31 July 2010

This Week in Princesses

While Queen Elizabeth II continued her family cruise and vacation in the north, many other royal ladies were also scarcely seen this week.

JULY 25, 2010

Spain's King Juan Carlos (R) and Queen Sofia arrive at the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral on St James's day, north west of Spain July 25, 2010. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal (SPAIN - Tags: ROYALS RELIGION ANNIVERSARY)

Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain joined the annual festivities in Santiago de Compestela where Spaniards combine two celebrations to make one long festival at the end of July. Politicians, religious pilgrims and good-time seekers congregate to honor Galicia Day and St. James's Day.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - JULY 25: Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands attend the premiere of the play 'Jedermann' during the opening of the Salzburg Festival on July 25, 2010 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Later that day, Princess Laurentian of the Netherlands enjoyed a public display of affection with her husband Prince Constantijn at a play premiere in Salzburg.

JULY 28, 2010

KING'S LYNN, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall smiles as she attends Sandringham Flower Show in a carriage at Sandringham on July 28, 2010 in King's Lynn, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Who says Camilla Duchess of Cornwall doesn't have the royal touch? These folks at the Sandringham Flower Show didn't seem to mind waiting in the iffy weather to catch a glimpse of the wife of the heir to the throne. Folks seem to agree that Camilla isn't glamorous, but she definitely has that sporting, common, country touch perfected by British royals since Queen Victoria's reign.

JULY 30, 2010

Princess Stephanie arrives to attend the Red Cross Ball in Monte Carlo July 30, 2010.The Red Cross ball is a traditional and annual charity event in the Principality of Monaco. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS)

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JULY 30: 30: Prince Albert II of Monaco (C), his fiancee Charlene Wittstock (R) and Princess Stephanie of Monaco (L) attend the 62nd Monaco Red Cross Ball at the Sporting Club Monte Carlo on July 30, 2010 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Princess Stephanie of Monaco "busted" out at Monaco's annual Red Cross Ball while her future sister-in-law, Charlene Wittstock, showed more "grace."

24 July 2010

This Week in Princesses

After a fun weekend, the week started out with our favorite royal ladies addressing some serious topics: AIDS, nuclear disarmament, war memorials. But things started to take a lighter turn toward midweek.

JULY 17, 2010

17th July, 2010: Asprey World Class Cup Polo held at the Hurtwood Park Polo Club in Ewhurst, Surrey. Among those attending, Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancee, Charlene Wittstock. Credit: GoffPhotos.com  Ref: KGC-40/starmaxinc.com Photo via Newscom

Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock reenacted a scene from the Julia Roberts' movie, "Pretty Woman," stomping on divots at a polo match in England. She looks delightful, Grace Kelly-esque. She gets five stars. He gets two and a half for poorly chosen accessories: a ball cap and no socks. He would have received fewer stars but he does have one fabulous accessory: her!

JULY 19, 2010

Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit displays her T-shirt as she attends an exhibition of the 18th World Aids Conference in Vienna July 19, 2010.  REUTERS/Herwig Prammer (AUSTRIA - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway attends an exhibition in Vienna, Austria, during 18th International AIDS Conference, on July 19, 2010. A world forum on AIDS opened in Vienna yesterday to warnings led by UN's Secretary General that the 29-year war against the disease was at threat from funding cuts. Photo by Tom Hansen/Stella Pictures/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway started the week in Vienna, Austria for the 18th World AIDS Conference. I have a feeling that her playful T-shirt was inspired by U.S. President Obama's successful campaign slogan. And this time, it was her shoes rather than Letizia of Spain's, that generated a buzz. In all seriousness, however, the princess spent the conference strongly advocating for more youth involvement and warning the United Nations about the negative impact of funding cuts on the proliferation of the disease.

NEW YORK - JULY 19: ( ueen Noor of Jordan attends the taping of 'The Road to Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Origin, The Evolution and The Future of a Movement' at SIRIUS XM Studio on July 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

It is almost impossible to believe that Queen Noor of Jordan is going to be 60 next year! The American-born grandmother-of-three is the widow of King Hussein, who is remembered for his valiant attempts to broker peace in the Middle East. This week, she was in New York City for several events related to the "Global Zero" project, which advocates for nuclear disarmament. On Monday, she was interviewed by Deepak Chopra for a program on the topic.

LILLE, FRANCE - JULY 19: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall attend the burial of the final soldier who died in the battle of Fromelles in 1916 at Fromelles cemetery on July 19, 2010 in Fromelles, France. Today marks the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles in Northern France, the first battle fought by the Australians on the Western Front, and sees the completion of the Fromelles Military Cemetery which was constructed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The dedication ceremony includes the re-burial, with full military honours, of the last of the 250 WWI soldiers recovered from communal graves in France, followed by an official reception for families of identified soldiers. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were among many international luminaries who attended a memorial service marking the re-burial of soldiers killed in the World War I Battle of Fromelles in France. About 250 British and Australian soldiers who were buried in a mass grave have now been reinterred in individual graves. DNA is being used to identify them.

JULY 20, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 20: Queen Noor of Jordan attends the premiere of 'Countdown To Zero' at the Paley Center for Media on July 20, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Queen Noor continued her no-nukes visit to New York, attending the premiere of the film "Countdown to Zero."

JULY 21, 2010

(L-R) Belgian Crown Princess Mathilde, Crown Prince Philippe and Queen Fabiola arrive for a Te Deum Mass in celebration of Belgium's National Day, in Brussels, Belgium on July 21, 2010. Photo by Danny Gys/Reporters/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Queen Fabiola of Belgium (left) looked lovely as she joined her nephew Crown Prince Philippe and his wife Crown Princess Mathilde for Belgium's National Day celebrations. Spanish-born Fabiola is the widow of King Baudoin. She has been plagued by death threats and ill health over the last couple of years. Last year, someone threatened to kill her with a crossbow, so she carried an apple with her to the National Day celebrations tempting her anonymous nemesis to reenact the legend of William Tell. At 82, she is clearly still a spirited lady!

Belgium's Princess Claire and Prince Laurent watch the traditional military parade on National Day in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels July 21, 2010. Belgium celebrates on Wednesday its National Day and its 180th anniversary of independence.  REUTERS/Yves Herman (BELGIUM - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY ROYALS MILITARY)

Meanwhile, it appears that Princess Claire of Belgium was flashing back to Fabiola's hey-day. She could easily have worn this complete ensemble to Fabiola's engagement party in 1960. Perhaps, Claire's husband Prince Laurent had to wear the sunglasses--to hide how drowsy this snooze-fest of dress is making him.

Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium attends a reception to mark Belgium's National Day in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium on July 21, 2010. Photo by Danny Gys/Reporters/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Poor Crown Princess Mathilde! It must be difficult to maintain your figure when you live in Belgium where someone is always passing around a platter of fabulous chocolates!

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is handed a bag as she buys yams from a stall in Brixton Market on July 21, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

It's a little-known fact that Camilla Duchess of Cornwall does her own marketing. Perhaps she's preparing a little fry-up for hubby Prince Charles. Actually, the royal couple were making an official visit to Brixton Market in south London. They are advocates for organic farming and sustainable agriculture.

JULY 22, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Guests gather in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to meet HRH Queen Elizabeth II (C) during a garden party hosted by the Queen on July 22, 2010 in London, England. At least three garden parties are hosted by the Queen every summer, an event which dates back to the 1960's and are held as a way of rewarding and recognising public services. British National Party leader and member of the European Parliament Nick Griffin who had initially been invited to attend the event has had his invitation revoked after officials said he was using his invitation for party political purposes. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II really knows how to throw a party--a tea party, that is! The tiny queen was decked out in the brightest of blues so that she would stand out amidst the thousands of guests. Just look at that crowd. That's a lot of crumpets and cucumber sandwiches!

JULY 23, 2010

MADRID, MADRID - JULY 23: Princess Letizia of Spain attends several audiences at Zarzuela Palace on July 23, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Crown Princess Letizia of Spain often draws attention with her sartorial style. On Friday, her snazzy ensemble had cameras snapping not just her shoes--a usual fetish for the photogs--but also her belt. I'm personally a fan of the belt but I'm not in love with cuffing the pants, but I guess she didn't want to obscure anyone's view of the shoes.

Buckingham Palace's 2010 Exhibition

If you are in London this summer, make sure to pay a visit to Buckingham Palace where they are throwing open the doors to let the sun shine in on the magic. In addition to seeing state rooms and the royal mews (stables/garage), you can also see a special exhibition called "The Queen's Year."

Members of the Household Cavalry stand to attention as they wait for Britain's Queen Elizabeth to leave Buckingham Palace to attend the State Opening of Parliament in London May 25, 2010. The new British coalition government set out its legislative agenda on Tuesday in a speech delivered by Queen Elizabeth at the state opening of parliament. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS ROYALS MILITARY)

The palace will be open July 27 through Sept. 29 while the queen is on holiday, taking a cruise with her family and then making her annual visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Tours start at 17 pounds (about $26 U.S.). For ticket information, visit http://golondon.about.com/od/thingstodoinlondon/ss/buckinghampal_4.htm

Here's a sneak peak of what you'll see:

Britain's Queen Elizabeth's Cap of Maintenance, used at the State Opening of Parliament is displayed at Buckingham Palace in London July 23, 2010. The cap is part of an exhibition entitled The Queen's Year for the Summer Opening of a Buckingham Palace exhibition which runs from July 27-October 1. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY)

The cap of maintenance is also on display. It is used every year at the Opening of Parliament ceremony. Compared to the U.S. Congress, the Opening of Parliament is a much more tradition-laden event where even the history of opposition to the crown is ceremoniously preserved. After the Queen arrives in the House of Lords, the man known as the "Black Rod" is sent to summon the members of the House of Commons only to have them slam the door in his face. He has to knock three times before they open the door to him. Then, in stark contrast to the Lords, who serenely filed in wearing robes and coronets, the MPs shamble over in a disorderly mob, further signifying that they don't "bow" to the Lords. Then, the Queen reads a speech prepared for her by the Prime Minister.

A curator poses for photographs with a collection of hats worn to Royal Ascot by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, at Buckingham Palace in London July 23, 2010. The hats form part of an exhibition entitled The Queen's Year for the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace exhibition which runs from July 27-October 1. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS FASHION SOCIETY)

Probably one of the most fun parts of this year's exhibition is this wall of hats worn by the Queen to Royal Ascot. Try not looking at the curatorial information and just guessing which hats were worn in which decade. As a petite person who needs to stand out in a crowd, the queen usually chooses large and or brightly colored hats. She is also usually careful to make sure that they don't obscure her face. She's motivated by politeness rather than vanity--she realizes that many people wait a long time to catch a glimpse of her and she doesn't want to disappoint them. Although hats are less popular elsewhere in the world, they are still common among the British upper crust, but women of all classes wear hats for Ascot and, on ladies day, the more outrageous the hat, the more likely you'll be to get your picture in the paper.

The Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara from 1890 is displayed at Buckingham Palace in London July 23, 2010. The tiara forms part of an exhibition entitled The Queen's Year for the Summer Opening of a Buckingham Palace exhibition which runs from July 27-October 1. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS SOCIETY)

circa 1926:  Queen Mary (1867-1953), wife of George V, the King of England.  (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Known as the Vladimir tiara, this magnificent piece was purchased by the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, in 1921 from Princess Nicholas of Greece (Prince Philip's aunt) after it had been smuggled out of revolutionary Russia. Grand Duchess Vladimir, born Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, was married to the last tsar's uncle. She died and left the tiara to her daughter Helen, wife of Prince Nicholas. There is a photo of Marie wearing the tiara on her Wikipedia profile.

As a huge jewelry collector, Queen Mary was more than happy to help out refugee royals following World War I by acquiring their jewels. She had the Vladimir tiara reconfigured to accommodate emerald drops. This is just one of the magnificent pieces Queen Elizabeth II inherited from her beloved grandmother. (Incidentally, Queen Mary also had a reputation for admiring objects that she expected the hostess, friend or relative to then present to her as a gift. Her mother-in-law, Queen Alexandra, was less than fond of this little habit and sometimes joked that people should hide away their valuables whenever Mary was coming to visit.)

Queen Elizabeth II watching attending the premiere performance of the film 'Born Free'.   (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Since Mary's death in 1953, the Queen has regularly worn the Vladimir tiara, choosing it for many portraits. She frequently wears it with the pearls, sometimes with the emeralds and occasionally without any drops at all.
LONDON - JULY 25:  Queen Elizabeth II's Vladimir Tiara is displayed at Buckingham Palace on July 25, 2006 in London. Celebrating the Queen's 80th birthday, the largest ever exhibition of 80 gowns and jewellery from the 1940's to the present day, worn by her majesty on private and official engagements, will go on show to the public in the State Rooms during the summer opening of the palace.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

19 July 2010

A Royal Touch: Blending Your Tastes with Wedding Traditions

Most brides don't get to have everything their own way on their wedding days. Your mother's veil. Your partly talented cousin's band at the reception. Princesses tend to have even fewer personal choices open to them. Burdened by centuries of tradition and protocol, not to mention the personal opinions of their countrymen and the world's media, it is challenging to make this most personal of commitments in a ceremony representing her own personal style.

Last month, however, when Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden married her beloved after a nine-year wait, she managed to find moments of "just us two" under the bright glare of the international spotlight. Check out my guest blog on Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel to see how she did it.

16 July 2010

This Week in Princesses

Two royal families celebrated their nations' triumphs on the World Cup field, while others kept busy with the usual royal (and familial) duties.

July 15, 2010

Britain's Queen Elizabeth smiles as she walks to her car after attending a Thistle service at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, July 15, 2010. REUTERS/David Moir (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT ANNIVERSARY RELIGION IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Queen Elizabeth II looks dapper in the robes of the Order of Thistle in Scotland. Her mother was a Scottish lass.

July 11, 2010

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Despite the rivalry between their nations on the pitch, Crown Princess Letizia of Spain and Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands behaved like two old girlfriends in the grand stand at the World Cup final.

Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas is greeted by Spain's Queen Sofia after winning their 2010 World Cup final soccer match against Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP ROYALS)

A kiss for the Queen! Spain's triumphant goalkeeper shared his joy with Queen Sofia after Spain's World Cup victory.

July 12, 2010

The Spanish Royal Family - King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, Crown Prince Felipe, Crown Princess Letizia, her daughters Leonor and Sofia and Princess Elena - receive the World Cup Champions at Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, Spain on July 12, 2010. Photo by Almagro/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Infantas Leanor and Sofia of Spain shared in the World Cup victory celebrations back in Madrid.

July 12, 2010 - Madrid, C.A. MADRID, Spain - MADRID, 12/07/2010.- Daughter of Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, Spanish Princess Leonor holds the FIFA Worldcup 2010 Trophy, during the welcome ceremony for the Spanish National soccer team held by the Royal Family at the Royal Palace, in Madrid, central Spain, 12 July 2010. Spain yesterday defeated Netherlands by 1-0 at the South Africa 2010 Worldcup final soccer match, and became the world champion for the first time in his history.

Little Leonor is probably the most adorable princess in history.

July 12, 2010 - Helsinki, HELSINKI, Finland - epa02246214  Pauline Decruet (left) the daughter of Monaco's Princess Stephanie (on right) talks to her mother as she awaits her turn during the 3 metre diving event at the Makelanrinne Swimming Centre in Helsinki 12 July 2010 during the European Junior Diving 3 meter Championships 2010.

Princess Stephanie of Monaco shared a tender moment with her daughter, Pauline Ducruet, in Finland. Pauline was competing in the European Junior Diving Championships. Sixteen-year-old Pauline finished in 22nd place in the three-meter.

FALMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 12: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales watch a 'sail past' as they visit Royal Yacht Club Falmouth on July 12, 2010 in Falmouth, United Kingdom. The Prince and Duchess are on their annual two day trip to Cornwall. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and hubby Prince Charles came prepared for the rainy weather at the Royal Yacht Club in Falmouth. At least Camilla wore a sunny color to brighten everyone's cloudy day!

July 13, 2010

July 13, 2010 - The Hague, Netherlands - epa02247275 Dutch Queen Beatrix (C) receives the Dutch national soccer team at the 'Paleis Noordeinde' in The Hague, Netherlands, 13 July 2010, after losing the final of the World Championship in South Africa with 0-1 against Spain.

Queen Beatrix was overjoyed to welcome home the 2nd place World Cup team from The Netherlands. That's a lot of handsome athletes for one widowed lady! Lucky Bea!

(L-R) Prince Masahito Hitachi of Japan, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Hanako Hitachi at the opening ceremony of the art exhibition 'Kyoto-Tokyo' at the Grimaldi Forum in Monte-Carlo, Principality of Monaco on July 13, 2010. Photo by Marco Piovanotto/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Princess Hanako Hitachi and her husband, Prince Masahito Hitachi, joined Prince Albert II of Monaco at the opening of a Japanese art exhibition in Monte Carlo. Prince Hitachi is the Japanese emperor's younger brother.

July 14, 2010

TALARN, SPAIN - JULY 14: Princess Letizia of Spain attends the 35th graduation ceremony of the Spanish Military Officer Academy on July 14, 2010 in Talarn, Spain. (Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images)

Letizia was slim in gray at a military graduation ceremony in Talarn. It's hard to look so stylish when everyone else is wearing medals.

July 16, 2010

MONACO - JULY 16: (L-R) Princess Stephanie of Monaco greets Charlene Wittstock as Prince Albert II of Monaco stands during the 2010 Annual FightAIDS Monaco Gala dinner on July 16, 2010 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Princess Stephanie greets her future sister-in-law, Charlene Wittstock, as the bridegroom, Prince Albert, looks on. The three were attending an annual AIDS gala.

09 July 2010

This Week in Princesses

JULY 5, 2010

Prince Willem Alexander, Princess Maxima, Catharina-Amalia, Alexia and Ariane pose in Wassenaar, Netherlands on July 5, 2010. Photo by Reporters/ABACAPRESS.COM  Photo via Newscom

The three little Dutch princesses were pretty in pink during a photo call in the Netherlands. Notice how big sis Catharina-Amalia is keeping Alexia (right) and Ariane in line. Good thing she's a natural-born leader since she's destined to be queen one day.

MONACO - JULY 05: Prince Albert II of Monaco with his fiancee Charlene Wittstock, left, and his sister Princess Caroline of Hanover dance during the open-air concert of American blues rock trio, ZZ Top and American singer Iggy Pop, in front of The Prince's Palace of Monaco on July 5, 2010 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images)

Princess Caroline of Hanover (right), brother Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock boogied down at an open-air concert. Young Charlene looks almost dull next to Caroline's bright and patterned ensemble.

JULY 6, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 06: Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath in remembrance of the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, during a visits to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center site on July 6, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II laid a wreath at Ground Zero during her lightning trip to New York City. She also popped over to deliver a speech at the United Nations, before jetting back home. She reportedly didn't stay longer in order to save expenses.

Jul 06, 2010 - Cape Town, South Africa - Crown prince WILLEM ALEXANDER and Crown princess MAXIMA visit the semi-final Netherlands against Uruguay at the FIFA World Cup 2010 in Cape Town. The Dutch won 3:2.

Were Crown Princess Maxima and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands texting the scores during the World Cup semi-finals? Or, booking their reservations to return to South Africa for the final match?

PARIS - JULY 06: Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies attends the Giorgio Armani Prive show as part of the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011 Espace Vendome on July 6, 2010 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Princess Camilla of Sicily attended the Giorgio Armani Prive show in Paris. Her husband is the claimant to the Sicilian throne.

JULY 7, 2010

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 07: Princess Letizia of Sapin attends 'San Federico' association audience at the Zarzuela Palace on on July 7, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Crown Princess Letizia of Spain made a new friend at an event for the San Federico Association at Zarzuela Palace.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter claps next to Spain's Queen Sofia before the 2010 World Cup semi-final soccer match between Germany and Spain at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP ROYALS)

Queen Sofia showed her Spanish red and yellow at the World Cup semi-finals. Her son and daughter-in-law will be there for the final match between Spain and The Netherlands.

JULY 8, 2010

Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde and their four children Elizabeth (8 years), Gabriel (6 years), Emmanuel (4 years) and Eleanor (2 years) spent the morning in the Farm De Pierlapont in Loppem (West Flanders) in Loppem, Belgium on July 08, 2010 . 'De Pierlapont' is a working farm where children can grasp an interactive life on the farm. Photo by Reporters/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom

Crown Princess Mathilde of Belgium and her husband, Crown Prince Philippe, took their four little ones to a farm where youngsters can learn about life on a farm.

08/07/2010: Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall visiting the Hampton Court Flower Show 2010. Here The Duchess of Cornwall is being presented with 'Rosa Precious Love' on behalf of the CBC, Child Bereavement Charity. The rose was specially grown by C & K Roses. Prince William is Royal Patron of the Child Bereavement Charity. KGC-55/starmaxinc.com Photo via Newscom

The Duchess of Cornwall looked comfy at this flower show. She almost looks like she walked there in her housecoat and slippers.

JULY 9, 2010

LONDON - AUGUST 04:  Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly announce their engagement at The Festival of British Eventing, Gatcombe Horse Trials on August 4, 2007 in Cirencester, England.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Okay, technically she's not a princess, but Autumn Phillips is married to Queen Elizabeth II's oldest grandson, Peter Phillips, AND they announced on July 9 that she is expecting the queen's first great-grandchild in December. (Photo from August 2007)

07 July 2010

The Kiss of Death

From the room next door, 18-year-old Princess Alice could hear her beloved father’s ragged and uneven breathing. She had moved her own bed to this chamber so that she could be by his side in seconds whenever he needed her. For two weeks, Alice had been Prince Albert’s chief care giver; mopping his fevered brow, changing his linens, following after him when he was strong enough to take a few steps. Never hearty, Albert was left with little energy or will to fight off typhoid.

Quietly and tenderly, young Alice saw to his every need and, when she heard the death rattle in his throat, she personally went to bring her mother, Queen Victoria, to say good-bye. On Dec. 14, Prince Albert passed away with the loyal Alice at his side. As Victoria lost herself in the dramatic realization of all she had lost, Alice shifted her care to her mother, nursing her through the early, violent stages of a grief that would ultimately last for almost 40 years. Alice also became Victoria’s unofficial secretary for the next several months—until her own wedding, a marriage pre-approved by her late father, took her to her new home in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in Germany.

Alice quickly started her own family; five daughters and two sons arrived at fairly regular intervals. Unlike her mother, Alice was a natural and devoted mom. She even breastfed her children—much to Victoria’s disgust.

But Alice’s loving-kindness extended well beyond her own family. She began visiting the homes of the poor and offering her assistance, sometimes without her benefactors even knowing who she was. “I feel the want of going about and doing the little good that is in my power,” the newlywed princess wrote home.

Alice actively supported and visited hospitals, often caring for the sick and injured herself. When war pushed its way into Hesse-Darmstadt, she spent the last few days of her third pregnancy making bandages for the wounded. A friend of the famous Florence Nightingale, Alice created an institute to train nurses using Nightingale’s modern nursing techniques.

Unafraid to personally nurse soldiers and the most destitute of the poor, Alice naturally waited upon her own children whenever they were ill. When her oldest daughter was stricken with diphtheria, a highly contagious bacterial disease, in early November 1878, Alice automatically looked after her, careful always to avoid personal contact for fear of infection. One by one, each child became ill, except Elizabeth the future martyred saint of the Russian Orthodox Church. Even her husband contracted the dreadful disease. Alice tirelessly nursed them all and, one by one, they each recovered.

Each except the youngest, four-year-old Mary. The swelling in little Mary’s throat and mouth continued to grow until the tiny princess finally suffocated to death on Nov. 15. Her devastated mother barely allowed herself time to grieve as she continued to fight for the rest of her family’s survival. “The pain is beyond words,” she telegraphed to Queen Victoria.

The tragic news was kept from the other patients for a couple of weeks until 10-year-old Prince Louis, now past the worst danger, asked about his little sister. Alice broke the news to him as gently as she could. When the broken-hearted little boy began to cry, Alice hugged him and kissed him tenderly.

It was her last act of kindness. The disease struck the exhausted princess with virulence. On Dec. 14, exactly 17 years after she heard the death rattle in her father’s throat, Alice drew her final breath.

A mournful Victoria, who had sent her own doctor racing to Alice’s side, wrote “that this…sweet child…should be called back to her father on the very anniversary of his death seems almost incredible and most mysterious.”

Ever mindful of that dreadful anniversary, Alice’s last words were, “Dear Papa.” She was 35.

02 July 2010

This Week in Princesses

This week was an intercontinental week for royal ladies as the English queen headed to North America and the Belgian queen visited Africa. Back in Europe, it was a quieter week for everyone but the Spanish ladies.

June 28

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 28: Princess Letizia of Spain receives a representation of of the Manpower Foundation, presided by Maria Leal at Zarzuela Palace on June 28, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Fernando Camino/Getty Images)

Tiny Princess Letizia of Spain shows off her figure in this form-fitting dress. Some royal watchers this week have been worrying whether she is too slim.

June 29

HALIFAX, NS - JUNE 29: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend a reception for 'A Celebration of Novia Scotia' at the Cunard Centre on June 29, 2010 in Halifax, Canada. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on an eight day tour of Canada starting in Halifax and finishing in Toronto. The trip is to celebrate the centenary of the Canadian Navy and to mark Canada Day. On July 6th, the royal couple will make their way to New York where the Queen will address the UN and visit Ground Zero. (Photo by Chris Jackson-Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II seems as charmed by Prince Philip as she was when she first fell in love with him more than 70 years ago. It's adorable to see octogenarians in love! This was Day 2 of their North American visit. This week they were in Canada, next week it's the U.S.A.

June 30

DRC Congo's President Joseph Kabila (L) greets Belgium's King Albert II (2nd R) and Queen Paola before a civil and military parade in Kinshasa June 30, 2010. Belgian King Albert II and his wife Queen Paola are on a three-day official visit to Congo to attend the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the independence.   REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: POLITICS ROYALS ANNIVERSARY MILITARY)

King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium have spent the week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, celebrating that nation's 50th anniversary since its independence from Belgium.

July 1

GERONA, SPAIN - JULY 01: Prince Felipe of Spain and Princess Letizia of Spain attend 'Impulsa Forum' at the Auditorio Palacio de Congresos de Gerona on July 1, 2010 in Gerona, Spain. (Photo by Javier Fernandez Del Corral/Getty Images)

This is more like it. How can someone so petite look like she has legs a mile/kilometre long? Princess Letizia of Spain's standard high heels and straight-legged trousers certainly help.

Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth waves as she and Prince Philip leave Parliament Hill after being guests of honor for Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, Ontario, July 1, 2010. The royal couple are on day four of their nine day Royal Tour of Canada. UPI/Heinz Ruckemann Photo via Newscom

Queen Elizabeth II dressed patriotically to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa. Notice the maple leaf pin? She is, after all, Queen of Canada, too.

July 2

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Prince and Princess Michael of Kent looking snazzy at the All England Tennis Championships. The prince is a dead ringer for his granddad, King George V--and, therefore, he also looks like Grampy's cousin, Tsar Nicholas II.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JULY 02: Queen Sofia of Spain and Prince Felipe of Spain attend a conference with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus at the Barcelona Business School on July 2, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Robert Marquardt/Getty Images)

Was it take your son to work day in Spain? Queen Sofia was joined by Prince Felipe at the Barcelona School of Business to meet Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus.