03 January 2018

Princesses to Watch in 2018

Happy New Year! With the arrival of 2018, it is time for my annual exercise in prognostication. Let's explore what big happenings may lie ahead for our royal ladies. Here are my official princess predictions for this year.

BABIES!
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their first child.
By Christopher Neve via Wikimedia Commons
I'll admit that these first few predictions are kind of cheating, but I felt like I should start with a bit of certainty. These first few royal arrivals are already greatly anticipated. We have three Baby #3s expected. Announced in August, Princess Madeleine of Sweden's baby will likely arrive first, followed by Tatiana Casiraghi's little one and followed in April with the Duchess of Cambridge's infant. Going out on a limb for not-yet-expected expectations, I wouldn't be at all surprised to get another pregnancy announcement by the end of 2018 for Princess Sofia of Sweden, who had her first two just 17 months apart. We could likewise get a fast turnaround from Tatiana's sister-in-law Beatrice, whose son Stefano will celebrate his first birthday at the end of February. And, I don't think Prince Claire of Luxembourg is finished building her family either. We might also get a pregnancy announcement from Zara Phillips Tindall, who sadly lost her second pregnancy just over a year ago. She, husband Mike and daughter Mia recently enjoyed a sun-filled holiday in Australia and this royal-watcher can daydream about holiday babies, if she wants to. Finally, I would not be at all surprised if everyone is celebrating a royal baby announcement from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before next Christmas. Enjoy all these royal babies while you can, this could be the last big baby year for a while as we can safely assume no more little ones in Norway, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium or Denmark for at least a decade, while Sweden is probably about finished creating this generation, too. In fact, the UK is likely the only kingdom likely to continue producing princelings in the next 10 years -- we could see babies for all of the Queen's grandchildren during this time frame.

THE YORKIES
Speaking of potential new mums of the near future, the York Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will likely be in the news again this year -- and not just because of tabloid lies about their jealousy of new cousin Meghan. Bea will be 30 years old on August 8 and I anticipate a big celebration. She's been known to enjoy costume balls (or fancy dress parties, for you Brits) in the past, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Yorks pull out all the stops for this celebration. Meanwhile, the much anticipated engagement of Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank could finally come to pass. I'd love to see a Yorkie wedding, please, please, please.

THE QUEEN
Photo: Matt Holyoak/CameraPress
In the meantime, their granny Queen Elizabeth II will continue to astonish everyone with her indefatigable devotion to duty. In June, she will mark 65 years since her coronation. This specific anniversary will probably pass without fanfare (except here and on other royal blogs) but her official birthday celebration that month will be a big one. First, she'll be 92 years old! Second, Meghan will likely be in the procession and on the balcony for the her first Trooping the Colour. Third, everyone will be vainly looking for New Baby Cambridge, but I don't think will see an infant that young out there. Sorry folks. However, the Queen herself will be the center of ongoing discussion about what happens "next" while we enjoy her fewer and fewer appearance in brightly colored hats and coats and warm smiles that we rarely saw when she was younger. As the Netflix series, The Crown, draws a wider audience, the real lady (however removed from the fictional one) will also gain more "fans."

THE JAPANESE LADIES
The women of the Japanese Imperial family will be drawing much more attention than usual as Emperor Akihito prepares for abdication in 2019. As that date gets closer, expect to see more retrospectives about him and Empress Michiko as well as a brighter spotlight on Crown Prince Naruhito, Crown Princess Masako and their daughter Princess Aiko, who currently is banned from inheriting the throne due to her female gender. Could the abdication re-trigger the national conversation about the unfair and equal treatment of women that is enshrined in Japan's constitution? Another Japanese lady will also take some headlines as Aiko's cousin Princess Mako of Akishino becomes a bride in November and, as another unfair consequence, is required to surrender her titles and her role in the Imperial Family. Come on, Japan, it's time to end these gender-biased practices.

MEANWHILE IN ROMANIA
With the recent death of Romania's last king, the oldest of his four daughters, Crown Princess Margareta, has taken on the title of "Custodian of the Crown." The Romanian government had, after decades, reached a friendly understanding with her father, but it is unlikely that the republic will continue to extend any favors to his successors. The monarchy itself is not recognized there and even if it were, Salic Law is still the guiding law of succession. In other words, neither women nor their descendants (hence Margareta, her sisters and her nieces and nephews) are barred. Furthermore, under the agreement with the late King Michael, Margareta is only permitted to retain residency for 60 days after his death. Unless a new agreement is reached, she will have to move by early February. It will be interesting to see if the princess can negotiate an agreement to stay and whether she will be granted any further recognition by the government.

LANDMARK CELEBRATIONS
HRH Duchess of Kent
By Surtsinca
via Wikimedia Commons
In addition to Princess Beatrice of York's 30th birthday, other royal ladies have some big celebrations to look forward to, too. The Queen's cousin-in-law Katharine Duchess of Kent, who has essentially retired from official duties many years ago, will be 85. The Queen's granddaughter-in-law has two parties to enjoy: her 40th birthday in May and her 10th wedding anniversary two weeks later. I doubt many people will notice, though, because both events are just before THE WEDDING OF THE YEAR. In The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix (formerly Queen Beatrix) will turn 80 at the end of January while Queen Emerita Sofia of Spain will reach the same milestone on Feb. 11. Sadly, I doubt we'll see anything like the double 80th birthday celebrations for Norway's King and Queen last year. Those Norwegians certainly know how to throw a party of royal proportions! In Sweden, sister Princesses Desiree and Christina will have big birthdays. Desiree will be 80 on June 2 and Christina will be 75 two months later.

IN MEMORIAM
The year 2018 will mark the centenary of the assassinations of 12 members of the Romanov dynasty. The best-known massacre on July 17 murder the Tsar, his German-born wife and their five children, including the four grand duchesses known collectively as OTMA (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia) and the hemophiliac tsarevich along with several of their loyal attendants. The next day, five more Romanovs, including the tsaritsa sister Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was the widow of one of her brother-in-law's uncles, and four grand dukes, all cousins of the tsar. I anticipate that we will see many, many books and television programs about the Imperial Family. Here on Princess Palace, I'm planning a series of posts leading up to the July murders.

THE UNSPEAKABLE
As a reminder, many of our favorite royals have been very long lived and I certainly hope for long, healthy lives for all of them (as well as for you, gentle readers). However, the average life expectancy for women in Europe is 84 years old, and a few of our royal ladies have outstripped that average. The oldest of these is, of course, Queen Elizabeth II, who at 91 is still a decade younger than the age her mother reached. As mentioned above, the Duchess of Kent will be 85 this year. On the continent King Carl XVI Gustav's oldest sister Princess Margaretha will reach her 84th birthday on Halloween.

THE BRIDE OF THE YEAR
By Alex Lubomirski/Kensington Palace
Whether will see any other royal brides this year or not (I'm looking at you, Eugenie), we will certainly have one fantastic royal wedding to go totally insane over. I'm not sure that Meghan-Mania has reached the fever pitch in the UK like it has among US royal watchers, but there is no doubt that the little town of Windsor will be flooded with well-wishers on May 19. Hotels sold out within hours of the date being announced and if you don't have airline tickets yet, be prepared to pay premium prices to get anywhere near the British isles that week. For those, who will get up in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning to watch the nuptials on TV, be prepared for LESS royal wedding than you're used to. The church is basically part of the castle complex, so don't look for carriage processions between the castle and the church. Most guests will be dropped off by fancy buses and some may even walk down the hill. Also -- and please don't be too upset -- there is no balcony at Windsor Castle. The closest thing you will get to that will likely be the couple standing together on the wide steps in front of the church after the ceremony. The couple may then hop into a carriage for a little spin, but don't be disappointed if they don't. Harry and Meghan chose this location specifically so they could have a more intimate, personal experience. It's not that they don't love us -- I'm sure they do -- it's just, well, they probably think it's their day. :)  At any rate, I'm sure we will get fabulous pics at the end of it all. (For examples of other recent royal weddings at St. George's Chapel, check out my post The Brides of St. George's Part 2.)

1 comment:

  1. In 2007 King Michael changed the succession with the publication of the Fundamental laws https://coronanachrichten.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/p0002_fundamentalrules.pdf Margareta became the Crown Princess and is officially recognized as Michael's heir. There is proposed legislation the Romanian parliament to extend the lease for another 45 or so years and to continue the recognition of the royal family. We shall see what happens. Margareta and her sisters and one niece, Karina, spent Christmas and New Year's at Savrasin, which Michael bought in the mid 1940s and was returned to him. I presume Margareta is the primary heir and will also inherit Peles and Pelesor. The Elisabeta Palace has been Margareta and Radu's home - and it is filled with family art work, portraits. etc. Glad I got to visit in 2012

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