Life and death in the royal houses goes on, whether there is a pandemic or not. Notable are the births of August Philip Hawke Brooksbank (9 February 2021), Lucas Philip Tindall (21 March 2021), Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor (4 June 2021) and Sienna Elizabeth Mapelli Mozzi (18 September 2021) in the British royal family, no less than four great-grandchildren for Queen Elizabeth II. Another birth took place in the Swedish royal family, where Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia had another son, Prince Julian, on 26 March 2021). He was christened on 14 August 2021, more private than usual, but still with media attendance.
Two engagements in royal houses give hope for more lovely weddings in 2022: Prince Louis of Luxembourg and Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue announced their engagement on 6 April 2021, and Princess Maria-Laura of Belgium and William Isvy on 27 December 2021. The latter couple plans to get married in Brussels, Belgium, in the second half of 2022, while Louis and Scarlett haven’t said anything yet. There were some rather nice weddings, like the ones of Princess Maria Anunciata of Liechtenstein and Emanuele Musini, and her sister Marie-Astrid and Ralph Worthington, both in September. Followers on Twitter also mentioned the wedding of Prince Berthold of Baden and Nina Schröder, as well as the weddings of Flora Ogilvy and Timothy Vesterberg, India Hicks and David Flint Wood, not to forget Prince Philippos of Greece and Nina Flohr in October, which could even be followed online. Of course we also shouldn’t forget the imperial wedding of Grand Duke George of Russia and Rebecca Bettarini on 1 October.
Sad was the death of no less than two royal consorts: The Duke of Edinburgh (9 April) and Fürstin Marie of Liechtenstein (21 August). Unfortunately the Duke didn’t make it to his 100th birthday in June. Fürstin Marie died aged 81. Sadly big funerals were not possible, but at least in Liechtenstein they managed to have the cathedral of Vaduz full of people. The Duke had to do with a quiet and private funeral with only relatives and close staff (and some media) attending. Also the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, and his wife died within a short time frame.
Very enjoyable were the state visits and official visits abroad that could take place, with as absolute highlights the state visits of the Dutch Royals to Norway and the Spanish Royals to Sweden. The British royals attended Royal Ascot this year. Also the introduction of the Princess of Orange, the Dutch heir to the throne, the day after her 18th birthday in December could take place, as well as the 20th birthday celebrations of Princess Aiko of Japan, including tiara! Prince Christian of Denmark and the Princess of Asturias were confirmed into the church. Some followers on Twitter even enjoyed the matching masks to the clothes of some royals like Queen Mathilde of the Belgians and the Duchess of Cornwall.
Of course we had the scare of royals having Covid-19, and fortunately recovering. They surely showed us that vaccination is important. Drama in Jordan in April, where nearly 20 people, including a remote family member, were arrested for allegedly being involved in a plot targeting the security and therefore the monarchy in Jordan, with foreign involvement. Former Crown Prince Hamzah, although denying being involved, was placed under house arrest, which he apparently still is. After the death of the Zulu King a fight among members of the family broke out about whom was to succeed to the throne. Although a King was named, as far as I know the trouble isn’t over yet.
My personal highs and lows of 2021
When thinking about my own royal highlights of the year 2021, I immediately think of the religious wedding of Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe and Mahkameh Navabi. I was able to travel to Bückeburg, Germany, by train on 9 October 2021. My first royal wedding, the 34th in total, in more than four years was more than worth the trip. The weather was quite OK, and I have seldom been so close to a bridal couple.
I also had a quick glance at King Willem-Alexander here in Groningen, The Netherlands, on 7 October, when it was awfully cold and foggy. And I did see his wife, Queen Máxima, even twice: in Groningen and in Hoogezand. It was good to see that they continue working outside the house whenever it is possible. I personally also very much enjoyed the continuation of wonderful photos from the Luxembourg Grand-Ducal family and Tessy Antony-de Nassau, who got married and became a mother.
Personally I have been quite disappointed by the way the Sussexes (and the British royals sometimes too) have handled their exit out of the British royal family. Let’s hope that the interview with the Duchess of Sussex with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 was the last time they have been complaining in public about the way they were threated by the royal family. Although I think some things may well be right, there are other things that are clearly not correct. The behaviour of the Sussexes was one of the things that was mentioned over and over again when asking followers on Twitter.