A weather man across the border in Germany - only a few kilometres away - quipped that it would be quite pleasant if this was April weather. But it is supposed to clear up over the weekend. Maybe not in time for the annual photo shoot, but at least before the parade on Sunday.
The Danish royals have been coming to Gråsten almost every summer since 1936, when then Crown Prince Frederik and his Swedish born wife Crown Princess Ingrid started the tradition. The Danish government had given them use of the castle which, given its location near the German border in a part of Denmark which had just rejoined the nation, held great significance for all Danes.
After her mother's death in 2000 Queen Margrethe has kept up the tradition of bringing the family together in Gråsten and eldest son Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have started a tradition of their own, by coming here ahead of the Queen's arrival and spending time as a family.RB Hans Jacobs
* Birthday 2015
Crown Princess Victoria is celebrating her 39th birthday Thursday. She will make, as per tradition, make an appearance on the lawn of Solliden, the royal summer residence on the Baltic Sea-island Öland and greet well wishers who will have come in their hundreds. Victoria will be accompanied by her parents King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and of course by her children Princess Estelle, Prince Oscar and her husband Prince Daniel.
* Birthday 2014
The island celebrates 'Victoria Day', 14 July, as its own national day. Victoria has hardly ever skipped an appearance, and for her 25th birthday even brought many of her European royal friends along. Only in 2010 the islanders and holidaymakers had to make do without the Crown Princess, who at the time was still enjoying her honeymoon.
* Birthday 2011
The 'meet and greet' at Solliden is not the only festivity of the day. The entire royal family joins Victoria in the early evening for a charity concert and event in support of the Victoria Stipendium - a reward for succesful sportspersons. This year sees New York Rangers NHL-goalie Henrik Lundqvist being honored. There are also musical performances, and the whole event is later broadcast in Swedish television SVT.
* Birthday 2008
The Swedish royals have already been spotted on the island; though Prince Daniel and his sister in law Princess Sofia made a side trip to Kalmar on the mainland, to attend a concert. King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrived from Germany on Wednesday.
© RB Hans Jacobs; Photos by © RPE Albert Nieboer, and screenshots SVT
Swedish Queen Silvia officially opened the World Equestrian Festival CHIO in the German imperial city of Aachen, accompanied by King Carl Gustaf and Danish Princess Benedikte. Some 41,000 spectators saw and heard the queen on Wednesday evening deliver her opening speech in her native German. She was interrupted several times by a warm applause from the stands. “I know the public here in Aachen is very special”, the queen remarked.
Sweden is this year's partner country for the great equestrian event, often described as the 'Wimbledon of the equestrian sport'. Sweden put on a great show during the opening ceremony, which was not hampered by the rain at the start which forced the royal couple, which arrived in an open carriage specially brought over from the Royal Mews in Stockholm, to shelter under a giant umbrella.
There was an unexpected tribute to King and Queen too. As ABBA's 'Dancing Queen' was played during the opening show, reference was made to the song's origins – it was first played for the wedding of Carl Gustaf and Silvia in June 1976 – and to the royal couple 40th wedding anniversary only a few weeks ago. The crowd again burst out in a thunderous applause, and Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustaf acknowledged the tribute by standing up and waving, with the queen squeezing her husband's hand afterwards.
During the week long Festival special attention will be given not only to Sweden but also to Queen Silvia's World Childhood Foundation – much to the queen's pleasure. © RB
Queen Mathilde of the Belgians spent two days at the United Nations in New York. Her working visit was in her capacity as Special Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. The queen also lobbyed with Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders for a non-permament seat for Belgium in the UN Security Council in 2019-2020. For this she attended a reception held at the UN Monday evening.
The queen on Monday also spoke at an UN High Level Event dedicated to the 'Rehabilitation and reintegration of children affected by armed conflict'. "If there is one cause we must strive for in these unsettled times, it is the future of our children. Their future is our responsibility and our societies will benefit from their development. That is exactly why the harm caused by war and conflict is of major concern", the queen said in her speech.
"The protection of children’s rights is a cause that is particularly dear to me personally. So I consider it a privilege to be able to take an active part in raising awareness and advocacy on their behalf, both in my own country and at the level of the UN organisations. As Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium, I closely follow the impact and consequences of armed conflict and emergencies on children."
"The impact on children of our collective failure to prevent and end conflict is devastating. In fact, conflict prevention should be our common goal. Increased efforts should be made to identify long-term solutions that will reduce and mitigate the root causes of conflict, such as poverty", Queen Mathilde said.
"Research shows that effective reintegration programmes for children are not only crucial for their own well-being, but are also a critical factor for durable peace and security. In a sense, such programmes are a preventive measure and a tool for breaking the vicious circle of violence", she added.
On Tuesday the queen addressed the participants in the UN High Level Debate 'UN@70 Human Rights'. Queen Mathilde stressed how protection of human rights is interlinked with sustainable development,
CROWN PRINCESS VICTORIA
Earlier this year the Queen was asked by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to join the Advocacy Group for the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Other group members are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Shekha Moza of Qatar, along with football star Lionel Messi and singer Shakira. The members shall assist the United Nations in the mobilization of the international community for achieving the SDG's by 2030. The SDG's were adopted by the Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.
In previous years Mathilde repeatedly worked to promote the so-called Millennium Development Goals, such as children rights, the right to good health and the right to quality education. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the next step forward as an universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN members will use to frame their policies over the next 15 years.
The objectives are to be achieved by 2030 and include, for example, agreements on ending child marriage, improving access to financial services, climate control, reducing child mortality and poverty. In total there are seventeen so-called SDG's.
© RB Hans Jacobs
Princess Carolina of Bourbon-Parma, the youngest daughter of Princess Irene of the Netherlands, has moved with her husband Albert Brenninkmeijer to Hong Kong. A spokesperson for the royal family Bourbon-Parma confirmed the move Tuesday.
Mr. Albert Brenninkmeijer, scion of the famous C & A Brenninkmeijer family, was until this spring head of the Swiss branch of C & A and is now directing C & A's business in Hong Kong and further afield, in China.
Princess Carolina worked until recentlyas the Swiss "representative for partnerships" of UNRWA, the UN organization dedicated to the support and development of the Palestinian refugees. The couple have two children. © RB
Three years after her voluntary abdication former Dutch Queen Beatrix is still keeping a busy schedule. Not always in the public eye, but with private visits she is keeping abreast of developments in Dutch society. She also pays special attention to the charities she is patron of, and as always the Arts in its many shapes and forms, hold her attention and interest.
King Willem-Alexander was asked Friday how his mother had made the transition from Queen to Princess. He declined to answer. "I cannot and will not speak for my mother", he said. But it was obvious she was still very active, and also on occasions represented him at home and abroad. She was also spending a lot of time with her grandchildren, he added. He thought she started her new phase in life in high spirits and the past three years have passed quickly.
Princess Beatrix recently travelled to Bratislava, in Slovakia, to open an exhibition at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, situated on a peninsula in the Danube River, and to symbolically mark the hand over of the Dutch EU presidency to Slovakia. She met with Slovak President Andrej Kiska at the Presidential Palace. © RB Hans Jacobs
Dutch King Willem-Alexander will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday August 5th. He has been invited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The king is an honorary member of the IOC.
Asked last week whether he would take his family to watch the games as well, King Willem-Alexander answered that was 'probable'. His daughters Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane, have been to both Winter and Summer Olympics, notably in Vancouver and London.
Attending the Games will be during their Summer holidays, and therefore will not be in an official capacity. © RB
Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma and his wife Princess Viktória had front row seats Saturday at the fashion show of Dutch designer Andy Van den Krommenacker in the sumptuous garden of the Netherlands' ambassador's residence in Rome. The show was part of Rome's fashion week 'AltaModa' and brought Van den Krommenacker, who is popular with members of the Dutch Royal Family, after many years back to the Italian capital.
Van den Krommenacker's recent Autumn-collection was inspired by work of Hieronymus Bosch and his masterpiece "Garden of Delights". "Tonight the embassy garden has become a Garden of Delights", Dutch ambassador to Italy, Joep Wijnands said. He pointed at the special bond between Van den Krommenacker and Rome, where the fashion designer in 2007 won the prestigious' Look of the Year Award for Best Foreign Contribution.
Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma is Dutch ambassador to the Holy See, as his posting to the Vatican is called in diplomatic terms. He and his wife Viktória have been living in Rome since October 2014. The couple has two children.
© RB Hans Jacobs
Despite a mild concussion Queen Máxima still took part in Friday's pre-Summer photo op in the back garden of the Dutch royal family's residence Eikenhorst in Wassenaar, near The Hague. Princess Amalia showed up on crutches after she sprained her right ankle the night before.
'Part of growing up' her father King Willem-Alexander said – he was surprised by all the media attention given to her injury. He was glad in his youth the media focussed less on every scratch or cut he and his young brothers got. It was part of life the King quipped.
Máxima said she still suffered from dizziness and 'great headaches' and had to take rest. The King added it was difficult to get his wife to do just that, but promised he would see to it that she did take her rest. The Queen fell – presumably at a party – last week Friday but ignored the signs of a possible concussion and did not see a doctor till five days later.
The photo session was chaotic and got out of hand at times – and had Queen Máxima fear for the central piece of art in the garden, and the flowers in front of the terrace. Security personnel had to contain the photographers and cameramen who were vying for the best position in front of the royal family.
The King and his daughters looked on in bemusement. The scuffling and even swearing made for good entertainment he said afterwards and gave them something interesting to look at. It was worse than in Britain the British photographers remarked; they were already sour because they had missed Prince George's little excursion with his parents that morning.
As by tradition – although skipped in 2013 – the royal couple also took questions from the press, in two separate rounds, for the written media and tv and radio. Questions covered a wide range of issues, and the King and Queen also made a statement about the recent deaths of two Dutch soldiers serving with the United Nations in Mali.
Queen Máxima said all three daughters succeeded in going to the next level at school, and the King added that Princess Amalia will take up Chinese as one of her subjects in the next school year. Her parents had taken her on an introductory vacation to China last year, just ahead of their State Visit to the People's Republic. Chinese had interested the Princess of Orange, and she had now chosen it as an elective subject.
The royal couple did not give any hints about their holiday plans. But the King, who will attend the opening of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro early next month, did not exclude the possibility he would take his daughters to watch some of the sports in Brazil.
© Royalblog, Hans Jacobs
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