Ben Fisher/GAVI Alliance
via Wikimedia Commons
No royal wedding or birth this year can possibly be bigger than the impending trial and possible conviction of Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband for fraud. After years of investigation, charges, and maneuvering, the case will finally go to trial later this month, with resolutions possible before summer. If convicted, they each face years of incarceration. It is unclear what would happen to the their children, the youngest of whom is ten. No matter what the verdict, I suspect the case will continue to rock the Spanish royal family for years to come, and a conviction, especially of Cristina, could be incredibly devastating. The King has already removed his sister's ducal title, but if she is found guilty, he will undoubtedly be forced to take further measures to demonstrate his condemnation and preserve the future of the monarchy. It is not good at all.
Beatrice, Eugenie and Princess Harry
In the United Kingdom, the York sisters are both around the age their mother was when she married Prince Andrew, and they have both been in relationships for several years. I promised earlier this week that I would not include Beatrice on this list for the third year in a row--because perhaps I am jinxing her--but this year, I will include her younger sister Eugenie as a possible royal bride in 2016. In the meantime, their cousin Prince Harry is the only other unmarried adult grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II. Since it is unlikely that his sister-in-law will be expecting another child this year, I expect that more and more attention is going to focus on future brides for Harry. I have not heard any whispers of serious relationships for him in a while, but that doesn't mean anything; King Felipe of Spain's engagement to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano took the world entirely by surprise. Maybe Harry has a secret love we haven't even heard of yet...
Alexandra and Princess Sebastien of Luxembourg
Elsewhere the only other eligible royals are the two youngest children of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Alexandra will be 25 in February and Sebastien will be 24 in April, so although young they are still marriageable--one of their older brothers, Louis, married at age 20! I wouldn't be surprised if Alexandra has altar date in the next few years, especially since her mother married at 24.
Victoria, Sofia and Madeleine of Sweden
We already know that Victoria's second child is due in March and brand-new Princess Sofia is expecting her first shortly after. So, there are at least two babies (unless someone is having multiples!) Also, it is not impossible that Madeleine could announce another pregnancy in 2016. Her first two children were born only 15 months apart. If she were to follow that same pattern, we could have another little one as early as September! I suppose we should be content with the bonanza of Swedish babies we already have, (see my post on Royal Baby Booms) but it is always fun to dream of just one more...
Stephanie of Luxembourg and Charlene of Monaco
I think the only other royal ladies that we would not be surprised to hear pregnancy announcements from are the Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, who married her prince in 2012, and the Princess of Monaco, who just celebrated the first birthday of her twins. Although this would be close spacing for Charlene, who will be 38 later this month, she might not wish to wait long if she plans on expanding her family. The sisters-in-law of Stephanie might also welcome another child in 2016; Claire's daughter will be two this summer and Tessy's two boys will be eight and nine this year.
It would not be surprising at all if we saw more marriages and babies from the Casiraghi and Ducruet nieces and nephews of the Prince of Monaco. Andrea Casiraghi's family is probably stable for this year, but newlywed Pierre Casiraghi might be wishing for offspring soon. Their sister Charlotte already has one child out of wedlock, so another baby or a marriage for her are possibilities. Meanwhile, the oldest children of Princess Stephanie, Louise and Pauline Ducruet, are now in their early 20s and therefore are potential parents and/or marriage partners -- the Monagesques seem a little blasé about which comes first. Even the Prince's oldest acknowledged illegitimate child, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, is adult enough, although she seems to be devoting her time to getting a modeling career off the ground, so a pregnancy might not figure into her plans at the moment. In Britain, I doubt we will see any children for Princess Anne's offspring. I would bet that Peter and Autumn Phillips are content with their two girls while Zara Phillips Tindall will not want to add a second child with the Olympics this August. Maybe next year for Zara...
With 14 monarchs, former monarchs, and consorts beyond the average life expectancy in the current monarchies, it is conceivable (God forbid) that we could lose at least one of them. The oldest of these is Jean, the retired Grand Duke of Luxembourg who celebrates his 95th birthday today. Just months behind him is Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh, who will be 95 in June, then his wife Queen Elizabeth II, who will enter her 90s in April. Former King Albert of Belgium; Franz Joseph, former Prince of Liechtenstein; and Prince Henrik of Denmark, who has just announced his retirement are octogenarians. Now in the last half of their late 70s are Margrethe II of Denmark, former Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, the Emeriti King and Queen of Spain, the King and Queen of Norway, former Queen Paola of Belgium, and Josephine former Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. Many of these monarchs and former monarchs also have siblings who are also at advanced ages. In 2012, we lost Princess Ragnhild of Norway; in 2013, Princess Lillian of Sweden; in 2014, Queen Fabiola of Belgium; and last year, Princess Astrid of Norway's husband, the Olympian Johan Martin Ferner. This trend sadly could continue...
You knew I wouldn't leave Kate out. Although, as I said, I don't think we will have another pregnancy in the Cambridge family any time soon, I'm sure that we will still have wall-to-wall coverage as Kate takes on more duties this year following her maternity leave. She is still unlikely to take on a full load since she is not married to the heir (that's Camilla, everyone) and since she clearly wants to spend time raising her children. Despite tabloid rumors to the contrary, I suspect that Queen Elizabeth II fully supports that desire since she herself had so little time with her babies before becoming Queen. Prince Charles was three and Anne was 18 months when she succeeded to the throne.