03 January 2015

15 Princesses to Watch in 2015

It looks like 2015 is going to be a much more exciting year for Princess Watching. Last year was a bit of slow news year with a low-key accession, no major weddings and the only major births coming right at the end of the year with princely twins in Monaco. Of course, the excitement of 2013 set us up for ho-hums. How could 2014 have compared with two royal jubilees, two new queens, the wedding of Princess Madeleine, and THE Birth Of George in 2013.

Great news! You can prepare your tiaras and fascinators for a more princess-filled year. Here are 15 princesses who will be making news this year:

1. Princess Caroline of Monaco
Let's get the sad news out of the way at the top. This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the death of her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, in a speedboat accident on October 3, 1990. This milestone anniversary will no doubt be cause for media attention for this princess who has had more than her share of sadness. Her mother Princess Grace was killed in a car accident in 1982 and she is currently separated from her third husband Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover because of his philandering. Stefano's shocking death left her widowed with three very young children, the now internationally famous Casiraghi siblings Andrea, Charlotte and Pierre. While they will wish to mark their father's anniversary privately, look for the media to speculate about the so-called "Grimaldi Curse."

Av Carfax2 (Eget arbete)
via Wikimedia Commons
2. The Duchess of Cornwall
A far more pleasant anniversary will bring Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall into the limelight this spring when she and The Prince of Wales celebrate ten years since their wedding. Postponed by one day because of the death of Pope John Paul II, the wedding took place on April 9, 2009. Although still reviled as "the rottweiler" by some Princess Diana fans, Camilla has earned much respect from almost everyone else for her gung-ho sense of humor, observation of royal duty, and her unwavering support of her husband. As if that were not enough, she looks fantastic draped in all those big, ole jewels AND Prince Harry has said that he and Prince William "love her to bits." That is good enough for me to let bygones be bygones. If Diana's children can forgive her, so should we.

3. Princess Alexia of The Netherlands
We also have a couple of little royal ladies celebrating the tenth anniversary of their births this year. Princess Alexia will be ten on June 26. The second of King Willem and Queen Maxima's girls, the princess is fully named Alexia Juliana Marcela Laurentien. After her father's accession in 2012, she moved up to second in line to throne following her older sister Princess Catharina Amalia. Along with the rest of her family, Alexia spends a lot of time in her mother's native land of Argentina. In fact, they recently spent the Christmas holiday's there. If the most recent official photo (on the right) is any indication, Alexia is a budding beauty who will no doubt follow in her mother's fashion-forward shoes. According to the official web site, she enjoys hockey, horse riding, singing and playing the piano.

4. The Princess of Asturias
For our next birthday girl, the excitement of turning 10 will likely not be the most exciting thing that has happened to her. Last year, when she was just 8 and a half, Infanta Leonor de Todos los Santos de Borbon y Ortiz became the youngest heir to a royal throne alive today. Also, when her father ascended the Spanish throne, she took over his title, becoming The Princess of Asturias, among a half dozen other titles. Nevertheless, Leonor could lose all of this if her father ever has a son because the Spanish throne is still subject to male-preference succession (although Spanish nobility now has gender-blind succession laws).

5. Princess Eugenie of York
One final birthday girl this year is Princess Eugenie, who will be 25 on March 23. Less often in the news than her older sister Princess Beatrice, Eugenie is currently seventh in line to the throne and will move to eighth when the new Cambridge baby is born this summer. Within another ten years, Eugenie will likely no longer be in the top ten. So, it is fitting that she is pursuing a career in the private sector, most recently working with an art auction house in New York City. Having undergone corrective surgery for scoliosis (spinal curvature) as a child, Eugenie is an active advocate for research and treatment of the condition and other orthopaedic issues. A new accommodation unit at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital will be named Princess Eugenie House in honor of her patronage.

6. Sofia Hellqvist
We already know that we have another glorious summer wedding to look forward to in Sweden as Prince Carl Philipp marries his long-time love Sofia Hellqvist on June 13. They really seem to like long engagements there; both of Carl Philip's sisters announced their engagements about a year before their weddings too. Like many modern royal brides, Sofia has a past. She first gained notoriety competing on a couple of reality shows and then embarked on a career as a "glamour" model, meaning that she not only didn't wear all of her clothes but that the poses were often provocative. She started modeling at age 16 with the full endorsement of her parents. Ten years later, her relationship with the prince was confirmed by the palace and, in 2010, they moved in together. She was seen at many royal weddings and other family occasions, but never arriving or departing with Carl Philip. She has only been seen at official events, like the Nobel Ceremony since the engagement was announced. In 2010, she and her sister launched a new nonprofit organization, Project Playground, to provide safe play areas for children in South Africa.

7. Beatrice Borromeo
It also looks like we can anticipate the trendsetting fashions of another Casiraghi wedding, since it has been widely reported that Pierre Casiraghi, nephew of the reigning Prince of Monaco, will wed his girlfriend of nearly seven years, Beatrice Borromeo on April 20. The daughter of an Italian count, Beatrice completed a law and economics degree from Bocconi University in 2010 and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York two years later. She is a full-time reporter for an Italian newspaper and a regular contributor to Newsweek and the Daily Beast. She has also been featured in many women's magazines.

8. Tatiana Santo Domingo
In more exciting Casiraghi news, it has also been announced that Pierre's sister-in-law, the former Tatiana Santo Domingo, will have her second child this year. Tatiana married Andrea Casiraghi after a seven-year courtship in a civil ceremony on August 31, 2013. Their first son Sasha was born two months later. They then married in a religious ceremony on February 1, 2014. Her fashion business Muzungu Sisters aims to provide "the global online retail market with exclusive products handcrafted by local artisans from diverse cultures."

By See Li via Wikimedia Commons
9. The Duchess of Cambridge
In what will surely be the event of the year, The Duchess of Cambridge will have her second child this summer. Baby-mania has not reached fever pitch yet and, I suspect, it won't be as intense as it was with the arrival of Prince George. But, if she has a little girl the world will go berserk. If she names her Diana, the world will go berserk-er. And, if she doesn't name her Diana, the world will want to know why. Poor baby. Alas, we shall all have to wait and see, especially since the Cambridges are unlikely to discover the gender of their baby before it arrives as they did with George. We will also have to wait on the name until some time after the birth. It doesn't mean that we won't have fun speculating...

10. Princess Madeleine of Sweden
In much more surprising gestational news, Princess Madeleine announced her second pregnancy shortly before Christmas, when her first child Princess Leonore was only ten months old. It has been quite some time since a royal lady had two babies so close together, except for twins of course. Those who are worried about how this will impact her brother's wedding in June, rest assured. The royal palace has said that the baby will not arrive before the wedding, to which royal blogger Hans Jacob tweeted, "Does the baby know?" Madeleine has also shared that she and her Anglo-American husband Chris O'Neill will be moving to Europe from New York "very soon." Swedish succession laws require future monarchs to be raised in Sweden, so both of Madeleine's children would lose their places in the line of succession if they don't move there.

11. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
If Madeleine's older sister Victoria is going to have more children, we will likely hear a pregnancy announcement some time this year. Her daughter, Princess Estelle, will be three years old in February. Victoria and her siblings were born two to three years apart. In more recent years, royal babies have generally been born along that same interval. The longest interval has been between Princess Isabella of Denmark and her twin siblings, which was just under four years. So, I will not be surprised if we have triple celebrations in Sweden this year (with a wedding and two babies; if Sofia follows the same time line as Madeleine we could even get a pregnancy announcement from her before the end of the year.)

12. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg
In another ongoing baby watch, Stephanie and Guillaume are now in their third year of marriage without a pregnancy announcement. While this is not an unusual occurrence for a contemporary couple, it is unusual for the heir to a throne. In recent decades in Europe, only his uncle great-uncle King Baudoin of Belgium remained childless this long. His wife, Queen Fabiola, who passed away last month, had at least five unsuccessful pregnancies. That throne passed to Baudoin's brother Albert, who passed it two years ago to his son Philippe. If Stephanie and Guillaume do not have children, the Luxembourgish throne is still secure: he has four siblings, two nephews and a niece available to succeed him when the time comes.

13. Princess Beatrice of York
In my final act of pure speculation in this post, I will once again add Princess Beatrice to the list for the third year in a row and for the same reason: is she EVER going to marry Dave Clark? Okay, I know that Beatrice is only 26 years old and ladies today get married older than they used to. And, I know that there have been much, much longer royal courtships. But I NEED another British royal wedding and I don't think we are going to get one from Prince Harry any time soon. Dave seems like a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders. Beatrice is pursuing a career now. They enjoy going out and traveling together. They spend time with the family. Could this be the year for them? No pressure, I'm just sayin', do it for me, Bea... (I do not endorse these statements although I wrote them. They do me no credit whatsoever.)

14. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
From the department of "news she didn't want to hear but that royal watchers will scarf up" comes the information that not one but two films are currently in production about the courtship of Mary Donaldson and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. It seems a very odd time to me--the couple has been married more than a decade now. And, don't get confused: these are not documentaries and I doubt they are of the quality of the Oscar-winning portrayal of The Queen. Maybe not even the half-truth laden quality of 2013's Diana and last year's Grace of Monaco. I fear they are more along the lines of Fergie and Andrew: Behind Palace Doors and Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After. The first film, Frederik's Young Years, will air on Danish television while Mary: The Making of a Princess is being produced in her native Australia.

By UK Department for International Development
derivative work: FishInWater
via Wikimedia Commons
15. Infanta Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca
In what will likely be the greatest royal controversy of the year, Infanta Cristina of Spain, older sister of King Felipe will face the tribunal on charges of tax fraud. The case stems from a four-year investigation into the financial dealings of her husband Inaki Urdangarin, a former Olympic handball player. The couple married in 1997 and have four children together. They lived for several years in New York City before his nonprofit organization, Noos Institute, which promotes athletic and tourism events in the Balaeric Islands (Mallorca and Menorca) off the coast of Spain, drew the attention of fraud investigators. It has been alleged that he used his royal connections for financial gain and embezzled millions of dollars and public money by funneling it through the nonprofit institute and into a for-profit company he and Cristina own together. In previous testimony, Cristina has said that she left their financial decisions in her husband's hands. This controversy was one of the underlying issues that led her father King Juan Carlos to abdicate last summer.

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