01 January 2017

Princess Round-Up 2016

Each year at this time, I take a look back at my princess "predictions" for the previous year. For 2016, I predicted a relatively "quiet" year compared to the weddings, jubilees and babies that had occurred in the five years leading up to it. We knew we had two babies coming in Sweden and that we would celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday, otherwise, not much else was on the horizon. So, let's take a look at my more specific ideas and see how insightful (or not) I may have been.

The Ongoing Saga of Infanta Cristina
Via Wikimedia Cmmons
This is the case that just won't end. More than five years ago, corruption charges were brought against Infanta Cristina of Spain's husband for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars of public money. A few years later, charges were brought against Cristina herself; she is accused of using some of that money for personal expenditures. With her testimony finally scheduled for January a year ago, I expected a resolution in 2016. Boy was I wrong! Her testimony was delayed until March--her defense basically was, "I'm just a mom; my husband handles all the money stuff." Then, there were more delays. Testimony finally concluded in July, but a decision was never announced. In fact, by late fall, the court was granted a three-month extension to make its decision. That puts us into 2017. In the meantime, the scandal is not helping the monarchy. In fact, many believe it was a primary cause of her father's decision to abdicate the throne in 2014 and her brother, the new king, distanced himself from it by stripping of her title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca in 2015. If she is convicted, look for a renunciation (or removal) of succession rights.

Windsor Romances
Princess Eugenie

By Carfax2 via Wikimedia Commons
Turns out all of my longstanding hopes for Princess Beatrice and Dave Clark finally bit the dust in 2016 with the couple's breakup. To be fair though, I had refused to predict her marriage in 2016, but I did for reasons of reverse psychology. In the meantime, my thoughts about her sister Princess Eugenie's possible engagement to Jack Brooksbank looked close to realization with reports that such an engagement would be announced by the end of the year. Didn't happen, but some are holding on to hopes that the announcement was merely delayed because of cousin Zara's sad news (see below). However, I doubt they were planning an engagement announcement in the last week of the year. Meanwhile, I had ventured to hope that Prince Harry just might have a secret love we didn't know about. It wasn't true in January but it was true by summer and in the late fall we first got wind of it. Just days later, Prince Harry himself confirmed it with an unprecedented statement calling for an end to the harassment of his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, and her family. (See my post about that.)

More Swedish Babies
Okay, I know it was a little overboard to think that the Swedish princesses might have yet another baby after the three ladies managed two weddings and four babies in the 34 months between Madeleine's June 2013 wedding and the birth of Prince Nicholas in April 2016. Despite some ridicule from others and my own usual preference for not watching for baby bumps, I still would not be surprised if Alexander's mum, Princess Sofia, is already pregnant again. It's just a sneaking suspicion that would be confirmed fairly soon if accurate. (My sister and I are the same age for 10 days every year, so it can definitely happen!)

Stephanie and Charlene
Princess Charlene
By Tokuburai
via Wikimedia Commons
I wrote that I would not be surprised if we saw pregnancies from Princess Charlene of Monaco or Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg. If Charlene is planning another pregnancy, she would likely be trying again now that the twins are two years old. As for Stephanie, who is now approaching her fifth wedding anniversary, I have no doubt that she is hoping for a pregnancy and that it is likely a very painful situation for her. All of my prayers are with her. Having endured the kind wishes and prying questions of others as I struggled with fertility issues, this is the last time I will mention this regarding Stephanie unless there is an official announcement regarding an impending arrival or a confirmation of fertility issues. It is extremely personal, and I don't know for sure that Stephanie and Guillaume are facing it (although it be very weird for an heir to the throne, especially a Catholic one, to intentionally not  have children, but I do wish more high profile people would share their stories. These couples often feel very isolated but they are not alone. And, while Stephanie and Guillaume certainly rejoice in the birth of new nephew Prince Liam this year, it may be hard to watch others having children.

Oh Zara
Speaking of fertility issues, our hearts are broken for the Queen's oldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips and her husband Mike Tindall. On November 30, they announced a pregnancy (I had predicted one might happen after the 2016 Olympics). On Christmas Eve, however, they shared that the child had been lost in a miscarriage. Such a terrible loss for them. The good news is that many (most?) women recover and go on to have another child--there is even a term for babies born after a miscarriage: "rainbow babies." Prying for a rainbow to alight on the Tindall family.

In other baby news, we were not disappointed by the folks I've decided to call the "new Monagesques." With the six adult children of Prince Albert and his sisters Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, plus 18-year-old Camille Gottlieb and 17-year-old Princess Alexandra on the horizon, I predicted that we could expect a wedding or a baby, and we got a baby! No official announcement was made, but Beatrice Borromeo, wife of Caroline's son Pierre Casiraghi is clearly expecting a child in the first part of 2017.

The Unmentionable
RIP Queen Anne
By MrBoise via Wikimedia Commons
I talked about the numerous royals who are now beyond the "life expectancy" of their generation and worried that we might lose some of them. Despite a couple of Twitter death hoaxes and a lingering cold that kept 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth from church on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day (today), she is thankfully still with us and we wish her to continue for a long, long time yet. This last 10 days though has been very scary as her husband Prince Philip (now 95) was also ill though he managed to go to church, Queen Sonja of Norway (79) was also too sick for church on Christmas Day, Queen Silvia of Sweden (73) was actually hospitalized with a cold that made her dizzy, former Grand Duke Jean  (95) was in hospital with bronchitis over Christmas, and just after the holiday, former Queen Paola of Belgium (79) fell and broke her back. Thankfully, they all made it into the New Year!

Unfortunately, however, we had to bid farewell to former Queen Anne of Romania (92). See my tribute to her.