1. Princess Caroline of Monaco
I anticipated that we would see some coverage about the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, but with all the news of weddings and babies for their three children, the anniversary passed almost without notice.
2. The Duchess of Cornwall
I predicted that the media would cover the tenth anniversary of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The milestone reignited public conversation about whether she would become Princess Consort, as the Palace previously announced, or Queen Consort upon her husband's accession with media and public opinion fairly well divided on either side.
3. Princess Alexia of The Netherlands
As the second child of the King, Princess Alexia clearly draws less media attention than her older sister the Princess of Orange. Her tenth birthday passed with less fanfare than her older sister's 12th birthday later in the year.
4. The Princess of Asturias
In contrast to Alexia's birthday, the double-digit achievement was highly noted for the heir to the Spanish throne. I guess first-born royals will always get more than the lion's share of attention.
5. Princess Eugenie of York
And in the U.K., a milestone birthday for any princess is apparently even more noteworthy. Many stories were written in the lead up to and aftermath of Eugenie's 25th birthday. She also garnered more media attention for moving back to London from New York and her romantic relationship with Jack Brooksbank seemed to be more heavily covered this year.
6. Sofia Hellqvist
Sofia was the star of the biggest royal event of the year. Swedish royal weddings are remarkably formal and incredibly cozy at the same time. Sofia's transition into princess-hood was covered around the world with everything from a her new tiara to her unusual choice of wedding music were remarked upon. Then, she got back into the headlines by falling pregnant almost immediately. She is clearly filling her primary royal role although her introduction to official engagements was a little more shaky--for example, on her first sash occasion, her order was not worn properly, but she had gotten it together in time for the Nobel Prize ceremonies.
7. Beatrice Borromeo
Sofia and Carl Philip may have had the most royal royal wedding of the year, but Beatrice Borromeo undoubtedly had the most fashionable. She wore no fewer than six designer gowns over the course of the separate religious and civil ceremonies when she married Princess Caroline's youngest son Pierre Casiraghi this summer. The designers included Armani Prive and Valentino. She also kept the hair stylists busy with styles varying from flowing curls with boho flowers to a sleek braided top knot. Of course, strictly speaking, this wasn't actually a royal wedding since Monaco is a principality and it wasn't even a princely wedding since Pierre bears no titles. However, any grandchild of Princess Grace is royalty for many. (This photo is from this year's Rose Ball.)
8. Tatiana Santo Domingo
Meanwhile, Pierre's big brother Andrea and his wife Tatiana welcomed a new daughter named India to their family, which already included toddler Alexandre. Tatiana barely slowed down her career, however, continuing to lead her ethical fashion company Muzungu sisters. (Seems like a lot of princesses or princess-adjacent ladies thrive in the fashion industry...)
9. The Duchess of Cambridge
The Duchess of Cambridge finally delivered a little princess named Diana as her fans have been demanding since before her wedding. Well, at least, Diana is among Princess Charlotte's names. With the arrival of a little girl to complete the perfect daddy-mummy-son-daughter family, it looks like the public pressure to reproduce may finally be slacking for the Cambridges, which can only mean one thing: people are going to be seeking a bride for Prince Harry among any women who are seen within 500 feet of him. Don't worry, though, we'll still get lots of Kate. In fact, she also thrilled royal watchers by showing off classic treasures from the royal jewel closet this year--including a tiara that had been closely associated with her late mother-in-law Diana.
10. Princess Madeleine of Sweden
Princess Madeleine is my favorite princess this year. Not only did she continue her work with the charity Childhood and post lovely personal pics on her Facebook page for us, but she also delivered her second child Prince Nicolas just two days after her brother's wedding. It's unlikely that she felt more comfortable than other about-to-burst pregnant women on a warm summer day, but she sure made it look easy to put on a fancy gown, high heels and a tiara and smile beautifully in front of the world's media. Just think of her poor ankles. We can't all aspire to such a fine performance under such conditions, but we can't all be princesses either.
11. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Here is a direct quote from my predictions for 2015: "So, I will not be surprised if we have triple celebrations in Sweden this year (with a wedding and two babies; if Sofia follows the same time line as Madeleine we could even get a pregnancy announcement from her before the end of the year.)" Every once in a while, I get a prediction exactly right! Victoria's second child is due in March. I suspect that this will be her last child, but if it is half as cute as big sister Princess Estelle, it will be plenty for all of us to enjoy.
12. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg
With more than three years of marriage, the hereditary couple have yet to announce a pregnancy, a lengthy time for any royal couple and especially for a Catholic one from large families (Stephanie has eight siblings, while husband Guillaume has four). Stephanie is just 31, so if in all likelihood they are hoping for children, she still has time. I can only pray that their journey to parenthood has not already been plagued by the terrible sadness endured by so many families, with somewhere between 25% and 50% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage. If so, they are certainly not the first royal couple to suffer in this way, but that does not make it any easier to heal such grief.
13. Princess Beatrice of York
Okay, after three years of predicting that maybe, just maybe this might be the year that Princess Beatrice finally marries Dave Clark, I refuse to make this prediction for 2016. Dave and Beatrice are now both living in New York City, where it is fun to be young and single. But, perhaps, by not including her this year...
14. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
In addition to the tawdry movies that I predicted would pester Mary like flies, she also was troubled by a nasty rumor (based on a hoax) that she was not getting along with her siblings. So much so, that the Palace actually issued a statement about it. (They also announced that her sister-in-law Princess Marie did not have plastic surgery, as rumored.) Perhaps to prove the point, the entire Crown Princely family spent the Christmas holidays in her homeland of Australia, where her son Prince Christian was swept away by a riptide. Fortunately he was rescued by a life guard. We can only hope that 2016 will not include so many worries.
15. Infanta Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca
Not only has a date for Cristina's trial finally been set for this month, but royal watchers were a bit stunned last spring when her brother the King announced that she was being stripped of her title Duchess of Palma de Mallorca. Although she retains the rank and style of infanta for now, it will be interesting to see what happens if she or her husband are convicted. If so, they will face prison time so I must wonder if she would lose her infanta-hood, too. Even more importantly, the couple has four young children (aged 10-16) so a double-conviction would have a very devastating impact on their family. She certainly is on my watch list for 2016.