This past week, I joined a panel discussion on the Monocle 24 Foreign Desk radio show to discuss the Abdication of King Juan Carlos and the future of Europe’s monarchies.by
1) King Felipe VI of Spain’s Installation to Take Place on June 19, 2014
The History: King Juan Carlos of Spain announced his intention to abdicate on Monday June 2, 2014. The installation of his son as King Felipe VI will take place on June 19 in a joint session of Spain’s Congress and Senate in Madrid. Since Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 televised coronation ceremony is so well known, a number of journalists have described the upcoming ceremony as a “coronation.” Felipe will not be crowned but instead sworn into office in the same manner as his father, Juan Carlos, in 1975. There will not be any foreign royalty or other heads of state in attendance at the ceremony because of the short notice and shortage of seating room in Spain’s parliament.
The surrounding festivities, however, will differ between the two reigns. Juan Carlos attended a celebratory Mass following his installation. There will not be any religious component to Felipe’s succession to throne. The focus will be on Felipe VI’s role as leader of Spain’s armed forces with the new King attending the installation in uniform and full military honours taking place outside Congress. The King’s military leadership played a crucial role in recent Spanish history. In 1981, Juan Carlos prevented a coup against Spain’s nascent democratic government by ordering the troops to stand down in a televised address as Commander-in-Chief.
2) Prince Philip will celebrate his 93rd birthday on June 10, 2014
The History: Queen Elizabeth II’s consort Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh will turn 93 on June 10, 2014. Despite health problems in recent years, Philip maintains a busy schedule of royal engagements and continues to support the Queen in her duties. Philip is the oldest and longest serving royal consort in British and Commonwealth history.
There have only been four other men married to undisputed reigning Queens over the course of English history. Philip II of Spain, consort of Mary I, and William III, consort of Mary II were both reigning monarchs in their own right. George of Denmark, consort of Anne, and Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, consort of Victoria, were both junior members of foreign royal houses like Prince Philip. From the beginning of the Queen’s reign, Philip made clear that he intended to re-imagine his role to support a modern monarchy. He explained to his biographer, Gyles Brandreth, “Queen Victoria was an executive sovereign, following in a long line of executive sovereigns. The Prince Consort was effectively Victoria’s private secretary. But after Victoria the monarchy changed. It became an institution. I had to fit in with the institution.”
3) Prince William to launch new United for Wildlife Campaign on Monday June 9, 2014
The History: The Duke of Cambridge will announce his new initiative for United for Wildlife, the online #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign, at London’s Google town hall on Monday June 9, 2014. At the launch, William will be joined by soccer star David Beckham. As part of the campaign, high profile athletes will encourage opposition to trade in illegal wildlife products by engaging with young people on social media.
The #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign combines three key assets that royalty have brought to philanthropy for decades: personal engagement with problems that require multi-generational solutions, a willingness to promote their message through new technologies and the public profile to bring different groups together in support of a single cause. By founding United for Wildlife, which combines the resources of seven global conservation organisations and the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, William is following in the footsteps of his father, Prince Charles and grandfather, Prince Philip who both champion environmental conservation efforts.by
I participated in a panel discussion about the abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain and the future of Europe’s monarchies on Monocle 24 radio (based in London, UK) today.by
King Juan Carlos of Spain announced today that he will abdicate in favour of his son Felipe, Prince of the Asturias, who will reign as King Felipe VI.
I was interviewed by Bloomberg News about the Spanish royal family prior to today’s announcement. Click here to read Spain’s King Juan Carlos Abdicates to Make Way for Youthby
I will be participating in a Postmedia online royal chat this Wednesday, June 4 at 2pm ET on King Juan Carlos of Spain’s plans to abdicate, whether the continental European trend toward abdication will have any influence on Queen Elizabeth II, royal attendance at the D-Day 70th anniversary ceremonies , Prince Philip’s 93rd birthday and the Duke of York’s upcoming visit to Canada.by
1) June 2 is the 61st anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, London.
The History: The ceremony did not only mark the beginning of one of the longest reigns in British and Commonwealth history. The Queen’s decision to allow the BBC Television Service to bring their cameras into the Abbey to film the coronation transformed the television from a curiosity to a household item. Hundreds of thousands of people purchased their first television set in the months preceding the broadcast. The friends and neighbours of these early adopters were introduced the new technology by attending coronation viewing parties, prompting a further spike in television sales in the months following the ceremony.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II transformed the television set from a technological curiosity to a consumer staple, revolutionizing the television industry worldwide. At 88, the Queen remains a strong influence over public perceptions of emerging technologies and industries. When the official British monarchy Facebook page went online in 2010, it received 40,000 likes within its first hour and introduced new users to social media.
2) From June 5 to June 7, three generations of royalty: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will participate in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France.
The History: Queen Elizabeth II is the only current Head of State who served in the uniform during the Second World War. In 1945, eighteen year old Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a mechanic at the Mechanical Transport Training Centre. As Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the future Queen learned to drive a truck, strip down engines and change tires. More than two decades later, the Queen recalled to Labour MP Barbara Castle that her wartime service was the only time in her life when she was able to measure her progress against that of her contemporaries.
Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. In 1942, he became a Lieutenant at 21 and was appointed second-in-command of the HMS Wallace, which took part in the Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. Philip then became second-in-command of the HMS Whelp, and joined the 27th Destroyer Flotilla of the British Pacific Fleet. The HMS Whelp was present in Tokyo Bay when Japan formally surrendered to the Allies on 2 September 1945.
3) Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco are expecting their first child at the end of this year.
The History: 56 year old Prince Albert of Monaco’s prolonged bachelorhood and childlessness prompted Princely Law 1.249, which defined the current order of succession in 2002. Between 1918 and 2002, the throne could only pass to direct descendants of the reigning Prince or Princess. As a result of the 1918 succession crisis, the Prince could adopt a child as heir. Albert’s grandmother, Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois, was the illegitimate daughter of Prince Louis II. Louis adopted Charlotte and made her his heir to prevent the principality from being inherited by his German cousin Wilhelm, a member of the House of Württemberg. According to the 1918 succession rules, if Albert neither fathered legitimate children nor adopted a child, Monaco could lose its independence and become part of France.
The 2002 succession reforms safeguarded Monaco’s autonomy. According to the most recent law of succession, the ruler’s siblings and their descendants are eligible to become reigning Princes and Princesses of Monaco. Albert’s heir became the elder of his two sisters, Princess Caroline. The 2002 succession reforms removed the provision for adoption of heirs. When Albert’s and Charlene’s child in born, the baby will be first in line for the principality. Since Monaco’s line of succession follows male preference primogeniture, a daughter has the potential to be superseded by any younger brothers who follow.by
My column in today’s Globe and Mail discusses Prince Charles’s remarks on Vladimir Putin. There’s a long history of royalty making critical remarks about Russia but still fulfilling their duties as constitutional monarchs.by
I discussed the cost of Charles and Camilla’s tour of Canada with Ruth Dunley at Postmedia Royalsby
Here’s today’s schedule of CBC radio interviews