24 July 2013

HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge

The British Royal Court (Clarence House) announced today that the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who was born at the St. Mary's Hospital at Paddington, London on 22 July 2013, has been named George Alexander Louis. The statement in full:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to announce that they have named their son George Alexander Louis.

The baby will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.
The prince is of course titled Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but is styled Prince George of Cambridge. The call name George was also what I suggested in my blog article of 3 July 2013, but so did many others as well. I missed out on Alexander and Louis, though, and Prince George "only" got three names and not four, as most people "in the know" expected. The number of names is something the little prince shares with his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, whose full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.

I have too little time right now to comment too much on the names, but just want to say how happy I am that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen such traditional royal names, and that the announcement came so soon and before I have to take a break from my blogging due to my vacation!

23 July 2013

Longest reigns website updated

I finally got the time to update my Longest reigns (current monarchs) website tonight, following the abdication of King Albert II and the swearing in of King Philippe of the Belgians two days ago. The change of king only meant that the Belgian king was moved from place no. 12 to 30, while the king of Lesotho and the monarchs in the line behind him was moved one step up.

King Bhumibol of Thailand tops the list, as he succeeded to the throne already in 1946. He is not the oldest monarch of the world, however, as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, b. 1923 or 1924, holds that position. The youngest monarch, as mentioned last time the Longest reigns website was updated, is the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim, b. 3 July 1980.

UK: Royal birth

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became parents to a son in the late afternoon of 22 July 2013. The press release from Clarence House said:
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm.

The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz.

The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight.

Notes to editors
  1. The medical staff present were Mr Marcus Setchell, Surgeon-Gynaecologist, Mr Guy Thorpe-Beeston, Obstetrician and Dr Sunit Godambe, Consultant Neonatologist at St. Mary’s Hospital.
  2. The names of the baby will be announced in due course.
  3. The baby is third in the line of succession after His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge. He is styled His Royal Highness Prince [name] of Cambridge.
  4. A formal notice of the birth will be posted on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
8lb 6oz corresponds roughly to 3798 grams.

The Twitter account of Clarence House has been rather busy tonight. At 9.37 pm (8.37 local time, I think) it was tweeted that "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry & families have been told and are delighted." The official announcement outside Buckingham Palace can be viewed here.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have issued the following joint statement:
Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild. It is an incredibly special moment for William and Catherine and we are so thrilled for them on the birth of their baby boy.

Grandparenthood is a unique moment in anyone’s life, as countless kind people have told me in recent months, so I am enormously proud and happy to be a grandfather for the first time and we are eagerly looking forward to seeing the baby in the near future.
For more details, go to BBC News. Now we just have to wait for the announcement of the names for the newborn prince, who is no. 3 in the line of succession to the British throne. Quite exciting! For my earlier comments on possible names, please go here.

21 July 2013

Celebrations in Norway and Belgium

It has been an eventful weekend in the royal houses of Norway and Belgium. Crown Prince Haakon celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday 20 July 2013, and due to his great interest in music, his anniversary was marked by a music festivial in the garden/park of the royal residence of Skaugum in Asker outside Oslo. Artists from Norway and abroad entertained both on Saturday and Sunday, and many of the 220 guests stayed the night in tents in the park. King Harald V and Queen Sonja preferred to sleep at their royal residence at Bygdøy, though. The Royal Palace issued on Friday 19 July 2013 a list of the royal guests attending the celebrations:

HM King Harald V
HM Queen Sonja
HRH Crown Prince Haakon
HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit
Marius Borg Høiby
HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra
Prince Sverre Magnus
Princess Märtha Louise
Ari Behn

The Netherlands
HM King Willem-Alexander
HM Queen Máxima
HRH Prince Constantijn

HRH Crown Prince Frederik
HRH Crown Princess Mary

Other royal guests
HRH Prince Pavlos of Greece
HRH Princess Marie Chantal of Greece
HRH Prince Kyril of Bulgaria, Prince of Preslav
HRH Princess Mafalda of Bulgaria (daughter of Prince Kyril and Princess Rosario)
HRH Princess Olimpia (daughter of Prince Kyril and Princess Rosario)
HRH Princess Princess Rosario (ex-wife* of Prince Kyril)
HRH Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parme (son of the late Prince Carlos Hugo and of Princess Irene of the Netherlands)

*Or just separated?

According to Budstikka also Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn's 3 children were present.

The Norwegian TV company NRK broadcast a rather nice interview with Crown Prince Haakon on Saturday evening. Photos from the festival can be viewed on Dagbladet.no and VG.no. Views and News of Norway has published articles about the celebrations on 16 July18 July and 19 July 2013 (a bit tabloid in style, if you ask me).

Over in Belgium, King Harald V of Norway's first cousin King Albert II held his televised farewell speech on Saturday 20 July (Dutch and French version). On Sunday 21 July 2013, which is Belgium's national day, a Te Deum was held in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels at 9 a.m. followed by the abdication ceremony at 10.30 at the Royal Palace. Present were King Albert II, Queen Paola, Prince Philippe, Princess Mathilde, Queen Fabiola, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz as well as Prince Laurent and Princess Claire. The act of abdication can be read here.

The swearing in ceremony of King Albert II's eldest son Philippe took place before the two chambers of the Parliament at noon. King Philippe held a speech which thankfully has also been translated into English, before the king, Queen Mathilde and their children greeted the people from the balcony of the Royal Palace at 1 p.m. On the balcony were besides the new king and queen also former King Albert and Queen Paola, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde's children Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eléonore as well as Queen Fabiola, Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire. See photos from today's historic event at Standaard.be.

My Longest reigns page will be updated early next week.

Postcript 14 August 2013: Side2.no (Nettavisen) yesterday claimed to know that Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau also attended the celebrations of Crown Prince Haakon at Skaugum last month, although she was not on the guest list released by the royal court.

Concerning the photo series linked to above, they reveal that Crown Prince Haakon's first cousin Haakon Lorentzen, son of the late Princess Ragnhild, was also present together with his wife Martha.

Updated last time on Wednesday 14 August 2013 at 20:05 (postscript added).

8 July 2013

UK: HRH The Princess Royal to become a grandmother again

The press secretary to the Queen of the United Kingdom issued the following statement today, 8 July 2013:
Mr and Mrs Mike Tindall are very pleased to announce that Zara Tindall is expecting a baby in the New Year.

The Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, Mr Phillip and Mrs Linda Tindall, and members of both families are delighted with the news.

This baby will be the first child for Mike and Zara and the third grandchild for The Princess Royal.
Zara Tindall, née Phillips, is the youngest child of HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and Captain Mark Phillips. She married the rugby player Mike Tindall, son of Phillip Tindall and Linda Tindall, née Shepherd, at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh on 30 July 2011.

The Tindall baby will of course be the fourth great-grandchild of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as the whole Britain, if not the whole world, is eagerly awaiting the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child. The due date is said to be the firstcoming Saturday, 13 July, but as everyone knows the birth could take place any day now.

Those with a Twitter account has surely started to follow the royal baby news via the hashtag #royalbaby. Lots of people also used the same hashtag when the news of Zara Tindall's pregnancy was announced. Personally I would have preferred if #Tindallbaby had been used instead, so that #royalbaby was restricted to the Cambridges. There are too many tweets already! Even if the term "royal" is not legally defined in the UK, I think people are stretching it a bit far when #royalbaby is also used for the Tindall baby. There is after all no royal title at stake here. The future Tindall will, by the way, become no. 16 in the line of succession to the British throne.

7 July 2013

The Crown Princess Märtha statue outside Asker Church, Norway

The statue of Crown Princess Märtha with her son Prince Harald, now King Harald V, on her arm was made by sculptor Dyre Vaa (1903-1980).

Princess Märtha of Sweden (and of Norway until 1905) (1901-1954) married the then Crown Prince Olav of Norway (1903-1991) at Our Saviour's Church in Oslo in 1929. The couple lived at the Skaugum estate in Asker not far from Asker Church.

The bronze statue was cast in 1959, but first unveiled by King Olav V on 29 August 1969. The original plan was to place the statue in a park planned to be constructed west of Asker, but the statue was finally placed outside Asker Church. The statue is 2,80 m high (including the base the monument is around 5 m high) and the base of the statue is made of syenite.

Present at the unveiling ceremony were besides King Olav and the sculptor also Crown Princess Märtha's siblings Princess Margaretha of Denmark and Prince Carl Bernadotte as well as Crown Prince Harald, Crown Princess Sonja, Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner, Johan Martin Ferner, Cathrine, Benedikte and Alexander Ferner, Prince Georg and Princess Anne of Denmark, Count Flemming and Countess Ruth of Rosenborg and Asker's mayor Jon Fossum.

(To the right when you pass the Southern gate of the cemetery behind the statue one can find the grave of Crown Princess Märtha's eldest daughter Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen (1930-2012).

Sources: Aftenposten 3 March 1959 No. 104, p. 4; Aftenposten 12 June 1969 No. 261, p. 1; Aftenposten 30 August 1969 No. 397, pp. 1 and 18.

Postscript 7 July 2013 at 23:40:  It should be added that Asker og Bærum Leksikon (Encyclopaedia), 2006, p. 355, claims that the statue was unveiled on 28 September 1969 (after being stored since 1958). This is definately wrong, cf. the newspaper references above. However, the entry about the Crown Princess Märtha monument also claim that it is 4 m high (statue + base), while Aftenposten 12 June 1969 No. 261, says it is about 5 m high. I really have no idea. The monument is named "A happy mother to a little boy" and after all the disagremeents over where to place the statue it was King Olav himself who ended the discussion by expressing his wish that the statue should be outside the church.

Updated on 8 JUly 2013 at 13:15 (corrected "main gate" to "Southern gate").

The King Olav V statue, Asker, Norway

The statue of King Olav V in an admiral's uniform at Asker Torg was unveiled in 1998. The sculptor was Joseph Grimeland (1916-2002).

6 July 2013

Grave of Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen, Asker Cemetery, Norway

Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen, b. The Royal Palace, Oslo 9 June 1930, d. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 16 September 2012, was the oldest daughter of the then Crown Prince Olav (1903-1991) and Crown Princess Märtha (1901-1954) of Norway.

The funeral service took place at the Palace Chapel in Oslo on 28 September 2012, followed by interment at Asker Cemetery. The three photos above show Princess Ragnhild's grave. An article about the church and cemetery will follow later.

(The photos were all taken on 6 July 2013.)

Earlier articles

3 July 2013

Telegraph.co.uk: «Royal Baby name: Kate Middleton should go wild»

The journalist Louisa Peacock opens her article «Royal Baby name: Kate Middleton should go wild» (Telegraph.co.uk 3 july 2013) by stating that «The royal baby will become famous overnight regardless of what it's called» and continues by claiming that «This gives the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge free rein to call their prince or princess something completely loopy that everyone is at pains to pronounce and spell correctly - unlike most people's names».

But no, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should not go bananas - or wild - when settling on the names for their firstborn child. In theory the couple could come up with whatever names they would like, but in reality they are bound by the traditions of the British royal family and monarchy and will most likely find names that can be found in earlier royal generations. Of course, there might be one surprise or two among the four given names that we expect the child will get, but the call name will most certainly be a traditional one.

If the firstborn is a girl, I would be surprised if she is not named after her great-grandmother Elizabeth, although I am sure that names like Victoria, Charlotte, Alexandra and Mary will also be popular choices. Yes, if Victoria is chosen, Europe could end up with having two reigning queens with the same name at the same time (although the Swedish Victoria will most likely succeed many, many years before her British cousin), but that will hardly be a problem. Has anyone ever mixed up King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and King Abdullah of Jordan? I don't think so.

If the firsthborn is a boy, however, I think George is the most likely name. But, one thing is what name I expect the couple to settle on, another is what name I personally would have preferred (not that my opinion matters much, but I will have a go at it as anyone else). I wouldn't mind going back a few hundred years. There have been several English kings named Richard, and that is also the name of Catherine's great-grandfather, Richard Middleton (1878-1951). Yes, I know that the Duke of Gloucester, Queen Elizabeth's first cousin, is named Richard, so the connection could be closer than King Richard I, II or III.

However, my safest bets would be:

Girl: Elizabeth Alexandra Diana Carole (the last two after the child's grandmothers)
Boy: George Albert Charles Michael (again the the last two after the child's grandfathers)

But if one really should go for some "wild names", one just have to look up The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton by William Addams Reitwiesner. What about Theophilus (ancestor no. 26) or Gaston (no. 1200) or Valerie (no. 5) or Olive (no. 9). Seriously, the majority of the given names found in the said book could be said to be rather traditional, but acceptable even today. And for the record, there is of course nothing "wrong" with any of the "wild names" I have mentioned, so there is no reason to take offence!

Funnily enough, two nights ago I woke up after having dreamt listening to the names being announced on the radio. Crazy to have such a dream, huh? I can only remember the first two names, and they were Stanford Sixtus ... No, it won't happen. Not sure where I got Stanford from, but if you google it, you will find that there are quite a few men in the United States who are christened Stanford. Not sure where I got it from, but I started reading a biography about President Herbert Hoover the night before, and he gradutated from the said university in 1895, so that is a possibility. I can't explain Sixtus, though.

Bjorn Egeli: A Life in Images by Peter E. Egeli

A biography of the Norwegian-born US American portrait painter Bjorn Egeli (1900-1984) has recently been published, and I received my copy today. The book of 65 pages gives a short introduction to Bjorn Egeli's life and artistic career and includes several wonderful images of his works, including a portrait of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Egeli also painted a portrait of President Richard Nixon).

Information about the book, Bjorn Egeli: A Life in Images, by Peter E. Egeli (ISBN: 978-0-615-81743-9) can be found at the website BjornEgeli.com.

Bjorn Egeli, originally Herbjørn Peter Egeli, was born in Horten in Norway on 15 November 1900 as the eldest son of Even (Herbjørnsen) Egeli (1874-1915) of Kristiansand and Josephine Mathilde Wennerstrøm (1875-1921) of Hidra outside Flekkefjord. While Even Egeli and his two brothers Torkild and Hermann were born in Kristiansand, the Egeli family originally came from the cotter's farm Øykjeli at Haukeli in Vinje, Telemark, where their great-grandfather Svein Olsen Egeli (1779-1853) settled around 1826. The Egeli family were well-known for their artistic skills. Bjorn Egeli's great-great-uncle Tor Sveinsen (1825-1882) was a recognized rosepainter in Telemark before he together with his family as well as 2 brothers and also his widowed mother emigrated to Wisconsin, USA in 1861. Tor's father Svein Olsen Egeli and brother Even (1822-1873) were both skilled ski carpenters. After Even's death two of his children - Svein and Hæge - and eventually also his widow Liv Tollevsdatter (1824-1905) - emigrated to the United States, leaving behind the eldest son Herbjørn Evensen Egeli (1848-1893). Herbjørn, who served in Kristiansand as an (non-commissioned) officer and later settled down as a fireman, was the artist Bjorn Egeli's grandfather.

Bjorn Egeli moved with his family (he got two younger brothers, Arne Torleif (1902-1973) and Odd Eivind (1910-1970) from Horten to Kristiania (now Oslo) where he went to school. The family eventually settled in the parish of Vålerenga. After his father's death (he died of tuberculosis, as did Bjorn's grandparents and two first cousins) in 1915, Bjorn went to sea, where he spent 7 years before settling down in the United States, where he was trained as an artist. In 1931 he returned to Norway to visit his family. This turned out to be his last visit to his homeland. In 1932 he was married to Lois Baldwin (1908-1993) and had five children - Peter, Cedric, Bjorn James, Mary Lois and Carolyn - who all became professional artists. Also several grandchildren followed the same path. Bjorn, who bought the Glebe Farm in Valley Lee, St. Mary's County, Maryland in 1942, died on 20 October 1984, nearly 84 years old.

I know the Egeli family well, as Bjorn's father Even Egeli (1874-1915) was the elder brother of my great-grandfather Torkild Johan Ekeli (1878-1939), and thus Bjorn was the first cousin of my grandmother Torborg Hoelseth (1924-1992). Having worked on my family genealogy for years, I tracked down the Egelis in Maryland in 1997 (for unknown reasons the Ekeli branch of Sandefjord - the spelling of the family name varied in the various branches - must have lost contact with Even Egeli's branch after Bjorn went to sea - there is no indication that Bjorn met his Sandefjord relatives during his visit in 1931 - the Sandefjord Ekelis kept in touch with Even and Torkild's younger brother Hermann, however).

Since 1997 we have visited eachother in Norway and in the United States several times, and Bjorn's eldest son Peter and his wife were guests in my wedding in 2007. Considering the family connections, there is no wonder why the new book will become a treasured item in my library!

Some information about the Egeli/Ekeli family - including links to several Egeli websites in the United States - can be found at my website. See also the biography of Bjorn Ekeli at Wikipedia.

King Albert II of the Belgians to abdicate on 21 July 2013

In a televised speech at 6 p.m. tonight, King Albert II of the Belgians announced that he was going to abdicate on 21 July 2013, the Belgian national day. In the speech the king, who celebrated his 79th birthday on 6 June, said that his health was no longer good enough to fulfil his duties, and that it was time to "pass on the torch to the next generation". He also said that his eldest son, Prince Philippe, who is first in line, was "well prepared" to be his successor and that he had confidence in both his son and daughter-in-law, Princess Mathilde.

As far as I understand the text of his speech, Albert II will hold his last speech as reigning king on the evening of 20 July 2013, before witnessing the swearing-in ceremony of Prince Philippe the day after.
Dames en Heren,

Diep ontroerd richt ik mij vandaag tot u allen.

Ik ben mijn tachtigste jaar ingegaan, een leeftijd die geen enkele van mijn voorgangers in de uitoefening van zijn ambt heeft bereikt.

Ik stel vast dat mijn leeftijd en mijn gezondheid mij niet meer toelaten mijn ambt uit te oefenen zoals ik dat zou willen doen.

Ik zou mijn plichten niet nakomen en mijn opvatting van de Koninklijke functie niet huldigen mocht ik in die omstandigheden te allen prijze mijn ambt blijven bekleden. Het is een kwestie van elementair respect voor de instellingen en ten opzichte van u, waarde medeburgers.

Na een regeerperiode van 20 jaar ben ik dus van mening dat het ogenblik is aangebroken om de fakkel aan de volgende generatie over te dragen.

Ik stel ook vast dat Prins Filip goed is voorbereid om mij op te volgen. Hij geniet samen met Prinses Mathilde mijn volle vertrouwen.

Met de tijd, en onder meer in het kader van de economische zendingen in het buitenland, heeft Prins Filip aangetoond hoezeer zijn inzet voor ons land hem na aan het hart ligt.

En bovenal heb ik in de loop der jaren geleerd dat ons land op een buitengewone troef kan rekenen, en dat is U waarde landgenoten.

Met een bevolking die zo rijk is aan talenten, aan verscheidenheid, aan edelmoedigheid en energie, is de toekomst van ons land in de beste handen.

Het is dus met sereniteit en vol vertrouwen dat ik u mijn voornemen meedeel om op 21 juli 2013, de dag van onze nationale feestdag, af te treden ten gunste van de troonopvolger, mijn zoon Prins Filip.

Dames en Heren,

Tijdens mijn ganse regeerperiode heeft een vaste overtuiging met betrekking tot de Koninklijke functie mij geleid.

De rol van Koning der Belgen en zijn legitimiteit bestaat erin ten dienste te staan van de democratie en van haar burgers. Zij zijn de enige rechtmatige titularissen van de soevereiniteit.

In dat opzicht, moet het koningschap met zijn tijd meegaan.

Op 20 juli zal ik u, zoals gewoonlijk, andermaal toespreken, en daarna zal ik samen met de Koningin en de nieuwe Vorsten, de plechtigheden van 21 juli bijwonen.

Maar nu al wens ik u te zeggen, hoezeer ik het als een eer en een geluk beschouw, een groot deel van mijn leven te hebben kunnen wijden aan de dienst van ons land en van zijn bevolking.

Koningin Paola en ikzelf zullen de hartelijke banden die tussen de bevolking en ons zijn gegroeid met de loop der jaren nooit vergeten.

Wij danken u voor het vertrouwen dat u ons heeft geschonken, voor uw blijken van sympathie en van steun, ook weleens met enige kritiek. Maar altijd hebben wij u een warm hart toegedragen.

Wij bewaren zoveel herinneringen aan talloze ontmoetingen in blijde dagen, maar ook in dagen van zware beproeving.

Natuurlijk betekent het einde van mijn regeerperiode niet dat onze wegen nu uiteengaan. Wel integendeel!
Leve België!
The speech in French translation can be read at the court's official website. (If an English translation is published later, I will replace the Dutch text.). BBC News' report can be read here, while Expatia.com's article is also well worth reading. After the king's speech, it was Prime Minister Elio di Rupo's turn, and his words can be read in Dutch and French here.

King Albert II became King of the Belgians on 9 August 1993, upon taking the oath following the death of his brother, King Baudouin I on 31 Jul 1993. The king was married to Queen Paola, née Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria in 1959. They have 3 children and 12 grandchildren. Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, is 53 years old and has got his education from the Royal Military Academy as well as Stanford University in California, USA, where he took a Master of Arts Degree in political science in 1985. He married Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz (b. 1973) in 1999 and they have 4 children - Elisabeth, Gabriel, Emmanuel and Eléonore. The eldest, Elisabeth, born in 2001, will become Duchess of Brabant and in time the first reigning Queen of the Belgians. The biography of the future king can be read here.

The succession means that Belgium soon will have 3 queens - Queen Fabiola, widow of King  Baudouin, Queen Paola and Queen Mathilde, a situation that doesn't happen too often. Not in Belgium, at least, but most people will remember the short time (1952-1953) when there were 3 queens in the United Kingdom - Queen Mary, widow of King George V, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, widow of King George VI and (the reigning) Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Mathilde is half Polish and has an interesting background in the Polish nobility, as her mother was born Countess Anna Maria Komorowska and her maternal grandmother was Princess Zofia Sapieha.

King Albert II will be the third monarch to abdicate this year. His neighbour Queen Beatrix abdicated on 30 April, while Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, stepped down on 25 June. In addition Pope Benedict XVI resigned his papacy on 28 February 2013.

I hope to come back with more details about King Albert's abdication and how Prince Philippe's accession to the throne is formalized in due time.

2 July 2013

Våpenbrevet No. 89

 The latest issue of Våpenbrevet (No. 89, vol. 39, 2013), the newsletter of Norsk Heraldisk Forening (The Norwegian Heraldry Society), arrived in my mailbox today. The main article focuses on the proposal to replace the present arms of the Church of Norway (a cross laid over two St. Olav's axes, see below) with a logo (emblem), possibly inspired by the rose window of the Nidaros Cathedral's west front, as suggested by Professor Knut Lundby at the University of Oslo (see below).

The Theological Committee of the Church of Norway, presided by Stephanie Dietrich, refers to the St. Olav's axe as a "murder weapon" and symbolizes violence and harassment/injustice. The Norwegian Heraldry Society, represented by its chairman  Tom S. Vadholm, reminds the readers that the axe symbolizes St. Olav's death at Stiklestad and his death is regarded as a marthyr's death. He opposes the idea of replacing an old, Norwegian tradition with "a newfangled logo".

An article by Vadholm covering the same topic can be read at the Norwegian Heraldry Society's website (in Norwegian only).

In the latest issue of Våpenbrevet one can also read the minutes of the society's annual meeting, which took place in May 2013, as well as articles on the comital family of Guicciardini, the heraldry exhibition at Galleri Vera in Drøbak in March 2013, where the artist Einar Evar showed his works, and the 7th Heraldic Conference in Trondheim (24-26 May 2013).

The Netherlands: A son for Prince Floris and Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau

The Dutch Royal Court announced on Monday 1 July 2013 the birth of Willem Jan Johannes Pieter van Vollenhoven, the third child of Prince Floris and Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau. The little boy, who weighed 3650 grams at birth, was born at the Bronovo Hospital in the Hague on 1 July 2013 at 1.32 p.m.

This is the couple's third child. The daughter Magali was born on 9 October 2007, while Eliane came along on 5 July 2009.

Prince Floris is the fourth son of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, younger sister of the former Queen Beatrix, and Pieter van Vollenhoven. Willem is Margriet and Pieter's 11th grandchild.

Prince Floris married the then Aimée Söhngen in 2005.

1 July 2013

Royalty Digest Quarterly No. 2, 2013

I received the latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly - no. 2, 2013 - nearly two weeks ago, but haven't had much time to look at it yet. As always it will be a great companion on my metro rides this week.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands abdicated on 30 April 2013 on behalf of her eldest son Willem-Alexander and she is now known as Princess Beatrix. The editiorial column is of course full of praise of the former queen and her many years of service to the the Dutch people. Her engagements will not stop, though, but she has allowed herself to reduce the number.

The magazine's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat, got the first part of  her article The True Value of Home. The life of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the younger published in March, and the second part, subtitled Sweden, Russia and exile, came in issue 2. Zeepvat's second contribution this time is the obituary of H.R.H. Prince Moritz, Landgraf of Hesse 1926-2013, who died on 23 May.

The Brazilian Alberto Penna Rodrigues has made several contributions to the Royalty Digest Quarterly over the years, and this time the readers can enjoy the article Captives - The Duchesses of Aosta and the Nazis.

One the cover is a photo of Prince Leopold IV of Lippe (1871-1904-1918-1949) and his family. The prince returns in the photo article LIPPE - A Family Album, this time provided by Ricardo Mateos Sáinz de Medrano. The article includes as usual a short introduction to the family, a large collection of photos - 66 in all - as well as 4 pages with genealogical tables.

The year 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty, and this is marked by Marion Wynn's article The Tercentenary of the Romanovs. Pilgrimage to Kostroma.

Elizabeth Jane Timms is the next one out with the article Engagement at Coburg, which is the second article about the Romanov dynasty, as it dwells on the engagement between Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia (later Emperor Nicholas II) and Princess Alix of Hesse in April 1894.

Then Michael Nash returns with a new article about the late Archduke Otto of Austria, titled The Centenary of Otto von Habsburg 1912-2012. An English Visit remembered. The visit in question was the one the former crown prince paid to Norwich, England in March 1994. The article goes beyond the visit, though. A rather nice portrait of "the last real representative of the lost world before 1918 ..."

Finally the magazine provides the regular column The World Wide Web of Royalty, this time with news about the royal, princely and/or mediatized houses (etc., etc.!) of Bavaria, Denmark, Hesse, Hohenlohe-Bartenstein, Hohenzollern, Murat, Ortenburg, Schaumburg-Lippe, Schwarzenberg, Solms-Braunfels, Solms-Hohensolms-Lich, Sweden and Waldburg-Zeil.

For Rosvall Royal Books' own presentation of issue no. 2, 2013 go here.

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentation of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.

American Independence Day Celebration in Oslo, Norway, 2013

 The American Independence Day Celebration, arranged for the 28th time by the American Coordinating Council of Norway (ACCN), took place in Frognerparken, Oslo on Sunday 30 June 2013.

The celebration always take place the last Sunday before the real day - 4th of July - among others because such a big event needs many volunteers, and they are usually not able to take the time off in the middle of the week. The number of visitors will naturally also be larger on a Sunday.

The public celebration in Frognerparken is very popular - at least when the weather is as nice as it was yesterday - not only the American exiles living in Norway and the many tourists are attracted to te event, but also many Norwegians come to the park to take part.

The program this year included entertainment by the coverband Airbuzz, the Blues singer Johnny Sansome, line dancer Kelli Haugen and singer Anee Karin Lee. The children could choose between many hands-on activities provided by Oslo Children's Museum as well as pony rides. Last summer my then 2-years-old made her horse riding debut at Lake Farmpark at Kirtland, Ohio and lovd it. She was very keen on a pony ride in Frognerparken as well, but as soon as she got up on the horse back she wanted to get down again immediately. A year can make a difference, I guess. She is much more sensitive to the dangers of the world now than last year. Oh well, I don't have to buy her a horse, then...

People could also try out softball/baseball or American football. No-one commented on my Cincinnati Reds cap and shirt, though, even if the baseball team had beaten Texas Rangers 6-4 the day before. Such a shame!

The American food feast is very popular - hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ, sandwiches, baked goods, ice cream and much more! The many booths could also offer arts and crafts, voters registration assistance, US consular services and used book stands, to mention a few, while fans of American cars could enjoy the many vehicles that were on display (see two examples below).

The ACCN also publishes a rather nice Communuity Guide which includes the program for the Independence Day celebration, but also lots of useful information for Americans living in Norway. The guide for 2013-2014 also has several interesting articles, including one about the 25th anniversary of the Norwegian Pavillion in Walt Disney's EPCOT, The Norwegian Lady - A Tale of Two Cities and A little taste of Norway in Washington State (which comes in hany, as I plan to visit Seattle next year).

For a short film coverage of the celebrations, go to VGTV.

 Airbuzz on stage.

Monticello Society's stand. To the left Vice President Jan Arild Snoen and in the middle President George Gooding.

SC Event's AmCar Exhibition. The car below is a Chevrolet. I haven't figured out the car above yet...