Another baby for William and Kate!

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Prince George is going to be a big brother!

It was announced on Monday by Clarence House that Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge, is pregnant with her second child.

Unfortunately, as with the announcement almost two years ago that Kate was pregnant with George, the announcement was made early because Kate is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (which literally means “excessive vomiting in pregnancy”), and it forced Kate to miss an engagement in Oxford. However, instead of being treated in a hospital, Kate is being treated at Kensington Palace.

No other details are being announced yet; we should apparently hear a due month once Kate hits twelve weeks. However, it should be a spring baby (April-May-ish.)

Prince Charles has already expressed his excitement about becoming a grandfather again, and said that he hopes this little one is a girl.

I wish Kate a speedy recovery and a happy, healthy pregnancy!

Engagement of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden

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The Swedish Royal Court announced this morning that Prince Carl Philip – second child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia – has proposed to Sofia Hellqvist, his girlfriend of four years. Actually, Carl Philip asked her this morning, she said yes (obviously), and the press release was announced. (No sense putting it off, I guess.) The press conference can be seen here or here.

Sofia is a former model and reality show contestant (she participated in the Swedish version of the show Paradise Hotel in 2005) and was once photographed for a men’s magazine wearing only bikini bottoms and a boa constrictor wrapped around her upper body, but in more recent years she became the co-founder of Project Playground, a program in South Africa that offers recreational activities to disadvantaged children.

A wedding date has not been announced, but will take place some time next summer.

Grattis (congratulations) to the happy couple!

Spain has a new king

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At 10:30 this morning Madrid time, King Felipe VI (who has been king since midnight, when Juan Carlos’ abdication bill went into effect) was sworn in before the Cortes Generales, or Spanish Parliament. Before the ceremony, Juan Carlos presented Felipe with the red sash of Captain General (or Commander-in-Chief) of the Spanish Armed Forces.

Now that Felipe is King, his elder daughter Leonor is the very first royal daughter to hold the title of Princess of Asturias in her own right. (However, Spain still practices male-first primogeniture, so if Letizia ever gives birth to a boy, he will become Prince of Asturias unless Felipe and the Spanish Parliament changes the law.)

The official YouTube channel of the Spanish Monarchy has posted video of today’s ceremonies and the parade that followed. In case embedding doesn’t work, you can watch it here.

Video courtesy Casa Real.

Muchas gracias (thank you) to the Spanish Royal Court for making the video available so quickly.

¡Viva el Rey Felipe y Reina Letizia!
(Long live King Felipe and Queen Letizia!)

Spanish abdication video

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The official YouTube channel of the Spanish Monarchy has posted video of today’s abdication ceremony. In case embedding doesn’t work, you can watch it here.

Video courtesy Casa Real.

The bill that Juan Carlos signed goes into effect at midnight tonight (which at the time of this post is about twenty minutes away).

Muchas gracias (thank you) to the Spanish Royal Court for making the video available so quickly.

Spanish abdication livestream news

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Thank goodness somebody found some livestream news, because I was thinking that we’d only get pictures or video after the fact.

However, Spanish broadcaster RTVE has a web stream that will be running for the abdication and proclamation festivities. I believe everything abdication-related will be broadcast on Channel 1. Here is a description of everything RTVE will be broadcasting between the 18th and 19th. The Spanish Monarchy has provided a PDF with the schedule and other information, but it’s in Spanish (and Google Translate can’t handle PDFs), so if you can understand Spanish, it’s here.

After the proclamation (there will be no “coronation,” per se, and no foreign royals have been invited), Felipe and Letizia’s elder daughter Leonor will become Princess of Asturias, and Juan Carlos and Sofia will become “honorary” king and queen.

Hat tip to Order of Splendor for the legwork.

I’m a little bummed that the proclamation itself won’t take place until Thursday, as Wednesday is my birthday, and so far we already have two royal weddings on the 19th. But what can you do, right?

It’s a girl for Félix and Claire!

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Today is Father’s Day in the United States, so it’s especially wonderful that the Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg announced this morning that Princess Claire of Luxembourg gave birth to a little girl today. This is the first child for both Prince Félix and Princess Claire, and the third grandchild for Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.

Princess Amalia Gabriela Maria Teresa is also the first girl born in the Luxembourgish Grand Ducal Family with succession rights; Amalia is currently third in line behind her father. Originally, Luxembourg practiced male-only succession, though they switched to absolute primogeniture in 2011 (Amalia’s aunt Princess Alexandra was not born in the line of succession but was added in 2011, ahead of her younger brother).

Additionally, the title Prince (or Princess) of Luxembourg is reserved for the children of the reigning Grand Duke/Duchess and of the heir to the throne, so Amalia is a Princess of Nassau and a Princess of Bourbon-Parma, two royal houses of which the Luxembourgish Grand Ducal Family are members.

Félicitatiounen (Congratulations) to Félix and Claire!

Christening of Princess Leonore of Sweden

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Sunday afternoon (or morning California time), family and friends of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Chris O’Neill gathered at the Drottningholm Palace Chapel for Princess Leonore’s christening.

Leonore’s godparents are mostly family and friends of the parents. The official list of godparents is: Crown Princess Victoria (Madeleine’s sister), Louise Gottlieb (a friend of Madeleine), Patrick Sommerlath (Madeleine’s cousin), Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun (Chris’ brother-in-law), Tatjana D’Abo (Chris’ half-sister), and Alice Bamford (a childhood friend of Chris).

At the end of the ceremony, King Carl Gustaf presented Leonore with the sash of the Order of the Seraphim, the highest chivalric order in Sweden. Also, yesterday’s christening marked the announcement of Leonore’s monogram and coat of arms (which is the Swedish royal coat of arms, with one quarter replaced by the arms of Gotland; Leonore is Duchess of Gotland) and her inclusion with the members of the royal family. (Chris does not have a page as he declined royal rank when he married Madeleine last year.)

Unlike Estelle’s christening two years ago, the Swedish Monarchy has the full SVT broadcast available on their site here; you can also still watch it on SVT’s own site here. On the Royal Court’s English-language page, you can also see a small selection of pictures from the post-christening celebrations.

And, to finish, here is a picture of the happy family at Sweden’s National Day on June 6, complete with Leonore in a tiny national costume:

Madeleine and Chris present Leonore to the Swedish people for the first time. Chris also wiggled Leonore's toes. It was precious.

Photo by Frankie Fouganthin. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Princess Leonore’s christening livestream update

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With the christening of Princess Leonore of Sweden just days away, I hopped over to Swedish broadcaster SVT’s online player site to see what I could find. (As always with SVT Play, my method is simple: run a search for “leonore.”)

You can watch the christening here. Coverage begins around 11 am Stockholm time; and you can convert to your local time here. Also, according to the program information, the stream will be available for one full year after, as opposed to the 30 days that Madeleine’s wedding was available.

Diamond Jubilee State Coach makes debut

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Today is the annual State Opening of Parliament, and this year Queen Elizabeth will be traveling to Westminster Palace in a brand-new coach, a veritable celebration of British history built to mark her Diamond Jubilee two years ago.

I highly recommend this slideshow presented by the UK Telegraph, which highlights many of the special elements of this coach, and this video from the BBC, featuring a short description of the coach by the man who designed it. The doors are inlaid with wooden fragments from some of the most celebrated landmarks, buildings, and ships in English-British history: among the highlights are the Tower of London, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree, the Mayflower (the ship that brought the “Pilgrims” to North America in 1621) and Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545 and was raised in 1982.  In addition, there is a fragment of the Stone of Destiny (also known as the Stone of Scone), which has been the coronation seat of Scottish monarchs going back to as early as the 14th century.

This is one of the coolest royal things I have ever heard about. After the State Opening of Parliament, tourists will be able to visit this coach, as well as others, at the Royal Mews, where coaches, carriage horses, and the coachmen’s livery are kept and cared for.

A baby for Albert and Charlene!

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It was announced Friday that Albert and Charlene, The Prince and Princess of Monaco, are expecting a baby.

All the Princely Palace has said is that “The birth is expected at the end of the year,” but there seems to be a rumor going around that Charlene’s father is saying that she’s pregnant with twins. I choose to wait for official word, so I’m not going to say any more on that front.

This will be Charlene’s first child, though Albert also has two illegitimate children. Currently, Monaco still practices male-preference cognatic primogeniture, which means that if this child is a girl, she would be displaced as heir by any sons Albert and Charlene would have (even if Charlene’s father is telling the truth, and the hypothetical twins are an elder girl and a younger boy). It will be interesting to see if Monaco takes this opportunity to move toward absolute primogeniture, where the eldest child inherits regardless of gender.

Of course, above all, I hope that Charlene has a happy and calm pregnancy. Félicitations (congratulations) to the parents to be!

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