Princess Leonore’s Christmas Gift: News of a Sibling!

Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband, Chris O’Neill,  are expecting their second child.

Their daughter, Princess Leonore, is almost 10 months old. She will be an older sister sometime in the summer, the Royal Court has announced.

It is going to be a very exciting time for Sweden, notes Roger Lundgren, royal expert and editor of Kungliga Magazine. He was straightforward when it came to whether or not the birth would overshadow the June wedding of Madeleine’s brother, Carl-Philip.
“[But] I definitely don’t think it will overshadow Prince Carl Philip’s wedding in June,” he told Sweden’s The Local.  “If it was Victoria that was having a child, perhaps it could have been enough to overshadow a royal wedding, but not Madeleine,” he said.

RoyaltyNow! News

RoyaltyNow! News for December 13, 2014. Let’s review the week:

Let’s face it, Kate and William’s visit to NYC this week has dominated headlines everywhere. I was invited to appear on Sky News as well as BBC 5 Live on Monday morning to discuss aspects of the visit. It was incredibly exciting, incredibly early, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

If we can just look past the flash and glam of the Cambridges for a moment – Belgium’s dowager Queen Fabiola died Dec. 4th. She was devoutly Catholic and quite a personality within the Belgian royal family.

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Belgium Says Goodbye

The funeral for Belgium’s dowager Queen Fabiola was held today.

There were some touching and sad photos from the proceedings. Young Prince Gabriel sobbed, and Queen Mathilde leaned in to console him. King Phillippe, at one point, just stared into space with a look of utter shock and disbelief in his eyes.

I know what that heartbreak feels like. Fabiola was 86, just a little older than my grandfather, who died earlier this year at 84.

If Fabiola was anything like Ralph, I’d wager that no one saw her as elderly. When she died, it probably felt as if she’d gone far too soon. One of the many reasons losing Ralph was so difficult was that he seemed much younger. Instead of 84, he was more like 64. His personality was positive and energetic. He kept his daily routines, had a healthy diet, and had a razor-sharp intelligence that he fortified with science news, politics, and crossword puzzles. I imagine Queen Fabiola lived in a similar vein, defying age at each turn.

Ralph’s sheer force of will to survive, along with his bravery in the face of what he knew was inevitable still humbles and astounds me. Certainly I had no idea that he would die. I’ve feared it, but it always seemed to happen to other people. It never occurred to me that it would happen to him. And while I hoped he’d regain strength and live to see my daughter grow up to at least teenagerhood, he already knew that time was short. He never let on, though. He fought to the last.

Then the bad dream became real. For the Belgian royals, for me, for all of us who have lost an elderly loved one. The body was, in fact, too old. That strong, intelligent being needed to be released to return to God and be free from the shackles of a human form.

So to the Belgian Royal Family, please take heart. To all of you who have lost someone you love, especially if this is the first Christmas without them, remember 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 18. They are verses that I now live by and cherish. We will meet again. Until then, it’s just a long wait as we all make our way home.

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Monaco Celebrates Birth of Royal Twins

HSH Princess Charlene and HSH Prince Albert have announced the arrival of their twins Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier. The babies were born two minutes apart, Gabriella at 5:04 pm (local time) and Jacques at 5:06 pm. They were safely delivered today in the maternity ward of the Princess Grace Hospital.
Since Monaco still follows primogeniture, Jacques, despite being two minutes younger, is the next in line to the throne after Prince Albert. He is also styled Marquis of Baux.

Princess Gabriella is second in the line of succession, receiving the title of Countess of Carladès.

Many congratulations to the happy parents and best wishes to the little prince and princess!

“King James” Fouls With Duchess of Cambridge

“King James” Fouls With Duchess of Cambridge
By William Hanson – Etiquette guest writer

Who would have thought a few lines to the Daily Mail about basketball player Lebron James putting his arm around the Duchess of Cambridge would cause so much outrage? For the past 24 hours I have been getting some very forthright opinions on Twitter, Facebook and directly through my website. I even made an ESPN show last night where the host dubbed me the ‘World’s Worst Person in Sports’. I’m so touched.

Now, I really don’t mind the abuse. I’ve had worse and actually find it all very funny. Thankfully I have a thick skin. What I can’t see is why there is so much outrage. Yes, from a Royal protocol point of view Mr. James should not have put his arm around Catherine. As I said originally, I am sure she didn’t mind. Did I expect Mr. James to know the fundamentals of Royal protocol? No, although it would have been nice for one of his colleagues to brief him, and others, beforehand, as used to happen. Today we now all live with a pandemic of ‘CBB disease’ (Can’t Be Bothered).

But royal protocol aside, he had just finished a basketball game. He was sweaty, icky and moist. Would anyone, let alone a highly voguish lady who was obviously dressed up for the occasion, really want a smelly, wet arm placed around them? Probably not. My American correspondents seem to forget that we over here, and, I would hazard to guess, most of the rest of the world too, have absolutely no idea who Lebron James is, whereas I suspect most know the Duchess of Cambridge. (This assumption based solely on the fact that an estimated 2.4 billion people watched her get married into an institution that is thousands of years old.)

Royal protocol is getting relaxed, it is very clear to see that. Many say that it is the younger generation who are the root cause, although anyone with half an interest in the monarchy will know that Her Majesty The Queen has been known to move things along a bit, dropping presentations at court in 1958, and the stopping the requirement for her ‘subjects’ to not turn their back on the Monarch. That said, one former senior royal courtier told me recently that although this is no longer taboo it is still the practice to try to avoid it when at close proximity – out of courtesy, not necessity.

Protocol is not there to annoy, it is there to manage relationships. When countries meet, formally (state visits, summits) or informally (basketball games), it is there to ensure that both parties come away without losing face. As well-intentioned as Mr. James’s tactile gesture was to the Duchess of Cambridge he should know that you don’t hug perfect strangers. If the tables were turned it’s the equivalent of legendary British entertainer Sir Bruce Forsythe goosing the First Lady. It just shouldn’t happen. Common sense dictates that.

Moving the narrative along, much else can be learned from the official visit to the United States of America by Their Royal Highnesses. We saw Taylor Swift high-five the royal couple (also incorrect from a protocol/common sense point of view). But it wasn’t just the USA who raised eyebrows. Should the Duchess of Cambridge have worn such a bright choice of pink to the World Trade Centre memorial? A more subdued colour given the occasion may have been fitting, although I suspect both she and her dresser were thinking that in a big grey city in December, hot pink may stand out more and be more striking. That it did, but a block white or cream would have done the same thing but been a little more becoming to the occasion. Catherine is still learning lessons from the Diamond Jubilee river pageant where she wore a red dress that made her vanish against the red cushions and furnishings of the royal barge – whilst The Queen was visible to all in a pristine white.

However many high-fives and sweaty hugs the Duke and Duchess had to endure, would they have cared? No. Absolutely not. They may have clocked it, but will have seen far worse before now. They don’t care as, unlike Mr. James and Miss Swift, they will be around in 20 years’ time and need not play up to cameras with publicity stunts. Shake it off!

(c)2014 William Hanson