Category Archives: Royal News

Monday Royal News Roundup: Trooping the Colour, Prince William’s First Father’s Day and Juan Carlos’s title

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh parading down the Mall for the 2014 Trooping the Colour Parade. Photo credit: Chris Jackson?GETTY

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh parading down the Mall for the 2014 Trooping the Colour Parade. Photo credit: Chris Jackson?GETTY

1) The Queen Celebrated Her Official Birthday in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2014 at the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony

The History: In the British Isles, the monarch’s birthday has been a time for public celebrations for centuries. Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603) employed a “Fire Master of England” to release fireworks on special royal occasions. The earliest versions of the Trooping the Colour parade date from the reign of King Charles II (r. 1660-1685). Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, regiments displayed their flags in a parade, enabling all soldiers to recognize their regimental colours for use as a rallying point in battle. During the reign of King George II (r. 1727-1760), Britain decided to combine the celebration of the sovereign’s official birthday with the Trooping the Colour Parade. In 1901, King Edward VII, whose actual birthday was November 9, decreed that the Trooping the Colour should always take place in June and was the first monarch to review the troops in person at this event. The Queen has attended Trooping the Colour every year of her reign except for 1955, when a railway strike prompted the cancellation of the event.

The celebration of the sovereign’s official birthday varies throughout the Commonwealth. For more on how the Queen’s birthday is celebrated outside the UK, including Victoria Day in Canada see my blog post “Why The Queen’s Annual Birthday Celebrations Take Place On Different Days Around The World”

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at the polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

Prince George and the Duchess of Cambridge at the polo match. Photo credit: Splash news

2) Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge celebrated his first Father’s Day on the polo field. The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George were there to watch the game.

The History: Prince George of Cambridge, who will be one year old next month, made his first public appearance since his April tour of New Zealand and Australia with his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, when he attended a charity polo match on Father’s Day.  George wore red and white striped overalls to the Jerudong Polo Trophy at Cirencester Park Polo Club demonstrating that William and Kate are not constrained by “blue for a boy, pink for girl” stereotypes when dressing their son. George’s overalls are reminiscent of earlier eras when all royal babies were dressed similarly. For example, the generation of European royal babies born in the two decades before the First World War wore white dresses as infants then sailor suits as toddlers.

Prince William enjoys a close relationship with his son, George, and father, Prince Charles. Multiple generations of harmonious father-son relationships are rare in royal history. For centuries, raising an heir often meant raising a rival. The 18th century House of Hanover was notorious for the poor relationships between monarchs and their adult sons but other dynasties also had their share of absentee, resentful or overbearing royal fathers. In contrast, both Charles and William were present in the delivery room when their children were born and have taken an active role in child rearing.

For more on the history of royal fatherhood, see my Father’s Day 2013 column, “A New Kind of Royal Father

Princess Letizia, Prince Felipe, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Photo credit: Abraham Carralero/Getty

Princess Letizia, Prince Felipe, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Photo credit: Abraham Carralero/Getty

3) King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain are expected to keep their titles after the installation of the new King Felipe VI on June 19

The History: Following the installation of their son as King Felipe VI, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia are expected to retain the titles of King and Queen. Spain’s government is also taking measures to ensure that Juan Carlos retains some degree of the judicial immunity he enjoyed as King after he abdicates, examining measure to prevent civil suits, such as paternity cases.

Spain has debated the appropriate title for a reigning monarch’s father before. When Juan Carlos became King in 1975, he succeeded the dictator Francisco Franco rather than his father, Infante Juan so the new King had to address the question of his father’s title under a restored Spanish monarchy. Two years after Juan Carlos became King, Juan formally renounced his rights to the throne and received the historic title of Count of Barcelona. Since the Catalan parliament in Barcelona approved a declaration asserting that Catalonia is a sovereign entity last year “Count of Barcelona” would be a controversial title for Juan Carlos in the 21st century.

The Counts of Barcelona were instrumental to the eventual unification of Spain. For more on Barcelona’s royal history, see my blog post, “A History of Barcelona in Three Royal Marriages.”


facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Monday Royal News Roundup: King Felipe VI’s Installation, Prince Philip’s 93rd birthday and Prince William’s New Initiative

Felipe, Prince of Asturias in Ecuador in 2013

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.

For more on King Juan Carlos and Spain’s royal history, click here to read my column from January, “The Reign in Spain of King Juan Carlos”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Canada in 2010

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.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canada in 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Canada in 2011

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.

For more of my thoughts on royalty, philanthropy and the environment, click here to read my column from 2013, “Royalty, Environment, A Natural Partnership”

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Interview: The Abdication of King Juan Carlos of Spain

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 Youth

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Upcoming Royal Chat: Will Queen Elizabeth abdicate?

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.

Click here to read the chat and submit your questions!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Monday Royal News Roundup: Coronation, Commemoration and Charlene

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. June 2, 1953

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. June 2, 1953

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.

Princess Elizabeth Serving in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War.

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.

Princess Charlene of Monaco at the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill in June, 2013

Princess Charlene of Monaco at the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill in June, 2013

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.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

My column in today’s Globe and Mail about Prince Charles’s remarks on Vladimir Putin

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.

Click here to read “A Future King and that Hitler thing” in the Globe and Mail

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather