05 January 2012

Top Princess of 2011: The Winner

The votes are in and, based on a nonscientific combination of factors including the poll, consultations with other royal bloggers, and my own personal views, here are the finalists for Top Princess of 2011.


Britain's Princess Beatrice holds a rose during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show on press day, in central London May 23, 2011. Picture taken May 23, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Jackson/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ROYALS SOCIETY)
HRH Princess Beatrice of York
Okay. So not many people voted for her, but one of my personal faves (and it is my blog, after all) this year is Princess Beatrice. She has taken a lot of knocks in the media: she wore a crazy hat to THE royal wedding, she enjoys nights at the clubs and her daddy thinks she should have police protection. Despite it all, she has maintained a positive attitude, turned negatives into positives (like losing weight healthfully when she didn't like the media's carping at her), she ran a marathon and she earned a university degree. She is, after all, the very first British princess to ever receive one. That is nothing to sneeze at in my opinion. What the future holds? Who knows? There is still ongoing debate about whether she will assume a public role and take on official duties. We shall see if she or her sister, Princess Eugenie, make any appearances during their father's Jubilee Tour of India. That will be a good indicator of her role for the future, I think. Beatrice herself has said that she would like to be a champion of charities "just like Mummy," Sarah Duchess of York. With a degree in history, maybe she'll become an author like mummy, too.

Photo by Marlene Eilers Koenig
HIRH The Princess of Prussia
The former Princess Sophie of Isenburg makes the list as a bloggers' choice. Marlene Eilers Koenig of Royal Musings made a particularly strong case for her in our discussion of this list. She said that, although neither Sophie nor her bridegroom, Prince Georg Friedrich, the titular head of the Hohenzollen dynasty and heir to the defunct German throne, are legally royals in Germany, "it is interesting how this wedding played out - and how the bride, who would now be a Queen of Prussia and Empress of Germany, if World War I never happened, became the star in royal pageant that most in Germany would never have expected." In short, for their wedding, the German people remembered their royal past and all of the positives that also went with it. For a nation that has a lot of negatives to look back on, history can be a painful a subject. For a moment, at least, Sophie made a history sparkle, drawing the spotlight not only on the good qualities of the dynasty, but also on the city of Potsdam and the Orangerie. As Marlene reports, "This was a true major royal occasion on a grand scale - as nearly every German royal house was present, as well as foreign royals, renigning and non-reigning." For those of us enamored by monarchy, Sophie truly made magic.

Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary carry their twins, Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda (L) and Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, after the twins' christening at Holmen's Church in Copenhagen April 14, 2011. Also pictured are the royal couple's other children, Prince Christian (R) and Princess Isabella (2nd R). REUTERS/Nils Meilvang/Scanpix Denmark (DENMARK - Tags: ROYALS) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. DENMARK OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN DENMARK
HRH The Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Clearly a lot of people adore, the Australian-born future Queen of Denmark. In fact, a recent poll showed that about 40% of Danes would like her to become queen within the next decade; 11% said they want her to become queen immediately. All of this on the very eve of her mother-in-law Queen Margrethe's 40th Jubilee. The poll results are being interpreted as a sign of the love for Mary and her husband, Frederik, rather than a criticism of Margrethe, who says she will not abdicate. For Mary, 2011 was a huge year, which she started with the birth of twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, bringing her brood to four--quite a large family in Denmark. She also completed several foreign tours and continued her charitable work, including the campaign for skin cancer awareness. Her popularity in Australia also reached new heights, which her sisters have been able to leverage to bring attention to the struggle against ovarian cancer, the disease that killed their mother. Also, 2011 was the first year that Mary and her family lived in the newly renovated Frederik VIII Palace, where they incorporated contemporary Scandinavian art and environmentally friendly systems to create a modern home in a historical palace.

HSH The Princess of Monaco
There was more than one royal bride in 2011 whose fate is to live always in the shadow of glamorous, beautiful and beloved mother-in-law who died tragically and too young. Adding to the burdens for the new Princess of Monaco, formerly Charlene Wittstock, are illegitimate step-children and wildfire rumors during the week of her wedding that she was being physically prevented from runaway after learning that her groom was still catting around. Whether the rumors or true or not--they have been officially denied--Charlene's wedding was a fantastic commercial for Monaco as a destination and for its official sponsor, Lexus. Since then, Charlene has shown nothing but poise and grace (pun intended) in the public eye. Did I mention that she also has faced down possible tensions that might have been created by taking over the role of first lady of Monaco, which had been held by her sister-in-law Princess Caroline since Grace's death nearly three years ago? Despite the scandals that have plagued this family, Albert and his sisters seem to have very good relationships with each other and both Caroline and Stephanie have apparently welcomed Charlene with open arms. Stephanie has even spoken publicly about how terrific Charlene is.

HRH The Crown Princess of Sweden
Victoria is one of only two female heirs at the moment--the other being HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover who will bumped as heir to Monaco as soon Albert and Charlene have a baby--and she wears that distinction with honor. She is well-beloved, well-educated and seems to be very centered, having battled anorexia as a young woman. She waited years to be able to marry the man of her choice in 2010, since many felt that his background was not good enough for her. Now, they are undoubtedly seen as a power couple and the bright hope of the Swedish monarchy. With their first child ready to make its appearance in 2012, they are settling into a family home and splitting their time somewhat evenly between being part of a royal family and being part of Prince Daniel's family, the Westlings. They even posed for pictures with a passerby when they stopped for gas on the way to visit the Westlings over the holidays. Victoria may truly be the next "People's Princess."


HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
When I posted the nominees for Top Princess of 2011, there was no doubt in my mind that Catherine would emerge as the popular favorite. She certainly has received more column inches and air time than most of the other princesses combined. Not to mention the fact that there are numerous blogs devoted entirely to her. The world in 2011 certainly seems to have gone Kate-crazy. As blogger Tracey Connell of Tracey's Royal Blog has said, "she has proved what just average women she is and her modern approach to her life as royal...She is not Diana and she is Catherine. That is why I adore her already." But perhaps Catherine is no more extraordinary than any other princess. Marilyn Braun of Marilyn's Royal Blog said, "As big a fan as I am of her I don't know about Catherine. Yes there was the big royal wedding, yes she's pretty but isn't it somewhat of a cop-out to automatically include her? No to diminish her ability to smile and wear nice clothes but she hasn't proven herself yet." Now that Catherine has announced the first four charities she will patronize, she will certainly have more opportunities to show us how well she can fill her princess shoe, or boots as the case may be. Perhaps the best thing about Catherine so far is how well she is fitting into Prince William family. As Tracey explains, "Her relationship with her father-in law is solid. Prince Charles and Catherine attended a opera together few months ago. She and Duchess of Cornwall have wonderful relationship also." And, there is no doubt that brother-in-law Prince Harry is also a fan. I have no doubt that Catherine will continue to be a royal star for the foreseeable future, and I'll be very surprised if you don't vote her Top Princess of 2012 at the end of this year, too!

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