27 December 2009

The Youngest Princesses

My last post about contemporary royal romances made me start thinking about the beautiful new princesses that have resulted from these latest marriages. (Yes, the baby princes are cute too, but this is a blog about princesses. . .) I know many of my readers are not avid royal watchers, so I thought you might like to see pics of these little darlings. For those of you who are already familiar with them, you will probably enjoy seeing them again!

Spanish Royals Attend Easter Mass in Mallorca
It's hard to choose just one photo of Infanta Leonor of Spain. I think she is the most adorable child in the world since Shirley Temple retired her tap shoes! This one of her holding her little sister Infanta Sofia's hand--and wearing matching outfits as they often do--is one of my favorites. Leonor is the oldest daughter of the Felipe and Letizia, the Prince and Princess of the Asturias. She is second in line to the throne after her father. However, under current Spanish law, which uses male-preference primogeniture to determine succession, she would be superceded if her father has any legitimate sons. (This is the same type of succession used in England--if Queen Elizabeth II had had a brother, she wouldn't be queen today.) Changes in the law have been proposed in Spain, but have not yet been adopted.

Danish Royals Attend Sydney Photo Call
In Denmark, Princess Isabella is third in line to the throne following her father, Crown Prince Frederick and her older brother Prince Christian. Denmark, like all of the Scandinavian countries, has adopted gender-blind succession laws. Isabella's name was considered an unusual choice because it is not common in Denmark, but I think it is very lovely. (By the way, take a look at her shoes in this photo--either she was is extremely active or her mom is thrifty enough to use hand-me-downs.)

Norwegian Royal Family Celebrate Norway's National Day
Princess Ingrid Alexandra is second in line in Norway after her father, Crown Prince Haakon. As his oldest child, she takes precedence over her younger full brother, Prince Sverre Magnus, because Norway's succession goes by birth order. However, the law was only changed in 1990. Before that, Norway used Salic Law, which meant women could not accede to the throne at all. Therefore, Haakon's older sister, Princess Martha Louise, was excluded until the new law was passed. Under the new succession law, Haakon, as the second child, would have been demoted. So, Parliament decided that, while Martha Louise would be included in the line of succession, the new gender-blind rules would only apply to children born after 1990. This doesn't seem to bother Martha Louise who dropped her royal status (she's just Her Highness, not Her Royal Highness) when she married in 2002. She has numerous business ventures which would not have been possible if she were heir to the throne.

Belgian Royals Pose with the Christmas Tree
Belgium has a plethora of tiny princesses, but the future queen is Princess Elisabeth (she's on the left, with her cousins, Princess Letitia Marie and Princess Louise). King Albert II has six granddaughters and six grandsons. Elisabeth is the first of Crown Prince Philippe's children and is number two behind her dad in order of succession. She has two younger brothers, Gabriel and Emmanuel, and a younger sister, Eleonore.

Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima of Netherlands - Photocall

Dutch Royal Family Annual Winter Photocall
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, like the Queen of England, also benefited from having no brothers. She succeeded her mother, Queen Juliana, who also had no brothers, and Queen Juliana succeeded her mother, Queen Wilhemina, whose brothers had died young. In fact, when the current Crown Prince Willem Alexander was born in 1967, he was the first Dutch prince to be born in more than 100 years. Although Beatrix broke the century-long tradition by having three sons and no daughters, she has made up for it in the next generation: seven of her eight grandchildren are girls. Only three of the girls are princesses, however, as it was decided in 2001 that only the children of the Crown Prince would have royal status; the other girls are countesses. The Crown Prince's three daughters are Princess Catharina-Amalia (called Amalia), Princess Alexia (named for her dad, who is called Alexander) and Princess Ariane, in that order. The top photo shows the three princesses from youngest to oldest. The bottom photo shows Queen Beatrix wrangling her six oldest grandchildren.

All of these little girls are still too young to realize the true impact of their positions. They probably think all children are incessantly followed by photographers! However, their parents have taken measures to raise them as normally as possible. Unlike many previous royals, they were born in hospitals and they attend regular kindergartens with ordinary children. They also appear to have very devoted parents who take them on regular outings to the seaside, theme parks, and other family-oriented spots. And, like most little girls, they seem to have their daddies wrapped around their fingers!

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