Prince Charles performs Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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Saturday was the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (as far as we can tell) and is also the day that Shakespeare’s birth is observed (for reasons that are beside the point here). The British Broadcasting Corporation, along with the Royal Shakespeare Company, presented a special night of celebrating Shakespeare’s life and legacy with performances of scenes from his plays as well as works from other artists that have been inspired by him.

One such performance centered on one of the most well-known quotes from Shakespeare: “To be or not to be, that is the question,” from Hamlet. In this sketch, seven different actors (many of whom have played Hamlet in the past) help actor Paapa Essiedu (who is currently playing Hamlet with the RSC in Stratford-Upon-Avon) figure out the best way to perform such a famous line. The last person to give his input is Prince Charles, who attended the performance with his wife Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall. Of course, like everybody else, his input is not very helpful.

You can see the video here.

If you’re interested in seeing more, RSC OnScreen will be replaying this special in theatres on May 6. In the United States, FathomEvents will be broadcasting it in theatres on May 23. More information can be found in the links.

Prince Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil of Sweden

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The cabinet of Sweden met Thursday in honor of the birth of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s son, and his names were announced. His full style and title is His Royal Highness Prince Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil, Duke of Södermanland.

The announcement from the Royal Court can be read here.

The announcement does not explain who he is named after, so Alexander may simply be a name they both liked. Erik is the name of Sofia’s father, and Bertil is one of Carl Philip’s middle names (Carl Philip Edmund Bertil) and the name of Prince Bertil of Sweden, Carl Gustaf’s uncle and one of Carl Philip’s godfathers.

The ducal titles in Sweden are mostly in name only, and only high-ranking members of the Swedish Royal Family are given them. The names are taken from the historical provinces of Sweden (though most of these historical provinces don’t exist as such anymore); the last Duke of Södermanland was Prince William of Sweden, son of King Gustaf V.

The first photo of Alexander has been shared by the Royal Court, which you can see here.

Länge leve Prins Alexander!
(Long live Prince Alexander!)

A boy for Carl Philip and Sofia!

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It was announced today that Princess Sofia of Sweden has given birth to a boy. This is the first child for both Sofia and Prince Carl Philip, and the fifth grandchild for King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Both Sofia and the little prince are doing well.

Carl Philip spoke to the press at a small press call (photo above) to share about his new son. He said that everything went well and how overwhelmed with emotion he and Sofia are at finally meeting their new son.

Sometime soon, probably later this week – and perhaps as early as tomorrow – King Carl Gustaf will meet with his cabinet to reveal the baby’s name and dukedom. The new little prince is now fifth in line behind his father Prince Carl Philip.

In cousin-ly news, the christening of Prince Oscar has been announced for Friday May 27. After the hubbub over Nicholas’ christening, hopefully SVT or another Swedish network will cover it, as I’ll have to miss it because of having to work that day.

Grattis till Carl Philip och Sofia! (Congratulations to Carl Philip and Sofia!)

Prince Oscar Carl Olof of Sweden

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The cabinet of Sweden met today in honor of the birth of Crown Princess Victoria’s son, and his names were announced. His full style and title is His Royal Highness Prince Oscar Carl Olof, Duke of Skåne.

The announcement from the Royal Court can be read here.

The announcement does not explain who he is named after, but Oscar is the name of a small number of Swedish kings. Carl is not only the name of Victoria’s father (Carl XVI Gustaf), and brother (Prince Carl Philip) but is probably the most common name of Swedish kings – especially in the Bernadotte dynasty, but going back to at least 1550 and Carl IX. (King Carl IX was actually only the third king named Carl, but called himself Carl IX because of a fictional history of Swedish Kings. Every Swedish King Carl after him kept the count going anyway.) Olof is Prince Daniel’s first name (Prince Olof Daniel Westling Bernadotte), but also the name of the second King of Sweden, Olof Skötkonung, who reigned in the late 900s.

The ducal titles in Sweden are mostly in name only, and only high-ranking members of the Swedish Royal Family are given them. The names are taken from the historical provinces of Sweden (though most of these historical provinces don’t exist as such anymore); the last Duke of Skåne was King Gustaf VI Adolf, Prince Oscar’s great-great-grandfather.

Länge leve Prins Oscar!
(Long live Prince Oscar!)

A boy for Victoria and Daniel!

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Princess Estelle has a little brother!

It was announced today that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has given birth to a boy. This is the second child for both Victoria and Prince Daniel, and the fourth grandchild for King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia. Both Victoria and the little prince are doing well.

Daniel spoke to the press at a small press call (photo above) to share about his new son. He said that everything went well and little Princess Estelle – who turned 4 last week – was asleep at the time, so she’ll wake up to find out she has a little brother.

Sometime later this week – perhaps as early as tomorrow – King Carl Gustaf will meet with his cabinet to reveal the baby’s name and dukedom.

Sweden has absolute (aka gender-blind) primogeniture, which means that Estelle cannot lose her place in the succession after her mother (who – since the succession law went into effect in 1980 – will also succeed to the throne of Sweden ahead of her younger brother). The new little prince is now third in line behind his mother, Crown Princess Victoria, and Estelle, and ahead of his uncle Prince Carl Philip.

Today was a day of mixed emotions in the Swedish Royal Family, as it was announced earlier in the day that Johann Georg Prince von Hohenzollern, husband of Carl Gustaf’s sister Princess Birgitta, passed away at the age of 83. My thoughts go out to Princess Birgitta and her family.

Grattis till Victoria, Daniel, och Estelle! (Congratulations to Victoria, Daniel and Estelle!)

Princess Madeleine of Sweden hosts children’s party at the palace

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NB: This post has been edited to include video.

This is some of the sweetest news I’ve heard in a while. (Let’s face it: 2016 feels like it has gotten off to a pretty lousy start.)


Video courtesy Min Stora Dag.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden is the royal patron of Min Stora Dag (“My Big Day” in English), which grants special experiences to severely ill children. (It’s the Swedish version of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.) Sometimes, in addition to helping individual children, Min Stora Dag will also put together group events, such as the one today.

Princess Madeleine – joined by her daughter Princess Leonore, who just turned 2 – hosted a fairytale tea party at the Royal Palace for a handful of children from Min Stora Dag. According to People Magazine, the children were treated to juice, cake, and cookies and a show by a sleight-of-hand magician. But the best part to me is how the children were received. You can see by the video (and the photos that were shared by the Palace and Madeleine’s Facebook) that the room is decorated to the hilt, as it would be if the palace were playing host to grand dignitaries, and Princess Madeleine is dressed for a gala occasion in gown, tiara, and her Order of the Seraphim sash and star, as well as her family order. (Svensk Damtidning says Madeleine wore this same gown and tiara to the Nobel Prize Banquet back in December.) And then she sat on the floor with the kids.

This story and these pictures really brightened my day, and I wanted to share it with you all, my lovely readers.:) Also, I don’t do this very often, but Make-A-Wish is a charity I am a big fan of. You can follow the links if you would like to donate to Min Stora Dag (link in Swedish) or the Make-A-Wish Foundation (USA) (International).

King Harald V’s Silver Jubilee

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Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

This past weekend, King Harald V of Norway celebrated his silver jubilee, marking 25 years on the throne. Harald ascended the throne on January 17, 1991, on the death of his father, King Olav V.

Since Harald’s accession anniversary fell on a weekend, the day was full of many events and activities. On Saturday evening, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit hosted a private dinner for the extended royal family. Sunday featured a service in the Palace Chapel, a winter sports day, a balcony appearance, and a gala performance.

There were also new portraits of the Royal House (more exclusive than the royal family, it only includes the monarch and his/her spouse, the heir and his/her spouse, and the eldest child of the heir, in this case 11-year-old Princess Ingrid Alexandra), including this photo of three generations of current and future monarchs of Norway. (I’m a sucker for photos like this.)

Photo by Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

Gratulerer to King Harald on 25 years, and here’s to many more.

Retirement of Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark

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Photo by Henrik Bach Nielsen. (CC BY 2.0)

Yesterday was the annual New Year’s Eve speech by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and at the end, she announced that her husband, The Prince Consort of Denmark, will be retiring beginning January 1, though Prince Henrik did attend today’s New Year’s Day levee (a banquet given for royal and government officials). It is said that Prince Henrik will continue to support his patronages, but will be giving up state events and the public side of being royal.

No reason was given apart from 81-year-old Henrik’s desire to “slow down,” and I’m not familiar enough with him to try and make comments about his apparent health or whether he has medical issues. There have been some people wondering whether this is in relation to remarks Henrik made last year about wishing to be called “king consort” because he is married to a Queen. However, we may never know for sure.

It is a little unusual for a senior royal (much less spouse to a sovereign) to step back from royal duties without giving a reason, but regardless, I wish Prince Henrik a happy retirement and many happy moments with his family.

I also wish you, my lovely readers, a very happy 2016! It’s too soon to tell, but if this is any indication, we might be in for a year of surprises!

Prince Nicolas of Sweden’s christening

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It’s been announced that the christening of Prince Nicolas of Sweden will take place on October 11 (one week from tomorrow), and you will be able to watch it on SVT Play here. The broadcast should begin around 12 noon Stockholm time; you can convert to other time zones here.

Apparently SVT had decided not to broadcast the christening service, but changed their minds after public outcry; they will be producing a scaled-back broadcast.

Queen Elizabeth II becomes longest-reigning British monarch

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The royal barge Gloriana rowed down the River Thames as part of a flotilla to celebrate today's milestone.

Photo by Loco Steve. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At approximately 5:30 PM UK Time (9:30 AM California Time), Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom or any of its preceding nations (Great Britain, England, Scotland, Wales, or Ireland), passing Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, 216 days.

It’s actually difficult to know exactly when Elizabeth became the longest-reigning monarch because it’s difficult to know exactly when she became Queen. Because the Sovereign never dies (in a matter of speaking), the Crown passes immediately from one monarch to the next in the time of a breath (the previous monarch’s last breath, to be specific and a little morbid), and King George VI died in his sleep, some time in the early morning hours of February 6, 1952. However, historians at Buckingham Palace have pulled out their calendars and calculators and (having settled upon “around 1 AM” as the time of Elizabeth’s accession to the throne) figured out that Elizabeth definitely had passed Victoria’s record by 5:30 PM, give or take a few minutes.

Additionally, with the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia earlier this year, Elizabeth became the world’s oldest ruler, and as only King Bhumibol Adulyadej (also known as Rama XI) of Thailand has been ruling longer (69 years, 92 days at the time of this writing), Elizabeth is also the longest-ruling Queen in the world (though not of all time – Eleanor of Aquitaine ruled the Duchy of Aquitaine for 66 years and 358 days in the 12th and 13th Centuries).

There were celebrations across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth today, but The Queen treated it as any other working day, opening a new railway in Scotland. According to rumors, Elizabeth doesn’t exactly like to “celebrate” anything to do with her accession, since the only reason she acceeded to the throne was through the (arguably premature) death of her father, whom she loved dearly.

Still, hearty congratulations to Her Majesty on this milestone, and may she continue to reign for many years to come.

Long live Queen Elizabeth!

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