13 December 2012

12 Royal Reasons the World Can't End

As everyone on Earth now knows, centuries ago, the Mayans scheduled for the world to end on December 21, 2012. However they did this without much consideration for what would be happening in our lives at the time. If the Mayans had known about some of the exciting things taking place in 2013, they certainly would have reconsidered.

In all seriousness, we can anticipate several intriguing royal news stories in 2013 and beyond. Here are 12 royal reasons the world can't end in 2012.

1. We'd never know if Kate's baby is a boy or girl or multiples.
Even before it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant, people were speculating about the gender of her first child. I think this is due to two main reasons. Firstly, the issue of succession rights throughout the Commonwealth is still being ironed out. At the moment, if a girl is born first, she would later cede her place to a younger brother due to male primogeniture. It is expected, however, that this will be changed so that gender no longer is considered in the British succession for any descendants of the couple. Secondly, royal watchers seem to prefer princesses overall especially if there is a chance that princess might be named Diana. If they have a daughter and don't name her Diana, many people will be disappointed. (I, for one, think it would be a poor choice, but I also didn't think William would give Kate his unhappily married mother's engagement ring.)

Now, that it has been revealed that Kate is suffering from hyperemisis gravedarum and we have learned that women with this condition statistically have more daughters and are more inclined to have twins, people are enthusiastically anticipating the arrival of multiple princesses named Diana, Elizabeth and Victoria (why not triplets?)

2. We wouldn't get to see Princess Madeleine's wedding gown.
One of the most beautiful princesses in the world got engaged in 2012 and everyone is rooting for her to have a fabulous wedding, particularly since her first engagement three years ago was called off when it was discovered her fiance was a cheating scoundrel. After that, Princess Madeleine of Sweden moved to New York City where she could enjoy a bit more privacy, but she will undoubtedly marry her British-American sweetheart in Sweden. But, what will her wedding gown look like and will she wear the hideous Cameo Tiara that all of the Swedish royal brides have worn for the last two generations? 

3. We wouldn't know whether Casiraghis would take over from the Grimaldis.
Andrea Casiraghi
The world is still waiting for Prince Albert Grimaldi of Monaco to father a legitimate child. (He has two acknowledged illegitimate children.) He and his wife, Princess Charlene, have been married a year and a half and so far they have not announced any great expectations. If Albert does not produce an heir, the principality will pass to his older sister Princess Caroline and then to her oldest son, Andrea Casiraghi, whose fiancee Tatiana Santo Domingo is currently expecting their first child. Albert and Caroline's dad, Prince Rainier, specifically changed the law to prevent illegitimate children from inheriting, even though Rainier's mother was an illegitimate daughter who passed the throne to him after her princely father officially adopted her.

4. We'd never know whether Chelsy would finally get her prince.
Okay, so this one is pretty far fetched, buy Chelsy Davy is still discussed by royalwatchers as the love of Prince Harry's life. The fact that they have broken up and reunited several times gives Chelsy supporters hopes that one day he will settle down with the woman he truly loves. However, I've never thought Chelsy was very interested in being a princess. Plus, Harry's reported current girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, probably would not be happy to cede her place in the prince's arms. Besides, there are plenty of other girls ready to offer their services. (I'm looking at you, Harry Hunters!)

5. We would miss the opportunity to have a nonagenarian monarch.
So far, so good. Queen Elizabeth II seems to be made of the same sturdy stock that kept her mother alive until the age of 101. At this rate, she will be 90 years old on April 21, 2016--less than 3.5 years from now--and she would become the first European monarch to live into the ninth decade. She could even become the first centenarian monarch in 2026 and I'd like to be around to see it!

6. We'd never find out whether Camilla would actually become queen.
At the time of her marriage to Prince Charles, it was announced that Camilla would use his second highest title and be styled as the Duchess of Cornwall out of deference to the late Diana, who was so beloved as Princess of Wales. They also announced that, upon his accession, she would use the unprecedented title of Princess Consort instead of Queen Consort. This declaration has been reconfirmed in the ensuing years although many traditionalists and historians say she is still legally Princess of Wales and would legally be Queen Consort. Plus, it doesn't seem like Charles is overly excited about not having a queen by his side. When asked about it in recent years, he responded, "we'll see."

7. We wouldn't get the chance to see six of Europe's seven kingdoms led by queens.
That's right, by the middle of this century, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Spain, The Netherlands and The U.K. could all have a female monarch. (That's if popular opinion determines the gender of Kate's first child.) Born between 2001 and 2012, Elisabeth of Belgium, Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, Leonor of Spain, Estelle of Sweden, and Catharina Amalia of The Netherland could all be sitting on their respective thrones at the same time. The future King Christian X of Denmark would be the only fellow in this exclusive ladies-only club.

8. We'd never get to see Kate wear the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara.
Since her marriage, Kate has had very few tiara occasions. That will certainly change once Charles is king and William is the Prince of Wales. So far, she has only been seen in the late Queen Mother's Cartier Halo tiara. However, many people would love to see her wear the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara, which was brought into the family by Queen Mary but which was made famous as one of Diana's favorites. Plus, it would seem to additional sentiment attached since William was given the Cambridge title.

9. We'd never see male primogeniture eliminated everywhere.
In the wake of Kate's pregnancy announcement, the British are finally moving quickly toward eliminating the male preference in their succession laws. On Dec. 13, the proposed changes were finally published. (Read about them on the Royal Musings blog.) The changes also lift the ban on dynasts who marry Catholics (like Prince Michael of Kent) but not on those who are or become Catholic (like Lord Nicholas Windsor). The male preference has already been removed in Belgium, Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It is still in place in Monaco and Spain. Women are completely barred from the succession in Liechtenstein as well as in several non-European monarchies, including Morocco, Jordan and Japan. So, it looks like we still have a ways to go before the Mayans can end the world.

10. We'd never get to see the Greek throne restored.
Okay, I'll admit this one is a very long shot. The Greek royal family was displaced several times throughout the 20th century, most recently in 1967. Since then, King Constantine, his wife the former Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, their five children and nine children have lived abroad, primarily in London. However, their eldest daughter lives in the Canary Islands with her Spanish husband, their youngest daughter is an actress in the United States, and the Crown Prince lives in New York City with his American wife. The Greek royals, however, are very tight with the other European royals. After all, the King's sister is the Queen of Spain, the Queen's sister is the Queen of Denmark, and they are close cousins with the Kent branch of the British Royal Family and Prince Philip and his children.

11. We'd never get to see Japan decide Princess Aiko should be empress.
As I mentioned in #9, the Japanese Imperial throne currently does not allow for female succession. So, when Crown Prince Naruhito and his wife Masako's long fertility struggle ended with the birth of daughter Princess Aiko, the nation started to consider changing the laws. After all, his only brother Prince Akishino also had only daughters, the teenaged Princesses Mako and Kako. Then, suddenly, that all changed when Akishino's 39-year-old wife became pregnant, 12 years after the birth of her last child. The new baby was a prince and all talk of changing the succession to include women was dropped. In 2012, however, the Japanese princesses once again began to attract support. As it stands, they are forced to leave the imperial family when they marry commoners. Since there have been so many princesses and so few princes in the family, this means that the official imperial family is shrinking. Laws to allow women to remain family members are now being discussed. With enough time, maybe they will even be permitted to accede to the Chrysanthemum throne; perhaps in time for Empress Aiko, who is now 11.

12. We'd never know if Kate is brave enough to face another pregnancy.
The severe form of morning sickness from which the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering is so miserable that many women opt not to risk subsequent pregnancies. Will the pressure to have a "spare" to go with her "heir" cause Kate to try for another pregnancy after the sheer misery of this one? Or, should she just go ahead and have triplets now, as I so kindly suggested in #1. Of course, that leads to a higher possibility of Caesarean delivery with the doctor possibly playing a determining factor in birth order and thereby selecting the future monarch, as some silly people have already started speculating.

01 December 2012

Announcing Kate's Pregnancy

UPDATE: Just days after this was posted, St. James's Palace, HQ of The Prince of Wales, announced that Kate is in the early stages of pregnancy. The announcement was unusually early in first trimester, but necessary because Kate had to be hospitalized for hyperemesis gravidarum, a very acute and dangerous form of morning sickness. Prince William has been at her side daily. Best wishes to the little family.

Based on the first pregnancy's of other recent royal brides (see my earlier post, Kate Middleton's First Baby), it may not be long now until we get an announcement that The Duchess of Cambridge is pregnant. Although some royal couples have apparently struggled with fertility and pregnancy issues (notably the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan and the Wessexes in England), everyone seems fairly certain that William and Kate will produce children at any moment.

The average wait for the other heirs of this generation has been 21 months after the royal wedding, ranging from 17 months in Denmark and Spain to 29 months in Norway.  to deliver at the 21-month-mark, Kate would need to have a baby in January 2013. Since she is clearly not six or seven months pregnant at this time, we can only surmise that the wait will be longer.

However, when Prince William was recently presented by a well-wisher with some baby clothes, he said he would keep it, sparking rumors once again and setting eagle eyes all over the world looking for Kate's potential baby bump.

When an announcement comes, I suspect it will be made on a weekday morning before the couple are scheduled to make a joint public appearance. Also, the announcement is likely to come from Prince Charles' office at Clarence House rather than Buckingham Palace, since Prince William is not the current heir to the throne. finally, I would not be surprised if Kate withdraws from the scene for a few weeks after the announcement in the hopes that the frenzy will die down some before she has to face the public and media again. After all, starting a family is a very personal business, and William has often voiced his desire not to have his family harrassed by prying eyes.

So, if Kate is pregnant now, I would not be surprised by a pre-Christmas announcement. In the meantime, here is some ITN footage from the day Princess Diana's first pregnancy was announced to the world.