the news and returned to Madrid immediately to be with his wife.

Yesterday Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, husband of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, appeared in the newsprogramme NOVA on Dutch television. A letter of lawyers Peter Nicolai and Jurjen Pen was shown in which they said they didn’t want to work with Edwin De Roy van Zuydewijn anymore. However they are still prepared to represent Princess Margarita. They refused to give any further comment. In NOVA Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn told that he and his wife were not satisfied with Mr Nicolai long before the letter arrived, but refused to give more details. The appearance in NOVA occured after it was made known that the newspaper De Telegraaf of today had a lead story claiming that the couple had split up, that Margarita had left Edwin and had returned to the Netherlands while the couple’s French castle is empty and might be sold. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn yesterday denied that they had split up: “In this case we stand together, as man and woman. There is a deep bond of love between us, which makes us going on.” He also told that “for a lot of people all problems would have been solved when our marriage would end in a failure”. Tonight bot Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and Princess Margarita appeared on a commercial Dutch tv-channel denying everything De Telegraaf had published today.

Comic Aaron Barschak now says he regrets his appearance on Prince William of Wales’s 21st birthday party last Saturday. He said: “I’ve gone too far and it won’t happen again. I did it as a publicity stunt and it’s all come crashing down.”

Finally work has begun on the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain next to the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London. Work on the fountain involves skilled craftsmen and ground- breaking high-tech production techniques, previously used in the space industry. The long-lasting stone chosen to form the base of the memorial is De Lankgranite from Cornwall. The memorial is due to be completed in Summer 2004.

June 26th

In the monthly magazine ‘Deng’ Delphine Boël, most likely illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of the Belgians, for the first time speaks about the Belgian Royal House. ‘Everyone knows Boël is not my real family name. I am just called so because I had to get a name’, she says. According to her Queen Paola has raised Prince Philippe and Prince Laurent badly. ‘Therefore they are unfit for this wild world.’ Delphine Boël also says: ‘The Royal Family lives in a prison. It is sad. I am the only survivor.’

Infanta Elena of Spain left the Clínica Ruber Internacional in Madrid around noon after staying a day in hospital.

Prince Harry of Wales will be the captain of the England Schools polo team that will play in an international match against France on Sunday June 29 at 1pm at the Dallas Burston Polo Grounds on the Stoneythorpe Estate in Southam, Warwickshire. He was picked from hundreds of young players around the country to lead the team on his debut. A spokeswoman for St James’s Palace said: “He will obviously be delighted.”

June 27th

The Norwegian royal court announced that Prince Carl Bernadotte died last night at hospital in Malaga, Spain. He lived at the Villa Capricornio in Benalmadena, Costa de Malaga, Spain, since 1960. The prince was born in Stockholm on January 10, 1911 as the only son of Prince Karl of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. He had three sisters: Margaretha married Prince Axel of Denmark, Märtha married the later King Olav V of Norway, and Astrid married King Leopold III of the Belgians. Prince Carl renounced his Swedish titles and succession rights when he married Countess Elsa von Rosen in 1937, and was created Prince Bernadotte by King Leopold III of the Belgians. The marriage ended in a divorce in 1951. He married Anna Larsson in 1954, and divorced her in 1962. Since June 8, 1975 he was married to Norwegian born Kristine Rivelsrud, and they had their 25th wedding anniversary earlier this month. From his first marriage Prince Carl had one daughter, Madeleine, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Prince Carl was the last surviving grandchild of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway, as well as the eldest living great-grandchild of King Christian IX of Denmark. Prince Carl was a businessman and later shareholder and member of the board of the hotel chain Rica owned by his brother-in-law Jan Rivelsrud. The last time he was seen in public was at the wedding of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in August 2001. Uncle Mulle used to be a frequent guest at the Norwegian royal family’s Christmas celebrations at Kongsseteren and attended many Norwegian royal celebrations. In Norway flags will fly half-mast at the private properties of the Norwegian royal family on June 27 and the day of the funeral. The programme of the Norwegian royal family will not change. The date of the funeral hasn’t been made known yet.

June 28th

A water-colour by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands will be auctioned at Christie’s in Amsterdam on Tuesday. The undated painting shows trees in a mountainous landscape.

June 29th

The Countess of Paris is gravely ill in a Paris hospital. She seems to suffer from heart disease and a semi-blocked aorta. Her children are gathered around her.

Prince Harry of Wales has scored as captain of the English Schools Polo team in his first international match. The team played against France at Dallas Burston Polo ground in Southam, Warwickshire. Prince Harry scored the lead after five minutes match. One of the spectators was the Prince of Wales.

June 30th

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands became engaged to Mabel Wisse Smit today.

Prince Carl Bernadotte will be buried at the royal cemetery at Haga Castle on July 10th. A service will take place at 16:00 at Danderyd Church outside Stockholm. From Norway King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen, Erling Lorentzen, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner will be present at the funeral.

Personal items belonging to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, including her wedding dress, might be sent on a world tour to raise money for her charity. The items are currently on display at Althorp. Any overseas trip would have to fit in with the timing of the current exhibition at Althorp.

To protect their safety the Municipality of Wassenaar agreed forbidding photographing and filming through the fences of the Eikenhorst estate where the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands are going to live.

Last weekend several personal belongings of Emperor Napoleon I were auctioned publicly in Liège, Belgium. A private person sold the items for small prizes. Most of the buyers were American collectors. A packet of tobacco fetched 350 Euros, and the Emperor’s death pillow 3300 Euros.

July 1st

The chief inspector commanding Windsor Castle’s security, has been replaced from his job to a new post within the Metropolitan Police after the security problems at the 21st birthday party of Prince William of Wales. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “This should not be seen as pre-judging the outcome of the disciplinary inquiry and is by mutual consent.” Paul Seery has become the new chief inspector at Windsor Castle.

July 2nd

On the day of the 100-year anniversary of the birth of the late King Olav V of Norway, his great-granddaughter Maud Angelica Behn, daughter of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn, was christened at the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo at 10:30 this morning. The christening was attended by more than 200 guests, among them most members of the Norwegian royal family. The service was led by the Bishop of Oslo, Gunnar Stålsett. King Harald carried his first grandchild to the font. Maud Angelica’s sponsors were Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who was not present because she is heavily pregnant herself, Marianne Ulrichsen, Anja Sabrina Bjørshol, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Trond Giske (Labour Party politician) and Kåre Conradi (actor). The Bishop said: “Blessed is the enduring one, said Jesus. Being enduring is more than being patient, it is more than tolerance. Enduring means waiting for something good. It means bearing resistance”. The Christening dress worn by Maud Angelica was sewn in 1920 for her great-great- grandmother, Princess Ingeborg, and has been used for the christening of her descendants. All of King Olav V’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren wore Princess Ingeborg’s dress at their christenings. Christening gifts included a collection of Norwegian fairy tales from the government, a silver mug from the City of Oslo, a necklace from the supreme court and two silver candlesticks from the parliament. In the late afternoon the almost complete Norwegian royal family – only Ragnhild Lorentzen was not present – attended a commemoration service for King Olav V at the Akershus Castle, where Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik held a speech for 300 guests. Thereafter the family also led a wreath at the King Olav V monument at Hankøsund. At the end of the day there was a private family dinner on board of the royal yacht Norge.

The court of justice at The Hague decided that Princess Máxima has to pay 25% of the costs Gerrit Jan van der Bent asked for as payment for the damage after a traffic accident near Palace Huis ten Bosch in October 2001. Mr Van der Bent broke his leg and wasn’t able to work for several month. He was ordered to pay the remaining 75% of the costs himself. Mr Van der Bent drove on a road for local traffic only and was driving too fast, while he didn’t wear his seat belt. However Princess Máxima should have given way to Mr Van der Bent as she came from an exit road.

July 3rd

Yesterday Najeeb “Jeeb” Halaby, father of Queen Noor of Jordan, died of congestive heart failure at his home in McLean, Virginia, USA, at the age of 87. He had been a foreign affairs adviser to the Pentagon and then a deputy assistant secretary of defense from 1948 to 1952. In 1961 he was named administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. He became a senior vice-president of Pan American World Airways in 1965, became its president in 1968, chief executive in 1969 and chairman in 1970. He was forced to resign in 1972 when the board blamed him for the worsening financial crisis at PanAm. He afterwards ran an international law practice and headed a company that provided aviation technology to Arab countries. Najeeb Halaby was born in Dallas on November 19, 1915 and had a Lebanese-Syrian father, Najeeb Elias Halaby, and a Texan mother, Laura Wilkins. Najeeb Halaby in 1946 married Doris Carlquist, whom he divorced in 1977. He married Jane Coates in 1980, who died in 1996. In 1997 he married Libby Cater. He is survived by his third wife and his three children from his first marriage, Queen Noor of Jordan, Christian and Alexa, as well as ten grandchildren.

Reports of the complaint-commission of the Amsterdam-Amstelland police show that in at least five cases the police has acted wrongly against demonstrators during the wedding of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands on February 2, 2002. Among others a student who shouted ‘booh’ was arrested and imprisoned for five hours. Also a board with the text ‘Alex and Máxima lots of happiness in the Republic Holland’ was removed unjust. The inquiry into seven other complaints has not been finished yet.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has become a member of a committee that is going to stimulate the participation of women from foreign origine in the Dutch society.

‘To Kidnap A Princess’ is the name of a drama-documentary that has has been commissioned by ITV controller of drama Nick Elliot. It expected to air later this year. The drama- documentary tells the story of the attempt of Ian Ball to kidnap the Princess Royal and her husband Mark Phillips almost 30 years ago. The attempt took place in The Mall, in the centre of London, when the princess and her husband were driving to Buckingham Palace after a charity film show. Bodyguard Inspector James Beaton was wounded when Mr Ball shot at him. Mr Ball opened the back door of the car and tried to pull the princess out, but Mark Phillips hung on to her and managed to shut the door. During the attempt also a second policeman and two passers-by were hurt. After Mr Ball was overpowered a ransom note addressed to the Queen was found in which the kidnapper demanded £3 million in used £5 notes. The film makers say the programme will tell an extraordinary tale of obsession. A spokeswoman said: “Featuring a combination of dramatised scenes and personal testimony from key witnesses, the film goes inside the mind of the troubled loner to tell how the fate of the British Royal Family was almost transformed in the space of 10 minutes on The Mall.” Jenna Renshaw will play the Princess Royal and Russell Mabey the would-be abductor.

Two ancient mausoleums from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) were named World Heritage sites at a session of the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO in Paris. At the ‘Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang, and his Empress were buried. Also the group of imperial mausoleums outside Beijing where 13 Ming emperors and 23 empresses from the 15th to the 17th century were buried was placed on the list. The two groups of tombs are seen as a showcase of funeral architecture and culture of that period in China. With the two imperial tombs added to the list today, the list contains five Chinese imperial tombs.

July 4th

At the 66th birthday of Queen Sonja, the Norwegian royal court announced that Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit expect their first child together. The baby is due to be born on January 22, 2004. Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who already has a son from a previous relationship, is said to be healthy and a normal pregnancy is expected. In the next few months there might be some changes in her official programme. Crown Prince Haakon himself made the news known this morning while leading a weekly meeting with the Norwegian Cabinet. The baby will become second in line to the throne behind Crown Prince Haakon.

A man driving a minicar attempted to ram a motorcade carrying Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko this morning around 7:10 at the National Route 38 in the city of Furano. A police motorcycle escort however managed to block the car’s path. The imperial car was damaged in the right front when the minicar hit one of the motorcycles that was knocked over and struck the car. The driver of the car, Osamu Koizumi, was immediately arrested and charged with obstructing public duties. He was slightly injured. The Imperial couple was unharmed and it took them three minutes to change cars and to drive further to Nakafurano where they visited a lavender garden. In Tokyo, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called for security measures for the Emperor to be reviewed thoroughly to prevent similar incidents. A spokesman of the imperial palace said: “We are examining what has happened at this stage and any change, if necessary, will be decided later.”

The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have summoned the weekly Privé. Recently the magazine has published lots of photos of the interior and exterior of Villa De Eikenhorst, the princely couple’s new home in Wassenaar. The couple says that with the publication the magazine has acted in a serious and inadmissible way against them. They have experienced the publication as a serious encroach upon their privacy. The couple has started a lawsuit at the court in Amsterdam. They demand that the making, publishing and further exploitation of the photos will be declared illegal, and they also demand that Privé tells who made the photographs.

July 5th

The Countess of Paris, born at Eu Castle on 13 August 1911 as Princess Isabelle de Orléans e Bragança, died this morning in a Paris hospital with her children by her side. She had been in hospital since June 26. Since 1999 she was the widow of the Cout of Paris, pretender to the French throne, whom she married in 1931. The couple had eleven children, of which two sons have died, 40 grandchildren (of which one deceased) and 53 great-grandchildren. Five other great-grandchildren were expected during the coming months, while two grand- daughters are about to get married. During the last few decades the Countess of Paris wrote several historical books about members of her family, while she also wrote her memoirs. The Countess of Paris will be buried at the Royal Chapel in Dreux on July 11 at 16:00. See the tribute by Ademar.

In the French newspaper Le Figaro it is announced that today Countess Katharina von und zu Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg marries Ludovic Allès at the San Stefano Chapel in Campoli, Mercatale, Italy. Countess Katharina was born in 1963 and is the second child of Count Ferdinand and his first wife Tanja Star Busmann.

July 9th

Writer and broadcaster William Shawcross will write the official biography of the late Queen Mother. He was chosen by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain herself from a shortlist of top writers, among others selected by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Mr Shawcross will have access to the Queen Mother’s personal papers and will be able to interview senior members of the Royal Family. The writer said: “It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to be invited by the Queen to write the biography of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. She was a remarkable woman whose life both spanned and reflected the 20th century. he Queen Mother had wide interests and great enthusiasms, and she always remained in touch with the momentous changes in the country. She was loved and respected by all generations. Her life tells the story of Britain over the last hundred years.”

July 10th

Prince Carl Bernadotte was buried at the royal cemetery at the Haga park near Stockholm, after a private funeral service at the church in Danderyd during which singer Sven-Bertil Taube sang ‘Så skimrande var aldri havet’ and priest Bo Wallin held a speech. The coffin was covered with the Swedish flag. After the burial a reception was held at Waldemarsudde. Next to the Prince’s widow Princess Kristine, his daughter Madeleine with her husband Nicolas Kogevinas and her children with partners, the whole Norwegian royal family was present, as well as King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Count Carl Johan Bernadotte, Queen Paola of Belgium, Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein (representing her mother Grand- Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxemburg) and Countess Ruth of Rosenborg. In total 130 people said goodbye to the prince.

The office of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, Prince of Venice and Piedmont, has announced the prince will marry French actress Clotilde Courau soon. Clotilde Courau was born in Levallois-Perret near Paris on 3 April 1969. She won the Romy Schneider Prize in 2000, and has played in several films.

Since Monday the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands have officially moved to Villa De Eikenhorst at the estate De Horsten in Wassenaar. They have registered themselves at the municipality today. The house at the Noordeinde in The Hague where they lived so far, will stay their office.

Also Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme has broken with her sollicitors Mr Nicolai and Mr Pen. In a fax she has thanked them for their service, but said she will no longer make use of their services. Her husband already broke with the sollicitors some weeks ago.

July 11th

The Countess of Paris was buried at the royal chapel in Dreux, where also her husband was buried four years ago. At the entrance of the chapel among others wreaths of King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain had been placed. The funeral service was led by Mgr Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, bishop of Chartres and was attended by almost the whole French royal family, as well as Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, Infanta Cristina of Spain with her husband Iñaki Urdangarín, Infanta Pilar of Spain, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg, Prince Albert of Monaco, Princess Teresa de Orléans e Bragança, Princess Stella de Orléans e Bragança, Princess Luiza de Orleáns e Bragança, Princess Maria Gabriela de Orléans e Bragança, Duke de Bragança, Archduchess Regina of Austria, Queen Anne of Romania, Prince Alexandre and Princess Barbara of Yugoslavia, Empress Farah of Iran, Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, the Duke of Aosta, Princess Alix Napoléon, Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Prince Casimir and Princess Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Bavaria, Grand Duke Georgi of Russia, Prince Michael and Princess Marina of Greece, Duchess Marguerite of Württemberg, Duchess Rixa von Oldenburg, Archduchess Margarita of Austria-Este, Archduke Martin of Austria-Este, Duke of Parma, Princess Cécile de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Chantal de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Charles Emmanuel and Princess Constance de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Remy de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Charles-Henri de Lobkowicz, Prince Pierre and Princess Silvia d’Arenberg and Elisabeth d’Udekem d’Acoz.

In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy says the date of his wedding to Clotilde Courau is not known yet, but the wedding for sure will take place in Italy. The couple met three years ago, first became friends, then intime friends, and then lovers. It was also revealed that Clotilde Courea is four months pregnant, which is the reason that they will get married now.

After a cash crisis The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund has frozen all its grants to beneficiaries and has been forced to approach other charities in a bid to keep its own projects going. Since 2000 the fund is embroiled in a legal battle with a souvenir fund in the USA, the Franklin Mint, which has been making products carrying images of the late Princess. They lost a battle in June 2000 and got a £4 million legal bill. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund tries to protect the Princess’s memory from commercial exploitation, they say. In November 2002 the Franklin Mint launched a counter suit of $25 million against the fund for malicious prosecution. Some 500 jobs are under threat. Some 120 charities benefit from the fund. The fund said: “This position has put the trustees and former trustees of the fund into the most painful legal and moral dilemma, as to whether to continue grants or retain all such money in the fund until the legal position is clearer. It has now been established, in fact, the fund is legally obliged to freeze not only new grants but payment of existing grants. The fund is determined to find other ways of honouring existing grants commitments to over 120 organisations and has launched a rescue plan. Trustees are now entering into urgent negotiations with various grant-giving organisations to discuss different ways of providing for its beneficiaries. It is also exploring all possible avenues that could unblock the logjam in its own funds.”

Marvel Comics has removed Diana Princess of Wales and all references to the British royal family from its forthcoming X-Statix monthly comics. They had planned to introduce the late Princess as hero in a team of super-powered mutants in a five-series storyline called ‘Di Another Day’. Her character would have been involved in a satirical look at fame and pop culture.

July 12th

Fürst Carl von Wrede and Countess Katalin Bethlen von Bethlen married at the St Mathias Church in Budapest, Hungary, today. 220 guests, among them many royals, attended the wedding.

Anna-Maria Morales y Grecia, daughter of Princess Alexia of Greece and her husband Carlos Morales Quintana, will be baptised at Spetses Island, Greece, on July 19.

A photographer and a reporter of the Haagsche Courant have been arrested near De Horsten estate, where the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands live since this week, and were held at the police station for one hour. They on purpose offended against the forbidding to photograph around the estate. The newspapers says that forbidding to photograph curtails the practising of their profession and stands in the way of freely getting news. The newspaper respects the privacy of the Dutch Royal House, but say that forbidding to photograph from a public road is going too far. At other palaces of the family it is allowed to photograph from the road.

Stadsherstel Amsterdam has threatened to start a lawsuit against Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn, husband of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. He rents a building from the Stadsherstel Amsterdam, but doesn’t follow the rules and sublets the house. Stadsherstel Amsterdam has summoned Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn to end the subleting.

Robert Edward Peter Gascoyne-Cecil, the 6th Marquess of Salisbury died yesterday at the age of 86. He was born on October 24, 1916. He was educated at Eton, then joined the Grenadier Guards and fought with them in World War II also taking part in the invasion of Normandy in 1944. After the war he studied farming and estate management and afterwards ran his great estates at Hatfield and Cranborne, Dorset. He was married to Mollie Wyndham-Quin, and got six sons and a daughter. Two sons predeceased their father. The new Marquess is the eldest son, Viscount Cranborne.

July 13th

Today Princess Johanna zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, daughter of Prince Felix and Princess Elisabeth née Countess von Meran, married Baron Robert Prosper Heeremann von Zuydtwyck at the Wallfahrtskirche in Dieburg, Germany. At 11:00 the marriage was conducted by Johannes zu Eltz together with Benedictine Abbot Franziskus Heeremann (an uncle of the groom), Father Martin Löwenstein and Priest Lorenz Eckstein. The marriage was attended by some 450 guests. The civil marriage had taken place already earlier in the week in Meerbusch. On Friday evening the bridal soiree was held at the Habitzheim Estate.

July 14th

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden traditionally celebrated her birthday at the family’s summer residence of Solliden at the island of Öland. Surrounded by her family she received the greetings of thousands of Swedes who had gathered at Solliden to wish her a happy 26th birthday.

A huge birthday celebration of the Bavarian royal family with around 2600 guests was celebrated today at Nymphenburg Castle in München, Germany. Duke Franz von Bayern celebrated his 70th birthday today. In June Prince Ludwig celebrated his 90th birthday, while his wife Princess Irmingard celebrated her 80th birthday last May. And in June also Prince Leopold celebrated his 60th birthday. Among the guests many prominent Bavarians, like Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber. The guests were greeted by flourish of the Bavarian hunt. An impressive trooping the colours came in procession to the castle after a salute of 39 mortar shots by the Münchener Mortar Regiment to hand over their birthday wishes to the Duke and his family. The friends of the Schützenkompanie Tegernsee finished the procession with a salute before it ended with the anthem of Bavaria. After the trooping the colour Duke Franz invited all guests for a meal in two marquees in the garden. Among the guests were Dr Otto von Habsburg, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis as well as members of the royal and noble families of Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Spielberg, Fürstenberg, Liechtenstein, Prussia, Saxony and Hannover.

Comedian Aaron Barschak, who breached security at Prince William of Wales’s 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle will face no further action Scotland Yard says. They follow the advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. He was initially released on police bail.

July 16th

The private secretary of Princess Benedikte of Denmark released a press announcement telling that the princess’s husband Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg has had cancer surgery at hospital in Germany, for the first time in March and again on July 3. He was first treated for skincancer and the second time for left groin cancer. He left hospital on July 11. He has now started the first of four sessions of chemotherapy.

The Dutch Association of Journalists and the Dutch Society of Editor-in-Chiefs have lodged a legal action against the Council of Wassenaar to protest against the recent ban on photographing around the estate of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. On June 30 the Council, on request of the Dutch royal family, decided that the house may not longer be photographed from the public roads around the estate to protect the privacy of the couple. The court hearing will take place on 28 July in a court in The Hague.

In a television documentary to be broadcasted on July 24 by Channel 4 James Hewitt, the former lover of Diana Princess of Wales, boasted that she was good in bed. At one point in the documentary he also tells some people: “They’re doing it (the programme) about me because I’m a complete s*** and we’re trying to make me less of a s***.” and he added: “And it’s not working!” He also claims the Prince of Wales knew about their relationship: “I think he would have been told by the security forces and other people who make it their duty to know what other people are doing.” He also says the Prince of Wales should be “grateful” for the affair as “I think he would probably be grateful someone was looking after his wife when he was sh****** Camilla Parker Bowles, don’t you?” Mr Hewitt was followed by a film crew during his attempt to sell the princess’s love letters to him for £10 million.

July 17th

Princess Stephanie of Monaco has posed almost nude for photos that will be auctioned off to raise money for her new Aids foundation. She is only covered by a giant red ribbon. She agreed to the photos after German artist Peter Klasen suggested it would be a good way to raise money. She told the French magazine Oh La! that the idea had “moved” and “flattered” her. The photos will be turned into a 14-page feature in the magazine before the original prints are auctioned off on October 10 in Monaco. The proceeds will be donated to the foundation she recently founded with her brother Prince Albert.

Today the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg agreed to hear a complaint by Princess Caroline of Monaco claiming German authorities failed to protect her from paparazzi photographers. She claims a 1999 German court ruling allowing publication of unauthorized pictures infringed on her right to a private and family life, as enshrined in the European human rights convention. The complaint is lodged under the name Princess Caroline von Hannover and a hearing is scheduled for November 6.

July 18th

For the first time Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis opened a festival at her castle St. Emmeram in Regensburg, the fulfilling of a childhood’s dream. On the programme was the musical history tragedy ‘Die Bernauerin’ of Carl Orff, that tells the tragic love story between a girl from Augsburg and the Bavarian Duke Albrecht in the 14th century. At the end the young woman, said to be a witch, was drowned in the Donau. Princess Gloria as well as her daughter Maria Theresia played a role in the play. The Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele will end on July 27. On the programme are among others the opera ‘The Nightingale’ and the musical ‘Evita’. Around 30.000 visitors are expected.

July 19th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands attended the huge 85th birthday celebrations for former South African president Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela today. 1 600 guests were given red carpet treatment as they arrived at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg tonight for a gala dinner. Among the many guests were also president Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US president Bill Clinton with his wife Hilary and daughter Chelsea, rock star Bono, model Naomi Campbell, actor Robert de Niro, singer Barbra Streisand and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. The evening celebrations started with 85 children, led by South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, singing “Happy Birthday” for Mandela as he entered the room. Retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu delivered a blessing before dinner was served. An 82-piece orchestra and a host of dancers provided entertainment. The guests were served a traditional spicy Cape Malay lentil soup, Cajun spiced chicken, malva pudding and the consummate panacea for those with a sweet tooth koeksisters — an Afrikaans traditional pastry oozing with sugar. Mandela left the party shortly before 23:00, but not before dancing to traditional African music with Tutu, and Clinton’s wife Hillary. Even Queen Beatrix joined the other guests for the “Madiba jive” as Yvonne Chaka Chaka and U2’s Bono let rip with a huge happy birthday song and dance. The dinner followed tens of thousands of tributes. Many world leaders sent formal messages of congratulation, while ordinary South Africans sent more than 15.000 calls and more than 22.000 short message greetings. The festivities had already started on Friday and will be finished on Sunday. Earlier on Saturday Nelson Mandela had attended the funeral of his daughter-in-law, Zondi, in Soweto.

At the church of Mettlach, Germany, Princess Cynthia zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich married Count Richard von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee. After the wedding a reception took place in the Saareck-Park.

Anna-Maria Morales y Grecia was christened by Bishop Efraim at the Pantanassos Monastery at the Peloponessos. Next to the closest family, the christening was attended by Queen Sofia of Spain, Princess Irene of Greece, Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and her fiancée Markos Nomikos.

155 members and descendants of the Bavarian royal family gathered this morning at Schloss Nymphenburg for a family party to celebrate in private the 70th birthday of Duke Franz, the 80th birthday of Princess Irmingard, the 90th birthday of Prince Ludwig and the 60th birthday of Prince Leopold. The day began with a mass in the chapel of St Maria Magdalena led by Cardinal Wetter, Archbishop of München-Freising. Present were among others Queen Fabiola of Belgium and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.

July 20th

The celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the accession to the throne of King Albert II of the Belgians started today with a classical concert in the Egmont Palace in Brussels. In the early afternoon a roller parade with 600 people including Prince Laurent of Belgium left from the Jubelpark to the centre of Brussels, like 1100 cyclists including Prince Philippe of Belgium from the Hertogsstraat and 20.000 motor-cyclists from the Heizel where King Albert II himself gave the starting shot. Between 16:00 and 18:00 a garden party took place in and around Laeken Castle for which 880 citizens were invited including some 10-year-old children. The day was closed by the traditional concert of laureats of the Queen Elisabeth Contest at the Palace of Schone Kunsten in Brussels and a huge public ball at the Vossen Square with an orchestra and well-known Belgian artists.

In a speech on the occasion of National Day, King Albert II of the Belgians paid homage to his brother King Baudouin who suddenly died almost 10 years ago: “On this National Holiday I would like to remind you of some of the values he incorporated in such a remarkable way, and to refer to some themes which he cared about very much. This is a great opportunity to pay homage to him, to express our heartfelt gratitude to Queen Fabiola, who stood beside him for thirty years and to express the wish that the aim of my brother may continue to inspire us.”

Today Crown Prince Haakon of Norway celebrated his 30th birthday at the family’s summer house Mågerø at the island of Tjøme. He gave a small birthday lunch for which around 50 family members and friends had been invited. Among them Queen Sonja, Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn, Maud Angelica Behn, Marius Borg Høiby, Marit Tjessem and Rolf Berntsen. King Harald V was sailing in Spain and didn’t attend. In the evening Crown Princess Mette-Marit surprised him with tickets for an outdoor concert by Norwegian jazz star Jan Garbarek in Tønsberg. In a birthday interview Crown Prince Haakon said that he and his wife would have liked “to make a bit more out of the day”, but they had too many other things to do. “We’ll see whether there can’t be some sort of celebration of our 30th birthdays some time next year.” He also told they “have many plans” for the future, both here and overseas, among other things in close cooperation with the Foreign Ministry.” He said he’s happy, looks forward to move back into his childhood home in suburban Asker, west of Oslo, and “lay the foundation for the rest of our lives.” They are very much looking forward to the baby and hope that the child can have a childhood as normal as possible.

Yesterday James Hewitt, former lover of Diana Princess of Wales, offered to hand her love letters to him all over to the Prince of Wales. He claims he doesn’t want a penny for them from the Prince but said he expects to be asked for them in a “civilized and respectful way”. “Were I to be invited by the prince for tea and given the opportunity to discuss this matter in a reasoned way, I would of course be willing to respond,” Hewitt said. “I might add that so far, no one has made any attempt to show me such consideration.” Until such a call comes he will continue accepting offers from private buyers.

July 21st

The anniversary of King Albert II of the Belgian’s 10th year as King and the Belgian National Day were celebrated today. In the morning members of the family attended traditional Te Deum celebrations all over Belgium. King Albert II, Queen Paola and Queen Fabiola attended the service in the St Michel and St Gudule Cathedral in Brussels and afterwards took the time to speak with wellwishers. Prince Philippe went to the Saint-Aubain Cathedral in Namur, Prince Laurent and Prince Claire to the Saint-Nicolas Church in Eupen and Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz attended the The Deum in the St. Salvator Church in Bruges. The traditional military parade drew record crowds to Brussels. The only notable absence was the military tank parade, cancelled due to a massive pothole in the rue de la Loi. The highlight of the day was an open-air evening concert with lots of Flemish and Walloon artists like Khadja Nin, Zap Mama, Sandra Kim, Toots Thielemans and Will Tura. Some 35,000 people filled the streets around the Palais de Justice. At the end performers sang Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday in unison. At the end of the concert also tennisplayers Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne will congratulate the king. The entire Royal family was present at the concert. King Albert II and Queen Paola climbed the stage to thank performers and spectators in French and Flemish. The day ended with a spectacular fireworks display in central Brussels attended by some 100,000 spectators. Photo gallery.

July 22nd

A teenager has interrupted Queen Elizabeth II’s summer garden party today at Buckingham Palace. The 17-year-old ran on the grass about 100 yards in front of the Queen and for a while pulled down his trousers and boxer shorts. A Beefeater in ceremonial costume managed to tackle the boy under loud applause of other guests. The boy was not arrested, but spoken to by the police and later escorted out of the Palace grounds.

July 23rd

The teenager who pulled down his trousers and boxer shorts at Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s summer garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday is extremely embarrassed by his actions and is writing a letter of apology to the Queen. His father apologised in a statement issued through Buckingham Palace. “He regarded it as an honour to attend the Royal garden party,” the father said. “He is extremely embarrassed by the incident and regrets any discourtesy I would like to apologise for the ill-considered actions of my son.” A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “We understand that the father of the young man involved in this streaking incident has apologised. We also understand that the young man concerned is writing a letter of apology to the Queen. We regard the matter as now closed.”

The wedding of Duchess Fleur von Württemberg and Count Moritz von Goëss on August 9 at Altshausen will be broadcasted live on the local German channel SWR from 10:15 to 12:30. The civil wedding will take place on August 8th, at 11:00 at Schloss Altshausen.

July 24th

Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London has removed the wax figures of the Princess Royal, Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex. It is the first time in 200 years the royal section has left out immediate family members. Still on display are Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Madame Tussauds’ however plans to retain the Queen Mother and Diana Princess of Wales and plans to feature the very popular Prince William in the near future. The move is part of a drive to make the waxworks less “worthy but dull”. Recently visitors were asked who they wanted to see and there was not much interest in members of the royal family.

July 26th

Surprisingly the Prince of Wales was accompanied by Camilla Parker Bowles during a private visit to Salzburg, Austria today, on the occasion of the Salzburger Festspiele. They arrived together in the afternoon by airplane. They attended a reception with President Thomas Klestil at the Grossen Festspielhaus. At 17:00 the couple attended a performance of the Requiem of Hector Berlioz. Afterwards a gala dinner at the home of Austrian billionaire Donald Kahn followed. Tomorrow they are planning to visit the première of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera ‘The abduction from the Seraglio’.

Also Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg arrived in Salzburg in the afternoon. They had an official lunch with President Thomas Klestil at Schloss Hellbrunn. Like the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles they attended the performance of the Requiem of Hector Berlioz, they met each other before the concert in the VIP- lounge. Tomorrow they will attend a service at the Dom in Salzburg and afterwards will tour the city. After a visit to the birth house of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart they will visit the première of Mozart’s opera ‘The abduction from the Seraglio’ in the evening. They will leave for Luxembourg again on Monday.

July 29th

On August 1, 2003, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands will start a parttime job as advisor Europe-communication at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. The job will be for two years. The prince will advise the state secretary of foreign affairs about the formation and execution of the communication-strategy concerning European co-operation. In the centre will be the enlargement of the concern of the Dutch citizen with the European co-operation. The work will partly be in the token of the European precidency The Netherlands will hold in the second half of 2004. Prince Constantijn has ended his job as a strategic policy advisor at Booz Allen and Hamilton in London.

During his holiday Prince William of Wales has been whitewater rafting on the River Nile in Uganda and enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the river. He and 11 other people, including his bodyguards, camped at Eden Rock Resort Bujagali.

July 31st

10 years after the sudden death of King Baudouin of the Belgians his family attended a commemorative service at the St Michiel and St Gudule Cathedral in Brussels. The service was also attended by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and other politicians. During the service Cardinal Godfried Danneels read a message of Pope John Paul II saying “May his [King Baudouin’s] life of service, rooted in a profound relation with God and founded on essential values encourage the Belgian people to follow in his footsteps to build an ever more just and fraternal society, in respect of the dignity of persons”. After the service the Belgian royal family paid a visit to the royal crypt at Laeken Church, which was open to the public for the duration of the day. The King’s widow Queen Fabiola published an open letter about her husband in the Belgian press today in his honour to mark the tenth anniversary of his death and to thank the Beglians who want to keep the memory of King Baudouin alive. The letter started with ‘King Baudouin, King of my heart’. Queen Fabiola says that many couldn’t learn to know his real nature, partly because the discretion he always kept. By publishing her letter Queen Fabiola wants to share the image of him she carries in her heart. “The love of my husband was an endless source of happiness for all who surrounded him and also for himself. He let me drink this source and also now I draw from it every hour of my life. He could burst out in hearty laughing each moment and that changed spontaneous in an almost constant smile we never got enough of.” Queen Fabiola also wrote about the difficult moments in the life of the late king, like when he had to succeed his father at a very young age, unprepared. He said then: “I have no strenght for tomorrow, but only for today. I have to learn to go through the present moment.” But also the bloody fights between Belgians and Congolese people in Belgian Congo, while he always remembered his first wonderful visit to Congo as a king. Queen Fabiola continued: “I am aware of the fact that I might speak to easy. That is why I even more admired the generous and attentive listening comprehension of my husband, both within the own family circle as in the execution of his function. He was always prepared to efface himself away for others. All who came to told him about their pain, especially the poorest and them who were hurt by life, he approached with insight and silent sympathy.” Queen Fabiola also told he was always eager to learn more about being a human and the reason of existence of each human being. “This openess of heart and spirit he carried in him by nature, was the key to his inexhaustible ability to remain surprised, and because of that he could tast the real values and the beauty of life. He owned the unspoilt freshness of a child, which protected him against pride.” The letter says that King Baudouin and King Albert ‘had an exceptional affection and respect for each other’. Queen Fabiola said: “Thanks to him I still learn every day the value of patience and I realise that each human being is a gift for the other.” and “To me he remains a unique gift, today, tomorrow and for eternal.”

August 1st

The Prince of Orange and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands attended the funeral of Freiherr Johann-Christian von Jenisch, who died on July 23rd at the age of 88, in Bad Oldesloe today. Among the funeral guests also were Prince Ferdinand and Princess Elisabeth von Bismarck.

August 2nd

Princess Maria-Annunziata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies married Count Fredrik Creutz in Helsinki, Finland, today.

August 4th

Today diplomats said that the Emir of Qatar is set to change his crown prince. No official explanation is given for the sudden change, but the diplomats said the crown prince, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, was dissatisfied about not getting the responsibilities he had aimed for. Diplomats said Sheikh Jassim was likely to be replaced by his brother Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

The Prince of Wales has moved from Saint James’s Palace into the late Queen Mother’s London residence at Clarence House after a huge renovation. The Prince’s standard was raised above the building for the first time. The Queen Mother lived at Clarence house from 1953 until her death in 2002. It hadn’t been painted for 50 years. The whole place “was frankly pretty dirty. The curtains were falling apart, and the red felt carpet was in shreds,” said Sir Hugh Roberts who is charged with the maintenance of royal property. Asbestos has been removed, plumbing updated and rewiring carried out at a cost of 4.5 million pounds paid for by the British taxpayer. The renovation project was carried out by the Prince of Wales’s interior designer Robert Kime. The arrangement of the rooms and the art and furniture is mostly as it was in the Queen Mother’s time, but Charles has also introduced some new works. “The Prince of Wales is very pleased with it. It has kept the Queen Mother’s ambience, which he very much wanted to achieve,” said a Saint James’s Palace spokesman: “It’s a wonderful place where he will entertain senior statespeople from abroad and people from his charities.” Princes William and Harry, who will also use the house as their London home, have picked more modern designs for their own rooms. Also Camilla Parker Bowles will use two rooms. Official court circulars detailing the Prince of Wales’s engagements will now be headed Clarence House, but his offices in Saint James’s Palace will not switch to the new dwelling until September. From Wednesday, members of the public can take a guided tour of the five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements will be held and VIP guests received.

August 5th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn have postponed their planned move to New York until after the birth of the first child of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Head of Information at the Royal Palace in Oslo, Wenche Rasch, said: “They want to stay at home until The Crown Princess’s baby is born, as they would like to be near the family.”

25-year-old Crown Prince Jassim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani gave up his office today in favour of his younger brother Sheikh Tamim. The new crown prince is 24 years old. No reason was given for the surprise move. In a letter of abdication to his father, Sheikh Jassim renounced his claim to succession: “Although I have never and will never slack in serving my country under your leadership, I did not want, as I have told you from the start, to be appointed as crown prince.” He further wrote: “It is time for me to resign. The person who succeeds me as crown prince has been prepared and has gained the requisite experience,” he said of his brother. “It is high time His Highness the Emir replies to my wishes and entrusts the mission to Sheikh Tamim, now well experienced in civilian and military fields.” In his responding letter, Sheik Hamad said he had repeatedly tried to change his son’s mind. “With all my appreciation to you, dear son, I have nothing to do … but to accept with great regret your decision in spite of the sorrow and pain I feel,” he said. The ceremony was attended by royal family members, including Sheikh Tamim, and senior Qatari officials. The Emir explained he had agreed to nominate Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani as a crown prince following consultations with the ruling family and people concerned in the country. Sheikh Jassim, the third son of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, was appointed crown prince in October 1996, a year after Sheikh Hamad ousted his father in a bloodless coup. Sheikh Jassim was head of the Environment and Protectorates Authority but held no ministerial positions. Both Jassim and Tamim are children by the Emir’s favourite wife, Sheika Mozza bint Nasser al-Misnid. Sheikh Tamim, the fourth son of the Emir, serves as head of the Qatari Olympic committee. He has graduated from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The Emir’s eldest son, Prince Mesha’al is a businessman and his second, Prince Fahd, is involved in Islamic charities. Neither has shown any interest in becoming crown prince.

August 6th

The Court in The Hague today decided that the photography ban around the estate of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima was ‘too radical’. The judge advised the couple that they could improve the garden screening along the fence or adjust the fence itself to protect themselves from unwanted attention. The lifting of the ban takes immediate effect. The ban was imposed by the Council of the Municipality of Wassenaar on June 30. Afterwards the Dutch journalists union and the Society of Editor-in-Chiefs launched a legal protest claiming that the ban breached treaties guaranteeing freedom of the press. They recognise the importance of the couple’s privacy. The Wassenaar Council is expected to appeal the ruling.

August 7th

During the yearly press conference at the castle of Caïx in France during her vacation, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has made some remarks that make the press come to the conclusion that Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark will become engaged to his Australian girlfriend Mary Donaldson very soon. On the question what her impression was of Frederik’s girlfriend, she said: We have met her, and we are very fond of her. She also said: “I am pleased for the crown prince, I really am.” Asked when an engagement could be expected, the Queen answered that she couldn’t tell as “We have the right to keep some secrets to ourselves.” Later she she also told that: “She would be a sweet daughter-in-law.” A member of the press remembered Prince Henrik on it that last summer he claimed he had never met Mary Donaldson. Prince Henrik answered: “She’s a year older now, but still lovely.” After the first reports in the press the Danish royal court quickly announced the situation hadn’t been changed in connection with an engagement or a marriage. Hofmarskall Søren Haslund-Christensen also said that the opening of parliament on Tuesday 7 October isn’t put on the programme with a view on an engagement.

August 8th

Princess Iman bint Hussein of Jordan finished her education at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst today after an intensive 11-month training. The final march-past was attended by King Abdullah, Queen Rania and Queen Noor. Princess Iman is the seventh of the children of the late King Hussein who attended the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst after King Abdullah, Prince Faisal, Prince Ali, Prince Hamzah, Prince Hashem and Princess Aisha.

August 9th

Duchess Fleur von Württemberg married Count Moritz von Goëss at the castle church of Altshausen. The civil wedding took place at Schloss Altshausen yesterday morning. Among the guests was King Juan Carlos of Spain, godfather of the bride.

August 10th

Prince William of Wales reportedly used a 7ft spear made from acacia wood to kill a small antelope (dik-dik) during a hunting trip in Kenya last week, after having had lessons from a Masai warrior. The prince spends a month in East Africa with seven friends. St James’s Palace didn’t comment.

August 11th

The Duke and Duchess of Angoulême became the proud parents of a son, Pierre, on August 6 in Grasse. They already have a 2-year-old daughter, Thérèse. The Duke of Angoulême is the youngest son of the Count of Paris and his first wife, Duchess Marie Therese von Württemberg. He married Marie-Liesse de Rohan-Chabot in 1999.

August 13th

According to a survey by market research company NOP commissioned by Blink Contacts eye drops Prince William of Wales has the sexiest eyes in Great Britain. He won 38% of the female votes and was followed by actor Richard E Grant and Declan Donnelly. Jack Nicholson topped the poll of male voters with 16%, followed by Michael Parkinson and Bill Clinton. 1000 men and women nationwide were polled.

August 14th

Prince Harry of Wales has passed two A-levels. He achieved a grade B for art and D for geography, but dropped history of art at A level after his AS exams last year. The Prince of Wales said: “I am very proud of Harry. He has worked hard for these examinations and I am very pleased with today’s results.” St James’s Palace added: “By achieving two A-Level passes, Prince Harry is able to continue pursuing his wish for a future career in the Army.” Prince Harry is to embark on a gap year before pursuing a military career starting at Sandhurst Military Academy. He was already trained in the cadet corps of Eton College and learned about rifle handling, foot drill, first aid, navigation and fieldcraft, as well as writing and delivering orders, advanced infantry tactics and close-target reconnaissance.

A report into the incident at Windsor Castle at the 21st birthday party of Prince William of Wales reveals that comedian Aaron Barschak set off several alarms when he gate-crashed the party. However police failed to respond to alarms which went off in their control room. Mr Barschak easily was able to walk into the Waterloo Chamber, climbing the stage and make a speech. Home Secretary David Blunkett said: “The Commissioner has assured me that significant lessons have been learnt from this incident and that the important service that the police play in protecting the Royal Family will be further improved. Disciplinary investigations are under way in the case of eight officers and the management of the policing arrangements at Windsor has changed at Chief Inspector level. I accept the Commissioner’s judgment that, for the time being, no further disciplinary action should be taken against any other officers.”

August 15th

On Staatsfeiertag (National Day) Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein announced that on August 15, 2004, he will hand over political powers to his eldest son Hereditary Prince Alois. However Prince Hans Adam II will stay the head of state.

Princess Tatjana von und zu Liechtenstein and her husband Philipp von Lattorff expect their third child.

August 16th

Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg gave birth to a daughter at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen this morning at 2:22. The Princess’s husband Count Jefferson- Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth was present at birth. Baby and mother are doing fine. The little countess weighs 3690 grammes and is 53 cm tall. Princess Alexandra will leave hospital in a few days and will afterwards stay at Amalienborg for a few days. The couple already had a son, Richard, who was born at the same hospital on September 14, 1999.

August 17th

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Katharina (German tv-moderator Tita von Hardenberg) expect their second child in January. The couple is very delighted. They already have a son: Jakob-Maximilian, who was born in January 2002.

Comtesse Diana Bernadotte af Wisborg, youngest daughter of Count Lennart and Countess Sonja, will marry 37-year-old Bernd Grawe in a civil ceremony at the Island of Mainau on September 27. The ceremony will be performed by mayor Horst Frank. A religious wedding is not planned yet. The groom is a chimney-sweeper and recently asked Count Lennart for Diana’s hand in Sweden, after the couple had become engaged. The couple met during the carnival in Konstanz last February. The couple already lives together in Konstanz-Litzelstetten. There will be a party at Mainau on September 26th, while a ball will be held at Mainau on September 28th. Only family and friends are invited. A week before Comtesse Diana, also Count Alexander eldest son of Diana’s halfbrother Jan, will get married at Mainau, to whom is unknown to me.

August 18th

Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her newborn daughter have left the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, in company of her husband Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth and their son Richard. They said the baby would be named Ingrid, after the late Queen Ingrid of Denmark, Princess Alexandra’s grandmother. They don’t know where the little Countess will be christened yet, but it most likely will be in October.

At the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl the 150 anniversary of the engagement of Emperor Franz Joseph II of Austria with Princess Elisabeth in Bavaria was celebrated. A mass was held at the church in town in the morning.

August 19th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway celebrated her 30th birthday. The evening was spent on board of the royal ship Norge with her husband and family. Crown Prince Haakon offered his wife a homemade CD.

August 20th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium gave birth to a son at 1:14 this morning at the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht. The baby will be named Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie (Gabriël Boudewijn Karel Maria in Flemish) and is third in line of succession to the Belgian throne behind his father Prince Philippe and his sister Princess Elisabeth. Gabriel weighs four kilogrammes and is 52 cm tall, has blue eyes and blond hair. He arrived about ten days earlier than was expected so King Albert II and Queen Paola had to return earlier from their vacation in the south of France. The name Gabriel has never been used in the Royal family. The baby’s second name, Boudewijn, refers to the late King Boudewijn. At a press conference at Hospital in the afternoon Prince Philippe told that the delivery had been a natural one, that Gabriel looks very strong, and that he and Princess Mathilde are very happy with their son but also very tired. He said: “With a second child you more realise what happens. With a first you are more surprised.” Gabriel, according to his father, looks very much like his sister and has enormous big hands and big feet. The couple knew beforehand that it would become a boy and Prince Philippe said it was ‘a king’s wish’ coming true. The name Gabriel was chosen in the first place because they liked the name, ‘but also because the name is rooted in three religious traditions. The Judaism, Christianity and the Islam’. Gabriel’s godparents will be Baroness Maria Christina von Freyberg née Rossi di Montelera, a second cousin of Prince Philippe, and Count Charles-Henri d’Udekem d’Acoz, brother of Princess Mathilde. The website of Prince Gabriel.

At 15:45 this afternoon King Albert II of the Belgians, Queen Paola and Count Patrick and Countess Anne d’Udekem d’Acoz arrived at the Erasmus Hospital to pay a visit to their newborn grandson Gabriel. They stayed until 17:00. A quarter of an hour later Prince Philippe of Belgium arrived at hospital with his little daughter Princess Elisabeth to show her her little baby brother for the first time.

Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester, aunt of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and widow of Prince Henry The Duke of Gloucester since 1974, today passed the age to which the late Elizabeth The Queen Mother lived, 101 years and 238 years (=37128 days), thus becoming the oldest member of the British royal family in history. “The day will be celebrated in private with her family at Kensington Palace in London,” said a spokeswoman at Buckingham Palace. The dowager Duchess lives at Kensington Palace with her son Richard and his family. Although the frail duchess has withdrawn from public life in the past few years, she still grants audiences in her apartment for members of the organisations with which she remains associated, and recently she surprisingly took over as Colonel in Chief of the Royal Anglians. One of eight children of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch, Lady Alice Christabel Montagu-Douglas-Scott, was born at Montagu House, London, on December 25, 1901. She only married after having travelled around in Kenya and India. She financed her travels by painting watercolours and selling them through a gallery. On November 6, 1935, she married the Duke of Gloucester at the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret as her bridesmaids, and settled down to royal life, despite her self-confessed “horror” of society life. After two miscarriages two sons were born, William (who died in an air-accident in 1972) and Richard, the present Duke of Gloucester.

Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, again was diagnosed skin cancer, at the same place as in June 2001. In the meantime the malignant skin has been removed at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. Due to the recent discovery the regular control of Mr van Vollenhoven at the hospital has been intensified.

Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancee of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, knew top Amsterdam criminal Klaas Bruinsma (who was killed in 1991) while she was studying in Amsterdam, the Government Information Service said today. They said Mabel Wisse Smit met him on several occasions at sailing regattas 15 years ago and confirmed they were friends for a short period. She broke all contact with him when she heard about his background. Mabel Wisse Smit herself informed the royal family about her contact with Klaas Bruinsma when her relationship to Prince Friso became permanent, and it was also discussed with then Prime Minister Wim Kok.

The foundation stone for the Diana Princess of Wales memorial fountain next to the Serpentine at Hyde Park, London, has been lowered into place, almost six years after the princess’s death. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was at the helm of the JCB that laid the first 1.5 tonne granite block. She said the £3 million project, due to open formally on July 1st 2004, would be worth the wait – despite a number of delays. The original site of the memorial fountain turned out to be the site of significant Roman remains, so the fountain needs to be built on another place. The granite for the fountain was cut in Ireland. The memorial fountain was designed by Kathryn Gustafson.

August 21st

Yesterday Crown Prince Haakon of Norway has criticized the Norwegian newspaper VG for going too far by printing a story about his wife’s relationship to her father. On behalf of VG, research company Omnijet conducted a survey about the public opinion of the Crown Princess and her relationship with her father, Sven O. Høiby. 49 percent of the respondents said they thought the Crown Princess should re-establish contact with her father. 914 people responded. The research was the base of the story that appeared in VG yesterday. The story was criticized by both members of the press and VGs political chief editor Olav Versto, who apoligised for printing the story. Crown Prince Haakon said: ” Some of the descriptions of private relations are unacceptable. The media should be careful about pulling in third parties and using us to create stories and we hope the media will show consideration when reporting about personal and private relations.” Per Edgar Kokkvold, leader of the Norwegian press association says: “The story represents an invasion of the private sphere.” He added that the royals will have to handle public interest and that their private sphere is smaller than that of other public people in Norway: ” But they have the right to have a private sphere. It is distasteful to poke around in the relationship between a daughter and a father.”

August 22nd

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, together with their daughter Princess Elisabeth, presented the newborn Prince Gabriel to the press. In the afternoon Prince Philippe of Belgium Duke of Brabant registered the birth of his son at the town hall of Anderlecht.

Prince Johannes (Hanno) von und zu Liechtenstein died after a long illness in Stockholm on August 20, 2003, the Liechtenstein Princely court announced today. The prince was the only son of Prince Ferdinand von und zu Liechtenstein and his second wife, Swedish Brita Nordenskiöld and was born in Helsingborg, Sweden, on November 3, 1941. In 1968 he married Kerstin Lundberg. They had two sons, Andreas and Max, who are both married.

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will work with the Directorate for Norwegian Development Aid (NORAD) this fall in order to become better acquainted with the work of NORAD. She will work at NORAD twice a week until Christmas. The Crown Princess wants to learn more about HIV/AIDS problems in which she has become interested during her study in London over the past year. Crown Prince Haakon says he plans to take a couple of months off after the birth, to spend more time with the family.

A poster was printed in the last edition of the Swedish men’s magazine Slitz, containing several paparazzi pictures of Princess Madeleine of Sweden in bikini. Royal court’s spokeswoman Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg told Aftonbladet: “Princess Madeleine does not want to be a pin-up model. One of my co-workers has spoken to the Princess about the poster and she does not like it.” Magnus Norrman, head of the publisher, said he does not understand the reaction from the Swedish palace: “We printed the poster in connection with a survey showing that 43 percent of Swedish men wanted to see more of the Princess. We think she is cute and find it odd that the palace reacts. All these pictures have been printed elsewhere before.” Normann said the magazine had not received any reactions directly from the palace.

August 23rd

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark ended in fourth place at the European Championship Dragon Class (sailing) in Kinsale, Ireland. The Crown Prince and his crew had been leading after four out of six races. 51 boats participated.

August 24th

Princess Mathilde of Belgium and her newborn son Gabriel, accompanied by Prince Philippe, left the Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht this afternoon. The couple took the time to thank the staff of the hospital. Outside tens of people waited to get a glimpse of the new addition to the Belgian royal family.

King Mswati III of Swaziland has picked his 11thbride and already paid an ‘admission of guilt’ fine of one head of livestock for breaking the Umchwasho chastity rite which bars young maidens from sex for five years, a rule that is an attempt to combat a high HIV/AIDS rate in the country. 17-year-old Noliqwa Ntentesa was escorted to the palace by the same royal aides who landed in court last year for allegedly kidnapping the king’s 10th bride, Zena Mahlangu, whose mother charged the two men. “Noliqwa is now an official bride to the king and she is very happy about the latest developments, and she has accepted that her future is with the royal family,” a source close to her family said. Ntentesa’s father, a maths lecturer at the University of Swaziland, said he would have challenged his daughter’s “abduction” in court, but did not have the money to do so. She is expected to be paraded as the king’s new bride during the annual reed dance in September, a traditional ceremony where young maidens dance bare-breasted in front of the king for him to choose his next wife.

The 30th birthday of Crown Princess Mette-Marit was celebrated for the second time in a week today. In the morning a church service was attended in the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo, later a reception was held at the Royal Palace, and finally a dinner took place at the royal lodge of Kongsseteren. The dinner was attended by the royal family, Mette- Marit’s family (with exception of her father) and friends. The couple also announced that they’ll donate money from their humanitarian fund this year to aid young, single asylum seekers and young immigrants who need academic help. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit have said they plan to move into the new remodelled quarters at the Skaugum residence before Christmas.

August 25th

In an interview to ‘Novosti’ Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia said that the remains of Queen Maria and King Peter II of Yugoslavia will be transferred to their homeland to be buried in the crypt of Saint George’s Church in Oplenac. The procedure is to be carried out in agreement with the Serbian government, who have welcomed the initiative of the family for the transfer. It is not known yet when the remains will be transferred, but it is hoped that it can happen during the celebration of the bicentennial of the first Serbian uprising led by Karadjordje next year. Crown Prince Alexander will be the host of this celebration. Queen maria at the moment is buried at Frogmore, Windsor, Great Britain, while King Peter II is buried in the Serbian monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, USA.

August 26th

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium with great joy announced that they attend their first child in February. King Albert II, Queen Paola and the whole royal family, as well as the family of Princess Claire, join in the happiness.

King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden arrived at the port of Helsinki today at the start of a three-day official visit to Finland. They were welcomed with a 63-gun salute. A reception was hosted by president Tarja Halonen and her husband Dr Pentti Arajarvi at the Presidential Palacein Helsinki. Crown Princess Victoria then visited an academic book store in the city of Helsinki and inaugurated a photography exhibition. In the evening a dinner was held for Swedish the royal family hosted by the Finnish president and her husband. The Swedish royals are scheduled to visit Hamina, Porvoo and Jyvaskyla in the coming days.

Today representatives of the Freistaat Thüringen – Jürgen Aretz, cultural state secretary, Hellmut Seemann, President of the Foundation Weimar Classic and Art Collections, and Günter Schuchardt, head of the Wartburg – and the House of Sachsen-Weimar und Eisenach (Prince Michael Benedict von Sachsen-Weimar und Eisenach) signed an agreement in the throne- room of the former residence in Weimar. The Grand Ducal House of Sachsen-Weimar und Eisenach has renounced their claim on expropriated cultural heritage for 15,5 million Euros. The family also gets back personal belongings worth up to 60.000 Euros. The family will have the right to use the castles for own engagements, they can use the family vault for interments of urns, and Prince Michael Benedict will get a place in the council of the Foundation (which can be overtaken by Princess Leonie at the age of 30). After signing the agreement Prince Michael Benedict said to think about residing in Weimar again. Next to the prince, also his wife Dagmar, daughter Leonie and sister Elisabeth attended the ceremony. After two years of negotiations the cultural heritage will now stay in Weimar. The money will be paid by the Foundation Weimar Classic and Art Collections, the Wartburg-Foundation and the Freistaat Thüringen. 4,5 million Euros should come from selling works of art that are not important for the history of Thüringen, the other 11 million Euros should come from the sale of wood in Thüringen. In 1990 the House of Sachsen-Weimar und Eisenach had asked for restitution of the properties that were expropriated between 1945 and 1949, among them the Goethe and Schiller Archive, important parts of the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, the art collections in the castle and the Thüringer State Archive, as well as the Princely Vault in Weimar, Tiefurt Castle, Hunting-lodge Zillbach, the Wittumspalais and the Liszt-House, and the complete inventary of the Wartburg near Eisenach. On November 6, 1994, Princess Leonie, Prince Michael Benedict’s daughter, asked for restitution. The property was valued at 500.000.000 Euros. The signing of the agreement followed the consent of the guardianship- court of the minor Princess Leonie to the agreement with the Land of Thüringen earlier this week.

The Sultanah of Kedah, Tuanku Bahiyah ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman, passed away at the age of 73 (she had her birthday last Sunday) at Istana Kuala Cegar Palace in Alor Star, Malaysia, at 12.23 pm today. The Sultanah had been ill for one week. She was the eldest daughter of the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad, who was the Yang Dipertuan of Besar Negeri Sembilan. She leaves behind two daughters Tunku Soraya, 43, and Tunku Intan Safinaz, 37, and five grandchildren. Another daughter, Tunku Sarina, a twin of Tunku Soraya, died on Aug 31, 1991. As a mark of respect the government of Kedah declared Wednesday a public holiday for the state. The state of Kedah will observe one week of mourning, until September 1, during which period all forms of entertainment and celebrations have been cancelled. All flags will be flown at half mast during the period. The Sultanah’s remains will lie in state at Istana Anak Bukit from 9 am to 12:50 pm on Wednesday: the public can pay their last respect until 11 am, while the heads of departments and state government representatives can do so afterwards until noon. The rulers of Malaysia and their consorts can pay their respect between noon and 12:50 pm. Then prayers will be performed, whereafter the remains are scheduled to be buried at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum at 2:30 pm. A 73-gun salute will be fired during the funeral. A 17-gun salute was already fired when the death of the Sultanah was announced.

August 27th

During a visit to a solar energy project Prince Laurent of Belgium told the press he would love to have a daughter. About the quick pregnancy of his wife Princess Claire he said: “If parents are too old, generation conflicts occur quicker.” He also joked: “I like traditional names. Although we could name the child Gardien. Then we have a Gabriel (archangel) and a Gardien (guardian angel) in the family.” He also said that Father Guy Gilbert will baptise the child.

The Sultanah of Kedah, Tuanku Bahiyah Tuanku Abdul Rahman, was laid to rest at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum this afternoon. When the coffin was carried out of the palace the beating of the ‘nobat’ (kettledrum) and a 73-gun salute were heard. The hearse, escorted along the 13-kilometres long road to the mausoleum by bearers of the Kedah royal regalia led by the Chief of Protocol and the royal nobat ensemble, arrived at the mausoleum at 2.45 pm. The beatings of the `nobat’ to the tune of `Raja Beradu’ (Royal Slumber) were heard when the coffin was lowered into the grave at 3:25 pm. The last rites were performed by the Mufti of Kedah. The Sultan of Kedah led the sprinkling of scented water at the grave of the late Tuanku Bahiyah, followed by their daughters, Tunku Intan Safinaz and Tunku Soraya, and other guests. The funeral ceremony was attended among others by the Sultan of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, members of the Kedah royal family, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, the Sultan of Selangor, the Sultan of Kelantan, the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka, the Regent of Perlis, the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang and the Tengku Mahkota of Brunei. Thousands of people lined up along the route to pay their last respect.

August 28th

Prince (Fürst) Philipp Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe died this morning at 2:30 at Bückeburg Castle after lung complications caused by Parkinson Dicease. Over the past few weeks he had been hospitalized several times. His son Prince Alexander said: “We loose a person, who will not only live on in the hearts of the family, but also in the hearts of all Schaumburg people.” and added “He was so ill, that we consider it a redemption.” The quality of life of the Prince, who has been confined to his bed for the past years, had been enormously restricted. His last public appearance occured in the Summer of 1998 at the opening of the Park-Café. Prince Philipp Ernst was born at Hagenburg Castle on July 26, 1928, as the second son of Prince Wolrad (1887-1962) and Princess Bathildis (1903-1983) zu Schaumburg-Lippe. He became the hereditary prince after his elder brother Georg-Wilhelm had been killed in action in 1945. In 1955 Prince Philipp married Baroness Eva-Benita von Tiele-Winckler. They got two sons: Georg-Wilhelm (1956-car accident 1983) and Alexander (1958). The last one will become the new Prince (Fürst) zu Schaumburg-Lippe. Prince Philipp Ernst will be buried at the Mausoleum in the corner of the park of Bückeburg Castle on September 8, for which a lot of royal guests are expected.

This afternoon the funeral of Countess Margarethe zu Erbach-Erbach née Princess zu Waldeck und Pyrmont took place at the Old Cemetery in Erbach after a funeral service at the evangelical Stadtkirche in Erbach. Next to the family there were many other guests, among others Landgrave Moritz von Hessen, Princess Eilika zu Leiningen and Princess Alexandra von Hannover. Countess Margarethe died on August 21st, at the age of 80.

The wedding of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy Prince of Venice and French actress Clotilde Coureau will take place at the Basilica de Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome on September 25, it was said today, after rumours the wedding would take place in the beginning of October or even in November. The couple is expecting their first child early next year. The church was also the place where the later King Vittorio Emanuele III married Princess Elena of Montenegro in 1896 and where the Count of Barcelona married Princess Maria de las Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies in 1935.

Prince Nikolai of Denmark has celebrated his 4th birthday today. He was at Kindergarten and the other children were given bread, a drink and some sweets.

August 29th

Today the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan announced the marriage of Crown Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein of Jordan with Princess Noor bint Asem bin Nayef of Jordan. The couple as well as King Abdullah II signed the marriage certificate watched by the Imam of the royal court, Sheikh Ahmad Hlaiyel. Also traditional prayers were said. The marriage ceremony, took place this evening at Al Baraka Palace in presence of among others King Abdullah II, Queen Rania, Queen Noor, Prince Asem, Princess Firouzeh, Prince El Hassan, Princess Sarvath, Princess Basma, Princess Muna as well as other members of the royal family. An official wedding celebration will be held in the future. Princess Noor was born in Amman on October 6, 1982, and is the daughter of Prince Asem bin Nayef (1948) and his first wife Princess Firouzeh née Vokhshouri – they got divorced in 1985. She got her British general education certificate from King College in Spain and she is now studying at a university in the USA. She has two elder sisters, Yasmeen and Sara, and three half-siblings from the second marriage of her father to Princess Sana Asem: Najla, Salha and Nayef. Princess Noor’s father, Prince Asem, is the son of Prince Nayef bin Abdullah, who was a son of King Abdullah I of Jordan (1882-1951) and his second wife Princess Suzdil Hanum, and the Turkish princess Mihrimah Sultana. Crown Prince Hamzah is the greatgrandson of King Abdullah I and the first of his wifes, Sharifa Musbah bint Nasser. A huge photo of the couple and the Photo Album at Crown Prince Hamzah’s own website.

An inquest into the death of Dodi Al Fayed, the lover of Diana Princess of Wales who died in the same accident as the princess, is finally to go ahead. The inquest is to be headed by Surrey Coroner Michael Burgess, who is also coroner to the Royal Household. It will be the first official public hearing into the accident on British soil. A spokesman said: “This does not mean there is an inquest into Diana or a joint inquest.” The coroner declined to give a date for the investigation: “In time as the law requires there will be inquests into the deaths of both the late Dodi Al Fayed and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. But it is premature to outline any arrangements or suggest any dates or timescale.”

Former King Konstantinos II of Greece presented the composition of the board of directors and the nature of the ‘Anna Maria’ Foundation in a press conference he gave in Athens, Greece. The foundation, based in Liechtenstein, will be dealing with public welfare and the priority will be to give financial support to people who are hit by natural disasters and to the efforts against unemployment. The foundation’s initial capital will be the 12 million Euros the royal family received as a compensation for royal property. Members of the royal family will be member of the board of directors, as well as Prince El-Hassan of Jordan, former South African president Frederick de Clerk, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, actress Irene Pappa and Spyros Metaxas.

August 30th

Prince Ferdinand-Maximilian zu Ysenburg und Büdingen, son of Prince Wolfgang Ernst and his wife Leonille, married Sophie de Bois, daughter of Francis de Bois and Mrs Jacques Boel, today at the small church of Pessoux, near Château de Jannée (the castle of the maternal family of the bride, Belgium. The wedding was celebrated by Priest Christian van Zebrock and Priest Egon Brunhardt. Witnesses were Hereditary Prince Casimir zu Ysenburg und Büdingen, brother of the groom, and Prince Constantin von Croÿ. After the wedding, which was attended by about 333 guests, bride and groom drove to Jannée Castle in an open cabriolet. The reception was held at the Castle.

Since yesterday the coffin of Prince Philipp Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe is lying-in-state in the chapel of Bückeburg Castle. The oak coffin is surrounded by six silver candlestick, while two uniformed servants of the castle hold a vigil. Two other uniformed servants wait outside the chapel. Chinese vases are filled with red roses. Hundreds of people from the neighbourhood have already said goodbye to their Prince. A commemoration service will be held in the town church of Bückeburg on September 9 at 20:00.

August 31st

According to a poll among 1002 Britons by NOP, published in the Sunday Express, 27% of the Britons believe the late Diana Princess of Wales was murdered, 51% said ‘no’ while the rest was unsure. 49% of the people questioned said to believe there had been a “cover up” into the circumstances of her death, while 34% disagreed.

September 1st

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway started her trainee job at NORAD, as one of six trainees. Crown Princess Mette-Marit said that she was very pleased and is sure that it will be an interesting trainee job. She will take part in an introduction course before starting to work officially in a few weeks. She will work on AIDS problematic at the Zambia-team of NORAD.

Espen Høiby, brother of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, was sentenced at the court in Kristiansand today to 60 days in jail for beating his former girlfriend at a birthday party in Søgne earlier this year and on another occasion a month earlier, and was ordered to pay her about $5300. Espen Høiby denied he had been violent. His attorney claimed he was under pressure because of the fame of his sister, family tensions and new responsibilities at work. Marit Tjessem, his mother, testified at the trial and claimed her son was a responsible, caring person who wasn’t capable of violence. Espen Høiby has appealed his conviction.

September 5th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, accompanied by her husband Prince Henrik, arrived in Lübeck, Germany, at the royal yacht Dannebrog today to open the archeological exhibition “Danes in Lübeck” at the Kulturforum Burgkloster. Also present was Germans President Johannes Rau and the Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein, Heide Simonis. Queen Margrethe II, during the opening, said that the exhibition is a good example of how results of research can help to understand the past and the present. From 1201 to 1226 Lübeck was reigned by King Waldemar II of Denmark. Lunch, hosted by Mrs Simonis, was held at the historical restaurant “Schiffergesellschaft”, with among the guests Noble Prize of Literature winner Günter Grass, especially invited by the Queen. In the evening a reception with about 100 guests took place at the Dannebrog.

September 7th

A new book by Yohei Mori, partly based on 200 newly revealed documents, has given the Japanese a glimpse into royal life and how the annual amount of public money of £150 million is spent by Emperor Akihito. The main imperial family exists of 6 members, while another 19 family members are also covered by the civil list. Imperial men outside the direct line of succession receive twice as much money from the civil list as their wives. For the first time a staff list with more than 1000 people on it is revealed, which includes four doctors (in addition also a £2 million-a-year clinic with 42 staff and eight medical departments, but only 28 visitors a day), five men attending the Emperor’s wardrobe, 11 who assist him in Shinto rites, a 24-piece orchestra, 30 gardeners, 25 cooks and 78 plumbers, electricians and builders. The main imperial palace has 160 servants. The monthly water bill is £50,000. A special 961-strong police force guards the imperial family and their residences at a cost of £48 million. There is also a 622-acre farm which provides the imperial family milk, meat and vegetables which annually costs £3 million. The book is opening up public debate about the role of the imperial family. Mr Mori says discussion about the imperial purse has been stifled by secrecy and a lack of scrutiny by the politicians who approve the budget. The imperial palaces are all owned and paid for by the state.

The High Court in Glasgow has heard that a British schoolboy, ordered by another man, has sparked off a UK-wide terror scare by among others sending a letter to Prince William of Wales claiming to contain the deadly poison ricin and adding: “If you smell or touch it you will die.” He also sent a bottle of complimentary aromatherapy oil face rub laced with caustic soda to Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister. Prosecutor Kevin McCallum told the judge, Lord Kingarth, of the fear and terror of some victims who breathed in powder which they thought was either anthrax or ricin. Scores of people had to be decontaminated and buildings evacuated. The person who recruited the schoolboy on the Internet ‘had instigated a campaign directed against His Royal Highness Prince William and his attendance at the Scottish university.’

September 8th

Prince Philipp-Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe was laid to rest this afternoon at the cemetery next to the Mausoleum in the park of Bückeburg Castle. The coffin was covered by the flag of Schaumburg-Lippe with on it a bouquet of white and red roses. When the guests had entered the Mausoleum the new Hereditary Prince Heinrich Donatus came in in front of the coffin. He carried the orders of the late Prince. He was followed by his father Prince Alexander and his grandmother Princess Benita. The funeral service started at 15:00 with the “Adagio for Strings” of Samuel Barber. Priest Thomas Krage read Psalm 130 as a prayer and afterwards read from the Revelation of Johannes (21, 1-5). Bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter spoke: “His Schaumburgers mourn their Prince”. He also said that in the Prince’s varied engagement ‘we remember where our consolation lies’. In another speech Priest Thomas Krage said “Outside the heaven cries, und we cry with it, but we do it out of thankfulness for the late Prince”. The service ended with “Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten” by Arvo Pärt. Then the coffin was carried outside to the cemetery where Prince Philipp-Ernst was buried as he had wished, next to the grave of his eldest son Georg Wilhelm who was killed in a traffic accident in 1983 and who had been reburied at the cemetery last Friday. Among the 500 guests were many royals, among others Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline of Hannover, Prince Heinrich von Hannover Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, Duke Eberhard von Württemberg, Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis, as well as Prince Alexander’s ex- wife Princess Lilly zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with her mother Princess Annette, as well as his present partner Jette Joop. Outside some hundreds of people had gathered. After the funeral a reception was held at Bückeburg Castle.

It is said around 300 people, among them many representants of the Italian and European nobility, are invited for the wedding of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy and Clotilde Courau in Rome on September 25. The wedding will be conducted by Cardinal Pio Laghi. It is followed by a party for family and friends at the Palazzo Ruspoli. Among the guests are said to be King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, the Prince of Asturias, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, former King Simeon of Bulgaria, as well as Prince Albert, Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.

62-year-old Queen Mother Mamohato Bereng Seeiso of Lesotho died on Saturday after collapsing at the Roman Catholic Church in Mantsoenyane where she was attending a retreat for the Catholic order of Saint Cecilia it was announced today. She was taken to Mantsoenyane Catholic Hospital but was certified dead on arrival. Her sudden death has shocked the people in Lesotho. The Queen Mother had two sons, King Letsie III of Lesotho and Bereng Seeiso Seeiso, and two grandchildren.

September 9th

King Mswati III of Swaziland sent out hordes of policemen this morning to buy up copies of the South African newspaper, Sunday Times, which carried allegiations and photographs of his fifth wife 30-year-old Inkhosikati LaMagwaza. The king stomped out of his own birthday party after being told about the report after a dinner to mark his 35th birthday at the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel. The report in the South African Sunday Times quoted claims by Soweto man 23-year-old Lizo Shabangu that he had an affair with Inkhosikati LaMagwaza between May 2002 and January 2003, which she ended after he wanted her to elope with him. He was quoted as saying: “I spent a whole week-and-a-half in her room, where we would wear nothing, and we showered together, spent time in the Jacuzzi, ate strawberries and yoghurt off each other and had wine. It was like our honeymoon.” He also claimed that they had sex six times a day on average. He claimed that their affair was ended by her when he wanted her to elope to start a new life with him. Photos showed LaMagwaza topless as well as a picture of her bare butt. LaMagwaza has denied having an affair saying Shabangu was a liar and blackmailer, but she admitted that she had considered him her confidante and best friend: “He knows a lot about me and my personal life. He can use that against me. I am actually shocked. I took him in and we worked on art together. It is a big lie that we had a sexual relationship.” She confirmed the graphic photographs in the Sunday Times were of her. LaMagwaza was not present at this weekend’s festivities.

About 500 people from Bückeburg came to attend the memorial service for Prince Philipp-Ernst zu Schaumburg-Lippe this evening in the Stadtkirche in Bückeburg. The memorial service was also attended by Prince Alexander, Princess Eva-Benita and Prince Alexander’s partner Jette Joop. Bishop Jürgen Johannesdotter held the sermon, while the readings were read by Priest Thomas Krage. The Schaumburger Märchensänger sang, the Bückeburger Bach-Orchester played work of Johann Sebastian Bach, Moritz Hauptmann, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach.

Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia passed away this morning at the age of 56 after an illness. Funeral prayers were performed at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh after the Asr prayers.

September 10th

Inkhosikati LaMagwaza, the fifth wife of King Mswati III of Swaziland suspected of adultery, could face virtual house arrest if deemed guilty. According to a source in royal family circles, Inkhosikati LaMagwaza could “either be sent out of the country or be kept inside the palaces under strong supervision”. In both cases she would be “set aside”, which means the king would refuse to visit her palace and would withhold sexual favours from her. The source says it would be the second time she has been “set aside”. Two years ago there were rumours she had had an affair. The ban was lifted earlier this year. LaMagwaza’s brother, employed as one of the king’s bodyguards, has been suspended from work.

It was revealed that designer Luigi Borelli of Napels has made the suit Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy will wear at his wedding. The suit is said to be a classical English one. Clotilde Courau will wear a dress designed by Valentino. Clotilde’s witnesses will be her sisters Christiane, Camille and Capucine as well as a French friend. One of the witnesses of Prince Emanuele Filiberto is said to be Prince Albert of Monaco.

September 11th

The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh, died early this morning at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm despite a 10-hour operation after having been stabbed while shopping in Stockholm yesterday. The death of one of Sweden’s most popular politicians, only days before the Sunday referendum in which the Swedes is asked whether they want the country to join the Euro, shocked the Swedes very much. The killer hasn’t been found yet. Around noon King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden made a short television speech telling that her death was an enormous shock and distress for him. He had known Anna Lindh for many years. The King and his family sent their deepest sympathy to Anna Lindh’s husband and two sons. King Harald V of Norway as well as Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands sent the King of Sweden condolences. The flag at the Royal Palace in Stockholm was flying half-mast in honour of Anna Lindh. In the evening a spontaneous memorial service was held in the cathedral of Stockholm. It was attended by King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Lilian.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden have cut short a visit to Denmark. They should have arrived today to attend The Baden Powell Fellowship Event, but now will leave for Denmark tomorrow. King Carl XVI Gustaf will make a speech about what it means to him to be a scout at the ‘Partnership for Youth’ conference. They will visit Legoland afterwards. While the King takes part in the committee meeting of the World Scout Foundation, Queen Silvia will visit the town hall of Kolding and a company. In the evening there will be a dinner at Løndal Manor. On Saturday a visit to the old village of Christiansfeld is planned, as well as a visit to boy scout activities. In the evening a gala dinner will take place at Koldinghus Castle. Among the royals taking part in the events among others will be Princess Benedikte of Denmark.

Less than a week after picking bride no. 11, King Mswati III of Swaziland selected his 12th bride from thousands of young maidens from Swaziland who attended this year’s annual reed dance ceremony. The girl was identified as 18-year-old Nomonde Fihla, who was crowned the first princess in the Miss Swaziland 2003 pageant last month.

Princess Ines of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, wife of Marquess Michele Carelli Palombi, has given birth to a daughter, Teresa, in Rome on September 6, 2003.

The christening of Maria Carolina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, will take place in Napels on November 1st.

September 12th

Princess Maria zur Lippe gave birth to her fifth child on September 7th. Mathilde Pauline Anna Elisabeth was born three weeks early in Lich near Giessen. She weighs 2800 grammes and is 46 cm tall. Mother and child are doing fine. Yesterday little Princess Mathilde was presented to the press by her parents Prince Stephan and Princess Maria, as well as her brothers Bernhard, Otto and Wilhelm and her sister Luise.

It was announced that Prince Johan Friso and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands will be the new honorary chairmen of the Prince Claus fund, which was founded as a 70th birthday gift for their father Prince Claus in 1996.

September 13th

Hereditary Prince Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg married Saskia Binder at 11:00 at the Marienmünster in Diessen am Ammersee. The bride wore a Hohenlohe-Langenburg tiara. Reception and ball took place at the Restaurant “La Villa” in Starnberg. Already on Friday evening a party with 200 guests took place at the Royal Bavarian Yacht Club at the Starnberger See. Among the guests were members of many noble families, among others Habsburg, Hohenlohe, Toerring-Jettenbach, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Solms- Laubach, Salm-Reifferscheidt, Baden and Waldeck und Pyrmont.

Maria Cristina San Martino d’Agliè Marchioness of San Germano and Fontanetto, eldest sister of Queen Paola of Belgium, died on September 10 at the age of 83 at San Martino Alfieri Castle. The private funeral took place today at the family vault at the cemetery of Cardè.

September 14th

Yesterday the marriage took place at Mykonos, Greece, of Princess Lilly (Marie-Louise) zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, ex-wife of Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe, and designer Lambros Milona. They had met two years ago in St.Tropez at the yacht of a Dutch woman, Esther Velo. On Friday evening already a party had taken place at the Paranga-beach with 200 guests. On Saturday evening the bride arrived for the wedding by helicopter in a white dress designed by her husband-to-be. The Greek-Orthodox wedding took place in the open air in front of the St Georgios Church and was celebrated by Priest Father Theodosis. Among the four witnesses were Lilly’s elder sister Stefanie, and Eshter Velo. Lilly’s son Heinrich Donatus handed over the wedding rings to the marrying couple. After the wedding a huge dinner and party took place at the Nobelhotel Santa Marina, which went on until 8:00 this morning. Thereafter a brunch took place at Psarou Beach and it went on until 18:00.

September 15th

Yesterday Countess Maria Theresia von und zu Arco-Zinneberg died at Moos Castle around 17:00 at the age of 81 after a long illness. She leaves two sons, one grandson, seven granddaughters, a great-grandson and a great-granddaughter. Countess Maria Theresia was the daughter of Count Johann Georg von Preysing-Lichtenegg-Moos and Princess Gundelinde of Bavaria (daughter of King Ludwig III of Bavaria). After the death of her brother Kaspar in 1940, Maria Theresia became the heir to Moos Castle. In the same year she married Count Ludwig von und zu Arco-Zinneberg who was killed in action in Russia in 1942. One year later she married his brother Count Ulrich Philipp who died in 1980. From both marriages she had a son, Rupprecht-Maximilian and Riprand. A holy requiem will take place at the Theatiner Church in München on Friday morning, September 19. The funeral itself will take place in the afternoon in the family vault in the Wallfahrtsbasilika Unserer Liebe Frau in Tuntenhausen.

Princess Lalla Fatima Zohra of Morocco died this morning at a hospital in the royal palace in Rabat. She was buried later today in the Moulay El Hassan Mausoleum in the Royal Palace after the Al-Asr prayer in presence of King Mohammed VI, Prince Moulay Rachid and Prince Moulay Ismail. The deceased princess was the daughter of Sultan Moulay Abdelaziz, uncle of the late King Mohammed V of Morocco. Princess Lalla Fatima Zohra was chairwoman of the Moroccan Women National Union.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn again want to go to court. This time they want the transcriptions back of the conversations they had one year ago with the magazine HP/De Tijd. They announced it this evening in the television programme “Barend & Van Dorp” where Thieu Vaessen, the author of the articles that appeared in the magazine some months ago, was a guest. Last Friday the couple also tried to let the judge forbid the publication of the book “Oranjebitter” that includes the stories which appeared about the couple in HP/De Tijd, as well as some extra documents, although they had approved the reproduction of the conversations in the magazine earlier. They didn’t succeed.

September 16th

The German magazines Bunte and Die Aktuelle today revealed that Princess Stéphanie of Monaco has secretly married 29-year-old Portuguese circus artist Adans Lopez Peres last Friday in the town hall of Eaux-Vives near Geneva, Switzerland. The civil wedding was only attended by witness lawyer and friend Thierry Lacoste and Stéphanie’s three children, Louis, Pauline and Camille. Later today Armand Deus, spokesman of the Princely House said: “Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and Adans Lopez Peres have married. There was a private ceremony in Geneva last Friday. However it was a private occasion, and therefore there will not be an official communiqué of the palace. The Princess wished that this wedding would have a private character, otherwise she would have chosen an official ceremony.” Being asked if Prince Rainier III had give his permission it was said that the prince wants to have ‘happy children’. Adans Perez Lopes and his brother Ivan, who represent the 5th generation of a famous Portuguese circus family, at the moment appear in the Circus Knie and are known as the Peres Brothers. In 1996 they won the golden medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris with their modern presentation of parnter equilibristic, in which the static and dynamic acrobatic exercises are combined with movements of modern dance. They also won the Special Prize of the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel at the 25th International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo Awards in 2001. Die Aktuelle also says that the princess is pregnant again, but that was not confirmed.

About 100.000 gathered in The Hague to have a look at Prinsjesdag. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands arrived at the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) by Golden Coach accompanied by The Prince of Orange, a visibly pregnant Princess Máxima and Prince Johan Friso. Also Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien, as well as Princess Margriet and her husband Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven were present. In her address (state of the nation) about the government plans for the next 12 months Queen Beatrix said individuals would have to act responsibly and play an active role in society if life in the Netherlands was to improve, as the government can’t provide a solution to all issues. Afterwards the family drove back to Palace Noordeinde where they all appeared on the balcony.

During the television broadcast of Prinsjesdag Dutch royalty reporter Maartje van Wegen told that the wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and Mabel Wisse Smit will take place at the Old Church in Delft on April 24, 2004. The Government Information Service denied that the date was already known and said the date will be decided during the procedure of asking consent for the wedding from the Dutch Parliament.

The Swedish Parliament was opened with soberness this afternoon in presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine and Princess Lilian, all dressed in black. The King and Queen arrived at the Parliament in a horse drawn carriage. Before the opening there was a service at the Cathedral in Stockholm. Tonight there was a performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the Opera.

September 17th

In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Blick Adans Lopez Peres, the new husband of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco says they married out of love and that they are very happy together. After the wedding Adans Lopez Peres appeared in a circus performance at Circus Knie. Afterwards he and Princess Stéphanie as well as the children and witnesses had dinner in an hotel. The couple has spent the wedding night in the presidential suite at the Hôtel d’Angleterre.

September 18th

This evening Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium held their ‘happy entrance’ in their home town Tervuren. Prince Laurent already lives there for 6 years, Princess Claire moved in this year. The couple was welcomed at the market square by hundreds of people, among them 150 school children from Tervuren who handed over presents to the couple. Afterwards the couple was received by the complete town-council and they got an explanation about various projects in the municipality.

Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy has reserved two hotels in Rome for the guests who will attend his wedding with Clotilde Courau: Hotel Aleph and Hotel Exedra.

In Serbia archeologists have found the mausoleum of the Roman Emperor Hostilian, who died of the plague in 251 AD after having reigned for only one year. In the grave among others pieces of art were found.

September 19th

The Government Information Service announced that Princess Laurentien and Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands expect their second child in the beginning of april. Their daughter Eloise was born on June 8, 2002. The family lives in London, but the baby is expected to be born in The Netherlands.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, as well as Princess Lilian, attended the rememberance service at Stockholm City Hall for murdered Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh in Stockholm.

Queen Mother Mamohato Bereng Seeiso of Lesotho was laid to rest at the Roman Catholic cemetery at St Louis Mission in Matsieng, southern of Maseru, today. Lesotho’s Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili said: “Were it not for the keen role Queen Mamohato played in the administration affairs of the state, Lesotho will not be a monarchy today.” He and several others spoke at the state funeral service at the Pitso stadium. The Queen Mother was hailed by all for her contribution towards the upgrading of needy Basotho children by establishing the Queen’s National Trust Fund. The Queen Mother’s body arrived at the stadium in a casket draped in the royal standard of Lesotho. It was transported on a Lesotho Defence Force military gun carrier. Representatives had come from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique. From Pitso stadium the body was taken to the cemetery, where she was buried. That part of the funeral was only attended by members of the royal family and dignitaries.

September 20th

Doctors have advised Princess Máxima of the Netherlands to stop working for this moment. Mother and child are doing fine, and it was not made known what caused the advice of the doctors, but it is said that the princess fell tired lately and needs rest. She and The Prince of Orange were supposed to visit St Petersburg on September 23 and 24. The Prince is now going alone.

Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed of Jordan and his wife Princess Areej became the parents of a little daughter today. They named her Jannah. The couple already had two children, Princess Tasneem (born August 27, 1999) and Prince Abdullah (born November 2001).

Plans for a £20 million rose garden in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales have been shelved after a row over funding. The project involved the Royal National Rose Society and Bonnie Masterson, an American businesswoman, who, it said, pledged to raise £9 million four years ago. However the charity said yesterday that they had received almost no cash and only has debts so that they are forced to sell its headquarters and 45 acres of the surrounding land in St Albans, Herts. The charity will retain 15 acres to build new Gardens of the Rose and a new main office. Miss Masterson, who is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, blamed the failure of the project on Rose Society fears that it could provoke a legal challenge by the Spencer family or the Prince of Wales Trust – a claim the society denied. She said that she was planning to create the memorial rose garden elsewhere, possibly in America.

The marriage of Prince Emanuele Filiberto and Clotilde Courau will take place at 17:00 at the San Maria degli Angeli Basilica at the Piazza della Repubblica in Rome. According to reports 1200 people are invited for the wedding, this amount includes the accredited press. The Basilica will be decorated with 10.000 lillies and white roses. After the wedding the couple will divide their time between Paris and Switzerland, but they also want a house in Italy. Their baby will be born halfway December in a clinic in Rome.

September 22nd

Prince Harry of Wales has started his gap year and has arrived in Sydney, Australia, today. He is scheduled to stay there for three months. He is expected to see the Rugby World Cup next month, and he is also likely to play polo. Armed officers from Scotland Yard’s royalty protection branch are travelling with Prince Harry and will not want to let him out of their sight. The first, of possibly two years off, is spent on a structured programme of activities. “We have worked out a programme for the Prince up to next summer,” said a Clarence House spokeswoman. “But there are also thoughts about what he would do if he does an additional gap year.” An official photocall will be held in Sydney tomorrow, when also details of Prince Harry’s work programme are due to announced. The bill to protect the prince in Australia is reportedly £600,000. Australian politicians are angry that taxpayers in Australia have to pay £300,000 to guard Prince Harry during his time in Australia.

Prince Harry of Wales passed the Army’s Pre-Regular Commissions Board assessment with flying colours. The assessment is the first hurdle towards enrolling at Royal Sandhurst Military Academy. If he passes the full assessment he might decide not to start at the academy until September 2005. “He is hoping to start training at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in the next two years,” a spokeswoman for Clarence House said. Most of the 700 recruits accepted at Sandhurst are graduates and aged at least 21.

September 23rd

Prince Harry of Wales, wearing an Australian bush hat, today posed relaxed with a koala, an baby kangaroo and a spiny anteater at Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney. After the photo shoot he was driven to Sydney’s airport to fly to an undisclosed location. It was announced that he will work as a jackaroo (Australian cowboy) on remote cattle ranches for the next three months. He will be expected to work dawn to dusk. “From Sydney, the Prince will go on to spend time in the outback learning about farming and agriculture on various cattle stations where he will be mustering cattle on horseback and working as a jackaroo,” a Clarence House spokeswoman said. He will be “paid the going rate”. Prince Harry will return to Britain to spend Christmas at home.

Yesterday the first day of the auction of silver and works of art from the collection of the late Princess Lilian of Belgium at Sotheby’s in Amsterdam has yielded 2.670.000 Euros. The items brought in for the auction together had been estimated 1.300.000 Euros beforehand, but it already now fetched twice as much money. All items that were for sale today were sold. Highlight was a silver dinner-set from 1850 by silver-smith Charles-Nicolas Odiot, another top item were three 18th century tapestries. The second and third session of the auction were held today. The total proceeds of the auction were 4.056.000 Euros. Sotheby’s said the auction was very lively with buyers from all over the world. See at Sotheby’s.

September 24th

Not totally unexpected the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in Copenhagen announced that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark intends to give her consent to the marriage between Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Elizabeth Donaldson (Australian and British nationality) in the Council of State that is held at 10:00 on Wednesday, 8 October 2003, at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. A press conference will be held at Fredensborg Castle at 15:30 on October 8. Mary Donaldson was born in Hobart, Tasmania, on February 5, 1972, as the youngest child of John Dalgleish Donaldson and Henrietta (Etta) Clark Horne, who originally came from Scotland. She has two older sisters and an older brother. Mary’s mother died in November 1997 and her father remarried to author Susan Moody in 2001. Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson met in Sydney during the Olympic Games in September 2000. Mary Donaldson moved to Europe early 2002 and started living in Copenhagen in the Summer of 2002. There have already been rumours about an engagement since the press found out about their relationship in November 2001. At first Mary Donaldson will keep her appartment at the Langelinie in Copenhagen, while Crown Prince Frederik will move to the Kancellihuset (Chancellery House) near Fredensborg Castle this autumn. The Kancellihuset will also become the future home of the couple, while they also might stay part of the time at Amalienborg in Copenhagen. The wedding is reported by the press to take place in the first half of 2004, but a date is not known yet. From today Mary Donaldson quit her job at Microsoft Business Solutions in Copenhagen, which she started in September 2002. An extensive Curriculum Vitae for Mary Donaldson, including a picture, and of her father Professor John D. Donaldson can be read at the homepage of His Royal Highness.

The Prince of Orange will have a seat in the co-ordination committee of the Olympic Winter Games of 2010 in the Canadian city of Vancouver. The committee will support the organisators of the Games and supervise the progress of the preparations. The Prince already has a seat in the evaluation committee that visited the candidates and adviced the members of the International Olympic Committee about the candidates for the Olympic Winter Games. On July 2 the IOC decided which city would organise the Games.

September 25th

Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy married French actress Clotilde Courau at 17:00 at the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome. The bride, wearing a dress designed by Valentino and a 4-metres veil, was given away by her father, Jean Claude Courau. The bride wore a diademe from the Savoy family. Brides children were: Alais and Lucille Lamontre, Camilla and Angelica Bellora and Luna Alonso Fagone. The ‘men of honour’ were Carlo dei conti D’Amelio, Prince don Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi Altemps, don Alessandro Ruspoli, Count don Giovanni Gaetani dell’Aquila, Flavio Misciatelli and Matteo Marenghi Vaselli. The wedding was celebrated by Cardinal Pio Laghi. Witnesses for the bride were her three sisters as well as the famous French rocksinger Johnny Halliday. Witnesses for the groom were Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Serge of Yugoslavia, Ottavio Mazzola and Arturo Barone. About 1300 guests attended the wedding. Among them were Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy with her daughter Asaea, Prince Serge of Yugoslavia with girlfriend Eleonore Rajneri, Princess Helena of Yugoslavia with her husband Thierry Gaubert, the Duke and Duchess of Calabria, Landgrave Moritz von Hessen, Princess Mafalda von Hessen with her husband Ferdinando Brachetti-Peretti, Prince Mariano Hugo and Princess Sophie von Windisch-Graetz, Paul and Lia Lambrino (Romania) as well as many Italian aristocrats. Several thousands of people watched the wedding outside the church, among them 120 people from the press. After the wedding a cocktail reception for 50 people took place at the terrace of Hotel Exedra, followed by a dinner at the Palazzo Ruspoli with 200 guests.

The Region Brussels has decided that early next year a few gardens of the royal domain of Stuyvenberg in Laken will be opened for the public. The renovation of the gardens must be finished in early 2004. Also the verandahs (serres) at the domain get a public destiny. They will be used for education and receiving people who are professionally involved in botany. The renovation of the verandahs will start within a few months. They were built in order of King Leopold II of the Belgians at the end of the 19th century. The 4 hectares are close to the Castle of Stuyvenberg where Queen Fabiola lives.

September 27th

Princess Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies married 38-year-old Greek Markos Nomikos at 13:00 today in a catholic and Greek orthodox ceremony at the Convent of la Asunción de Calatrava, in Almagro, Spain. The bride wore a simple dress designed by Lorenzo Caprile. Among the guests were the entire Spanish royal family, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his wife Marie-Chantal, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Alexia of Greece and Carlos Morales Quintana, Princess Irene of Greece, Queen Margarita of Bulgaria, Prince Kirill and Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, the Duke and Duchess of Württemberg. The just married couple will spend their honeymoon in the Caribean. Afterwards they firstly will divide their time between Athens, Madrid and London.

Comtesse Diana Bernadotte af Wisborg today married 37-year-old Bernd Grawe at Castle Mainau at the Island of Mainau in a civil ceremony led by mayor Horst Frank. Outside the castle bride and groom were greeted by 24 chimney-sweepers, colleagues of the groom, all wearing black as well as by motor-bike friends of the groom. The couple doesn’t plan a religious wedding ceremony at first. The couple only met last Spring during carnival in Konstanz. At the moment Comtesse Diana learns to become a hat-designer. She says to love her husband’s humor. Bernd Grawe says he was fascinated by her hearty smile. The couple is going to live in Konstanz.

The Danish tv-channel DR1 will broadcast no less than 12 1/2 hours television about the engagement of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson on October 8th. The broadcast starts at 9:30 and will end at 22:00. The State Council will be held at 10:00 at Amalienborg in which Queen Margrethe will give permission to the marriage of her son Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson in accordance with the proposal of the Prime Minister. The ministers will meet the couple afterwards at 11:00. At 12:00 the couple and their parents will occur at the balcony of Amalienborg, followed at 13:15 by a family lunch at Fredensborg Castle. At 15:30 a photosession and press conference will be held in the gardenroom at Fredensborg Castle. In the evening a dinner takes place at 20:00 at Fredensborg Castle for which next to the family also members of the government and some other politicians are invited. The date of the wedding is expected to be announced on October 8th also.

According to a Clarence House spokeswoman Prince Harry of Wales is continuing his stay at the Australian cattle station, Tooloombilla Station in Queensland, despite of reports that he had been escorted away by police because of intense media interest in his visit. The spokeswoman said: “He’s there. He’s still at the ranch and he never left. He’s absolutely fine, he’s getting on with it and enjoying himself. We increasingly hope he’ll be staying to get the outback experience he wanted. We do hope the media will give him the space to enjoy his time there. He wants to learn about agriculture in the outback.” An internet poll on an Australian website says that 87% of the Australians believe the media should leave the prince alone during his stay in Australia.

September 29th

A new 550-square-meter gardening complex on the grounds of the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, was destroyed by fire early today. The fire broke out around 4:30 this morning and started on two places on opposite sides of the gardening complex. The police suspect the fire was intentionally set. It took the fire-brigade one hour to extinguish the flames. There is almost nothing left of the gardening complex.

September 30th

The Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad today reported that Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, had a few-months-long relationship with the late criminal Klaas Bruinsma. They base their story on an interview of crime-reporter Peter R. de Vries with Bruinsma’s former bodyguard Charlie. Via the Government Information Service Mabel Wisse Smit denied ever having had a relationship with Klaas Bruinsma and said she doesn’t know any Charlie. Some weeks ago the Government Information Service already released a statement in which it said that Mabel Wisse Smit broke off all contact with Klaas Bruinsma when she found out about his background. The political parties in the opposition as well as the governing political party Democrats 66 have asked the Cabinet in a letter to explain the case more clearly.

October 1st

Count Alois von Waldburg-Zeil-Hohenems married Antonella Rossi di Montelera in Pianezza near Turin, Italy, on September 27th. Count Alois was married previously to Countess Maria Christina Deym von Stritetz, who died in a car-accident in May 2000 together with their youngest son Ludwig. At the wedding ceremony the Maria-Thanner Musikkapelle played. On the wish of the bride they had especially come from Germany. The ceremony was conducted in Italian and German. A party was celebrated at Villa Lidia, the residence of the Rossi di Montelera family. The couple will live in Paris.

October 2nd

The Royal Palace in Nepal announced that Princess Dilasha, daughter of Prince Dhirendra and Princess Prekshaya of Nepal, will marry Adarsha Rana on December 8th and 9th, 2003.

October 3rd

In yesterdays television broadcast of the programme of crime journalist Peter R. de Vries Charlie da Silva, former bodyguard of the late top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma, said that Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, knew Klaas Bruinsma pretty well, that he was crazy about her and that she was the only woman that was allowed on board of his ship, the Neeltje Jacoba. He also says she was around until Mr Bruinsma was killed in Amsterdam on June 27, 1991. In a statement, answering questions of Peter Rr de Vries, Mabel Wisse Smit says she met Mr Bruinsma in 1989 and was befriended with him for a few months before breaking contact with him. She admits she has slept on the boat three to four times together with other people, but that she didn’t have a love affair with Mr Bruinsma. She says she doesn’t know Charlie da Silva. The Government Information Service confirmed that Mabel personally answered the questions of Peter R. de Vries by letter. Also Bruinsma’s former bookkeeper, Ed S., says he is almost certain Mr Bruinsma had intimate contact with Mabel Wisse Smit, but admits he never personally witnessed the love affair.

October 4th

Days before their engagement Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson attended the wedding of one of the Crown Prince’s friends, Jørgen Skeel and Marie Louise Toft at Tikøb church.

October 5th

Earl and Countess Spencer announced the birth of their son Edmund Charles this morning at 1:28am in a London Hospital. Mother and child are doing well. Earl Spencer is the brother of the late Diana Princess of Wales. He married Caroline Freud, who has two sons from a previous marriage, in December 2001. He already has three daughters and a son from his previous marriage to Victoria Lockwood.

Frances Shand Kydd, mother of the late Diana Princess of Wales, has revealed last night that she is suffering from an incurable muscle-wasting disease. She has known it already for three years. She said the condition has led to unfair accusations of drunkenness. The disease has reduced her mobility and affects her speech. She also spoke about her continuing bitterness towards the British Royal Family and former butler Paul Burrell.

October 6th

Geurt Roos, another former bodyguard of the late top-criminial Klaas Bruinsma, has stated that Charlie da Silva exaggerated about the supposed love affair between Mr Bruinsma and Mabel Wisse Smit he told on the radio on Saturday. He says Da Silva is known for his ‘big fantasy’. He also told to know Mabel Wisse Smit only vaguely. He said that “numerous girls and ladies played a part in the life of Bruinsma. Those girlfriends were always kept far from business.” Roos told that it was very likely that Mabel was ‘naive’ and did not know that Bruinsma was involved in criminal affairs. “Klaas loved being in the spotlights, but he could be very invisible too. Mabel was still very young. She was a child. Klaas was an experienced lion.” Mr Roos also said that bodyguards were not always visibly armed on the Neeltje Jacoba.” Today professional skipper and former skipper of a race yacht sponsored by Bruinsma, Jochem Visser told the newspaper De Volkskrant that “If there had been a relationship between Mabel and Bruinsma, I would have known. We were very close in that time. Klaas surely would have told me.” He knows Mabel Wisse Smit from that time: “Sometimes some boys slept on board of the Neeltje Jacoba. Mabel was there a few times because of one of those boys.” He further said: “At the time Klaas had a relationship with another lady, also one from high society. That was his girlfriend, who stayed with him until his death. Probably Mabel is mixed up with that lady.” He says not to know any Charlie da Silva. Via his lawyer also Etienne Urka, according to justice the successor of Bruinsma, lets know that there absolutely was no talk of a love affair between Wisse Smit and Bruinsma. It should have been a superficial contact.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands wants a further inquiry into Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, after all, after new revelations about the supposed relationship between Mabel Wisse Smit and the late top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma. The Dutch political parties wait for a letter of Balkenende about the affair, and that could take a few weeks.

October 7th

36-year-old Ottolien Lels today claimed in De Volkskrant that she had a sexual relationship with the late top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma and not her friend Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands. Miss Lels said she decided to come forward because Mabel was wrongly accused. “It is my personal conviction that in this affair only the truth will help to make just what is unjust. That is the reason why I have decided to give this statement,” she said. She says she was the woman who had an affair with Mr Bruinsma until his death and that she was the one meant by Jochem Visser last Monday. She confirms the stories told over the past days, and says also she can’t remember Charlie da Silva. She said that at that time she worked for a company that organised sailing events. She says the relationship is part of a painful past and she preferred not to remember and asked the media to respect her privacy. “All facts about the relation between Klaas Bruinsma and myself, and how much I knew of his activities, are to be found at the police of Amsterdam. At the time I contacted them. Possibly I am to be found in the archives of the IRT-investigation to Klaas Bruinsma,” Miss Lels stated. The Amsterdam Police refused to comment on this and directed to the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst (RVD – Government Information Service), who says not to be aware of anything at all. The relationship between Ottolien Lels and Klaas Bruinsma has been confirmed by competition yachtsman Jan Deelen and by pharmaceutic sales manager Hans Eekhof.

Today’s Münchener Abendzeitung (German newspaper) revealed that Duke Franz of Bavaria has announced the engagement of his niece Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria, daughter of Duke Max Emanuel and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria, to Mr Daniel Terberger. The wedding will take place next year at Tegernsee.

Prince Norodom Narindrapong, a 49-year-old son of King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia died of an heart attack at his apartment in the Avenue Boutroux in Paris this morning.

October 8th

Today the engagement of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Australian Mary Donaldson was announced officially. The wedding will take place at the Vor Frue Kirke (Dom Church) in Copenhagen on Friday, May 14, 2003.

October 9th

An open letter of several international diplomats and politicians was published in De Volkskrant today. It was signed by Mort Abramovitz (Staff member Century Foundation, former American ambassador in Turkey), Emma Bonino (Member European Parliament, former European Commissionary), Gianfranco Dell’Alba (Member European Parliament, secretary general ‘No Peace Without Justice’), Garreth Evans (President International Crisis Group, former foreign minister of Australia), Bernard Kouchner (Former minister and former special UN envoy for Kosovo, professor CNAR in Paris), Mark Malloch Brown (Staff member UN Development Fund), Aryeh Neier, (President Open Society Institute), Albert Rohan (Ambassador, former secretary general Foreign Ministry of Austria), William Shawcross (Daily management International Crisis Group), Laura Silber (Author of ‘Death of Yugoslavia’, political counsellor Open Society Institute) and George Soros (President and founder Open Society Institute). In the letter they defend Mabel Wisse Smit, fiancée of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, against media reports about her relationship with the late top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma. “It is shocking that a person who has done so much for human rights in the world should be treated so badly in her own country because of a dubious accusation about an issue dating back 15 years, when she was in her early 20s. As friends and colleagues, we support her totally,” they say in the letter.

This evening in the tv-programme Oog in Oog Willemijn Verloop, friend of Mabel Wisse Smit and founder of Warchild Nederland, among others said that it wasn’t Mabel’s own choice not to come out with the facts immediately in the question of the late Klaas Bruinsma. “I think Mabel has been advised to react in a certain way and that that advice hasn’t been very lucky.” She herself has been a friend of Mabel since 1994. At the same time, on another tv-channel, crime journalist Peter R. de Vries and former bodyguard Charlie da Silva tried to overthrow statements by other people last week as a reaction to Da Silva’s earlier revelations about Mabel and Klaas Bruinsma.

Crown Prince Pavlos of Grece was part of the 23-men strong crew on board of the Mari Cha IV of his father-in-law Robert Miller, who sailed his 140ft yacht across the Atlantic Ocean in six days, 17 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds. With that they smashed the former west to east transatlantic monohull speed record of 8 days, 20 hours, 55 minutes and 35 seconds that was set in February 2001. Mr Miller and his crew already beat the 24 hour distance record on Tuesday sailing 525,5 nautical miles in a 24 hour period, becoming the first monohull to ever sail over 500 miles in a day. They started the race at 17:39:41 on October 2nd from the Ambrose Lighthouse just off New York and made history when sailing past Lizard Point off the south west coast of England at 11:32:20 this morning: a trip of 2925 miles. Thereafter they arrived in Falmouth, Cornwall, where they were greeted by friends and family, among others King Constantine of Greece, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Prince Nikolaos of Greece. “Once this achievement has sunk in, we will begin planning further record attempts, including a possible attempt to become the first monohull to sail around the world in under 80 days,” Robert Miller said.

Yesterday evening Omroep Brabant Televisie (local tv-channel of the province of Noord-Brabant) accidentally announced the death of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. At 11pm viewers saw a text on their screen telling that ‘because of the death of Princess Juliana’ the broadcasting would be adapted. The broadcast company said to regret the technical mistake. Editor-in-chief Jan Kriek has offered his apoligies to the Royal House.

In an interview in Bungei Shunju magazine Prince Tomohito Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito of Japan and fifth in line to the throne, talks about the imperial family and the Japanese national character. The Prince says that the Emperor gives the people a sense of security and he is at the root of the Japanese spirit. He says that terms like ‘open imperial family’ do not fit in with the Emperor’s original status as a symbol. The ‘quiet imperial family’ is a unique form that the Japanese people have created over a long period of time. Prince Tomohito Mikasa says that in more than 2660 years there have been hardly any instances in which the imperial family has acted on its own initiative. The Japanese Imperial family have never adopted an active stance and has always functioned by passively accepting the wishes and requests of the people.

October 10th

After conversations with Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and his fiancée Mabel Wisse Smit the Dutch government has decided not to introduce a bill to obtain consent for their marriage at the States General. This means that Prince Johan Friso will loose his rights of succession to the Dutch throne when he marries Mabel Wisse Smit. The wedding still will take place on April 24, 2004. See: Mabel-Gate October 2003.

October 14th

Gallups Tv-meter of last week says 1.110.000 Danes watched the engagement of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson on TV2. However it was not the best watched programme of the week. The engagement was beaten by the programmes ‘Nikolaj og Julie’ and ‘Hammerslag’.

The Royal Palace in Oslo demands an official apology from the magazine Se og Hør after an article stating that Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn took out a large loan to buy their dream house. The magazine last week wrote that the Princess took up a 6 million Norwegian crowns ($ 875.000) loan to purchase a house in Lommedalen and was a victim of debt. The royal court issued a statement that this was not the case. The Royal Palace has now written a letter to the magazine where it demands that the magazine retracts its statement. “We decided to send this letter because we believe this is a matter of principle,” said Wenche Rasch, head of information at the Palace. In the letter the royal court refers to the ethical guidelines made by and for the Norwegian press. Trond Stensåsen, editor of Se og Hør, said that the magazine will apologize for stating that the princess was a victim of debt, but insists that the princess took out a loan.

Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands has left for a couple of days to an unknown destiny. Most likely she travelled to her house in Tavernelle, Italy.

According to the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper Mabel Wisse Smit hasn’t only slept on top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma’s boat, but also often stayed with him at the Amstel Hotel, while unknown sources also claim that Mabel was with him at other expensive hotels.

October 15th

Today the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Per Stig Møller, has handed over to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Denmark a letter from Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin. The letter is in answer to an earlier letter to the Queen from the President, who has raised the question of a possible transfer of the mortal remains of Empress-Dowager Maria Feodorovna of Russia, on her own wish, from Roskilde Cathedral to the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, so she can be buried next to her husband Czar Alexander III of Russia. Also members of the Romanov family have asked Queen Margrethe II about a reburial. Queen Margrethe II has written she will not stand in the way of the fulfilment of the wish of the Empress-Dowager, but also points to the necessity in such case of assuring that the transfer and reburial be conducted in a dignified and respectful manner. The Minister for Foreign Affairs has also written a letter to the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr. Igor Ivanov. The letter sets out a number of specific considerations which will have to be taken into account to ensure that the reburial be conducted in peace and with dignity. Only when these deliberations have been finalized, will the Danish side be able to definitively assess whether a transfer of the mortal remains of the Empress-Dowager is appropriate, and seek Queen Margrethe II’s final approval of the reburial. The intention would be a reburial on September 26, 2004. This date marks the anniversary of the arrival of Princess Dagmar of Denmark to Russia on September 26, 1866, in order to marry the then Russian heir apparent Alexander.

The Government Information Service said yesterday that Princess Máxima of the Netherlands needs full rest and only leaves her house for the regular check-ups at hospital. She is in the 30th week of her pregnancy. After Prinsjesdag her doctors told her to cancel all her engagements. The Prince of Orange said that there was no reason to worry, but that his wife had been too busy before.

October 17th

The Royal Palace announced that Crown Princess Himani Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah of Nepal has given birth to her third child and second daughter on Thursday evening at 20:33 inside the Naraynhiti Royal Palace, where doctors performed a Caesarean section. The baby weighs 2850 grammes. Both mother and child are in good health. King Gyanendra has conferred the title of Her Royal Highness the Princess Yubarajkumari on the newborn. The Crown Princess and her husband Crown Prince Paras Bir Bikram Shah Dev already have a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son.

Delphine Boël, said to be the illegitimate daughter of King Albert II of the Belgians and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, today gave birth (by Caesarean section) to a daughter, Joséphine, at the Edith Cavell Hospital in Uccle, Belgium. Mother and daughter are doing fine. Delphine and her partner American James O’Hare met five years ago at a summer course at Oxford University. They live and work in London, but Delphine returned to Belgium for the birth of her first child. Delphine’s mother was the first visitor.

October 18th

Prince Harry of Wales took a break from his cattle ranch duties to watch the rugby World Cup match between England and South Africa in Perth.

October 20th

Former royal butler Paul Burrell released a letter of Diana Princess of Wales to the Daily Mirror newspaper in the hope that it would lead to a British inquest and a “thorough investigation of the facts by the British authorities”. Ten months before her death Princess Diana wrote Mr Burrell: “This particular phase in my life is the most (the word most is underlined) dangerous. (Word blacked out by the Daily Mirror) is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry.” In the letter, Princess Diana went on to write about how she had been “battered, bruised and abused mentally by a system for 15 years now” but that she felt no resentment or hatred. She said she had “cried more than anyone will ever know” but that her “inner strength” never let her down and she would “never surrender”. The letter will fuel conspiracy theorists who refuse to accept the official version of the circumstances surrounding her death, reports the Mirror. Mr Burrell, who has a book out, told the newspaper: “With the benefit of hindsight, the content of that letter has bothered me since her death.”

The AIVD (General Information and Security Service) didn’t have the legal possibilities to check the past of Mabel Wisse Smit extensively. Therefore they can’t be held responsible for not having found out the whole truth about her relationship with top-criminal Klaas Bruinsma. That is what Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Interior Minister John Remkes have answered after questions from the Second Chamber. The Prime Minister says the AIVD-inquiry was ‘adequate and in time’ and says that such inquiries are restricted by privacy laws. An extensive inquiry is only possible when national safety or the democratic legal system is at issue.

October 21st

There will be no public inquiry into the death of Princess Diana, insists the Prime Minister’s official spokesman. “As everybody knows, there has been an exhaustive investigation by the French authorities into the circumstances surrounding Diana’s death,” the spokesman said. “There would be nothing to be gained from repeating that here. But clearly there will be a routine coroner’s inquest in Britain once the French legal processes are completed.” Mohammed al Fayed claims a letter from Diana predicting her death proves there should be an official inquest into the Paris car crash that killed Diana Princess of Wales and his son Dodi.

October 22nd

On RTL-news yesterday evening it was said that Mabel Wisse Smit was allegedly familiar with the contents of her AIVD dossier before her meeting with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in June. Sources claim that Mabel Wisse Smit only told him what was already in the dossier. Meanwhile Mabel Wisse Smit is also being investigated on suspicion of lobbying on behalf of Egyptian arms dealers in the 1990s. It also appears she had much broader contacts with Bosnian political leaders than only Mohammed Sacirbey. Today the Prime Minister, Interior Minister and the Commission for Intelligence and Security Services will have a private meeting. Parliamentary leaders of the large parties will be informed about secret and personal information. Only Pvda leader Wouter Bos refused to attend the meeting as he says he doesn’t want secret information about the affair scandal that he could not publicly use in Parliament. ‘Mabelgate’ will be debated in Parliament on Thursday, but the debate will be restricted to the answers that the Prime Minister and the Interior Minister gave to members of parliament on Monday night.

Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg have paid a visit to Denmark over the past days. They arrived in Copenhagen on Monday and were greeted at the airport by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik, Princess Alexandra and Princess Benedikte. Afterwards a lunch at Fredensborg Castle followed. While the Grand Duke visited a company, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa visited art at the Louisiana Museum. Thereafter a visit to Frederiksborg Castle took place. The gala dinner at Fredensborg Castle was also attended by Mary Donaldson, fiancée of Crown Prince Frederik. It was her first official engagement. Yesterday the Grand Ducal couple visited the university of Aalborg and an art museum. The Grand Duchess also visited a kindergarten. In the evening a concert was given in Copenhagen by the Luxemburger Philharminische Orchester led by Emmanuel Krivine. This morning the Grand Duke visited the Danish Parliament, while the Grand Duchess visited the porcelain-factory Royal Copenhagen. The official visit ended with a reception at the townhall of Copenhagen. However afterwards the Grand Ducal couple, accompanied by Queen Margrethe II, visited the Queen’s exhibition in Odense.

Earl Spencer says on NBC television he has never seen anything to suggest the crash in which his sister Diana Princess of Wales died was anything but an accident. Extracts from the book of former royal butler Paul Burrell, published in the Daily Mirror newspaper, also include a letter to Diana from her brother, expressing concern for her mental health. “I pray you’re getting treatment for your mental problems,” Earl Spencer allegedly wrote. “I know how manipulation and deceit are parts of the illness.” Earl Spencer told he was angry the letter was published and said: “Well first of all it is obviously private correspondence which has been taken out of context and out of time. I suppose all the loving letters I sent don’t have the sell-ability that this one, which was trying to help her, a genuine attempt to help her, when she was at her most complex.” At the apparent request of the Duke of Edinburgh, Palace lawyers Farrer & Co are scrutinising extracts of the book, which is published on Monday. Publisher Penguin said the Palace requested an advance copy of the book on Tuesday following stories in the Daily Mirror quoting letters to Diana from the Duke of Edinburgh. Joanna Prior, at Penguin, said only extracts of the book were handed to the Palace to protect commercial agreements, including serialisation rights, ahead of publication.

In the French newspaper Le Figaro of today the engagement of Princess Hélène of Montenegro with Alexandre Morin de la Fosse, son of Paul-Edouard Morin-Bargeton and Yvonne de Lesquen du Plessis Casso was announced. The engagement took place in Versailles on October 18.

October 23rd

The Dutch Cabinet has survived the Mabel Wisse Smit debate in the Dutch Parliament today. The Second Chamber supports the Cabinet in the affair. Most political parties are satisfied about the way Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has settled the affair. Leader of the Socialist party PVDA, Wouter Bos, has the impression that the painful public condemnation of Mabel Wisse Smit could have been avoided if there had been an earlier decision for a deeper inquiry. LPF-leader Matt Herben wants a fundamental discussion about the future of the monarchy. The left parties agree that Balkenende and Interior Minister Remkes have played ‘ping pong’ with their responsibilities. Because of that they say it is not clear anymore who was responsible for what.

On the day of the final split between the Prince of Wales and his wife Princess Diana, August 28, 1996, she wrote that she never wanted a divorce. In a handwritten note to her then butler Paul Burrell, she was reported to have said: “I never wanted a divorce and always dreamed of a happy marriage with loving support from Charles.” and “A part of me will always love Charles.” She also said she wished the Prince of Wales had “looked after me and been proud of my work”, that she wanted to become his “best friend” and that she knew better than anyone “what makes him tick”. But she went on to write: “It has been a turbulent 15 years having to face the envy, jealousy and hatred from the Prince’s friends and family. “They have so misunderstood me. It has brought enormous heartache.”

October 24th

Three photographers – Jacques Langevin of the Sygma/Corbis agency, Christian Martinez of the Angelis agency and freelancer Eric Chassery – have defended themselves against charges of invasion of privacy for taking pictures of Dodi Al Fayed at the scene of the crash that killed Diana Princess of Wales in 1997. The court case follows a complaint filed by Mohamed Al Fayed and comes after the photographers were cleared of manslaughter charges in 2002 in relation to the high-speed crash. They face one year in prison and fines if convicted. A judge dismissed the case against five other photographers present at the crash scene. Photos taken at the site were confiscated and never published. A verdict is expected to be set for a later date.

In an interview to ABC 20/20 former royal butler Paul Burrell has claimed Diana Princess of Wales was in love with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and not Dodi Fayed at the time of her death. “I spoke to her the day before she died,” Burrell says. “I know that the Princess would never marry Dodi. He may have wanted to, but he wasn’t the one.” Mr Burrell said Diana and the surgeon were “two very like-minded people, two people who wanted to go out into the world and help others, two humanitarians”. He said Khan eventually broke off their relationship. “I think there were too many complications on both sides,” he said in the interview. In his new book, Mr Burrell also claimed the Duke of Edinburgh wrote to Diana telling her he and the Queen disapproved of the Prince of Wales’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. It was reported the Duke told Diana: “I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind leaving you for Camilla.”

Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales have attacked former royal butler Paul Burrell for his “cold and overt betrayal” of their mother Diana Princess of Wales. In the statement released by Clarence House Prince William, also speaking on behalf of his younger brother Prince Harry, says: “We cannot believe that Paul, who was entrusted with so much, could abuse his position in such a cold and overt betrayal. It is not only deeply painful for the two of us but also for everyone else affected and it would mortify our mother if she were alive today and, if we might say so, we feel we are more able to speak for our mother than Paul. We ask Paul please to bring these revelations to an end.” According to a spokeswoman “It’s telling Paul Burrell that they’ve had enough.” She added William and Harry would also be prepared to meet Mr Burrell to discuss the matter. In a reaction Paul Burrell said: “I am saddened at the statement issued on behalf of Prince William and Prince Harry. Saddened because I know that this book is nothing more than a tribute to their mother. I am convinced that when the Princes, and everyone else, reads this book in its entirety they will think differently. My only intention in writing this book was to defend the Princess and stand in her corner. I have been greatly encouraged by calls of support from some of the Princess’s closest friends within the past 48 hours. I would also like to point out that, following the collapse of my trial at the Old Bailey last year, no one from the Royal Family contacted me or said sorry for the unnecessary ordeal myself, my wife and my sons were put through. Neither do I say sorry for writing this book, of which I am extremely proud and I am convinced the Princess would be proud of too. I have told the truth where the British public should know the truth.” Asked whether he would be prepared to meet Princes William and Harry, he said: “That is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

October 25th

Prince Gabriel Baudouin Charles Marie of Belgium was baptised in a private ceremony at the chapel of Ciergnon Castle today, on the 2nd birthday of his sister Princess Elisabeth. The christening ceremony was led by Cardinal Godfried Danneels. His godparents were Count Charles-Henri d’Udekem d’Acoz and Baroness Maria Christina von Freyberg. The whole Belgian royal family attended the ceremony. Among the guests were also Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxemburg.

A mummy, thought to be that of Pharaoh Ramses I, has been returned to Egypt as a gift from the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, USA. Now the mummy is temporarily put on display at the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo. Mr Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities, said: ‘This… is a message to other people all over the world that they should do the same. If you have a masterpiece in a museum outside Egypt, I think this masterpiece should come home…’ The Atlanta Museum’s artefacts originally came from the tomb of Pharaoh Seti I, son of Ramses I. They acquired the mummy in 1999 as part of a collection that reached North America in the 19th century after Egyptian tomb robbers sold it to a collector. An examination by the museum indicated that the mummy was ’95 %’ Ramses I. Mr Hawass escorted the mummy back from Atlanta to Egypt after the Carlos Museum offered to transfer ownership back to Cairo. ‘We are 100 % sure that the mummy… is a royal mummy, because of the way it was embalmed’ and because its arms are folded across the chest’, he said. ‘We are not sure that it is Ramses I. But what makes us think it is, is that his face looks like Seti I, his son.’ “We are the sons of the Nile. Welcome Ramses, the builder of esteemed Egypt,” sang a chorus of schoolchildren around the case draped in the national flag in the entrance hall of the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo. A band played triumphant military tunes as Mr Hawass opened the case containing the mummy in the ceremony. The mummy will be displayed next year at the Luxor Museum in southern Egypt.

October 26th

The naming ceremony of Princess Yuvarajkumari was held in accordance with the Hindu Vedic tradition at the Narayanhity Royal Palace in Kathmandu today. She was named Kritika Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah.

In an interview with the Sunday Times former royal butler Paul Burrell has claimed Buckingham Palace courtiers have poisoned the ‘little minds’ of Princes William and Harry of Wales. He also claims the letters, allegedly to and from Diana and serialised in the Daily Mirror this week, are just the “tip of the iceberg”. More will come out if Diana’s name continues to be besmirched, he said. Describing himself as “the keeper of these secrets”, Mr Burrell told the newspaper: “I know where the boundary is and I do not cross that line. Anything I reveal is to illustrate a fact. Other books have been rather sad betrayals.” The ex-butler, whose book is published on Monday, also says he fears “dark forces” are still monitoring him.

October 27th

The Government Information Service today said that Princess Máxima of the Netherlands is doing fine, as well as her unborn child, doctors told her after a regular pregnancy check-up. The rest she had to take since September is working well. It wasn’t necessary to rest in hospital and she also didn’t have to take medicines. It was also announced that the doctors expect that the birth of the baby will take place before the new year instead of in January.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have begun a week-long tour of Russia today with a visit to St Petersburg. This week they will explore the Norwegian- Russian cultural exhibitions in St Petersburg and meet with business delegates to help bridge economic interests in the two countries. Later this week they will also visit Moscow and visit an expanding Norwegian-Russian college founded in 1994. Crown Prince Haakon will also pay a visit to Murmansk alone, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit will have a lighter schedule due to her pregnancy.

In an interview with BBC former royal butler Paul Burrell says he would never have written it had he received a call from the Royal Family after the collapse of his theft trial at the Old Bailey last year. He has denied the book is his revenge, but admits it would have been “a very different world” had he received a phone call from the princes. He also says he was angry with the princes but claimed they were being used as “emotional cannons” by the “grey men in suits” at the Palace. “Why listen to people who always say yes and no-one tells you no? I’d love to give them a piece of my mind,” he said. But he also said it was time for the princes to “grow up” and stressed they were just children when their mother was alive while he “lived in an adult world with the Princess”.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman, responding to questions about the new book of former royal butler Paul Burrell, has said “The Queen’s conversations with her family are a private matter. But the Queen fully supports Prince William at this time.” Buckingham Palace says she will also support his decision if he decides to go ahead with a face-to-face meeting with the former royal butler. As copies of Mr Burrell’s book, A Royal Duty, went on sale today, lawyers for the Royal Family are scrutinising its 396 pages. It is almost certain that no legal action will be taken as he has avoided any breach of copyright by quoting from private letters rather than reproducing them in full.

Local elections in Bulgaria show the support for the National Simeon II Movement has dropped dramatically. The Socialist Party (former communists) took a clear victory and also the United Democratic Forces were clearly more popular than the party of Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski. The turnout was under 40%. In the parliamentary elections two years ago the party of former King Simeon of Bulgaria had been the clear winner. Recent surveys show that almost three quarters of the population feel his government has failed. The results are widely seen as an indication of how Bulgarians will vote in the general election in 2005.

Queen Elizabeth II has unveiled the first public statue of herself in Great Britain at the highest point of Queen Anne’s Ride in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire. The statue shows the Queen on horseback at one-and-a-half times life size. It was made by sculptor Philip Jackson and commissioned by the Crown Estate to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. The last British monarch to have statues dedicated to her in Great Britain during her lifetime was Queen Victoria.

October 28th

Last week Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and her husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn’s lawyers have summoned Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to testify in preliminary hearings early next year in their case against the State of the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Family. Also a testimony from Margarita’s father the Duke of Parma is requested, as well as from the AIVD chief, the director of the Queen’s Cabinet and royal tv-presenter Maartje van Weegen who allegedly spread incorrect information about the couple. The couple claims the Dutch State violated their privacy and they have accused the royal family of conducting a smear campaign that damaged Edwin’s business interests. The couple claim the royal family opposed their relationship and lawyer Britta Bohler said her clients wanted the truth to come out. The couple hopes the testimony will determine who was responsible for the investigation.

Arrangements are being made for Prince William of Wales to meet privately former royal butler Paul Burrell to discuss revelations in Mr Burrell’s book about the late Diana Princess of Wales. A spokeswoman for Clarence House confirmed: “William has said that he is prepared to meet him and we will be proceeding on that basis.” It wasn’t said when or where the meeting might take place. Mr Burrell says he welcomes a chance to meet with the royal family.

The legal struggle about the inheritance of Empress Soraya of Persia will be continued in Köln (Cologne), Germany. Last week documents about the obduction and the toxological report arrived from Paris and now it should become clear if the disputed will of Empress Soraya’s brother Bijan Esfandiary is legal. Bijan Esfandiary was Empress Soraya’s only heir. However he died one week after his sister in 2001. About 19 parties fight for the inheritance of about 22 million Euros. Only hours before he died Bijan Esfandiary is said to have changed his will to leave all his money to his private secretary. It is disputed if the will is a false one and if Bijan Esfandiary still was able to know what he was doing.

October 30th

1/3 of the Dutch, according to a poll by TNS Nipo for the tv-programme Twee Vandaag, think that Queen Beatrix should get a ceremonial function only. Half of the Dutch think the present situation is fine. 32% of the people say that their trust in the Royal House has become less after the affairs in the past two years.

In a telephone interview with a Dutch tv-channel Mohammed Sacirbey, former minister and former UN-ambassador of Bosnia and ex-boyfriend of Mabel Wisse Smit, has said that Mabel didn’t have anything to do with smuggling weapons in the 1990s. He says however that she, because of the organisations she worked for, was involved in a strong lobby for the right on selfdefence of Bosnia. He says he met Mabel in 1993 and that their relationship was not a secret. Together they fought for Bosnian muslims. Sacirbey is in an American prison since March 2003. The Bosnian government suspects him of having embezzled 550.000 Euros.

October 31st

Yesterday Culture Minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon of France has unveiled a 390 million Euros renovation plan for the Versailles Palace which will bring back its origins and improve the site for its 10.000.000 visitors a year. “The aim, through this vast programme, is to give Versailles back its lustre,” Mr Aillagon said. Work will begin later this year and go on to 2020 in three stages. When completed the palace will have fewer but better entrances for visitors. The gardens, that were destroyed in a 1999 storm, will be replanted. The first stage which will be finished in 2009 will enhance safety, the roof will be entirely redone and window frames and the heating system will be replaced. Offices will be moved out of the central building to the Grand Commun – a building that originally held the court’s staff – and will be replaced by two main entrances, free toilets, shops and a large restaurant. The royal courtyard at the centre of the chateau will be restored to its original splendour with a replica of its former gate, destroyed in 1793, and new paving stones. A research centre on life at the Sun King’s court will also be created at the Grand Commun. Also the main building’s facades will be restored, a staircase in the north wing will be rebuild and the backstage equipment in the Opera Royal will be renovated.

Paul Smith, a 17-year-old schoolboy recruited via Internet by a Scottish anti-English group, was sentenced yesterday for three years after posting about 40 letters claiming they containing poison to among others Prince William of Wales.

Mohammed Al Fayed has taken his bid for a public inquiry into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and his son Dodi one stage further. His court application for an inquiry was given the go-ahead after judge Lord Drummond Young turned down a bid by Scottish law officers for a lengthy postponement. The application will begin at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on December 15, 2003. Al Fayed said: “In recent days the public have made it clear that they want answers to the questions which will still surround the death of my son and Princess Diana. It is more than six years since the crash and it is now vital that these matters are considered quickly. I welcome the judge’s decision to hear this case in December.”

November 1st

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

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

November 2nd

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

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

November 3rd

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

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

November 5th

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

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

November 6th

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

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

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

November 7th

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

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

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

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

November 8th

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

November 9th

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

November 10th

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

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

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

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

November 12th

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

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

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

November 13th

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

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

November 14th

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

November 18th

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

November 19th

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

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

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

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

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

November 20th

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

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

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

November 21st

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

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

November 22nd

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

November 23rd

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

November 24th

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

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

November 25th

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

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

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

November 26th

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

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

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

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

November 28th

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

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

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

November 30th

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

December 1st

King Harald V of Norway again stayed in hospital for some new examinations on Sunday and was released from hospital early this morning. At a press conference this afternoon physicians at Rikshospitalet and the Norwegian Radium Hospital announced that King Harald has cancer of the bladder. Samples taken from the King last week have been analysed. He will have surgery soon to remove the bladder. “The cancer was detected at an early stage, so there is no reason to believe that it has spread. We expect the King to recover after the operation,” said the doctors. The King will undergo further tests before having surgery, and is still on sick leave. He will be admitted to Rikshospitalet on Saturday December 6 and will undergo surgery on Monday December 8. The operation will be carried out by Dr Håkon Wæhre of the Radium Hospital, together with Dr Trygve Talseth of Rikshospitalet. The King will stay in hospital for two to three weeks after the operation, and will then be on sick leave for two to three months. Crown Prince Haakon will be acting regent during King Harald’s illness and convalescence.

The Imperial family of Japan today celebrated the second birthday of Princess Aiko, daughter of the crown princely couple. The Crown Prince and Princess took their daughter to see Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in the morning to report on her second birthday. The Imperial Household Agency said Princess Aiko is now able to run and jump, has learned the names of people and animals, and often plays with her mother by saying the alphabet. Princess Aiko is now 85.4 cm tall and weighs 12.5 kg, Imperial Household officials said.

Princess Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and her husband Pedro Lopez Quesada became the parents of a son, Pedro, who was born in Madrid today. He weighs 4750 grammes. They already have a daughter.

December 3rd

The new Hola published photos of Don Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú (Duke of Anjou) and his fiancée María Margarita de Vargas y Santaella, a 20-year-old girl who was born in Candalaria, Venezuela and studies pedagogics at the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas. She is the daughter of Victor José de Vargas y Uruaquin and Carmen Leonor Santaella Tellerías. Maria Margarita had a brother, Victor José, who died at the age of 18, and a sister, María Victoria. Luís Alfonso and Maria Margarita met at the wedding of her sister to Francisco Javier d’Agostino Casado, where he was a witness for the groom and she for the bride. The couple will get married in Palm Beach, Florida, USA, where Maria Margarita’s father owns a ranch with a chapel, around September 2004. They will live in Madrid after the wedding.

Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy was hurt in a motor accident when he lost control of his motorbike this morning in Geneva, Switzerland, when he was on his way to work from the home of his parents. He was transferred to the Hôpital Cantonal in Geneva where he had surgery this afternoon. He has broken his right collar bone and left upper arm bone and also suffered other injuries among others on his knees. According to a spokesman his life is not in danger. His mother returned from Milan when she heard the news. Also his wife Clotilde, whom he married in September and who expects the couple’s first child at the end of this month, returned to Geneva.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn have postponed their plans to move to New York City. Due to the illness of her father the princess is expected to play a greater role in performing royal duties for the time being.

December 4th

In Manhattan, New York, State Supreme Court Justice Louis B. York dismissed a $1 million claim by Diana Princess of Wales’s former lover James Hewitt against Fox News for breach of contract but let stand the network’s counterclaim that he violated their secrecy agreement. The judge said Hewitt’s punitive damages claim against Fox for firing him was unwarranted because he could not show the firing was “malicious or vindictive behavior, which is morally culpable or reprehensible.” The judge let stand Hewitt’s claim for $80,000 in compensatory damages. Fox hired Hewitt, a former British army major and tank commander, on Jan. 13 to an $80,000 one-year contract to cover the anticipated Iraq war for the network. Less than a week later, Fox fired him, alleging he had violated a secrecy agreement by leaking information about his hiring. Hewitt sued Fox in February. In court papers, he denied he broke the secrecy agreement and said Fox officials dumped him because they “were embarrassed by the negative press the leak generated on account of Mr. Hewitt’s previous relationship with the late Diana, Princess of Wales.”

December 5th

Crown Princess Masako of Japan was hospitalized yesterday evening with shingles, but the Imperial Household Agency said the case is not serious. On Wednesday she was diagnosed with the viral inflammation after she developed painful rashes on the back of her head and under her chin Tuesday evening. She will require up to three weeks’ treatment, including taking medication via an intravenous drip three times a day, and may be hospitalized for several days if necessary, the agency said.

December 7th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands has given birth to a healthy baby girl at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague at 17:01. The baby is 52 cm tall and weighs 3310 grammes. The Prince of Orange was present at birth. Shortly after the birth Queen Beatrix, Prince Johan Friso and his fiancée Mabel Wisse Smit already arrived at hospital. “It is a dream of a baby” according to the father in a press announcement. He also said to “feel thankful and happy”. Mrs M.J.G.H. Smeets, gyneacologist and Mrs. J.K. Kreijen-Meinesz, neo-natologist, assisted the Princess during the delivery. Almost one hour after the birth 101 salutes were fired from the Indian Monument in The Hague, the navy base in Den Helder and from Willemstad (Curaçao) and Oranjestad (Aruba). Around 18:20 the Prince of Orange shortly appeared at a window of the hospital and waved to the people and press outside. After it was made known in the early afternoon that Princess Máxima was admitted to hospital at 9:10 this morning, tens of people travelled to the hospital to wait for the birth. The baby will be second in line to the Dutch throne. The Prince of Orange will register his daughter at the town hall of The Hague tomorrow. Most likely also the name will become known then. On the occasion of the birth congratulatory books can be signed at Noordeinde Palace, the Royal Palace in Amsterdam and Palace Het Loo from tomorrow (13:00 to 17:00). Books at Palace Noordeinde and Palace Het Loo can be signed until December 12 between 9:00 and 17:00.

In the evening a photo of the baby, taken by the Prince of Orange himself, was released. At 21:30 a press conference was held at the Bronovo Hospital. First gynaecologist Mrs Smeets spoke, telling that Princess Máxima did wonderfully. The water broke this early morning and then she was taken to hospital by the Prince of Orange. The delivery took eight hours and was natural, despite of all rumours in the media about a caesarian section they never have considered one. During the pregnancy there were quite common complications and the princess was adviced bed rest for nine weeks. She was daily visited by a specialised nurse. Children doctor Mrs J.H.Kreijen-Meinesz added baby and mother do very well. The Prince of Orange himself cut the umbilical cord. Then the Prince of Orange entered with the baby who slept during the press conference. The Prince of Orange told that he and Máxima of course find their daughter the most beautiful baby in the whole world and they are very happy that everything went well. The birth was a very special moment. He had expected a quiet Sunday and then the birth started already very early in the morning and they had to go to hospital. He said the day had been very beautiful. They are not completely sure about the name of the baby yet. They didn’t know beforehand if it would be a girl or a boy and they were very happy with the surprise. Queen Beatrix was very happy and grateful that the baby was completely healthy. She was surprised to hear this morning that the birth had started. Around 17:00 she started to wonder when the actual birth would be and then a few minutes later she was called that she had become a grandmother again. Máxima’s mother was present at birth. Also her father was in the Netherlands until a short while ago, but had to go back to Argentina for business. They have already spoken with the family in Argentina. The Prince of Orange said to be very happy to be able to show their daughter, but he hopes that his daughter can have a youth as normal as possible, like he and his brothers had. During the pregnancy there were scans from time to time. Máxima needed bed rest for 9 weeks. They hope mother and daughter will be able to go home soon. Asked if he could describe his daughter for radio listeners he said that his daughter is the most beautiful daughter of the world, she has lots of hair, laughs a bit sometimes, opens her eyes from time to time. She looks very satisfied. He and Princess Máxima want to learn her more languages than Dutch. The Prince will register the baby at the town hall in The Hague later on, but not tomorrow morning.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and her daughter left hospital already at 22:30. Together with the Prince of Orange they returned home. The Prince of Orange already left hospital a bit earlier after the presentation of his daughter and smiled and talked with the press and people standing in front of the hospital. It was not noticed he picked up the princess and their daughter at another exit of the hospital immediately afterwards.

December 8th

King Harald V of Norway underwent five and a half hour surgery today at Rikshospitalet in Oslo. Doctors who performed surgery say the operation was successfull and say there were no signs the bladder cancer had spread. The surgical team of 15 medical professionals was led by doctors Haakon Waehre and Trygve Talseth. “The operation went completely according to plan,” said surgeon Trygve Talseth this evening. Talseth said the king received “a new bladder” after doctors removed his cancerous one. “We haven’t found anything that would indicate the king won’t recover completely,” said surgeon Haakon Waehre. Three pathologists who were part of the surgical team analyzed the monarch’s lymph glands and found no cancerous cells. The king woke up shortly after the surgery ended and is now recovering in the intensive care unit. The king will undergo a comprehensive exam in about two weeks. He is expected to be released from hospital before Christmas. The doctors said that unless there will be complications, King Harald likely will be back on the job by March.

Although the name of the new Dutch princess officially is not known yet, the possible name of the princess leaked already today. Research on the websites registered at the IP-address of the official website of the Dutch Royal House,, learned that also the websites and were registered, and well on December 7. The owner is the Foundation Sigillis Regiis Praesidio, that protects the Royal Family against commercial exploitation. Thus it is well possible the new princess will be named Catharina-Amalia.

More than 200 years after his death the French Ministry of Culture has given permission to bury the heart of Louis XVII, son of King Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie-Antoinette, in the royal crypt at the Saint Denis Basilica, Paris. They approve the burial after geneticists in 2000 after comparing DNA of different members of the royal family concluded that it was indeed Louis XVII who had died of tuberculosis in prison in 1795. The son of King Louis XVI, was a seven year old crown prince (dauphin) when he was jailed in 1792. His parents died on the guillotine in 1793. Louis XVII’s death was long a subject of dispute. The “lost dauphin” legend says he was taken from prison and replaced by another boy, and that it was the substitute who died there. The heart of the boy who died in prison was later placed in a chapel near the royal crypt. It will now be transferred to the royal crypt itself. It is said the society of the royal house of France requested the reburial and wants it to be held on June 8, the anniversary of Louis XVII’s death. The Ministry of Culture could not confirm the date but said the French state would not pay for the burial.

December 9th

The Prince of Orange registered his daughter this morning at 10:00 at the old town hall in The Hague with the names Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria. Officially she is Her Royal Highness Catharina-Amalia Princess of the Netherlands, Princess of Oranje-Nassau. However in daily life, the Prince of Orange said, she will be called Amalia. The Prince of Orange was accompanied by witnesses Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and the deputy chairman of the Council of State, Tjeenk Willink. The Prince of Orange was welcomed at the town hall by mayor Wim Deetman who, before the official registration, gave a 10-minute speech in which he wished the new parents well and noted that the baby’s birth would ensure the continuity of the monarchy in the Netherlands. As a gift for his daughter the Prince received a book describing a baby’s “main activities” eating, sleeping and crying, and a mobile in the shape of a stork (also the symbol for The Hague).

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will undergo surgery at the King Edward VII Hospital in London on Friday to remove a torn cartilage in her left knee. The operation follows a similar one on the Queen’s right knee on January 13 this year. A spokeswoman said: “The Queen is expected to leave hospital some time during the weekend and she should be fully active again within a few weeks.” The Queen will spend Christmas with her family at Sandringham as usual, the spokeswoman added.

The Norwegian Royal Court said King Harald V of Norway had a calm night and day and has been out of bed twice today. His condition is satisfactory according to his doctors.

The German tabloid Bild was ordered by a federal court to print a clarification of a story they wrote in September 2000 that suggested that Princess Caroline of Monaco had slept with the Austrian singer Udo Jürgens. The newspaper had quoted an interview by Mr Jürgens to Playboy in which he was asked about any sexual relationship with the princess. He denied it, and hinted he would deny it even if it were true, but Bild said the answer had been “unambiguously ambiguous.” The federal court agreed with Princess Caroline that Bild’s wording implied there was a relationship after all.

December 10th

On December 8th and 9th Princess Dilasha Rajyalaxmi Devi Shah of Nepal, daughter of the late Prince Dhirendra, married Adarsha Bikram Rana, from the princely family of Rana. The wedding took place at Jevankunj, Maharajgunj. The King and Queen of Nepal welcomed the marriage procession and performed the Kanyadan rites in connection with the wedding. The couple became formally engaged on Friday November 28.

A 27-year-old man arrested in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in the early hours of this morning after climbing a perimeter wall has been released on bail, but is to return on a date in February. He was questioned at Belgravia Police Station. The man didn’t get close to the palace.

December 11th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London. She will have a keyhole surgery to remove a torn cartilage in her left knee tomorrow morning. She is expected to leave hospital over the weekend and according to Buckingham Palace she should be fully active within a few weeks.

December 12th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has had surgery on her left knee and also had benign skin lesions removed from her face. The operation lasted about an hour and a quarter and was successful, said Buckingham Palace. Using keyhole surgery and under general anaesthetic, damaged cartilage was removed from the Queen’s knee. Buckingham Palace said: “Under the same anaesthetic, some minor benign skin lesions were removed.”

The Government Information Service today officially announced that the wedding of Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands and his fiancée Mabel Wisse Smit will go ahead and will take place on April 24 in Delft. The civil wedding will be solemnized by mayor Hein van Oorschot of Delft. The religious ceremony will be led by The Rev Carel ter Linden at the Old Church in Delft. The couple chose to wed in Delft ‘because of the historical links between the House of Oranje-Nassau and the city’. The couple marries without the approval of the Parliament and Prince Johan Friso will loose his succession rights to the Dutch throne.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan will not take part in any public duties until next spring due to fatigue, the Imperial Household Agency said today. “She has recovered from shingles but appears to have become quite tired, which may have contributed to her illness,” an agency spokesman said. “So they are planning on having her not take part in any public duties until next spring.”

December 13th

Countess Ingrid von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, daughter of Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, was christened at the chapel of Berleburg Castle today at noon. She got the names Ingrid Alexandra Irma Astrid Benedikte. Her christening robe was design by the Princess Alexandra and made by Anthea Moore Ede from London, and was also worn by Countess Ingrid’s elder brother Count Richard. It was made out of French Organza with lace from Princess Benedikte, who got it from her grandmother Queen Alexandrine of Denmark. The ceremony in Danish and German was led by The Rev Martin Wemmelung who said “May your daughter live in loyalty, love and joy. Music came from the ‘Aarhus Kammerkor’ (chamber choir) led by Erik Björn Lund. Among the 30 guests were the little countess’s great-grandmother Princess Margaretha zu Sayn-Wittgenstein- Berleburg, Mary Donaldson. The godparents of Countess Ingrid, who were all present, are Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Princess Alexia of Greece, Princess Nathalie zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Prince Georg zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, Countess Bettina von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth and Martin Beyer. After the ceremony there was a lunch at Berleburg Castle. Dinner was held in the baby’s grandparents’s, Princess Benedikte and Prince Richard, private home.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has left hospital following a successful operation. She walked with the aid of a crutch under her right arm from the hospital to her car at 10am. She also had two stitches above her left eye and a black mark below her eye. After thanking a nurse on the hospital steps, the Queen was driven to Buckingham Palace.

December 15th

Mohamed Al Fayed has arrived at a Scottish court for the latest stage of his fight for a public inquiry into the deaths of Diana Princess of Wales and his son Dodi. Speaking to reporters outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the millionaire said he hoped to successfully challenge the refusal of the country’s senior law officer to hold an inquiry in Scotland. He has claimed that Diana and his son were murdered and the full facts of the fatal car crash in Paris have never been revealed.

December 16th

Prince Rainier III of Monaco was hospitalized at the Centre cardio-thoracique in Monaco this afternoon for tests prompted by a bout of influenza. The tests are said to be part of annual examinations.

December 17th

Last week Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg appeared in public again for the first time after a long period of illness. She was the guest of honour at a gala concert of the aid organisation ‘SOS-Interfonds’ with the well-known pianist Martha Argerich at the Grand Theatre.

Mohamed Al Fayed believes Princess Diana’s death deserves the same scrutiny as the Bloody Sunday shootings or the death of Dr David Kelly. He said only a public inquiry can “draw a line” under speculation surrounding the car crash which killed Diana, Princess of Wales, and his son Dodi Fayed. Richard Keen QC, counsel for Dodi’s father, made his case to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. It is the second day of the hearing which marks the first time the events surrounding the fatal crash have been aired in a British court.

December 18th

Inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Fayed are to be held next month, the Royal Family’s coroner has announced. Michael Burgess, Coroner Of The Queen’s Household, said: “I am pleased to confirm that I will be opening inquests into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed on Tuesday 6 January, 2004. There will be two separate hearings. The first, opening the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales will be conducted by me as Coroner of The Queen’s Household, and will be at 10.30 am at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, SW1. The inquest into the death of Dodi Al Fayed I will open as H.M. Coroner for Surrey, at 3.00 pm that same day at Wray Park, Reigate, Surrey.” He also said that “The opening of these inquests has been the subject of discussion and correspondence with the families for some time but because of the complexity of the situation the final arrangements have taken rather longer to complete than I would have wished. At neither hearing, will I be receiving any evidence from witnesses attending in person. I will, however, make a statement which will cover such matters as the purpose of the inquests, how they may be expected to be conducted and the nature and scope of evidence that I expect to receive. I will also address some procedural issues. These arrangements have been advised to both families.”

December 19th

King Harald V of Norway was released from hospital this morning. Before leaving he thanked his doctors. Officials at the Royal Palace in Oslo said the king was driven directly to the timber lodge in the hills above Oslo called Kongsseteren, where the royal family traditionally spends the Christmas holidays. The King will remain on sick leave until March, with Crown Prince Haakon taking over all official duties as regent.

New pictures of Princess Amalia of the Netherlands, now with both her parents and her paternal grandmother Queen Beatrix, were released today. The photos were taken by Argentinean photographer Graciela Rossetto.

On Thursday a public prosecutor in Paris has appealed last month’s court acquittal of three photographers who snapped Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi al Fayed on the night of their fatal 1997 car crash, judiciary officials have said. “The Paris prosecutor first waited to see whether Mohamed al Fayed would appeal or not,” it was said. “He lodged an appeal at the end of November. The prosecutor decided at the beginning of December to follow. The case will be brought before the court of appeal in the coming weeks, and will be completely re-examined.”

December 20th

Today the Vatican attributed a miracle to Emperor Karl I of Austria, who died in 1922, paving the way for his eventual beatification in 2004 and sainthood. In April, the Vatican already approved the Emperor’s “heroic virtue,” a necessary step for beatification. Today’s ceremony was presided by Pope John Paul II and attended by some of the Emperor’s heirs, among them Archduke Otto of Austria, the Emperor’s eldest son, his wife Archduchess Regina, and their daughter Archduchess Gabriela, Archduke Karl Ludwig with his wife Archduchess Yolande, Archduke Rudolf with his wife Archduchess Anna Gabriele, Archduke Felix, Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este Prince of Belgium, Archduke Simeon with his wife Archduchess Maria, as well as Archduchess Sophie with her husband Prince Mariano Hugo zu Windisch-Graetz. The Emperor’s miracle reportedly came when a cloistered nun in Brazil prayed for his beatification in the 1970s and was cured of a deadly disease, the emperor’s grandson Archduke Georg of Austria told the Hungarian Catholic monthly publication Uj Ember last year. The Vatican would not confirm that or discuss details of the miracle. The Emperor “served his people with justice and charity,” Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Congregation of the Causes of Saints, said today. “He looked for peace, helped the poor, cultivated his spiritual life with commitment.”

Princess Maria Gabriela de Orleans e Bragança today married Mr Theodoro de Hungria-Machado (born 1952) at the chapel at the property of the groom in Petrópolis, Brazil. The bride is the youngest daughter of the late Don Pedro Henrique de Orleans e Bragança and Princess Maria of Bavaria. The groom is the son of Paulo de Hungria-Machado and the late Sylvia Emília de Melo-Franco Senna.

December 21st

In the Independent on Sunday of today it says that a very high placed police source who had access to all documents in the French investigation into the death of Diana Princess of Wales revealed that among 6000 documents there is evidence that the Princess was pregnant when she died. The source told that there was a cover-up in the days following the crash on August 31st, 1997. There was no attempt to conceal what happened before and during the crash, the source said. The deaths of Diana and Dodi were accidental, the source maintains. But medical reports, which have never been made public, suggest that Diana was pregnant at the time of her death, the source says.

Prince Alfonso zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg died of prostate cancer in his house in Marbella today at 12:30 at the age of 79, after having been in a coma since yesterday. The eldest son and second of six children of Prince Max Egon zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1897-1968) and Doña Maria de la Piedad Marchioness de Belvis de las Navas (1892-1990) was born in Madrid on May 28, 1924. In 1955 he married the then 15-year-old Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg, with whom he had two sons, Christoph and Hubertus. They divorced in 1960. In 1973 he married Jackie Lane, whom he divorced in 1985. Together they had one daughter, Arriana who married Dixon Boardman in 2000. The Prince’s third wife Marilis Healing, whom he married in 1991, died in 2000. From a relationship with Heidi Balzer the prince had one illegitimate daughter, Désirée von Hohenlohe. The prince already lived in Marbella for years. Already in the 1950s he founded the Marbella-Club after which the fishing-village turned into a jetset-seaside place. Funeral service will be held at the Church of the Encarnación in Marbella on December 26. The Prince will be buried afterwards in the family vault at the San Bernabé Cemetery in Marbella. Already this evening at 21:00 family and friends came together in the house of the Prince. Among them were the Prince’s daughter Arriana, his sisters Pimpinella and Beatriz, Luis Ortiz and Princess Marie Louise of Prussia (wife of Count Rudolf of Schönburg- Glauchau).

Prince Rainier III of Monaco has left hospital this afternoon.

December 22nd

Prince Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe has lost the fight for the Internet-address at court. Four years ago a person from the area Schaumburg registered the domain to present the history of the region. The prince argued that the name Schaumburg-Lippe is an essential part of his name. However the judge said that his name officially is Prinz zu Schaumburg-Lippe, and that the address of the website is based on the region. The Prince has appealed.

The Prince of Wales again will open the doors of Clarence House for the public in the Summer of 2004 after the huge success of this year, when more than 46.000 visitors toured the building. A spokeswoman said it is hoped the public opening will become an annual event. Next year’s public opening will provide visitors with an opportunity to see the main rooms on the ground floor of Clarence House, where the Prince receives official guests and hosts lunches, receptions and dinners. They will also be able to see on display works of art and furniture from the Royal Collection and the collection of the Queen Mother.

December 23rd

Today Queen Silvia of Sweden celebrated her 60th birthday. She appeared at the court of the Royal Palace in Stockholm and received the congratulations from the Royal Guards and afterwards received lots of well-wishers. The Queen has given up personal gifts in favour of the foundation Children in Need. Already on Monday the Queen, King Carl XVI Gustaf and their children as well as other members of the family attended a performance of the Nutcracker Suite at the Opera in Stockholm.

Emperor Akihito of Japan turned 70 today. In an interview with the palace press corps published some days ago he said that while Japan has risen from the ashes of war into a “peaceful democracy,” there have been many “saddening events as well” in the past 70 years. “The most tragic of these was the Second World War in which more than three million Japanese people lost their lives as did huge numbers of people in other countries.” He also thanked the nation for its support during his recent battle with prostate cancer. Today the Emperor greeted 14.000 well wishers from the balcony of the Imperial Palace, accompanied by Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and other members of the family. Crown Princess Masako was absent due to health problems.

Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, as well as members of the Sayn-Wittgenstein and Schaumburg-Lippe families, attended the funeral of Countess Ramona von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff née Countess von Wedel who died of cancer at the age of 75 on December 15 in Bad Driburg, Germany. 300 guests attended the funeral service at the Evangelic Church in Bad Driburg, while 100 people from the area followed the service in the countal Kurhaus. During the service the Rev Dietmar Wegner said that the countess had been the soul of Bad Driburg. The countess was buried in private later today in the Mausoleum at the Rosenberg. She left behind her husband, Count Caspar von Oeynhausen-Sierstorpff, son Marcus, daughter Angelina and seven grandchildren.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands was spotted shopping in The Hague today together with her babydaughter Amalia.

December 24th

The Norwegian royal family had their yearly Christmas photos taken yesterday. See also here. The traditional Christmas card of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain shows the couple with their five grandchildren.

One of the Princess Royal’s bull terriers, believed to be Dotty, savaged Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s corgi Pharos last Monday when the corgis ran out to greet the Princess Royal when she arrived at Sandringham for Christmas. The corgi had to be put down yesterday because her injuries were too serious. The Queen is said to be devastated by the death of her corgi. Pharos was one of her oldest and dearest pets.

December 25th

Princess Alice Dowager Duchess of Gloucester celebrated her 102nd birthday today. She is the oldest British royal in history.

December 26th

Prince Alfonso zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg was buried today in Marbella. The funeral service took place at the Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, after which the prince was buried at the family pantheon at the San Bernabé cemetery. Before there was a reception at the Marbella Club. Among the around 2000 guests, who came from all over the world, were Prince Alfonso’s four children, his ex-wifes Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg and Jackie Lane, Countess Gunilla von Bismarck, Count Rudolf von Schönburg-Glauchau, the Duchess of Alba and her daughter Eugenia Martínez de Irujo and Princess Beatrice of Orléans.

December 29th

Yesterday evening at 19:32 Princess Clotilde of Savoy, wife of Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy who had just been released from the same hospital before Christmas after a motor accident, gave birth to a daughter at the Cantonal Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. Prince Emanuele Filiberto was present at birth. Mother and daughter are doing fine. The baby’s names are Vittoria Cristina Adelaide Chiara Maria. She is named Vittoria after her paternal grandfather, Vittorio Emanuele. Cristina was chosen to honour the late Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy, but also is a name from the family of Princess Clotilde where girls traditionally receive a name starting with a C. Chiara was chosen in honour of the Saint of Assisi. Maria and Adelaide both are names from the Savoy family.

December 30th

The Princess Royal’s bull terrier Dotty was wrongly identified as having savaged Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s corgi Pharos Buckingham Palace says. Dotty was the dog that bit two children in Windsor Great Park last year. A palace spokesman has now said that another of the Princess Royal’s dogs, Florence, was responsible for the latest violence. The palace say they launched an inquiry after an aide said Dotty was not present when the corgi was mauled, and discovered Florence must have done it. The palace spokesman said: “Dotty certainly is innocent. Florence was the one responsible. It only just came to light yesterday. Dotty was believed to be there but not responsible for the fracas. It’s one of those things that happens to dogs. They have fights.”

December 31st

Just days after the Princess Royal’s bull terrier Florence killed one of Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis, the dog attacked a royal maid biting her on her knee at Sandringham last Saturday, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said. The maid was treated on the estate for a minor bite and she didn’t need hospital treatment. The dog will now undergo behavioural retraining.

This evening Crown Prince Regent Haakon of Norway delivered his first New Year’s speech to the Norwegians. After an apparently nervous start he made a strong impression on his audience. Expert commentators afterwards gave the Crown Prince high marks for a more youthful viewpoint and for focusing on issues relevant to the average Norwegian like stress, family time and the importance of basic values. “Many of us experience daily life becoming ever more hectic. This may be a good reason to stop a bit – and think about if what one spends time on is in fact how one really wants to spend it,” Crown Prince Haakon said. The crown prince said that Norwegians needed to be reminded occasionally of what a privileged life they lead, and that despite this, there would always be people nearby who needed care and attention. Crown Prince Haakon also said: “We must dare to take up the challenge of new opinions and attitudes, and we must risk novel ideas. The fear of the unknown often shuts out exciting thoughts and visions. As long as we are securely anchored, we can dare to go new ways.” However the Crown Prince was also criticized for lacking the annual greeting and thanks to Norway’s peacekeeping and humanitarian forces abroad. However a Norwegian Colonel in Iraq said the troops had received a telegram from the Crown Prince wishing them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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