Royal News 2006

Last modified: 2 January 2007

Archived royal news from my old website for the year 2006.

January 1st

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was moved to the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. She will rehabilitate there until the moment she can return home. The doctors are very satisfied about the progress the Queen makes with her recovery from her knee-operation.

King Xolilizwe Sigcau of the Xhosas died yesterday night at the One Military Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, at the age of 79, after suffering a long period of health problems. He was the longest serving Xhosa king and had been on the throne since 1965. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa visited the King yesterday afternoon before he died. Funeral arrangements will be announced later by the Royal House at Nqadu Great Place in Willowvale. Zolani Mkiva, the Xhosa Royal Council spokesperson, says royal elders are currently meeting at Nqadu to discuss the plans. Mr Mbeki, on behalf of the government and the South African people, conveyed his heartfelt condolences on the king’s passing.

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia left for Beijing today to see his father and mother there. He will return on January 10. Besides visiting his parents the King will also have a medical checkup in Beijing.

January 2nd

Kew Palace in south-west London is to reopen in the spring following £6.6m of conservation work. The palace has been shut in the past ten years. From May, visitors will be able to tour the palace, which is in the grounds of Kew’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens. The palace was a royal residence from 1728 to 1818, and in the early 19th Century was the home of King George III and Queen Charlotte. A wax life-cast of George, his waistcoat and shirt, will be among the items on display at the palace when it re-opens. The Kew building has been painstakingly restored, with some of the original paint and wallpaper used in Georgian times being reproduced. The Duchess of Cornwall toured the palace last month to see the restoration work, which has included repairs to the brickwork, gables, parapets, tiles and chimneys. The newly opened palace will show an exhibition of Georgian life, including literature, music, horticulture, architecture and astronomy. The second floor of the palace has never been seen before by the public, and has been hardly altered since it was decorated for the Georgian princesses in the early 19th Century. Queen Victoria first allowed the public to visit Kew Palace in 1899.

The Dutch royal family this year will celebrate Queen’s Day on Saturday, April 29, at Zeewolde and Almere in the Province of Flevoland.

Despite of heavy rains about 50.200 well-wishers gathered in front of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace on Monday to cheer Japan’s Emperor Akihito and his family on occasion of the New Year. It was the smallest amount of well-wishers since Emperor Akihito ascended the throne in 1989. The Emperor appeared on the balcony three times during the morning and four times in the afternoon together with his wife Michiko and other family members, waved to the crowd and wished luck and peace to his nation and the world. Also Crown Princess Masako showed up at the balcony, in total three times. In 2005 it had been only once.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has joined traditional leaders from the country in paying tribute to Xhosa King Xolilizwe Sigcau. “King Sigcawu will be sadly missed for his leadership and counsel to his people. The president wished the Sigcawu family and the Xhosa people fortitude during this difficult time,” said presidential spokesman Murphy Morobe today. He said President Mbeki had visited the king in hospital during his long illness. A memorial service will be held at the Thaba-Tswane military base on Thursday and the funeral date will be announced soon. His successor was not yet chosen.

January 4th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is very happy to be able to announce that Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau expect their second child at the end of June 2006.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands won a legal action on Wednesday against gossip magazine ‘Privé’ for claiming she struck her children’s nanny. A court in Amsterdam ordered ‘Privé’ to pay the Princess 5000 Euros and to publish a rectification as quickly as possible, or face a 25.000 Euro fine for every week it delays printing the retraction. Privé ran a story in June 2004 in which it claimed Princess Máxima had gone through three nannies. It also said she had struck one of them before the nanny was fired very recently last summer. Privé could not substantiate the claim. However the royal couple has had only one nanny since November 2004. She stated the Princess has never struck her. The woman is the second nanny employed since the birth of Princess Catharina-Amalia, in December 2003. According to sources close to the royal couple the first nanny left the job because the Princess did not agree with her approach to child-minding. The court categorised the article as “thoughtless, very damaging and unprovable”. A public figure doesn’t have to tolerate every kind of gossip, the presiding judge said.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway had her first day at day care, at Sem Barnehagen in Asker, today. A photo session took place at 11.30 am, also attended by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The Palace has issued a strict request that the photo session marks the end of media focus on the young princess for the day, and that she should be allowed to play with the other children in peace.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai died this afternoon aged 62 at the Palazzo Versace hotel in Main Beach, Queensland while visiting Australia it was announced. He had arrived in Australia on 28 December. The cause of death wasn’t mentioned, but for the later part of his life he was dogged by ill-health and recurrent heart problems. The Sheikh’s body is expected to be flown back to Dubai from Brisbane on his private Boeing 747-400 later today. A statement by the United Arab Emirates presidency said; “The United Arab Emirates today lost a historical leader who devoted his life to establishing the United Arab Emirates and enhancing its structure and the welfare of its people.” Sheikh Maktoum was also the vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. He was born in 1943 at the Al Maktoum family home in the Shindagha district of Dubai, the eldest of the four sons of Sheikh Rashid and Sheikha Latifa. When Sheikh Rashid suffered a stroke in 1981, Sheikh Maktoum and his brothers Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Mohammed assumed day-to-day control, reporting back regularly to their sick father who died in 1990. Sheikh Maktoum is survived by his widow Sheikha Boushra bint Mohammad Al Maktoum. His daughter Sheikha Hessa is a well- known artist in Dubai. His son Rashid died in a road accident, aged 22, in 2002. The Sheikh’s brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum succeeds him as ruler of Dubai. He already mainly ran the daily affairs of Dubai. Forty days of national mourning have been declared.

A collection of 53 poems written by Empress Michiko of Japan will be published in French along with the original Japanese works possibly in late January, the Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported today. The poems, written in the classical “waka” style, are mainly chosen from “Seoto” (sound of the stream), a collection of the empress’s 367 poems written between 1959 when she got married to Emperor Akihito and 1996, according to the paper. This will be the first time that her poetry will appear in French in book form.

January 5th

Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum was buried in Dubai today. His body was wrapped in a white cloth and laid on a wooden stretcher. Thousands of mourners were present, including several Arab leaders. They gathered at the Zabeel mosque in Dubai, for funeral prayers. Among the people who attended were King Abdullah II of Jordan, the Crown Prince of Qatar, Prince Moulay Rashid of Morocco, Sheikh Nawwaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah and the Duke of Gloucester.

A memorial service for the late King Xolilizwe Sigcawu of the Xhosas was held at Thaba Tshwane military camp in Tshwane today. About 300 dignitaries attended the event. First Lady Zanele Mbeki, political figures, traditional leaders and cabinet ministers expressed their condolences to the king’s two wives and the royal family. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini also paid tribute in a statement, saying king Sigcau demonstrated illustrious leadership that bore a torch of liberation. King Sigcau is also remembered as a respected leader who fought for the rights of the Xhosa kingdom and for the conservation of Xhosa traditions and values. “He discouraged those people who went with the trend that comes from Europe and said to them, ‘stick to your culture. There is nothing that is valuable that will exceed your culture’,” said Zolani Mkhiva, a spokesperson for the Xhosa royal family. The King’s remains will be airlifted to his palace in the Eastern Cape tomorrow where he will be buried next week Saturday.

January 6th

A set of stamps celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to be issued to mark her 80th birthday on April 21. The Isle of Man Post has produced a collection which includes photographs of the monarch as a child, on her Golden Jubilee tour and with grandson Prince William. The first of four 20p stamps in the set of eight shows the young Princess Elizabeth pictured with her baby sister Princess Margaret alongside their father and mother, then the Duke and Duchess of York, in January 1931. The other 20p stamps use photographs of her in her Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform at the wheel of a truck during the Second World War, in a tiara around the time of her accession in 1952, and with the Duke of Edinburgh and their four children in 1972. One of the 80p stamps shows a close up of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary at Balmoral in 1972. The remaining 80p stamps show the Queen with her Sovereign`s Regalia at Buckingham Palace in 2001, greeting wellwishers waving Union flags during a visit to Aylesbury during her Golden Jubilee year of 2002, and on the balcony of the Palace with Prince William for Trooping The Colour in 2003. The set of stamps, called 80 Years Of Duty And Service, will be released on January 16.

Private letters written by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to her midwife, Sister Helen Rowe, will be sold by Bonhams in Bath on January 16. Sister Rowe, who died in 1966, attended all four births of the Queen’s children. She kept many diary-like letters and treasured mementoes sent to her by members of the royal family, many of which will go under Bonhams’ gavel at its Old King Street auction house. The numerous mementoes provide an interesting insight into the private life of the Queen and her children. There are five letters signed by ‘Elizabeth R’ to ‘Rowie’ concerning the birth of Prince Andrew, and the adventures of the Queen’s older children. In one, the Queen writes: “The children were very excited at the news of the baby, especially Charles, who loves small children.” The letters are expected to fetch between £400 and £800. An affectionate letter which Sister Rowe received from the Duke of Edinburgh will also be going under the hammer. In the letter he thanks her for “ably looking after the two Princesses”. It is expected to fetch up to £150. Sister Rowe’s first royal birth was that of Prince Michael of Kent in 1942. She was later midwife at the births of the children of Princess Alexandra of Kent and the Duchess of Kent, and at the births of the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Signed photographs of the royal family, including a framed wedding picture of the Queen and Prince Philip are also among the lots, as are Christmas cards from the monarch. A letter by the Queen sent from Clarence House on November 24, 1950, to ‘Dear Rowie’ is expected to fetch about £500. All the items will be available to view on Friday January 13, Saturday January 14 and on January 16.

In November 2005, a unique exhibition of photographs opened at Kensington Palace, London, that will run through June 2007. Shot by Peruvian photographer Mario Testino over one day, it consists of portraits taken of the late Princess Diana of Wales in 1997 for Vanity Fair. The photos show the princess without make-up, lacquering hair or jewellery. The occasion was Diana’s modelling of clothes she had worn to benefit charities, that were to be auctioned by Christie’s. Princess Diana later told that the shooting with Testino through a day had been filled with “loud music, laughter and an informal catwalk by the Princess during lunch was one of the happiest in her life”. Mario Testino recalls: “When we had edited the pictures and sent them to Diana for her approval she said to me that her sons told her it was the most like her that they had seen her. That was an amazing compliment…” The princess only died two months after the Vanity Fair with the pictures had been published. For Testino the memories of that day are still special: “She looked so happy and fresh and sure of herself. It was just laughter and laughter and laughter and laughter.” The pictures now have been published in a book Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace (Taschen), to coincide with the exhibition.

Prince William of Wales has shared his first public kiss with girlfriend Kate Middleton. The Sun and the Daily Mail printed pictures of the couple embracing on the slopes at the Klosters ski resort in Switzerland.

A new Norwegian survey, conducted by research firm InFact for the magazine Se og Hør suggests that Crown Prince Haakon is doing the best job of all the royals. His wife and sister are doing the worst. 52 % of the Norwegians questioned said that Crown Prince Haakon is doing a “very good job.” Next in line was King Harald V, with 46,5 % approving of the job he does. Queen Sonja got high marks from 39,5 % of those questioned. Only 28,6 % of those questioned think Crown Princess Mette-Marit is doing a good job, while just 26 % think Princess Märtha Louise is doing a good job. 11 % said Crown Princess Mette-Marit was doing a “very poor job,” while 10,1 % think Princess Märtha Louise is doing a similarly poor job. Only 5,1 % thought Crown Prince Haakon did a “very poor job,” compared with 7,8 % for his mother Queen Sonja and 6 % for his father King Harald.

The Tainui tribe today issuing a rare public statement confirming persistent rumours Maori queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu is suffering a serious health complaint. The 74-year-old Queen is undergoing dialysis treatment since a few weeks for a long-standing illness, but she is not in immediate jeopardy. It wasn’t confirmed what conditions had led to dialysis treatment, which cleans a patient’s blood when the kidneys begin to fail. The Queen spent a day in Waikato Hospital being assessed but went home for treatment. Waikato District Health Board staff are handling her day-to-day care at her home. Plans are continuing for Dame Te Ata’s 40th coronation anniversary in May.

January 7th

The Prince of Wales is planning a televised address to the nation to mark Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s 80th birthday this year. The broadcast, expected to be transmitted on BBC and ITV on the eve of his mother’s birthday on Friday, April 21, will pay tribute to her reign. The prince hopes it will quash persistent talk of an uneasy relationship with the Queen, caused largely by his long affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple’s marriage last year has improved the situation and mother and son now regularly have lunch together. “The decision to make the broadcast shows the unhappiness between mother and son is a thing of the past,” said Robert Lacey, the Queen’s biographer. “We are now seeing them work as a partnership . . . the Queen has always seen herself as head of a family business. Whilst Charles’s relationship with Camilla was not resolved, the business was not running smoothly. Now that it has been resolved, all the different aspects of the relationship are working well again.” The prince is said to believe that the birthday tribute should come from a member of the royal family rather than from the prime minister, or other politicians. Officials at Clarence House have confirmed that the broadcast was one of the options being examined. An earlier plan for individual interviews with each of the Queen’s four children appears to have been abandoned. The Duke of York will exhibit some of his photographs of his mother in a public show at Windsor Castle at the time of the royal birthday. His pictures will be displayed alongside those of the late Lord Lichfield and other photographers. Two days before the birthday the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will host a reception and lunch at Buckingham Palace for members of the public who are also celebrating their 80th birthday on April 21. There will be a service of thanksgiving at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on the Sunday after the birthday and, in mid-June, there will be a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a lunch at the Guildhall given by the lord mayor of London.

Prince William of Wales treated his friends to a £10,000 farewell party before joining the Army. Around 100 close pals attended the bash at the exclusive Kilo bar in London. He hired out the basement bar for the party, which went on until 3am. The prince also paid for his mates to drink champagne and cocktails all night. Wills’s girl friend Kate Middleton was among the guests, although she arrived and left separately from the prince. One party-goer said: “The whole thing was very last-minute, so it was very much a relaxed and civilised night. Everyone had a few drinks, but it wasn’t as if people were drunk. Kate arrived after Wills and left before him but in between, they were very much together.”

January 8th

Accompanied by the Prince of Wales Prince William of Wales arrived at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst today to begin his training as an Army officer. The early part of his training will be particularly challenging. “That’s why I put my brother in as a guinea pig first,” the prince joked. He will be hoping not to follow too closely the example of Prince Harry, who missed some manoeuvres because he had blisters on his feet. Major Gen Andrew Ritchie, the Academy’s commandant, said that he would not be given any preferential treatment: “Although Prince William is the future head of the Armed Forces, he will be treated the same as every other cadet. I am sure his brother will have passed on some tips but the two will have very little contact while here.” According to one former Sandhurst instructor, he will “suffer a certain amount of privation”. The officer added: “He will be in a mixed platoon with some overseas cadets, teenagers, Cambridge graduates and men who have come up through the ranks.” After Prince Harry is commissioned in April, Prince William will have to salute his younger brother Harry and call him “Sir”.

Only on December 22, 2005, the royal family of Jamnagar received a letter from Buckingham Palace, acknowledging the former ruler of Jamnagar Shatrushalya Sinh’s letter to Queen Elizabeth, condoling the death of Diana Princess of Wales. The letter was written by the personal secretary to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain on October 27, 1997. The letter said: “I am instructed by the Queen to gratefully acknowledge your message condoling the death of Princess of Wales. Her Majesty, Prince of Wales, Prince William, Prince Herry and all the members of the Royal family express their gratefulness for your condolence.”

Because of pneumonia Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will have to stay a few more days at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. Without the pneumonia she could have gone home today.

Prince Hashem bin Al Hussein of Jordan on Friday became engaged to Princess Fahdah, daughter of Mohammad Bin Ibrahim Bin Salman Abu Niyan at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, it was announced today. The engagement took place in the presence of King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Prince of Riyadh Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The engagement ceremony was attended by Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein and the Family of Abu Niyan. No photos were issued.

January 9th

Buckingham Palace has announced plans to build a £2 million memorial to the late Queen Mother. Artists, architects and designers from around the world have been invited to submit designs, which will be judged by a panel and the Prince of Wales. The winning design will be placed off The Mall, in London, near the statue of her husband King George VI. Initial designs must be submitted by 31 January, and the memorial is due to be completed by summer 2007. The project will be funded by the sale of a £5 coin marking Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s 80th birthday this year. The brief for the memorial said that designers should take into account the foreign secretary’s residence and Carlton House Terrace, which overlook the site. It also mentions that materials should be sympathetic to those existing in the area, including Portland stone, granite, bronze and cast iron. The brief discourages the use of water and “moving parts” so that it will be easy for the Royal Parks to maintain the site. “Planting schemes should similarly be low maintenance in nature,” the brief adds.

A £2 million “ring of steel” has been thrown around the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst to protect Prince William of Wales and his brother Prince Harry at the academy. The unprecedented security, including Gurkha soldiers and protection officers, was ordered after a reporter walked into the Berkshire centre with a fake bomb soon after Prince Harry enrolled last year.

The Japanese Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, has again criticized a government panel on Imperial succession for rushing to propose that females be allowed to ascend the throne. In an article in the February edition of the monthly Bungei Shunju he suggests that the panel should explore other options, such as reinstating the royal status of Imperial branch families and said there is “no need to immediately” come to a decision. The article, titled “Weight of the emperor’s blood — why I am opposed to a female- line emperor,” is set in the format of a dialogue between Prince Tomohito and journalist Yoshiko Sakurai. The prince says in the article that the Imperial household tradition has long been to have males who have emperors on their father’s side to reign and emphasizes that “no one could go against the weight of this blood.” He says Japanese people have tacit consent and a sense of respect toward this blood line. He expresses concern that the Imperial family will become no different from ordinary families if it allows female monarchs, who would marry commoners. He also suggests the possibility of having a male descendant of one of the Imperial branch families, which were divested of royal status shortly after World War II, be adopted into the Imperial family to maintain the male line.

The public prosecution at the Court of First Instance in Casablanca has announced the opening of an investigation against the Spanish-language Moroccan weekly newspaper Lamaniana for carrying an article regarded as an affront to the royal regime and territorial unity. The Court had ordered a judicial police to conduct research on an article titled Spaniards — Friends of Morocco published in Lamaniana’s weekly edition between January 4 and 10. The article contains statements attributed to Spanish personalities that insulted the territorial unity of the country and the royal regime.

January 10th

The home the Duchess of Cornwall used to conduct her affair with the Prince of Wales reportedly costs £2.6 million a year to guard. Since marrying the prince last April she has hardly used the mansion and is thinking of giving it to son Tom and daughter Laura. In the meantime, it is guarded 24 hours a day and there is still a police hut inside the gates. Politicians have demanded to know why British taxpayers are footing the bill for the extreme security measures. A friend of the Duchess says she still uses the home as a getaway when Charles is busy or being “tricky”. One said: “She goes there quite often when Charles is doing his own thing. Charles has improved quite a bit but he is still capable of throwing tantrums. Having her own place means she can simply clear off and leave him to cool down.”

A commemoration service was being held at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg this evening on the occasion of the first death anniversary of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte. The service was attended by Grand Duke Jean, Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and other members of the family, Queen Fabiola of Belgium, as well as members of the Luxemburg government. The service was led by Monseigneur Fernand Franck, Archbishop of Luxemburg. At the St Michel and St Gudule Cathedral in Brussels a commemoration service was attended by King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde and Princess Astrid of Belgium.

The two sons of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium will be able to leave hospital soon, but will continue to stay under medical survey. Although it was stated differently some weeks ago, the couple doesn’t wish to be photographed when they leave hospital with the twins. Only afterwards it will be announced that they have left hospital. The princely couple decided that the twins are still too young to defy the media. According to hospital sources both babies are now over 2500 grammes, although one is still weaker than the other.

Queen Silvia of Sweden has been named number one immigrant in Sweden, the Swedish-language quarterly magazine Gringo which is written and produced mainly by second generation immigrants said today. Queen Silvia was asked if she felt Swedish, and said she did. “It is like when you are expecting another child. Your expectations are high and you wonder if there is room enough to love the child as much. When you have the third child it shows that you can love that too, and that is how I feel about Brazil, Germany and Sweden.” The Queen was born in Heidelberg, Germany, but spent 10 years with her family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The years (1947-1957) in Brazil were very important for me and my development, just like the years in Germany. So all that is carried within you. Now I am in Sweden, I am married to a Swede and our children are born here.” Fluent in six languages, the queen speaks Swedish with an accent. She was in her early 30s when she started to learn the language. In addition to Swedish, she speaks German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Asked to say something about traits in Swedes she dislikes, the queen said that “other cultures are more spontaneous and Swedes are more reserved,” but the queen said she did not feel that Swedes were “overbearing, strict or a little boring”. Though by definition second generation immigrants, the queen said her three children – Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine – did not feel divided over their nationalities. “They feel Swedish, they were born here,” she said.

January 11th

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have expanded their staff by including journalist Vibeke Hollekim as their protocol adviser. She began working at the beginning of 2006. The couple is gradually building up their own staff of trusted individuals whom they have known over a longer period of time. “I am very pleased about the hiring and the job ahead. My tasks will primarily involve planning the crown couple’s official program,” Mrs Hollekim told Aftenposten. It is also believed that Hollekim will advise the couple on media affairs and write speeches.

Pro-democracy activists in Swaziland are planning mass action in Swaziland and South Africa against the King Mswati III in February and March 2006, following the December arrest of 14 opposition party members on high treason charges. “We will concentrate on uprising in Swaziland and we will also look into activities to oust the regime and engage with the Southern African Youth Forum,” the president of the Swaziland Youth Congress said at a press briefing in Johannesburg today. “We will also rally the international community and the South African government,” Alex Langwenya said at the briefing, held together with the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo). Youth organisations would be called upon to participate in mass action which would take place in Swaziland and South Africa in February and March this year, Langwenya added. “We are aware that Swaziland’s economy is highly dependent on South Africa. Any disturbance in SA will assist in putting pressure on King Mswati.” He said: “Swaziland is not a democratic country. There is no freedom of the media and its people are oppressed. We will continue to hold mass action rallies until the people of Swaziland are free.” Langwenya said King Mswati ran the country as his “own private community with a private army, private police and courts without due consideration of the people’s will”.

January 12th

Proposals to reform the ancient rules of succession to the British throne, by giving women the same rights as men, were rejected by lawmakers yesterday. Legislators in the House of Lords, Britain’s unelected upper chamber, said there was no “groundswell of support” for change. Lord Alfred Dubs put forward plans to overturn the system by which a monarch’s eldest son succeeds to the throne, even if he has an older sister. “The monarchy should reflect the values of our society. It cannot do that if succession is based on discrimination against women,” he said. “The Queen has demonstrated throughout her reign that women can do the job as well as, and probably better than, men.” The Lord Chancellor, Lord Charles Falconer of Thoroton, who is head of the judiciary, said: “It is not right to have gender discrimination, including in the choice of the succession, but there is no groundswell for change. A change would require complex constitutional legislation and consultation with the Commonwealth. We have no plans to embark on such a course.”

A pearl-encrusted dress worn by the late Princess Diana of Wales is to go on display at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The gown, known as the “Elvis dress” due to its rich adornment and high collar, was donated by the US firm Franklin Mint which sold Diana dolls wearing the dress. The firm’s owners acquired the dress in 1997 at a fundraising auction. The late princess commissioned the floor-length white, sequinned gown for an unofficial visit to Hong Kong in November 1989. Franklin Mint donated the dress, created by British designer Catherine Walker, to the museum in 2005 and it goes on display on Friday.

In an interview on US TV with Tony Danza the Duchess of York has ruled out getting back together with her former husband the Duke of York, despite the pair remaining “really great friends”. Following recent reports the couple are an item again because they went to the wedding of Sir Elton John and David Furnish together last month. She said, “It is everybody’s dream, a fairytale that we would get back together. The thing is that I did pick the best looking of the whole lot. And he is a wonderful father and we are really great friends. (But) I’m not going to go back. I don’t think they’d have me back, the family, do you?” When Danza suggested Ferguson would “add some spice to the mix” should she remarry into the royal family, she replied, “I think that’s why they wouldn’t want me.”

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has left hospital and is back at Palace Huis ten Bosch. She will have further rehabilitation at home.

Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric of Belgium have left hospital yesterday and are at home with their parents and sister Louise in Tervuren. There is no photo session planned yet, as the babies are still quite fragile.

This week Princess Haya bint al-Hussein of Jordan, who married Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum two years ago, is watching her second dream unfold — that of bringing her sport of international showjumping to her adopted country Dubai. The Al Maktoum Memorial Challenge — dedicated to the memory of her brother-in-law, Sheikh Maktoum, the founder of the Dubai Equestrian Club who died last week, is a significant step in the princess’s ambition to make Dubai as synonymous with showjumping as it is with racing through the Dubai World Cup. Like the latter, it offers the sport’s richest prize fund — $1.25 million over three days. Tomorrow’s Grand Prix, the final event, carries a $250,000 first prize. “It has been an ambition of mine to see a showjumping event of this standard in Dubai,” the princess said. The princess is determined that her adopted countrymen should have the chance to compete at the highest level in her sport. “Young Arab riders must learn first-hand what top sport is all about,” she said. “Having the best in the world competing here could really kick- start showjumping.” The international show was first mooted only in August through a chance meeting at Newmarket between the princess and Simon Brooks-Ward, the organiser of the Olympia Show in London. “She asked if I was free to organise an international horse show for her in Dubai in January,” Brooks-Ward said. Aware that top prize-money, ease of travel and the best footing are essential for a horse show, the princess guaranteed all three. Sponsorship helped with the first. First-class travel — “The biggest factor in how your horse will perform,” she said — came courtesy of Sheikh Mohammed’s private 747, which is normally used for his Godolphin racehorse string. The footing for the main arena was laid by Martin Collins International and shipped in from Britain in 128 containers. While most of the celebrations associated with this week’s festival of Eid al-Adha were cancelled because of the death of Sheikh Maktoum, his brother Sheikh Mohammed gave the horse show his blessing, renaming it the Al Maktoum Memorial Challenge.

Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hannover died in München on January 8 at the age of 90. He was born at Braunschweig on March 25, 1915, as the second son of Ernst August Duke of Braunschweig and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, daughter of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. He was a brother of Queen Frederica of Greece, and uncle of Prince Ernst August of Hannover, the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco. Since 2001 he was widower of Princess Sofia of Greece, sister of the Duke of Edinburgh, whom he had married in 1946. He was a first- class educationalist in the tradition of Kurt Hahn and a keen sportsman who carried the torch of Pierre de Coubertin, creator of the new era of the Olympic Movement. In the Second World War Prince Georg Wilhelm served as a major in the 10th Cavalry Regiment, and was then attached to the staff of General Heinz Guderian before being thrown out of the Army in 1942. He went to help his father at Schloss Blankenburg in Thüringen, and was involved in the move of the family art treasures to Schloss Marienburg when the Red Army marched into Thüringen. After the war he studied Law at the University of Göttingen, gaining his doctorate in 1948. That year he became headmaster of Salem School.He created a riding school in Munich, and became chairman of the Outward Bound Mountain School in Austria. In 1962 Prince Georg Wilhelm became President of the International Olympic Academy in Olympia, Greece, remaining in position until 1970. He then became a member of the National Olympic Committee in Germany and president of the Bavarian Pentathlon Federation.

The Prince and Princess of Venice expect their second child in the summer it was announced. Princess Clotilde, an actress, had to give up her role in the television series ‘Petits meurtres en famille’ because of her pregnancy. The couple already has a daughter, Vittoria, who was born in December 2003.

Tens of thousands of people have attended a pro-democracy rally in the southern Nepalese town of Janakpur. They demanded that King Gyanendra of Nepal gives up absolute powers and restores democracy in the country. The rally was the biggest protest against King Gyanendra since he seized direct control of Nepal last February. The demonstration came as the defence ministry said troops had killed 10 Maoist rebels in two separate incidents in Tanahun district, west of Kathmandu. Eyewitnesses said more than 100,000 people attended the Janakpur rally, which was addressed by top opposition leaders.

Assassins killed the new sultan of Maguindanao (Philippines) and wounded his brother in an attack in Sultan Kudarat, police said today. Police said two gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot Sultan Datu Amir bin Muhammad Baraguir late Wednesday outside his house in Sultan Kudarat town. Baraguir was with his relatives riding a van. Sultan Baraguir died of multiple gunshot wounds in the body. Baraguir’s brother, Datu Andy, is now being treated at the hospital. Police remain clueless as to the motive for the attack. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said the attack could be related to a family feud or had something to do with Baraguir’s position as sultan of Maguindanao. “There is an ongoing rivalry between sultans, and there is a power struggle among them. Many are claiming to be the real sultans. Family feud could be another motive for the attack,” Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman told. Baraguir, a descendant of Maguindanao Sultan Shariff Muhamman Kabungsuan bin Ali Zainal Abidin, was enthroned in December as the 25th Sultan of Maguindanao, and named as Seri Paduka Sultan Sayyid Hadji Datu Amir bin Muhammad Baraguir. The 45-year-old Baraguir was the third son of the late Sultan Muhammad Baraguir and Bai Fatima Andong, whose family roots were traced to three historic Muslim royalties in the southern Philippines. Baraguir was buried Thursday morning as per observance of the Muslim tradition of burying their dead within 24 hours.

January 13th

Sheikh Faisal, the 15-year-old sixth son of Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain has been killed in a car accident yesterday evening. The Prince, who seems to have driven the car himself although another article says a bodyguard drove the car, died instantly after he lost control of the car and collided with a bus before it veered off the road and hit a large road sign. Sources said the driver of the bus had changed lanes suddenly as he attempted to make a left turn. The Prince was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived at the BDF Hospital. A statement by the royal court says: “With profound grief, the Royal Court in Bahrain mourns Shaikh Faisal bin Hamad Al Khalifa, son of his Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who passed away on Thursday evening, following a tragic accident. Prayer for the chaste soul of the Late Shaikh will be performed at the Mosque of the Shaikh Issa tomorrow (Friday) and condolences will be received at Al Riffa Palace.” This morning funeral prayers were performed for the late Sheikh Faisal at the Shaikh Isa Mosque at Riffa. Thereafter the late Sheikh Faisal was buried at the Riffa cemetery. The King of Bahrain received condolences from among others the Crown Prince of Qatar, Prince Moulay Rashid of Morocco, Prince Salman and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal bin al-Hussein of Jordan, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Prince Faisal bin Ahmed Al Saud and Prince Megren bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

Emperor Akihito of Japan was so impressed by his visit to Trondheim in May 2005 that he composed a New Year’s poem about the “smiling” city and on Thursday read it for all of Japan. Japan’s New Year’s celebrations end each year with a poem written and read by the emperor. This year’s them was ‘smile’. During a ceremony at the imperial palace, the emperor’s poem about Trondheim was broadcast nationally on live TV. Trondheim mayor Rita Ottervik was proud to learn about the event. “It is just fantastic to be mentioned so explicitly in the annual poem reading. The emperor describes smiling and waving people. I am proud and don’t know what to say,” Ottervik said. The poem refers to what the imperial couple experienced during a boat trip up the Nidelva river with Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. The poem reads: At Trondheim/Cruising along the canal/From the windows/Of houses are people/Seen smiling and waving hands.

The Japanese Imperial Household Agency chief Shingo Haketa yesterday expressed concern about remarks made by Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, criticizing a government panel on imperial succession that proposed allowing females and their descendants to ascend Japan’s imperial throne. Haketa told a press conference he “cannot help but be concerned as various remarks have emerged since the beginning of this year,” and added, “Frankly, I’m really not sure how to react.” Haketa stressed that the issue involving revision of the law should be dealt with by the Cabinet and the Diet. In Japan, imperial family members are currently forbidden to interfere in politics. “It is appropriate that imperial family members refrain from making comments” on the matter, he said. Haketa said he met with Prince Tomohito on January 5 and told him what he thinks, just as he did on a similar occasion last year, but admitted that their ideas differed on some points.

A plan to build a motorway beside the Hill of Tara where ancient Celtic kings were crowned has been challenged in court as campaigners fight to save a monument described by W B Yeats as the “most consecrated spot in Ireland”. The Irish government’s proposal to build a new commuter route for Dublin through the valley containing the Hill of Tara has infuriated archaeologists, historians and conservationists. The battle yesterday came to the High Court in Dublin. The hearing, which is scheduled to last for five days, is the culmination of a two-year campaign to stop the 30-mile M3 motorway passing less than a mile from the coronation site of around 100 Irish High Kings in Co Meath. According to Pat Wallace, the director of the National Museum of Ireland, the Hill of Tara is one Ireland’s most important treasures. Mr Hogan told the court that 38 archaeological sites had been identified along the M3’s route. Tara’s importance as a religious centre dates from around 4,000 BC. The oldest visible man-made feature is the Mound of the Hostages, which dates from the third millennium BC. It is associated with Cormac Mac Art, the legendary Irish High King. Tara became a pagan spiritual and political centre in the third century AD. It has remained a potent symbol of Ireland’s nationhood.

January 14th

Infanta Leonor de Todos los Santos of Spain was christened at 12.30 at the chapel of the Zarzuela Palace near Madrid. The daughter of the Prince and Princess of Asturias was christened by the Archbishop of Madrid Antonio Maria Rouco Varela. He was assisted by military archbishop Francisco Pérez González. The choir of the nuns of Santa Maria del Corazón de Jesús de Galapagar sang. During the ceremony the Prince of Asturias read a part of Ezekiel, verse 24 to 28 of chapter 36. Leonor, dressed in a cream gown, slept through most of the ceremony, only opening her eyes when she was baptised with water from the River Jordan. She didn’t cry as the water was poured on her forehead. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain were their granddaughter’s godparents. The christening was attended by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, Infanta Elena and Don Jaime de Marichalar with their daughter Victoria Federica, Infanta Cristina and Don Iñaki Urdangarin with their children, Infanta Pilar of Spain, Simoneta Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and Don José Miguel Fernández Sastrón, Don Juan Gómez Acebo y de Borbón, Don Bruno Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and Doña Bárbara Cano de la Plaza, Don Beltrán Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and Doña Laura Ponte Martínez, Don Fernando Gómez-Acebo y de Borbón and Doña Mónica Martín Luque, Infanta Margarita of Spain and Don Carlos Zurita, Don Alfonso Zurita y de Borbón and Doña María Zurita y de Borbón, Princess Alicia de Bourbon, the Duke and Duchess of calabria (Carlos and Anne), King Constantinos II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Princess Alexia of Greece and Don Carlos Morales Quintana, Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Theodora and Princess Irene of Greece, Princess Tatiana Radziwill and Mr John Fruchaud, Don Jesús Ortiz Alvarez and Doña Ana Togores, Doña Paloma Rocasolano, Doña Menchu Álvarez del Valle, Don Francisco Rocasolano Camacho and Doña Enriqueta Rodríguez Cigarredo, Doña Erica Ortiz Rocasolano and Don Antonio Vigo Pérez, Doña Telma Ortiz Rocasolano, Doña Henar Ortiz Álvarez, Doña Claudia González Ortiz, Don Tomás Caparrós Fernández de Aguilar and Doña Marisol Álvarez del Valle, Doña Carmen Ortiz Velasco, Don David Rocasolano Lláser and Doña Patricia Reina Martínez. Also the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was at the christening with his wife, along with the presidents of Congress and the Senate, the president of the community of Madrid, and the mayor of Spain’s capital city. The medical team who attended Leonor’s birth was also there. After the christening there was a lunch.

Former secretary Sara Goodall, who was sacked from the Prince of Wales’s office, was named in the High Court yesterday as the person suspected of passing copies of private journals written by the Prince to the Mail on Sunday. Mrs Goodall worked as a secretary for the Prince of Wales’s deputy private secretary at St James’s Palace for 12 years. She is accused of copying handwritten journals compiled by the prince while undertaking overseas tours and sent to a select group of friends. It is claimed that she then gave copies, through an intermediary, to The Mail on Sunday. Miss Goodall’s identity emerged during unprecedented legal action by the prince against the newspaper. The Prince sued after The Mail on Sunday’s publication in November of politically embarrassing extracts from his journal written during the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China. He is claiming breach of copyright and confidentiality in an attempt to prevent the newspaper from publishing further extracts from other journals in their possession. So far there have been two short hearings, and a final hearing is expected next month. But judge Mr Justice Kitchin yesterday gave a ruling that certain documents submitted by the prince’s side should remain confidential pending the full hearing in February. These documents include a list of people who were sent the Hong Kong journal. Mrs Goodall has reportedly claimed that she was dismissed from St James’s Palace in 2000 after falling foul of the now the Duchess of Cornwall. She is said to have collaborated with author Nicholas Monson on a book called The Palace Diaries, detailing her experiences working for the prince’s household, which is due to be published this year. One report claims that she felt “hurt, bewildered and humiliated” when she was dismissed. It stated that she had accompanied the prince on several foreign tours, was a regular at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire estate, and at Birkhall, his home in Scotland, and was made a Member of the Victorian Order for her loyal service. The prince has, so far, taken no legal action against Miss Goodall, concentrating instead on his action against the newspaper.

Auction house Christie’s in Amstedam will sell a painting called ‘View from a hill one hour outside Khatmandu, Nepal’ by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands on January 25. The Prince painted it in 1978 and had it in his own possession until 1985 when it became a reward for a prize contest for the World Wildlife Fund. The estimated proceeds are 10.000 Euros.

The monarchs of 29 countries have been invited to attend the 60th anniversary celebrations of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand’s accession to the throne in June this year. Among them are the monarchs of Bahrain, Brunei, Bhutan, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Swaziland, Tonga, the United Arab Emirates and Great Britain. Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said the foreign monarchs would join the major events in Bangkok marking the Diamond Jubilee on June 12 and 13. “Letters of invitation were signed by the Prime Minister and sent to heads of the governments of those countries in December 2005, asking them to convey the invitation to their head of state,” Surakiart said. King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning monarch in the world. He was crowned on May 5, 1950, four years after he actually assumed his kingship. Surakiart said among events lined up to mark the historical event are paying of tribute to the King at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, exhibition featuring his activities and projects during his reign at the Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall and a royal barge procession on the Chao Phraya River. On June 13, the King will host a banquet for the foreign monarchs at the Chakri Throne Hall within the Grand Palace where a representative of the foreign monarchs will give a speech expressing best wishes to King Bhumibol. “The celebrations of his Diamond Jubilee are extraordinary and rare. Many countries are also excited about the celebrations,” said Surakiart. He said the event would be televised all over the world, adding that he believed the world would be interested in the major gathering of the 29 monarchs, which would be a rare occasion. The Thai government has embarked on many events throughout the year to celebrate the anniversary.

About 7000 mourners today paid their last respect to the late King Xolilizwe Sigcawu of the Xhosas at Nqadu Great Place near Willowvale during a four-hour funeral which started about 9am, after the king’s body was received by the royal family. President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who was accompanied by his mother Epainette Mbeki, praised the king who, he said, “understood only too well the great responsibility that history had thrust upon him. King Xolilizwe was a symbol and a manifestation of the unbreakable thread which connected our people’s proud history of independence with the ongoing valiant struggle for freedom.” The president said Sigcawu did not relinquish his responsibility to represent his people. “He would neither submit to the extreme pressure of the apartheid government nor would he seek his own fortune at the expense of his people.” Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chairman Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the king’s successor should take Sigcawu’s legacy forth and refrain from “worldly things” because he would be leading a nation with a clear and rich history. After the sermon the coffin – draped in the South African flag, the king’s royal robes and the king’s church uniform – was taken to the royal cemetery within the palace. High-ranking police officers acted as pallbearers and the hearse was led by a police brass band to the graveside. As the coffin was being lowered, a police band member played the last post. The gathering saluted the king with his praise name, A! Xolilizwe.

The state of Johor is abuzz with the marriage of 35-year-old Tunku Bendahara Tunku Abdul Majid Idris Sultan Iskandar, second son of the Sultan of Johor, and 29-year-old former TV3 corporate communications manager Tunku Teh Mazni Tunku Yusuf. The bride is related to Kelantan and Kedah royalty. The wedding is to last over four days and started on January 12 with special prayers at Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar followed by the akad nikah (solemnising of marriage vows) at the same place yesterday. Today the wedding reception was held at the Istana Besar. More than 3000 guests attended. The couple were match-made by their parents six years ago. Unfortunately, the matchmaking process ended dismally. Both were seeing other people and were simply not interested. But last September they met again. He introduced her to his friends as: “This is the lady I was supposed to marry six years ago!” And she fell head over heals in love with him before the night was over. Already the next day he took her to meet his mother Sultanah Zanariah of Johor. She commented that her son seemed happy the couple had met again after so long.” Only four days later the courtship began in earnest. Tunku Bendahara Johor proposed to his bride while driving in Singapore. “I cannot live without you and I want you to be with me forever, so will you marry me?” he asked. This happened only six weeks after meeting each other again.

January 15th

Kuwait mourns its Emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, who died this morning at the age of 79. He was the 13th ruler of a 245-year-old dynasty. He had been ill for several years after suffering a brain haemorrhage. He had reigned since 1977. In line with the constitution, the cabinet immediately named the crown prince, Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, as the new ruler. However also he is in poor health. In accordance with Muslim custom Sheikh Jaber was buried later today. His body, wrapped in the national flag, was placed in a simple grave in a section of the al-Sulaibikhat cemetery reserved for the Royal family following brief funeral prayers. The ceremony was attended by the new Emir, in a wheelchair, and a number of Arab leaders. Thousands of people, some weeping and carrying pictures of Sheikh Jaber, jostled with security forces to pay their respects. The government announced a 40-day period of mourning and said government offices would be closed for three days beginning today.

An anonymous military officer said that military authorities suspect that a Muslim extremist group is responsible for the death of Sultan Sayyid Hajji Datu Amir bin Muhammad Baraguir of Maguindanao last Wednesday. The extremist group had lately been criticized by the Sultan and this could have motivated the group to liquidate Baraguir just outside his residence in Sultan Kudarat. He said that they still have no clear suspects in the case.

January 16th

A painting found in Streatham house could be the only contemporary portrait of the nine-day queen, Queen Jane. It has been assumed she is the only English monarch since 1500 of whom no portrait survives. Experts are now claiming that a painting that hung for years in a house in Streatham, south-west London, is of Lady Jane Grey. The owner inherited the work from his great-grandfather, a collector of 16th-century antiques. Were this a painting of Lady Jane, it would satisfy a centuries-old hunger to know the appearance of the Queen, described at the time as “prettily shaped and graceful” with a “gracious and animated figure”. One fine painting, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, was once thought to depict her. But now the picture, attributed to the artist Master John, is generally accepted as being of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife. The “new” portrait, which experts have confidently dated to the second half of the 16th century, shows a slender young woman in an opulent gown and jewels, a book held in her left hand. Above her shoulder is a faint inscription reading “Lady Jayne”. The costume she wears was in fashion in the early 1550s; Jane was queen in 1553. New research by Libby Sheldon, of the painting analysis unit at University College London, suggests that the inscription “appears to have been put on at the same time as the rest of the paint”. That helps eliminate the possibility that the inscription was inserted later, as was common at the time. If it were accepted that the inscription was done at the same time as the painting, the question remains: does the portrait show Lady Jane Grey? A survey by Thomas Woodcock, Norroy and Ulster king of arms at the College of Arms, discovered four possible contemporary “Lady Jaynes”. Given the ages and marital status of the other candidates, he believes Lady Jane Grey is the only real candidate.

January 17th

More than a third of Norwegians questioned in a new survey don’t like Princess Märtha Louise’s using her royal title commercially. The survey, conducted by research firm InFact for magazine Se og Hør, found that 32,3% of those questioned think Princess Märtha Louise’s use of her title is problematic. 70,7% thinks she should be allowed to retain her “princess” title.

The Duke of Gloucester is selling his family sporrans to pay death duties. The four sporrans are among more than 1,000 works of art and books being auctioned at Christie’s in London next week, in the most significant Royal sale since the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels 20 years ago. The Duke hopes to raise £2 million to pay inheritance tax due on the estate of his father, who died in 1974. Death duties were deferred by the Inland Revenue until after the October 2004 death of the late Duke’s widow, Princess Alice. The collection of sporrans made in the late 1800s and early 1900s is expected to fetch up to £2,000 when it is auctioned next Thursday, but could raise a lot more because of the Royal links. One of the oldest and most impressive in the collection is an 1888 silver mounted three-tassel fur sporran with inscribed cartouche of a crowned lion, made in Edinburgh in 1888. Another silver-mounted fur sporran with two tassels was made in 1891 by the same firm.

In La Libre Belgique the engagement was announced between Countess Elisabeth d’Udekem d’Acoz, younger sister of Princess Mathilde of Belgium, and Margrave Alfonso Pallavicini, eldest son of the late Margrave Carlo Alessandro Pallavicini and Nob. Avogara Azzoni Avogadro. The bride was born at Uccle on 17 January 1977, the groom at Treviso on 5 July 1964.

January 18th

Princess Madeleine of Sweden is moving to New York to set up home with three of her best friends later this month after having taken her final university exam next week. She will live in a Manhattan flat with girlfriends Veronica Arp, Louise Gottlieb and Louise De Geer. What exactly she’ll do there is not yet decided, according to her mentor at the palace, Lena Ramel. “The king and queen are deciding with her and I can’t say any more at this stage,” she told Expressen. The options are work experience with UNICEF or further studies. “But it’s the move itself that’s most important for Madeleine,” said one of the princess’s friends to newspaper Expressen. According to Aftonbladet the princess is looking forward to being a normal girl-about-town in the city.

January 19th

A rehearsal was being held late this morning at Christiansborg Slotkirke in Copenhagen, where the son of the Danish crown princely couple will be christened by bishop Erik Norman Svendsen on Saturday. Then also his name will be revealed. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary arrived together with Mary’s sister Jane Stephens, who might become one of the supporters of the child. According to the last reports the baby might get eight supporters. A children’s choir will be singing and some members of the Livgardens Musikkorps will play.

Royal sources say that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to attend the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst when her grandson Prince Harry of Wales passes out as an officer in April. She is normally represented by another member of the Royal Family or by a senior member of the Armed Forces at the passing-out parade. Prince Harry is expected to tell the Army today which two regiments he is interested in joining when he completes his training. Prince Harry, like every other officer cadet, is required to choose two regiments as his potential military family when he nears the end of the 44-week training at Sandhurst. He is understood to have selected the Household Cavalry and the Welsh Guards. He will also be interviewed in due course by the commanding officer of the Welsh Guards. Either regiment is seen as ideal for the prince: both have ceremonial responsibilities as well as an operational role. Prince Harry will be the first senior Royal to go on frontline duty since the Duke of York, his uncle, flew helicopters in the Falklands War. Prince Harry’s decision will not be announced by Clarence House until next week, defence sources said. Prince Harry has told the Prince of Wales that he wants to fight for his country. Prince Charles has conceded that whatever regiment his son joins it will be sent on peacekeeping duties to troublespots such as Iraq, Afghanistan or Bosnia. A senior royal source said: “Whatever happens, Harry will not be left behind. He has made clear that he wants to go.”

Yesterday Princess Stéphanie of Monaco kicked off Monaco’s annual circus festival. She has stepped into her late father’s role as president of the event. The Princess said she wanted to make the 30th edition of Monaco’s world famous festival a special tribute to her late father Prince Rainier. The 2006 event will therefore feature only artists who have won the prestigious Gold, Silver and Bronze Clowns in previous years. “We had wanted to do this anyway, but it’s even more important now as a great gift to my dad,” she explained. “The 31st festival will start again as it was before, with the competition, the prizegiving and the jury.” “At the first festival I was part of the junior jury,” she revealed. “I like all the acts but I always enjoy seeing animal acts in the circus because it’s very important. You ask a child what is the circus for him and he always says clowns and animals.”

The new Norwegian royal patronage list was released this week, after a comprehensive review of the organizations that members of Norway’s royal family support. The royal family has cut its patronage by 30 %, from 91 organizations to 62. King Harald V of Norway has dropped nearly half of the organizations for which he’s been a royal patron and now supports 22 groups. Queen Sonja will support 13 organisations, including the Norwegian Opera, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and other groups aimed at promoting Norwegian history and culture. Crown Prince Haakon will have 12 patronage roles in his portfolio and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, will have 10. Princess Märtha Louise will no longer be a patron of cultural groups, to avoid more conflicts over her commercial activities as a purveyor of culture herself, and only keeps six patronage roles, all of them health-related. Palace officials won’t say, however, why some organizations were dropped and some retained. The patronage roles will last for five years, after which they’ll be up for renewal and other groups can apply for royal support.

Kuwaiti ruling al-Sabah family started close door internal consultations yesterday in order to arrange the transfer of the rule in Kuwait in light of the deteriorated health condition of the new ruler of the country Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah. News reports quoted sources as saying that prominent figures in the family held talks during the first three days of eulogy and condolences on the demise of the late Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The same sources said that vaster consultations were held yesterday with the participation of the prime minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah in order to choose a new crown prince, noting that 76-year-old Sheikh Sabah who runs the affairs of the country is the most likely candidate. Constitutionally Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah is the only one who has the right to appoint the crown prince, however, this matter is practically made through consultations among members of al-Sabah family and the Kuwaiti Ummah council has to ratify the appointment of the new crown prince. The ruling family has also to take into account preserving the balance between the two wings of the family (al-Jaber and al-Salem branch) who assume the rotating presidency and sharing it since 85 years. Also the ruling family has to decide whether the two posts of the crown prince and the prime minister should be split or kept them together in the capacity of one person, as was the case until 2003,when the two posts were split for the first time.

January 20th

On the occasion of the 2nd birthday of Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway tomorrow, the Norwegian royal court released three new pictures of the Princess today. The photos were made by Jo Michael.

25-year-old Bethany Usher, female reporter for News of the World, has been arrested at Buckingham Palace on suspicion of falsifying details on a job application, Scotland Yard has said. She was held on Thursday on suspicion of attempting to obtain pecuniary advantage, police said. She was bailed until 9 February. The News of the World said that its reporter had been investigating palace security. The paper described it as a “legitimate journalistic exercise”.

The Japanese government will submit a bill this year to allow women to ascend the imperial throne for the first time in centuries, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said today in his speech at this year’s opening session of Parliament. He didn’t provide details of the bill or when it would be submitted, but he said the proposal would be in line with the findings of the high-level panel, which has recommended letting female heirs on the Chrysanthemum Throne. “In order that the imperial throne be continued into the future in a stable manner, the government will submit a bill to reform the Imperial Household Law,” Mr Koizumi said.

The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam has named his newborn grandson YAM Pg Anak Abdul Haseeb bin Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Shahibul Irshad Pg Anak Hj Abdul Rahim it was reported yesterday. The baby was born on January 14 at 5.50pm to the Sultan’s daughter Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah and her husband YAM Pengiran Maharaja Setia Laila Diraja Shahibul Irshad Pg Anak Hj Abdul Rahim. The Royal Family with pleasure thanked all who had conveyed their messages of congratulations and greetings on the birth.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga is still in New Zealand undergoing medical checks, according to the Matangi Tonga. It is still not clear when he will return, said Sateki ‘Ahio, the acting secretary for the Palace office. However, Mr ‘Ahio could only say that the King was still undergoing medical checks in New Zealand. He said the king remains in good health.

January 21st

The little son of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was christened at Christiansborg Church in a cold and snowy Copenhagen this morning. Despite of the bad weather the Norwegian royal guests, including Prince Sverre Magnus, managed to leave Oslo by train instead of airplane yesterday evening and arrived safely in Copenhagen this morning, after having travelled the last part of the travel from Malmö by car. The baby wore the christening robe that was made for the christening of the later King Christian X in 1870. It is made of Brussels lace. Since 1870 the robe was worn by Prince Carl – the later King Haakon VII of Norway -, Prince Harald, Prince Gustav, Princess Louise, Princess Thyra, Princess Dagmar, King Frederik IX, Prince Knud, Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte, Princess Anne-Marie, Princess Elisabeth, Count Ingolf, Count Christian af Rosenborg, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. The baby received the names of Christian Valdemar Henri John. His godmother is Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. His sponsors are: Prince Joachim of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Mrs Jane Stephens, Mr Jeppe Handwerk and Mr Hamish Campbell. The baptismal font was made around 1660. Playing were organist Jakob Lorentzen, the Brass Ensemble of the Royal Guards, harpists Helen Davies Mikkelborg and Tine Rehling. Singing were the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir and the Choir of Holmens Church. After the christening a reception was being held at Christiansborg. A traditional Danish buffet including international specialities was served. The music at the reception was played by the Band of the Royal Danish Life Guards. In the evening the crown princely couple invited some 65 guests – family, royals and friends – for a dinner and dance at their home the Kancellihuset next to Fredensborg.

The Amalienborg Museum will display Prince Christian’s christening robe, the royal baptismal font and the gold plate with its accompanying ewer and candlesticks from Friday 27 January until Sunday 19 March 2006. The objects will form part of the current exhibition ‘The Royal Succession – An Exhibition for children’ and will illustrate the continuity of the Royal House.

An opinion poll by the Australian newspaper ‘The Australian’ today indicates that the Prince of Wales would be a much less popular ruler to Australians than his mother Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The survey by Newspoll found that 46% of the Australians want a republic, 34% wants to keep the monarchy. With the Prince of Wales on the throne 52% would support a republic and 29% a monarchy.

Very unusual, the leading Kuwaiti newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi yesterday called for the abdication of the new Emir, Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah, due to his bad health. Under the constitution the Sheikh must swear an oath in parliament before assuming his duties, but there is open speculation in Kuwait that he is too ill to utter the oath – a single sentence of around 30 words.

January 22nd

Yesterday Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the house of their daughter Sayako and her husband for the first time since she married last November. The couple lives in a one-bedroom rental apartment two kilometers from the Imperial Palace. They will move to a new apartment in Tokyo in spring. The Emperor and Empress arrived at the couple’s residence at about 6:30 p.m. and had dinner.

January 23rd

A new BBC television series is being launched to find a four-course menu which will be presented to Queen Elizabeth II at the City of London lunch on June 15 on the occasion of her 80th birthday. Some 14 of the top chefs of Great Britain will be involved in the Great British Menu series. Each will be given one of seven regions of Great Britain (South West, South East, Midlands and East, North, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and asked to make four innovative dishes from the best local ingredients. A judge will then whittle down the final choices before a public poll will decide on the final menu to be served to the Queen and her guests. The tv-programme will run every Monday to Friday evening for eight weeks from April on BBC Two.

Kuwait National Assembly speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi yesterday evening accepted a request by Emir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah of Kuwait to hold a special session for the oath-taking ceremony of the Emir on Tuesday evening at the Parliament. Mr Al-Khorafi visited Sheikh Saad at Shaab Palace yesterday. On Saturday Sheikh Saad had sent a letter to Mr Al-Khorafi asking him to hold the special session on Sunday. However according to Mr Al-Khorafi there wasn’t enough time to hold the session on Sunday. Sheikh Saad was proclaimed Emir last Sunday after the death of his cousin. Another request received by Mr Al-Khorafi today came from the Cabinet, which has concluded that Emir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al- Salem Al-Sabah is no longer fit, healt-wise, to carry out his constitutional duties.

January 24th

On March 4th at noon Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway will be christened at the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo by Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme.

The Countess of Wessex is facing a cash crisis after her firm R-JH Public Relations amassed debts of more than £1 million in just 12 months. The firm has no money in the bank and owes almost £1.5 million, according to accounts. The countess has a one-third stake in the firm. The firm’s bank loans and overdraft have risen from £75,000 to £450,000 in the past year. Overall, creditors are owed £1,493,462 and the company recorded a loss for the second year running.

In an interview with TT Princess Madeleine of Sweden says that she is no party girl, as the media calls her: “Sure, maybe I used to go out now and then. But in the last three years I’ve devoted most of my time to studying. The label is still there but I feel I’m a long way away from that period.” On Monday Princess Madeleine completed her degree in History of Art, Ethnology and Modern History at Stockholm University. Next in line in her educational programme is an internship at the UN’s children’s organisation, Unicef, in New York. “I’ll be in a department which, among other things, deals with protecting children in war torn countries, children in institutions and sexually abused children,” she said. It’s possible that she will visit war-affected and otherwise impoverished regions, something she’s hoping to see with her own eyes and experience for the first time. She will stay in New York until July and expecting to work hard while she’s there. “Then we’ll see what happens – maybe more studies, in which case probably international relations,” she said. “I have my small plans but they need to grow a little,” she said about her plans for the future.

Sheikh Salem Al-Ali and Sheikh Sahab Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah reached an agreement late yesterday night that Emir Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah of Kuwait will abdicate to pave the way for Sheikh Sabah to become the Emir with no need to go through any constitutional procedure, sources say. Sheikh Salem yesterday invited Sheikh Sabah for an urgent meeting at Bida Palace. The contents of the agreement will be announced today at 9.00am. Parliament speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi was later updated on the latest developments. The two special parliamentary sessions that were to be held today are not needed anymore.

The cabinet of Kuwait tonight unanimously nominated Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah as new emir of the country. An official letter with the nomination will be sent to parliament on Wednesday. If confirmed by parliament, Sheikh Sabah, will officially replace ailing emir Sheikh Saad al-Abdulla al-Sabah who was voted out unanimously by parliament on health grounds earlier in the day. By doing so the parliament handed temporary power to the government of Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

The castles of Bran, Peles and Pelisor will be bought back by the Romanian state after they are first returned to their former owners, the Habsburg family and the Romanian royal family respectively, said the Minister of Culture, Adrian Iorgulescu. The state is expected to pay around 50 million euros for the repurchase. mr Iorgulescu said the negotiations first aim to secure the restitution of the castles – Bran to the Habsburg family and the other two to the Romanian royal family- and then to establish the sum that will have to be paid to the owners by the state to be able to keep the castles and use them as museums. Iorgulescu said that the ministry is attempting to negotiate to pay no more than 30 million euros to former King Mihai I of Romania for Peles and Pelisor, a sum that was already been proposed in a law which was rejected last year as unconstitutional. “We want to keep these monuments open for the public. I am convinced that we will reach an arrangement with the royal family so that we do not pay more than we initially agreed to,” said Iorgulescu, adding that the state did not oppose the restitution of the castles. The castles were seized by the Romanian state during the communist period.

A Johns Hopkins University archaeological team has unearthed a statue of Queen Ti, one of the most important women in ancient Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Monday. The statue, mostly intact, was found under a statue of Amenhotep III in the Karnak Temple in Luxor. Ti was the first queen of Egypt to have her name appear on official acts alongside that of her husband. She was known for her influence in state affairs in the reigns of both her husband (1417-1379 B.C.) and of her son, Akhenaton, (1379-1362 B.C.) during a time of prosperity and power in the 18th dynasty. Ti, of Nubian heritage, is believed to be the grandmother of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

January 25th

Clarence House today announced that on being commissioned as an officer at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in April Prince Harry of Wales will join the Household Cavalry as a Second Lieutenant. That is if he competes his Officer Cadet training. He would then undergo a period of specialist training with the aim of becoming an Armoured Reconnaissance Troop Leader at the forefront of British Army operations. As Troop Leader, Harry would lead a team of around a dozen soldiers carrying out reconnaissance work in a wide variety of operational settings. Prince Harry based his decision on the variety of roles which the regiment undertakes, including reconnaissance support to airborne forces right through to ceremonial duties. The Prince was also attracted by the regiment’s outstanding operational record in recent decades. Although Prince Harry would initially train for and concentrate on operational duties, as a member of the Household Cavalry he would be able to volunteer for, or be posted to, the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London. However, as an officer, Prince Harry would not perform sentry duties in this capacity.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is to hire a Gordon Ramsay-style chef to improve lack-lustre cooking in the royal kitchens. Top staff at posh five-star restaurants are being tapped up for the new post of head chef to the monarch. A Buckingham Palace insider said: “We’re stressing it’s an important role. The food has to be perfect. “We cannot have foreign heads of state turning up to a banquet and finding the food is not up to standard.” The new appointment will be in charge of 20 chefs preparing meals for up to 800 guests – as well as the Queen’s own private dinners.

A pavement once paced by King Henry VII of England, and his son Henry VIII, at least two of his unfortunate wives, and his daughters Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary, has emerged from under a car park at the Royal Hospital in Greenwich, south London. The pavement is part of a royal chapel believed completely destroyed by centuries of later re-building at Greenwich. Although only grubby smears remain of their original smart black and white glazing, the tiles, with a border in an elaborate lozenge pattern, are in remarkably good condition. They mark the site of the altar in the chapel Henry VII built at his palace of Placentia, between 1500 and 1504. Placentia Palace was the birthplace of King Henry VIII of England. He married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and his fourth wife Anne of Cleves in a private apartment above the chapel. “This discovery brings home the reality of the weddings of Henry VIII more directly than any other surviving buildings,” David Starkey said. He called it “the absolute heart of the palace” and added: “When Henry was married … what he saw through the window was the tiled floor and altar that have now been revealed.” Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, an expert on Tudor palaces, was equally excited: “This is an astonishing survival.”

The deputy speaker of the Kuwaiti parliament, Mishari al-Anjari, said that the parliament will meet on Sunday to elect a new emir, who will almost certainly be Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah. The oath-taking ceremony would take place shortly after the parliament has voted in open session.

Princess Ubol Ratana of Thailand yesterday released a quarterly magazine To Be Number One in a bid to strenghten her anti-drug campaign among teenagers under the same name. She said the 80-page publication would be a major communication tool among members. “Every (To Be Number One) member owns the magazine,” she said. The magazine features teen issues including fashion, hi-tech products and entertainment, as well as the latest news and information regarding the campaign. The Princess and her daughter Khun Ploypailin Jensen appear on the cover of the magazine. The Princess says she will have her own column in the future called ‘Talk to the Princess’ which allows members to write her and ask questions. The Princess says to believe that communication could solve many teenage problems.

January 26th

After criticism from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation as well the press, the Swedish royal family has decided to sell its shares in the Brazilian forestry company Aracruz. The company is accused by the Society for Nature Conservation of damaging the rain forest and ignoring human rights in Brazil. The royal family has a private investment firm, Gluonen, which primarily invests in funds. In the portfolio there are also a number of other holdings, such as Aracruz. Gluonen is mostly owned by Crown Princess Victoria and her siblings, Prince Carl Phillip and Princess Madeleine. According to Gluonen’s managing director and the palace head of finance, Bengt Telland, the holding in Aracruz is worth around 40.000 kronor per shareholder. In a press statement Telland wrote that Gluonen had confidence in Aracruz, which, for the most part, is environmentally approved: “After the information that has come out over the last few days, the decision has nevertheless been taken to sell the holding.”

After recent pictures taken during a holiday in Thailand it is rumoured that Princess Caroline of Monaco who turned 49 last week, is pregnant with her fifth child. The Palace in Monaco didn’t want to comment on the rumours.

January 27th

The inquiry into the death of Princess Diana of Wales in August 1997 is “far more complex than any of us thought”, Lord Stevens, who is in charge of the inquiry has said on GMTV’s Sunday programme. He also said it was “right” for Mohammed Al Fayed to raise issues about the deaths of his son and Diana. Lord Stevens was asked by the Royal Coroner two years ago to investigate claims that the crash was not an accident. He said: “It is right to say that some of the issues that have been raised by Mr Fayed have been right to be raised. We are pursing those. It is a far more complex inquiry than any of us thought.” He said the investigation was being thorough as it looked “in minute detail” at the issues. “We have only got a small squad doing this and a lot of the issues have been brought up by Mr Fayed and his investigations.” The car wreckage was being examined in Great Britain, and there had been co-operation with the French authorities. “We have new witnesses, we are re-examining other witnesses, and, at the end of the day, I think what people want is a thorough investigation going where the evidence takes us, and some of the answers to some of the questions that have been raised in national newspapers and in other parts of the world. That is the job I have been asked to do and that is the job I’ll do,” Lord Stevens said.

Five silver-mounted fur sporrans made in Edinburgh for the late Duke of Gloucester have sold for £8400 at a London auction. The price was more than four times the pre-sale estimate.

The Xhosa Royal House at Willowvale in the Eastern Cape met this morning to announce the successor to the late King Xolilizwe Sigcau. Prince Zwelonke Sigcawu, son of the late King Xolilizwe Sigcawu, was named as the new king.

January 28th

Princess Madeleine of Sweden has landed in New York for a stay of a few months in which she will work at UNICEF. She travelled together with friend Louisa De Geer. She told journalists she doesn’t know New York well yet.

Carol Mircea Hohenzollern, son of King Carol II of Romania and Ioana Lambrino, died at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in Chelsea, London, yesterday after a long illness. He was born at Bucarest, 8 January 1920. He married first in 1944 (divorced 1960) Helene Nagavitzine, second in 1960 (divorced 1977) Jeanne Williams, and third in 1984 Antonia Colville. He had two sons: Paul and Alexander. The marriage between the parents of Carol Mircea was not recognised. Until his father’s death in 1953 he used the name of Lambrino. His legitimacy was recognised by a court in Paris in 1955. Although he assumed the style and title of His Royal Highness Prince of Romania he was only entitled to the surname of Hohenzollern. A funeral service will be held at the Romanian Orthodox Church in London. It is not clear if his wish to be buried in Romania will be granted.

“We are not in hurry to appoint a new Crown Prince for Kuwait”, said head of National Guards Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah. “The process of selecting a new crown prince will be delayed as it cannot be finalized within a short time”, he added. He further said “there is no condition that this position should be given to a member of the Al-Salem branch of the Ruling Family. It can be given to any qualified and efficient person from the Al-Sabah Family.” About Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah’s abdication he said: “I only wanted to know if Sheikh Saad could continue for a short time as Emir of the country. However, medical reports confirmed the inability of Sheikh Saad, who will retain his dignity to continue.” The man who is carrying out all official duties of the head of state and managing the affairs of Kuwait is Sheikh Sabah. Sheikh Salem said that “even if Sheikh Saad had not abdicated, all the authority would have gone to Sheikh Sabah.” In the meantime lawmakers hailed this week’s assembly vote, which ended a succession crisis, as a triumph for the rule of law in a region dominated by autocratic governments. But they said the new Emir must now put in place a political system that would ensure a smooth transition of power in the future and appoint a prime minister who is not from Al-Sabah family, which has ruled the country for more than two centuries.

January 29th

The Parliament of Kuwait today unanimously voted for 77-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah as the new emir of Kuwait. The new emir was not present for the 64-0 vote — the first time in Kuwait’s history that parliament has had a role in choosing the emir, a matter that has been the business of the ruling family for hundreds of years. Extended applause followed the vote which was attended by about 700 dignitaries and ambassadors. The emir was sworn in later today. He took the oath of office before the assembly, officially assuming the powers and responsibilities of ruler. A standing ovation welcomed Sheikh Sabah when he arrived in parliament on Sunday.

January 30th

It is alleged that a guard in the royal residence raped one of the daughters of King Mswati of Swaziland’s brother. According to media reports the brother’s most trusted aide is accused of raping the 10-year-old girl more than three times. No action has been taken against him to date as he is said to be still employed at the royal residence. This comes just a week after Prince Mbuyisa was sentenced to seven years for the rape of a young girl. There was no immediate comment from the royal residence.

January 31st

In his annual New Year’s address King Albert II of the Belgians has warned the government authorities against separatism. He said inequality and the financial transfers between regions may pose a problem, but separatism is no solution. King Albert said separatism was “anachronistic and disastrous” and would damage Brussels’ international role and the image of the nation. King Albert also said tensions between the regions can be traced back to a difference in policy and prosperity. He also addressed the “tensions between some immigrant groups and the native population”. He also warned against extremism, stressing that anyone who tries to use society’s problems to spread racism must realise they are liable to prosecution.

More than 200 treasures from the collection of Empress Catherine II of Russia will be on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from February 2 to May 7. Exhibited are paintings, sculptures, furniture, decorative art objects and the coronation coach. The exhibition could be seen at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario from October 1, 2005, to January 3.

February 1st

Buckingham Palace and the BBC today launched details of a special Garden Party for children at Buckingham Palace on June 25th as part of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain’s 80th birthday events. The “Children’s Party at the Palace” will celebrate British children’s literature by inviting children, grandparents, parents or guardians, along with characters from Britain’s favourite storybooks, to a tea party and unique entertainment show at Buckingham Palace. Characters including Tracy Beaker, Paddington Bear, Mowgli, Winnie the Pooh and the Gruffalo will be joining guests in the garden. At 6pm, Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of Roald Dahl, will appear on stage to introduce a specially written show for all the nation to watch live on the BBC. Mary Poppins, the White Rabbit and Captain Hook will also be starring along with the Royal Ballet who will create a Beatrix Potter vignette. All children living in Great Britain aged between 4 and 14 are invited to apply from today through a national ballot. 2,000 children and 1,000 adults (parents/grandparents or guardians) will then be selected to attend the party.

About 40 Japanese lawmakers have joined a rally in Tokyo to protest against government plans to allow women to ascend to the throne. Some 1200 people attended. Former Trade Minister Takeo Hiranuma told supporters that the move could dilute the imperial line. “If Aiko becomes the reigning empress, and gets involved with a blue-eyed foreigner while studying abroad and marries him, their child may be the emperor,” he told the rally at a Tokyo hall. “We should get united and prevent the Cabinet from submitting legislation to parliament,” he said. “We’ll do our best to preserve the authentic tradition and culture and protect our nation.” Prince Tomihito repeated his misgivings today in the Sankei Shimbun: “It would be troublesome to make a decision by going down to the level of recognizing that ‘Princess Aiko is adorable’ or ‘Princess Masako would be freed from the pressure to produce an heir.'”

King Gyanendra of Nepal has refused to give up his year-old direct rule of the country as demanded by the seven-party opposition alliance and has reiterated that elections will be conducted to all representative bodies in the country by mid-April 2007. In his address to the nation this morning the king said there has been significant improvement in the security and governance situation in the country over the last year. In his address King Gyanendra said, “We are confident that a road-map of consensus will forever end all possibilities of resurgence of violence and terrorism in our motherland, which will otherwise put at risk the universally acclaimed multiparty democracy and hurt the self-respect of Nepal and the Nepalese people.”

Today’s Bild had an article on the engagement of 35-year-old Duchess Rixa von Oldenburg and 23-year-old Philipp Medow. The engagement took place already in November 2005. The couple met at a wedding in Hamburg about one year ago, and met again at a pizzeria in Hamburg in September 2005. At the moment they live together.

February 2nd

The programme for the two-day celebration of the 60th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has been announced. The festivities begin already on April 28, when 100 youngsters from Fryshuset, a Stockholm-based youth foundation, take part in a workshop with the king in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace. On April 30 the celebration starts with the King and Queen attending a service in the palace chapel. Between 12.30pm and 1pm children will have the opportunity to meet the king before he steps out onto the Lion Terrace to be congratulated by the crowd on Norrbro, the bridge linking the palace to Gustav Adolf square. Thousands of well-wishers are expected to gather to hear the military music and choir singing which will be performed for the king. Afterwards the King and Queen will travel in a horse-drawn carriage to the city hall for a late lunch with members of parliament. In the evening there will be a concert in Rikssalen, the State Room, with 300 guests, among them royals. After the concert, the whole audience will join the king for dinner.

King Albert II of the Belgians underwent an eye operation at the Antwerp University Hospital today. The operation was successful and the king has since returned to Belvédère Castle. The royal palace said King Albert underwent a cataract operation and that it was a relatively minor procedure.

February 3rd

Prince Sverre Magnus has been in hospital last week. According to the magazine Se og Hør he was brought to hospital because of dehydration. The royal palace confirmed that he has been in hospital, but said there was nothing dramatical.

February 4th

According to several Japanese weekly magazines Crown Princess Masako of Japan is so weighed down by depression and the demands of Imperial life that she wants a divorce. They say that after 13 unhappy years in the Imperial Palace the Crown Princess has had enough and is looking for a way out of her marriage to Crown Prince Naruhito. The Imperial Household dismisses the speculation. “There are very few people who actually say the words divorce but they think it,”said Yagi Hidetsugu, an associate professor at Takasaki Keizai University in a weekly magazine article this week. “Her withdrawal from the imperial family would certainly solve a lot of problems.”

On Wednesday relatives and friends of Carol Mircea Hohenzollern, eldest son of King Carol II of Romania, said goodbye. Among the people attending were his wife Antonia, his sons Paul and Alexander, as well as his daughter-in-law Lia. The funeral service took place in the Romanian orthodox church, hosted in an Anglican church on Fleet Street, and it was conducted in both Romanian and English. The casket was open during the ceremony, according to the Orthodox tradition. It is still unclear where in Romania he will be buried, according to his last whishes, as talks with the authorities are ongoing. This is a complicated issue.

King Leka I of Albania has declared that he would withdraw from public life and stay out of politics, Albanian Daily News reported yesterday. “Considering the political situation in Albania, I withdraw from the public life, and stay out of politics, like as the other European royal families do,” he said through a press release. “It is in the great interest of the Albanian state and its people. And it will serve the country and the people well.”

February 5th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain marked the 54th year of her reign and the anniversary of the death of her father King George VI by attending the Sunday service at a Sandringham church. The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied her. During the morning service the Queen presented 17 Sunday school pupils with awards for good attendance.

According to the Sunday Mirror 23-year-old Prince William of Wales is expected to propose to his girlfriend 24-year-old Kate Middleton this spring and Kate has indicated she will accept. A formal announcement will be made by Buckingham Palace shortly afterwards. Prince William has already asked that Kate have her own protection officer – something she would normally get only after their engagement. Courtiers are also planning to ease Kate into royal life by arranging a series of engagements where the couple will appear side by side. One said: “Wills has spoken privately to the Queen about his feelings. She’s been very impressed by Kate and is looking at the possibility of giving them a joint royal engagement to see how she copes. It’s a matter of finding the right one.” Family friends say the young couple, who have been dating since the end of 2003, have discussed the subject together and with their parents. It is believed both Prince Charles and William have also raised the issue with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Princess Beatrice of York is to celebrate her 18th birthday with a glittering Pride And Prejudice-themed party at Windsor Castle. The British royal family traditionally wait until their 21st birthdays for a major celebration. But because of Beatrice’s unusual birthdate – she was born at 8.18pm on 8/8/1988 – her family has agreed to an 18th celebration instead. Guests, including Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry, will be expected to dress as characters from the Jane Austen novel. And Beatrice herself is likely to opt for the character of Austen’s most-loved heroine, Elizabeth Bennet.

Felicia Juliana Bénedicte Barbara van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven, daughter of Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, was christened today in private in the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. She was born on 31 May, 2005. Her godparents were Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Prince Floris van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven and Barbara Ruding. The service was led by The Rev. N.M.A. ter Linden and Father G.Th. Oostvogel.

February 6th

There are already bets that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, who turns 80 this year, is going to retire this year. However a royal aide told The People newspaper: ‘As far as the queen is concerned, abdication is not an option and never will be. She believes that her vows at the Coronation in 1953 tie her into the job for life – it is her constitutional duty to remain monarch until her death. With the queen’s family history of long life that could mean Charles will be a very old man before he inherits the job for which he has been groomed all his life.” David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, today called for for Parliament to curtail the ability of the Prime Minister to use the Royal Prerogative to declare war or sign international treaties without first consulting MPs. Royal Prerogatives are a series of powers officially held by the Queen that have been passed to the government of the day. They enable decisions to be taken without the backing of, or consultation with, Parliament. They range from the appointment and dismissal of ministers to the making of treaties and the accreditation of diplomats.

A twenty-one gun salute was fired this afternoon to mark the accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain today. The commemoration took place on Edinburgh Castle’s Mills Mount Battery at midday.

The Japanese Imperial Household Agency announced that Empress Michiko of Japan has cancelled a visit to an imperial villa in Hayama after feeling faint. She had been scheduled to visit Hayama with Emperor Akihito from Monday to Friday, according to the agency. She has experienced bouts of faintness since the end of last October, but regular checkups in late January showed no major health problems, it said. The agency added that she is expected to resume her regular duties mid February.

Former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, their children Pavlos – with his wife Marie-Chantal – Alexia and Nikolaos arrived in Athens on Sunday. Princess Irene of Greece and Queen Sofia of Spain, with the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Infanta Elena, Infanta Cristina and her husband Iñaki Urdangarín arrived on Monday. They visited Athens to conduct a memorial service at the graves of King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece at Tatoi, on the 25th death anniversary of Queen Frederica. Queen Frederica died on February 6, 1981.

The dream of 47-year-old Prince Hubertus zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg has ended. The Mexican Olympic Committee doesn’t want to send him to the Olympic Winter Games in Turin that start next week. He would have been the only Mexican competitor. This ski-season he collected enough FIS-points to be allowed to compete in the Olympics. Prince Hubertus took already part in the Olympic Winter Games of 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1994. He missed the games in 2002 because he didn’t have enough FIS-points. He said: “I have worked towards this event for three years, have all my qualification points and a few days before the games they announce, that they don’t send me. That is irritating.” As last hope he now sees a direct intervention of the International Olympic Committee.

February 7th

Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway was taken to hospital today, the royal court confirmed this evening. “He has a respiratory infection, but this is completely undramatic”, Sven Gjeruldsen said. Prince Sverre Magnus was already taken to hospital a week ago ago because of dehydration.

A computer belonging to Lord Stevens, who leads the inquiry into the death of Diana Princess of Wales, has been stolen in a burglary. A source close to Lord Stevens confirmed computer equipment had been stolen, including a laptop and personal papers, in two raids within a week at his office in Gosforth, Newcastle. But the source said: “The Operation Paget inquiry has not been compromised.”

Princess Kiko of Japan, wife of Prince Akishino, second son of Emperor Akihito, is pregnant with her third child, the Imperial Household Agency announced today. Agency chief Shingo Haketa announced that Princess Kiko has “shown signs of pregnancy.” The baby is expected to be born around September or October. The couple already has two daughters: Mako (14) and Kako (11). When the baby is a boy, he will be third in line to the throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Prince Akishino under the current law which allows only male heirs who have emperors on their fathers’ side to reign. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said today he will make efforts to ensure a bill to allow females and their descendants to succeed to the imperial throne is enacted at the current ordinary Diet session. “I think it is anything but too early to enact the bill during the current session,” Koizumi told a House of Representatives Budget Committee session. “I think we should allow females and their descendants to reign, for the sake of the imperial system, which is Japan’s symbol, for a stable imperial succession,” he said.

Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah of Kuwait today appointed his brother Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah as the new crown prince and heir. A nephew, Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al- Ahmad al-Sabah, was named the new prime minister. The latest move effectively does away with a long-held political tradition that the position of the emir and other top posts should rotate between the family’s two wings. Sheikh Sabah, Sheikh Nawaf and Sheikh Nasser are all members of the Jaber clan of the Sabah dynasty.

February 8th

The Imperial Household Agency has begun preparation activities for Princess Kiko of Japan’s childbirth, which is expected this fall, such as by installing a nursery at her palace in Tokyo. They also plan to select a nurse to attend the princess. The agency will formally announce her pregnancy possibly by the end of February after her doctor at Tokyo’s Maternal & Child Health Center Aiiku Hospital confirms the development of the fetus.

A day after it was announced that Princess Kiko of Japan is pregnant Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan has indicated he may no longer speed a bill through parliament to allow female royal succession. “I want to proceed cautiously so as not to make this a political tool,” Mr Koizumi said of the controversial bill. Mr Koizumi had earlier pledged to propose the bill to parliament by June.

Archeologists who have been digging for more than a year at the villa of Roman Emperor Hadrian in Tivoli, northeast of Rome, Italy, have unearthed a monumental staircase, a statue of an athlete and what appears to be a headless sphinx. The findings were presented yesterday by government officials. The discoveries are described as extremely important for understanding the layout of the ruins. The staircase is believed to be the original entrance to the villa, which was built for the Roman Emperor in the 2nd century AD. So far, 15 steps, each about eight metres wide, have been identified and archeologists did not rule out uncovering more.

February 9th

69-year-old Lebanese Mahmoud Fustok, brother-in-law of King Abdullah bin Abdul Azis al-Saud of Saudi Arabia was struck by a SUV on Wednesday afternoon around 12.45pm while jogging with a friend near the Pompano Beach Pier, Florida, USA. He died at North Broward Medical Center. Investigators with the Broward Sheriff’s Office said the driver lost control of his truck and hit Mr Fustok and his friend and then crashed into the side of a fire station building. Mr Fustok was the owner of Buckram Oak Farm thoroughbred breeding and racing. His body was to be flown to Saudi Arabia by the family for burial.

A new constitution endorsing the autocratic rule of King Mswati III of Swaziland came into force in Swaziland yesterday by royal decree. The fundamental law took nine years to draft and preserves the king’s sweeping powers and maintains a ban on opposition parties.

February 10th

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, tonight was attended by several royals. Among them were King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Harald V of Norway, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg with their daughter Alexandra, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, the Princess Royal, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, the Duke and Duchess of Savoy.

The 118th International Olympic Committee Session today voted to elect five new IOC members, one IOC Vice-President and two Executive Board members. Among the new IOC members was Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan today indicated he has given up a plan to submit to the current Diet session a bill to allow women to succeed to the Chrysanthemum throne, following the news of Princess Kiko’s pregnancy earlier this week. Asked if he still maintains the plan, Mr Koizumi told reporters at his official residence, “We can make a decision after closely examining” developments on the matter within his ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The remarks signal that revision of the Imperial House Law is no longer likely during Koizumi’s administration, as the premier has reiterated he will stand down as premier in September, when his term as LDP president expires.

American archaeologists have made the first discovery of a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings since that of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was uncovered in 1922, Egypt’s antiquities chief announced. The 18th-dynasty tomb included five mummies in intact sarcophagi with coloured funeral masks along with more than 20 large storage jars, sealed with pharaonic seals, said Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The new tomb is a single chamber, meaning it was probably intended for a single mummy, he said. Other sarcophagi – or even all of them – may have been put in at a later time. Mr Hawass did not specify who was believed buried in the tomb. He was due to visit the site today to announce more details. A University of Memphis team found the tomb four metres below ground, five metres from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

February 11th

To celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, her gowns and gems are to go on display at Buckingham Palace from July 26 to September 24. The exhibition will include highly personal pieces. One of the major attractions will be the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara. The exhibition will include 80 evening gowns, worn by the Queen for official engagements and private events over seven decades, many designed by the British couturiers Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies. In a separate exhibition at Windsor Castle, photographs of the Queen’s public and family life will be on display in the Drawings Gallery from April 3, 2006 to March 11, 2007.

The Prince of Wales’s plans to prevent the reporting of sensitive evidence in his forthcoming court case against the Mail on Sunday would be like staging Hamlet without the prince, a High Court judge was told yesterday by Desmond Browne, representing various media organisations. Hugh Tomlinson, for the prince, said: “We are seeking very limited restraint over a small amount of confidential material.” Mr Bolland’s witness statement did not contain “explosive material”. Lawyers for the prince are seeking to have part of the evidence from Mark Bolland, his former deputy private secretary, heard in private. Mr Bolland is to be a key witness for the newspaper. The main hearing is set for February 21.

The blond woman accompanying Prince Albert II of Monaco during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Wintergames yesterday evening was identified as 28-year-old South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. She competed in the Olympic Summer Games of 2000.

Archduke Philipp of Austria married Mayasuni Heath today at 11.00am in Maria Plain near Salzburg, Austria.

February 12th

The Mainichi Daily news reports that English language documents offering recommendations on how Emperor Hirohito of Japan should behave in the early postwar period have been found in the Gakushin library together. Among the recommendations Allied Occupation authorities made to Emperor Hirohito were to come in direct contact with ordinary citizens, attend musical recitals and learn English. The papers listing GHQ’s recommendations were found among other documents related to the Emperor’s declaration that he was a human. He had been regarded as a living god in Japan until Jan. 1, 1946. It remains unknown whether the Allied proposals were followed. Nonetheless, actions undertaken by members of the Imperial Family around the time suggest they had taken note.

February 13th

The Althorp House estate – where Diana Princess of Wales is buried – has been opened up by her brother, Earl Spencer, for weddings, private parties and corporate events. Anyone with a budget of £50,000 will be able to tie the knot in the room where the Earl married his second wife Caroline, and then spend the night in the bedroom where Princess Diana once slept with her husband, the Prince of Wales.

Empress Michiko of Japan has returned to her official duties today after a one-week break due to dizzy spells. She had been suffering dizzy spells for unknown reasons since October when the decision was made last week to cancel her official duties. “Her majesty’s condition has much improved, the dizzy spells are much lighter,” said a spokeswoman for the Imperial Household Agency.

Prince Bernhard and Princess Stephanie von Baden had their third son on Sunday. The baby was born at the Elisabethen-Krankenhaus in Ravensburg at 10.40am. Prince Bernhard said: “I am very happy and am very thankful, that my wife and our child are healthy and doing well.” Traditionally the name of the baby will only become known when he is baptised. His brothers were named Leopold and Friedrich.

February 14th

Sarah Forsyth, a former art teacher at Eton College who accused Prince Harry of Wales of cheating, and claimed she ghost-wrote his A-level course work, has been awarded £45,000 in damages.Last July she won her case for unfair dismissal against the school, during which she said she had written the text to accompany the paintings the prince submitted for his A-level art project. The employment tribunal investigating the claims found no evidence of cheating, but it accepted the prince had received help in preparing his A-level “expressive” project, which he needed to pass to secure his place at Sandhurst. Yesterday, the college released a statement, announcing the parties had reached an agreement and “proceedings between them are now concluded”.

Prince Tomohito of Japan has developed cancer in the throat and will undergo surgery on Monday at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said today. He was diagnosed as having an early stage of cancer after signs of cancer in the upper part of the throat were found during a regular checkup at the center on February 7. The prince will enter the center Friday. He will cancel official duties for a while, the agency said. The prince had seven operations to remove tumors from his esophagus and tongue between 1991 and 2003. He has written a book about his cancer history.

February 15th

Robert Stansfield, a reporter for the Daily Mirror, has been arrested by police at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening after a job interview for the Royal Household. He has been released on bail until March. The Daily Mirror said he had been “engaged in a legitimate journalistic enterprise”, testing staff recruitment procedures. A Daily Mirror spokeswoman said: “Following the paper’s 2003 expose of security surrounding the Royal Family, [the reporter] was instructed to test the robustness of current procedures for staff recruitment by applying for a job as a member of the household. We’re pleased to see that the palace has learned the lessons of our previous investigation and since tightened its security procedures.” A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said it did not comment on security matters.

The Royal Danish Embassy in New Delhi, India, has clarified that comments by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark about the Islam have been mistranslated. A British newspaper said that in a biography published in 2005 Queen Margrethe had said: “We must show our opposition to Islam.” However what she actually had said was: “there should always be a counter-balance”. It was also said that the sentence was brought in a context where Queen Margrethe voices concern about the rising influence of the totalitarian side of Islam and not Islam as such.

Doña Ana Maria de Mora y de Aragón Duchess of Lécera, sister of Queen Fabiola of Spain, died on 11 February in Madrid. Queen Fabiola attended the funeral on 12 February.

The Italian crown jewels, which have been in a vault since the last king Umberto II left the country in 1946 may soon be on public display. Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy, said that only a few legal questions have to be settled. King Umberto II deposited the Savoy Treasure at the bank when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy. Along with the chest, he left a note saying “To be returned to the rightful owner.” The king did not say whether the rightful owner was his family or the Italian people. One of the King’s daughters, Maria Gabriella, told the Corriere della Serra this week that she does not want the jewelry back. She hopes that her family treasure will become part of a permanent exhibit like the British crown jewels in the Tower of London.

February 16th

Crown Princess Masako of Japan made a rare appearance today to see bonsai trees. Together with her husband Crown Prince Naruhito she visited bonsai plum trees and other miniature potted plants at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. It was their first joint appearance since July last year when the royal couple attended the World Exposition.

Kyara van Ellinkhuizen, who expects a child with the Duke of Aosta, told the press that the baby will be a girl. She will call her Ginevra. Pre-birth examinations have shown that the girl has Down Syndrome.

February 17th

Lord Frederick Windsor will take part in a new kind of ‘I’m a Celebrity’ reality show. The three-part reality show will recreate the 10-day journey taken by the survivors of the 1972 crash in the Andes mountains. The tale inspired the hit 1993 film, Alive.

Prince Leopold zu Schaumburg-Lippe died on 25 January in Bad Waldsee. He was born in Nachod on 21 February 1910 as son of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe and his second wife Princess Antoinette von Anhalt. He was unmarried.

February 18th

Jörg Sommerlath, elder brother of Queen Silvia of Sweden, died today of stomach cancer at a Hospital in Aachen, Germany. He was born on 3 February 1941. Queen Silvia had been with him in the past days and had cancelled a visit to the Olympic Wintergames in Turin, Italy. King Carl XVI Gustaf has left Turin and arrived in Aachen today. Jörg Sommerlath leaves behind his wife Simone and daughters Helena and Vivian.

The Royal Court of Jordan on Wednesday announced the birth of a baby boy named Arif to Princess Rahma bint Al Hassan of Jordan and her husband, Alaa Batayneh.

February 20th

A spokesman for the Romanov Family Association confirmed Monday that Russian prosecutors had refused to recognize Emperor Nicholas II and members of his family, executed by Bolsheviks in 1918, as victims of political repression. Alexander Zakatov said that in response to a request from Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna to exonerate Nicholas II, the Prosecutor General’s Office claimed, “there is no credible evidence proving the existence of any official decisions by judicial or non-judicial bodies to exert politically- motivated repression” against Russia’s last monarch and members of his inner circle. According to Zakatov, the lack of a reference to specific regulatory acts to substantiate the refusal suggests that the prosecutors’ decision was “made based not on the law, but on some other considerations, unknown to us.” The request from Maria Vladimirovna, a daughter of the last grand duke in the Romanov dynasty, has yet to be considered by a high court, the spokesman said.

February 22nd

The Prince of Wales cannot complain about his journals being published because he does not shy away from airing political views, Mark Warby QC, representing the Mail on Sunday told the High Court. Mr Warby told the court the publication of the prince’s views were in the public interest. “This case is about politics, political opinion and the role of the heir to the throne in relation to these issues,” he said. The prince, counsel said, was “not a person who has acted with discretion or reticence” in expressing views on political matters. “These journals are not what he did on his holidays,” he added. “They are records of public events in which he engaged as a public servant. We say the nub is the prince’s status and conduct. It is not open to him to complain when the public is told of the fact he is circulating political opinions and what his opinions are.” Mr Warby said there was evidence the journals had been circulated to influence opinion and suggested they amounted to an expression of “political hostility”. The remarks follow the release of a witness statement by Mark Bolland, former private secretary of the Prince of Wales. The statement contains revelations from the former private secretary about the prince’s views. Mr Bolland said the Prince of Wales viewed himself as a “dissident” working against political opinion.

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have reduced the price of their Gloucestershire home, Nether Lypiatt Manor, by £500,000 in an attempt to attract a buyer nine months after they began trying to sell the property. They put the manor on the market last May, asking for offers of more than £6 million.

The six ravens at the Tower of London have been taken inside as protection against the bird-flu virus spreading across Europe. Britain so far has been spared, but caretakers are taking no chances – legend holds that the British monarchy will fall if the ravens leave the tower.

Three photographers who chased Diana Princess of Wales on the journey in which she died have been fined one euro by a Paris appeals court. The appeals court fined them the symbolic 68p, split between the three of them, in a ruling last Friday, with the announcement of the ruling delayed for a few days. The court also ordered them to pay for the publication of announcements of the conviction in three newspapers or magazines. The one euro will be paid to Mohammed Al Fayed who filed the invasion of privacy complaint.

The 147 foot steel megayacht Zein, formerly owned by the late Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, is for sale through internet-based yacht brokerage Baja Yachts. The Zein was built by Camper & Nicholson, in 1928, as the Monica and has an interesting history, having served as a submarine hunter during World War II, before being acquired by Aristotle Onassis, who presented the yacht to the Prince and Princess of Monaco as a wedding present and, renamed Deo Juvante II. The yacht was used for their Mediterranean honeymoon cruise.

February 23rd

In a TV interview that is to be screened by CBS later this month, Mohammed Al-Fayed claims that security service MI6 engineered the car smash in Paris in which Diana Princess of Wales and his son Dodi died — then covered it up. He said chasing paparazzi photographer James Andanson, who was secretly working for MI6, deliberately crashed his car into their Mercedes. And he insisted the alleged operation was carried out on the orders of the Duke of Edinburgh — because he disapproved of the Princess’s relationship with Dodi. In the interview he further claims the Duke of Edinburgh is a Nazi and a gangster, that Princess Diana was pregnant when she died, that the Duchess of Cornwall looks like a crocodile and that he lives in fear that MI6 agents will now kill him. He also said he has faith that Lord Stevens’s investigation will come to the right conclusion.

The Public Prosecutor Luxemburg announced yesterday that Prince Jean of Luxemburg is not guilty in the ‘Bommeleeër’ case. The Prince has voluntarily taken part in a DNA-test. The test didn’t correspond with the traces found on the place of crime. Among the crimes of the supposed bombers are a dozen of explosive attacsk in Luxemburg between 1984 and 1986. No people were hurt. A witness, who was found by RTL Lëtzebuerg had accused Prince Jean. In a discussion with Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker he should have said that he had seen the car of the Prince on the day of the attack on the airport Findel at the place of crime. Prince Jean has proven that on the day of the attack he was a guest at a hunting-party in the French Department Loir et Cher by showing pictures and letters.

On the occasion of his 46th birthday Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan held a news conference. He said Crown Princess Masako was recovering from her illness steadily. He expressed hope for Crown Princess Masako’s future activities, saying he thought it would be good if she could find something to do using her past experience. “Masako is making efforts in compliance with the course of treatment provided by doctors. I also plan to continue to support her,” Crown Prince Naruhito said. The crown prince said that their daughter, Princess Aiko, had come to show consideration for those around her. When Crown Princess Masako was down with a cold on the evening of her birthday, he said Princess Aiko had brought a birthday cake into her bedroom. He added that Princess Aiko had taken an interest in sumo, and enjoyed playing around in sumo bouts with her parents. When asked how good Princess Aiko was at remembering the names of the sumo wrestlers, he said, “Frankly, I can’t match her.” Princess Aiko also likes watering vegetables everyday at the Crown Prince’s residence, and gives some of the results to her grandparents. He said he thought Princess Aiko’s training in her duties as a member of the Imperial household will begin “a little later,” citing his own childhood experiences. He also said he was happy to hear of signs that Princess Kiko, the wife of his brother, Prince Akishino, was pregnant. “For us it’s a very happy occasion.” He said that when Prince Akishino had contacted him by telephone, he had told him, “That’s great. Take care.” He would not comment on a government panel proposal to revise the Imperial House Law so females can ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne. “As (Princess Aiko’s) parent, I have various thoughts, but I would like to refrain from commenting further,” he said.

February 24th

The Imperial Household Agency has now officially announced that Princess Kiko of Japan is three months pregnant and is expected to give birth in late September. They said she is in a stable health condition. The agency is planning to form a team of doctors to prepare for the birth of the baby. The agency urged media to exercise “good sense and restraint” in reporting about the princess.

Next week’s christening of Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway has prompted a surprising number of European royals to make the trip to Oslo. More than 250 guests are expected, and among them will be more people with royal titles than ever before at a Norwegian christening, reports newspaper VG, noting that such a royal gathering hasn’t been seen since Princess Martha Louise married Ari Behn four years ago. The royal guests will include Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, like Princess Maxima of The Netherlands. The entire Norwegian royal family will be in attendance, including Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid and their families.

February 25th

Letters from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to her first cousin Diana Bowes-Lyon, who died 20 years ago, written between 1942 and 1948 will be sold on March 8 by Dominic Winter Book Auctions in South Cerney, Gloucestershire. The letters have been in private ownership for 30 years and are estimated to sell for £10,000. In the correspondence she discusses family, friends and the hardships of the war. The letters also reveal the Queen’s growing feelings for her present husband. The first reference is in a letter from Windsor Castle, dated November 30, 1943, when she was 17. “It’s such fun watching one’s friends getting engaged isn’t it? (not that I wish to get engaged myself! Oh! No!) I am now the proud possessor of a very large photograph of Philip, which stands on the mantelpiece and glowers at me. I had to go through a lot of ragging when it arrived, though I admit Mummy said, ‘He is a goodlooking boy’, at which I agreed!“

February 26th

This morning the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands and their daughters Amalia and Alexia posed during a photosession in Lech, Austria. They will stay in Lech for the next two weeks. Little Amalia stole the show. Although she is still too young to learn how to ski, she will surely be out in the snow a lot.

The inquiry into the Paris car crash that killed Diana Princess of Wales, headed by Lord Stevens, is trying to obtain the files about Henri Paul from the French secret service, after having heard he was working for the French secret service, but is being delayed by the reluctance of the authorities to hand them over. They want to see the files to establish whether Mr Paul was doing any work for the French intelligence on the night of the crash. Furthermore the inquiry has been told blood tests from Mr Paul were either faked or came from another dead man. Carbon monoxide (CO) levels apparently found in Mr Paul’s blood must have come from a suicide victim killed by inhaling exhaust fumes. One source said: “There has been talk that the gas levels in the Paul blood sample would have incapacitated him. But they miss the point. They would have killed him.”

February 27th

Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a cousin of Emperor Akihito of Japan, had an operation on Tuesday to remove throat cancer at Kyorin University Hospital in western Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said. He had been diagnosed with exhibiting an early stage of throat cancer after signs of cancer were detected during a regular checkup on February 7. It was his seventh operation to remove cancer. In the past, the prince had tumors removed from his esophagus, tongue and throat.

German Lukyanov, lawyer of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, said: “We have repeatedly sent documents to the Prosecutor General’s office addressed to the Prosecutor General with the request to send the rehabilitation case [of Russia’s last Tsar Nikolai II and his family] to court with a summary of the Prosecutor’s Office”. He cited an article of the law on rehabilitation of victims of political reprisals, according to which a rehabilitation case, if it is turned down, must be sent for a court review. Several members of the Imperial House of Russia appealed for rehabilitation of Nikolai II and members of his family, who were shot to death in Yekaterinburg in 1918, on December 1, 2005. On February 13, they got an answer denying the rehabilitation because of the absence of juridical reasons. “There is no accurate evidence of the existence of any official court or non-court decisions on using against the dead political repressions for political motives, as rehabilitation legislation requires, which does not allow us recognising the dead as victims of political repressions and making a decision on their rehabilitation,” the prosecutors answered. Meanwhile, the lawyer said that the answer from the Prosecutor General’s Office did not cite any law norms. “It is unknown for the modern society for what reasons the refusal has come”. He further said: “We also ask the Prosecutor-General to answer for what reasons the case has not been sent to court, as Russia is a democratic law-ruled state.”

February 28th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has switched to working a three-day week as she nears her 80th birthday. The move – which began last week – allows her to continue in the job she loves as Head of State, while at the same time taking account of her age. She will now work from Monday lunchtime to midday on Thursday and take extended weekends off at Windsor. The burden of many of her official duties has been taken on by other family members, including the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal. Senior regal sources insist the new arrangements are not a sign that the queen is preparing for ‘semi-retirement’ or to hand over power to Prince Charles. One source insisted: ‘The move is not a sign of frailty but simply common sense and self preservation.’ The queen will continue to carry out public engagements and will occasionally work on Fridays and Monday mornings. Her official spokesman admitted there is now ‘flexibility’ in the official schedule, but added: ‘Her programme will continue to be produced in accordance with her age and commitments.’

The Royal Palace in Norway has announced that Prince Sverre Magnus will have seven godparents. They are: Queen Sonja of Norway, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, Espen Høiby, Bjørn Steinsland and Marianne Gjellestad.

In a letter to Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn’s lawyer Mr Vos, Mr Kemper the lawyer of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme demands that Margarita’s (former) husband gives back the tape with a conversation between Margarita and her aunt Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. He also should never speak about the relationship between Margarita and her family again. He also should never write a book about Margaritagate. The publishing of confidential information from Margarita should be a violation of the personal sphere of life of the Princess, who also demands that Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn confirms that she never gave DNA-material to let it be examined. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is not impressed and says he wants to move to a country where the free word is better protected. Later today Princess Margarita said via her lawyer that she finds it ‘afterwards improper’ she made a recording of a conversation with her aunt Queen Beatrix and let it hear to others. She also said she never gave DNA-material.

March 1st

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has opened the new Welsh Assembly building, the Senedd, in Cardiff today – on St David’s Day. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Around noon the royal group were greeted in Cardiff Bay by a mixture of music from the Royal Welsh Regiment Band, cheers from hundreds of children and well-wishers, and boos and jeers from a variety of protesters. More than 500 guests from Europe and the commonwealth attended the opening. In her address to the chamber, the Queen said she hoped the building would become as important a symbol as the Houses of Parliament were. After the opening the royals had lunch at the St David’s Hotel. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attended a Welsh National Opera’s production of the Flying Dutchman with Bryn Terfel at the Wales Millennium Centre.

A new website on the life of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has been launched to mark her 80th birthday on 21 April. Galleries illustrate the Queen’s life and documents such as her birth certificate and letters are included. Letters include her first letter to her grandmother, Queen Mary. The website also features a series of interactive galleries illustrating the Queen’s life and contains more than 160 images. There is also a quiz on The Queen’s life and a page enabling visitors to send her a birthday greeting. On her birthday, the Queen will meet members of the public in a walkabout outside Windsor Castle. She will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and will later attend a birthday dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales. The day before that, the Queen will visit the BBC to mark the 80th anniversary of the granting of the Corporation’s Royal Charter. She will reopen Broadcasting House in Portland Place, central London, which has been undergoing redevelopment. She will also visit the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, to mark the 80th anniversary of the granting of the Institute’s Royal Charter.

An authorized biography of King Harald V of Norway is due to appear in the final week of October 2006, four months before the king’s 70th birthday. Per Egil Hegge is the author of the work, and he has spent the past two years interviewing King Harald. Hegge has also spoken with all of the adult members of the Norwegian royal family and a wide range of those who know the king through official or personal channels. The book will be well illustrated, with many photographs that have never before been published.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands had her first public engagement today. She had knee surgery at the end of December. The Queen received the nine Dutch medal winners of the Olympic Winter Games of Turin at Palace Huis ten Bosch. Gold medal winner speed skater Ireen Wüst said that the meeting with the Queen was super, ‘really a unique chance, and she was very nice’.

According to sources around him Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is willing to give up his fight against the Dutch royal family when 2 million euros is being paid to him. The Government Information Service said today that Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn has once offered a proposal of settlement in the past, but the royal family has rejected it.

March 3rd

Security at Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s official residence in Scotland – the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh – is being boosted six months after an intruder broke in. A metal fence is being erected on top of the seven foot wall surrounding the palace. The three-foot high structure is being built on the corner of the perimeter wall near the bottom of Salisbury Crags. It covers a section where the ground level inside the wall is higher than outside and could make it easier for someone to get into the grounds. The new fence will take the height to around ten feet. A second ornamental fence is being erected in front of it.

One day before the christening of Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway the royal house released several new pictures of Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their children. The pictures were taken at Skaugum, where the family lives.

Former King Michael of Romania will have about 7,000 hectares of forest land located in Arad County returned to him, according to the head of the Arad Forest Department, Mircea Meches. Mr Meches explained yesterday that the local authorities are analyzing the documents handed in by the Royal House’s lawyers, which proved that the forest land near the Savarsin and Birchis localities belonged to the former King. “Procedures are almost finalized and the former King will become the rightful owner in the weeks to come. It is the largest forest area that has ever been given back in the Arad County after 1989,” said Mr Meches. The King’s lawyer, Adrian Vasiliu, said that he is glad the request was solved without the involvement of courts. “There were some disagreements concerning the Forest Department’s buildings that now exist on this land. However, after a series of negotiations, we have reached a compromise and avoided going to court,” he said. Within less than a month, the Royal Family is also to have Bran castle and Peles Estate returned to them.

On Wednesday the Brunei High Court said that the Brunei Investment Agency was entitled to enforce the terms of a settlement reached in May 2000. The Agency has now said that it would ask the court to compel Prince jefri Bolkiah, brother of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, to turn over prime property in world capitals, including diamonds, cash and works of art. The BIA had resumed legal proceedings after Prince Jefri had consistently refused to comply with the terms of the 2000 settlement. Prince Jefri’s jet-setting playboy lifestyle was blamed by his brother’s government for massive losses in state funds, leading to his ouster as finance minister and BIA head in the late 1990s. Among properties being sought are the New York Palace Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles, 3-5 Place Vendome in Paris, StJohn’s Lodge in London and a mansion in Singapore. There is also real estate in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan as well as paintings, jewelry and cash in bank accounts around the world that the BIA wants returned.

March 4th

Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway was christened today at the chapel of the royal palace in Oslo by Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme. He was carried to the font by his grandmother Queen Sonja. The other sponsors were Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Princess Rosario of Bulgaria, Espen Høiby, Bjørn Steinsland and Marianne Gjellestad. Among the 165 attending guests were Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn with their two daughters, Princess Ragnhild Mrs Lorentzen with son Haakon, Princess Astrid Mrs Ferner with children Benedikte and Alexander, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Kyrill of Bulgaria. The bishop said: “The whole nation wishes good luck and thank the God of Life for the hope represented by the little one.” He added that the first pictures of the little Prince showed us a face with eyes that were wide awake, and an open face. “It is fascinating to look into a baby’s expecting and scrutinizing gaze. What will these eyes be experiencing and see in the days and years ahead.” Crown Princess Mette-Marit read the lesson from the Gospel of Matthew, and Kari Bremnes sang “Et lite barn som kommer” (A little Child a’coming), a song she had written for the Prince’s baptism. Prince Sverre Magnus himself wore the family’s baptismal dress made by his great-grandmother Princess Ingeborg in 1920. He however didn’t like his first big appearance very much and cried loudly throughout almost the whole ceremony. The chapel was decorated with blue, white and green flowers.

March 5th

Former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia claimed in a letter on his website he is afraid to return to Cambodia and will remain abroad indefinitely. He says he is homesick, but that he is sure that if he returns home, events will force him to leave the country again. “I always miss my homeland and my beloved compatriots but I do not return home yet,” he wrote.

March 6th

According to several newspapers Lord Stevens, after a two-year investigation into the death of the late Diana princess of Wales, plans to release an interim report saying there is no evidence she was killed unlawfully. It will conclude that she died in a simple car crash. The full report will go to the royal coroner in the next few months and will form part of the inquest into Diana’s death, due to be heard in the autumn. The team have found no evidence to contradict the French findings that Diana died in a tragic road traffic accident caused by excessive speed.

March 7th

Prince William of Wales and his girlfriend Kate Middleton are too young to marry, according to a survey carried out by Tatler magazine. 94% thought Prince William’s girlfriend would make a good wife, 62% believe she is the one, but only 13% think Prince William is ready to tie the knot. Most people, 82% think the couple are too young to wed. 75% believe Kate Middleton would make a down-to-earth princess, 9% thought she would be boring and 90% thought Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain would get on with her. Despite the fact that 82% believe Prince William would be faithful to her, 30% believe it is likely that a marriage would end in divorce. 74% believe it is right that the couple should live together before marriage and 94% believe it is okay for the future king to be having pre-marital sex with his future wife. 52% think they make a sexy couple and 82% said Prince William should marry “a commoner”. If the couple have four daughters, 33% said they should also try for a son. The poll comes as it was revealed that Kate Middleton has been voted into a list of the world’s 100 sexiest women. She ranks as prettier than Kate Moss and Chelsy Davy, girlfriend of Prince Harry of Wales, but is not as attractive as Jemima Khan.

Two armed men broke into the City Museum in Rio de Janeiro and stole objects used by Brazil’s imperial family in the 19th century, police said today. They didn’t know the value of the objects, which included silver swords, medals, an ivory fan and a gold-handled cane. The gunmen overpowered guards at the museum and also stole their wallets and mobile phones.

March 8th

The Duchess of Cornwall has made the top ten list of the world’s best-dressed women, compiled by Tatler magazine. She ended up in 10th place, behind a few supermodels, actresses and artists. Model Kate Moss was chosen as the best-dressed woman. Tatler editor Geordie Greig said: “The best-dressed British women of the past year have one thing in common: an understanding of fashion. They know just what suits them and how to make it work.” The Duchess is hailed as a “new Royal fashion icon”

28-year-old Countess Catherina Bernadotte af Wisborg, second daughter of the late Count Lennart and Countess Sonja Bernadotte af Wisborg has become engaged to 39-year-old Romuald Ruffing, marketing chef at Mainau. He proposed to her in a helicopter above an active volcano at the island Hawaii. The couple currently is making a world tour. A wedding date hasn’t been set yet.

March 9th

Some of the rarely seen treasures once owned by Emperor Qianlong (1711-99) of the Qing Dynasty, including an awe-inspiring ancient sabre, a piece of refined, embroidered satin, and a lavishly decorated pearl-work imperial court robe, will go on auction from 7 to 10 April at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong. Ranging from ancient paintings, handicrafts and jade ware to contemporary paintings and deluxe Swiss watches, the 2006 spring auction of Sotheby’s Hong Kong promises to offer art collectors much more. What might interest art lovers the most are the special sale of a total of 43 lots, including the sabre, satin, royal robe and jadeites, the organizers said.

March 10th

In a news conference crown Prince Naruhito of Japan said Japan’s ancient royal house should change with the times. “While honouring the duties we have been doing, I would like to find and perform duties that meet the modern times and those that we can do because we are of this generation,” the crown prince told reporters ahead of an official trip next week to Mexico, where he will deliver a speech at an international water summit. He said his wife Crown Princess Masako is now feeling better and enjoys watching their daughter Aiko grow up and she is busy making preparations for Aiko to start nursery school in April. But he said his wife was not yet fit to accompany him to Mexico. “I am hoping that a time would come soon when I can visit a foreign country with Masako,” the crown prince added. During the six day trip beginning March 15, the Crown Prince will also make a brief visit in Vancouver before returning to Tokyo on March 21. From 16 to 18 March the conference in Mexico will also be attended by the Prince of Orange.

March 11th

The International Paralympic Committee announced that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden will join the IPC Honorary Board. She joins Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Crown Princess Victoria has agreed to be an ambassador for the Paralympic Movement, helping the IPC to disseminate the positive values and message of the Paralympic Movement to as wide an audience as possible. “I am very pleased to have the possibility to support the Paralympic Movement. It makes a big difference, showing the great value of sports as a way of getting together across all borders. When I visited the Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004, I was deeply impressed by the wonderful spirit and great results,” stated HRH Crown Princess Victoria. She attended the Opening Ceremony of the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. Today, she will visit competitions in Alpine and Nordic Skiing. IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: “HRH Crown Princess Victoria has already shown her support of the Swedish Paralympic Committee on several occasions, also joining in the Paralympic School Day that took place in Sweden last year. I am confident that she will show the same support in the future.”

March 12th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Australia for a five-day tour, during which she among others will open the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She was greeted in Canberra by Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Governor-General Michael Jeffery. About 300 people shouted “God save the Queen” to greet the couple. The royal couple will fly to Singapore on Thursday for a two-day State visit.

Mohamed al-Fayed, whose son Dodi died with Diana Princess of Wales in the 1997 Paris car crash, is to legally challenge the royal coroner, Michael Burgess, in case he indeed appoints 12 royal courtiers to a jury. Mr Burgess will decide whether to appoint a jury to oversee the outcome of a criminal investigation by Lord Stevens, which is expected later this year, or judge it himself. Last week Mr Burgess said that if he ruled a jury was required, he had no choice but to have it selected from officers of the Queen’s household. He said: “The Coroners Act 1988 requires that jurors of an inquest held by the coroner of the Queen’s household should consist of officers of that household. This is contained in primary legislation and I have no power to vary this provision.” Lawyers for Mohamed al-Fayed claim that to have royal courtiers ruling on whether Diana Princess of Wales died unlawfully or by accident would make a mockery of the process. The lawyer of Mr al-Fayed says he will take Mr Burgess to the High Court to ensure a jury is formed of members of the public. This could delay the inquest to 2009.

March 13th

Today Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan visited Tokyo Disney Sea and Tokyo Disneyland with their 4-year-old daughter Aiko. Princess Aiko’s friends and their families joined them on the visit. When Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters greeted Aiko she appeared surprised and held on to her mother’s hand. The Imperial Household Agency officials said the crown prince and princess decided to take Princess Aiko to Tokyo Disney Resort because they wanted to “let her experience the same things other children of her generation are doing.” Princess Aiko is scheduled to enter Gakushuin Kindergarten in April.

March 14th

The Luxemburg grand-ducal court today announced that Prince Louis of Luxemburg and his girlfriend Tessy Antony had a son on Sunday, according to sources at the Birth Clinic Dr. Bohler auf Kirchberg. The baby received the name Gabriel. Mother and son are doing fine. Spokesman Claude Neu said: “The young couple has decided to let the birth take place in private.” He further said: “I assume that Prince Louis will recognise his little son, but the newly born therewith won’t be a member of the noble line.” There will not be an official photo. Prince Louis will finish his secondary school education in Switzerland in the next weeks.

A chamber discovered last month in the Valley of the Kings was a room used by the ancient Egyptians for mummifying pharaohs buried in the area, rather than a tomb, Egypt’s top archaeologist Zahi Hawass said yesterday. He said that five sarcophagi found in the chamber contained remnants of pottery, shrouds and materials used in mummification. The United States team from the University of Memphis which discovered the chamber had also opened ten jars found there to find other materials used in mummification. “This is not a tomb for nobles or relatives of a king, as had been thought, but rather it is a room for mummification,” Mr Hawass said.

March 15th

The Danish magazine Billed-Bladet today revealed that the new girlfriend of Prince Joachim of Denmark is 30-year-old French Marie Cavallier. She was born in Paris on 6 February 1976, and has four elder brothers. She and her mother moved from Paris to Switzerland after the divorce of her parents when she was 13. She studied at University in Boston and afterwards had an IT-job in New York. She now works for her stepfather’s company in Geneva, Switzerland. The couple met two years ago at a dinner when they both still had a relationship. They kept in touch and about half a year ago the love became stronger and stronger. In the interview with Billed-Bladet Marie Cavallier said: “Prince Joachim is a wonderful person. He’s so warm, sweet, and very affectionate. He’s been through a very hard period and dealt with a lot of difficult things. But he’s also a very patient and honest person. I love him very much.” Recently she visited Joachim’s home Schackenborg for the first time: “It was delightful. We had a wonderful weekend, and Joachim showed me around his palace,”she said, adding that she looked forward to returning. Asked whether there would be a wedding in the future she answered: “That’s a big palace for one man all by himself – but let’s see what the future brings.” She has met Prince Nikolai during a skiing holiday in Val Torens in February, but she hasn’t met Prince Felix yet, nor any other member of the Danish royal family.

March 16th

On Tuesday the Duke of Kent will receive the first Spirit of Kent Award after attending the Lieutenancy of Kent’s Civic Service at Rochester. The award was introduced by Lord Lieutenant Allan Willett to mark conspicuous service to the county and its people. The Duke was unanimously chosen by a panel of county representatives. The Lord Lieutenant said: “This is not an award made out of courtesy to him because of his title. It is made to him in his own right for the wonderful contribution he and his family have made over five decades. He has worked tirelessly, steadfastly and selflessly – always a good friend to our county.”

In an interview during his tour through Cambodia and Vietnam Prince Joachim of Denmark for the first time spoke about his new relationship. He said: “I am a happy man. If I am brimming with joy, it’s because I am. I’m not complaining.”

The Bulgarian parliament opened an inquiry into the restitution of family property to former King Simeon, as the prosecutor’s office investigated if the family had salvaged state property along with its own. The parliamentary commission “met Thursday to find out what property has been restored and discuss any eventual legal problems linked to this restitution”, the commission chairman, left-wing deputy Plamen Ranchev, told state television.

March 17th

The Prince of Wales has won a legal battle stopping the publication of his Hong Kong diary, but must go to trial to stop seven others being published. The prince’s lawyers argued he was entitled to keep his travel journals, in which he called himself a “political dissident”, private. His private secretary Sir Michael Peat said the prince was pleased he had “won on all points”. Sir Michael Peat described the judgment as “an excellent outcome”. “When we brought legal proceedings we brought them with regret,” he said. “There was nothing in the Hong Kong journal that we were ashamed of. It was a matter of principle over a stolen document being made public.” Sir Michael said the judge awarded the prince 80% of his legal costs and any damages awarded would be given to charity. The Mail on Sunday is to appeal the decision regarding the Hong Kong diary. Clarence House said the trial over the remaining diaries – which are still held by the Mail on Sunday – would involve a one-day hearing, and would not involve the Prince of Wales giving evidence. The paper has agreed not to publish any extracts from them without giving the prince 24 hours warning.

Monarchs from 14 countries will attend celebrations marking the 60th year on the throne of King Bhumibol of Thailand later this year. The monarchs of Brunei, Swaziland, Monaco, Japan, Lesotho, Nepal, Sweden, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia and Cambodia will come to Thailand to participate in the celebrations, Government Spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said yesterday. Royal delegations are being sent by the Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Bhutan, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway, Spain, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Tonga, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

March 21st

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have arrived in Egypt at the start of a two-week tour of the Middle East and India. On Nile TV the prince yesterday said: “My heart is incredibly heavy from all the destruction and death that occurs. It’s tolerance, it’s understanding of what other people hold sacred, which I think is so vital.” He said he had tried to warn of the growing problems between Islam and the West during a speech in Oxford in 1993. In the interview yesterday he said: “I have a dreadful feeling that what I was trying to say then, what I was warning about seems to have been coming about.” Today the prince received an honorary degree of Al-Azhar University. Last night the royal couple met the Aga Khan at al-Azhar Park. Later they had a private tour of the Egyptian Museum, which holds treasures from Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The Oldie magazine has named the Duchess of Cornwall Spouse of the Year. The Duchess said she was ‘lost for words’ at being named so by the satirical magazine. She said she regretted being unable to attend the awards ceremony organized because she was on “spousing duties” in “some far-flung corner of the globe.” Her speech was read by friend and author Jilly Cooper. Mrs Cooper said the Duchess was “absolutely knocked out, thrilled to bits” to receive the award.

March 22nd

The Hanyang mausoleum, where the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD), Liu Qi, and his Empress are buried, will open to public at the end of this month in the city of Hanyang, northwest China, local government said yesterday. Part of the mausoleum has been built into the country’s first fully underground museum. The tomb covers about 12 square kilometers. The mausoleum displays tens of thousands of cultural relics, such as colored terra-cotta warriors and a variety of animals statues from the tomb.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will spend more than 50 million Baht to decorate Bangkok ahead of celebrations of King Bhumibol of Thailand’s 60th year on the throne, officials said yesterday. About 23 million Baht will be spent to decorate Rattanakosin Island with flowers and other plants, and a contractor would be hired to produce 31 decorative arches at a cost of about 30 million Baht. The arches will be completed by April 6. Pamphlets explaining the meaning of the arches would be distributed to the public. The renovation of the Chakri Throne Hall shall be completed in May. The King is scheduled to host a reception for visiting monarchs and their spouses on June 23.

Kyara van Ellinkhuizen gave birth to a daughter at the Clinica Mangiagalli in Milan on 19 March. She will be named Ginevra Maria Gabriella, and upon christening she will also receive the name Beatrice in honour of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The baby’s father, the Duke of Aosta, visited the baby at hospital. He said he will ask for DNA examinations first before recognising the baby.

March 23rd

Crown Princess Masako of Japan attended her first solo royal engagement in two years today. She looked relaxed and confident when she met medical staff at Tokyo’s St Luke hospital. She chatted with doctors in the clinic’s pediatric wing and was given information about the center’s work by surgeon Ryota Hosoya.

Archduke Otto of Austria has been declared an honorary citizen of Sarajevo. Sarajevo Mayor Semiha Borovac presented him the Charter at a ceremony in the City Council in Sarajevo today. She said that the archduke has shown true friendship by promoting the truth about Sarajevo during the worst days of the aggression against Bosnia Hercegovina, when the city was under siege and brutally killed and destroyed every day. “You have remained our true ambassador of peace, tolerance and friendship. Your word is a word of truth and it carries immeasurable value for our city, our present and our future”, Borovac said. She also thanked him for supporting the road of Bosnia Hercegovina towards Europe. “Europe without Bosnia Hercegovina is not Europe”, archduke Otto of Austria. He said that he never felt a foreigner in Sarajevo and that he was “born a Bosnian because Bosnia Hercegovina was a part Austro-Hungary at the time”. “As long as I live I will stand by your side”, he said.

March 24th

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Ari Behn have lodged a complaint against the magazine Se og Hør at the Pressens Faglige Utvalg. They are angry about a photo report of their daughter Maud Angelica on a horse in the magazine.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his girlfriend Charlene Wittstock are to sue the French weekly magazine Paris Match over snatched pictures, their lawyer said today. “In the name of the Prince and Charlene Wittstock, I shall sue the company publishing Paris Match for invasion of privacy including the taking of pictures,” Thierry Lacoste said. The lawsuit follows the publication in the issue dated March 16 of a story headlined “Albert and Charlene, a foretaste of honeymoon” showing pictures of the pair holidaying in a luxury hotel in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The photos were chiefly taken from the sea looking into the open part of the couple’s bungalow. Lacoste said he would be asking for 50,000 euros in damages.

March 26th

The Duchess of Cornwall’s 26-year-old daughter, Laura Parker Bowles, will marry 29-year-old Harry Lopes, in May in Wiltshire.

March 27th

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have begun a tour of the northern state of Punjab, as part of a six-day visit to India. They were welcomed in the state capital Chandigarh by Punjabi folk dancers, before they moved on to the princedom of Patiala. The Prince also visited two Punjab villages, where he met organic farmers. On Tuesday the royal couple are scheduled to visit the historic Sikh shrine of Keshgarh in Anandpur Sahib town. On Sunday, they met members of the England cricket team who are playing in India.

Prince Abdul Rahman ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad Al-Sudairy, uncle of the late King Fahd and former governor of Al-Jouf, died yesterday at the age of 89 after a prolonged illness, the Royal Court announced. Funeral prayers for the late prince were held at Imam Turki ibn Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.

March 28th

Prince Albert II of Monaco has been hospitalized for removal of a common cyst near his shoulder, the princely palace said today. He was expected to undergo a “small general anesthetic” and required a stay of about a day at Princess Grace Hospital Center. The palace did not say how big or what type of cyst was being removed.

March 29th

The Dutch magazine Privé has to pay 3000 Euros compensation for publishing photos of the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima and Princess Amalia of the Netherlands in bathing- costume in Porto Ercole, Italy, last September. The court forbids Privé to publish private pictures of the family in the coming two years. For every edition of Privé carrying photos of the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima in private the magazine has to pay a penal sum of 50.000 euros. For photos of Princess Amalia they will even have to pay a penal sum of 100.000 euros per edition. Everything up to a maximum of 10.000.000 euros. Privé has now announced that they are thinking of signing the mediacode after all.

Official photos of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, commissioned to mark her 80th birthday, have been taken by Lord Snowdon. An official photo will be available for publication on Thursday 20th April, the day before the Queen’s birthday. A downloadable version will be available on the Internet for non-commercial or non-media purposes. A further official photo will be available for publication on Sunday 23rd April. Photographic portraits of the Queen have been taken by Jane Bown. One photograph will be available for publication in the national media on Tuesday 4th April. The other image will be available for publication, first in the regional media, on Monday 10th April.

Prince Harry of Wales has taken his place alongside his brother Prince William as the lastest waxwork at Madame Tussauds in Londno. The museum said they waited until his 21nd birthday despite receiving thousands of requests. A spokeswoman said it was “only right to complete the circle of the immediate Royal Family by including him”. Like his brother the wax Harry is wearing a double breasted suit, shirt and tie. A spokeswoman said as yet there were no plans for the Duchess of Cornwall to join them. “We poll our guests on who they want to see, and Camilla isn’t a very popular choice yet.”

Lawyers for descendants of Russia’s former imperial family said today they would file suit to clear the name of Tsar Nicholas II if prosecutors were unwilling to do so. Lawyer German Lukyanov said the Prosecutor General’s Office on Tuesday had refused to take the Nicholas II case to a higher court, without giving any specific legal reasons. The refusal comes a month after prosecutors had turned down a request to recognize Russia’s last tsar as a victim of Bolshevik repression and clear him of all political charges.

March 31st

Deputy Prime Minister Mr Surakiart Sathirathai announced yesterday that monarchs from 15 countries have accepted the invitation to join the celebrations of the 60th anniversary to the throne of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in June. These 15 countries are Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Nepal, Qatar, Sweden and Swaziland. Others countries, including Denmark, Spain, Morocco, Tonga, Bhutan, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Great Britain, have confirmed that other members of the royal familes will participate.

April 1st

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima ended a three-day state visit to Princess Máximas native country Argentina, with a visit to the MALBA Museum and a talk about biotechnology. The family, including Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia, already arrived in Argentina on March 24 for a private holiday. The official visit started on March 30, when the family was received by President Néstor Kirchner. They also visited an exhibition on human rights of the Anne Frank Foundation, attended a lunch, visited the congress and laid a wreath at the memorial for General José de San Martin. In the evening there was a state banquet at the Palacio San Martin. On Friday the family visited the Dutch community at Tres Arroyos. Back in Buenos Aires they among others visited the San Telmo quarter. In the evening Queen Beatrix had invited to the Teatro Colón for a ballet by Introdans. President Kirchner cancelled his presence saying he was too busy solving the problems in the country. Queen Beatrix also had a private conversation with two Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in the evening. The family will spent some more days in the north of Argentina before heading home on Monday evening.

King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium, together with Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde with children, as well as Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz with children were received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

April 2nd

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent will have to repay a loan of at least £2.000.000 when they sell Nether Lypiatt Manor, in Bisley, Gloucestershire. Land Registry documents reveal that the couple remortgaged the house a few months before putting it on sale in May last year. The couple decided to sell Nether Lypiatt after Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain told them she would not pay the rent on their London apartment at Kensington Palace beyond 2009.

According to a poll by ICM Research published in the Daily Mail 51% of the respondents would like the British royal family to slim down. 57% of the respondents believe Queen Elizabeth II should carry on unchanged until she dies. Also 57% of the respondents believe the Prince of Wales should become King, while 40% would like the crown to pass directly to his son Prince William. ICM Research made telephone interviews with 1009 British adults.

April 3rd

A party at Sunninghill Park celebrating the 16th birthday of Princess Eugenie of York turned into a drunken binge. The Duke and Duchess of York had spent 30.000 pounds on a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme party on March 18. Champagne was laid on but the 50-odd high-society guests brought their own hard liquor and the party rapidly descended into a binge. One of the onlookers was quoted as saying: “It was completely out of control. There were stains on the carpets and cigarette burns on floors and furnitures. I wouldn’t have wanted to be there when Prince Andrew saw it. Eugenie and Bea were clearly concerned, but there was little they could do as everyone was so p****d (drunk)”. An anonymous guest said: “No one wanted to sit and eat and the drink was flowing. Couples started pairing off and disappearing to dark corners.” Contract Options, the company in charge of cleaning Sunninghill Park, was quoted as saying: “It was like a bomb had gone off, the house was in a real state. There were empty bottles and broken glasses. It took all day to clean up.”

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway has started a 28-day tour through half a dozen of states of the USA to promote the children’s book “Why kings and queens don’t wear crowns” she released last year. She will read from her book and sign copies for buyers.

April 5th

BBC One will broadcast a two-part documentary on April 9 and April 16 about Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The BBC followed 12 months of the life of the Queen , who will turn 80 on April 21. As the documentary followed the Queen, the BBC gained exclusive footage of events during her working year. Among others home movies shot by and featuring the Queen are to be shown publicly for the first time. The Queen first took up a camera shortly after her marriage. The documentary will also show films from World War II. Other footage in the documentary includes black and white images from Coronation Day, 2 June 1953.

A solid-gold sword presented during their sister’s wedding at Buckingham Palace by the Prince Regent to his brother the Duke of Cambridge in 1816 to mark the Duke’s appointment as the Viceroy of Hanover in May that year will go under the hammer tomorrow for up to £100,000.

A new book has collected the opinions of 15 authors on why the Swedish monarchy is enjoying 80% approval ratings, despite the fact that it has long been stripped of any formal political power. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, head auditor for the United Nations, says a strong and presidential prime minister paves the way for a popular king. “His power is strengthened by being a bit outside [the political fray]. Whatever he says becomes quite ‘kingly’,” she says. Historian Dick Harrison writes that this non-political monarchy is the most powerful one in Sweden’s history. “The King now acts out the role formerly practiced by queens,” he says. “He really lives up to the phrase, ‘for Sweden’, and that’s why he has 80% approval ratings.” Republicans in favour of making commoners out of the royal family are also given space in the new book.

65-year-old Issei Nomura will become the top official in charge of the household of Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, the government said at a Cabinet meeting yesterday. Hideki Hayashida, the current grand master of the household, will leave office tomorrow. Mr Nomura has served as ambassador to Russia, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Belarus since 2002. Before he served as ambassador to Malaysia and Germany. He has close relations with the parents of Crown Princess Masako.

April 6th

A memorial service was being held today at the cathedral in Monte Carlo to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Prince Rainier III of Monaco. The memorial service was attended by Prince Albert II of Monaco, his sisters Caroline and Stéphanie, Prince Ernst August of Hannover and the three eldest children of Princess Caroline.

April 7th

The state budget for maintaining the royal family of Norway dipped into the red last year, with expenses exceeding state funding by nearly 3.200.000 million Norwegian crowns. Much of the cost overrun was blamed on expenses tied to last year’s centennial celebrations. Both the cost of running the royal palace in Oslo, where King Harald and Queen Sonja live, and the cost of Crown Prince Haakon’s estate west of Oslo exceeded their budgets.

4-year-old Princess Aiko of Japan will take part in an entrance ceremony next Tuesday at the Gakushuin Kindergarten in Tokyo, the Imperial Household Agency said today. Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako will also attend the event.

April 8th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is having a giant henhouse built at Balmoral to help protect her chickens from bird flu. Yesterday staff were constructing a chalet-style building and a 7ft fence after the UK’s first case of the lethal H5N1 strain was found in a dead swan. Balmoral lies just a few miles outside a zone around the spot where it was found.

More than 25.000 people protested in the streets of Bharatpur, a town in the south of Nepal, today. The protesters demand that King Gyanendra restores democracy in Nepal. They set fire to at least half a dozen government offices and forced riot police to retreat from the main square in Bharatpur, a government official said. The demonstration at Bharatpur is the biggest so far in nationwide protests called by the country’s main political parties to protest the king’s rule. One person was killed and two were injured when police opened fire on protesters in the resort town of Pokhara, about 125 miles west Katmandu.

April 9th

An official photograph of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall has been released to mark the couple’s first wedding anniversary today. The image, one of five captured by Mario Testino, shows Prince Charles and Camilla in the garden of Clarence House, their London residence. The other pictures, taken inside Clarence House and in its garden, will be published in the May issue of British Vogue. The couple are spending their first anniversary at Birkhall, on Balmoral Estate, where they honeymooned. They attended a church service at nearby Crathie Parish Church on Sunday morning.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has confirmed his acceptance to become a member of the International Paralympic Committee Honorary Board. He attended the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games and watched the final day of Alpine Skiing competition and the Closing Ceremony. IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: “We are extremely pleased that Prince Albert has agreed to become a member. He is not only a Head of State and an IOC member, but also a former athlete. His genuine interest in winter sport and Paralympic sport shone through during his afternoon at Alpine Skiing in Sestriere.” Prince Albert said: “I am delighted to be able to bring my modest contribution to the development of the Paralympic sport and to be an additional link of friendship between the Olympic Movement and the IPC”.

The museum at the Marienburg near Hannover, ancestral home of the royal family of Hannover, has reopend on Saturday after renovation. Also rooms that weren’t accessible for the public before are open now. It also will be possible to marry in the chapel of the castle.

Hereditary Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and his wife Priscilla had their first child, a son called Ludovico, on 5 April at Milan.

April 10th

Jewellery, furniture and works of art that belonged to the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain is to go under the hammer at Christie’s on June 13 and 14 in London. Viscount Linley prepares to sell off items from the collection of his mother. The pieces due to be auctioned include the Poltimore tiara, expected to fetch well over £250,000, which she wore on her wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones. The upcoming jewellery sale is expected to attract huge interest and up to £2 million in total. The sale is to help her children Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto to pay an inheritance tax. Many of the items had been left over from Margaret’s apartment after it was cleaned out by her family, Rhiannon Bevan John, a spokeswoman for Christie’s said: “They can’t keep everything obviously. They felt the best way to dispose (of the possessions) … was through a public auction to give people the chance to own their own little piece of royal history,”

Nether Lypiatt, the house of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, has been sold after having been on the market for almost a year. It has been sold for a little short of its original £6 million price. Contracts have been exchanged on a price of £5.75 million, it is thought. A spokesman for the couple said yesterday: “I cannot say anything about the price or who has bought it.”

Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, the Ghanaian Dagbon king, was buried late this night in the town of Yendi for years after he was beheaded during a bloody dispute between rival royal clans on March 25, 2002. He had reigned for 28 years. It has taken four years to name a successor and rebuild the palace that was destroyed during the fighting. According to Dagbon custom, the king could not be buried until the matter was resolved. The late monarch’s 32 wives travelled from the town of Tamale to Yendi on Sunday with motorcycle escorts to attend the highly symbolic ceremony. Other members of the royal family, government officials as well as civil society organisations that have been working to resolve the four-year dispute also attended. The viewing of the King’s body was limited to a few people. In terms of the deal, the late King’s first son, Kankupya Na Abdullai Andani, a 40-year-old primary school teacher, is now to be named regent.

April 11th

A locket containing hair from the head of Bonnie Prince Charlie is expected to fetch £1,000 when it goes on sale at Sotheby’s in London on 26 April. It was found in Braemar Castle, once the site of Jacobite resistance.

Princess Aiko of Japan has entered kindergarten in Tokyo this morning joining about 50 other new entrants in a ceremony. She is set to spend two years at Gakushuin Kindergarten in Tokyo’s Mejiro district. The princess arrived with her parents around 9.45am dressed in a navy-blue uniform and holding a bag decorated with a dog pattern. The head of the kindergarten came out and greeted the family before going inside for the entrance ceremony. Princess Aiko is set to participate in various outings and sports events during her time at kindergarten.

The Transylvanian castle of Bran near Brasov that inspired the Dracula legend is to be returned to their previous owners decades after Romanian Communists confiscated it. The Romanian government is to give over the ownership to 68-year-old Archduke Dominic of Austria, son of Princess Ileana of Romania, in a few weeks time, the Romanian culture minister, Adrian Iorgulescu, has announced. The handover could be completed within a month. The castle was built in 1212 by German knights and later used by Prince Vlad Tepes of Wallachia, otherwise known as Vlad the Impaler, as a base for his incursions into Transylvania. The Archduke, who grew up at the castle until 1948 says: “This ‘Dracula Castle’ was an invention of the last regime – the communists.” The family first put in a claim in for the castle in 2000. The Archduke will share the ownership of the castle with his two younger sisters Maria Magdalena and Elisabeth. Other familymembers chose to renounce their claim.

April 12th

Prince Harry of Wales has graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an Army officer. His passing out parade was inspected by his grandmother – Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The Queen stopped to have a few words with her grandson during the parade, after which he broke out in a broad grin. Afterwards the Queen gave a speech to the cadets where she described the parade as a “great occasion”. “This day marks the beginning of what I hope will be highly successful careers,” she said. “My prayers and my trust go with you all.” She also presented the prestigious Sword of Honour to the best cadet and also handed out the Overseas Medal and the Queen’s Medal, before addressing the newly-commissioned officers. The ceremony was also attended by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William. Prince Harry is to join the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals. He becomes a 2nd Lieutenant, his rank is referred to as a Cornet and he will serve in an armoured reconnaissance unit. He will train to become a troop commander, in charge of 11 men and four light tanks, and could serve in a conflict zone.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) today announced that Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway will serve as its new Special Representative, advocating for action to combat the spread of the disease and to help those affected by it. The Crown Princess is planning to generate more attention and support for young people living with and affected by HIV, and will work to raise awareness on the stigma surrounding people living with the virus, the agency said. She will visit the UNAIDS Secretariat in Geneva later this month to learn more about the work of UNAIDS.

April 13th

A court in Amsterdam ruled that Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is not to make public a tape of a ‘lively’ argument in January 2002 between his estranged wife, Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, and her aunt, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. De Roy van Zuydewijn retained a copy of the tape and has been refusing to return it. A transcript of the tape in which the Queen spoke harshly to Princess Margarita was read on talk show ‘Barend en Van Dorp’ on Talpa television last week. The court ruled Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn will have to pay a EUR 50,000 fine if he publishes the tape after all. De Roy van Zuydewijn claims he no longer has the tape as it has been stolen. The Princess is also seeking compensation from Talpa.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his team of seven have today started a 92km journey on dog-pulled sledges to the North Pole leaving the Russian tent camp of Barneo. They hope to reach their destination on Sunday. Prince Albert was first flown in a Boeing Business jet from Sweden to the Norwegian outpost of Svalbard, and then by a twin-jet Russian Antonov-74 to a makeshift landing strip at Barneo. The prince says he is using the trip to raise awareness of the dangers of global warming. The trip will also pay tribute to his great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert I of Monaco, who made a similar trek in 1906. “Prince Albert is in excellent form, full of energy and aiming for victory,” trip co- ordinator Dmitry Shparo said.

Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium still haven’t issued pictures of their now four-month-old twins Nicolas and Aymeric. The newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports now that the reason is that the Prince finds them ‘a bit ugly’.

April 14th

Nepal’s main political parties have rejected an offer by King Gyanendra of Nepal to participate in talks which the king says could pave the way for elections. In an address to the nation, the king said he would open up a dialogue with the opposition and hold elections. But the opposition said the king’s offer contained nothing new and protests would continue. The opposition has accused the king of trying to hold on to direct rule and say he has not taken account of the protesters’ demands. “The king has failed to address the protests and the movement for democracy. He is only using the offer for dialogue to try prolong his rule,” said Krishna Sitaula of the largest party, the Nepali Congress party. “We will intensify the protests until we get rid of the autocratic monarchy,” he said.

April 15th

King Abdullah II of Jordan today hosted a luncheon banquet celebrating the wedding ceremony of Prince Hashem Bin Al Hussein and his bride Princess Fahdah, daughter of Sheikh Mohammad Ben Ibrahim Ben Sulayman Abu Neyan. King Abdullah and princes of the royal family princes welcomed the guests, among them Jordanian dignitaries, notables, tribal leaders, refugee camps representatives, members of diplomatic corps, senior civilian and military officials and many other public figures. King Abdullah also welcomed guests and will wishers from Saudi Arab and Oman, among them the father of the bride and her grandfather Sheikh Turkey bin Khaled al-Sedeiri. The nuptials were celebrated under a large tent pitched up on an outdoor lot in the royal palaces compound. “It is the happiest moment in my life to be with you on this blessed day,” King Abdullah said. He thanked all Jordanians who came from all parts of the kingdom to share the royal family this happy occasion. No picture of the newly wed couple was issued.

April 16th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark today celebrated her 66th birthday at Marselisborg in Aarhus. She was accompanied by Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary and little Prince Christian.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his team have reached the North Pole on their four-day expedition to highlight global warming. The Prince planted a flag of Monaco and one of the International Olympic Committee, of which he is a member. The prince said: “We must try to find solutions [to global warming], with scientists obviously, but at the individual level.” Prince Albert II is the first head of state in office to reach the pole. The prince told by telephone that he had seen the effects of global warming during the trip, with some channels to the Pole barely frozen. “I think everyone by their behaviour can make their small contribution to a global and extraordinary effort,” he said. Te prince said the 91km (56-mile) trip had in fact lasted 150km with the need to skirt ice outcrops. “It was a physically difficult journey because it isn’t a straight line. When you have blocks of ice that crash into each other they make pretty impressive little hills to climb,” he told. Two team members fell into icy water at one stage but were unharmed.

April 18th

Of 1.500 people polled for ITV News, 68% of the participants want a Monarch for Great Britain and 57% want Queen Elizabeth II to reign until she dies. However, 16% of those polled would like the Queen to retire and make way for her grandson Prince William. But just 12% want the Prince of Wales to rule. 13% do not want a successor at all. They want Great Britain to become a republic. The poll also showed that the Duchess of Cornwall still hasn’t been accepted. When asked if the Prince of Wales would become King, should the Duchess of Cornwall become Queen, 57% said no while 29% said yes. The Duchess of Cornwall was also the least favourite of all royals, with just 1% of the vote while Queen Elizabeth II topped the poll with 26%. Prince William was second with 21% and the Princess Royal third with 11%. The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry came joint fourth with 4% each.

April 19th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain had lunch with 99 people who were born on the same day as her – 21 April 1926 – as part of her 80th birthday celebrations. She described the 70 women and 29 men who attended the Buckingham Palace reception as her “exact twins”. The guests were treated to a three-course lunch, with the main course of filet de boeuf bordelaise being served on a royal silver dinner service normally reserved for state banquets. The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, told her guests “we can and should count our blessings”. “I doubt whether any of us would say the last 80 years has been plain sailing. “But we can give thanks for our health and happiness, the support we receive from our families and friends, some wonderful memories and the excitement that each new day brings.” She thanked her guests for coming, adding: “I hope all those of you who are my exact twins will make the most of our special day on Friday. A happy birthday to you all.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has won this year’s United Nations Development Programme Award for his decades-long dedication to Thailand’s development through royal works and many royally initiated projects. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has requested an audience with the King to present the award. Annan would visit Thailand between May 25 and May 27.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga returned to New Zealand on April 13 to undergo further medical check-ups, the Palace Office in Nuku’alofa confirmed today. He already lived in Auckland from December 2005 to March 18, 2006. The king was expected to return to Tonga in the second week of May. Princess Pilolevu was Princess Regent following the departure of the king on April 13 until the Easter weekend, when Crown Prince Tupouto’a returned to Tonga from overseas.

April 21st

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain celebrated her 80th birthday today. Shortly after noon she and the Duke of Edinburgh made a walkabout in the town centre of Windsor. The Band of the Irish Guards played ‘Happy Birthday’ as the couple emerged from the castle. The Queen – dressed in a pink coat and hat – accepted gifts, cards and flowers as she walked around the town for 45 minutes. In the evening the Prince of Wales hosted a private family dinner at the King’s Dining Room at the newly restored Kew Palace. The dinner was attended by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry, the Duke of York with Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Timothy Laurence with Peter and Zara Phillips, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, Viscount and Viscountess Linley and the Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto. They enjoyed a three-course dinner which included delicacies from the Royal estates. Hebridean smoked salmon, Juniper-roast loin of Sandringham Estate venison and birthday chocolate sponge cake filled with a Highgrove fruit filling, were among the delights. Afterwards they all watched a firework display, set to music from the last 80 years. In a speech broadcasted on television and radio the Prince of Wales, as the “proud and loving son”, thanked the Queen for the “many wonderful qualities she has brought to almost an entire lifetime of service and dedication”.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden gave an interview to news agency TT upon the occasion of his 60th birthday on April 30. “I remember very well when the Crown Princess turned 27, and I said, jokingly: “just so you know – I was your age when I succeeded my grandfather”. “She was pretty terrified. She didn’t really feel ready for it – perhaps one never does,” he laughs. The King’s father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, died before his son’s first birthday, and the little prince grew up with four older sisters and a mother, Princess Sibylla, who was often absent. The king says he thinks his upbringing without any close male role-models has had an effect on his own role as a father. “I can’t think of any examples, but you try to treat your own children as you would like to be treated yourself.” He said that as a boy he wanted to be a farmer. The future is also likely to contain grandchildren. The king says his 60th birthday is a good milestone, and a “time of reflection.” When he was a child his sisters used to wake him with a song and a cake – a tradition his own family has taken up, “and the dogs – that’s all part of it. They have lovely rosettes around their necks on my birthday.” Asked if he had a birthday wish, the king answered “good weather. There are going to be so many outdoor events, so good weather will make it more pleasant for everyone.”

Kuwaiti police have arrested a member of the ruling Al-Sabah family with a large drugs haul, including at least 10 kilogrammes of cocaine, a few kilogrammes of heroin and hashish. The prince’s name was not revealed. His arrest came at the orders of Interior and Defence Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak al-Sabah. The drugs were found at the prince’s house.

April 22nd

Gabriel-Michael-Louis-Ronny, son of Prince Louis of Luxemburg and Tessy Antony, was christened today at the parish church of Gilsdorf at 15.00. He was born in Genève on 12 March. The godparents of the baby are Princess Alexandra of Luxemburg and Ronny Antony, brother of Tessy. The christening was attended by family members of both families, including Grand Duke Henri, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxemburg.

King Gyanendra of Nepal last night vowed to end his absolute rule and hand back “power to the people”, 14 months after he seized control, setting off protests that ended in weeks of violent confrontation. But political leaders said that his promise fell short of their demands and that the protests would continue. In a television address King Gyanendra said that he had an unflinching commitment towards constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy. He called on the seven-party alliance to name a prime minister as soon as possible. “Executive power shall, from this day, be returned to the people,” he said.

April 23rd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has appointed her two youngest sons the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex as Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. As Members of the Royal family, the appointments of The Duke of York and The Earl of Wessex are additional to the established number of 24 Knights Companions.

Princess Benedikte of Denmark has launched a website as part of her campaign for the elections of the President of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.

April 25th

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has been named a special emissary in the United Nations’ global war on AIDS today. This assignment will last two years, with both sides having the option to seek to extend it. The crown princess will concentrate especially on programs for youth and young adults, and she is expected to travel with UNAIDS several times. She began a two-day visit to UNAIDS in Geneva, Switzerland today. She will take part in a global conference on HIV/AIDS in Toronto, Canada in August.

Law firm Harbottle & Lewis, lawyers for Prince William of Wales’ girlfriend Kate Middleton, have made further complaints to newspapers and picture agencies about the publication of photographs they claim breached her privacy. has warned the Daily Mail, Daily Star and the Sun and the picture agencies Big Pictures and Matrix after they ran photographs of Ms Middleton sitting at a bus stop. The recent warnings follow legal letters sent last October following the publication of photographs and articles of Ms Middleton in her private life. “The circumstances surrounding the taking of photographs is the subject of correspondence to the newspapers and picture agencies involved and that correspondence has also been copied to the Press Complaints Commission,” said solicitor Gerrard Tyrrell.

A 22-year-old man was jailed for three months for insulting Princess Stephanie of Monaco. He confronted the princess and made derogatory comments about her appearance as she left a restaurant in the Principality with her former husband Daniel Ducruet and her children on Saturday. According to a witness, Daniel Ducruet then fought with the man. Court today found the man guilty of defamation and provocation.

Prince Hussein, second son of the Aga Khan, has become engaged to American Kristin J. White. The marriage is to take place in the autumn. Kristin White has converted to the Islam and has taken the name of Khaliya. The couple met during their studies at Columbia University, USA.

April 26th

A letter signed by both the Prince and Princess of Wales was sold for £1182 yesterday. It was sent to staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to say thank you for helping treat Prince William. He suffered a fractured skull after being hit on the head with a golf club in June 1991. In the letter, the Prince of Wales wrote: “I only hope that being involved with a royal patient has not seriously affected your health.” The letter was bought by a collector at an auction in Wareham, Dorset.

A lock of hair believed to be from the head of Bonnie Prince Charlie was auctioned for more than £2,600, more than three times its original estimated value. The hair is contained in a George III gold-mounted glass locket which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London.

In a rare interview King Mswati of Swaziland said this week his country is not ready for political parties and criticised foreign governments for meddling in its internal affairs. “Most countries that adopted multi-party systems of government and succeeded to rule without internal strife had healthy economies, while the poor nations have continued to experience conflict. What we need to do right now as a country is to build our economy to a sustainable level where the introduction of multi parties can operate with a reasonable degree of success,” he said. He criticised the governments of Great Britain and the Netherlands, and South Africa’s trade unions, for interference in the internal affairs of Swaziland.

April 27th

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands today started the Run for Rio at Wassenaar. All children of the primary schools in Wassenaar took part in this charity run to collect money for building a school in Africa. To everyone’s big surprise the princess came along with her husband the Prince of Orange, who celebrated his 39th birtday, as well as their daughters Amalia and Alexia.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands should abdicate in favour of her son, the Prince of Orange, within the next five years, 52% of the respondents in a Queen’s Day poll said. Last November 44% were of the same opinion. Compared with the earlier poll, confidence in Prince Willem-Alexander has risen from 48% to 53%. But 14% said in the latest poll that they have little or no confidence in him. The poll of 22,000 people was carried out by television programme TweeVandaag. The Queen’s popularity remains high: she scored 7,3 out of 10 for the way she carries out her duties. Support for the Netherlands becoming a republic dropped from 24% in November to 21%.

A woman has been cautioned for sending nuisance mail to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Officers from Scotland Yard’s specialist crime operations unit arrested the 44-year-old woman at her home at Beeston, Nottinghamshire, in March. She gave detectives examples of her handwriting, it is understood. A police spokesman said the woman, whose name has not been released, was cautioned for sending “malicious communications” to the Royal couple.

Staff at a Hydro Texaco station in Gråmyra, Levanger, got the shock of their lives when they managed to trace the motorist that drove off without paying a gasoline bill. When staff checked the license plates on a missing payment, they traced the vehicle to the Swedish palace. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden routinely visit the Trøndelag region at Easter, where they have a cabin in Storlien. This Easter the Swedish royal couple made the trip with a pair of friends and two bodyguards. On the way home they stopped to fill up the tank, and the driver, a friend of the king’s, went in to the station to pay and also buy some candy. “By accident he only paid for the candy, something that happened without thinking. Then he went out to the car and just drove on,” Nina Eldh, press chief for the Swedish palace, said. The station owner contacted the Swedish palace and the bill was paid. “The owner of the little station in Trøndelag was a nice fellow. He accepted our apology and we settled up,” Mrs Eldh said.

Princess Kiko, wife of Prince Akishino of Japan, today underwent an ancient ritual to pray for a safe birth. Attended by court ladies and her husband, the princess was wrapped in a long white sash provided by Empress Michiko in a symbolic gesture to protect her unborn child, an Imperial Household Agency spokesman said. “From what I hear, all is well with the pregnancy,” he added.

April 28th

The celebrations of the 60th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden began today with an official gift ceremony at the royal palace in Stockholm. Fantastic!” the king kept repeating as the well-wishers queued to hand over presents. The gifts varied from a portrait from the Swedish people, homemade strawberry jam to masses of memories. Everything from a personal greeting from president Vladimir Putin via Russia’s ambassador to a GPS receiver from the police was handed over. “Mamma, that’s going to take over your job as map reader now,” joked Princess Madeleine. The gift from parliament and the government – and therefore from the Swedish people – was a state portrait of the king by the artist Olle Hamngren, which will hang in Gripsholm Castle.

Prince Harry of Wales is launching a charity in Lesotho to support children orphaned by Aids, in memory of his mother Diana Princess of Wales. In a tribute to her he will call the charity Sentebale, which means “forget me not”. The charity, to be run by Clarence House, will be launched at the Mants’ase Children’s Home near Mohale’s Hoek, in the southern African kingdom. He returned to Lesotho this week for the launch where he was reunited with six-year-old Aids orphan Mutsu Potsane, whom he first met at the children’s home two years ago. This is Harry’s fourth trip to Lesotho. The Prince co-founded the charity with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. Also Prince Seeiso’s mother Queen Mamohato, who died in 2003, was hugely connected with Aids, especially the orphaned children. “I wanted to carry on as best I could what she [Diana] started and what better place than to do it than here?” Prince Harry said. He hoped his mother would be proud, he added. The charity plans to offer long-term support to small and new projects that might not attract large-scale international funding. “This is our place. We are starting with small projects. Most other charities are concentrating on other areas. There is no one else. It is only us,” said Prince Harry. “When you are back in England you just get on with life … but then you come to a place like this and it makes you realise how lucky you actually are. When I was here for the first time, I actually found myself thanking the press for the first time – and the last time ever probably – for the amount of awareness they made of this place by putting it in the papers.” He also said: “It would be weird not to come back. I am committed for the rest of my life.”

A collection of watercolours of the gardens at Sandringham in Norfolk given as presents by the British Royal Family has been sold for £3,616. The 10 paintings were given each year at Christmas by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, and later by George V and Queen Mary. They were put up for sale by the family of Thomas Henderson Cook who was head gardener during the early 1900s. The auction was conducted on Thursday at Cheffins Auctioneers in Cambridge.

At 1 p.m. today the Royal Palace in Oslo got a new address. The royal palace is now located at Henrik Ibsens gate 1. The lower part of Drammensveien in Oslo was renamed Henrik Ibsens gate, as part of the ongoing activities honoring the 100th anniversary of the playwright’s death. Oslo City Council leader Erling Lae presided over the ceremony at the Ibsen Museum. The date was chosen since Ibsen moved to Oslo on April 28, 1850. He lived in Drammensveien, where the Ibsen Museum is situated today. Lae proposed the shift of name for the stretch of Drammensveien that runs from the Nationaltheatret to Solli plass, an area that includes the palace, the American embassy, and the Nobel Institute.

April 29th

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her family visited Zeewolde and Almere in the province of Flevoland today to celebrate Queen’s Day. Only Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven had to cancel because of the flu. The royal family arrived in a wet and cold Zeewolde. Despite of rain and hail the visit to Zeewolde was enjoyed a lot by both family and public. In Almere it happily was dry. At the end of the visit Queen Beatrix told: “How cold it may be, the people of Flevoland know to make something of it, for us and for each other.”

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden today received more presents for his 60th birthday, including almost 12 million kronor in donations to a new charity called Young Leadership. “We’re proud that our country has a head of state who wants to use his birthday to do something for others,” said the charity’s chairman Ingemar Eliasson, who gave the king a painting and a list of all those who had contributed money to the charity. “I really want to thank everyone who’s been involved in this. And thank you in advance on behalf of all the young people who we will eventually select,” said the king. Among the other gifts was an invitation from the president of the Seychelles to visit the Aldabra atoll, a new fund from the World Wildlife Fund in the king’s name, and a tie from the City of Stockholm made out of 83 year old curtains. In the evening a private dinner for family, royals and friends was held at Drottningholm Palace.

April 30th

Today the 60th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden began with a service in the palace chapel of the royal palace in Stockholm. The service was led by Chaplain Henrik Svenungsson and was attended by tens of royal guests. Afterwards many people gathered in the castle’s Outer Courtyard to hear the drums and horns of the Navy’s music corps. After a series of ceremonies, a group children rushed forward to present flowers and gifts to the king. In the early afternoon thousands of people lined the streets in and around the palace. The King greeted the crowd at Lejonbacken, at the palace, and an enormous applause was heard when the birthday boy and his family came outside. “It’s wonderful to stand up here. I wish that you could all stand up here with me,” the king said. Music came from Adolf Fredriks Music Class and the Marine Music Choir. Then there was a royal procession between the palace and the City Hall. When the king and queen passed in an open carriage with six horses the crowd cheered loudly, while the royal couple were welcomed for lunch at the City Hall. In the evening a concert took place at the Rikssalen, again attended by many royal guests. Afterwards a galadinner was being held. King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain didn’t attend today’s activities, while Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, as well as King Albert II and Queen Paola of the Belgians arrived today to join the party.
H.M. Konungens 60-årsdag

May 1st

Princess Haya of Jordan has been elected president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) with a promise to haul it “into the 21st century”. She beat Princess Benedikte of Denmark and FEI vice-president Freddy Serpieri in a vote. Princess Benedikte came a distant third in the first round of voting, producing a two-way contest between Princess Haya and Serpieri. Princess Haya takes over from Spain’s Infanta Dona Pilar de Borbon, who served 12 years in the post. Princess Haya acknowledged that the hard-fought leadership campaign had created “fractures” which she urged members to overcome. “I hope they all come together and realise we have to face the future as one,” she said at a press conference. “The future of the organisation – firstly it is to bring it into the 21st century. We have a wonderful sport encompassed in the FEI by many different disciplines,” she said. “Horses are such a part of history and they’re full of grace and beauty and that’s something we have to keep, but in order to protect it we need to modernise the FEI itself.” The princess said she would focus on improving the organisation’s communications, financing, governance standards, the development of fledgling national federations, and protecting its role in the Olympic body. The 31-year-old president admitted the intense campaigning had been a gruelling experience. “It was like a five-month job interview… People have said I was perhaps too young for the job but I think I’ve aged at least five years in the last five days,” she joked.

The newspaper The Sun published an apology for their article on Princess Eugenie’s birthday celebrations. They say they have been asked to point out the party was closely monitored by adults throughout and while a small amount of mess was cleared away at the end of the evening, there was no damage to furniture, no revellers dived into bedrooms in search of drunken romps and to describe the house as being trashed was incorrect. The newspaper is happy to make this clear and regret any distress their report caused.

Prince Tomohito of Mikasa was hospitalized for a slight difficulty in breathing, the Imperial Household Agency said. He had been feeling tired after having fully resumed his official duties in April, according to the agency. The prince will stay at the National Cancer Center Hospital East in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, for about a week for checkups. He will cancel his visit to Aichi Prefecture scheduled for Friday to Sunday. The prince has undergone operations to remove cancer seven times, the last time earlier this year.

Dr. Héctor Escobedo, a Guatamalan archaeologist at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and co-director of the project, and his student Juan Carlos Meléndez have uncovered the remains of what could be an ancient Mayan king’s tomb deep in the rain forest of Guatemala’s largest national park. Dr. Escobedo has unearthed a royal tomb beneath the principal pyramid in the western center of Waká. Two years ago, co-director Dr. Freidel and his students from Southern Methodist University in Dallas discovered a queen’s tomb that was more than 1,200 years old and dated to the late classic period of Mayan civilization. The new tomb was discovered in a different pyramid and dates to the early classic period between the second and fourth centuries A.D. “We are trying to identify the remains, which appear to be in good condition despite the collapse of the tomb’s roof,” said Dr. Freidel in an e-mail exchange with the university. “This may be the resting place of either the dynasty founder, a man we do not have a history for, or K’inich B’alam the First, the Maya king who allied with Siyaj K’ak’, conqueror of Tikal in A.D. 378.”

May 2nd

Items belonging to the late princess Margaret of Great Britain will go under the hammer. More than 90 pieces of jewellery from her collection have gone on display in Edinburgh for the first time. The pieces will be auctioned in London next month. More than 800 items from jewellery and Faberge to furniture, silver and works of art will be auctioned at Christie’s. The collection is on display on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Balmoral Hotel. Items range from under £100 to more than £500,000.

May 5th

The engagement between Hereditary Prince Vladimir Lobkowicz and Alix Paul-Cavallier was announced in today’s Le Figaro.

May 6th

Laura Parker Bowles, daughter of the Duchess of Cornwall, has married Harry Lopes at St Cyriac’s Church in Lacock, Wiltshire. Some 500 well-wishers thronged the streets to watch the arrival of the about 380 guests, including the Prince of Wales and his sons William and Harry, as well as Prince William’s girlfriend Kate Middleton. The ceremony was conducted by local vicar the Reverend Sally Wheeler. A private reception was held at the Duchess of Cornwall’s home near Reybridge.

The third son of hereditary prince Bernhard of Baden and his wife Stephanie was christened at Salem Castle today. He received the names Karl-Wilhelm Bernhard Max Alexander Ernst- August Heinrich-Donatus Mathias. The little prince was carried to the font by Queen Sofia of Spain. The service was led by Susanne Erlecke. Among his godparents were Princess Marie- Louise of Baden, Princess Aglae of Baden Prince Ernst August of Hannover junior, Archduke Alexander of Austria, Caroline Heidenreich and Mathias Schilling. Among the guests were Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxemburg with their four children, Count Björn Bernadotte af Wisborg with girlfriend Sandra Anger, Princess Irene of Greece, Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline of Hannover with daughter Alexandra, Princess Monica of Hannover, Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Duke Friedrich and Duchess Marie of Württemberg with their three children. Yesterday many guests had already gathered at Salem for a commemoration service for the late Prince Georg Wilhelm von Hannover who died earlier this year.

May 8th

Prince Harry of Wales has joined the Blues and Royals at Combermere Barracks in Windsor today on his first day with the Household Cavalry. He will spend two weeks at the barracks settling in and getting to know his regiment – a process known as familiarisation. After that, he will spend four months training at Bovington Camp in Dorset.

May 10th

Princess Margriet of the Netherlands became unwell this morning as she arrived to open a new wing at the VU hospital in Amsterdam. She was brought directly to the first aid department for a thorough examination. Doctors found no significant problem and she was allowed to go home. Someone else opened the new wing. The government information service declined to give any further details about her health.

May 12th

On May 22 Prince Harry of Wales will begin the training that will prepare him for immediate deployment in Iraq, senior officers said yesterday. For the next five months the newly-commissioned officer will take the troop commander’s course in Dorset. In October he will join the Household Cavalry Regiment in Windsor. Discussions are under way at a senior level to consider the security implications on sending the prince into Iraq. The decision how to use the prince, who has expressed a strong desire to fight alongside his men on operations, will be made by his commanding officer at Windsor, Lt Col Ed Smyth-Osbourne. “He is third in line to the throne and that brings with it certain implications. But Prince Harry is a troop commander and he has a job to do,” said Col Jamie Martin, the chief of staff at the Armour Centre. “Here he will be treated like any other officer and he will be addressed by me by his christian name and by others as Cornet Wales.”

May 13th

Count Charles “Charlie” Ullens de Schooten Whettnall died in Louvain on May 10. He was born in Cairo on 16 November 1927. In 1962 he married Countess Madeleine Bernadotte whom he divorced in 1980. He is survived by one son, three daughters, one grandson and five granddaughters. A commemoration service took place today at the Notre-Dame au Sablon Church in Brussels. The service was among others attended by Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme.

The new government of Nepal is preparing to curtail the powers and privileges of King Gyanendra of Nepal, finance minister Ram Saran Mahat said today, further eroding the monarch’s authority after mass demonstrations ended his authoritarian rule. A parliamentary declaration having the effect of law is being prepared. “The document will certainly curtail the king’s power and privileges … but what the specifics will be, we are discussing,” Mr Mahat said. Separately, Ram Prasad Shreshtha, one of the five members of a powerful new government commission said it may investigate Gyanendra for attempting to suppress last month’s pro-democracy movement that forced the king to give up direct rule. He said it was unclear whether the panel has the powers from the government to recommend punishment. “If we get the powers, we will do it,” he said, adding: “The king is not above the constitution.”

May 15th

Last week 14-year-old Prince Joachim of Belgium crashed with his motorbike while driving in the park at the Stuyvenberg estate of his parents. He drove against a tree and broke his kneecap. He had surgery and is recovering at home. His grandfather King Albert II of the Belgians told about it during a visit to Kortrijk.

Oxford scholars are preparing to post the notes, diaries, drawings and photographs from the 1922 excavation of the tomb of King Tutankhamun on the internet in an attempt to study it completely. Research at the tomb continued for eight years up to 1930. But most of the thousands of objects have never been properly studied, and most of the documentation has remained locked in archives in Oxford. Between 1922 and 1930, at least 5,398 objects were removed. The Oxford archive, as it stands, will be entirely online within two years.

May 16th

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall today granted a special 15-minute audience to 8-year-old Anna Earls, who suffers from Wilms’ Tumour, a rare form of cancer. Anna wrote to the Make A Wish Foundation and said that she would love to meet the couple. The audience took place at Hillsborough Castle during the official visit of the couple to Northern Ireland. Anna was accompanied by her mother and grandmother. Afterwards Anna told the press: “I was really excited to meet them but a wee bit nervous to. I only found out about it at 8.30 this morning.” Her mother said Anna had been through a very difficult year but “things are looking up now”. “Today was absolutely wonderful. Charles and Camilla were very warm and welcoming,” she added.

The 260-year-old imperial Garden of the Palace of Established Happiness, once the favorite of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and ruined by a raging fire some 80 years ago, has been restored through a five-year restoration effort. This is the first restoration project within the Forbidden City since the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

May 17th

On Norway’s national day Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, together with their children Marius, Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus saw the traditional children’s procession passing by at their home in Asker in the morning. Later the Crown Princely couple with daughter Ingrid Alexandra, King Harald V and Queen Sonja appeared on the balcony of the royal palace in Oslo to look at even more children passing by.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark opened the exhibition ‘Il Sogno di una Regina’ at the Stibbert Museum in Florence, which shows a selection of her oil paintings and water-colours.

A documentary titled ‘The Prince of Wales: Up Close’ which marks 30 years of The Prince’s Trust was being aired on ITV1 yesterday evening. The documentary showed the Prince of Wales talking to Sir Trevor McDonald at Clarence House about what motivated him to start The Prince’s Trust. The Prince said he was influenced by the UK’s problems in the 1970s such as high levels of unemployment and that he would have been a “blinding idiot” not to have paid attention to what was happening. His Royal Highness said the decision to help young people start up their own businesses was a reaction to the 1981 Toxteth Riots. The Prince said he was influenced by the UK’s problems in the 1970s such as high levels of unemployment and that he would have been a “blinding idiot” not to have paid attention to what was happening. His Royal Highness said the decision to help young people start up their own businesses was a reaction to the 1981 Toxteth Riots.

Mohamed al-Fayed yesterday used a BBC radio interview to launch an extraordinary attack on the Duke of Edinburgh, branding him a racist who “grew up with Nazis” and who organised the murder of his son Dodi and Diana Princess of Wales because he could not tolerate the thought of their marriage. He also claimed a forthcoming official report into the 1997 Paris accident would confirm that the Princess at the time of her death, was carrying his son’s child.

Today 5000 people attended the start of the week long celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Coronation of Maori Queen Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu at Ngaruawahia. The ceremony this morning was a time of remembrance of those who had passed away.

Prince Gideon Zulu died on Tuesday night after a long, cancer-related illness. He was 71.

May 18th

The powers of King Gyanendra of Nepal have dramatically been reduced, calling for him to be stripped of his legal immunity, authority over the army and exemption from paying taxes. The resolution also calls for King Gyanendra to lose his symbolic position as the head of the Himalayan nation, changing traditional references to “His Majesty’s government” to simply the “Nepal government.” “This proclamation represents the feelings of all the people,” Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said in Parliament while presenting the resolution, which passed unanimously. Even politicians who traditionally support the king voted against him. The proclamation among others says that the House of Representatives will exercise all legislative powers of the country, the entire executive authority of the state of Nepal shall reside in the council of ministers, the name of the Royal Nepalese Army has been changed as “Nepali Army and the king is no longer in control of the army. With regard to the royal family the House of Representatives will have the right to formulate, amend or annul the law related to the succession to the throne. They will also decide about the expenses and privileges of the king, tax will be imposed on the private property and income of the king in accordance with law, questions may be raised in the court and the House of Representatives regarding the activities of the king, the existing Royal Household Service will be made part of the civil service and the security of the royal palace will be managed as stipulated by the council of ministers. To be enacted, the resolution must be voted on as a series of laws, officials said. That is expected to happen in the next few days.

Janan Harb, widow of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia is to take her claim for $986million of his estate to the European human rights court. Mrs Harb said the Saudi royal family had opposed the marriage from the start, and had failed to fulfil King Fahd’s promises to her. “I was his wife in every sense of the word, but have now been cut out of the royal family because I was never accepted,” she said yesterday. “I have tried in vain to come to an agreement with the royal family for the king’s promises to me to be fulfilled. I have been ignored. This is a matter of principle and responsibility, and a fight for a widow’s rights. I just want what is rightfully mine.” Her legal team will ask the court in Strasbourg to decide whether her claim for maintenance can be heard before the European Court. If it decides in her favour, she will proceed with her claim.

May 19th

Princess Beatrice of York has been elected Head Girl at her boarding school St. George’s School in Ascot, Berkshire. She was elected in a poll of 300 girls and staff. A statement from the school reads: ‘This year the school has elected Princess Beatrice of York to be head girl and we are delighted that she has accepted the position’. Princess Beatrice is now in the first year of her A-levels.

This week’s Die Aktuelle announces the birth the previous week of a son, Frederik, to Prince Alexander von Auersperg-Breunner and his wife Elisabeth née Flick.

May 20th

In an interview with the Prince of Wales and his sons William and Harry by Ant and Dec on ITV1, which will be broadcasted tonight by ITV1 as part of celebrations to mark the 30th birthday of the Prince’s Trust, the Prince of Wales says his sons keep him “in touch with what’s going on”, their father has said. Princes William and Harry revealed they argued over possession of the television remote control and that they watch reality TV shows including Pop Idol and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! They also admit to having similar tastes in music. However the Prince of Wales is less impressed, saying his sons’ loud music makes the house shake. Other topics covered include the cooking skills, or lack of them, of all three princes.

Prince Nikola Petrovic Njegosh, heir to the throne of Montenegro, is back in Montenegro to vote yes in the referendum tomorrow to the country’s independence from Serbia. He however worries about ‘trouble’ after the referendum. “I’m afraid that the losers in the vote may not accept the decision in peace,” he said. “This is a small country with a big potential for trouble. Independence, for both Montenegro and Serbia, would mean a catharsis for both the states, and their quicker integration into Europe.” Prince Nikola says he isn’t looking to restore the monarchy, he just wants its rehabilitation and the return of some of its property. “Some historical injustices toward the royal family will have to be corrected,” he said.

May 22nd

Former King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia said today that he will return home on Friday after a long absence that he blames partially on political tensions in Cambodia. He told aides he wants a low-key homecoming, without the presence of government officials or media.

33-year-old Don Lorenzo Borghese, youngest son of Don Francesco Borghese 16th Prince di Sant’ Angelo and his wife Amanda, will try to find his wife in the programme ‘The Bachelor: Rome’ at ABC television this fall. He will meet 25 special bachelorettes in the hope of finding the one right woman for him. He is tired of being a bachelor, and not a fan of serial dating he is excited to have the opportunity to and his own fairy tale ending. His parents, who met at a wedding in Madrid, will celebrate their 40th anniversary in July, and Lorenzo is hoping to find that type of long-lasting, happily-ever-after relationship. Don Lorenzo was born in Milan, lived in Rome and outside Paris, and moved to Connecticut when he was five years old. He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and has an MBA from Fordham University in New York.

May 23rd

David Emanuel and his ex-wife Elizabeth are finally to reveal the secrets about designing the wedding dress of the late Diana Princess of Wales. It has taken 25 years for the pair to agree to lift the lid on the biggest day in their careers, and give a behind-the-scenes insight to the most famous wedding ever. Mr Emanuel who has previously criticised books about Diana’s life, says he will not reveal any scandal. But any reference to diaries compiled during the run-up to Diana’s 1981 wedding to the Prince of Wales are guaranteed to create interest. Mr Emanuel said yesterday the time was right to reveal the intimate details about working with the late Princess.

Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam has lost his attempt to retain billions of dollars in assets worldwide he allegedly took away from Brunei Investment Agency when he was the Finance Minister and BIA head. The assets included the New York Palace Hotel, the Bel-Air Hotel in Beverly Hills, and top homes in London, Paris and Singapore. Also valuable diamonds and a “significant” amount of money were included in the court action, a BIA statement said. HRH Prince Jefri will now have to transfer everything to BIA to comply with the latest Brunei Court Order.

The week long celebrations of the Maori Queen’s 40th anniversary, which began last Wednesday, Came to an end today. Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu was elected in 1966, making her the sixth in her line and the first female monarch. The Queen shrugged off health problems to put on a brave face on the final day of celebrations. She arrived in the 1953 Chrysler that was gifted to her family from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. On Tuesday morning, thousands turned up to a rainy Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia for an ecumenical church service. The governor general was joined by other dignitaries from Tonga, Hawaii and the Cook Islands. During her 40 year reign as head of that movement, the Queen has maintained a high profile while fighting for a better deal for her people. After nearly a week of waiting, more than 5000 people at Turangawaewae Marae were hushed as Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu delivered her coronation anniversary speech. She quietly told the gathering she now found it difficult to speak for long periods. “I can’t find words to express my gratitude. If I could find all the most beautiful words, I would put them together and lay them among you, to help me with my thoughts of affection.”

May 24th

Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia today asked for the restoration of monarchy in Serbia, three days after Montenegro voted independence from their federation. The prince said Serbs and Montenegrins will always be brothers, regardless of whether they live in one or two states. “Kingdom of Serbia will provide the fastest way to the European Union and will attract new foreign investments, help economic development, ensure employment and social welfare,” the prince said on Belgrade’s B92 radio. “We must not waste time any more, Serbia must go forward.”

May 25th

During her state visit to Greece, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark said during a press conference that she will have surgery on her left knee at Århus Kommunehospital. She will have a new knee. That means she will have to reduce her activities in June drastically. Prince Henrik and Crown Prince Frederik will take over duties. The state visit to Greece ends tomorrow. The Queen and Prince Henrik were planning a few days on the royal yacht Dannebrog afterwards, but Prince Henrik now has to go alone. Queen Margrethe also said during the press conference that her youngest sister Anne-Marie and her husband former King constantine of Greece look ten years younger since they are able to travel freely into Greece again.

On May 20th Princess Caroline of Monaco was honoured with the Children’s Champion Award by the New England Chapter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF during a gala at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The award recognized her longstanding dedication to helping the world’s children, in particular in Her capacity as President of AMADE (World Association of Children’s Friends) and she accepted the award on behalf of the volunteers and AMADE’s Secretary-General, Mr. Francis Kasasa.

A nationwide survey among 3000 people taken before a wave of popular street protests against King Gyanendra of Nepal has revealed that a massive majority still wanted a monarchy in some form, a report said Wednesday. Just 6% of those surveyed in January said there was no place for the monarchy in Nepal but the report’s authors said 19 days of violent protests that ended Gyanendra’s tight grip on power could have shifted attitudes. But the survey suggested support remained for the monarchy, particularly in Nepal’s rural areas. The survey found 51% of Nepalis backed a fully constitutional monarchy and another 15% preferred the “active monarchy” of Gyanendra’s post February 2005 power grab.

The Tverskoy court of Moscow found no grounds for the rehabilitation of last Russian tsar Nicholas II and members of his family killed in 1918. Thus, the court turned down a suit that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia filed to the denial of the Prosecutor General’s Office to rehabilitate the imperial family.

May 26th

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden has been injured in his first go-karting race of the season. He lost control on a slippery track in Värmland during the race. Coming into the final bend, Prince Carl Philip slid off the track and smashed into the protective barrier. After treatment the prince was able to participate in the final. He ended in 7th place in his season debut. The chairman of Värmlands Karting Club, Eva Zetterström, told that the bend would be renamed ‘Prinsens Kurva’ in honour of Carl Philip.

Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle, today has been returned to its former owners 60 years after being seized by communists. The castle was handed back to the Habsburg family in a special ceremony. The family had been forced to leave with his family in 1948. It was owned by the late Queen Marie of Romania who bequeathed it to her daughter, Princess Ileana, in 1938. Archduke Dominic of Austria, now based in New York, was 10 years old when his family was put under house arrest and then made to leave. He told he had never given up hope of getting the castle back and said he was finally going home. “I felt like I was a misplaced person. I felt like I was at home everywhere and at home nowhere,” he says.

May 27th

Four letters written by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain as a child and photographs of her early life have been revealed in an album. The letters from the royal archive include details of what “Lilibet” wrote to her grandmother Queen Mary, including news she had lost a front tooth. The material will appear in Queen Elizabeth II: A Birthday Souvenir Album which marks the monarch’s 80th birthday. The book is published by Royal Collection Publications on 6 June.

61-year-old American artist Lucy Weber, who lives in Berkshire, Great Britain, spoke out last night about her eight year affair with Prince Michael of Kent. She said: “I’m being painted as this whore, this scarlet woman who’s had a prince creeping into my house and it’s simply not like that. We have a relationship but it’s a special one, pure … not some cheap passion that will burn out.” She added: “Michael has been a wonderful presence in my life and I’m so happy he has been a part of it for so long. And yes I think his wife should be afraid of a situation like that.” She said Princess Michael “probably hates me but I don’t feel guilty. “It’s not as if we are talking about real infidelity ??” how can you be unfaithful to someone you don’t have a relationship with in the first place? They may be married, but it is just in name.” She also said: “I got the impression he was quite lonely. He and his wife live completely separate lives.” Prince Michael has refused to comment. Prince Michael’s wife recently spent several days in Venice with Mikhail Kravchenko, a Russian “friend”.

May 29th

The Duchess of Cornwall has applied for permission to construct a permanent “control facility” at her country home Ray Mill House in Reybridge, Wiltshire, to make the hideaway more secure. If permission is given, the office will replace a temporary one on the site. The proposed police base will be like those at the homes of other members of the royal household.

May 30th

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have started their first official engagement as a couple in Scotland in Dumfries and Galloway. They arrived in Dumfries early today before travelling to Castle Douglas where they visited Lily Jewellery. They then went to Broughton House in Kirkcudbright to celebrate the National Trust for Scotland’s 75th anniversary. The Royal couple ended the day with their first visit to the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. The evening reception was held to mark the 30th anniversary of The Prince’s Trust.

A sarong-style pink evening dress once worn by the late Diana Princess of Wales is being auctioned on eBay. The dress was made by Catherine Walker and was first worn for an official visit to Pakistan in 1991. It was sold in a charity auction at Christie’s in New York for £31,127 just two months before the Princess’s death. The owner Pamela Henn of Orlando, Florida, kept it in airtight conditions and is selling it with a reserve price of £53,763 so she can pursue her dream of writing children’s books. The bidding ends on Saturday.

The National Archives in Bucharest, Romania, yesterday hosted the opening of an exhibition of personal documents belonging to the Romanian royal family, including diaries of King Carol I, King Ferdinand I and their wives, family photos, greeting cards sent to the royal family by other European royalty, letters and prenuptial agreements. The opening was attended by former King Michael of Romania and his wife.

May 31st

The Danish parliament has unanimously voted in favour of a new royal succession law that would allow a first-born child to ascend the throne regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl. Before entering into force the bill must also be voted through the next parliament, which should be elected in general elections to be held in less than four years, before finally being submitted to a referendum. At least 40 per cent of registered voters must be in favour of the law change for it to be adopted.

The Earl of Snowdon, former husband of the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain is furious at the sale of the Princess’s belongings. He is seething with rage over some of the items his son Viscount Linley has included in the Christie’s sale, believing they should be retained by the family. The Earl didn’t hear about the sale until the auction house began marketing the sale with public viewings in Hong Kong, Switzerland and New York. According to friends, Snowdon has expressed “disappointment” over the sale, to put it mildly. Unable to persuade his son to come round to his point of view, last week he had to resort to writing a letter to the chairman of Christie’s UK, Dermot Chichester, pointing out his belief that several lots being marketed by the auction house are not in fact Viscount Linley’s to sell.

Former Metropolitan police commissioner John Stevens, who leads the investigation into the death of Diana Princess of Wales said yesterday: “We have new witnesses, we have new forensic evidence. I can’t tell you who the new witnesses are.” He also confirmed that he sees the Harrods owner, Mohammed al Fayed every two months.

Four men will stand trial on drug charges on June 1 in the Criminal Court. One of the accused is a member of the ruling family of Kuwait. The charges involve the possession and selling of drugs such as hashish and cocaine in addition to possessing an unlicenced pistol.

Today lawyer German Lukyanov, representing the Russian Imperial family in exile, said that he had appealed a Moscow district court’s refusal to recognize the nation’s last tsar as a victim of political repression. Last Thursday, the Tverskoi court rejected the appeal against a refusal by the Prosecutor General’s Office to classify the imperial family’s killing as an act of state-sponsored repression rather than a murder. “Since we have not yet received the full text of the ruling from the Tverskoi court, we have lodged a brief complaint with the Moscow City Court, asking that it be invalidated,” Mr Lukyanov said.

June 1st

Prince Albert II of Monaco has admitted that he fathered a second illegitimate child, his lawyer Thierry Lacoste said in an interview published in the newspaper Le Figaro on Thursday. “The prince officially recognises the paternity that was legally established several weeks ago,” he said. He said Prince Albert had initially wanted to protect 14-year-old Jazmin Grace Rotolo’s identity until she was an adult. “But for a few weeks now, the paparazzi have been circling … and the situation was becoming unbearable for her,” said Mr Lacoste. Mr Lacoste further said: “For the time being, Jazmin Grace will pursue her studies in the United States, but she will always have the option to come to the principality to spend a few days or to live.” Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (or Rotolo) was born at Desert Hospital, Palm Springs, California, on 4 March 1992. Her mother is Tamara Jean Rotolo, with whom Prince Albert had a short affair when she was on holiday in Monaco in the Summer of 1991. She currently attends the 8th grade at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in Palm Springs, where she will graduate this month.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark had surgery on her knee this morning at Århus Kommunehospital. The operation was carried out by consultant & knee surgeon Anders Odgaard from the orthopedics department assisted by Frank Madsen. The operation went as planned. It is thought the Queen can leave hospital in a week and will stay at Fredensborg afterwards. She will not be able to carry out her engagements in the coming months and will be replaced by Prince Henrik and Crown Prince Frederik.

In his capacity as the President of the Football Association Prince William of Wales visited a training session of the British national football team at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground and said he would be cheering them on during the World Cup later this month. Clarence House said it was a “private visit” for the prince to meet players. The prince will travel to Germany to support England in their opening World Cup game against Paraguay.

A car carrying King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden hit a 18-year-old woman while driving the royal couple through Istanbul on Thursday. The woman fell to the ground but did not appear to be injured. She was taken to hospital for a check-up. The woman was crossing a street as the royal convoy was passing on its way back from a visit to the Topkapi Palace. The king and queen did not get out of the car after the incident and security officials escorting them took care of the woman. Royal spokeswoman Ann-Christin Jernberg told The Local that the woman had “suddenly walked right out and touched the car. But she was not injured and was able to continue on to her job. It’s really no big deal, and the King is also fine, according to my information.” The royal couple was on its second day of a three-day long state visit to Turkey. On Wednesday, they visited historic sites in the western province of Izmir, including the ancient city of Ephesus, which houses the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world.

The Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and his wife YTM Azrinaz Mazhar binti Hakim Mazhar had a son today at 12.43am. A 21-cannon salute was fired at the vicinity of the Istana Nurul Iman. It is YTM Azrinaz Mazhar binti Hakim Mazhar’s first child. The Sultan already had four sons and five daughters.

Sheikha Fawziyah Salim al-Muhammad Al Sabah, the first woman from the royal family to be a candidate at an election, says she has decided to withdraw her nomination as a candidate in the upcoming Kuwaiti parliamentarian elections following a request from the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The Minister of the Royal Court conveyed the request to here, that she should give other Kuwaitis the opportunity to participate.

Twenty-six letters by French writer and philosopher Voltaire to Empress Catherine II the Great of Russia have sold at auction at Sotheby’s in Paris for €583.200, more than double the price expected. The letters were bought by a Russian art dealer for a mystery buyer. “The letters contain texts completely unknown to researchers,” Khochinsky told the paper. “They have been published nowhere.” The letters will be returned to Russia.

June 2nd

At the Hay literary festival Princess Michael of Kent has revealed the secret of keeping a royal marriage alive – separate bathrooms and bedrooms. She told people that she “got my prince and married him”. She said her mother gave her good advice when she married Prince Michael. “My mother when I married said you must have separate bathrooms and separate bedrooms. That was the only sure way of keeping a marriage alive because it was an invitation as opposed to just being there and that makes it more romantic. I have been together with my husband for 33 years. Romance can still be there if you don’t see each other brushing your teeth. There’s something very nasty about brushing your teeth and then all that flossing.” Her new historic work, Cupid and the King is to be published on 5 June and details the roles of five royal paramours, including Nell Gwynne and Madame de Pompadour. She revealed that she was now looking at writing a novel set in 15th Century France, around the period of Joan of Arc. “I’m having to make a novel because I can’t find enough out about my heroine, who was murdered,” said the princess. She said she had consulted a medium who had given her clues about what the fate of her heroine had been.

Empress Michiko of Japan will take a rest from her official duties for the next couple of days after catching a cold, the Imperial Household Agency said. A press conference by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, scheduled for today prior to their visit to Southeast Asia, has been postponed. However, the Imperial Couple will leave for their tour next Thursday as scheduled, agency officials said.

Archaeologists believe they have stumbled across the mummified remains of the widow of Pharaoh Tutankhamon buried 3000 years ago. In a mysterious shaft only 16 feet from Tutankhamon’s burial ground, US archaeologists from Memphis University led by Dr Otto Schaden found seven coffins stacked closely together and ringed by 28 clay jars, each decorated with a beautiful face mask. They believe one they have not yet been able to open may contain the remains of Queen Ankhesenpaaten. Ankhesenpaaten’s link to the tomb was further underlined when a coffin seal was found with part of her name on it. “I think there is a 70 per cent chance that Ankhesenpaaten’s mummy is in that last coffin,” Egyptian antiquities head Dr Mansour Boraik said. “If she is, it will be a major find because very little is known about her.” A child-sized coffin – one of five so far raised – contained a small gilded ornamental sarcophagus of a quality that was usually buried only with royalty.

June 3rd

Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands has given birth to a daughter this afternoon at 17.06 at the Bronovo Hospital in The Hague. The baby weighs 3030 grammes and is 48 centimeters tall. ‘It is a wonderful baby’, according to the very happy parents. The sixth grandchild of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will be called Leonore. Her full name is Leonore Marie Irene Enrica Gravin van Oranje-Nassau, Jonkvrouw van Amsberg. Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien have let known to donate eventual gifts on the occasion of the birth of their daughter to the Stichting Kico in Veldhoven.

A garter worn by King Charles I of Great Britain on the day of his execution in 1649 has been bought by a private collector for £4,400. It was sold at Shapes Auctioneers in Edinburgh. The King was said to have removed the garter ribbon before laying his head on the block on specially constructed scaffolding at Whitehall. Auctioneer Paul Howard said: “There was a lot of interest in the item, with bids made over the telephone and by people in the auction house. A number of museums had also expressed an interest.”

June 4th

The News of the World today says in the £2 million official report into the Paris crash—headed by Lord Stevens that is to be published later this year the jeweller who claimed Harrods heir Dodi al-Fayed had bought an engagement ring for Diana Princess of Wales now confesses it didn’t exist. New forensic techniques which show the exact hormone levels in the princess’s blood have proved once and for all that the princess was not having a baby. The crash happened because the limousine was going too fast with a drunk Henri Paul – who was over the drink-drive limit – at the wheel. MI6 and MI5 files show no evidence they were involved in Diana’s death, and both Diana and Dodi would have survived had they worn seatbelts. The report finds Mr Paul was in the pay of the French Secret Service, but there was no conspiracy.

June 5th

Princess Theodora of Greece received her Bachelor’s of Arts from Brown University Rhode Island on May 28th. She attained her BA in Drama and Performing Arts after having attended Northeastern University, Boston for two years and completing the four-year course at Brown University. King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie, Princess Alexia, Prince Nikolaos and Prince Philippos attended the graduation ceremony. Princess Theodora wants to continue her studies in Drama and Performing Arts in the following academic year.

Four-day-old Abdul Wakeel, son of the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam and his second wife Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim, was presented to photographers at the Istana Nurul Iman in Bandar Seri Begawan today. The baby’s full names will be Yang Teramat Mulia Paduka Seri Duli Pengiran Muda ‘Abdul Wakeel ibni Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah.

Prince Mbuyisa of Swaziland who is currently serving a seven-year sentence for raping his 10-year-old niece, has applied for bail at the High Court. He wants bail pending his appeal. He was convicted early this year and is serving his sentence at Matsapha Maximum Prison.

June 6th

Auction house Christie’s has withdrawn from sale a manuscript purportedly recording King Louis XV1 of France’s last words before his beheading at the guillotine in 1793. The document attributed to Charles Henri Sanson, the chief executioner of Paris during the French revolution, is described as the “most authoritative contemporary account” of the king’s execution on January 21, 1793. It was to have been sold at auction on Wednesday. “We had additional information regarding the (manuscript’s) provenance and we thought the best thing to do was to withdraw it in order to investigate further,” a spokesman at Christie’s said. According to Christie’s, the manuscript is believed to have passed through several generations of a private European family before resurfacing.

June 7th

Infanta Leonor of Spain was presented by her parents to the religious icon of the Virgin of Atocha at the Virgin of Atocha Basilica in Madrid today. It is a traditional royal ceremony that dates back hundreds of years. The tradition dates back to 1643, when Felipe VI declared Our Lady of Atocha the family’s official protector.

Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands gave notice of the birth of his daughter Leonore at the Old Townhall of The Hague this morning. As witnesses Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, father of Princess Laurentien, were present. The Royal House also released the first picture of Countess Leonore, made by Prince Constantijn himself.

Today members of the Nepalese House of Representatives unanimously supported proposals to remove important powers from King Gyanendra, who will effectively become a ceremonial monarch. The long standing provision of “King in Parliament,” adopted by the constitution of Nepal in 1990, will be formally swept away when the House of Representatives meets again on June 10.

June 8th

On Wednesday evening Queen Margrethe II of Denmark was discharged from the Aarhus City Hospital where she received an artificial left knee last week, the palace said Thursday. In the coming weeks, she will stay at Fredensborg Castle to continue a rehabilitation program. “The queen is doing fine,” chamberlain Ove Ullerup said in a statement. “It is expected that the queen will gradually carry out some … visits and attend some events during the summer.”

In Thailand three days of solemn religious services to honor King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 60th year on the throne have begun, followed next week by celebrations with royalty from 25 nations. The services will take place in a throne hall at the Grand Palace. The king, the world’s longest-reigning monarch, and his family will pay homage to deceased members of the royal family in a private ceremony to be broadcast live around the country. Religious services will run through Saturday. Royals from around the world arrive at the weekend for more celebrations Monday and Tuesday, including fireworks and a parade of carved and gilded barges through the capital on the Chao Phraya River.

June 9th

Princess Anita and Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven expect their first child in November.

June 10th

Prince Philipp von Hessen married Laetitia Bechtolf in a religious ceremony at the chapel in Gut Panker in the late afternoon. The wedding was attended by about 350 guests among them Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with their children and grandchildren, Prince Ernst August of Hannover and his wife née Princess Caroline of Monaco, Princess Maria Pia of Savoy and Prince Michel de Bourbon de Parme, Duchess Marie-Alix, Prince Christoph and Princess Elisabeth von Schleswig-Holstein. After the wedding a reception was held in the garden of Panker Castle, followed by dinner and party. The civil wedding took place in Hamburg on May 5. A ‘Polterabend’ was being held at the Hessenstein near Gut Panker on Friday evening.

The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated his 85th birthday today privately at Windsor Castle. A 41-gun salute was fired in Hyde Park by the King’s Troop in the Duke’s honour. Public celebrations of the Duke’s personal milestone will take place next week. On June 15, the Massed Bands of the Royal Marines will perform a Beating Retreat on London’s Horse Guards Parade in honour of the Duke and he will take the salute. Earlier on the same day, the Duke will join the Queen at a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark her official 80th birthday.

Buddhist monks blessed King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand as part of religious celebrations to mark the 60th year on the throne of the world’s longest-reigning monarch. The ancient ritual, held in Bangkok’s gilded Grand Palace, was broadcast to millions of adoring subjects nationwide as royalty from 25 countries started arriving in Thailand ahead of next week’s lavish anniversary festivities.In the private ritual, which ended three days of religious services, 99 saffron-robed Buddhist monks chanted prayers in the ancient Pali language, in the palace’s Amarin Winitchai throne hall. The king lit candles to pay his respects to the Buddha. The ceremony was attended by Queen Sirikit, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and senior government and military leaders in white uniforms. The monks also blessed lustral water for the royal regalia — including the crown, inlaid with gold and studded with nine precious gemstones, the royal sword, cane and fan. White-robed Brahmin priests then performed rituals reserved for the Thai royalty to the sound of a traditional orchestra of xylophones and drums. This evening at 8.30pm a tableau of hi-tech fireworks is launched from ships anchored in the Chao Phraya river between the Phra Buddhayodfah and Phra Pinkhao Bridges, and will set the capital’s night skies aglow with dazzling colours, sounds and pageantry. The public is invited to see the fireworks display free of charge along both banks of the river.

June 11th

Part of the proceeds from the sale of treasures belonging to the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain will go to charity after her sister Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain intervened to prevent another scandal over royal gifts. The Queen asked Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s children, to make a clear distinction between goods their mother had received in an “official” role and those that had been personal gifts from family and friends. Jewellery and other valuables to belonging Princess Margaret will be auctioned in London on Tuesday and Wednesday by Christie’s. The 800 items are expected to fetch up to £5 million. According to senior royal sources, the Queen is determined to prevent embarrassing accusations that members of the Royal family have “cashed in” on gifts when they were given to the recipient as a representative of the state. He said: “It is up to Princess Margaret’s beneficiaries what they do with her estate. However, the Queen made it clear from early on that, if there were any items given to Princess Margaret in an official capacity, then any proceeds should go to charity.” Lady Sarah Chatto and Lord Linley say the sale is to pay off inheritance taxes. It is understood that Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto agreed with the Queen’s concerns and have said that the Stroke Association, and other charities, should benefit from the proceeds of 47 items of jewellery and valuables, worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Major Bruce Shand, father of the Duchess of Cornwall died at the age of 89 at his home in Dorset on Sunday morning with his family around him, Clarence House said. The Duchess of Cornwall was said to be “absolutely devastated”, a Clarence House spokesman said. “He had been unwell for sometime and his family was with him when he died at his home in Dorset. Arrangements are being made for a private family funeral and we ask the media to respect the family’s privacy. Prince Charles was extremely fond of the major and is very upset at the news.” The Duchess of Cornwall has cancelled her engagements for a week, and is unlikely to attend further birthday celebrations for her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, on Thursday. Major Shand had a distinguished military career before becoming a wine merchant and huntsman.

Evidence by former royal butler Paul Burrell is being examined by detectives investigating the death of Diana Princess of Wales. Scotland Yard has confirmed it has spoken to Burrell to learn about life with the late princess. Mr Burrell made headlines a few years ago when he released a letter to a newspaper purporting to be from Diana, claiming a senior royal was plotting to kill her in a car crash. Last night, a spokesman for Burrell said he had been quizzed by Scotland Yard and confirmed that the letter was now in the hands of senior detectives. The princess’ former bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, who survived the accident, is also said to have been quizzed.

Nepal’s Parliament has stripped King Gyanendra of his veto power over the legislature, the latest measure to curtail his authority after he was forced to give up absolute rule, officials said today. The new law, endorsed by legislators yesterday, scraps the king’s right to reject bills and laws passed by Parliament, according to a Parliament notice published today. Lawmakers also will no longer need to seek the approval of the king before signing a bill into law, it said. “The concept of king in Parliament has been abolished through law,” said Ram Baran Yadav, a legislator of the Nepali Congress, the country’s largest party. “We are now free to criticize the king and the royal family members in Parliament,” said Laxmi Shakya, a lawmaker from the Communist Party of Nepal.

Celebrations have been going on all weekend in honor of Kamehameha, the first king of Hawaii. All honor his contribution to Hawaiian culture and the legacy he left behind. He united the Hawaiian islands in 1810. It was a formal ceremony at the King Kamehameha statue; one that’s been held for over 100 years.

June 12th

New photos of Countess Leonore van Oranje-Nassau, jonkvrouw van Amsberg, her parents, sister, brother and grandmother Queen Beatrix were released by the royal house.

According to the royal court’s annual report that was released today the royal family of Sweden spent nearly 12 million kronor on travel and official entertaining in 2005. In total 95.6 million kronor was spent on the royals in 2005. Most of the money went to the upkeep of the royal castles and palaces, which are largely run as museums. The remainder went towards official and personal costs of the royal family. The report also detailed the royals’ public engagements, highlighting their efforts following the South Asian tsunami and the storms that devastated large parts of southern Sweden in 2005. During 2005 King Carl XVI Gustaf has met 23 foreign ambassadors, held three banquets as well as various gala dinners and lunches in addition to the Nobel Prize banquet.

Emil Gustaf, son of Philipp Haug and Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg was christened on Sunday at the Church of Mainau. The godparents were Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Countess Birgitta Bernadotte af Wisborg and Claudius Haug.

An emperor, six kings and members of almost every reigning royal family in the world were in Bangkok yesterday to fete King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world’s longest reigning monarch. One by one the monarchs and dignitaries entered the Ananda Samakhom throne hall in the Thai capital, and under its immense dome bowed or shook hands with their host. The spectacular highlight of today’s programme was the barge procession in which 2000 naval oarsmen rowed down the Chao Phraya river in elaborately carved long-boats. It was only the 14th time that the centuries-old ritual has taken place. The Thai king and queen presided over the ceremony which was also attended by their royals guests.

The New Zealand Herald reported today that the New Zealand Government was recently asked to provide a plane to take ailing King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga back to Tonga, amid rumors he was about to die, but the request was withdrawn. The newspaper said rumors have again that the king has been perilously ill. The king who suffers from heart problems, has been receiving long-term medical care in Auckland, New Zealand. But the manager of the king’s Epsom estate, Sitafooti Aho, said the king, who was staying in the Epsom enclave, was fine.

June 13th

The Christie’s auction of jewellery and artefacts owned by the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain so far raised almost £10m. According to Christie’s earlier differences among the family of Princess Margaret were resolved and all 800 items went up for auction. A Faberge clock was sold for double its estimate at £1.1m. The princess’s wedding tiara, the Poltimore Tiara, was sold for £926,400. An art deco pearl and diamond necklace, worn by Princess Margaret when photographed by Cecil Beaton for her 19th and 21st birthday portraits, sold for £276,800. A ring made from three rubies and diamonds fetched £299,200. A cultured pearl jabot pin, designed as a butterfly, had an estimated price of up to £60 but was sold for £6,000. A wrist watch by Cartier, which was a gift to a 20-year-old Margaret from the Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth, made £57,600 and had a guide price of £2,000-£3,000. A Russian gold mounted enamelled cigarette holder by Faberge, which came in its original case had an estimated price of up to £2,000 but fetched £209,600. A gilt hedgehog brooch valued at just £50 sold for £5,760. The auction had been expected to raise £3m but almost all the items sold for many times their estimated value.

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg has received the Path to Peace Award in New York. She was recognised for “her tireless contribution to humanitarian causes.” In her address touching on micro-credits, the Grand Duchess said: “It is essential to meet with human beings who not only give something to others, but who give themselves to others.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit, together with all other members of the Royal Thai Family, hosted a state banquet tonight for their royal guests at Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall within the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The menu of the banquet, prepared by the chef of the world’s famous and luxurious Oriental Hotel here, was selected by Queen Sirikit with about half of materials coming from Royal-initiated projects. The King delivered a speech in which he expressed his gratefulness to all the royalty who came to join the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in honour of him. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah of Brunei Darussalam, who is the most senior Monarch among the visiting Royal guests, gave a speech on behalf of the attending royals offering felicitations to the king. Before the state banquet the royals separately paid their private visits to significant places in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

Three men in Brunei Darussalam have been sentenced to a year in prison for sending cell phone video clips that were considered seditious and insulting to the royal family, police said. The men recently pleaded guilty in court to a charge of carrying out activities with “the seditious intention of bringing into derogation the status and position of the royal family, an offense that carries a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine. They were each sentenced to a year in prison, the statement said, warning the public “not to be involved in such activities as this could lead to more serious consequences.”

June 14th

Jewellery and artefacts owned by the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain have sold for more than £13.5 million at auction at Christie’s in London. A Peitro Annigoni painting of Margaret, who died in 2002, sold for £680,000 today. It is thought either one or both of the Princess’s children – Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto – joined bidders in trying to win the artwork. During Wednesday’s sale, artefacts like a Disney breakfast set, fine porcelain and wedding gifts went under the hammer, making just over £4m.

The Danish Gossip magazine Kig Ind reports that the relationship between Princess Alexandra of Denmark and cameraman Martin Jorgensen is over. He moved out of her house last week. Her ex-husband Prince Joachim of Denmark is still dating Marie Cavallier.

Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has ruled out abolishing the monarchy during the country’s transitional period. He said removing the monarchy could lead to a serious political crisis, and the issue should be left to the constituent assembly to decide.

June 15th

Today formal celebrations marked Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s 80th birthday. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by 42 members of the royal family, attended a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. The Archbishop of Canterbury praised the Queen in his sermon, saying a “common loyalty to the monarch” had helped keep the country together. Afterwards the Queen and Duke made a short walkabout in St Paul’s Churchyard before attending a lunch at Mansion House at which the Queen gave a speech. She credited comic Groucho Marx in her speech saying: “Anyone can get old; all you have to do is to live long enough”. She also told: “There are in my view many other anniversaries this year which are more deserving of celebration. I hope you will permit me to single out two for mention: the 50th Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the 30th Anniversary of The Prince’s Trust. Both organisations in their different ways have changed – and continue to change – countless people’s lives for the better.” She went on to thank the many thousands of people from the UK and all over the world sent her letters and cards. Top chefs had competed in a BBC programme to create the lunch menu for The Queen and the 350 guests. The menu existed of smoked salmon with blinis, woodland sorrel and wild cress, pan-fried turbot with cockles and oxtail, loin of roe venison with potato cake, roast roots, creamed cabbage and game gravy and custard tart with nutmeg. In the evening, the Massed Bands of The Royal Marines performed a Beating Retreat on Horse Guards in celebration of the Duke of Edinburgh’s 85th birthday.

June 16th

Major Bruce Shand, father of the Duchess of Cornwall, was buried today. The funeral service was being held at Holy Trinity Church, Stourpaine, Dorset. The service was attended by the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry of Wales, as well as the family of the Duchess. After the service the mourners followed the hearse for the brief journey to Major Shand’s house where a wake took place. A Clarence House spokesman said Major Shand’s body would be cremated in a private ceremony.

RJH, the PR firm partly owned by the Countess of Wessex has folded. The company has closed its phone lines and office in Mayfair in London and it is thought that the 26 staff are looking for other employment. The company, which is one third owned by the countess, had debts of a reported £1.5m.

Prince Victor Emanuele of Savoy has been arrested as part of an investigation into corruption and prostitution by magistrates based in Potenza, Italy. He was held in Lecco. Italian reports say he is being questioned on allegations of corruption and forgery. Investigators reportedly suspect the prince of having contacts with the Mafia, and playing some role in the hiring of prostitutes for the clients of a casino in Campione D’Italia. The family has vigorously denied the allegations.

June 17th

Tens of thousands of people lined the Mall, in Central London, today to catch a glimpse of the pomp and pageantry of Trooping the Colour. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh rode in Queen Victoria’s 1842 phaeton carriage from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade. Prince Charles, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Kent all followed the Queen’s carriage on horseback. The Queen inspected the troops before rejoining her husband on a dais to watch the ceremony which included a marching band. Most of the royal family were in attendance at the celebrations, apart from the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William of Wales. Four of the five Foot Guards regiments of the Household Division – the Welsh Guards, Grenadier Guards, Scots Guards and the Coldstream Guards – were on parade. The Massed Bands and the Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry performed an array of rousing tunes. Ninety solders from the Coldstream Guards, Welsh Guards carried out the Feu de Joie rifle salute. The cascade of blank gunshots was common in the 18th and 19th centuries to mark a military victory or birthday, but it was thought to be the first time it had been performed in the current Queen’s presence during her reign.

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera claims that Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy paid money for the election campaign of Bulgaria’s former Prime Minister, his cousin Simeon Saxe-Coburg. They say Simeon Saxe-Coburg promised to arrange for the Italian prince and entrepreneur Pierpaolo Cerani to win a public tender in Bulgaria. A wiretap on Cerani reportedly revealed that Saxe-Coburg pledged to them the tender for building a medical complex in Bulgaria.

June 18th

Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau gave birth to her second daughter at 4.12am in London. The baby weighed 3700 grammes. Her full names will be Joanna Zaria Nicoline Milou. She will be called Zaria. “With mother and child it goes phantastic”, a very happy Prince Friso said.

June 19th

A service for the Most Noble Order of the Garter was held in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, today. The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex were formally installed to the highest British order of chivalry at the service. Among those attending the service was the Duchess of York.

Lawyer German Lukyanov, representing the Russian Imperial House in exile, said the Tverskoi District Court on May 25 made a ruling that ignored the request of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the head of the Russian Imperial House, to recognize Russia’s last monarch as a victim of the Bolshevik repression and clear him of all political charges. “I have asked the Tverskoi District Court to pass a follow-up judgment on a suit filed by Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna,” he said. A new hearing is set for June 26.

June 20th

The Luxemburg newspaper Tageblatt today reports that Prince Louis of Luxemburg and his girlfriend Tessy Antony expressed the wish to get married and that preparations have already started. The Grand-Ducal Court denied the rumours and say no decision has been made yet.

Princess Stephanie of Monaco is to record a new song. The number ‘L’or de nos vies’ will be released on August 28. The proceeds of the single go to the organisation Figh Aids Monaco. The song was being written and composed by the French Group Kyo. Stéphanie will get vocal support of Patrick Bruel, Corneille and Bénabar. Also Emma Daumas, Roch Voisine and Tété lend their voice.

Talking to Nova TV, an Italian investigator in the case said that so far only Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy and his associate Cerani are being probed for that telephone conversation. He said the mentioning of any other name in it is subject to further investigation and could not mean anything by default. Simeon Saxe-Coburg is not on the list of names investigated by the Italian prosecution into alleged graft practices, Nova TV channel reported as quoting own sources. Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy is due at a preliminary hearing tomorrow. In a statement Simeon Saxe-Coburg, leader of the National Movement Simeon II, explained his view-point on the scandal and involvement of his name in it. He denied that the party got any money from the Italian businessman Pierpaolo Cerani but admitted that he had talks with him for construction of children’s hospital in Bulgaria although he denied talks for the privatization of BTC. According to Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha there were circles in Bulgaria that speculate on this topic. He said that they wanted to announce the nominee of their party for president over the next few days but now this will be postponed for later.

June 22nd

A moving ceremonial service in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim was the climax of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the coronation of King Haakon VII of Norway at the cathedral. Present were seventeen of the 26 descendants of King Haakon and Queen Maud: three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren, including King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. “For a hundred years the people and royal family have journeyed together, through good and bad times. Our journey will continue, into an unknown future,” Bishop Finn Wagle said during his opening remarks at the service. “When Prince Carl came to Norway in 1905, it was a call – a call from the people. The people’s call was understood as a historic call when the royal house was established on ancient royal grounds. Now it has grown one hundred new years and forged firm bonds between the royal family and the people,” Bishop Wagle said in his sermon. On Monday the royal family started a compact version of King Haakon’s coronation tour of 1906.

The House of Hohenzollern mourns Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia who died at Mallorca on 19 June at the age of 87. He was born at 13 March 1919 in Klein Glienicke as son of Prince Friedrich Sigismund of Prussia and Princess Marie Luise zu Schaumburg-Lippe. He was married twice: in 1961 to Lady Hermione Stuart (1925-1969) and from 1974 to 1978 to Adelheid von Bockum gen. Dolffs. He had no issue. The funeral took place at the family cemetery in the castle park Glienicke in Berlin.

June 23rd

The Imperial Household Agency today announced that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has invited Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan and their daughter Princess Aiko for a private visit of a couple of weeks to the Netherlands. The family will stay in the Netherlands in August. The father of Crown Princess Masako works in the Netherlands.

June 24th

The RTL programme Place Royale tonight were allowed to show a 5-minute video of Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric, the twin sons of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire who were born in December 2005. It was the first time they were shown to the public.

June 25th

For one day the garden of Buckingham palace became a living, breathing treasury of tales. Children’s favourite literary characters were there like Postman Pat, the Big Friendly Giant, Winnie-the-Pooh and Paddington Bear. 1000 British children between four and fourteen were selected by ballot to attend the Children’s Literature Party at the Palace in celebration of the Queen’s 80th birthday, and each took with him a friend and an adult. They were joined by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the Countess of Wessex. A pantomime was performed by a star cast headed by Jonathan Ross. There were performances by among others Kelly Osbourne, Jerry Hall and Patsy Kensit and even the cast of Harry Potter and writer J.K. Rowling appeared. Queen Elizabeth II told her guests: “We have been reminded that this magic of our childhood, the characters, the stories, the imagination of it all is an enduring and essential part of our culture. I hope that this event will encourage you and many other children who have been watching this show on TV to read some of the wonderful books from which the characters come and to discover the pleasure of reading.”

Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy was placed under house arrest at the flat of a friend in Parioli, Rome, on Saturday after giving prosecutors a partial confession. He has made no confessions, but has actively cooperated to the authorities, one of his lawyers Julia Bongiorno said. She said a thorough check into the prince’s words showed that Vittorio Emanuele is willing to help the prosecution do its job. In his testimonies in front of the Italian prosecution Prince Vittorio Emanuele has pointed out that although he has not given money to former King Simeon of Bulgaria, but that it was his partner Italian businessman Pierpaolo Cerani. Despite protests from public figures transcripts of the wiretapped conversations have been published extensively in the Italian press. Asked why he appeared “obsessed” with sex for payment, the princee replied: “Because I am a sex maniac.” He asked investigators not to tell his wife “because I have been happily married for 45 years. It’s just that I am a hunter, and from time to time I like to shoot.” Princess Marina of Savoy today said that she was standing by her husband, “as I have always done in difficult times”.

June 26th

Clarence House published the third Annual Review from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Household today. The review is a summary of their work during 2005-2006. The couple undertook nearly 200 public engagements together in the first year of their marriage, including two major overseas tours.

Queen Sirikit of Thailand underwent an eye operation in a private eye clinic in Bangkok. She had surgery for a small rupture of the retina of her right eye, and also was treated for a cataract in the same eye. The announcement of the Bureau of the Royal Household said the problem with the retina was detected during a routine medical exam. She was advised by doctors to take six weeks rest to recuperate, the palace said.

June 27th

Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy has distanced himself from his father Vittorio Emanuele who was arrested on suspicion of providing prostitutes and illegal slot machines to a casino. “I do not agree with everything my father has done,” the prince told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “Each one of us is different. That happens between parents and children, it’s normal. But I am not here to judge my father. I must think of his health and hope this affair ends quickly.”

June 28th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the rest of the royal family cost the British taxpayer £37.4m in the last financial year, her financial public accounts reveal. The cost, equivalent to 62p per person in the UK, rose 4.2% over the previous year, accountants said. The increase was partly blamed on extra security vetting undertaken at Buckingham Palace. Freedom of information inquiries and the cost of a number of long-haul overseas visits by members of the Royal Family, also contributed to the rise. Travel costs increased by 10% to £5.5 million. Keeper of the Privy Purse Alan Reid said that more money was needed to maintain the royal palaces. “If we’re going to maintain historic buildings that we’re responsible for, we will need more money. We will putting more pressure on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.” Windsor’s mausoleum – burial place of Queen Victoria – needs restoring.

The first child of Hereditary Prince Heinrich zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and his wife Priscilla was christened at the chapel of Sayn Castle on 24 June. He received the name Ludwig (Ludovico Carlo Maria Rudolf Sebastiano Alexander).

The new Point de Vue reports that the civil wedding of Alexandre de Sambucy de Sorgue, son of Princess Chantal of France, and Anne-Cécile Berteau took place at Paris on 17 June 2006. The religious wedding will take place on 8 July at the Abbey of Montmajour near Arles. The groom’s sister Kildine is engaged to Antoine Stevenson and will get married at the end of the summer. Princess claude of France married Enrico Gandolfi near Milan, Italy, on 14 JUne 2006. And Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta Duke of Apulia, and Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark appartently have chosen for a private wedding at the end of the summer.

June 29th

The Public Account Committee of the Nepali House of Representatives today directed the government to submit property details of King Gyanendra of Nepal and the members of the royal family to the committee. They asked the office of Prime Minister Girija Rasa Koirala and Cabinet and the Ministry of Finance to produce the details of the property of the king and the royal family within 15 days. The committee members said that it should make public the property details after it gets them from the authorities.

Archaeologists expecting to find a mummy during their excavation of a burial chamber in Luxor, Egypt, have instead discovered a garland of flowers. The 3000-year-old garland is the first to be discovered. It was found in the last of seven coffins which archaeologists had hoped would contain the mummies of royal queens or even Tutankhamun’s mother. The chief curator of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum said the surprise find was “even better” than discovering a mummy as it is very rare. Experts say ancient Egyptian royals often wore garlands entwined with gold strips around their shoulders in both life and death.

June 30th

Prince Laurent of Belgium has offered photos of his twin sons Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric for sale to magazines and newspapers via a photo agency. He asks 15.000 Euro for them, VTM said yesterday evening. He says to do it to protect his children. The royal palace says they don’t know anything about the sale. Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has asked Prince Laurent to withdrawn the photos.

July 1st

Yesterday and today Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a huge party for royals and family. The couple married on 14 February 1981 and in February celebrated their wedding anniversary in private. Yesterday evening an artistic spectacle with 900 guests took place at the Grand Theatre in Luxemburg City. This morning the family and several guests attended the opening of the Museum of Modern Art Grand Duke Jean in Luxemburg-Kirchberg. In the afternoon the guests were invited for a picnic at the woods near Gatter. Tonight a huge gala-dinner took place at Berg Castle in Colmar. Among the guests this weekend were among others most family members, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Mr Pieter van Vollenhoven, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson and Mr Tord Magnuson, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, the Prince and Princess of Asturias, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, Prince Lorenz and Princess Astrid of Belgium, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium, the Princess Royal, Prince Philipp and Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein, Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, Prince El Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath of Jordan, Princess Tsuguko Takamado of Japan, the Duke and Duchess of Bragança, former King Simeon of Bulgaria and his wife Margarita, former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess Margarita or Romania and Prince Radu of Hohenzollern-Veringen, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katerina of Yugoslavia and the Aga Khan. Also Tessy Antony, girlfriend of Prince Louis of Luxemburg, took part in the celebrations.

A man has been arrested after a car was crashed into the gate of the residence of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga in Auckland, New Zealand shortly after midnight. Police said the car caught fire when it hit the gates and emergency services were called. They police says the man is not believed to be hurt but will face charges.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands yesterday attended the first meeting of the new advisory group for a accessible financial sector of the United Nations in New York. Together with 20 others she was asked to take a seat in the group, which goes further with the results of the International Year of the Microcredit 2005 in which the princess also participated.

July 2nd

Japanese comedian Atsuhiko Nakata who was parachuting for the shooting of a television quiz program and his instructor were blown off course by strong winds. Instead of landing at the Jingu Stadium in Tokyo they landed nearby within the Akasaka Goyochi residential quarters of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan on Sunday afternoon, police said. No one was hurt in the incident. Imperial Household police officers noticed the parachute and warned the two men. The couple was supposed to descend into the baseball stadium area with the answer to a question for a quiz program dubbed “the national quiz tournament for high school students, ” scheduled to be aired in September, according to broadcaster Nippon Television Network Co. “They descended on the advice of an expert but were whipped away by an abrupt gust of wind,” a Nippon Television spokesperson said. “We apologize to all those concerned who have been inconvenienced.”

July 3rd

RJH Public Relations, the company of the Countess of Wessex has been taken to court over a string of unpaid debts. The company has four outstanding unpaid county court judgments totalling £30,000. The company is now being wound up and liquidators are being appointed. The Inland Revenue and Barclays Bank, who have taken a charge on a mortgage on the company premises, will have priority in any payouts. The company’s offices in Mayfair were deserted at the weekend; 12 staff have lost their jobs, and the telephone has been cut off. Buckingham Palace refused to comment, stating that RJH was a matter for the company and not the Royal Family.

Yesterday the Nepal government decided to scrap the tradition of observing the event as a national holiday. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala chaired a meeting of his ministers. King Gyanendra of Nepal will celebrate his 60th birthday on July 7. The monarch’s birthday will not be a national holiday anymore for the first time in the history of the 238-year monarchy. Nepal’s embassies and high commissions in over 20 countries overseas have been asked by the new government not to celebrate the event officially.

July 4th

The Moscow City Court is to hear an appeal filed by a lawyer for Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia protesting the authorities’ refusal to rehabilitate Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II and his family on August 1. “We believe in justice and the law. We hope that pseudo-political decisions to deny rehabilitation to Emperor Nicholas II and his family will be ruled illegal and overturned,” lawyer German Lukyanov said yesterday.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga celebrated his 88th birthday today. For the first time was unable to attend the military parade and the inspection of the parade was carried out by Crown Prince Tupouto’a at Mala’e Pangai in Nuku’alofa. However the king attended the royal luncheon in the grounds of the palace after the parade. He also received birthday well- wishers at the palace.

July 6th

The traditional photocall of the Dutch royal family took place in Tavarnelle Val di Peso, Italy, today. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands posed together with the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima and their daughters Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia. They all looked very relaxed, although at one moment it all became a bit too much for Princess Alexia who started to cry but was soon consoled by her grandmother. The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima said that they had been very busy lately and travelled abroad a lot. They were happy to be able to spend more time with their children. Despite of political problems Queen Beatrix has started her vacation. She will return tomorrow for one day to swear in the leader of the new government and two new ministers.

Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, will serve as goodwill ambassador for the World Health Organization to promote cancer prevention. The announcement of her appointment was made today during an audience between princess Lalla Salma and WHO director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Hussein Abdel-Razzak Gezairi, who was accompanied by WHO representative in Morocco, Raouf Ben Ammar.

Prince Tu’ipelehake of Tonga and his wife Princess Kaimana were killed when a teenager racing her car crashed into their vehicle at Menlo Park, California, USA, authorities said. Also their driver was killed. 18-year-old Edith Delgado was allegedly racing her white 1998 Ford Mustang at speeds up to 100 mph on a highway around 9 p.m. on Wednesday when she tried to pass the SUV carrying the royal couple. Miss Delgado’s car slammed into the driver’s side of the car causing it to swerve across several lanes before tumbling to a stop on its roof. Miss Delgado, who was not injured herself in the car crash, was jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and engaging in a speed contest.

July 7th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain unveiled the Queen Mother’s Morial Garden in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Conrwall. The garden features a Celtic labyrinth and four secret gardens, with plants from around the world. It also has a stone pavilion housing a bronze portrait of the Queen Mother. The garden was designed by Lachlan Stewart.

The Royal Palace today announced that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is to attend an elite Swedish diplomat training programme. The course will start in September and run until June next year. She will learn about Swedish foreign and security policy and the way the Swedish state works. The course is “a very good education,” according to palace spokesman Morgan Gerle. “She is very interested in research on conflict resolution. The Crown Princess has previously carried out placements in Swedish government agencies abroad and at the United Nations. This is a part of her continuing programme.”

King Gyanendra of Nepal marked his 60th birthday with subdued celebrations on Friday as a cloud hangs over the future of the monarchy. About 4,000 people, including Buddhist monks in maroon robes, Hindu priests in white loincloths, members of the king’s ousted administration and their families took part in the celebration at the Narayanhity palace in central Kathmandu. For the first time in years, government offices and schools stayed open and ministers skipped the ceremony.

Several members of the monarchist party Consulta dei senatori del Regno today decided that the title of Duke of Savoy and the position of head of the house of Savoy will go to the Duke of Aosta. While the official justification is Vittorio Emanuele Duke of Savoy’s marriage to bourgeois Marina Doria without the approval of a former king, it is believed to be directly related to the current scandal. There was an immediate protest by the Prince of Venice and other monarchists. The Consulta dei senatori del Regno was established by former King Umberto II of Italy to preserve the traditions of the senate in the Kingdom of Italy. The council split in 2001 and part has now chosen the Duke of Aosta as new Duke of Savoy, while the other part supports Vittorio Emanuele Duke of Savoy.

July 8th

Fiji police have arrested a man who allegedly threw a metal object at the official vehicle carrying the Princess Royal in Suva this morning. The princess was returning from an official visit to the Save the Children Fund Fiji office when the incident occurred. The man allegedly threw the object from the veranda of his house and police officers travelling with the entourage quickly detained him at the scene.

Duke Michael von Württemberg married Julia Storz in the Schlosskirche at Friedrichshafen in the early afternoon. The couple very much wanted to marry near the Bodensee. The ceremony was led by Father Pierre Conrads Kronenberg SJ. Organist was Prof.Dr. Ludger Lohmann. The Aurelius-Chorknaben from Calw led by Johannes Sorg sang. The civil wedding took place at Altshausen yesterday. It was quite a private wedding with about 240 guests invited. After the marriage the party took place in the evening at Altshausen. Among the guests were the brothers and sisters of the groom with partners and children.

Alexandre de Sambucy de Sorgue, youngest son of Baron François Xavier de Sambucy de Sorgue and Princess Chantal of France, married Anne-Cécile Berteau at Montmajour Abbey near Arles. The ceremony was led by Monseigneur Di Falco assisted by Father Michel Ciccullo. Among the guests were many members of the French royal family, as well as Princess Margarita of Romania and her husband. The civil wedding already took place at Paris on 17 June.

July 9th

Prince Harry of Wales is learning to drive light tanks as he begins the next stage of his army training. He will also learn to maintain the armoured reconnaissance vehicles, which have a driver, gunner and a commander. He will complete his “recce soldier” training as a member of the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals in October. A Ministry of Defence spokesman, said: “Prince Harry has begun the second phase of his Troop Leaders’ course, for the first time driving an armoured reconnaissance vehicle.”

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has slipped and injured on the back, shoulder and one of his ribs Thai media reports. It is reported that the King fell to the ground in front of a royal residence in Bangkok on June 24 while walking for leisure. Doctors said the king was injured on the back and one shoulder, and there was also a small crack on his fourth right rib. The King has been advised to stop from attending any public activities for recovery.

July 11th

14-year-old Princess Mako of Japan will travel to Austria for two weeks to take part in a homestay, it was reported in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The princess, who is a third- year student at Gakushuin Girls’ Junior High School, will stay in Austria during her school summer vacation for 14 days from August 3 to 16. She will stay at the home of an acquaintance that her mother Princess Kiko met when she stayed in Vienna for about two years from 1977. The home of the acquaintance is reportedly on the outskirts of Vienna. During her stay, Princess Mako will reportedly carry out English and other language study and view art in the city of Vienna.

Simeon II National Movement will nominate a candidate for the presidential elections in the country, but this person will not be the leader of the party Simeon Saxe-Coburg. The nomination of Bulgaria’s ex prime minister was ruled out by SIINM deputy leader Plamen Panayotov. He explained that this decision has been taken after a thorough analysis of the political situation in the country. Panayotov, however, declined to reveal Saxe-Coburg’s motives for not running for president saying that each person decides alone whether to publicly announce his decisions.

July 12th

Today the small principality of Liechtenstein marked its bicentennial as sovereign state. On 12 July 2006 Liechtenstein was admitted to the Confederation of the Rhine and became a sovereign state, which it remained until today unlike the other 15 members of the Confederatin of the Rhine. During the official opening ceremony at the Town Hall of Vaduz Hereditary Prince Alois said that the country looks back to a ‘very happy’ 200 years. Then the anniversary procession of the eleven municipalities walked through Vaduz. More than 1000 people showed eleven images from the history of the country, illustrating scenes with important personalities from the past. Afterwards the people were invited for the 200 years party with a 200-meter bar and lots of music. A festive banquet for invited guests took place in the Vaduzersaal.

King Gyanendra of Nepal could face questioning by the commission investigating excesses committed by the former royal government during the April pro-democracy movement, commissioner Harihar Birahi said today. He said the king’s own role was not beyond the scope of the investigations. The commission has already questioned over three dozen people including the two vice chairmen of the king’s council of ministers, other ministers and high officials of the former royal government. Mr Birahi said the king himself could be called by the commission, but did not say how or when that might occur.

Maori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu has been admitted to Waikato Hospital’s intensive care unit after she had a heart attack yesterday morning. Her condition is understood to be serious and last night family and tribal members gathered at her bedside for prayers. A statement from her secretary, Taini Rutene, said she had been admitted to the hospital for observation and medical review. Further tests are to be carried out today and it was expected that Dame Te Ata would then return home, Ms Rutene said.

July 14th

Over 3000 people turned up to celebrate the 29th birthday of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden today at the royal family’s summer retreat of Solliden at Öland. As usual the Crown Princess was presented with flowers and drawings by children. She came outside at 2pm together with her parents. King Carl XVI Gustaf made a few jokes before leading the singing of Swedish birthday song Ja Må Hon Leva. He said: “Today is Victoria’s birthday. It’s been so many years now that I’ve stopped saying how old she is. It’s wonderful that you want to be here to make this a special day.” The Crown Princess herself said: “It never ceases to amaze me that so many of you turn up. Many of you have been here several times, and I take that with me when colder and greyer days come.” The celebrations continued a little later at the Borgholm sports ground, where the royals arrived in horse ad carriage. For the first time also Crown Princess Victoria’s boyfriend Daniel Westling attended part of the celebrations together with other friends of the Crown Princess.

Prince Ernst August von Hannover has lost a case at the Bundesverfassungsgericht (High Council). The court has decided that media are allowed to report on offenses of prominent people with mentioning their name. Therewith the prince has lost his complaint about media reports about him driving too fast in France in August 2003.

July 15th

Princes William and Harry of Wales said today they were “deeply saddened” by the publication of a photo in the Italian weekly magazine Chi of their late mother Diana Princess of Wales taken moments after the car crash which killed her in August 1997. In a statement the princes said: “Following this week’s publication in an Italian magazine of material relating directly to the death of our mother, we feel deeply saddened that such a low has been reached. Despite the support shown to us and our mother’s memory by so many people over the last eight years, we feel that as her sons we would be failing in our duty to her now if we did not protect her as she once did us. Therefore we appeal to all forms of media throughout the world to appreciate fully that publishing such material causes great hurt to us, our father, our mother’s family and all those who so loved and respected her.” Editor of Chi magazine Umberto Brindani today defended the picture’s publication, saying it was “touching” and “tender”, not offensive. The black and white photo under the headline “World Exclusive: The Last Photo” accompanies an article about a new book by French crime writer Jean-Michel Caradec’h called ‘Lady Diana: The Criminal Investigation’. The book will include photos of Diana taken shortly after the accident and also includes autopsy diagrams charting the injuries the Princess suffered. Mr Brindini said: “We carried an interview with the author and were provided material from a dossier which he acquired. The material from this dossier is in the book and includes the photograph as well as other documents. We were the first magazine to publish them but I understand that others in Europe – France and Spain – will also publish shortly.”

July 16th

Last night Princess Beatrice of York celebrated her 18th birthday with a masked ball and dinner at Windsor Castle. The party was based on the year 1888 in tribute to Beatrice’s birthdate of August 8th 1988. The party was attended by 500 friends and celebrities, among them the Duke and Duchess of York, Princess Eugenie, Peter and Zara Phillips, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Lord Frederick Windsor, Andrea Casiraghi, singer Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne with their children Jack and Kelly, actress Demi Moore with Ashton Kutchner. Buckingham Palace confirmed that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Duke of Edinburgh would not be attending their granddaughter’s 18th and said it had never been her intention to do so. The total cost of the party was expected to be £400,000 and included £215,000 on food and drink, £65,000 on flowers and £120,000 on security, outfits, design and staff costs. One of Beatrice’s best friends, named only as Caroline, also made a warm speech in tribute to the Queen’s granddaughter, telling the audience: “Some normal girls are a million times more of a Princess than she is.” Following the speeches, and with an orchestra from the Royal Philarmonic playing, the Duke of York led his daughter onto the dance floor for the first waltz of the night. The party continued well into the early hours.

Countess Josephine von Posadowsky-Wehner née Princess von Hohenzollern died at Andernach on 11 July 2006. She was born on 15 February 1922 at Burg Namedy as the eldest child of Prince Albrecht von Hohenzollern and Ilse von Friedeburg. In 1967 she married Harald Count von Posadowsky-Wehner who died in 1990. She will be buried at Namedy on 20 July.

July 18th

In an interview with Hello magazine Princess Michael of Kent has spoken out for the first time about her alleged affair with Russian millionaire Mikhail Kravchenko, insisting that her marriage is ‘rock-solid’. She excused recent photographs of her kissing and holding hands with him by explaining she is just an extremely ‘tactile’ woman. “The true nature of our relationship is that it is a very good friendship. I hold hands with all my friends. I don’t think that’s being intimate at all. I’m a very tactile person – I do it all the time. Anyone who knows us [my husband and I] knows we are so content with each other and with our lives. Right now we are at the highest point in our marriage.” About her husband she says: “He [her husband] loves me. I love him. That’s very strong. So if he wants to go and have tea or lunch with somebody, why should I care?”

Buckingham Palace officials are already drawing up plans for a commemorative service marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in August 2007. It’s claimed Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales are being kept closely informed of plans for what a royal source has described as a “tasteful and discreet” service commemorating the events of August 31st 1997. According to a Palace official: “Even though it is over 13 months away, plans are already afoot to commemorate the anniversary of Diana’s death. Nothing has been remotely finalised, but there will be some sort of event, possibly a service. The most important thing is that her sons are happy about what occurs. It is likely the event will include some of the things Diana did in her life to show that her legacy lives on. There may be some sort of acknowledgement from the Queen about Diana. Nothing has been ruled out and nothing has been ruled in.”

Princess Kiko of Japan has symptoms of partial placenta previa, a condition in which part of the placenta drops too low in the uterus, palace doctor Ichiro Kanazawa said in a statement released through the Imperial Household Agency. “We believe a Caesarean section will be needed at the time of delivery, which is highly likely to come at an earlier date than originally expected,” Mr Kanazawa said. “There is a high risk of early bleeding, infection or pre-term birth triggered by the placenta previa. In order to prevent these possible complications, the Princess will have to rest for some time.” The Princess and the baby are in good health, but the princess might have to be hospitalized if her condition worsens. “Together with Japanese citizens, we’d like to wait quietly so that Princess Kiko will safely give birth to her baby,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a news conference.

July 19th

The Countess of Wessex’s PR firm RJH Public Relations has avoided being wound up today because it has already gone into voluntary liquidation. The firm which is believed to have debts of up to £1.7million, faced a winding up petition brought by publishers Reed Elsevier, which is owed about £25,000. But, in a brief hearing at London’s High Court, Mr Registrar Simmonds dismissed the petition with no order for costs at the request of the company’s counsel Adam Chichester-Clark. Outside court, solicitor Christopher Mackie explained: “The position is simply that my clients were content to allow the company to remain in voluntary liquidation. They have been since July 10th, and my clients have every confidence in the liquidators undertaking a thorough investigation of the company and its liquidators.”

July 20th

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway celebrated his 33rd birthday today at the royal summer residence Mågerø at Tjøme together with his wife Mette-Marit, his children and stepson and Queen Sonja of Norway. King Harald V of Norway is sailing at Mallorca, Spain.

The Royal Household Bureau announced that the operation to correct King Bhumibol Adulyadej Of Thailand’s lumbar spinal stenosis today at Siriraj Hospital has been successful. “His Majesty has undergone physiotherapy and has been given intravenous saline as well as medicine,” said the bureau. The microsurgical decompression began at 4:05 pm and was completed at 8:53 pm. The doctors say that the operation was successful and that there are no complications. Present at the hospital were Queen Sirikit, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and his wife Princess Srirasmi, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana and Princess Somsavali. Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, who left the hospital in the early evening, said the King could talk and eat soft food. “His Majesty is so delighted to see many well-wishers,” the Princess said after greeting and talking to some of the well-wishers.

The Duke of Savoy who is under investigation in a corruption and vice probe was released from house arrest today. A court in the city of Potenza, where the investigation is based, granted a defence request for the duke’s release but stressed that he was not to leave the country. The Duke of Savoy told reporters gathered outside the house in Rome where he had been under house arrest that he was delighted to be released. “As for what follows now, I have complete trust in the Italian justice system. The truth, the real truth, will come out because justice, if one looks for it, exists,” he said. His son Emanuele Filiberto said: “My father is once again free to move around Italy. His arrest was never necessary.”

The bodies of Prince Tui’pelehake of Tonga and his wife Princess Kaimana, who died in a car accident in the USA earlier this month, arrived in Tonga amid much ceremony ahead of their funeral on Friday. The coffins were draped with national flags and met at Fua’amoto International Airport by a party led by Crown Prince Tupouto’a and a contingent of the Tongan military. Members of the royal family wore black and traditional waist mats. School children and villagers lined the entire 12km route from the airport to the capital Nuku’alofa to pay respects. The arrival of the bodies marked the beginning of 10-day mourning period in Tonga. The prince and princess will receive a royal funeral rather than an official state ceremony. Palace officials say King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga will not attend the funeral for health reasons.

July 21st

The funeral service for Prince Tu’ipelehake and Princess Kaimana Fielakepa of Tonga was held at the Free Wesleyan Centenary Church in Nuku’alofa at 12.30 today. The sermon was conducted by the Rev. Dr ‘Ahio. The church was filled with hundreds of family members, relatives and friends, representatives of South Pacific royalty, dignitaries and diplomats. During the service Princess Mele Siu’ilukutapu, the prince’s eldest sister, told the congregation her brother had been dedicated to peaceful political reform. Following the two and a half hour service the funeral procession left for the burial at the ‘Otu Langi Na Moala, at Lapaha. Tonga is observing a 10-day mourning period for the couple and flags were being flown at half mast as a mark of respect, the Tongan royal family will observe six months of mourning, beginning with an overnight vigil at the couple’s home after their bodies were returned on Thursday. Edith Delgado, who caused the car accident, has been charged with three counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

July 22nd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain yesterday embarked for an eight-day cruise around the Western Isles of Scotland with her family at her side. The Queen paid £125,000 to hire the former car ferry converted into the luxury cruiser the MV Hebridean Princess. The cruise is an 80th birthday present to herself, except for a couple of secret stops to pick up and drop off various members of her family. The Queen went on board at Port Ellen on Islay accompanied by the the Princess Royal and her husband Timothy Laurence, Peter Phillips with girlfriend Autumn Kelly, Viscount and Viscountess Linley with their children, Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto with their children. The Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their daughter Lady Louise Windsor are expected to join the tour in the next few days as other members of the party disembark. Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales have both had to pass up because of their Army commitments. After the cruise, the Queen and Prince Philip will go to Balmoral for their summer vacation.

Michael Burgess, the coroner of the Queen’s Household who was due to hear inquests into the deaths of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed has announced he is withdrawing from the cases. He asked for the inquests to be handled by a “senior judicial figure”. He blamed a “heavy and constant” workload for his decision. He said he wanted to pass on the responsibility in advance of an official report into the 1997 Paris crash being released. Buckingham Palace said that the Queen had been informed of the development.

Countess Elisabeth d’Udekem d’Acoz married Margrave Alfonso Pallavicini at Saint-Pierre church in Bastogne, Belgium today at 16.00. The civil wedding took place at the town hall of Bastogne on 20 July with as witnesses Karin Luke and Jean Law de Lauriston de Boubers. Only 18 people attended the civil wedding. The religious ceremony today was led by Father Tommy Scholtes assisted by Father Conrads von Kronenberg and Dean Jean-Maurice Jacques. The service was conducted in French, Italian and German and was simple, classic and moving. Witnesses for the bridal couple were Count Charles-Henri d’Udekem d’Acoz, Honorine d’Ursel, Edouardo Pallavicini, Prince Hugo von und zu Liechtenstein, Hervé Thibaut de Maisières and Alexandra Olsufief. The bride wore a beautiful gown designed by Edouard Vermeulen of the House of Natan. Among the about 350 guests was the bride’s sister Princess Mathilde of Belgium with her husband Prince Philippe and the eldest two children Elisabeth and Gabriel, who both were bridal children, Prince Maximilian and Princess Angela von und zu Liechtenstein, Prince Charles-Philippe d’Orléans Duke of Ansjou, Countess Fleur von Goëss née Duchess von Württemberg, Duchesses Helene and Maria Anna in Bavaria, Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria with husband Daniel Terberger and son Maximilian. Also Queen Fabiola of the Belgians, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire with daughter Louise attended the wedding. In the evening the party was held at Losange Castle.

July 23rd

The health of Maori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu’s health has improved enough for her to be out of Waikato Hospital. She has been undergoing dialysis treatment, and there have been unconfirmed reports her health had taken a turn for the worse. Waikato Hospital says the Maori Queen was discharged to the care of her family earlier this week.

July 24th

The Royal Household Bureau announced today that King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand can stand up and walk longer and does not show any sign of pain from the surgery wound. They say doctors asked the king to stand up and walk with a walker for the third time Monday after the surgery. He can now stand and walk for a combination of 13 minutes, which was longer than the two earlier exercises. The latest official statement said doctors had advised the King to exercise. The king was also able to take solid food. Examinations showed the king’s physical recovery was satisfactory.

The Nepalese council of minister today decided to scrap the military secretariat in the palace. King Gyanendra will also lose his personal army. Acording to the estimates of the new government, there are about 900 employees and 3,000 soldiers stationed in the palace for the security and welfare of the king and the queen.

July 25th

Tengku Datuk Puteri Kamariah Sultan Abu Bakar, a 64-year-old Pahang princess was stabbed to death and her husband seriously injured after they were attacked by one of their sons at their villa Ismaputri, Lorong Kubang Buaya, Pekan Town, Pahang, yesterday. The Princess was trying to protect her husband Tunku Datuk Ismail Tunku Sulaiman from their 21-year-old son Tunku Rizal Shahzan. The deceased was the half-sister of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang. Tunku Shahzan died at 7.35pm, six hours afterwards, at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital apparently of a drug overdose.. Police had earlier arrested him at the villa where they also recovered a “Rambo” knife and a screwdriver, believed to be the murder weapons. He was believed to have been under the influence of designer drugs. He was the youngest of the couple’s eight children. Tunku Ismail, who is a member of the Negri Sembilan royalty, is reported to be in stable condition after undergoing an operation at the same hospital. He has slash wounds to the stomach.

July 26th

Buckingham Palace will open to the public again this year from 26 July until late September. In addition to the 19 State rooms, this year’s opening will feature a special exhibition of evening dresses and personal jewellery of the Queen to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. The 80 spectacular gowns, from the 1940s to the present day, have been worn by the Queen for both official engagements and private family events. The selection of jewellery includes private gifts to the Queen from members of the Royal Family to mark special occasions, and some of the most famous and historic pieces in Her Majesty’s collection, such as the Vladimir Tiara, the Cambridge Emerald Necklace and two brooches set with stones from the famous Cullinan Diamond.

According to the new Gente magazine Vittorio Emanuele Duke of Savoy will renounce the throne in favour of his son Emanuele Filiberto Prince of Venice. The news should stay secret for some weeks to finish practices expected from the royal protocol for the passage of duties from father to son. A spokesman for the royal family, Filippo Bruno di Tornaforte, yesterday said no document has been signed.

Yesterday thousands of people bid a tearful farewell to Tengku Datuk Puteri Kamariah Sultan Abu Bakar, who died after being stabbed by her son, at the royal burial ground at Pekan. State royalty, led by Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang and his son Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah, were among the first to pay their respects to the deceased. Earlier, the body of Tengku Puteri Kamariah was placed at her residence, Villa Ismaputri, in Kuantan for relatives and friends to pay their last respects. The body was brought in a hearse to the royal burial ground next to the Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque at Pekan. The deceased’s husband, Tunku Datuk Ismail Tunku Sulaiman, 69, was still in the intensive care unit of the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan. He underwent a five-hour operation and is reported to be in stable condition. The burial ceremony of Tunku Rizal Shahzan was a quiet affair. With the exception of several of his siblings none of the guests stayed to pay their respects to him. He was laid to rest at the Muslim burial ground nearby after 1pm. His twin brother Tunku Rizal Ramadan Tunku Ismail described his brother as a good person respected by all siblings. He said: ”I believe he was not his usual self during the incident. Otherwise he would not have done it.”

July 27th

The relationship between Prince Joachim of Denmark and Marie Cavallier is over after a ten-month relationship. Marie Cavallier told to this week’s Billed-Bladet: “We’re not dating any longer.” The Royal Court is not commenting on the split.

Nicholas Greaves, who worked as under-butler at Buckingham Palace between 2002 and 2004, was jailed for two years today after he admitted distributing obscene images of young children. He had more than 450 indecent photographs and 15 indecent films of children on his laptop. After his job at Buckingham Palace he took a job with the Jordanian Royal Family, serving at their London home. Shortly before his arrest, Greaves helped with the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations.

The Crown Princely couple of Japan and their daughter Aiko will make a rare overseas holiday from August 17 to 31 to the Netherlands, the Imperial Household Agency said today. The Crown Princess will be accompanied by her doctor. The family will stay at the royal castle in Apeldoorn, with which Castle Het Oude Loo must be meant.

The pregnancy of Princess Kiko of Japan is proceeding “smoothly” despite complications, palace officials said today following a medical examination. During a medical examination today doctors said both the princess and the baby are “stable,” said Imperial Household Agency spokesman Yasuo Moriyama.

Prince Nayef al-Chaalan of Saudi Arabia went on trial in his absence in Paris yesterday accused of being involved in a plot to use his private jet to smuggle £50 million of cocaine into Europe. He faces charges relating to his alleged participation in, or organisation of, an operation to fly nearly two tons of the drug from Colombia to an airfield six miles from Paris. The investigation began seven years ago when police seized 1,800lb of cocaine in a raid on a house in Noisy-le-Sec, on the north-eastern fringe of Paris. The Prince, who is not in line to the throne, failed to appear at a preliminary hearing last month, citing “vital professional reasons”, and is liable to arrest under an international warrant. The Prince denies any connection with the smuggling operation and says he is the victim of an American-inspired conspiracy. In a recent interview he described the case against him as absurd and claimed that Colombian drug barons had reached a deal with the American authorities to drop charges against them in return for implicating “other smugglers real or imaginary”.

Princess Tatiana von Metternich-Winneburg died yesterday morning at Johannisberg Castle near Griesenheim, Germany, at the age of 91 after a long and serious illness. She was the widow of the last Prince von Metternich-Winneburg, Paul Alfons, who died in 1992. She was born as Princess Wassilitschikow in 1915 in St Petersburg, Russia. The couple didn’t have children. The Princess adopted Don Alvaro de Salinas, grandson of one of her sisters.

July 29th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s 80th birthday cruise around Scotland’s Western Isles has come to an end in Stornoway. A crowd of about 200 people gathered there today to greet the royal party. The Queen was travelling to Balmoral to begin her annual summer break, while the rest of the family was expected to fly from Stornoway to London. The Duke of Edinburgh will join his wife at Balmoral later this week. The Prince of Wales stayed on board for a 100-mile cruise to his holiday home at the Castle of Mey in Caithness.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their children Ingrid Alexandra and Sverre Magnus attended the wedding of Mette-Marit’s brother Espen Høiby and his partner Renate Jonassen at Hidra Church. Also Marit Tjessem and her husband Rolf Berntsen attended the wedding, Sven Høiby didn’t. The party afterwards was held at Isbua restaurant. The couple had a son together last August. The groom was married before and has three children from that marriage.

The Royal Household Bureau has said that King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is recovering well after undergoing a delicate spinal surgery on July 20. According to the Bureau the recovery period of the king following the surgery is to take some time. Queen Sirikit is recovering well from her retinal surgery and a phacoemultification on her right eye to cure a cataract on 25 June. However she will undertake a renewed retinal surgery on her right eye on Sunday at the Ratnin Eye Hospital. A team of royal oculists still found a slight retinal tear on her right eye during the latest check-up on July 26. She is advised to suspend her Royal activities for a another six-week rehabilitation period.

Chinese archaeologists believe, after over a year’s excavation and research, a large tomb in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, belonged to the grandmother of Qinshihuang, China’s first emperor. The tomb was chronologically the closest to the mysterious mausoleum of Qinshihuang, probably built under the order of the first emperor, Zhang Tian’en, an expert with the Shaanxi provincial archaeology institute, said on Saturday. “So, the excavation of the grandmother’s tomb hopefully will help unravel the mystery about the first emperor’s mausoleum and contribute to the research on the burial culture of the Qin Dynasty,” Zhang said. The tomb is the second largest ancient tomb that China has ever excavated, next only to that of King Jinggong of the State of Qin (897-221 BC), said Zhang. Archaeologists unearthed two carriages that were designed to be driven by six horses, which could be used only by kings and queens in the State of Qin. Also stamps for royal court officials, who were in charge of errands for queen mothers, queens and princes, have also been found. The tomb is still under excavation.

July 30th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain missed the service at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral yesterday. She cancelled at the last minute after catching a cold during last week’s summer cruise. A royal source said: “It’s something she would normally never miss but this time she just didn’t feel up to it.”

The Sultan of Brunei has become embroiled in a £50m court action between two senior members of his family and a British property tycoon. The sultan has been asked to intervene in a case brought by Mark Burby who claims the two Brunei royals owe him £50m for a failed scheme to launch a chain of coffee shops in Great Britain. The two Brunei royals are Pengiran Ayub, the sultan’s cousin, and his wife Damit, the Queen of Brunei’s sister. A judge in the British Virgin Islands last year ordered the couple to pay £50m damages to Mr Burby after ruling that they had reneged on the coffee shop deal. The couple failed to comply with the order to lodge a £10m deposit with the court and now face jail because they did not attend the court and are being investigated by Ernst & Young, the court- appointed liquidator, which is trying to seize their assets.

July 31st

The second retinal surgery on the right eye of Queen Sirikit of Thailand at the Ratnin Eye Hospital in Bangkok yesterday was satisfactorily, according to the Bureau of the Royal Household. The Queen is now on a six-week rehabilitation period at Chitralada Villa as advised by the royal medical team, who suggested that she suspend all her activities during the period and be under a close care of the doctors.

August 1st

Birthday cards from all over Great Britain sent to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain on the occasion of her 80th birthday will go on display tomorrow at the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. The Queen received more than 50,000 messages from people of all ages. Around 300 of them will be exhibited. The exhibition is due to run throughout the summer. Also Clarence House opened its doors to the public today. People can tour the 19th Century property and see the Queen Mother’s collection of art and furniture, much of which remains in its original place. Guided tours run until 8 October, except between 10 and 17 September.

The death mask of Mary Queen of Scots, her sapphire ring and a casket worth £1.5m has gone on show at Broughton Place in Edinburgh. The Treasures of Lennoxlove exhibition will close on August 18, entrance is free. The items come from the stately home of Lennoxlove in East Lothian. The home was once run by the Duke of Hamilton, who opened the exhibition today. The death mask has been with the family for more than 250 years. The duke said: “As Lennoxlove will be closed for two years, and while extensive conservation and refurbishment takes place, it was an opportunity to create this unique exhibition.”

Princess Akishino took part in the “Chakutai-no-gi” ceremony, which is traditionally conducted in the ninth month of pregnancy on the Day of the Dog according to the zodiac calendar, because dogs are believed to have an easy time giving birth. This morning, a messenger sent from Prince Mikasa, uncle of Emperor Akihito, carried to Prince and Princess Akishino’s residence in Tokyo a red and white silk obi that had been presented by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Princess Kiko wrapped the obi around her stomach with the help of her chief maid. Prince Akishino tied the knot. Afterwards the Princess prayed for the safe delivery of her baby.

A meeting of the nepalese cabinet at the residence of the Prime Minister of Nepal approved an amendment in the law regarding the heir to throne yesterday. The amended law, which will be presented at the House of Representatives for endorsement, has provision to make the first child of the King as heir to the throne regardless its sex. Before only the eldest son of the King would be entitled to the throne. As per the amended law, a Special Committee under the Prime Minister will take decisions to the accession to the throne, which will have to be passed by the parliament. The meeting also decided to scrap the allowances given to the relatives of the King. From now on allowances will be provided only to the king, queen, crown prince, crown princess and queen mother.

76-year-old Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, Emir of Kuwait has left hospital after a brief stay for “routine tests,” his office said late Monday. The tests were successful. He is said to be in good health.

A commemoration service for the late Tatiana Fürstin von Metternich-Winneburg will be held at Johannisberg Castle near Geisenheim on October 7.

August 2nd

Tests of a 500-year-old pinky finger confirm that Emperor Charles V was debilitated by gout and the painful joints it produces, Spanish researchers reported today. Jaume Ordi of the University of Barcelona and colleagues used a microscope to examine the tip of one of the Emperor’s pinky fingers, which was preserved separately from his body in a small red velvet box. After rehydrating and slicing the mummified fingertip, the Ordi team found telltale signs of gout, including the buildup of uric acid crystals. His gout probably was one of the reasons for him to abdicate in 1556.

August 3rd

Princess Beatrice of York has asked one of her friends, Count Nikolai von Bismarck, to shoot her coming-of-age portrait, despite the fact that her father, Prince Andrew, is an accomplished photographer. Count Nikolai von Bismarck reportedly offered to take the photographs as a birthday present and Beatrice was said to be happy to give her pal’s fledgling career a boost. Sources close to the princess say the photographs will be “formal but fun.”

Princess Mako of Japan has left Japan today for a two-week homestay trip in Austria. She is expected to stay at the home of one of their family friends in Vienna and tour museums and historical buildings in and around the capital. The Austrian host and hostess are said to have known Princess Kiko and her father Tatsuhiko Kawashima since the Kawashimas lived in Vienna due to his work about 30 years ago. The Princess will return home on August 16.

A radar survey from 2000 which pinpointed the tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt excavated earlier this year may have revealed another tomb it was announced. A radar image shows the presumed shaft of what may be a tomb near the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun and 15 meter from the recently excavated tomb.

August 4th

The official hearing into death of Diana Princess of Wales has been delayed because no Royal Coroner has been assigned to the hearing. Previous coroner Michael Burgess quit two weeks ago.

Vanity Fair magazine has named Prince William of Wales as one of world’s best dressed men. Also Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince Ernst August von Hannover made it into the top ten. Queen Rania of Jordan claims second place on the women’s list.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand was released from Siriraj Hospital today after receiving spinal surgery last month. Ten thousands of well-wishers sang and shouted “Long Live the King” as the king was wheeled down a ramp out of the hospital accompanied by family members. The king waved to the crowd. The king’s doctors have expressed satisfaction with his speedy recovery and advised the King to continue exercising and to refrain from his official duties for a period of time, the Royal Household Bureau statement said.

The nepalese government has failed to collect information about properties owned by King Gyanendra and his family in Nepal, one month after it was told by the parliament to do so. According to the findings so far the king owns at least 186 million square ft of land spread over Kathmandu Valley and districts like Dhading in central Nepal as well as Gorkha, part of the ancient kingdom from where the Shah dynasty hails. Land reforms and management minister Prabhu Narayan Chaudhury said the ownership details of the land were not clear since some of the land was in the king’s name while some was actually government land taken over by the royal family. He also told the committee that the government had not been able to find out the extent of the property that was transferred to the king after the death of his elder brother six years ago.

August 5th

Queen Paola of Belgium broke her right shoulder and wrist yesterday in a fall during her vacation in Sicily, Italy. The Queen and her husband King Albert II returned to Belgium last night. The Queen had surgery on her right wrist in the early afternoon at Sint-Jans Hospital. The operation went well and the Queen is expected to leave hospital in a few days, although she was told she needs a couple of weeks rest. The King and Queen plan to continue their vacation afterwards.

August 6th

The Prince of Wales has unveiled a memorial to his grandmother, the late Queen Mother, outside the church in Canisbay, where the Queen Mother used to worship. The oval plaque includes a touching inscription written by the Prince of Wales, as well as a likeness of his grandmother’s smiling face. Also the Duchess of Cornwall attended the unveiling.

During his vacation near Gstaad, Switzerland, the Prince of Venice said that his father the Duke of Savoy is considering abdicating in his favour, or appointing him head of the Savoy family. He said: “My father is an intelligent man, and he has certainly considered it. What’s certain is that I will help him more and more because he is a wounded man. He needs to find himself again and to dedicate himself to his defence.” The move would give the royal lineage a fresher, and cleaner, face.

August 7th

The Moscow City Court on Monday granted a complaint from Grand Duchess Maria of Russia against the Tverskoi court that refused to recognize the last Russian Tsar as a victim of Bolshevik repression.

Duchess Maria Margarethe zu Mecklenburg-Strelitz née Princess von Hohenzollern died at Hechingen on August 4 after a serious illness. She was born in Sigmaringen on 2 January 1928 as daughter of Prince Franz Joseph von Hohenzollern-Emden and Princess Maria Alix von Sachsen. In 1966 she married Duke Carl Gregor zu Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The requiem will take place on Saturday in Inzigkofen. The interment in the vault in Inzigkofen near Sigmaringen will take place later on.

August 8th

Queen Paola of Belgium was released from hospital in the early afternoon after having spent four days in hospital. King Albert II and Queen Paola hope to continue their traditional Mediterranean yachting holiday in a few days time.Queen Paola will still need to take a couple of weeks rest.

Jiji Press and Kyodo News report that Princess Akishino of Japan is to give birth to her third child around 6 September by Caesarean section. The agencies are citing unnamed sources.

August 9th

Two men, including the News of the World’s royal correspondent Clive Goodman, have been charged with intercepting voicemail messages. They were arrested in South London yesterday. Another arrested man was released on bail. The alleged phone interceptions are understood to have been the basis of several News of the World stories. An inquiry was being held after complaints by three staff at Clarence House. Scotland Yard said in a statement on Tuesday: “Police launched an investigation after concerns were reported to the Met’s Royalty Protection Department by members of the Royal Household at Clarence House. It is focused on alleged repeated security breaches within telephone networks over a significant period of time and the potential impact this may have on protective security around a number of individuals.”

Prince Christoph ‘Kiko’ zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg died yesterday in a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. He was born in Lausanne on 8 November 1956 as the eldest son of Prince Alfonso zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Ira zu Fürstenberg. He remained unmarried. Prince Christoph He had spent some weeks in Chiva-Som, Thailand for a slimming-cure and missed his plane to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he owned a house. His visa expired on July 20 and he is said to have changed the date to July 29. Then he tried to catch another airplane to Hawaii. He was arrested in Bangkok in the night from 29 to 30 July for having a false visa. His mother had visited him on Thursday. She said she had been quite shocked about the inhuman circumstances in the prison. Her son hadn’t been able to sleep or eat. After several days in prison the prince said he didn’t feel well. After he collapsed in prison he was taken to hospital where he died three days later.

August 10th

Prince Tomohito of Mikasa was hospitalized Thursday due to exhaustion, the Japanese Imperial Household Agency said. He is expected to be discharged from the Tokyo hospital in three or four days, the agency said.

August 11th

Prince William of Wales was among the recruits marching at the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst today. King Abdullah II of Jordan, who graduated from Sandhurst 25 years ago, represented Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain at the parade and took the salute of the recruits and also inspected the cadets. Among the cadets receiving their commission were Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, son of the King of Bahrain, and Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed al Maktoum, son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa received the King Hussein Medal, awarded to the overseas officer cadet considered to be the most improved recruit. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed al Maktoum received the Overseas Sword presented to the cadet who is the best of the foreign intake.

Clive Goodman, royal editor of the newspaper, was suspended “pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of unlawfully intercepting communications” by The News of the World. Mr Goodman, who has been at the paper for 20 years, was charged on Wednesday with one count of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and eight counts of intercepting voicemail messages between 1 January and 9 August this year involving the household of the Prince of Wales. He was released on police bail to appear before Horseferry Road magistrates in central London on Wednesday.

August 12th

26 letters dating from 1768-1777 written by French philosopher Voltaire to Empress Catharina II of Russia were auctioned at Sotheby’s in Paris for nearly $ 750.000, a world record for handwritten correspondence from the 18th century. The letters were bought by a European collector.

James Anhalt Birch, son of Princess Anna-Luise von Anhalt and Thomas Beverly Birch, got married to Dagmar Ruffershöffer at St. Petri Church in Wörlitz, Germany.

August 13th

In an interview to ABC News’s Good Morning America Prince Albert II of Monaco said today that despite recent rumours that he will marry his girlfriend Charlene Whitstock he does not see marriage in his future. He said: “I have no plans in the near or distant future. Any time I’m seen with a pretty young woman by my side more than once, then everybody flashes the ‘M’ word as you say. Then it becomes very difficult to have a relationship with someone in any semi-public or private way.”

August 14th

The House of Representatives of Nepal and the Committee for Natural Resources are set to make the properties owned by king Gyanendra of Nepal and his family in Nepal public on Sunday afternoon. Similarly, the details of the lands held by the royal couple either separately or through joint ownership including details of the lands owned by the members of the family killed in the 2001 incident will be made public. With parliament having decided to have the royal family paying taxes, details about property are required to calculate the income tax they will have to pay. In the meantime members of parliament have asked the government to enforce a ban on King Gyanendra and his family from selling or transferring their lands or stocks in business ventures.

The Palais des Tuileries in Paris could be rebuilt. The French government has formed a commission to draw plans for its restorations. If approved the 300 million euro project will create a replica of the palace before it was torched in 1871. The ruins were removed 12 years later. The original palace was built in 1564. Alain Boumier, the president of the National Committee for the reconstruction of the Tuileries. “All we need from the state is its go-ahead to lease the land and we can begin.” The project would rely on private donations.

August 15th

Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, died today at 5.32pm at her home Turongo House at Turangawaewae Marae, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and kaumatua. The Maori Queen was 75 years old and had already been ill for some time. She was born on July 23, 1931 as daughter of King Koroki Te Rata Mahuto Tawhiao and Te Atairangikaahu Herangi. She leaves a husband, Whatumoana Paki, and seven children – two boys and five girls – any one of whom could be named to succeed her after the mourning period. A tangihanga will be held at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia. Details of funeral arrangements are yet to be announced. The Queen will be buried at Taupiri Mountain. Earlier this year the Queen celebrated the 40th anniversary of her coronation.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga has spent the past fortnight in Mercy Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. Prime Minister Fred Sevele interrupted television and radio broadcasts late this night to warn the people of Tonga for the King’s poor health and ask them to pray for him. The King returned to New Zealand only two days after his birthday celebration in Tonga and has been in hospital since.

August 16th

Buckingham Palace yesterday demanded a correction from the Sun newspaper after they had published pictures of Prince Harry and Prince William of Wales at trendy nightclub Boujis claiming the pictures were taken this summer. Royal officials however say the pictures were taken three years ago, in September 2003 at Chelsea nightclub Purple during a private party. The pictures show Prince Harry groping television presenter Natalie Pinkham, who claims the photos may have been stolen from her and were used without her permission. Also Prince William is on the pictures drinking cocktails and chatting with women. The Sun newspaper was forced to print an apology today admitting that the pictures were taken in 2003 and at a different club. “We accept that the nightclub was the Purple nightclub and not Boujis as we said and the photographs were taken in Autumn 2003 and not Summer 2006,” the newspaper said. It also apologised to Natalie Pinkham and promised to make a payment to a charity of her choice.

Clive Goodman, the suspended royal editor of the News of the World, appeared in court today on charges of intercepting mobile telephone messages. He and his co-accused Glenn Mulcaire were relased on unconditional bail and will appear at the Old Bailey on November 29.

Hundreds of bric-a-brac items from Prince and Princess Michael of Kent’s former house in the Cotswolds, Nether Lypiatt Manor, are being auctioned off, including a model Chinese junk. The items were left behind when the couple moved out of the house. Lord Drayson, who bought the house in April, wants to replace the fixtures and fittings and is putting the items up for auction in Cirencester this Friday, with more sales planned in the next two months. Kensington Palace spokesman Katie Garrod said all the sale items belong to the Prince and Princess. She said: “It’s a house clearance and all monies raised will go to charity.”

Princess Akishino of Japan entered Aiiku hospital in Tokyo this evening to prepare to give birth to her third child. Yesterday officials say the princess is in good health. “She has entered her ninth month of pregnancy, and is due to enter hospital to ward against the possibility of premature bleeding and to prepare for delivery,” a senior palace official said today on condition of anonymity, citing palace protocol. They say the early hospitalization is not cause for concern.

Princess Clotilde of Savoy has given birth to daughter, Luisa Giovanna Agata Gavina Bianca Maria, today at 4.30pm at the Clinique Générale-Beaulieu in Genève, Switzerland. The baby weighs 3250 grammes. Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy was present at the delivery. He said to be very happy and moved with the birth of his second daughter. The baby is pretty and both she and her mother are doing well. Princess Clotilde has decided to donate the blood of the umbilical cord, as she had done on occasion of the birth of her first child, “as a love gesture to ailling children”.

The Hofkammer Bückeburg today confirmed media reports that Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe has become engaged to Nadja Anna Zsöks. The wedding is planned for next year, but the date hasn’t been set yet. Dr. Nadja Anna Zsöks was born in München on February 20, 1975. She works as a lawyer for Heuking, Kühn, Lüer and Wojtek in Düsseldorf. She studied law at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München from 1995 to 2000 and graduated at the University of Regensburg in 2004.

Prince Christoph zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg was buried today at noon at San Bartolome de Marbella cemetery in Spain. Before the funeral there was a mass at the El Rocío de San Pedro de Alcántara Church in Málaga. The funeral was attended by the family, Duchess Béatrice d’Orléans, Marisa de Borbón, Count Rudolf and Countess Marie Louise von Schönburg-Glauchau, and Christoph’s former stepmother Jackie Lane. According to the official statement of the hospital in Bangkok where the prince died, he died of a diabetic shock. His mother, Princess Ira, said he wasn’t a diabetic and wants to have a second opinion from a doctor in Vienna, Austria.

August 17th

A painting of Mary Queen of Scots, one of only two thought to have been made in her lifetime, has been discovered at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The portrait was bought for £50 by the gallery in 1916 at Christie’s. But later it thought to be an 18th century fake. Curator of 16-century collections at the gallery, Tarnya Cooper decided to have a second look at the work. The work was x-rayed and underwent tree analysis. The research revealed the portrait dates from between 1560 and 1592, which means it may well have been painted during the Queen’s lifetime. The portrait goes on display today at the National Portrait Gallery.

A majority of the Bulgarian parliament today backed a controversial document on the restitution of property to former king Simeon II of Bulgaria. Its wording endorse the hand- back as legal. The report of an ad-hoc commission to identify the seized and restituted property of the family covers the royal palaces of Vrana, Tsarska Bistritsa and Sitnyakovo, the summer villa called Sarugyol, houses in the villages of Banya and Slatina and forests in the Rila mountain.

August 18th

Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako of Japan and their daughter Princess Aiko arrived in the Netherlands yesterday for a two-week vacation at Palace Het Oude Loo in Apeldoorn. They were invited by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. This morning the family, together with Queen Beatrix, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Princess Amalia and Princess Alexia of the Netherlands, posed during a short photosession in the stables of Palace Het Loo. The japanese crown princely couple is joined on holiday by 11 attendants including chief doctor Yutaka Ono, who treats the crown princess for a stress-related disorder. The family hopes to be left alone by the press during the rest of their vacation.

Princess Alexia of Greece was released from hospital in Athens, Greece, today with her father former King Constantine II of Greece. She said she couldn’t wait to go back to her children who were sending her letters and paintings during the week she stayed in hospital. She thanked the staff of the hospital. She was admitted with pneumonia. Doctors said an old respiratory infection was not treated well and relapsed. Princess Alexia will have therapy for another week. The Greek royal family was vacationing at Porto Heli.

August 19th

In the programme Who Killed Diana?, to be broadcast on Sky One on Monday Robert Thompson, manager of the London mortuary where the post-mortem examination on Diana Princess of Wales took place in 1997, denies that the princess had been pregnant when she died: “Drawing together what I heard and what I saw on that day in the post-mortem room — the pathologist said to me, ‘Well, she wasn’t pregnant.’ I saw no evidence of pregnancy within the body. My conclusion must be that she wasn’t pregnant.” In the same documentary Frédéric Mailliez, the GP who arrived at the site of the Paris car crash within minutes, and was the first to attend the dying Princess, denies that she spoke in the half an hour he was with her. He said: “When I arrived she was not conscious. She was just moaning and moving her hands and her arms in every direction. That showed that she was in a little pain. But she couldn’t speak words.”

The sale of the bric-a-bric of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent made more than expected yesterday. The 98-lot collection sold for £8586. The most expensive was a pink octagonal fabric-covered wardrobe worth £15. A phone bidder bought it for £1050.

People are lining up in huge queues at the gates of Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, New Zealand, to pay their last respect to Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu who died earlier this week. They are expected to queue for several hours. The Queen’s family says they are conscious of the fact a lot of the general public also want to pay their final respect and asked dignitaries to let the general public go first. TVNZ and Maori Television are joining forces to provide live coverage of the funeral for the Queen on Monday. The service is expected to run for three hours. The timing depends on the progress of deliberations by tribal elders on a successor. By custom, there is no burial until the successor is chosen and crowned. The successor is usually crowned on the day of interment to ensure the continuation of the tribe’s spirit. A Tainui spokesperson said today the possible successors to the Maori Queen have been narrowed down to the late Queen’s eldest son or her eldest daughter.

The health of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga has become a bit better. The Prime Minister travelled to Auckland, New Zealand, to visit the King on Thursday but the king was not well enough to see him until yesterday morning. He said the King was much better but his condition was up and down and changed daily. Despite the improvement the outlook is still serious. Mr Sevele said: “He could live a few more days or weeks, or he could go tomorrow.” He also said the King’s wife, daughter and youngest son, who had been at his bedside this week, were bearing up well. The heir, Crown Prince Tupouto’a, remained in Tonga where he was acting as Prince Regent.

August 20th

The French authorities have reopened their inquiry into the circumstances behind the car crash that killed Diana Princess of Wales after fresh doubts about blood tests.

August 21st

Tuheitia Paki, the eldest son of the late Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, was named her successor just hours before his mother was buried. He arrived at Turangawaewae Marae wearing the traditional feathered cloak which has been used since the first Maori King was appointed. He was brought before the people to be anointed by the coffin of his mother. At the formal Ascension or “Raising Up” ceremony, he was tapped on his head with a bible. Moments before his crowning, the crowd was asked if he should be king: “Ae,” they replied – yes. The coffin of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu was taken down the Waikato River to Taupiri Mountain late Monday morning where she was laid to rest at the family cemetery. Tens of thousands of mourners came to attend the funeral. More than 100,000 people are estimated to have paid their respects at the marae as the body laid in state over the past week.

August 22nd

The Luxemburg grand-ducal court announced that Prince Louis of Luxemburg and his girlfriend Tessy Antony will get married at the Church of Gilsdorf on September 29. Prince Louis has decided to give up his rights to the throne, but will keep his title. He wants to be more independent, both professionally and privately. The family name of the couple will be ‘de Nassau’. The couple’s son Gabriel was born on 12 March.

Princess Bajra Kitiyabha of Thailand has been appointed to serve as a prosecutor at the Office of the Attorney-General from September 1. The princess graduated with a doctoral degree in law from Cornell University in the USA.

August 23rd

Constance, David and Jeffrey Neil have appeared in court. They are being accused of trying to sell a national insurance card belonging to the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain on eBay. They were charged with handling stolen goods at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court. They will appear again on September 1. After the hearing Mrs Neil said the card had been in the family for several years.

August 24th

The Sofia City Prosecutor’s office is expected to launch two investigations into the restitution of property to former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg. The probes will concern the royal palaces of Vrana and Tsarska Bistritsa, Sitnyakovo and the summer villa called Sarugyol. They will look into the decisions of Sofia Municipality employees, who, prosecutors believe, are guilty of malfeasance in office.

The wedding of Hereditary Prince Johannes zu Schwarzenberg and Nadja Weiss, which was to take place the coming weekend in Meran, has been cancelled and postponed indefinitely.

In a statement from Prime Minister Feleti Sevele of Tonga it said yesterday about King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV health: “His majesty’s doctors have advised that the inevitable may happen tomorrow, or it may happen within a few weeks.

August 25th

Princess Eugenie of York achieved two A*s in English language and art, as well as As in history, English literature and Religious Education and Bs in four other subjects at Marlborough College in Wiltshire. A spokesman for the Duchess of York said: “She’s feeling relieved and really happy.”

August 26th

Princess Xenia zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg married Maximilian Soltmann in an oecumenical ceremony at the Town Church zum Heiligen Blut in Langenburg. Princess Xenia arrived at church in an oldtimer together with her brother Prince Philipp. Among the guests were Landgrave Moritz von Hessen, Margrave Max and Margravinne Valerie von Baden, Prince Andreas and Princess Alexandra von Leiningen, Count Hans-Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach, Hereditary Count Ignaz and Hereditary Countess Robinia zu Toerring-Jettenbach with daughter Floriana. The civil marriage took place on 13 August 2005. The couple’s son Ferdinand was christened in the castle church of Langenburg yesterday.

August 27th

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, won individual gold with her horse Toytown in the three-day eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. The British team won the silver medal. Zara Phillips said afterwards: “It’s unbelievable, a fantastic result. It’s great we got a medal for the team as well. The thing that put pressure on me was that I didn’t hear the bell so I didn’t get to the start on time. I looked up at the end and just rushed it but luckily I had a fence and a bit in hand.” She was supported by the Princess Royal, her father Mark Phillips, stepfather Tim Laurence and her boyfriend Mike Tindall. Following her win she is now one of the favourites to win the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award.

August 28th

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is to work with photography and editing at National Geographic in Washington DC, USA, this autumn. Ann-Christine Jernberg, spokeswoman at the court, said: “He is continuing with photography. I think he wants to specialize in it.” Prince Carl Philip finished his studies in graphic design at Forsbergs school last Spring.

August 29th

A nepalese panel that was set up by the seven-party alliance which took power after King Gyanendra of Nepal gave up his absolute powers says that it will question the king over his role in the killing of 21 pro-democracy protesters killed and another 5000 injured during three weeks last April.

August 30th

Princess Sitasma of Nepal gave birth to a daughter Tuesday morning at the Army Hospital Chauni. Princess Sitasma is the second daughter of late Dhirendra Shah, the youngest son of late King Mahendra. King Gyanendra, the Queen, Crown Prince Paras and his wife, the queen mother and other members of the royal family visited the hospital to receive information about the health of Princess Sitasma and her daughter.

August 31st

At the end of last week Prince Harry of Wales has arrived in Warminster to begin five weeks of military training. He will be staying at Battlesbury Barracks during his training to become an officer in the Household Cavalry.

Yesterday a Moscow City Court sentenced Ivan Gubkin, a member of the extremist group Revolutionary Military Council, to 19 years in prison. He was found guilty of blowing up a memorial to tsar Nicholas II of Russia and of trying to blow up a 95-meter bronze statue of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia.

September 1st

Prince Gabriel of Belgium had his first day at pre-school today. His parents Prince Filip and Princess Mathilde took him to the Dutch-language Sint-Jan-Berchmanscollege in Brussels together with his elder sister Princess Elisabeth. The school is also attended by Luisa Maria, Laetitia and Joachim, children of Princess Astrid. It is believed also Princess Louise, daughter of Prince Laurent and Princess Claire, started school today, but it is not known yet what pre-school she is attending.

Princess Kiko of Japan is to give birth on Wednesday 6 September an official at the Imperial Household Agency said today. She is to undergo a Caesarean section after pregnancy complications. Yuka Shiina, an agency spokeswoman, said the operation would take place Wednesday morning, but declined to provide any further details.

September 2nd

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia and his parents, former King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Monineath, left for China today where father and son were going for medical checkups. King Norodom Sihamoni said that he expected to be away from Cambodia for about six weeks, stopping first to see doctors in Beijing and then heading to France for more medical checkups. He then will make state visits to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The king then plans to return to France and China for another round of medical checkups and treatment before flying back to Cambodia in mid-October. Former King Norodom Sihanouk said he will not return home until next year.

Today Thai authorities released new details about the sudden death of Prince Christoph zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg last month while jailed in Bangkok. They say he succumbed to a blood infection and diabetes-related complications. The Prince became ill on August 5 and a prison doctor found that his blood sugar level was very high due to diabetes and sent him for treatment at the prison hospital. Then he was sent for immediate treatment at Nonthawej hospital. The Foreign Ministry said his heart stopped beating and he could not be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead at 2:15 a.m. on August 8. An autopsy performed at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok found that the prince had died because organs in his body had failed from an infection in the bloodstream related to a lung infection, and ketone buildup from diabetes, the ministry said in a statement.

September 3rd

Lord Snowdon is for the first time putting part of his collection up for sale. The 72 photographs include several portraits of the royal family, including two of his former wife, the late Princess Margaret. One picture shows Princess Margaret in the Caribbean shortly after the couple married in 1960, and has never before been seen in public. Fifty copies of each will be on sale and it is estimated they could fetch as much as £6m. The sale begins at the Chris Beetles gallery in Mayfair on September 19.

September 4th

Hana Al Jader, the wife of Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia today was charged with forcing two Indonesian women to be her domestic slaves while living in Winchester, in the USA. She was accused of enslaving two women in servitude and violating immigration laws. She faced six counts of forced labour and four counts of violating immigration laws. At a District Court, in Boston the Princess pleaded guilty to violating immigration laws – visa fraud and harboring an alien – but no longer faces charges of forcing two Indonesian women to be her domestic servants under a deal with prosecutors.

September 6th

Princess Kiko of Japan gave birth to a healthy baby boy this morning at 8.27am at Aiiku Hospital in Tokyo. The operation to deliver the baby ended at 9.07 am The baby weighs 2558 grams and is 48,8 centimeters tall. The princess gave birth by Caesarian section, the first in the history of the Imperial family. Director Masao Nakabayashi, head of the medical team, said at a press conference: “The baby boy is in good condition. When I told the Princess, ‘The operation is complete. Congratulations. How are you feeling?’ she said, ‘Thank you very much. I’m feeling fine.’ She is recovering steadily.” Ichiro Kanazawa, medical supervisor of the Imperial Household, said: “When I told the Prince, ‘Congratulations,’ he calmly replied, “Thank you.’ I’m surprised that he never lost his calmness.” The baby is the first male to have been born into the imperial family since his father, Prince Akishino in 1965. He will be third in line of succession to the throne after his uncle Crown Prince Naruhito and his father Prince Akishino. Prince and Princess Akishino already have two daughters: Mako and Kako. Empress Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan received the news about the birth of their grandson by phone from Prince AKishino when being in Hokkaido. In a statement they said: “We were relieved to receive a report from Prince Akishino that Princess Kiko safely gave birth and that both the mother and the child are fine. We are delighted for Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, who endured various struggles over the past 10 months, and would like to convey our hearty congratulations to them.” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan said the birth of the baby boy was very good news. A signature book for luminaries to sign will be made available at Prince Akishino’s Palace within the Akasaka Detached Palace for one week from Wednesday afternoon, but signing is not for ordinary citizens. A messenger of the emperor is scheduled to deliver a protective sword to the baby boy and place it by his pillow later in the day. The baby will be named next Tuesday, the seventh day following his birth, directly by his father Prince Akishino, and a symbol used to mark his belongings will be decided by Princess Kiko.

A court in Monaco has sentenced a 30-year-old man to 16 days in prison for sending love letters to Princess Stephanie of Monaco by SMS text message. The man worked at the royal palace as a valet. He was already convicted of the same behaviour in November 2005 after sending 25 amorous text messages to the Princess. At that time, he was given a suspended sentence of eight days in jail. On July 29, the man sent another five electronic love letters to the princess and asked for a rendezvous.

The Nepali Parliament’s State Affairs Committee has decided to scrap the terminology “His Majesty” from the Bill on Approving Public Document and deprived the king from the power of approving public documents.

September 7th

Preliminary hearings into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales will take place early next year it was announced today. It was also announced that Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is confirmed as the new coroner to take charge of the inquest. She will also decide whether to hold a joint inquest to include Dodi Fayed, who also died in the crash.

Ghazi Timoor Al Daghestani, son of Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan, married Samanta Mahdi Saifi at the Zahran Palace in Amman today. The wedding was attended by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, the parents of bride and groom and other family members.

The newborn Japanese Prince is expected to remain in hospital until September 16, the Imperial Household Agency announced today. He will have three nurses assigned to him when he and his mother go home. The government will provide yearly living expenses of about 3 million yen for the newborn prince starting this month as designated in a law concerning the Imperial family’s finances.

September 10th

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited their newborn grandson for the first time today at the hospital in Tokyo where he was born. They returned from a visit to Hokkaido on Saturday. The Empress presented the little prince with a pair of white baby shoes and flowers. Earlier today Prince Akishino visited his parents at the Imperial Palace to report the birth of his son to them in person. Afterwards they had lunch together with the Prince’s daughters Mako and Kako.

Prince Tomohito of Japan was released from Keio University Hospital in Tokyo on Saturday after he was admitted for not feeling well. Officials of the Imperial Household Agency said the prince had no particular medical symptoms but was hospitalized Wednesday as a precaution.

September 11th

Prince Christian of Denmark was added to the protocol of heirs to the Danish throne today by the minister of foreign affairs, Per Stig Møller. His name was written down in the protocol, as well as his birth and christening date and the names of his godparents.

Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme has filed a police complaint against her still husband Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn for allegedly revealing official secrets. On Sunday the police indicated that they hoped to interview Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn on Monday. However as his lawyer is abroad the interview has been postponed for two weeks. “This is a personal affair over which I would rather not say anything further because the police must now take the lead,” Princess Margarita’s lawyer said on Sunday. Lawyer Gabriël Meijers, for De Roy van Zuydewijn, insisted that his client never held office and was always ‘an independent business person’.

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga passed away at the Mercy Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday evening at 23.34 surrounded by the Queen and other family members. He was born in 1918 as son of Queen Salote Tupou III, and succeeded his mother in 1965. Tomorrow the King will lie in state at Atalanga, his New Zealand residence, in Epsom. On Wednesday his body will return to Tonga, where he will lie in state. The funeral will take place on Tuesday 19 September. After a lunchtime meeting of the Privy Council of Tonga the Prince Regent, Prince Tupouto’a was sworn in as king and is now Tupou V.

September 12th

According to the Daily Mail Lord Nicholas Windsor is to marry Paola Doimi de Frankopan, daughter of (Prince) Louis Doimi de Frankopan and Ingrid Detter. They say Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has given her permission. There hasn’t been an official announcement yet.

Willem Jan van Vollenhoven died in a hospital in Nieuwegein this morning at the age of 71 after an illness. He was the brother of Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.

Luis Alfonso de Borbón and his wife Maria Margarita Vargas y Santaella expect their first child in Spring 2007. The couple lives in Venezuela.

Prince Akishino has named his first son at a traditional naming ceremony today, the seventh day since his wife gave birth to him. In a 5-minute ceremony which begun at 3:35 p.m. at Tokyo’s Aiiku Hospital the child received the name Hisahito with a character implying hope for a long life. The parents have chosen the name in the hope that the prince will live long at ease, while the umbrella pine, the coniferous evergreen tree native to Japan, has been selected for his symbol in the hope that he will grow straight and tall. The Chinese character for “hisa” means far and away and at ease, and “hito” means virtuous person. In the ceremony, a paulownia wooden box containing the new prince’s name written on thick Japanese paper by Prince Akishino and his symbol written by his wife on Japanese paper was placed by the baby’s pillow. The agency’s Grand Steward Shingo Haketa will register the name in the imperial family registry by the end of next week after the new prince’s name is published on a public bulletin on Thursday. The baby didn’t receive a personal title as he is not the son of a crown prince. The Imperial Household Agency reported that Princess Kiko and the baby are doing well and are expected to be discharged from hospital within several days.

September 14th

The auction house Sotheby’s in Paris is to sell jewels, silver and works of art from the estate of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg on 19 December. Among the pieces to be sold are an emerald and diamond bandeau-bracelet , the two diamond tiaras the Grand Duchess wore on her wedding day in 1953, several wedding gifts including a ruby and diamond bracelet with matching earclips and brooch given to the Grand Duchess by her father King Leopold III of Belgium, other items that once belonged to King Leopold III and his wife Astrid like three silver boxes and two silver-plated matchboxes.

Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan has joined the Board of Directors of the United Nations Foundation. Ted Turner, Chairman of the United Nation’s Foundation Board of Directors said: “Queen Rania is a tireless advocate for improving the lives of the world’s children, young adults and women through better access to health care, literacy and economic empowerment opportunities. This level of commitment and the ability to serve as a voice for those who may otherwise be silent is a great complement to the work being done here at the Foundation. We welcome her to the team.”

September 15th

Princess Kiko of Japan and her newborn son Prince Hisahito left hospital around 12.30 accompanied by Prince Akishino. The sleeping Prince Hisahito was wrapped in a white cloth and cuddled by his mother. Hundreds of people gathered around the exit of the hospital to have a look at the new prince. At their palace a room has been refurnished and covered with carpet for Prince Hisahito. A kitchen with a refrigerator has also been constructed near the room, Imperial Household Agency officials said.

September 16th

The condition of the right eye of Queen Sirikit of Thailand has returned to normal after an eye surgery operation six weeks ago the Royal Household Bureau said yesterday. The team of doctors will continue following up the conditions of the eyes. The doctors asked the Queen to continue resting and refraining from carrying out royal activities.

September 17th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark today was hospitalised at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. She underwent a minor hernia-operation, carried out by Professor Preben Kirkegaard. The queen is expected to be discharged within a few days. She is expected to get back to work after a couple of days rest.

September 18th

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark left hospital today. She was driven to Fredensborg where she will rest for a couple of days. The Queen is doing fine.

Prince Hussain Aga Khan married Kristin White, who took the name Khaliya following her conversion to Islam, in a civil ceremony at Aiglemont, France, on September 15. The bride wore a champagne coloured suit and a huge hat. A religious ceremony was held at Chantilly Castle on September 16. The bride wore an ivory and gold traditional dress with precious hair jewels.
Prince Hussain Aga Khan marries Miss Kristin J. WhiteWedding Album of Prince Hussain Aga Khan with Princess Khaliya

September 19th

King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga was buried today. The ceremony in the capital, Nuku’alofa, combined Christian and traditional rituals. In the morning, amid cannon fire, the coffin was carried out of the royal palace – where he had been lying in state on a roofed platform draped in black velvet – by an army of Tongan men in traditional dress. The funeral procession was led by the Tongan Defence Forces, while the royal family was led by the Queen and a procession of nobels and Tongan students carrying wreaths. They were joined by dignitaries from dozens of countries. Among them were Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Maori King Tuheitia Paki. Thousands of people lined the 1km long route to the burial site. The Royal undertakers carried the King to his tomb and performed traditional rites out of sight of those who had gathered. The King was then buried in the royal tombs in Nuku’alofa. After the burial the visiting heads of state and dignitaries took wreaths to the tomb.

September 20th

Archduchess Walburga of Austria has been chosen a member of the Swedish Parliament for Sörmland in Sunday’s elections. She represents the party Moderaterna (Conservatives). After her marriage to the Swedish Count Archibald Douglas in 1992 she moved to Sweden.

Several Dukes of Genova were reburied today at the Reale Abbazia di Superga, Turin, in presence of among others the Duke of Aosta and his wife Silvia, the Duke of Apulia, Princess Maria-Gabriella of Savoy, Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta, Princess Maria-Cristina of Savoy, Princess Isabella of Savoy-Genova, Archduke Martin of Austria and Prince Michael of Yugoslavia.

September 21st

Prince William of Wales is to join the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals regiment Clarence House has announced. Prince William will pass out from Sandhurst Royal Military Academy in December. His younger brother Prince Harry has already joined the same regiment. After about a year in the army Prince William will go on “attachments “with both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, it said. He will also start to get to grips with constitutional affairs in preparation for when he one day accedes the throne, said a spokesman. “Finally, Prince William will be further developing his ideas for his medium-term role following army service, both in supporting the Queen and the Prince of Wales and in furthering his own charitable interests.” he added. William enrolled at the elite , near London, in January for the gruelling 44-week training course.

In a statement the Grand Ducal Family of Luxemburg says they will reconsider the sale of jewels and other items which belonged to the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg. There had been lots of criticism on the intended sale.

The birth of Prince Hisahito of Japan was registered today in the Imperial family registry, the Imperial Household Agency said. The name Hisahito, the names of his father, Prince Akishino, and mother, Princess Kiko, and the time, date and place of his birth as well as the day he was officially named were recorded in the registry at the agency’s Archives and Mausoleum Department in the Imperial Palace compound. Agency chief Shingo Haketa and Takechiyo Orikasa, the department head, signed the registry with a traditional brush and ink to complete the procedure. The department keeps the original and a copy is kept in the Justice Department.

September 22nd

The Grand Ducal court of Luxemburg has issued a statement in which Grand Duke Henri announces the family has decided to annule the sale of jewels and other items of the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxemburg, although the items are private possession of the family. He said that as head of the family it was his duty to divide his mother’s inheritance equally among his siblings, which was the reason for the sale. The statement says the Grand Duke had underrated the deep affection of the Luxemburg people for the dynasty.

King Juan Carlos of Spain’s yacht Bribon has retired from the fifth race of the Breitling MedCup/Trofeo Balearia following a collision with the yacht Santa Ana yesterday. The Santa Ana was making a port tack approach to the mark and tried to bear away, but collided with Bribon. The Bribon has a one metre gash on the port side of the boat. It is most likely that the damage is so extensive that Bribon will be unable to continue racing. No crew members from either boat were injured in the incident. King Juan Carlos was on board.

Count Patrick von Faber-Castell has become engaged to German actress Mariella Ahrens. The couple met in September 2005 at a society wedding. The count asked her to marry him during their vacation on Sicily. The civil wedding is to take place this year, while the religious ceremony will follow in 2007. Mariella Ahrens was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 2 April 1969, daughter of a German father and a Bulgarian mother. Mariella Ahrens was previously married to Jost Paffrath whom she divorced in 2004. She has a 7-year-old daughter, Isabella, from an earlier relationship with Dragan Banic. Rumours are that Patrick and Mariella are expecting a child together.

September 23rd

A memorial service was being held at Roskilde Cathedral for Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia née Princess Dagmar of Denmark. She was buried at Roskilde Cathedral, although she had wished to be buried alongside her husband, Tsar Alexander III at the St Peter and Paul Cathedral in St Petersburg, Russia. The memorial service was attended by about 500 people, among them Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Henrik of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Prince Joachim of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess Elisabeth of Denmark, Prince Dimitri and Princess Dorrit Romanoff, Prince Nicholas and Princess Sveva Romanoff, Princess Birgitte de Bourbon de Parme, Prince Jacques de Bourbon de Parme as well a many other Romanov and Danish royal descendants. After the memorial service the coffin was taken by horsedrawn carriage to the Russian Orthodox church of Copenhagen where clergy prayed and performed traditional rituals. The coffin was then taken to Copenhagen Harbour, where the Danish naval ship Esbern Snare waited to carry it to St. Petersburg, where the reburial will take place on Thursday.

September 25th

The Government Information Service announced that the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands expect their third child in the second half of April 2007. The couple let know they are grateful and happy. The doctor has advised the princess to take it easy in the coming weeks. The trip to Australia and New Zealand at the end of October will go on.

The Spanish Royal Court announced that the Prince and Princess of Asturias are expecting their second child early May 2007.

September 26th

The Duke and Duchess of Kent are pleased to announce the engagement of their son Lord Nicholas Windsor, to Paola, daughter of Don Louis and Donna Ingrid Doimi de Frankopan of London.

The coffin of Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia has arrived in Russia today on the same spot where she set foot in Russia 140 years ago: Peterhof. The coffin will stay in a chapel at Peterhof until the official reburial at the St Peter and Paul Cathedral on Thursday.

September 27th

47-year-old Prince ‘Ulukalala Lavaka Ata of Tonga was appointed as Crown Prince, by the new king of Tonga, King Siaosi Tupou V. He is the youngest brother of the King. This afternoon he surrendered two of his noble titles, ‘Ulukalala and Ata, to become the new Crown Prince and the heir to the Tongan throne, taking up the noble title Tupouto’a. The appointment was made in a ceremony at Liukava. The private secretary of the king read out the declaration of the appointment of the new Crown Prince and the bestowment on him of the noble title Tupouto’a, back-dated to September 11. In the same ceremony the surrendered title of ‘Ulakalala was bestowment on the eldest son of the Crown Prince, 21-year-old Prince Jiaoji Manumataongo Alaivahamama’o ‘Aho’eitu Konftantin Tuku’aho. The title of ‘Ata’ was bestowed on the second son of the Crown Prince, 18-year-old Prince Viliami ‘Unuaki ‘o Tonga Mumui Lalaka mo e ‘Eiki Tuku’aho.

It was confirmed that Count Patrick von Faber-Castell and his fiancée Mariella Ahrens are expecting their first child together. They expect a daughter in March 2007.

September 28th

Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, widow of Tsar Alexander III, was buried next to her husband at the St Peter and Paul Fortress in St Petersburg today. Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II presided over the ceremony at St. Isaac’s Cathedral, which was attended by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, who cast earth taken from the Empress’s garden in Hvidøre where she spent her last days, members of the Russian imperial family, Prince Michael of Kent and dignitaries from Russia and Denmark. The Patriarch said: “This will be another sign that Russia is overcoming the enmity and divisions brought by the revolution and civil war. Having fallen deeply in love with the Russian people, the empress devoted a great deal of effort for the benefit of the Russian fatherland. Her soul ached for Russia.” After the wooden coffin covered with a flag was lowered into the imperial crypt guests filed past and sprinkled earth onto the coffin. Flags flew at half-mast around the city and artillery fired a salute.

September 29th

Prince Louis of Luxemburg married Tessy Antony today. The civil wedding took place at the Grand-Ducal Palace in Luxemburg-City. In the late afternoon they married in a religious ceremony at the parish church of Gilsdorf led by Abbé Albert Franck and ‘Hofseelsorger’ Georges Vuillermoz. About 500 people and some tens of photographers had gathered outside the church to see the bridal couple with their son and their families. Tessy Antony wore a strapless ivory dress with a veil. Tessy and the couple’s son Gabriel, who was born earlier this year, will take the family name ‘de Nassau’. Among the guests were Grand Duke Jean of Luxemburg, Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxemburg with their other four children, the uncles and aunts of the groom (apart from Prince Jean) as well as many of his cousins, Archduke Carl-Peter and Archduchess Alexandra of Austria, Archduke Istvan and Archduchess Paola of Austria, Archduchess Isabella of Austria and Count Andrea Czarnocki. After the wedding there was a reception at the Grand-Ducal Palace in Luxemburg-City.

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, was named Equestrian of the Year. She was awarded the trophy today by the Horse of the Year Show in recognition of her individual gold medal at the World Equestrian Games at Aachen, Germany.

The divorce of Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme and Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn is scheduled for November 8 at court in Amsterdam. In January 2007 the court case about the distribution of the estate and alimentation will take place.

The Korean Imperial Family Association Taehanjeguk held a one-hour ceremony today at a hotel in Seoul to crown 88-year-old Yi Hae-won as Queen of South Korea. The new Queen is the second daughter of Prince Uichin, fifth son of King Kojong, the second last king of the Chosun Kingdom. “We unanimously agreed that Yi deserves to be the queen as she is the eldest authentic survivor of the imperial family,” Yi Cho-nam, president of the association, said. The Queen will succeed as leader of the traditional Choson society as well as have authority to select her successor, he added. “We hope to unite the royal descendants spread across the country and speak as one voice through Queen Yi.” The crowning ceremony wasn’t supported by the South Korean government.

September 30th

According to a survey by the newspaper Mainichi 63% of the Japanese people believe it is necessary to revise the Imperial House Law that allows only male members of the Imperial Family to accede to the Chrysanthemum Throne, while 72% supports a female emperor.

Tonga has ended 10 nights of mourning after the burial of the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga was marked this morning with a funeral ceremony at Pangai Lahi called the Pongipongi Tapu, with a traditionally massive presentation of food and several important ceremonial events held on the seafront ground next to the Royal Palace. The Taumafa Kava, and the bestowment of a royal title and several noble titles also took place in a huge kava circle that filled Pangai Lahi. The ceremony was attended by the new Tongan King Siaosi Tupou V, as well as over 100 noble title-holders and chiefs, and hundreds of other people. The new Crown Prince’s titles and the ones of his two sons were also officially bestowed in the ceremony. Hon. Tu’ivanuavou Vaea said that the Pongipongi Tapu marked the end of ten nights of mourning, “now estate owners and their people can go back to their islands and villages and continue on with their lives, but the one month of taboo will continue until October 17.” The taboo restricts loud music, nightclubs and celebrations throughout Tonga. The ceremony also marked the easing of the strict ritual requirements for the Nima Tapu, the king’s funeral attendants. Now they can visit their families and the taboo on washing and sex is lifted. Yesterday the princesses of Tonga and their relatives had their hair cut at the Royal Palace in another ceremony marking the end of the first 10 nights of mourning.

October 3rd

Lord Nicholas Windsor is to marry Donna Paola Doimi de Frankopan at the Church of Santo Stefano degli Abissini at the Vatican on November 4. The dress code is morning suit and in the invitation guests are told the Holy See’s dress code must be respected, which means that shoulders, arms and knees are not to be shown. The three-day party includes a white- tie ball at the Palazzo Taverna on November 3 and a Mass and brunch in the roof gardens of the Forum Hotel in Rome on November 5. The couple met at a party in New York five years ago.

October 5th

This morning Lis Frederiksen, head of the Danish court’s press office, said that Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark has officially been named as a Danish candidate for the International Olympic Commitee. The current Danish member of the IOC, Kai Holm is to retire at the end of 2008. According to Danish public broadcaster DR, the president of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, says he’ll support the Crown Prince. On a press conference today Crown Prince Frederik said he submitted his formal application two months ago. Political criticism forced him in 1998 not to candidate himself for the IOC. Is is said now that he has the support of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and politics. The board of the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark said it was “very pleased” that the Crown Prince has accepted to stand as a candidate. The Crown Prince may be elected in October 2009 when the IOC meets in Copenhagen in connection with the 13th Olympic Congress.

October 6th

Princess Stephanie of Monaco was named a special representative for UNAIDS today. She vowed to promote prevention of AIDS and combat discrimination against people who suffer from it. “AIDS has no borders, and knows no social, political, religious or racial barriers. It affects everybody,” she said. The princess hoped to help UNAIDS campaigns to raise awareness in Russia and the Ukraine, where new infections continue mainly among intravenous drug users, and in Africa. “I have lost friends to this epidemic and I want to underline that AIDS is preventable and treatable and we must unite to get ahead of the epidemic and break down stigma and discrimination,” she said in a statement. Princess Stephanie has been President of ‘Fight AIDS Monaco’ since 2004.

October 8th

Countess Leonore van Oranje-Nassau, daughter of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, was christened this morning in the chapel of Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn. The ceremony was led by Ds. Ewoud Roos. Music was being played by the Residentie Kamerkoor and soprano Renate Arends. The godparents were Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Juliana Guillermo, Marius Brinkhorst and Jean-Charles Count Ullens de Schooten Whetnall. Among the guests were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands with daughters, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel van Oranje-Nassau with daughters, Prince Maurits and Princess Marilène with their children, Princess Annette with daughter Isabella, Prince Pieter Christiaan and Princess Anita as well as Prince Floris and Princess Aimée van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven, Princess Irene of the Netherlands and Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme, Princess Christina of the Netherlands and Juliana Guillermo, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway with her daughters Maud Angelica and Leah Isadora.

Princess Michael of Kent is to hold a second auction of bric-a-brac from her former home Lypiatt Manor on Friday. Among the items are a gold medallion, wooden candlesticks and a silver chest bearing original House of Windsor labels.

October 10th

Today Sven Gjeruldsen, spokesman of the Norwegian Royal Palace, has denied a report in the magazine Se og Hør that King Harald V of Norway once sought advice from the president of the Parliament because he was considering divorcing his wife Sonja in the 1980s. The magazine says the couple had encountered severe marital difficulties and that Crown Prince Harald had one of his top aides consult the president of the parliament on the subject of divorce. He at that time wondered how the government, the parliament and the Norwegian people would react to a divorce and what consequences a divorce would have for the monarchy. Se og Hør says the story will be published in the biography about King Harald by journalist Per Egil Hegge, which is to be released later this month. Mr Gjeruldsen said to TV2/Nettavisen: “If it’s true that someone from the Palace was in contact with the president of the Parliament, that’s unknown to the royal couple.” Former Prime Minister Kåre Willoch also claims he was never aware that Crown Prince Harald might have been considering a divorce. Per Egil Hegge doesn’t want to comment until the book is released.

Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia has been voted out of his position as president of the National Olympic Committee by the 11-member board on October 2nd, secretary of state for the Ministry of Interior Nuth Sa An said today. Mr Thong Khon, was elected president in the prince’s place. Mr Sa An was appointed first deputy president at the vote.

October 12th

A public inquiry has asked King Gyanendra of Nepal to explain his role in the alleged crackdown against the pro-democracy demonstrations in April. Written questions have been sent to the palace. The High-level commission formed to probe the atrocities committed to suppress the April movement will submit its final report to the government by October 27.

October 14th

Claims by the Daily Express that a man breached security at Windsor Castle are being investigated by the police. The newspaper said a member of the public walked into the castle through an unlocked gate and took a telephone book with details of key royal aides. An Express photographer retraced the man’s footsteps and found a way into the castle, the newspaper reported. A Royal Family spokeswoman denied any secure areas had been breached and said no royals were resident in the castle at the time. Scotland Yard said detectives were investigating the “full circumstances” amd say that any such incident was taken very seriously.

October 15th

Prins Christian of Denmark celebrated his first birthday at the Kancellihuset at Fredensborg Castle. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary had invited friends to celebrate with them. The royal court issued several photos.

Yesterday’s auction in Cirencester of Prince Michael of Kent’s bric-a-bric raised £580. Auctioneer Philip Alwood said: “The items were in some disrepair.”

October 17th

A 2007 diary of cooking recipes of the late Princess Sri Nagarindra the Princess Mother and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be sold starting today. The diary, “Krua Sa Pathum” (The Kitchen of Sa Pathum Palace), contains colourful photographs of the Princess Mother and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn cooking in the palace and their own handwritten instructions for 12 cooking recipes. Two recipes written in English by the late the Princess Mother are ‘Boston Baked Beans’ and ‘Boston Brown Bread’ – both favourites of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The other 10 recipes are written by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in Thai and English. The diary is published by the Queen Savang Vadhana Foundation.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck of Bhutan has won the 2006 J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership for his three decades of work to conserve the environment of Bhutan that is home to tigers, snow leopards and red pandas. The award’s cash prize of $200,000 will be used to establish graduate fellowships for Bhutanese conservationists in honor of the King and the people of Bhutan.

October 18th

This week’s Paris Match announces that King Mohammed VI of Morocco and his wife Princess Lalla Salma expect their second child this winter.

The royalist FUNCINPEC party has ousted Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia as its leader. A spokesman for the prince has denounced the party vote as “illegal.” The Prince was in Malaysia at the time of the vote. The newly elected FUNCINPEC president is Keo Puth Rasmey, Cambodia’s ambassador to Germany and a son-in-law of retired King Norodom Sihanouk. Senior FUNCINPEC officials have been quoted as saying Prince Norodom Ranariddh had to be replaced if the party was to repair relations with the dominant partner in the ruling coalition, the Cambodian People’s Party. Late today Prince Norodom Ranariddh said by phone from France that he plans to create a new political party to participate in the commune election starting on April 1, 2007 as well as the next general election in 2008. “I name the new political party after my name as Norodom Ranariddh Party, because in Cambodia, law is on the mouth of individuals,” he told Voice of America and Radio Free Asia reporters.

October 19th

Simon Astaire, spokesman of Princess Michael of Kent has confirmed that the three-year relationship between Lady Gabriella Windsor and Aatish Taseer has ended: “I can confirm that Gabriella and Aatish are no longer together, but the love and respect they share for each other has not diminished.” Aatish Taseer is returning to India. According to a friend: “Aatish very much wanted her to go back with him to India, but she wants to stay in Britain and pursue her writing career here. So they have very sadly decided to go their separate ways.”

Queen Rania of Jordan tripped and broke her left ankle recently a spokeswoman said. A picture taken on Tuesday showing Queen Rania in a cast and using crutches was published in the Jordanian press.

King Gyanendra of Nepal has failed to meet a deadline to answer questions about his role in the crackdown against pro-democracy protesters earlier this year. The palace has given no reason for the king’s failure to respond. Inquiry panel member Harihar Birah said that the king had been asked to give his answers in writing by Wednesday. He said the panel would still present its report to the government.

October 20th

At her annual birthday news conference Empress Michiko of Japan, who celebrates her 72nd birthday today, said she had been extremely worried over Princess Kiko’s pregnancy complications and hoped that her newborn son Prince Hisahito would grow up strong. “All I wish is for (Prince Hisahito) to be kept safe in the loving care of his parents, his older sisters and other people around him, and that he grows up strong and healthy,” she added. She also said that she was happy and relieved that Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako had been able to take a two-week family vacation in the Netherlands. The Empress said the decision on when Crown Princess Masako will return to those duties should be left up to her.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has issued a new law to prevent any disputes regarding succession to the Saudi throne after his death. The new decree provides for the eventuality of the king and the crown prince becoming ill or dying at the same time. This precautionary measure is due to the fact that all the sons of the founder of the Saudi state King Abdulaziz Al Saud are old. New are the procedures for appointing a new crown prince in which the wishes of the new king and those of the other prominent members of the Al Saud family are balanced. A committee of princes called the Allegiance Institution, made up of sons and grandsons of late King Abdul Aziz al-Saud, will be set up to formalise the succession in the event of a death of a king. They will have a say in the appointment of a crown prince suggested by the king. If the institution rejects the nominated crown prince, it may vote for one of three princes the king nominates for the title. The appointment of the new crown prince will have to be done within 30 days of the accession of a new king.

October 22nd

The Duke of Edinburgh paid a brief surprise visit to the British troops in Iraq. He spent several hours in Basra visiting soldiers from the Queen’s Royal Hussars. He is the regiment’s colonel-in-chief. He also handed out recent promotions. In his address to the troops he said that it was a great pleasure to be with them.

Princess Kalina of Bulgaria and her husband Kitín Muñoz expect their first child it was announced during the opening mass of the newly built church named after the Orthodox Christian Saint Ivan Rilski in Tsarska Bistritza.

October 23rd

The Duchess of York was named global ambassador for World Children’s Day at MacDonald’s for a second year.

October 24th

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has allowed a film crew of BBC an ‘unprecedented insight’ into the Royal Household. The series will be called Monarchy and is to be screened next summer. Behind-the-scenes “reality” footage shows the Queen on official duties and also shows the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Princes William and Harry.

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway have dropped plans to build a large summer house on the island of Flekkerøy off the coast near Kristiansand. In a statement the couple thanked Kristiansand for taking the initiative to allow them to take over a piece of land on the island. They however have decided to turn down the offer after an evaluation of the complexity of the project. The couple will continue searching for another summer house on the southern coast.

Robert Brown, a Jersey accountant, who claims to be the illegitimate son of the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain, is taking his case to the High Court in London. He wants access to the wills of the Princess and the Queen Mother to try and prove his parentage. He believes he might have been the result of the affair of Princess Margaret with Peter Townsend. Buckingham Palace has refused Mr Brown’s offer to a DNA test and has declined to comment about the case. Mr Brown was born in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 5, 1955.

Princess Marie Ranariddh, the estranged wife of Prince Norodom Ranariddh, was appointed as senior minister in charge of an unspecified ‘special mission’. The appointment was requested by Prime Minister Hun Sen and approved by 83 votes out of 105 lawmakers.

October 26th

It was announced today that Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark expect their second child in the beginning of May 2007. The baby will be born at the Rigshospitalet. Crown Princess Mary will continue to fulfil her official duties as long as possible.

An official biography about King Harald V of Norway by Per Egil Hegge was released today. Mr Hegge worked on the biography for the last two years and interviewed all adult members of the royal family. He had access to previously secret archives and private photos. The book reveals that Harald and his wife Sonja lost faith several times during their nine-year wait for approval of their wedding. They tried a few times to break off their relationship, but the love was too strong. Harald’s father King Olav V, did never speak with Sonja before the engagement.

October 31st

King Siaosi Tupou V of Tonga will be crowned on August 1, 2007, an announcement from the Tonga Government confirmed today. It was also announced that November 4, traditionally known as Constitutional Day for Tongans, will be officially commemorated as Tonga’s National Day, starting next year.

November 1st

Lord Nicholas Windsor and his fiancée Donna Paola Doimi de Frankopan were granted an audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican today. The couple received a papal blessing four days ahead of their marriage. Friends said the honour was “a complete surprise”. The wedding ceremony has been postponed by five hours to allow time for a Mass to be heard for a dead cardinal.

November 2nd

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has withdrawn from an investiture ceremony tomorrow and has scaled back her appearances at other events this week. Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen’s programme has been amended due to continuing discomfort in her back. She is continuing to have treatment for her back pain. At this stage there are no plans to cancel engagements next week, we are reviewing things on a daily basis.” The Queen strained a muscle in her back while holidaying on the Balmoral estate in Scotland during the summer. Last week doctors advised her to reduce her workload.

November 3rd

Viscount Linley has been appointment chairman of Christie’s UK from 1 December 2006. “David Linley’s knowledge and understanding of collecting, together with his passion for works of art, have made him a natural addition to Christie’s. He now develops his existing relationship with the company to join us in to work in a much more proactive and involved way as our Chairman in the United Kingdom”, Edward Dolman from Christie’s International said. Viscount Linley joined the board of Christie’s in February 2005.

Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah of Terengganu, Sultan has been elected the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a five-year term effective on December 13. The decision was made in a conference of Malaysian rulers in a special meeting at Istana Negara today. Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Sultan Badlishah of Kedah was chosen as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, also for a five-year term.

November 4th

Lord Nicholas Windsor, youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, married Donna Paola Doimi de Frankopan at the Church of St Stephen of the Abysinnians at the Vatican. The bride wore a dress by Valentino. The ceremony, conducted by the auxiliary bishop of Westminster Alan Hopes, included a prayer for Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, her government and armed forces. Among the 200 guests were the groom’s parents and siblings, as well as royals from Austria, Portugal, Bavaria and Yugoslavia. A reception was being held after the wedding at the Palazzo Doria Pamphili. The party began on Friday night with a pre-wedding dinner for 160 guests at the Palazzo Taverna. A post-mass brunch will take place tomorrow at the Forum Hotel. The honeymoon will take place outside Europe. A royal celebration is planned at St James’s Palace in January 2007. The civil wedding took place in London two weeks ago.

According to her doctors Crown Princess Masako of Japan is feeling more confident after an official visit to the Nara Ntional Museum on October 26. It was the crown princess’s first official duty outside Tokyo in 15 months. She is still feeling fatigued, but the trip had proved therapeutic and allowed her to recover some of her confidence. “In consideration of her treatment, we hope she will benefit from these experiences, but we would like her to take things one step at a time,” it was added.

November 5th

The Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Natural Resource and Means to study the land of the Nepalese Royal family, in its preliminary report suggests that the government should nationalise all property of King Gyanendra of Nepal and the cultivable land to be distributed to the landless peasants. The report had found 50,926-ropani land registered in the name of the members of the Royal Palace and about 40,000 of them are occupied by jungle.

November 6th

Malaysia will hold a traditional ceremony on December 12 to mark the departure of King Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin at the end of his term as the 12th Supreme Head of State. There will be an official parade and farewell gesture at the Parliament grounds before the Sultan returns to the state of Perlis. On December 13 Malaysia will hold another ceremony to welcome Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Al-Marhum, currently Sultan of Terengganu state, who will take office as the 13th Supreme Head of State for a five-year term.

November 8th

Today the Court of Justice in Amsterdam has officially ended the marriage of Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn and Princess Margarita de Bourbon de Parme. The Princess asked for a divorce on ground of permanent disruption. Edwin de Roy van Zuydewijn had asked for 5000 Euro a month alimentation, but the judge declined his request. On 18 January 2007 the court will handle the liquidation of the matrimonial settlements.

Prince Charles-Philippe d’Orléans was detained by the police yesterday as part of a criminal investigation into a suspected smear campaign against the pharmaceutical company Thea, according to investigators.

November 9th

Pieter van Vollenhoven, husband of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, was again diagnosed with skin cancer. Today malingant tissue was policlinically removed at the Nederlands kankerinstituut at the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Asterdam. The regularly check-ups at the hospital will be continued.

The Cambodian Funcinpec party expelled Prince Norodom Chakrapong during a meeting on Tuesday. The prince’s halfbrother Prince Norodom Ranariddh was already ousted some weeks ago.

Prince Charles-Philippe d’Orléans has been made the subject of a criminal probe into corporate fraud and libel, his lawyer said. Late Thursday the prince was informed of the investigation after being detained two days for questioning by police. He was freed under police surveillance pending the outcome of the probe, his lawyer, Eric Morain said. The prince is suspected of having a role in a smear campaign against the French laboratory Thea.

November 11th

Princess Aiko of Japan had her “Chakko-no-Gi” ceremony today at the Togu Palace, celebrating her passage from infancy to childhood. The ceremony is performed for children around the age of 5, offering prayers for their health and growth. During the ceremony, court ladies dressed the Princess in a deep purple kosode and hakama. Over these, Princess Aiko wore a red uchiki bearing a chrysanthemum pattern. In her hand she held a fan. The kosode and hakama were presented to Princess Aiko by Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. After praying at the temporary hall of the Kashidokoro sanctuary in the Imperial Palace, Princess Aiko was taken by her parents to greet the Emperor and Empress.

November 12th

Detectives looking into the death of Princess Diana have completed a report for Lord Stevens, the former Police chief presiding over the investigation. The interim report runs to 500,000 words and includes more than 100 interviews with witnesses.

November 13th

It was announced Prince Hamzah bin Hussein and Princess Noor Hamzah of Jordan expect their first child in Spring.

November 14th

Prince Hisahito of Japan was presented at the royal shinto shrine in the grounds of the royal palace by his parents today. He was dressed in traditional costume.The traditional ceremony for royal babies is aimed at promoting healthy growth. Princess Kiko told reporters that Prince Hisahito is known as “Yu-chan”, a pet name based on one of the Chinese characters of his name. After the ceremony prince Hisahito was taken to visit his grandparents Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. “Prince Hisahito has been growing up in good health without getting sick. On sunny days his mother often strolls around the palace garden with him,” the Imperial Household Agency said in a statement.

November 16th

Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia gave up his efforts today to establish a new party. He from now on will preside the rarely-known Khmer Front Party in anticipation of the upcoming communal and general elections. The party has changed its name to the Norodom Ranariddh Party. “I must merge with other party to compete in the communal election in April 2007 and the general election in 2008, because the Interior Ministry has delayed my proposal to establish a new party,” the prince said. “They raised the so-called technical points to delay the registration of my party. There is no technical reason, but political reason.” The prince returned to Cambodia on Saturday afternoon.

November 17th

News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman will stand trial at the Old Bailey next year on mobile phone hacking charges. He will appear for a hearing on 29 November 2006, and a trial date has been set for 23 July 2007. Glenn Mulcaire will stand trial on the same date. Both are accused of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and of intercepting voicemail messages. They were arrested after claims by the Prince of Wales’s household of security breaches in its telephone network.

November 18th

Angela Kelly, personal assistant of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, and personal page Paul Whybrew have moved to houses nearby Windsor Castle in the past two weeks and other key members of staff could soon follow. Their permanent move to Windsor is regarded within royal circles as extremely significant. The Queen shifting her centre of operations from Buckingham Palace to Windsor castle signals a step towards semi-retirement because the Queen had always planned to move there when she started to scale down her commitments. “Staff have been very surprised by the speed at which events have moved,” the source added. Buckingham Palace aides claimed last night that Ms Kelly and Mr Whybrew had moved out of London for personal reasons.

November 20th

The website of the Prince of Wales was relaunched today after being redesigned. The website includes a new video charting a day in his life and that of the Duchess of Cornwall. The short film shows the couple carrying out engagements in and around Birmingham. Clips and interviews may be added to the site in the future. Fans are also able to sign up for free e-mail updates. There also is a children’s zone which includes games, puzzles and facts and figures about the royals.

A high-level panel has held King Gyanendra of Nepal responsible for excesses against pro-democracy demonstrators in April in which twenty-one people were killed and thousands of others injured. The king was found responsible in his capacity as head of the government. Panel member Harihar Birahi confirmed the news after the report was submitted to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today. The details of the report have not been disclosed yet. 200 others including senior ministers of the royalist government and top security officials have been indicted. Under the present constitution King Gyanendra can’t be punished because he is above the law.

November 21st

In “Vintertronen”, the newest book in the authorised biographical series on King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway, Tor Bomann-Larsen reveals King Haakon VII came close to abdicating in 1914 during a crisis with the government and the parliament after an election for a government that favoured a republic instead of a monarchy. According to the book Queen Maud gave her husband little support and continued to see herself primarily as a British princess. She never learned to speak Norwegian and regularly spent some time in Great Britain.

Six new Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor cars have been bought for the six queens of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. The cars costed R2,3-million and the purchase is intended to provide the king’s wives with vehicles “more befitting their status” after previously having been ferried around in Toyota Corollas. The vehicles were bought after a request from the king that his queens be transported in vehicles befitting their status when they made public appearances.

November 22nd

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have purchased a house in Wales. The three-bedroom farmhouse at Llwynywormwood, Myddfai, near Llandovery, will be used by the couple during their visits to Wales. The whole estate comprises about 192 acres of land. The sale is to be completed in March 2007. A Clarence House spokeswoman said, “The property will be used regularly by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall when they are in Wales. The Duchy [of Cornwall] will be applying for planning permission to enable the property to be used as occasional holiday lets when the Prince and the Duchess are not there. His Royal Highness, as Prince of Wales, has for some time been keen for the Duchy to purchase a property in Wales.”

November 23rd

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has decided to refrain from smoking in public in the future. She will still smoke in private.

In a speech closing the parliamentary session in Nuku’alofa, King George Tupou V said that differences among reform proposals could be resolved. He pledged to move ahead with democratic change in the Pacific nation despite deadly rioting last week. “All the proposals that are now in the public arena have the same ultimate aim – a more democratic form of parliament and government but appropriate for Tonga – about which we all agree,” the King said. “The differences among these various proposals are not irreconcilable and can be resolved through dialogue.”

November 24th

During their vacation at Tasmania a photosession was held today with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark with Prince Christian at the Bonorong Wild Life Park. They were photographed with kangaroos, koalas and other animals. The family arrived on Wednesday. It is Prince Christian’s first visit to the country of his mother.

Charges against the Neil family that were selling Princess Margaret of Great Britain’s National Insurance card on eBay were dropped yesterday. Prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to convict them of handling stolen goods. The family said the card had been in their family for years. The Crown Prosecution Service said: “They will not get the card back.”

November 26th

According to the Sunday Mirror Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales are considering organising a charity pop concert to mark the 10th anniversary of their mother’s death. Wembley Stadium could stage the event next summer. Proceeds from the event would go to causes favoured by the late Diana Princess of Wales. According to BBC Clarence House is expected to confirm plans for the anniversary in the coming weeks. Former royal press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, said the idea for the concert came from the princes themselves.

November 27th

A spokesman of the Spanish royal court announced this evening that the Prince and Princess of Asturias expect a second daughter. The baby will be born early May. It is the first time such information has been announced by the royal court during a pregnancy. During a reception on National Day (October 12) the Prince of Asturias had already told some journalists that the gender of the baby would be announced if considered necessary. This announcement will stop the discussions about the succession for a while.

Prince Wilhelm von und zu Liechtenstein died early this morning after a long illness. He was Prince Grand Prior of the Grandpriorate of Austria of the Sovereign Order of Malta. He was born at Frauenthal on 29 May 1922 as son of Prince Karl von und zu Liechtenstein and Princess Elisabeth von Urach. Since 1984 he was widower of Emma von Gutmansthal-Benvenuti. They had four sons and one daughter. Only three days ago the Prince received the Grand Cross of the Gregorius Order from the Vatican.

The battle over the publication of the Prince of Wales’s personal diaries is going to the Court of Appeal. The newspaper Mail on Sunday is challenging a High Court ruling that it had breached the Prince’s copyright and confidentiality in publishing extracts.

Egyptian radiologists who performed the first-ever computed tomography evaluation of Pharaoh Tutankhamun of Egypt’s mummy believe they have solved the mystery of how he died. The CT images and results of their study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The researchers performed a full-body scan on the king’s remains. “We found the mummy was in a critical stage of preservation,” said Dr. Ashraf Selim. “The body was cut into several parts with some missing pieces.” The age of the Pharaoh was estimated between 18 and 20 years and his height was 180 centimeters. The researchers discovered a possible premortem fracture to the femoral bone. While they cannot assess how the injury occurred, the findings suggest that the injury may have been an open wound that became infected and ultimately fatal.

November 28th

Zara Phillips was named Equestrian Olympic Athlete of the Year at a special ceremony in Greenwich Park today. The trophy was handed over to her by her aunt, the Duchess of Cornwall. She is still in the run for the title of BBC’s Sports Personality Of The Year.

November 29th

Yesterday at 6.00 pm Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven gave birth to a daughter at the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam. Emma Francisca Catharina van Vollenhoven weighs 3970 gramms. The baby, who will be named Emma, is the first child of Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven. She is the sixth grandchild of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven. The parents said: “We are very happy and very thankful with our first child.”

Prince Christian of Denmark is to make his debute on a postage stamp. A 5.25 kroner steel-engraved stamp that will go on sale on January 14 shows him with his parents. It is a charity stamp, with 0.50 øre going to the royal couple’s children’s foundation.

Alexandra Chrobok, daughter of Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria and Bronislaw Chrobok, and her husband Jorge Champalimaud Raposo de Magalhães had their second child, a daughter called Giovanna, on 27 November at Lisbon, Portugal.

Cia-Rosemarie Bernadotte Countess af Wisborg and her husband Sven Roderburg had a daughter, born this month. Cia-Rosemaries halfbrother Alexander-Wilhelm and his wife Carina also had a daughter this month.

November 30th

A report on the crash compiled by the Metropolitan Police will be released on 14 December, following an inquiry led by former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens. The initial inquest hearings into the death of Diana Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed in a car crash in 1997 will be held behind closed doors on 8 and 9 January 2007. Mohammed Al Fayed says that this inquiry has failed to take statements of several witnesses and had ignored views of experts: “It is shocking that the investigation has been deliberately cut short.” He says: “Equally distasteful is the attempt to keep any hearings secret. A jury of 12 ordinary people should hear all the facts and make up their own minds,” he said. “I simply ask for honesty, fairness and openness.”

The coronation of King Siaosi Tupou V of Tonga has been postponed for twelve months, following the destruction of central Nuku’alofa by riot and fires on November 16. The coronation is now set for August 1, 2008 the Prime Minister’s Office, in Nuku’alofa confirmed.

50-year-old postman Jean-Michael Diebolt from St Egrève, France, was detained by the police yesterday. He is facing possible charges of receiving stolen property after he put an advertisement on the internet offering the hair, samples of the embalming resin and fragments of bandages from the 3,200-year-old remains of the mummy of the Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt. The man, who is a part-time journalist and writer, said that his father was a member of a team of experts who analysed the mummy in France in 1976. He offered photographs and certificates to prove the authenticity of the artefacts. The police are trying to check the authenticity of the items. Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, said: “If these elements are authentic, it would be a scandal that would risk harming relations between France and Egypt.” Sonia Diebolt said that her husband had put the items on the internet as a joke, “not really for making money, just to see if people were interested”. The “samples”, as she called them, were genuine.

December 3rd

The wreckage of the car in which Diana Princess of Wales died is set to go on sale for pounds £1 million. French owner Jean Francois Musa believes there are numerous firms which would want the wreckage. The Mercedes limousine is currently in a police pound in south east London after detectives working on the enquiry into the crash. Mr Musa has begun a legal battle to get the limousine shipped back to France. Mr Musa said: “Now I want to sell it. We’ve been told a lot of people would pay a fortune for the wreck. We have never had any firm inquiries about it, but people have spoken to me about how much it could be worth.”

Followers of King Gyanendra of Nepal have started a campaign to save the crown. They say the country can’t do without the monarchy. Led by the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, former ministers and government officials are trying to persuade people that the future governments should have a role for the monarch, if not as a constitutional king, then at least as a ceremonial ruler. The royalists are blaming ‘foreign forces’, mainly India, for ‘conspiring’ to destabilise the 238-year-old monarchy. They say the crown is more essential for Nepal now than it was in the past.

December 4th

A Cartier ruby and sapphire brooch given to Wallis Simpson by King Edward VIII at the start of their affair will be auctioned at Bonhams in London on 7 December. The piece which bears their first name initials, WE, was commissioned in 1934 by the then Prince of Wales. It is expected to fetch £35,000. Another gift, a Cartier cuff bangle, is thought to sell for £30,000.

Italian archaeologists have unearthed imperial insignia that belonged to Emperor Maxentius under Palatine Hill near the Colosseum in Rome. They were buried for safekeeping after he was defeated by his Christian rival Constantine. The items include three lances and four javelins, an imperial sceptre with a carved flower and a globe, and a number of glass spheres, believed to be a symbolic representation of the earth. The items, inside wooden boxes and wrapped in linen and silk, were found in the ground of a sanctuary last year and have since been restored and analysed.

December 5th

A soiree to mark the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was held tonight at the Ritz Hotel. More than 300 people attended the soiree, which was hosted in five reception rooms at the hotel and included a five-course meal. And by staying until the small hours of the morning, the Queen firmly extinguished any remaining doubts about her return to form. Among the guests were the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Peter Phillips with girlfriend Autumn Kelly, Lady Sarah Chatto, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Lady Helen Taylor, Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor, King Constantine and Queen Anne- Marie of Greece, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece and Prince Nikolaos of Greece. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall didn’t attend because they were hosting a fundraising gala dinner at Windsor Castle.

Princess Sophie von Hohenberg, great granddaughter of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand of Austria, has filed for the restitution of Konopiste Castle near Benesov, Bohemia, at the district court in Benesov last week. She also claims the castle collections and further extensive properties of the former estate. The property was expropriated with other Habsburg property between 1918 and 1938 so the restitution law wouldn’t not apply to it. However the Crown Prince didn’t marry equally and his descendants didn’t have succession rights. It could therefore be that according to certain legal analyses that the confiscation of the property should not have applied to the Hohenberg family.

December 7th

Lady Butler-Sloss, the coroner in charge of the Princess Diana of Wales inquest has decided to hold a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on 8 and 9 January in public, rather than in private. She was said to have been persuaded to change her mind because of public interest in the case. A full inquest will be held at a later date.

A Cartier bracelet given by the Duke of Windsor to Wallis Simpson fetched 81,600 pounds at Bonhams auctioneers in London today, over three times its pre-sale estimate. The inscription on the bangle says “For a Happier New Year, Nassau 1-1-41, WE”. The bracelet was bought by a telephone bidder from New York. A ruby and sapphire brooch fetched 36,000 pounds.

With the help of her mother Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, 2-year-old Princess Ingrid Alexandra lit the Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square in London today. The ceremony was further attended by Crown Prince Haakon and Mette-Marit’s son Marius.

December 8th

The Dutch magazine HP De Tijd contains a nice interview with Alicia de Bielefeld, illegitimate daughter of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. She reveals she has cancer, receives chemotherapy and will undergo two operations later on. “If I have his genes I will survive the cancer,” she said. The interview reveals she has been in touch with her father all her life, although she only heard that he was the husband of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and a prince when she was 17. She has visited him in Italy and at Soestdijk palace regularly. She is not in touch with her mother anymore saying her mother is a very difficult woman. She only saw her halfsisters once, apart from Princess Christina and the other illegitimate child Alexia Grinda, but met Queen Juliana several times. Alicia says to miss his father very much and said goodbye to him shortly after his death, although she didn’t attend the funeral. She hasn’t seen a penny of the inheritance yet.

The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reports today that the security around the members of the Norwegian royal family, especially the women, has been tightened after fears that mentally unstable persons may attack them. At least 14 persons are believed to be obsessed with Princess Märtha Louise. The police doesn’t want to comment on the story.

Ari Behn, the husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, has declared he votes for the Labour Party. He declared so in a birthday toast to Minister of Culture Trond Giske, a member of the party and a good friend of Ari Behn, three weeks ago. As the royal family is supposed to stay politcally neutral this is quite controversial. Ari Behn, claims his Labour Party leanings shouldn’t cause any controversy because he’s only married into the royal family, and has no royal title himself.

King Gyanendra and Crown Prince Paras of Nepal have been forced to pay taxes on customs duties on imported goods this week. The customs office at the Tribhuvan International Airport charged a total of 130,893 rupees as duty and tax to release 50 torches and a hunting trophy. A customs official said, “This is the first time in the history of the country that tax and other charges have been slapped on goods imported for the king and royal family members.” Lok Darshan Regmi, the head of the airport customs department said: “Palace officials took away the parcel after paying the amount Wednesday. We imposed the tax according to the law.”

December 9th

Zara Phillips, daughter of the Princess Royal, today appeared in an advertisement for Land Rover in the Mail on Sunday. She poses in a Roberto Cavalli dress spattered in mud. The headline reads “Beautifully Poised’. The photo was taken by Mary McCartney at Templeton Estate in Roehampton, Surrey, three weeks ago. She is the first British royal in direct line to the Throne ever to appear in an advertisement. Buckingham Palace said to be surprised but said: “She doesn’t carry out official duties. How she runs her career is her own affair.” The campaign is an extension of Land Rover’s support for three-day eventing and Zara Phillips as world champion. Land Rover said: “This is part of our long-standing support for her. We will be doing another ad with her next year that sees her in action as a three-day eventer.”

Crown Princess Masako of Japan celebrated her 43rd birthday today. In a prepared statement she said that life with her daughter, Princess Aiko, has been a “pleasure.” The Imperial Household Agency, quoting doctors, said: “It is very meaningful for her health that Crown Princess Masako has engaged in child-rearing.” The Crown Princess also said that since autumn 2005 she has attended 25 lectures at the United Nations University in Tokyo and thinks it was “a meaningful opportunity to think about issues facing our society.”

December 10th

Zara Phillips has been named 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 35 years after her mother, the Princess Royal, received the same honour. She got one third of the public votes. She collected the award at the NEC in Birmingham today. She won the public vote ahead of golfer Darren Clarke and gymnast Beth Tweddle. “For two members of the same family to win the award for the first time is very special,” Zara Phillips said. “My mum said when she won it no-one else was in the running! In the build-up to it, I didn’t think it would be a big thing for me. I was thinking ‘I’d rather have my world gold medal than the Sports Personality of The Year award. But when it actually came around to the night, and I was up there on the stage, it was unbelievable when you looked at all the top sporting people in the room.”

December 12th

Two weeks ago it became known that Prince Laurent of Belgium has been named in a fraud case that is due to be heard in Hasselt on January 8. One of the chief suspects in the case is the prince’s former advisor Noël Vaessen The Belgian Navy has been defrauded and a part of the money, 175,000 euros, is said to have been used to carry out work at the Prince’s home in Tervuren in the 1990s. In an interview with the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws today Mr Vaessen said that this happened with the full knowledge of the Prince. He also said the prince was “obsessed” with spending money and buying fast cars. “He tries to get money from everything and anybody because he always is short of money. There is no limit to his spending on luxury goods. He could hardly buy food for himself at the end of the month.” Today Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt confirmed a probe was under way and that the government is demanding the repayment of funds to the military budget.

Prince William and Prince Harry of Wales have announced that they are organising a concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of their mother Diana Princess of Wales at Wembley Stadium on 1 July, when she would have turned 46. Among the performers are Sir Elton John, Duran Duran, Joss Stone, Bryan Ferry, Pharrell Williams, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the English National Ballet. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning. Prince William said: “We both wanted to put our stamp on it. We want it to represent exactly what our mother would have wanted. So therefore the church service alone isn’t enough. We wanted to have this big concert full of energy, full of the sort of fun and happiness, which I know she would have wanted. And on her birthday as well, it’s got to be the best birthday present she ever had.” Proceeds from the concert will go to a number of charities that were supported by the princess during her life, and to two of the princes’ own charities, Centrepoint and Sentebale. A memorial service will also be held in London on 31 August, the actual anniversary of the Princess’s death at a venue to be confirmed. The service will be attended by the senior royals, including the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Orange has been appointed chairman of the UN committee on water and sanitary provisions, on invitation of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan. “It is an acknowledgement of my activities,” the prince said on Tuesday. From Wednesday to Friday the Prince will preside the seventh meeting of the committee.

Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin 12th King of Malaysia today ended his five-year term as head of state and left for Perlis state. A grand ceremony was held at Parliament Square to bid farewell to the royal couple. People lined the streets and waved national flags when the royal couple were departing for the International Airport of Kuala Lumpur. Dignitaries of the Perlis and Kedah states will greet the royal couple upon arrival at Sultan Abdul Halim Airport in Kedah state. More than 15,000 people of Perlis will be at the Kedah-Perlis border to welcome their return.

Alexandra Galitzine Armour died at her Lake Forest home on 5 December 2006 aged 101. Princess Alexandra Galitzine was born on 7 May 1905 as daughter of Prince Paul Galitzine and Princess Alexandra Mestchersky. She married first Prince Rostislav Alexandrovitch Romanov in 1928, with whom she had one son. In 1954 she married Lester Armour, who died in 1970.

December 13th

Tickets for the “Concert for Diana” which went on sale this morning have already sold out. On the official website a message was posted saying more tickets will be released in the New Year.

Photos and video of the Christmas preparations of the Norwegian crown princely couple were released today.

Nico Kogevinas, husband of Countess Madeleine Bernadotte, died at Genève, Switzerland, on 4 December. He was born at Corfu, Greece, on 16 September 1918 as son of Linos Kogevinas and Yolanda Politis. He is survived by his wife, his son Linos (from his first marriage to Margarita Skaramanga) with family, and his daughter Désirée. The funeral took place on 8 December at the Russian Orthodox Church at Genève.

Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu was sworn in at the royal palace in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia’s 13th king today in a traditional ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry. After taking his oath of office and signing the investiture letter he was proclaimed as the new king. The ceremony ended with prayers of blessings. Earlier, the King and Queen Nur Zahirah were given a 21-gun salute in a welcome at the Parliament after inspecting an honor guard and meeting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and other Cabinet ministers. The King will be formally installed next year in a grander affair that includes other ceremonial rituals and traditions. The date has not been set. The King’s 8-year-old son Tengku Muhammad Ismail was appointed as regent of Terengganu and will lead the state in the absence of his father for the next five years. A three-member advisory council has been set up to help the young prince carry out his duties.

Sheikha Maitha Mohammed Rashed al-Maktoum, the 26-year-old daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, today lost the final in the over-60 kilogram class in karate at the Asian Games in Doha and won the silver medal. She was watched by her father to whom she dedicated her victory. “My father is my first teacher,” she said, adding that: “The most important lesson I learnt from my father was to accept defeat. This made me proud of the silver medal although I lost the gold.”

December 14th

An official UK police inquiry by Lord Stevens into the Paris car crash which killed Princess Diana of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed has found no evidence the couple were murdered. The 832 pages report was released after a three year investigation. Lord Stevens said the 1997 crash was a “tragic accident”. The inquiry report said chauffeur Henri Paul, who also died, was speeding and over the legal drink-drive limit. “There was no conspiracy to murder any of the occupants of that car,” Lord Stevens said. The evidence suggests Princess Diana was not engaged or about to get engaged and scientific tests showed she was not pregnant. Lord Stevens said: “I very much hope that all the work we have done and the publication of this report will help to bring some closure to all who continue to mourn the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul.” Clarence House said that Princes William and Harry hope the “conclusive findings” of the report will end speculation surrounding their mother’s death. A spokesman for Mr Al Fayed’s father said he does not accept the findings as questions remain “unanswered”. Mohamed Al Fayed said the money spent on the Stevens inquiry was a total waste.

Archduke Dominic of Austria has offered to sell Bran Castle, which he received back in May, to the local government at Brasov, Romania. Brasov County Council received the proposal this week, spokeswoman Mihaela Chicomban said. “I don’t think the owners have taken the offer to sell the castle to the real estate market worldwide.”

December 15th

Prince William of Wales graduated from the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst today. The Sovereign’s parade was attended by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall as well as Williams girlfriend Kate Middleton. Prince William acted as a marker during the parade to ensure the cadets marched in a straight line. Queen Elizabeth II inspected the cadets and stopping briefly in front of her grandson to say a few words. In her speech the Queen said that a “great deal” was expected of the graduated cadets and “you must be courageous, yet selfless, leaders yet carers, confident yet considerate and you must be all these things in some of the most challenging environments around the world.” The prince and his girlfriend Kate Middleton are expected to attend the Sandhurst Ball together. Prince William will officially be awarded the title of 2nd Lieutenant at midnight. The prince has chosen to join the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals. He will now spend four months at Bovington Camp in Dorset, training to become a troop commander in an armoured reconnaissance unit.

The fourth Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, handed over his responsibilities as monarch and head of state to 26-year-old Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck who will assume the full responsibilities of head of state as the fifth Druk Gyalpo. In a kasho issued on December 9 the King said: “The time has now come for me to hand over my responsibilities to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. I am confident that a very bright future lies ahead for Bhutan with the leadership of a new King and a democratic system of government that is best suited for our country as enshrined under the Constitution. I have every confidence that there will be unprecedented progress and prosperity for our nation in the reign of our fifth King.” The transition was formally announced yesterday late during a council meeting of ministers. King Jigme Singye Wangchuch said that Bhutan couldn’t hope for a better time for this important transition as the country enjoys peace and stability, and its security and sovereignty is ensured. He said to be confident that his son is fully capable of carrying out his responsibilities. The King had already said he was going to abdicate in the near future during the national day celebrations in 2005.

December 16th

This morning the Asian Games medal winners of the United Arab Emirates were welcomed at Dubai International Airport. Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai, won the individual medal in endurance with his horse Magic Glenn. The United Arab Emirates also won the team gold in endurance with in the team Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his brothers Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mayed Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “This is history being written as this is the first time that one family has won so many medals at an international competition,” said Ebrahim Abdul Malek, the secretary general of the UAE National Olympic Committee. A delighted Sheikh Rashid said: “I am so proud to win the gold medal. Of course it is no surprise that myself and the other UAE riders achieved all these results in the sport because we are the best. It takes a lot of orientation and effort, but the support of my father is the key point in our success.”

December 20th

The Norwegian royal family released the annual family photos for Christmas taken this afternoon at the red drawing-room in the Royal Palace in Oslo. Ari Behn is promoting his new book and had to miss the photosession. The royal couple and the crown princely couple will celebrate Christmas together at Kongsseteren. They have also invited Princess Kristine Bernadotte. Princess Märtha Louise and her family will celebrate Christmas with her family-in-law at Lommedalen.

Irene Fürstin zu Castell-Rüdenhausen née Countess zu Solms-Laubach died at Rüdenhausen Castle on 16 December after a long and serious illness. She will be buried in the family vault in Rüdenhausen on December 23. She is survived by her husband Fürst Siegfried, eight children and 18 grandchildren.

December 21st

Today the first picture of Emma van Vollenhoven, daughter of Prince Pieter-Christiaan and Princess Anita van Oranje-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, was released. The photo was taken at the house of Anita’s parents.

Baron Carl Silfverschiöld, son of Princess Désirée of Sweden, and his wife Maria had a daughter on December 13. She was born at the Danderyd Hospital near Stockholm. They haven’t decided about her name yet.

The newspaper Mail on Sunday has lost ists appeal against a ruling over its publication of the private diaries of the Prince of Wales. Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that the information published was private. “As heir to the throne, Prince Charles is an important public figure. In respect of such persons, the public takes an interest in information about them that is relatively trivial. For this reason, public disclosure of such information can be particularly intrusive.”

December 22nd

The Princess Diana of Wales memorial concert at the Wembley Stadium on July 1 will be broadcasted live on BBC1 and BBC Radio 2. The event will also be shown online.

Hana Al Jader, wife of Prince Mohamed Bin Turki Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, was sentenced yesterday in the USA. She was sentenced to two years of probation of which the first six months must be served in home confinement. After the home confinement she will be deported to Saudi Arabia. She also is to pay $206,000 in restitution to three of her former domestic servants, pay a $40,000 fine, and perform 100 hours of community service. In September Hana Al Jader pleaded guilty to two counts of visa fraud for lying on immigration forms, and two counts of harboring an alien for keeping the two women at her house though she knew their visas had expired.

December 23rd

In a speech marking his 73rd birthday Emperor Akihito of Japan said that the practice of mourning Japan’s war dead can help younger generations better understand the past. He said he hoped facts about World War II would be correctly conveyed so the suffering his generation experienced would never be repeated.

December 24th

In his Christmas speech broadcasted today King Albert II of Belgium said no Belgian is above the law: “Lately, there has been talk of abuse of public services and funds (…) No one is above the law and justice authorities must be able to do their job completely independently.” He also said that it is “only reasonable” that those who profit pay compensation. Although he didn’t mention the name of his son Prince Laurent it is thought that the King was also talking about him.

In his Christmas speech tonight broadcasted from the Zarzuela Palace King Juan Carlos of Spain called for consensus between the political parties and the institutions to reach an end to terrorism. He said now was the time to redouble efforts in that direction, from a point of mutual respect with sincere and responsible dialogue, and always with full respect for the Spanish constitution. Further he noted Spain’s continuing economic growth and said he hopes to see more and better employment, social welfare, heath cover and access to housing. He thanked the Armed Forces for their peace keeping missions and the protection of human rights, as well as the Spanish volunteers working across the world.

Scientists of the universities of Granada and Alcala de Henares and the pathological unit of a Barcelona clinic have conducted preliminary forensic tests on the mummified body of prince Sancho of Castilia, who died in 1370 at the age of 7. They found that the prince may have died of a lung infection after chronic exposure to smoke likely to have come from a fireplace. Historians always suspected the little boy was murdered by his uncle Enrique who wanted to inherit the throne of Castilia. The investigation is not finished yet. The team also wants to make a three-dimensional reconstruction of the prince’s face.

December 25th

The British royal family traditionally attended the Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Queen Elizabeth II and the Countess of Wessex arrived by car while other members walked to church from nearby Sandringham House. The Hon Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the 4-year-old granddaughter of the late Princess Margaret of Great Britain stole the show swinging from the hands of Prince William and Peter Phillips. She also helped Queen Elizabeth II collecting flowers from children after the service.

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain’s annual Christmas speech was filmed at Southwark Cathedral while she was helping with a nativity collage made by children. The Queen said in her speech: “The pressures of modern life sometimes seem to be weakening the links which have traditionally kept us together as families and communities. As children grow up and develop their own sense of confidence and independence in the ever-changing technological environment, there is always the danger of a real divide opening up between young and old, based on unfamiliarity, ignorance or misunderstanding. It is worth bearing in mind that all of our faith communities encourage the bridging of that divide. The wisdom and experience of the great religions point to the need to nurture and guide the young, and to encourage respect for the elderly.” The speech was available as a podcast for the first time this year. The Queen also sent a separate radio message to the armed services and their families yesterday morning.

The themes of the Christmas address Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands were freedom of expression and tolerance. The broadcast was watched by some 1,2 million people. She said that the freedom of expression is the base of each democracy. She also said that freedom of religion doesn’t mean that people who believe are allowed to hurt or to call for hate. Tolerance starts with the understanding that someone’s truth never can be the truth for everyone.

December 26th

In his Christmas Speech King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has called for increased efforts for the integration of immigrants and refugees in Sweden. He said that all are welcome in the country.

December 27th

The royal family of Tonga will end the 100-night mourning period for the late King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV at midnight on Thursday. Early on Friday morning a gift-giving ceremony will take place. The 40 royal undertakers, who were banned from using their hands during the period, will then be allowed to go home in an ancient ritual called Pongipongi Tuku. At the ceremony Tongans traditionally present food, pigs and kava to the new monarch. This time there will be a slight difference as King George Tupou V has asked to give the gifts to his mother, Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho, at her residence Matahiva showing his willingness to redefine Tonga’s near-feudal monarchy, a palace official said.

December 28th

Royal author Brian Hoey is to publish a book about Zara Phillips, the 25-year-old granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, in the summer of 2007. It is not yet known if Zara will be interviewed by Hoey for the book.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia to answer allegiations that he cheated on his former party, the Funcinpec Party during a hearing on January 5. Last week the court charged the Prince with abuse of confidence after Funcinpec filed a lawsuit to accuse him of selling the headquarters’ real estate without the party’s permission and pocketing $ 3.6 million from the sale. The prince dismisses the allegiations.

December 30th

Zara Phillips, granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, is the first royal to receive an award in the New Year’s Honours List. She has been handed an MBE for services to equestrianism. The MBE will be handed over by her grandmother at Buckingham Palace. Her nomination was put forward by the sporting honours sub-committee, who approved the award after asking for advice of the royal household. Desmond de Silva, husband of Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia, has become a Knight Bachelor. Until June he was Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

December 31st

In his New Year’s speech King Harald V of Norway spoke about human dignity and the unease some people have facing the year 2007. He said: “In our welfare society it is easy to seek the extraordinary, and always compare one’s life to everybody else’s. Then the chance is that one will be disappointed. Maybe we should rather regard the ordinary, everyday life as “the good life. For many, the possibility for living an ordinary, normal life is just a distant dream. This is a great challenge for us all. A civilized and humane society is tested on how one cares for the weakest.” He further thanked the Norwegian military forces and people working for humanitarian and religious relief organizations.

In her New Year’s speech Queen Margrethe II of Denmark referred to the uproar over the newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper last January stressing the importance of embracing immigrants and making improved efforts to understand their cultural differences. “To suddenly become the object of uproar and anger is not something we are used to or expect. Here in Denmark, we want for things to run smoothly, and for problems — if they arise — to solve themselves. We think that what seems natural to us must also seem so to everyone else. It’s just not that simple. We are starting to realize that we ourselves must understand and make an effort to explain what values our society is based on.” She further said: “The past year has probably taught us a lot, not least about ourselves. We now know better what it is we stand for.”

King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia returned to his country in the late afternoon after a series of visits abroad. He was away since November.

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