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!


Another baby for Victoria and Daniel!


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Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel with their daughter Princess Estelle.

Photo by Kate Gabor, courtesy kungahuset.se

Princess Estelle is going to be a big sister!

It was announced today by the Royal Court that Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is expecting her second child, due in March of 2016.

Grattis (Congratulations) to the happy family!

RepliKate: Charm Bracelet


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Not long after her wedding to Prince William, Kate began to be seen wearing a bracelet with a charm on it sporting her royal cypher on one side and what appears to be Camilla’s on the other. (More about royal cyphers here.) You can see a detail shot here, from when Kate appeared at Wimbledon in 2011. (There has been nothing from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, or Kensington Palace to confirm anything beyond “it was a personal gift.”) I’ve actually wanted to RepliKate this for a long time, but only just recently found the perfect charm.

I found my charm here on etsy (though my sister purchased it for me as a birthday gift). Kate’s bracelet appears to be in gold, but silver looks better with my skin tone. And, of course, it would be silly of me to wear a “C” charm when that’s not my name, so my charm has my own initial (“R” for “Robyn”). So it arrived the other day, I attached it to a bracelet I already had, et voila! A charm bracelet fit for a princess!

(It was a little hard to photograph the charm, considering that it is very reflective. However, the engraving is lovely and very well done, and the charm is better quality than you would expect given the cost. I highly recommend it.)

Photo by me.

Photo by me.





Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf of Sweden


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The cabinet of Sweden met today in honor of the birth of Princess Madeleine’s son, and his names were announced. His full style and title is His Royal Highness Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Duke of Ångermanland.

The announcement from the Royal Court can be read here, along with a picture of Nicolas that was made available yesterday.

The announcement does not explain who he is named after, but after Leonore was born, Madeleine and Chris said that Leonore was a named they loved, and I presume the same is true for Nicolas. Paul is Christopher’s middle name as well as the first name of Chris’ father (Paul Cesario O’Neill) and grandfather (Paul Holian O’Neill), and Gustaf is the second name of Madeleine’s father King Carl XVI Gustaf as well as the first name of Carl’s father (Prince Gustaf Adolf) and grandfather (King Gustaf VI Adolf).

The ducal titles in Sweden are mostly in name only, and only high-ranking members of the Swedish Royal Family are given them. (Crown Princess Victoria did not receive one at birth like her siblings did, but was granted one in 1980 when she was instated as Crown Princess due to the constitutional amendment establishing absolute primogeniture.) The names are taken from the historical provinces of Sweden (though most of these historical provinces don’t exist as such anymore); this is the first time a Swedish royal has been given the duchy of Ångermanland.

No video of the cabinet meeting has been made available by the Royal Court, but SVT has a video here that can be watched for one year from today.

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

A boy for Madeleine and Chris!


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Princess Madeleine, Chris O’Neill, and Princess Leonore at Prince Carl Philip’s wedding, June 13, 2015. Photo by Frankie Fouganthin. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Princess Leonore is a big sister!

Less than 48 hours after her brother’s wedding, The Marshal of the Realm in Sweden has issued a press release that Princess Madeleine has given birth to a son. This is her second child and the third grandchild for King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia (and the first grandson). Both Madeleine and the baby are doing well.

When Leonore was born, there appeared to be some questions about whether or not Madeleine and Chris’ children would be royal, but apparently The King announced before Leonore’s birth that royal status and places in the line of succession would be given to all of their children.

Estelle and Leonore’s names and territorial designations were announced by The King in a cabinet meeting a few days after their births, so I think we could hear something before the week is out.

Grattis/Congratulations to Madeleine, Chris, and Leonore!


Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s royal wedding wrap-up


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To begin, if you would like to relive the wedding festivities (or you missed them the first time), you can rewatch the SVT coverage of the wedding (standard, with subtitles, or with sign language interpretation) or the whole just-under-10-hour broadcast until December 10. (There’s also a video of the wedding – or just the highlights – on YouTube.)

Photo by Frankie Fouganthin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden married his long-time girlfriend, former reality TV star/glamour model and children’s charity founder Sofia Hellqvist in the Royal Chapel of Stockholm’s Royal Palace this afternoon, and as royal weddings go, this was full of surprises.

The first surprise was a new tiara worn by Sofia. I haven’t heard anything about the provenance of the tiara beyond that it is a gift to Sofia from the King and Queen. It has what appear to be palm or honeysuckle elements in diamond topped by emeralds. It “popped” wonderfully against Sofia’s dark hair and the beautiful coral, orange, and blush roses that covered the church and Vita Havet Rooms in the Royal Palace where the wedding banquet was held.

The second surprise was the music. To be honest, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Sofia and her father entered to an instrumental version of “Athair ar Neamh,” a Gaelic song by Irish singer Enya (one of my favorite singers, actually). Later in the ceremony, a choir sang both Coldplay’s “Fix You” and a Swedish version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” However, the notable moment came at the recessional, when we were all treated to “Joyful, Joyful,” a gospel setting of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”… which became famous as the finale of the Whoopi Goldberg film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. To say that came out of nowhere is an understatement. (For starters, the order of service only says “Music based on the Finale from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No 9.”) (Please note that I am not trying to be catty. The Sister Act movies are guilty pleasure movies for me. I was just taken completely by surprise by its unexpected inclusion, that’s all.)

Beyond that, however, it was obvious that Carl Philip and Sofia are crazy in love with each other, and wanted to have their wedding their way, and that’s all that matters. I wish them all the best.

Grattis till Prins Carl Philip och Prinsessan Sofia!
(Congratulations to Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia!)

A quick note: An unbelievably huge thank you to all my lovely readers and to those who just discovered this blog for the first time this past weekend. Saturday brought the most page views this blog has ever had in its three-and-a-half years of existence, and I’ve now reached over 4,900 visitors and over 10,800 views. I still feel like a relative newbie in royalty blogging circles, and seeing my page view stats go through the roof was a lovely surprise to cap off a lovely day. I’m so glad my blog was able to help so many join in on the festivities through the wedding web stream.

Prince George makes balcony debut after Trooping the Colour


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Video courtesy CNN.

This morning was the annual Trooping the Colour parade in London, which serves as Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday parade (her actual birthday is April 21). It also hearkens back to an old infantry tradition in which a regiment’s flag (or “colours”) were “trooped” through the ranks so soldiers would be able to recognize it in battle.

After the regiment (this year it was the Welsh Guards, who are celebrating the 100th anniversary of their commissioning) marched past The Queen, the Royals return to Buckingham Palace for a balcony appearance and a flypast by the Royal Air Force. And this year, Prince George made his very first balcony appearance, just a few weeks before his 2nd birthday. He pointed at the crowd and waved, and seemed to be fascinated by the planes that flew overhead. After the flypast, the Royal Family went back inside. (The flypast – and the balcony appearance by extension – would have lasted longer, but some of the antique planes were held back due to the threat of rain.)

I highly recommend watching Trooping the Colour at least once. The precision of the soldiers is fascinating, but my favorite thing is the mounted band of the Household Cavalry – a marching band mounted on horseback.

Prince Harry receives Royal Victorian Order


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Prince Harry during the Invictus Games, September 2014

Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee. (United States Air Force/Public Domain)

A few days ago, Prince Harry of Wales was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. (The press release calls him Prince Henry of Wales, which is his birth name. Harry is the nickname that has been used his entire life.) Below is some information on the Royal Victorian Order from the last time I posted about it (when Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, received her Dame Grand Cross in 2012):

“The Royal Victorian Order is one of the few orders of chivalry still awarded by the Queen’s sole discretion, and she doesn’t just hand them out. Generally, recipients of the RVO are people who have served the Sovereign in some personal capacity – they have been diplomats who organized a State Visit, members of the royal household, and members of the Royal Family. However, not every member of the Royal Family automatically receives an RVO, though most of the more prominent members have: current Knights and Dames Grand Cross include The Dukes and Duchesses of Kent and Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, The Earl of Snowdon (Princess Margaret’s husband), and Prince Michael of Kent. In the Queen’s more immediate family, The Princess Royal, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Andrew The Duke of York, and now The Duchess of Cornwall have received the honor.”

Because the RVO is given by Queen Elizabeth’s prerogative, she doesn’t have to give any reasons for the honor beyond “for services to the Sovereign,” but it is speculated that it is to acknowledge Harry’s extremely successful state visits over the last few years (including trips to Belize, the Bahamas, and Jamaica; Brazil; the United States; Estonia; and Australia and New Zealand), his work with wounded and injured military personnel*, and his creation of the Invictus Games, an international Paralympic-style sports event for wounded, sick, or injured service personnel and veterans.

This means that the next time Harry makes an appearance in full uniform (potentially at next weekend’s Trooping the Colour), he will have a new collar and star to affix to his uniform. Kensington Palace tweeted this picture of Harry’s new awards.

*This includes patronage of Walking with the Wounded’s expeditions to the North Pole, South Pole (which Harry joined, becoming the first British royal to reach the South Pole), and Mount Everest.

Correction (6/11/15): This article previously said that Prince Harry had received a sash and star. Recent photos of Prince Harry at the Camp Bastion Memorial dedication have shown that it’s actually a collar and star. The article has been changed to reflect this. Oops.

Prince Carl Philip’s wedding livestream update


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Swedish broadcaster SVT has finally listed their program for Prince Carl Philip’s wedding to Sofia Hellqvist next Saturday, June 13th. Unlike with Princess Madeleine’s wedding nearly two years ago, there will be only one program, which you can watch here. (I do hope there will be subtitles, as I can pick meanings out of written Swedish, but I have nearly no skills at spoken Swedish.)

The wedding will begin at 4:30 PM Stockholm time, but the SVT broadcast will begin at 3 PM Stockholm time, which converts to 6:00 AM Pacific Time, or 9:00 AM Eastern Time. You can convert any other locations here. Also, the Swedish Royal Court has established two official hashtags for social media about the wedding: #royalwedding2015 and #kungligtbröllop2015 (note the umlauts/trema/dots over the o).

(It is of note that Britain’s Trooping the Colour parade is also scheduled for June 13 this year; the parade is set to begin at 10 AM London time, which is 2 AM Pacific or 5 AM Eastern. I might attempt to watch both, but choose wisely if you’re in a time zone where you’ll be sacrificing a lot of sleep.)

Update (6/14/15): There are a handful of videos available now to watch of the wedding festivities. You can see the links here.

Monaco twins christening video


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Video courtesy Monaco Channel.

For those who weren’t able to watch the christening live, Monaco Channel has made the video from their livestream available for replay on YouTube. It is a full Catholic baptism mass, and so the service itself lasted about an hour and a half, after which Albert and Charlene walked the streets of Monaco on their way back to the Princely Palace and greeted the people of Monaco. (The twins went back to the Palace by car with their nannies.) The entire video lasts 2 hours and 42 minutes.

If you would prefer highlights, Paris Match has provided this video and the Princely Palace has posted an album of photos to their Facebook page.