29 February 2012

Rosvall Royal Books

The publishing company Rosvall Royal Books has finally launched its website: http://www.royalbooks.se/.

At the website you will find information about the magazine Royalty Digest Quarterly, books which the publisher has for sale, forthcoming publications and even a blog.

The publisher and editor is Ted Rosvall, who established Rosvall Royal Books in 1985 and has so far published 20 books on the Royal Families of Europe. In 2006 he established the magazine Royalty Digest Quarterly, which is a successor to Royalty Digest. A journal of Record, which was published from 1991 to 2005 by Piccadilly Rare Books.

Ted Rosvall, who was President of the Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies 2000-2008, is among others known for his two editions of the genealogy Bernadotteättlingar (The Bernadotte Descendants).


25 February 2012

Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau - latest

The Dutch Royal Court/RVD issued the following statements yesterday, 24 February 2012, concerning the condition of Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau, who was buried by an avalance at Lech, Austria on 17 February 2012:
His Royal Highness Prince Friso, 24 February 2012 - 13.10 RVD, 24 February 2012:

The head of the medical team attending His Royal Highness Prince Friso at Innsbruck university hospital has just issued a press statement giving further information on the Prince's condition and his outlook for the future. The statement was as follows (the written text may differ slightly from the spoken text):

Prince Friso was brought to Innsbruck university hospital by rescue helicopter at about 14:00 on 17 February, after being buried by an avalanche in Lech. He was covered for approximately 25 minutes. At the hospital, after receiving initial treatment in the reanimation unit, he was taken straight to the intensive care trauma unit. This unit specialises in treating the most seriously injured avalanche patients with the utmost medical and technical expertise. The unit's head is Dr Wolfgang Koller.

Our unit was notified of the patient's imminent arrival and we were able to prepare everything in advance. Prince Friso was brought to the hospital under reanimation conditions. Due to the length of time he was covered under the snow, his brain had been deprived of oxygen. The result was cardiac arrest, which lasted approximately 50 minutes. The patient had to be reanimated during this entire period. Fifty minutes is a very long time. One could say, too long. We hoped that the patient's mild hypothermic state had sufficiently protected the brain against excessive damage. Unfortunately, our hope was in vain. Since last Friday, a team of specialists has been fighting to save Prince Friso's life. Yesterday, a first MRI-scan was possible, without bringing the patient into danger. Since this examination and the latest neurological tests yesterday evening it is clear that the oxygen deprivation has caused extensive damage to the patient's brain. At present it is not certain whether he will ever regain consciousness. In any event, rehabilitation will take months, if not years. Prince Friso's family will now look for an appropriate rehabilitation facility.

His Royal Highness Prince Friso, 24 February 2012 - 14:29 RVD, 24 February 2012:

On behalf of the Royal Family, the Government Information Service wishes to make the following announcement.

The members of His Royal Highness Prince Friso's family need to come to terms with the Prince's situation, and to reorganise their lives accordingly. The Royal Family therefore requests the media to give them the space to do so by respecting their privacy.
It is difficult to say much after reading these sad news. I am lost for words, and just would like to add that Prince Johan Friso, Princess Mabel and their family will continue to be in my prayers.


HRH Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland

In an extraordinary Council of State at Stockholm Palace yesterday, 24 February 2012, HM King Carl Gustaf announced that the newborn daughter of HRH Crown Princess Victoria and HRH Prince Daniel, had got the names Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, that her call name was Estelle and that the king had bestowed on her the dukedom of Östergötland (Ostrogothia).

Most people, whether «experts» on royalty or not, were certainly taken by surprise by the choice of call name. Most of us expected a traditional royal name like Christina, Ulrika, Sofia or Margareta, not a name of French origin never used in the royal family before. Yes, the American-born wife of Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg, Estelle Romaine Manville (1904–1984), bore that name, and so do two of her grandchildren (Countess Maria Estelle Bernadotte of Wisborg, b. 1962, and Countess Astrid Désirée Estelle Bernadotte af Wisborg, b. 1987) as well as one of her great grandchildren (Countess Astrid Ruth Estelle Bernadotte af Wisborg, b. 1999), but they belonged or belong to the Bernadotte family, not the royal family. Did Crown Princess Victoria ever meet Countess Estelle? Not that it really matters. I gather that the Crown Princess couple first of all chose the name because they liked it and not because they wanted to name their daughter after a distant in-law.

The second and third name, Silvia and Ewa, after the princess' grandmothers, Queen Silvia and Anna Kristina Eva (*) Westling, were more predictable. When the princess was born on Thursday 23 February, I initiated at the Scandinavian Royals Message Board a name-guessing competition where one would get 5 points if one guessed the right call name, 3 points if one managed to put the other names in the right position and 1 point for each correctly guessed name but not put in the right position. Obviously no-one came up with Estelle, but quite a few suggested Silvia and Eva/Ewa. Funnily enough only two people – and I was one of them – managed to put the names Silvia and Ewa in the right position and thereby won the competition by scoring 6 points. Not sure where the Crown Princess couple got Mary (why not Maria?) from, I cannot find it in Prince Daniel's ancestry table, but it might indicate that Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will be one of Princess Estelle's sponsors at the christening.

I was certainly one of the many who would have preferred a more traditional royal name for the newborn princess, or at least a name with Swedish/Norse roots. For what is the monarchy about if not traditions? Now, I am not saying that all old traditions should be kept just for the sake of it - the witness declaration (confirmation) is a tradition which I view as rather empty and meaningless and could easily be dropped. But royal names, especially names for people in the direct line – Princess Estelle is the heir's heir and will one day inherit the Swedish throne – symbolize continuity, the long line of monarchs, and unite the past with the present and the future. Of course it was up to the parents to decide. And it is certainly nothing «wrong» with the name Estelle as such, even if it is not a traditional royal name, and we will get easily used to it. Some of the reactions after the name was announced were rather hilarious. It is nice that people care so much about royal names and royal traditions, though.

I read some funny comments on Twitter yesterday. Several people recalled that Joey Trabbiani in the sitcom «Friends», had an incompetent agent with the name Estelle. Not to forget George Constanza's mother Estelle in «Seinfeld». And the actress playing the character «Sophia» in «The Golden Girls» was Estelle Getty... I am of course not suggesting that Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel picked the name from a sitcom, though, just adding some humour into it. It seems needed after some of the reactions to the name!

(*) For some reason the Royal Court uses the spelling «Ewa» for Prince Daniel's mother, and maybe that is her own preference. It should be added, though, that she is officially registered as Anna Kristina Eva Westling, i.e. with a «v», not «w», cf. Ratiset.se.

Postscript 26 February 2012 at 09.00

It seems that the Countess Estelle Bernadotte af Wisborg connection was not so far-fetched as I had originally thought. The Swedish daily Aftonbladet published an article on Saturday 25 February where we are told that Crown Princess Victoria has loved the name Estelle since she was a little girl and that the countess was an important woman to King Carl Gustaf. Estelle's husband Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg was one of Carl Gustaf's sponsors («godparents») and he was a good friend to have after the king's father Prince Gustaf Adolf died in 1947. The king's mother Princess Sibylla and Countess Estelle remained close friends after the count was killed in 1948. According to royal expert Roger Lundgren Crown Princess Victoria also met Countess Estelle a few times before the countess died in 1984. Crown Princess Victoria is also close to Count Folke and Countess Estelle's son Bertil (b. 1935). Another son, the younger Count Folke, b. 1931, was very touched when he heard about the name choice, cf. VG.no's reproduction of Aftonbladet's article.

Sources for the postscript:
VG.no 25 February 2012 and various comments made by Roger Lundgren at the Scandinavian Royals Message Board 25-26 February 2012.

Updated on Sunday 26 February 2012 at 09.00 (postscript and information about Countess Maria Estelle Bernadotte af Wisborg in the main article added), Friday 2 March 2012 at 16.40 (postscript corrected, cf. the comments section) and last time on Saturday 3 March 2012 at 09.00 (yet another Estelle example added).


23 February 2012

Royal birth in Sweden

I had just eaten breakfast this morning and was about turn off the radio when I was told that Prince Daniel of Sweden was about to give a press conference at Karolinska Universitetssjukhuset in Stockholm.

I was therefore able to listen to the prince's initial comments broadcasted on NRK P1 before I had to make my daughter and myself ready for a new day at kindergarten (day care) and at work.

So all this is «old news» already, but for the record: Prince Daniel could inform the media and through it the Swedish people the great news that Crown Princess Victoria at 04:26 had given birth to a girl, who was 51 centimetres long and weighed 3280 grams. Sweden has finally got a new member of the royal family, happy news that have been rejoiced throughout the country. A birth gives the monarchy new, positive energy and popularity.

The birth was duly announced at Kungahuset.se and Facebook:
The Office of the Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce that H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria gave birth to a daughter on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 04.26 am.

Both mother and child are in good health.
The birth was marked by a 2 x 21 gun salute. Tomorrow there will be several formal events, as earlier explained: A witness statement (confirmation) will be drawn up, King Carl Gustaf will at 11.15 a.m. preside over an extraordinary Council of State where he will inform about the names and titles of the new princess, and a thanksgiving service, a so-called Te Deum, will be held in the Royal Chapel at noon.

The Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, issued the following statement today:
– My warmest congratulations to Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and Sweden's new princess. It is a great day for the whole royal family and it is also a great day for Sweden. I and many Swedes with me shares the happiness with the Crown Princess couple and the longed-for child. At the birth of a new princess will the Swedish monarchy soon enter a new era of queens, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says.
Only a few hours after giving birth, Crown Princess Victoria left the hospital together with Prince Daniel and the newborn child. The royal court issued statements by members of the family. The King and Queen said that they «very much shared the happiness with the Crown Princess couple. We remember well the joy of becoming parents and we wish the new family a wonderful time in peace and quiet. It is a grandchild we have longed for and we are both very proud and happy today».

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine, younger brother and sister of Crown Princess Victoria, said: «– We are both thrilled about our new family member. We have looked forward to becoming an uncle and aunt, and we wish all happiness and love to our sister, Daniel and their daughter.»

Prince Daniel's parents Olle and Ewa Westling followed up: «– We are feeling a great joy today as our Daniel and our Victoria now have become parents. We wish Daniel and Victoria all happiness with the new family member and we will support and help out as grandparents. »

Also Prince Daniel's sister Anna Maria Westling Söderström and her family sent their best wishes: «–I feel a great joy as my brother and Victoria now have become parents. It is a very longed-for child. As an aunt I together with my family look forward to learn to know the child and to follow her developments. It is also very nice that my daughters have got a cousin, something they have longed for.»

The new princess became second in the line of Succession to the Swedish throne the very second she wa born. For the first time since 5 January 1997 when Prince Bertil died there are now four persons in the line of succession. And as many people have commented on today, we will some years from now have a generation of at least 5 reigning Queens in Europe: Baby Bernadotte, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands and Infanta Leonor of Spain. One should of course take in mind that the Prince and Princess of Asturias could become parents to a boy who would take Infanta Leonor's position as second in line. So for now Prince Christian of Denmark will be «the only man at the hen party». The picture could change a little bit if/when Prince William of Wales, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and Prince Albert of Monaco get children. One should of course not forget Prince Joseph Wenzel, the oldest son of Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein. But born in 1995 he is some years senior to the future reigning European queens and kings.

The name game has been going on for a long time already, and has of course been intensified after the birth. Many educated guesses have been given about what call name the new princess will have. Christina, Sofia, Margareta and Ulrika seem to stand out, but other names like Astrid, Désirée, Katarina and Lovisa have been mentioned. One could perhaps also add names like Amelia and Cecilia from the Holstein-Gottorp period. Names like Silvia, Sibylla and Ewa are quite possible choices as one of the four names the princess is expected to get. Well, the names are of course already decided on, but will first be announced tomorrow. My personal favourite call name would be Astrid, but I think it is more likely that the princess will be named either Christina, Sofia or Margareta. What about the duchy? There are of course many possibilities, but one title that have been mentioned often today is Duchess of Närke.

The surname will of course be the same as the dynastic name, Bernadotte. As earlier explained under the current name law new royals have to be registered with a surname.

Friday 24 February will be a great and exciting royal day in Sweden, as 23 February was!


21 February 2012

HM King Harald V of Norway's 75th birthday

HM King Harald V of Norway celebrated his 75th birthday today, 21 February, which was marked with the traditional 21-gun-salute and flag-flying.

The birth of an heir to the Norwegian throne was received with great joy back in 1937. The newborn prince, who was born at the Crown princely estate Skaugum in Asker outside Oslo forty-five minutes after noon on Sunday 21 February 1937, was the third child of Crown Prince Olav (later King Olav V) and Crown Princess Märtha. The Crown prince couple also had 2 daughters, Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid, who were born in 1930 and 1932 respectively, but at the time the succession law was agnatic. The birth of an heir was therefore great news!

The first news bulletin only told that «Crown Princess Märtha has today at 12.45 given birth to a son». Later another bulletin was announced: «Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess gave today at 12.45 birth to a healthy son. The birth took a normal course. Both the Crown princess as well as the little prince are doing well. Skaugum 21 February 1937. Anton Sunde. Hans L.C. Huitfeldt.» All the quotes are translated from Aftenposten's morning edition 22 February 1937.

If the book «The prince and the nanny» by Odell M. Bjerkness (2008) is to be believed, the newborn prince weighed 3170 grams at birth (the book is full of mistakes, but the appendices which among other include «Excerpts of weight and milk charts, February 23-April 23, 1937» are surely trustworthy).

Aftenposten follows up by informing that Professor Dr. Anton Sunde and Dr. Hans L.C. Huitfeldt were present at the birth, assisted by chief midwife Mrs. Guldborg Tornøe and midwife Mrs. Koren. The last-mentioned also assisted at the births of Princess Ragnhild and Princess Astrid. Mrs. Koren was also responsible for the nursing care of the newborn baby.

The prince's grandfather King Haakon VII called Prime Minister Johan Nygaardsvold to inform him about the birth. It was soon decided that an extraordinary Council of State would take place on Monday 22 February at 09.30. The royal resolution published in Norsk Lovtidend (the Norwegian Legal Gazette) said, in my translation:
His Majesty The King announces in council that Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Märtha yesterday at 12,45 gave birth to a healthy son. His Majesty decided that the newborn Hereditary Prince should be christened under the name Harald. His Majesty asked that this information was made known to the Storting.
Prime Minister Johan Nygaardsvold also made a statement which was not published in the Legal Gazette, but found its way to the columns of among others Aftenposten's evening edition on 22 February:
«Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness. It is with great pleasure that the Government has received the communication about the event that has taken place. But this is not only a happy event. It is also a historical event, which unite Norway's old and new history together in a happy way. The Government – and with it the Norwegian people – wishes to extend our best wishes to the parents, who have got a son, the two princesses, who have got a brother, and Your Majesty and Her Majesty The Queen who have got a «son's son» [grandchild]. May our hereditary prince – this Sunday child – be healthy and well. May he be only a joy to the royal house. May he get a place in the hearts of the people.»
Soon after the Council of State had taken place, the prime minister hurried down to the Storting to give the following announcement at 10 a.m:
«In accordance with the Constitution Article 6 it is made known to the Norwegian Storting that her Royal Highness Crown Princess Märtha yesterday at 12.45 gave birth to a healthy son. The newborn hereditary prince will be christened under the name Harald.»
The President of the Storting, Magnus Nilsen, thereafter held the following speech:
«The Storting has hereby received the official communication that a Norwegian prince has been born, an event in the country's history which has not occurred for about 600 years. The Norwegian people surely shares with the royal house the joy of the happy event and on this occasion best wishes are sent to the royal house from all parts of the country. The President asks for the Storting's authority to the presidium to extend its best wishes to the royal house.»
The birth was marked by a 21-gun-salute at noon, 22 February 1937.

The salute regulations were of course followed also today, as already mentioned. A great day to celebrate the 75th birthday of the king! Nice, sunny weather – quite a contrast to the 70th birthday when the temperatures were below –15 C. I was rather impressed by the long line of people at the Palace Square today, waiting patiently to sign the congratulation protocol. An electronic protocol was also made available at Kongehuset.no (click on «Legg til en melding») from 9 a.m. to midnight (so there is still time!).

King Harald's 75th birthday was celebrated privately, and apparently abroad, as the Crown Prince banner was flown from the Palace today (go here for a short summary of the flag-flying rules in force from 1 June 2003). Actually, it was not easy to see which banner was flown, as it was too windy, but the assistant information director Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen insisted that it was the swallowtail banner which was flown!

The official celebrations of King Harald and Queen Sonja will take place on 31 May 2012 and will among others include a service at the Oslo Domkirke (Cathedral) and an arrangement at the roof of the Norwegian Opera house.


19 February 2012

The Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway, February 2012



(3) Statue of King Karl III (XIV) Johan of Sweden and Norway.

The photos were taken in the morning of Sunday 5 February 2012 when I was on my way to the House of Literature for the Reagan Conference. In the last few days we have had milder temperatures, so some of the snow is probably gone by now (I can't see the Palace from my office window in Haakon VIIs gate (!)). I guess it is on time to post the photos before it is too late. We could of course get more snow this winter, but March is not that far away.

As you can see renovation work is being done on the roof of the Royal Palace. The work will be finished in "ultimo 2012".

Updated on Tuesday 21 February 2012 at 13.30 (one half-finished sentence deleted).


Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau - latest news

The condition of Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau, who was hit by an avalanche on Friday and was buried for 20 minutes under the snow, remain unchanged.

The Dutch Royal Court/RVD has in a press release earlier today informed that "His Royal Highness Prince Friso's condition remains unchanged. His condition is stable, but he is not out of danger. It is possible that the doctors will not be able to give a full prognosis until the end of this week."

This evening the court has issued the following statement:

The members of the royal family are sincerely grateful and deeply touched by all the messages of support and kindness they have received since Prince Friso's skiing accident. They are a great support to them at this difficult time.

17 February 2012

Tallinn, Estonia

(1) Remains of the fortifications.



(4) On the way to the main square (Raekoja plats).

(5) Raekoja plats and the town hall.




(9) One could write a book with only photos of the many beautiful gates in Tallinn! Maybe someone has done it already?



(12) The Occupation Museum. Much smaller than I had expected, and it didn't take too long to get through the exhibition. I have to say that the war museum in Riga was much more impressive.

(13) Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Beautiful!

(14) Danebrog Towers.

(15) As the legend goes, this was the place where the Danish flag, Dannebrog, fell down from heaven during the battle of Lyndanisse.

(16) Most of the inscription and the colours of the flag has unfortunately disappeared. But at least "1219" is still visable. Get some more paint, please!

(17) Lossi plats 7. Formerly the property of the Marshal of the Estonian Nobility, now the residence of the German Ambassador.

(18) Toompea 1. The Commander's House, built c. 1690. Both King Karl XII of Sweden and Emperor Peter I of Russia have been here. Abram Hannibal (c. 1696-1781) of Ethiopian origin, Russian General-in-Chief, was the garrison commander of Reval (Tallinn). He was the great-grandfather of the poet Alexander Pushkin.

(19) Toompea Palace, seat of the government.

(20) View of the city.



(23) Memorial of the Estonian uprising and war of freedom 1918-1920.


I visited Tallinn, the wonderful capital of Estonia, in early November 2011. My first article covering my visit was published in November (Kadriorg Palace and Park). I am planning another article (a cemetery visit) before I move on to other trips I have made.

I like to visit at least one "new" country every year, and in 2011 Estonia became the 54th foreign country I have visited. I didn't see anything but the capital, though. I hope one day to make a car trip around the Baltic Sea, starting in Helsinki and then travelling through Estonia, Latvia (which I visited in 2006, by the way) and Lithuania as well as Poland and Germany. Time will tell when I manage to make this trip. Really something to look forward too!

The highlight of Tallinn is certainly its old city, although the Kadriorg article proves that you will find many wonders outside the city wall as well. The old city is described as smaller than the one in Riga, but the way I remember it much more charming, especially with the hill of Toompea (called "Cathedral Hill"). With so many nations setting their mark on the city - Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Germany (German Knights) - it has become rich of architecture and history and has a lot to offer, with its fortifications, churches, palaces, mansions, museums, restaurants and shops. Something for everyone! After a short-lived independence between the world wars, the Estonians had to suffer Soviet Russian and German occupation and then Soviet Russian occupation before becoming independent again in 1991. The many years of occupation and the brave independence movement towards the end of the 1980s have made many Norwegians feel close to Estonia and the other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia is, as already mentioned, most certainly a country I would like to visit again and explore further some time in the future.

All the photos above are taken in the weekend 4-7 November 2011. As you can see, the weather varied a lot. I visited some of the places several times and took photos each time. When the weather was gray or I arrived too late in the afternoon, the photo quality could suffer a bit. But all in all I hope you will enjoy the few glimpses of what Tallinn can offer.


Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau in critical condition

Prince Johan Friso, 43, second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, is reported to be in critical condition at the Uniklinik Innsbruck, Austria, after having been buried by an avalance at Lech, Austria, earlier today. His wife Mabel as well as his mother Queen Beatrix are at his bed-side, while his brother the Prince of Orange (Willem-Alexander), Princess Máxima and other members of the Dutch royal family are flying in from the Netherlands tonight.

According to Telegraph.co.uk, the prince's condition is described as "critical but stable". The Netherlands Government Information Service (Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, RDV) has informed that a prognosis can be given after a few days. His condition is stable, but he is not out of life danger ("...zijn toestand stabiel, maar hij is niet buiten levensgevaar"). See also the Austrian news site Oe24.at (in German).

My thoughts are with Prince Johan Friso and his family.


14 February 2012

New Norwegian Royal stamps

The latest issue of Frimerkeposten (The Stamp Magazine) - no. 1/2012 - which is published by Posten Norge AS-Frimerketjenesten (Posten Norge AS-The Filatelic Service) - arrived yesterday. King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway are pictured on the magazine's cover, as new stamps of Their Majesties are to be released on King Harald V's 75th birthday on 21 February in connection with Their Majesties' anniversaries this year. Queen Sonja will celebrate her 75th birthday on 4 July. The official celebration will take place in May 2012.

According to the stamp programme 2012, the new stamps have got the values NOK 9,50 (NK 1808 Queen Sonja) and NOK 13,00 (NK 1809 King Harald). See the presentation of the stamps here. In addition to the stamps you can also buy a First Day Cover, a Collector's Set and other collectible products.


8 February 2012

Huitfeldt at Wangensteen.net

The genealogical work "Den dansk-norske adelsslægt Huitfeldt (Hogenskild)" ("The Danish-Norwegian noble family Huitfeldt (Hogenskild)"), which was published in 1887, has now been made available at Wangensteen.net in form of an e-book. The book is an offprint of Danmarks Adels Aarbok (Yearbook of the Danish Nobility).

An alphabetical survey of genealogies made available at Wangensteen.net can be found here.


3 February 2012

Painting Canada

A.Y. Jackson: Winter, Quebec, 1926 (National Gallery of Canada. Courtesy of the Estate of the late Dr. Naomi Jackson Groves. Photo © NGC)

F.H. Varley: Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay, 1921 (© Varley Art Gallery / Town of Markham. Photo © NGC)

Tom Thomson: The Jack Pine, 1916–1917 (National Gallery of Canada. Photo © National Gallery of Canada).

Franz Johnston: The Fire Ranger, ca. 1921 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC)

The images are made available for the press at the National Gallery's website.

HM Queen Sonja Norway attended the opening of the exhibition "Painting Canada. Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven" at the National Gallery (a department of The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design) in Oslo on Thursday 26 January 2012. She was accompanied by the charge d'affaires at the Canadian embassy in Oslo, Gilles Normann, the vice director of the National Gallery of Canada, Karen Colby-Stothard, curator at the National Gallery of Canada Charles Hill, director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Ian Dejardin, besides representatives of the National Museum/National Gallery in Oslo.

I visited the exhibition on Sunday 29 January and really enjoyed it. I visit art exhibitions from time to time, but more often while I am on vacation abroad. But I was attracted to this particular exhibition because of its topic - I must admit that I have got a soft spot for Canada ever since my visits to Canada in 2006 and 2008. At the moment I am improving my knowledge of USA's big, little brother by reading the 6th edition of A Short History of Canada by Desmond Morton (Kindle Edition, 2008). Another reason for my interest in Canada is that I also had relatives who lived there: My great-uncle Herulf Ekeli (1905-1983), who settled in Ontario, but I haven't been able to find out too many details about him, and my great grandfather's younger brother Salve Trygsland (1874-1964), who was a farmer at Youngstown, Alberta, and is buried at Cottrell Cemetery in Cereal. Neither of them got their own family in Canada, though. It should be added that Queen Sonja's uncle Halvor "Havven" Haraldsen (1893-1970) and his wife Inger Elisabeth "Lisbeth" Haraldsen, née Rydgren (1904-1994) lived at Fredericton, New Brunswick, for many years, but are buried together with Sonja's parents at Ris cemetery in Oslo.

But back to the exhibition again! According to the press release it presents works by the most important pioneers of Canadian landscape painting from the early years of the 20th century. The love the painters - Tom Thomson (1877-1917) and the group of seven, Lawren Harris (1885-1970), J.E.H. MacDonald (1873-1932), A.Y. Jackson (1882-1974), Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945), Frederick Horsman Varley (1881-1969), Frank Johnston (1888-1949) and Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) - had of their homeland "encouraged them to explore the wilderness of Canada's national parks". The Group of Seven - they begun to exhibit collectively in 1920 and got their great breakthrough at the British Empire Exhibition in London in 1924 - laid the foundations for Canadian modernism, and were inspired by their counterparts in Scandinavia and the "dream of the Nordic".

The exhibition is put together by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, which I visited in 2008, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and shows more than 120 paintings from major museums and collections in Canada and thus provides a representation of this particular chapter of Canadian modernism. The exhibition in Oslo lasts until 13 May. Before that the British could enjoy the paintings at the Dulwich Picture Gallery from 19 October 2011 to 8 January 2012
, and after Oslo the exhibition moves on to Groningen (3 June-28 October 2012).

Now, I have never studied arts history, so please don't expect me to go into depth about different styles and periods. I just enjoyed this exhibition because of its topic and the period it represented and because it was well organised with good introductions to the different artists. The paintings showed magnificent landscapes, but were fortunately not photographic representations. It was something about the colours and the light that particularly appealed to me. Tom Thomson is of course an example of this - A Northern Lake (c. 1916), Birches (several paintings!), Northern Lights (1916 or 1917), Path behind Mowat Lodge (1917) and Spring in Algonquin Park to mention a few. Franklin Carmichael's Autumn Hillside (1920), October Gold (1922; just think about the wonderful title!), Lawren Harris's Trees and Pool (1920), Frank Johnston's The Fire Ranger (1921; see above) and Serenity, Lake of the Woods (1922), MacDonald's Fall, Montreal River (1920) and Jackson's Winter, Quebec (1926; see above) were other favourites. Lawren Harris's paintings of the Canadian north and Arctic were very different in style from the others, but the light was wonderful! One example is Albert Harbour, North Baffin Island from 1930. Don't miss out on this!

Along with the exhibition goes the catalogue with the same title, Painting Canada, Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, which gives a great introduction to the painters and the period they represented and with a wonderful gallery attached. The price is only NOK 198. ISBN: 978-0-85667-686-4.

See also the reviews of the exhibition in London by The Guardian and The Telegraph as well as the blog Making a Mark.

Updated on Saturday 4 February 2012 at 11:40 (links added). last time updated on Monday 13 April 2015 at 00.25 (small error corrected).

2 February 2012

Preparations for royal birth in Sweden

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden are expecting to become parents for the first time in early March. In this connection the Swedish Royal Court has issued a press statement explaining how the birth will be announced and the traditions attached to it.

The first thing that is going to happen is that the Marshal of the Realm will inform the leaders of the realm and then make the news public at the royal website and the Royal Court's Facebook page.

A formal witness confirmation will take place the day after the birth, or if the birth takes place on a Saturday, the witnesses - the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Marshal of the Realm and the Mistress of the Robes - will sign the confirmation on the first Monday. The witness confirmation is in other words a document with a seal and signatures of the above-mentioned persons.

The King will also convene the Council of State, in which he will formally inform the members of the government of the royal baby's title, names, call name and which ducal title he or she will receive. The Council of State will, as with the witness confirmation, take place the day after the birth or on the following Monday if the birth takes place on a Saturday.

We can also expect a 2 x 21-gun-salute from Skeppsholmen in Stockholm as well as from "the salute stations" in Boden, Härnösand, Karlskrona and Gothenburg. According to the ceremonial instructions of the Swedish Armed Forces (Instruktion för Försvarsmakten, ceremonier; Cerl FM 2010), the salute will take place as soon as the Swedish Armed Forces is formally informed about the birth, but not between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. and not on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

In addition a traditional Te Deum - a thanksgiving church service - will take place in the Royal Chapel the day after the birth, unless the birth takes place on a Saturday, as the Te Deum then will be on the following Monday. Invited guests are members of the closest family, representatives of the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament), the Government and other representatives of the official Sweden as well as members of the court. Invitations to the Te Deum have already been sent out.

See also The Local's article on the same subject, published earlier today.

Postscript 7 February 2012: The Royal Court of Sweden has now provided a translation of the said press release, "Tradition and customs on the occasion of a royal birth".

Updated on 7 February 2012 at 00:15 (postscript added).


1 February 2012

Primaries and Reagan Conference

The fight for the 2012 GOP nomination continues. Newt Gingrish crushed frontrunner Mitt Romney in South Carolina on 21 January 2012, while Romney regained momentum by a massive win in Florida ten days later.

In South Carolina Gingrich won 40,4% of the votes, while Romney got only 27,8%. Rick Santorum came third with 17%, while Ron Paul was the last of the pack with 13%. Rick Perry had already quit the game prior to the primary. But Florida is a less conservative state than South Carolina, and Romney won as much as 46,4% of the votes. Gingrich ended second with 31,9%, Santorum got 13,3%, while Paul didn't manage to follow up his good results in the previous primaries and only got 7%. Gingrich has promised to keep on, even after Super Tuesday on 6 March, but most experts seem to believe that the race in reality is over. Nevada and Maine will get some attention when the caucuses take place on Saturday 4 February.

I am sure the members of the Monticello Society and others who are interested in US American politics will have plenty to talk about when they meet up for the traditional Reagan-seminaret - the Reagan Conference - on Sunday 5 February 2012 at Litteraturhuset (the House of Literature) in Oslo. I will of course be there!

Checking out the program, we are told that the conference will be opened by the president of the Monticello Society, George K. Gooding, who replaced Jon Henrik Gilhuus last year. For those of you who are interested in the (former) Norwegian noble families, I could add that Gooding's mother, née Knagenhjelm, can be found in Danmarks Adels Aarbog (Yearbook of of the Danish Nobility) 2006-2008 on p. 241. But that will not be among the topics on Sunday!

Arve Øverland, senior consultant at Gambit Hill & Knowlton, has the honour of giving the first lecture, and his chosen topic is social media in the election campaign. Øverland has worked in the USA with Internet marketing since the 1990s. After Øverland's contribution the members of the Monticello Society's committee will discuss the status of the nomination campaign in form of a panel debate.

After lunch, Anders Gieæver, who used to be the Norwegian daily VG's correspondent in the USA, will look back on the 2008 election as he witnessed it. Committee member Bjørn Christian Finbråten is going to talk about the international marking of the Reagan Year - last year it was 100 years since former President Ronald Reagan was born.

Another committee member, Christopher Rødsten, will then talk about the American gas adventure - potential and political disagreement. Traditionally enough there will also be a film break, and this time the topic is Ronald Reagan's relationship with Margaret Thatcher. Dag Inge Fjeld and Bjørn Christian Finbråten will make the introduction. The last man out is chief economist Jan Andreassen of Terra Markets. His contribution will be the handling of [a] financial crisis and its significance for the outcome of a election - Obama vs. Reagan.

In other words, there are plenty of topics to look forward to!

Updated on Wednesday 1 February 2012 at 23.20 (typos corrected).