29 January 2016

This Week in Princesses

SPAIN: Fighting cancer, Jan. 22
Queen Letizia once again donned her standard black pants suit for a meeting of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC).

BELGIUM/THE NETHERLANDS: Serenading the European Union, Jan. 22
The King and Queen of The Netherlands joined their Belgian counterparts for a concert to open the Dutch Presidency of the European Union. Each queen outshined (get it?) her husband with Mathilde in shiny pink and black, while Maxima went with multicolored sparkles and asymmetrical hair.

SWEDEN: An exhibition of clocks, Jan. 22
Looks like Crown Princess Victoria also got the shiny pink-and-black memo (good thing she and Mathilde were at different events!) as she joined her parents for the opening of an exhibition tracing four centuries of royal clocks.

THE NETHERLANDS: Celebrating the Dutch Masters, Jan. 23
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Princess Beatrix turned out for the EYE film museum in Amsterdam for a screening of the series "Dutch Masters." Few things are more deserving of applause than Dutch art. (I'm a fan.)

SWEDEN: Sports awards, Jan. 25
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Looks like asymmetrical hair was also a trend this week as Sweden's Princess Sofia attended the Swedish Sports Gala with a hairstyle designed to show off her unusual (and large) earrings. Her earlobes are clearly stronger than mine.

JAPAN: State visit, Jan. 26

The chief members of the Japanese Imperial Family were on hand Tuesday to bid bon voyage to the Emperor and his 82-year-old Empress Michiko as they departed for an official visit to The Philippines, where they will be until Jan. 30.  Their sons, Prince Akishino and Crown Prince Naruhito waved off their parents along with their wives Kiko and Masako, who has been seen in public slightly more often lately. She looks striking in this blue coat and hat.

SPAIN: Helping children speak, Jan. 26
Queen Letizia brightened up her color palette for audiences back at Zarzuela Palace, where she received members of ATELMA, an organization that helps children with specific language impairment. This condition is characterized by delayed speech development that is not caused by other recognized issues like autism, brain damage or hearing loss.

UNITED KINGDOM: An evening at Annabel's, Jan. 26
Princess Eugenie of York and her longtime boyfriend Jack Brooksbank popped into the famous Annabel's in London for a party launching nutritionist Gabriela Peacock's new GP Nutrition Supplements. Tatler's snarked that it was a "marvellous party" despite cocktails infused with spinach and kale. Yum.

MONACO: Saint Devote festivities, Jan. 26-27
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The Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco attended mass and other celebrations, including a bonfire and the obligatory balcony appearance, honoring their national saint, Devote.

BELGIUM: Visiting a welfare organization, Jan. 27
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Queen Mathilde checked in on the Centrum Algemeen Welzijn in Brussels. The organization assists people who are having personal, financial, and family problems, including both those who have been victims of crimes and those who have been incarcerated.

MONACO: New York film premiere, Jan. 27
Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, oldest daughter of Prince Albert of Monaco, attended the premiere of "Jane Got a Gun" in New York City, where she is living. She was raised in California by her American mother.

THE NETHERLANDS: Taking in the films, Jan. 27
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Queen Maxima's love of pattern, unusual colors and jumpsuits came together in a delightful ensemble that surprised many royal fashion watchers--not because of the unique style but because they actually liked it. Max debuted the new outfit at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam.

SWEDEN: Remembering the Holocaust, Jan. 27
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Crown Princess Victoria was on hand for the presentation of Micael Bindefeld Foundation scholarships in memory of the Holocaust at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm. Victoria has shown a great interest in healing the the pain and loss caused by the Holocaust. Although her maternal grandfather was a member of the Nazi party, she prefers to draw inspiration from her first cousin twice removed Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg, who saved thousands of people from concentration campus. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway also takes an active part in carrying on the legacy of Folke, who is also his first cousin twice removed through his paternal grandmother Princess Martha of Sweden. Meanwhile, across town, Victoria's sister-in-law Princess Sofia attended a Holocaust memorial ceremony at the Stockholm Synagogue.

UNITED KINGDOM: Battling domestic violence, Jan. 27
The Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to the SafeLives Centre in London. SafeLives seeks to "end domestic abuse, and build a society where every family is safe" by training domestic violence professionals, working to improve services available to victims, and political advocacy.

THE NETHERLANDS: Attending a dance festival, Jan. 28
Princess Beatrix, her son Prince Contantijn and his wife Princess Laurentien attended the opening gala of the 15th Holland Dance Festival in The Hague.

UNITED KINGDOM: Music and restoration, Jan. 28
The Prince of Wales and his wife The Duchess of Cornwall officially opened Wilton's Music Hall in London, following its extensive conservation efforts. The historic venue not only offers performances but also features educational programming and a pub.

28 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: Two saints?

Less than a week after 36-year-old Diana Princess of Wales died in a terrible car crash in the middle of the night in Paris as her drunk chauffeur evaded paparazzi to whisk her and her boyfriend off for more privacy, Mother Teresa passed away at the age of 87. Diana's funeral was held the next day amidst international mourning in front of a television audience of millions. A week later, Mother Teresa's adopted country of India held a state funeral for her in honor of her tremendous humanitarian work as the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, to which thousands of religious sisters belong. While the entire world had termed Diana a saint for both her charitable works and her longsuffering often unhappy life, Mother Teresa is on the path to being officially recognized as a saint. She was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 2003 and is now called Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

I deeply mourned both women, and I know that they admired each other, as evidenced by this photo taken just months before they died.

JAPAN: State visit to The Philippines

The chief members of the Japanese Imperial Family were on hand Tuesday to bid bon voyage to the Emperor and his 82-year-old Empress Michiko as they departed for an official visit to The Philippines, where they will be until Jan. 30.

22 January 2016

This Week in Princesses

UNITED KINGDOM: Going to church, Jan. 17

The Queen is a faithful Christian, which is certainly a good thing for the Supreme Head of the Church of England. This week, she attended Sunday services at Hillington in King's Lynn, near her estate at Sandringham.

NORWAY: 25th anniversary celebrations, Jan. 17

The Norwegian royals invited their counterparts to celebrate the 25th anniversary of King Harald's accession. The gathered royals popped out onto the balcony for a bit, including (from left) Queen Silvia of Sweden, Princess Astrid of Norway, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, and Queen Margrethe of Denmark. They are all cousins since King Harald's mother was a Swedish princess and his grandfather was a Danish prince. (FYI His grandmother was a British princess, so he is also closely related to the Windsors.)

The extended Norwegian royal family with their royal guests.

Three Nordic queens in a row.

NORWAY: Outdoor games, Jan. 17

Norwegians love to be outside, even in depths of winter, and they love their winter sports, so it is not surprising that the King's anniversary was also celebrated with outdoor games. Several members of the royal family participated, including Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the Crown Prince and Princess, and Prince Sverre Magnus.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: U.N. Report on Humanitarian Aid, Jan. 17

Jordanian Princess Haya bint al-Hussein and her husband, the ruler of Dubai, gathered with the U.N. Secretary General to hear a report on the funding of humanitarian aid by the United Nations. Haya, who is designated as a U.N. Messenger of Peace, also spoke at the conference.

THE VATICAN/MONACO: A visit to the Pope, Jan. 18

Princess Charlene exercised the privilege du blanc this time on her visit to Pope Francis with her husband. Although it is traditional for women to wear black in the presence of the pontiff, Catholic queens and princesses are often extended the "privilege" of wearing white. On her last visit, Charlene, who converted to Catholicism before her marriage, wore black.

MONACO: Monte Carlo International Circus Festival, Jan. 19

After returning to Monaco, Prince Albert was joined by his two sisters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, for day six of the Monte Carlo Circus Festival. Now in its 40th year, this is a favorite annual event for the family. Caroline's son Pierre Casiraghi and Stephanie's children Louis and Pauline Ducruet and Camille Gottlieb were also there. Several of the family members were souvenir scarves from the festival, including Pauline who were it as a top under her white jacket.

BELGIUM/JORDAN: World Economic Forum, Jan. 19-20

Queen Rania has had a very busy year already. She continued her high-profile program by participating in the World Economic Forum's session about humanitarianism, which was also attended by Queen Mathilde. The two women met together on the topic last week in Belgium.

SPAIN: International Tourism Fair, Jan. 20

Queen Letizia was back to basics with a black suit and white blouse for a visit to an international tourism fair in her capital of Madrid. Among the world's royal ladies, she is definitely the queen of pants suits.

SPAIN: Happy Birthday! Jan. 20

Meanwhile, across town, Letizia's sister-in-law Infanta Elena celebrated her birthday by spending the day in a favorite pursuit of many royal ladies: riding horses.

UNITED KINGDOM: Women's Institute, Jan. 21

The Queen donned a gorgeous blue coat to visit the Women's Institute of West Newton. For our American readers, the W.I. is the largest women's volunteer organization in the U.K., though originally founded in Canada. They hold monthly meetings, raise money for their communities, and have a particular focus on foods and crafts. The movie Calendar Girls tells the true story of one chapter's delectable fundraising effort.

NORWAY: Happy birthday! Jan. 21

The festive week continued in Norway as the future Queen Ingrid Alexandra celebrated her 12th birthday by handing out a new set of official photographs. The pics were taken in August at the same time that the family posed for her grandfather's jubilee portraits. It is widely reported that the princess is wearing a ruby hear necklace given to her by her grandmother Queen Sonja.

21 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: A Dancing Princess

With all of the unusual personal and career decisions that Princess Stephanie of Monaco has made as an adult, it is sometimes easy to forget that she was once just an adorable little girl, the youngest child of a doting mother. Seriously injured in the car crash that killed her mother Princess Grace, the teenaged Stephanie was not even able to attend the funeral. Such a tragedy at such a young age almost certainly had a lasting impact on her. (The date on the photo caption is certainly wrong; it could not be circa 1960 because Stephanie was not born until 1965. This is more likely from around 1970.) Read my profile of her.

20 January 2016

Grace's Gorgeous Granddaughters

By Metro Goldwyn Mayer
via Wikimedia Commons
The late American-born Princess Grace of Monaco was well-known for her poise and, well, grace. Before marrying her prince, she had already had a successful career as an Oscar-winning Hollywood actress, as beloved for her beauty as for her talent. As her older granddaughters come of age, it is easy to see that several of them have inherited her gorgeous genes. Unfortunately with her early death at age 52 in a car accident, Grace never met any of her six granddaughters or five grandsons. [UPDATED March 10, 2019]


Charlotte Casiraghi
Now age 32, Charlotte is the second grandchild but the oldest of the granddaughters. She is the daughter of Princess Caroline and her second husband Andrea Casiraghi, who was killed in a speedboat accident when Charlotte was barely four years old. Well-established as a competitive equestrienne, with experience in fashion and magazine publishing, she is the official equestrian representative of the Gucci brand. Still unmarried, she has a two-year-old son, Raphael with French actor-comedian Gad Elmaleh. Charlotte's second child, Balthazar, was born in October 2018. Sources have reported that she is engaged to Balthazar's father, French film producer Dimitri Rassam, but that has not been confirmed. Although you can see traces of Grace in her, I think she very strongly resembles her mother's paternal grandmother, Princess Charlotte of Monaco, for whom she was named. (See my post 2010 post, Timeless Beauty: The Face of Monaco.)

Jazmin-Grace Grimaldi
Raised by her American mother in southern California, 26-year-old Jazmin was not officially acknowledged by her father Prince Albert until she was 14 years old. Her mother met the prince during a vacation in Monaco with her then-husband in 1991. Jazmin now spends some time with her father and half-siblings. She has not generally been included at official family events, but she did appear at the Princess Grace Awards with Albert and his wife Charlene a few years ago. As an illegitimate child she has no claim to the Monagesque throne but one imagines she will have a substantial financial inheritance. She graduated from Fordham University in 2014, and is pursuing a career in modeling, acting and music. Although Prince Albert initially denied his paternity of Jazmin, her genes clearly show with a strong resemblance to the grandmother who died a decade before she was born.

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Pauline Ducruet
The second child of Grace's youngest child Princess Stephanie and Stephanie's former body guard, Pauline was legitimized when her parents married a year after her birth. They divorced two years later. Like most of her family, Pauline is a competitive athlete. Her sport is diving and she competed as a teenager in the World Junior Diving Championships, the European Juniors, and the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics. Now 24, she studied at Instituto Marangoni in Paris and at Parsons The New School for Design (well known to fans of the reality show Project Runway) and living in New York, where she appeared to spend a good bit of time with her cousin Jazmin. She also completed an internship at Louis Vuitton before launching her own fashion company, Altered Designs. I think she favors Grace, but also shows her descent from the late Princess Charlotte.


Camille Gottlieb
Princess Stephanie has never officially named the father of her youngest child, but Camille has acknowledged him as Jean Raymond Gottlieb (another of Stephanie's body guards) and the two have been seen spending quality father-daughter time together. Because the couple never married, Camille is not in the line of succession, like her cousin Jazmin and Jazmin's younger half-brother Alexandre Coste. At age 20, Camille has shown an interest in pursuing a career in photography and actively campaigns against drinking and driving. As a young girl, she showed a remarkable resemblance to her mother and certainly has inherited Stephanie's square jaw but she has inherited the same delicate nose as her sister, Pauline. At the right angle, you can also see Grace in her face.

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Princess Alexandra of Hanover
As the daughter of Prince Ernst August of Hanover, 18-year-old Alexandra is the only member of her family to have been born a Royal Highness--the Grimaldis are a princely family, so they are Serene Highnesses. Ernst August is a distant cousin of the British Queen, and is descended, like her from the Kings of Hanover. At the time of Queen Victoria's accession in 1837, the personal union between the British and Hanoverian crowns was severed because Hanover did not permit female succession. If Britain had also banned women from the throne, Ernst August would now be the King of England with Princess Caroline as his consort, although Caroline has been separated from her philandering third husband for several years.  Alexandra is 13th in line for the throne of Monaco and was 405th for the British throne, before she removed herself from that list by joining the Catholic Church. She is a competitive figure skater, who competed most recently at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival. (BTW, Uncle Albert was an Olympic bobsledder and Aunt Charlene an Olympic swimmer.) In recent years, Alexandra's chin, mouth and nose appear to be leaning more toward her Kelly or Grimaldi genes, but her eyes are definitely from her father's side of the family.


Now a grand four years old, Princess Gabriella is a little doll. At this stage, I don't think she looks much like her twin brother Prince Jacques, the heir to their father Prince Albert's throne. In many photos, Jacques looks like their grandfather Prince Rainier, but either of the twins may yet display characteristics of their mother Princess Charlene's Wittstock family in southern Africa. In fact, Charlene's features are somewhat similar to Princess Grace's, so it may be years yet before we can differentiate which of her forebears Gabriella most resembles. At the time of her birth, Gabriella was also granted the title of Countess of Carlades. We now see her regularly at festive events in Monaco, including the Christmas celebrations and the circus.
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19 January 2016

New Family Photo: Norwegian Royals

In celebration of his 25th anniversary as King, Harald V issued several new portraits of him with the Queen, of the Crown Princely couple, and future heir Princess Ingrid Alexandra. He also shared this portrait of him, his wife, their children, and grandchildren. It is a treat, because we rarely see photos of Princess Martha Louise's children Maud, Leah, and Emma Behn. However, it seems odd that Crown Princess Mette Marit's son, Marius Borg Høiby, is not in the photo. Since the Crown Prince became his stepfather, Marius has been included in all of the royal family's official Christmas photos.

15 January 2016

This Week in Princesses

BELGIUM: New Year's Reception, January 7

The New Year's receptions continued. This time the Belgian King and Queen hosted one at their palace in Brussels for all of the members of the diplomatic service in their capitol.

JORDAN: A Visit to 10 Downing Street, January 8

Queen Rania of Jordan paid a solo visit to British Prime Minister David Cameron at his official London residents. I'm always impressed with the high profile of Jordan's queens. They are definitely more visible and publicly active than any other consorts from that region of the world. The next two prominent ladies are Lalla Salma of Morrocco and Sheikha Mozah of Qatar.

SPAIN: Zarzuela Audiences, January 8

Queen Letizia spent her Friday hosting a series of VIPs at Zarzuela Palace. Among her guests were representatives from an NGO that represents the rights of the Roma people in Spain.

UNITED KINGDOM: Gallipoli Commemoration, January 10

The Queen and the Duke of Duchess of Cambridge participated in a wreath-laying ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the withdrawal from Gallipoli during World War I. They didn't have to travel far: the ceremony took place in King's Lynn near Sandringham, where William and Kate live in Anmer Hall on the Queen's Sandringham Estate.

SPAIN: The Noos Trial, January 11

After years of legal wrangling the corruption trial of Infanta Cristina and her husband Iñaki Urdangarin finally started. It is expected to last weeks, perhaps months.

JORDAN/BELGIUM: Two Queens, January 12

Queen Rania of Jordan continued her visit to Europe with a stop in Belgium, where she was hosted by Queen Mathilde and met with the prime minister. She later met with the president of the European Commission. Rania is in Europe to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan and the impact it is having on her country's health care and education sectors in particular. You can follow her efforts on her website.

THE NETHERLANDS: New Year's Reception, January 12

King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima hosted a New Year's reception for a variety of people representing various parts of Dutch society.

MONACO: International Circus Festival, January 12

One of Princess Stephanie's favorite places on earth is the circus, so you can usually find her there when one is nearby. She even ran off with the circus back in 2002, living with in a caravan with an elephant trainer.

SPAIN: Help for Drug Addiction, January 12

Queen Letizia faced the cool Madrid sun in a light pink coat when she attended a meeting of the Fundación de Ayuda contra Drogaddicción (Foundation for Help against Drug Addiction). She is the honorary president of the foundation.

THE NETHERLANDS: Another New Year's Reception, January 13

Queen Maxima and her husband the king attended a reception for the diplomatic corps in Amsterdam. Although Maxima often wears brighter colors, we still see patriotic orange here capped off with a cape, of course. Her mother-in-law Princess (formerly Queen) Beatrix also chose a cape for the occasion

UNITED KINGDOM: Women New Portraits Exhibition, January 13

U.S. photographer Annie Leibovitz poses in front of a photograph of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a photocall to promote the exhibition 'Women: New Portraits' by Annie Leibovitz in London on January 13, 2016. The exhibition was commissioned by Swiss banking giant UBS and opens to the public on January 16, launching a 10-city international tour.

UNITED KINGDOM: Celebrating the Queen, January 14

The Queen's oldest grandchild, Peter Phillips, staged a photocall in front of Buckingham Palace to promote an event this summer honoring The Queen's 90th birthday. The luncheon will celebrate the 600+ organizations of which she is a patron. (As they mature, I think Peter and his cousin Prince William are starting to look more and more alike.)

14 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: Queen Maud's Land

On this date in 1939, Norway claimed an area of Antarctica and named it in honor of its Queen Maud, daughter of England's King Edward VII. When she married her first cousin Prince Carl of Denmark, Maud expected to live a rather quiet life on the fringes of Europe's intermingled royal families. Nine years later, Carl was named King Haakon VII of Norway and shy Maud was pushed into the limelight. The different areas of Queen Maud Land are named in honor of her son and daughter-in-law Olav and Martha and her three grandchildren Harald, Ragnhild and Astrid. The sea around the coast is named for her husband. No one lives in Queen Maud Land but it does boast several research stations, which serve as bases for a few dozen scientists at a time.

This photo shows Maud with her only child Prince Alexander, who had been renamed Olav when the family moved to Norway. He was the father of Norway's current king, and a favorite cousin of the British royals.

08 January 2016

Now We Are Five: Princess Josephine

Photo credit: Crown Princess Mary
Looks like moms take the best photos of their kids!
Today is the fifth birthday of Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda of Denmark and her twin brother Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, who was born 26 minutes before her. Of course, they also have two older siblings, Prince Christian and Princess Isabella. Their mother is Australian-born Mary Donaldson, whose parents were born in Scotland, and Crown Prince Frederik. Let's take a look back at year five, which included a broken arm for the active little girl and a trip to Australia for Christmas.

This Week in Princesses


In Denmark, the Royal family, led by Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, held their elaborate New Year's courts, which spread over a couple of days. In her annual message, the Queen announced her husband's retirement.


In Japan, the Imperial family made a balcony appearance for the Emperor to make his New Year's address.

Crown Princess Masako of Japan joined the Imperial Family for its New Year's balcony appearance. She looks well, and she also attended the New Year's Court, but did not participate in the public parts of it.

The Emperor's oldest granddaughters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako, were also included.

Amazingly, the Emperor's 100-year-old uncle Prince Mikasa was there with his wife Princess Mikasa (Yoriko). She is 92, and the couple has been married for 74 years! They had five children.


Two-and-half-year-old Prince George of Cambridge left behind his baby sister to start nursery school near his family's country home in Norfolk. The media was not invited for the occasion. Instead, his mum, The Duchess of Cambridge, took her own snaps, which were later released by her Kensington Palace office. The choice of this school is a departure: Prince William and his brother Prince Harry both started school in London.


The Spanish monarchs started their new year in their traditional manner, by presiding over the Pascua Militar, which calls for Court Dress -- put simply Letizia wears a long, formal dress in the daytime.


Queen Maxima opened her new year with a visit to a flower show for the presentation of the Agriculture Entrepreneur Prize.


Queen Maxima and King Willem Alexander attended the signing ceremony of a loan from the European Investment Bank to Qredit Microfinance Netherlands. Maxima has long been a champion of microfinance programs. As a former investment banker with an MBA, she is very knowledgeable on the subject.