13 December 2014

Monaco: Ordinances conferring titles on the princely twins

The Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Charléne became parents to the twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques on Wednesday 10 December 2014. In the press bulletin it was informed that Hereditary Prince Jacques was to receive the title of Marquis of Baux, while Princess Gabriella was to receive the title of Countess of Carladès.

The ordinances conferring the said titles were published in the Monegasque Official Gazette, Journal de Monaco. Bulletin Officiel de la Principauté on Friday 12 December 2014:

10 December 2014

Norway: The King and Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner to attend the funeral of Queen Fabiola of the Belgians

The Norwegian Royal Court (Official engagement section) confirmed today that King Harald and his sister Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner will attend the funeral service for Queen Fabiola of the Belgians at the Cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule in Brussels on Friday 12 December 2014.

Queen Fabiola, née Mora y Aragón, b. Madrid 11 Jun 1928, who married King Baudouin of the Belgians (1930-1993) in 1960, died in Brussels on Friday 5 December 2014. An obituary was published at Telegraph.co.uk later the same evening.

King Harald and Princess Astrid were first cousins to King Baudouin. His nephew Philippe succeeded the Belgian throne in 2013 following the abdication of Baudouin's younger brother Albert.

Monaco: Twins born

Princess Charlène of Monaco, wife of Prince Albert II, gave birth to twins at the Maternity of the Princess Grace Hospital Monaco today (10 December 20114). The following press bulletin was issued:
LL.AA.SS. le Prince et la Princesse de Monaco ont l’immense bonheur d’annoncer la naissance de Leurs enfants prénommés :
  • Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie (née à 17h04)
  • Jacques, Honoré, Rainier (né à 17h06)
Ces naissances ont eu lieu, le 10 décembre 2014 à la maternité du Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace de Monaco.
La Princesse et les Enfants se portent bien.
Le Prince Jacques, Honoré, Rainier, a la qualité de Prince Héréditaire. Selon l’usage historique établi par le traité de Péronne (1641), Il reçoit le titre de Marquis des Baux (en Provence).
La Princesse Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie, deuxième enfant dans la ligne de succession, reçoit le titre de Comtesse de Carladès (en Auvergne). 
It is with immense joy that TT.SS.HH the Prince and Princess of Monaco have the great pleasure to announce the birth of Their children named: 
  • Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie (born at 17h04)
  • Jacques, Honoré, Rainier (born at 17h06)
The births took place on 10th December 2014 at the Maternity of the Princess Grace Hospital Monaco.
The Princess and the Children are doing well.
The Prince Jacques, Honoré, Rainier is the Crown Prince. In accordance with the historic custom established by the treaty of Péronne (1641), He shall receive the title of Marquis of Baux (in Provence).
The Princess Gabriella, Thérèse, Marie, second child in the line of succession, shall receive the title of Countess of Carladès (in Auvergne).
Princess Charlène's pregnancy was announced on 30 May this year. On 9 October it was finally confirmed that she was carrying twins.

Although Princess Gabriella was born first, Prince Jacques is first in line of succession in accordance with the Constitution Article 10:
The succession to the throne, opened by death or abdication, takes place direct and legitimate issue of the reigning prince, by order of primogeniture with priority given to males within the same degree of kinship. 
 The updated line of succession to the Monegasque throne is as follows:
  1. HSH Hereditary Prince Jacques, Marquis of Baux (b. 2014)
  2. HSH Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès (b. 2014)
  3. HRH The Princess of Hannover (Princess Caroline) (b. 1957)
  4. Andrea Casiraghi (b. 1984)
  5. Alexandre "Sasha" Casiraghi (b. 2013)*
  6. Pierre Casiraghi (b. 1987)
  7. Charlotte Casiraghi (b. 1986)
  8. HRH Princess Alexandra of Hannover (b. 1999)
  9. HSH Princess Stéphanie of Monaco (b. 1965)
  10. Louis Ducruet (b. 1992)*
  11. Pauline Ducruet (b. 1994)*
Prince Albert has two children from earlier relationships - Alexandre Coste (b. 24 August 2003) and Jazmin Grimaldi (b. 4 March 1992), who are not in the line of succession.

* Sasha, Louis and Pauline were born out of wedlock, but legitimized by their parents' marriage, cf. the the Monegasque Civil Code Article 227, and are thus in the line of succession unlike Louis' and Pauline's half-sister Camille Grimaldi (Gottlieb), b. 1998. 

13 November 2014

Memorial service for Princess Kristine Bernadotte to take place on 15 November

The memorial service for Princess Kristine Bernadotte, née Rivelsrud, who died on 4 November 2014, will take place at Drottningholm Palace Chapel outside Stockholm on Saturday 15 November 2014. Afterwards she will be laid to rest next to her husband, Prince Carl Bernadotte (1911-2003), at the Royal Cemetery at Haga.

According to the official program published at the Norwegian Royal Court's website, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Princess Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn will attend the memorial service as well as the funeral.

The Swedish Royal House will be represented by King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, cf. the Swedish Royal Court's website.

Updated on 14 November 2014 at 08:55 (name mix-up corrected).

9 November 2014

Princess Kristine Bernadotte (1932-2014), ancestry

Princess Kristine Bernadotte, née Rivelsrud, b. Eidsfoss, Hof on 22 April 1932, died in her home at Benalmadena, Spain on Tuesday 4 November 2014, cf. the death announcement in Aftenposten 8 November 2014.

Kristine, who was the oldest child of Johan Rivelsrud (1907-1986) and Elna Rivelsrud (1908-1992), was married to Prince Carl Bernadotte, youngest son of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, in 1978. Several newspapers mentioned Kristine's death yesterday and today, and Trond Norén Isaksen has written an obituary at his blog.

A memorial service for Princess Kristine took place at the Norwegian Seamen's Church in Calahonda yesterday, while the funeral service will take place at Drottningholm Palace Church, date yet not known. The death announcement can be viewed at Aftenposten's website (search for Bernadotte if you read this after the announcement has disappeared from the front page).

This weekend I have attended the Norwegian Genealogical Society's LAN party for genealogists (research non-stop from Saturday 10 a.m. until Sunday 2 p.m.!) in Oslo, and I have spent most of the time researching Princess Kristine's ancestry for Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki. The ancestry article can be viewed here (in Norwegian, but the genealogical details should be easy to figure out nevertheless).

It should of course be regarded as a prosject "under work", as with all wiki articles. I believe I have (with some help from other researchers) contributed to many new (not yet published) details about Princess Kristine's ancestry, including information about her Swedish ancestry. I hope to get more done later on.

6 November 2014

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in Serbia

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway made an official visit to Serbia today (6 November 2014), where he among others opened a new functionality for Telenor's mobile bank and meet participants of the Telenor Youth Forum as well as Norwegian language students at the Institute of Scandinavian Languages at the University of Belgrade.

According to the Norwegian Royal Court's website, Crown Prince Haakon later met up with the First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić, followed by an official luncheon.

The Crown Prince also attended the opening of Human Rights House Belgrade, which will be home to various Serbian human rights organisations, before he moved on to the Zemun district where he attended the re-opening of the Roman Catholic chapel of St. Rocco, which during the last few years has undergone extensive renovation works. He also visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel nearby.

In Zemun Crown Prince Haakon had the pleasure of meeting his distant royal relative, Crown Prince Alexander, head of the former royal family of Yugoslavia (Royal House of Karadjordjevic), and his wife Crown Princess Katherine. The Norwegian Royal Court doesn't mention this encounter, but fortunately Crown Prince Alexander's office has released the following information:
Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Hakon Magnusson [sic!] of Norway, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine visited Zemun today to attend a ceremony at the Roman Catholic Church of St. Rocco, following that they visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel. This ceremony was also attended by State Secretary Dilek Ayhan of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, HE Mr Nils Ragnar Kamswag, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, and great number of members of the diplomatic corps and religious representatives.

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Rocco was built in 1836, on the foundations of an older chapel, and the architect was Joseph Felber, who also built the Zemun Church of Holy Trinity. The church suffered in 1990’s, but recently it was renovated thanks to the Norwegian Government and its former glory has again been fully restored.

Crown Prince Alexander expressed his delight that HRH Crown Prince Haakon is in Serbia and that they met on such wonderful occasion. “Crown Prince Haakon of Norway is the first member of the Norwegian Royal Family to visit Serbia for 40 years. I hope meetings like this will happen more often and that each future meeting will further deepen the friendship between our two countries to the benefit of both our nations.”

Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine also visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel in Zemun and talked to the priests who told Their Royal Highnesses about its long history.
Crown Prince Alexander's office has also published a few photos from the visit. Later in the evening the Norwegian Crown Prince attended an official dinner hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador in Belgrade, Nils Ragnar Kamsvåg. According to the Norwegian Royal Court, the "guest list reflects the extensive cooperation between Norway and Serbia in various spheres of society". Not sure if the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Serbia were invited, but I really hope so.

The Crown Prince of Norway's given names are Haakon Magnus, but only the first name Haakon is in daily use, which was confirmed after the extraordinary council of state on 23 July 1973, three days after his birth.

5 November 2014

Prince Michael of Greece's new website

A corredondent has made me aware of the author Prince Michael of Greece's new website, http://www.princemichaelofgreece.com/. Besides a biography and a list of his published works, you will also find many nice and interesting photos.

Prince Michael, b. 1939, is the son of Prince Christopher of Greece and his second wife Françoise, née Princess d'Orleans. Prince Michael was married to Marina Karella in 1965 and has two daughters, Alexandra and Olga, as well as 5 grandchildren. Prince Michael is a first cousin to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as well as a first cousin once removed to the head of the Greek royal family, the former King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

1 November 2014

Nye utgaver av NST og Genealogen (new issues of NST and Genealogen)

Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift og Genealogen, som utgis av Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, har nettopp kommet ut med nye utgaver (NST bind 44, hefte 1-2 og Genealogen 2/2014). Dere kan lese nærmere om innholdet på NSFs nettside.

Denne gangen har jeg bidratt med to artikler. Først en bokanmeldelse/bokpresentasjon (kall det hva man vil) av en bok fra 2012 om Uelandslekta fra Varhaug, Jæren: Ueland, Tarald. Du skal ikkje forfedrane gløyma. Uelandslekta. Etter Ingeborg Ivarsdatter f. 1850 & Tobias Tollaksen Ueland f. 1831. 1870-2012, Ueland Historiske Forlag, Bergen 2012. ISBN: 978-82-999021-0-6).

Det andre bidraget er en kort notis kalt Ny dødsdato for professor Oluf Rygh, der jeg påpeker at dødsdatoen oppgitt i oppslagsverk som Norsk Biografisk Leksikon er feil - Rygh døde den 20. august 1899, som primærkildene kan bekrefte, og ikke 19. august. Ikke den mest banebrytende avsløringen, men viktig nok. Datoer skal man holde i orden.

Summary in English: The last issues of Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift (Journal of Norwegian Genealogy) and Genealogen (The Genealogist), which are published by Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (The Norwegian Genealogical Society), have just been posted to the members and subscribers. Information about the conents can be found at the official website. I have this time made two contributions. First a book review/presentation of a book from 2012 about the Ueland family from Varhaug, Jæren: Ueland, Tarald. Du skal ikkje forfedrane gløyma. Uelandslekta. Etter Ingeborg Ivarsdatter f. 1850 & Tobias Tollaksen Ueland f. 1831. 1870-2012, Ueland Historiske Forlag, Bergen 2012. ISBN: 978-82-999021-0-6).

The second contribution is a short article named Ny dødsdato for professor Oluf Rygh ("New death date for Professor Oluf Rygh") where I point out that the death date stated in encyclopedias like Norsk Biografisk Leksikon ("Norwegian Biographical Enclyclopedia") is wrong - Rygh died on the 20th of August 1899, as the primary sources can confirm, and not the 19th of August. Certainly not the most groundbreaking discovery, but important enough. One should be as thorough as possible about dates, and always back them up with primary sources. Oluf Rygh was a Norwegian historian, name researcher and archaeologist and among Norwegian genealogists known for initiating and writing the first two volumes of the series Norske Gaardnavne ("Norwegian Farm Names").

9 October 2014

Ferner wedding

Carl-Christian Ferner, youngest son of Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, married Anna-Stina Slattum Karlsen at Ris Church in Oslo last weekend (probably Saturday 4 October 2014). The reception took place at Grand Hotel.

King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn as well as members of the Ferner and Lorentzen families attended the wedding, in addition to Princess Kristine Bernadotte.

Anna-Stina Slattum Ferner, as is her new name, works as a "digital editor" at Orkla Foods. She was born at Bærum Hospital on 23 February 1984 as the youngest child of Reidar Kristian Karlsen and Gerd Solveig Slattum-Karlsen.

Sources: Se og Hør No. 41/2014 and Aftenposten 25 February 1984 No. 95 p. 18 and the tax lists of 2001 and 2009.

Updated on 14 November 2014 (persons in attendance updated).

3 September 2014

Scanned version of the Norwegian national census 1801

A transcribed version of the Norwegian national census was published on the Internet by the then Department of History at the University of Bergen in 1995. The census is now housed by Digitalarkivet (the Digital Archives), a division of Riksarkivet (the National Archives).

Last week Digitalarkivet published the scanned version of the 1801 census. If you ever wonder if the transcribed version contains a mistake you are now able to check the original. A great new addition for all genealogists!

The photo above lists the people living at the Holset (Hoelset) farm in Åmot, Østerdalen in 1801. The permanent page link can be found here, while the permanent photo link can be viewed here. For the transcribed version, go here. The survey shows among others my 5-x-great-grandfather Tollef Olsen Holset (1764-1840), his wife Anne Kristensdatter Glomstad (1762-1844), their children, Tollef's parents Ole Eriksen Holset (1723-1810) and Berte Tollefsdatter (1729-1820), some other relations as well as a cotter family. My Hoelseth family page can be viewed here.

The other censuses available at Digitalarkivet:

Svenska Släktkalendern 2014

Svenska Släktkalendern 2014 ("The Swedish Family Calendar 2014") was published in May this year. The genealogical work is similar to the Svenska Adelskalendern (The Swedish Nobility Book), but "only" covers "commoner" families. I got the opportunity to leaf through it when I visited the Genealogy Convention in Karlstad, Sweden last weekend. I didn't buy it, but might do it later (it will also eventually be added to the book collection of the Norwegian Genealogy Society), as quite a few interesting families were included. 65 family articles are included, of those 22 have been covered earlier, while as many as 43 are new, including Prince Daniel of Sweden's Westling family. 

The families covered in the latest edition are: Ahnlund (from Annefors) (new), Alfvén (from Alunda) (new), Arrhenius (from Målilla), Aschan, Askagården (new), Azar (new), Berggren (from Gävle) (new), Bergman (from Högsby) (new), Bergström (from Jämtland) (new), Berzelius, Billing (from Stockholm) (new), Bjernald (new), Brodell (from Bro) (new), Carlsson (from Burseryd), Cleve, Clewberg (new), Dafgård, Dahlgren (from Norrköping), Djurberg (from Stockholm), Dravins (new), Ekroth (from Ytterselö) (new), Elmgren (from Lessebo) (a new branch added), Eschelsson (new), Esmaeilzadeh (new), Fagræus (new), Fioretos (new), Främby (new), Granit (from Korpo) (new), Hellström (from Björskog) (new), Klackenberg (new), Kraft (from Löderup) (new), Lagberg (from Skänninge) (new), Lagerlöf, Lindman (from Lindrum), Magnuson (the Sandviken family) (new), Meitner (new), Nathhorst, Nathurst; Nessler, Nässler (new), Nilsson (from Grythyttan) (new), Nordenvall (the Värmland family), Persson (from Tullstorp) (new), Plantin (from Umeå) (new), Rahm (from Ramsberg) (new), Ramstedt (the Stockholm family), Rappaport (new), Rosell (from Torpa) (new), Rossander (from Kisa) (new), Rur, Ruhr; Salmoon (new),  Samuelsson (from Spekeröd) (new), Scheele (new), Seddigh (new), Siegbahn, Stecksenius, Stecksén (Daniel Olofsson's family) (new), Svart (from Aspeboda), Svartz (from Leksand), Svedberg (from Edebo) (new), Tegnér (from Tegnaby), Theorell (from Hudene) (new), Wattrangius (I) (new),  Westling (from Hanebo - Prince Danilel's family) (new), Widerström (new), Wiesel (from Vislanda) (new),Wullt (new), Åkerhielm (Filip's branch).

Svenska Släktkalendern (SSK) was published for the first time in 1885, then under the name Svensk Slägtkalendern, from 1889 Svenska Ättartal, before it got its current name in 1912. Since 1885 the calendar has been published with irregular intervals, but the last three editions every second year. The 2014 edition is no. 46.

The calendar covers the basic genealogical-biographical facts about the family members, such as complete name including call name and nickname if given, birth date, profession/title, employment, positions and/or memberships in national organisations, honors (orders, medals), marriage, cohabitaiton or registered partnership as well as address (city, place).

Föreningen Svenska Släktkalendern (The Swedish Family Calendar Society) is behind the publication, and the current editor is Magnus Bäckmark. The 2014 edition costs SEK 730. ISBN10: 9163751151. ISBN13: 9789163751158. Go to the official website for more details.

28 August 2014

Släktforskardagarna i Karlstad, Sverige - The Genealogy Convention in Karlstad, Sweden 29-31 August 2014

The Swedish Genealogy Convention 2014 will take place in Karlstad in Värmland this weekend (29-31 August 2014). The convention will be located in the Karlstad CCC (Karlstad Congress Culture Center). Around 90 genealogical societies and various institutions and providers of search tools (such as the National Archives, Ancestry, FamilySearch etc.) will have exhibitions, and there will be numerous lectures. The theme for the Genealogy Convention this year is "Migration - past, present and future".

I will be present at the convention as a representative of the Norwegian Genealogical Society (NSF), together with the chairman and his partner. Karlstad is a short drive from the Norwegian border, so we expect that many Norwegians will attend the convention as well. Besides the NSF also the other national genealogical society, The Genealogy Society of Norway-DIS, will be present, as well as Skogfinsk Genealogi (the Forest Finns Genealogical Society) and Solør Slektshistorielag (Solør Genealogical Society).

I look forward to meeting other genealogists, establish new contacts and get new input! This will be the second time I visit Karlstad, but I doubt there will be much time for sightseeing, as I will be at the CCC most of the time. I hope to visit the city again soon in order to watch Karlstad's ice hockey team, Färjestad!
The masonic lodge in Karlstad, where the negotiations for the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden took place in 1905. Not normally open to the public, though, and there will not be much time for sightseeing anyway.

3 July 2014

Sofia Hellqvist's ancestry

Following the announcement of the engagement between Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist last Friday, 27 June 2014, the genealogist and publisher Ted Rosvall has worked hard to trace the ancestors of the (most likely) princess-to-be and future member of the Bernadotte family. The second edition of Rosvall's book Bernadotteättlingar (The Bernadotte Descendants) was published in 2010.

Ted Rosvall's first results were published in the blog Rötter (Roots) on the website of Sveriges Släktforskarförbund (Swedish Roots, Sweden's Genealogists' Society), on Monday 30 June 2014. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet followed up with an article on 1 July 2014, in which also the Älvdalen genealogist Roland Skoglund was interviewed. Skoglund, who is chairman of Runslingan, Uppland Genealogical Society, has in earlier works covered the population of Älvdalen from the period 1600-1900. Because of Skoglund's work, which I hope will eventually end up with a published genealogy of Sofia Hellqvist's mother's family, Ted Rosvall has focused his research on Sofia's father's family.

Based on the above-mentoned articles and Ratsit, a credit report company which at it's website has public records from the Swedish public register, I can present a short summary of Sofia Hellqvist's ancestry.
  1. Sofia Kristina Hellqvist, b. Danderyd Hospital 6 December 1984, later moved to Älvdalen
  2. Erik Oscar Hellqvist, b. --- Denmark 3 June 1949.
  3. Marie Britt Rotman, b. Älvdalen 2 May 1957.
  4. Stig Hellqvist (deceased)
  5. Ingrid --- (deceased)
  6. Janne Herbert Ribbe Rotman, d. 1996.
  7. Britt Ingegerd ---, b. 10 June 1937.
Sofia's sisters are Lina Maria Hellqvist, b. 16 January 1982, who lives in Stockholm, and Sara Helena Hellqvist, b. 30 May 1988, who lives in Sollentuna.
Sofia's grandfather Stig was born in Lidhamn outside Malmö, but his father was a handelsresande (salesman/commercial traveller) from Norrköping. Going one generation further back, we find tullvaktmästare (some sort of customs officer) Anders Fredrik (Andersson) Hellqvist (1850-1927), who was born in Norrköping/Hedvig as the son of factory worker Anders Nilsson and Anna Maria Persdotter (1823-1904).

The surname Hellqvist actually stems from the latter's family. Her father, grenadier Petter Häll/Hell (1793-1852), was from Hällebyle i Gistad parish. At least one of his children, Johan Fredrik (1833-1916), later took the surname Hellqvist, something his sister's son also settled on. Peter Häll was born in Svinstad parish southeast of Linköping. Svinstad was in 1804 renamed Bankekind, possibly because of the original name (svin means swine/pig). As Rosvall sums up, in Sofia's father's family we only find commoners - cotters/crofters, soldiers and workers. On her mother's side, 3/4 of the family has roots in Älvdalen in Dalarna, and most of them were farmers.Through her Älvdalen family Sofia Hellqvist is related to Gyris Marit Ersdotter, who died in captivity in 1669, most likely she suffered death at the stake for witchcraft.

I am sure that more details will be published as we get closer to the wedding next summer. In the meantime, you can also find some information at Nobiliana provided by Netty Leistra.

Updated on 19 June 2015 at 10.55 (place of birth for Sofia corrected from Täby, where the family lived at the time, to Danderyd Hospital, cf. Kungahuset.se). Updated on 21 April 2016 (spelling of Sofia's father's name). Updated on 28 March 2021 (the death year of no. 6 Janne Herbert Ribbe Rotman corrected from 2005 to 1996, cf. Sveriges Dödbok 1860-2016). 

27 June 2014

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden engaged to marry Sofia Hellqvist

The engagement between Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist was announced today by the Royal Court. The press release read as follows:
Engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist

The Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce the engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist.

After His Majesty The King of Sweden had given his consent to the marriage between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist, His Majesty requested the approval by the Swedish Government, in accordance with the procedures set out in the Swedish Constitution.
- Sofia has today said yes to the question to spend the rest of her life together with me. Today is a very happy day for Sofia and I, says Prince Carl Philip.
The wedding date has not yet been decided but it is planned to take place during the summer of 2015.
The newly engaged and happy couple met the media for a short press conference and photo session, where we learned among others that Prince Carl Philip had proposed the same morning and that Ms. Hellqvist had been taken by surprise. They had been waiting for this day for such a long time... According to today's press, the couple met in 2009, became a couple in early 2010 and moved in together in 2011. She seems to have been welcomed by the royal family from the start and have attended several royal events, including Princess Madeleine’s wedding in 2012 and Princess Leonore’s christening earlier this month.

From the released CV, today’s newspapers and Dt.se we learn that Sofia Kristina Hellqvist was born at Täby (outside Stockholm) on 6 December 1984, but grew up in Älvdalen in Dalarna. She is the second daughter of Erik Hellqvist and Marie Hellqvist, née Rotman. Her big sister is named Lina, while her younger sister is Sara.

Sofia attended primary school at Älvdalen and the local Montessori school and studied at the high school in Vansbro. I cannot find too many details about her family, but Svensk Damtidning published a survey of her family in no. 14, 2013 (which I haven't read). Erik was born in Denmark and works or has worked at the local post office, while Marie, who comes from Älvdalen originally, used to be an active member of the Liberal People’s Party. I am sure we will get more details and more accurate information later.

According to the information released by the court, Sofia has studied accounting with computer application, specialising in business development, at the Institute of English and Business in New York. Sofia has also studied various courses such as global ethics, child and youth science, children’s communication and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in theory and in Swedish practice at Stockholm University. During her time in New York, Sofia also studied at YTTP, Yoga To The People, to become a certified yoga instructor. She was also involved in setting up a yoga centre. During September and October 2009, Sofia carried out voluntary work in Ghana. She visited orphanages and helped build a centre for women.

In 2010, Sofia founded the organisation Project Playground, together with her friend Frida Vesterberg. Project Playground is a non-profit organisation that helps vulnerable children and young people in areas and townships outside Cape Town, South Africa, primarily in Langa, which is the oldest township in the area. Project Playground strengthens children’s personal and social development via support programmes and organised activities. With a focus on children and young people’s leisure time and the individual, Project Playground creates a safe platform and meeting place with activities and programmes, run by adults that act as leaders and role models. The business has a total of 29 employees (26 in South Africa) and is one of the largest employers in the township of Langa. Sofia is President of Project Playground, and Frida Vesterberg is Vice President.

So far, so good. But the future Princess Sofia of Sweden has a past. Maybe not as wild as many would claim, but there are photos out there, from the time she was a glamour model and participant in a reality show. She surely regrets some of the choices she made when she was young.

The reactions of today’s news have obviously been mixed, as one could expect. You can read comments by the more Catholic than the Pope kind of people who find Ms. Hellqvist totally unsuitable to marry into the Swedish royal family and on the other side comments by the royalty is a fairytale kind of people who believes love conquers everything and nothing else matters. The republicans are always bothered by the cost of the wedding, and then again there are many who wouldn’t care less. If the monarchy falls, it will most likely not be because of Prince Carl Philip’s choice of bride.

Some will regard her as a gold digger and worse, while others prefer to talk about how they met at a party and fell in love. Regardless, the couple made a great impression at the press conference today. It is too early to say what impact the engagement and wedding next year will have on the support of the monarchy. She will most likely grow into her role and perform her duties well. She will be accepted by the majority, while the skeptics will never forget. Sofia Hellqvist seems to be a charming and warm-hearted person who will be of great support to her husband. Those who are critical of the union and want someone to blame, should go after Prince Carl Philip, who by his more or less controversial choice of a woman «with a past» is challenging the bedrock the monarchy is leaning on and exposing the royal house to more criticism and negative headlines. Something the royal house doesn’t really need. It is kind of sad, though. An engagement is supposed to be a celebration not only of a young couple’s love, but also of the monarchy itself. Instead we end up with mixed feelings and debates.

Constitutionally speaking, the king and the government have given consent to the marriage, cf. article 5 of the act of succession, just as expected. The Government gave its approval yesterday by the way. Upon marriage Sofia will become Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Värmland with the style of Royal Highness, and any possible children will be Prince or Princess of Sweden just like their cousins Estelle and Leonore.

Updated on 30 June 2014 at 10.05 (minor corrections about Sofia's parents, link added).

22 June 2014

The 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences

Are you interested in genealogy and/or heraldry? Why don't you come to Oslo between 13th and 17 of August this year, where the 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences takes place?

The theme of the congress is "Influence on Genealogy and Heraldry of Major Events in the History of a Nation", a theme chosen because of the two major jubilees which are marked in 2014 - the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and Oslo's 700th anniversary as the capital of Oslo. Whether Oslo really could be defined as a capital 700 years ago or not has with good reasons been a subject of discussion, but the anniversary is nevertheless being marked, although not in the same style as the 17th of May anniversary.

Anyway, there are many interesting topics being presented during the congress, including themes covering royalty and nobility. The timing and venue for each presentation has now been decided, and these can be seen on the Congress website – Program.

Under Presenters you can see the names of the speakers and title of the presentations, and clicking further on the individual names takes you to a synopsis of the talk. In addition to general registration, it is possible to register for individual days for talks of particular interest – contact the Congress at post@congress2014.no for details.

The organizers behind the congress is the Norwegian Genealogical Society (Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening) and the Norwegian Heraldry Society (Norsk Heraldisk Forening).

The blazon of the emblem is as follows: Shield: Azure a Tree eradicated Argent. Supporter: Issuant from behind the Shield Saint Hallvard (Oslo’s patron saint) Azure with a Millstone resting in Dexter Hand and holding three Arrows in Sinister Hand, all Argent. (Source: Slektshistoriewiki - The Norwegian Genealogy Wiki).

The 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences Oslo 2014 is under the distinguished patronage of His Majesty King Harald V of Norway.

Hope to see as many of you in Oslo in August this year!

19 June 2014

Spanish abdication act published

The Spanish abdication act was published in the Official Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado, BOE) just over midnight on Thursday 19 June 2014:

Ley Orgánica 3/2014, de 18 de junio, por la que se hace efectiva la abdicación de Su Majestad el Rey Don Juan Carlos I de Borbón

Long live King Felipe VI!

18 June 2014

Spanish abdication bill signed into law

The abdicacion bill was approved in the Spanish senate yesterday (233 in favour, 5 voted against, 20 abstentions).

In a ceremony at the Royal Palace tonight King Juan Carlos signed the abdication bill into law (which was also countersigned by President of the Government Mariano Rajoy). The act will come into effect "from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette",* i.e. at midnight. 160 people attended the ceremony, including King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, the Prince and Princess of Asturias (soon-to-be King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia), Infanta Leonor, Infanta Sofia, Infanta Elena, the King's sisters Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajóz and Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria (the latter with her husband Carlos Zurita, Duke of Soria), the Duke and Duchess of Calabria (the king's first cousin Infante Carlos and his wife Anne, née d'Orleans), the king's aunt by marriage Infanta Alicia, as well as former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes and the former King Simeon of the Bulgarians.

On Thursday morning, 19 June, King Felipe VI will take the oath in the proclamation ceremony before both houses of Parliament. Besides the new king and queen and their daughters the Princess of Asturias (Leonor) and Infanta Sofia, also Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena, Infanta Pilar and Infanta Margarita and members of Queen Letizia's family will be present. King Juan Carlos has decided not to attend so that the new king will get all the attention. The king and queen will observe the military parade from stairs of the Congress building before being driven to the Royal Palace where they will greet the Spanish people from the balcony. The Princess of Asturias, Infanta Sofia, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will also be present.

At 1 p.m. a reception will be held attended by around 2000 people. The English edition of El Pais has given a nice survey of tomorrow's events. In addition the Royal Court has issued a 90 pages long document with all the details about the abdication and the ceremony on Thursday (for the Spanish version, which has 3 more pages, go here).

*Postscript 23 June 2014: It should be added that I based the translation of the abdication act on the draft bill published by the Government on 3 June 2014, where the text of the final provision said «This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette".» In the translation at the Royal Court’s website the final provision reads «This organic law shall take effect when it is published in the "Official State Gazette".» The latter translation was made available after the act was published in BOE.

There is obviously a minor, but still significant, difference between the two translations. The former translation would mean that the then Prince of Asturias became king (as Felipe VI) at midnight on 19 June regardless of when the act was published that day, while the latter clearly says that the succession started from the time of publication. Not much difference in time, though, as the act was published two minutes after midnight.

Even though my understanding of Spanish is limited, it seems to me that the translation at the Royal Court’s website is more accurate. The draft bill’s final provision in Spanish said that «La presente Ley entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el Boletín Oficial del Estado".», while the published act read «La presente ley orgánica entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el «Boletín Oficial del Estado». » The only difference is that the word «orgánica» was added during the process.

Updated on Monday 23 June 2014 at 22:20 (postscript added, last time on Thursday 19 February 2015 (typo corrected).

15 June 2014

Royal birth in Luxembourg

The Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg released the following announcement earlier today, 16 June 2014:
Their Royal Highnesses Grand‐Duke and Grand‐Duchess of Luxembourg are very pleased to announce the birth of Prince Félix and Princess Claire’s first child.

The baby girl was born on 15 June 2014 at Maternité Grande‐Duchesse Charlotte in Luxembourg.

The little Princess will be named Amalia, Gabriela, Maria Teresa. On birth, the baby weighed 2,950 kilograms and measured 50 cm.

Prince Félix was at the side of his wife in the delivery room. Her Royal Highness and her baby are both doing well.

The Grand‐Duke and the Grand‐Duchess as well as Mr and Mrs Lademacher and both families are delighted with the news.
The exact time of the birth was for some reason not included in the announcement. Prince Felix is the second son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. He married Claire Lademacher on 17 September 2013 (religious celebration 21 September 2013). The pregnancy was announced by the court on 14 January 2014.

HRH Princess Amalia of Nassau, who is  third in line to the Grand-Ducal throne, is the third grandchild of the Grand Ducal couple. Prince Félix' younger brother Prince Louis and his wife Princess Tessy have two boys – Prince Gabriel (b. 2006) and Prince Noah (b. 2007).

I am not sure what has motivated the choice of Amalia as the baby's call name, but one can at least find several examples of Amalie or Amalia in the various Nassau lines. The other names (Gabriela Maria Teresa) are surely after Princess Amalia's grandmothers.

11 June 2014

Spanish Congress of Deputies passes abdication bill

The Spanish lower house, the Congress of Deputies, processed the abdication draft bill today. Some representatives used the event to mark their opposition to the monarchical form of government, but as the major parties voted in favour of the bill, everything went as expected.

For the record, 299 representatives were in favour, while 19 voted against. In addition there were 23 abstentions.

The relevant documents:
Information in English (provided earlier):
Press release from Prime Minister (President of the Government) Mariano Rajoy
The text of the abdication bill is quite simple:
Sole Article. Abdication of HM King Juan Carlos I de Borbón.
  1. HM King Juan Carlos I de Borbón abdicates the Spanish Crown.
  2. The abdication will become effective as from the entry into force of this Constitutional Law.
Sole final provision. Entry into force.
This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette.*
The bill will now move on to the Senate, where it will be processed on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 4 p.m. The following day it is expected that King Juan Carlos will sanction and promulgate the abdication law in accordance with the Constitution Article 62. But as the text of the bill suggests, the law will not come into force until the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette.* Nothing is official yet, but it seems that Felipe will take the oath on Thursday 19 June 2014.

According to El Pais (3 June 2014), "The exact date when the law goes into effect is set to coincide with the proclamation of the new monarch, as there can be no transitional period. In the meantime, “the king continues to be the king to all effects and purposes,” said an expert in royal affairs."

I find this claim a bit odd. If Juan Carlos had died in his sleep still being the king, there would most certainly have been a transitional period, so why should there be a difference when the king abdicates and becomes "constitutionally dead"?

We will surely obtain more information as we get closer to the main events next week.

*Postscript 23 June 2014: It should be added that I based the translation of the abdication act on the draft bill published by the Government on 3 June 2014, where the text of the final provision said «This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette".» In the translation at the Royal Court’s website the final provision reads «This organic law shall take effect when it is published in the "Official State Gazette".» The latter translation was made available after the act was published in BOE.

There is obviously a minor, but still significant, difference between the two translations. The former translation would mean that the then Prince of Asturias became king (as Felipe VI) at midnight on 19 June regardless of when the act was published that day, while the latter clearly says that the succession started from the time of publication. Not much difference in time, though, as the act was published two minutes after midnight.

Even though my understanding of Spanish is limited, it seems to me that the translation at the Royal Court’s website is more accurate. The draft bill’s final provision in Spanish said that «La presente Ley entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el Boletín Oficial del Estado".», while the published act read «La presente ley orgánica entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el «Boletín Oficial del Estado». » The only difference is that the word «orgánica» was added during the process.

Updated on Wednesday 11 June 2014 at 22.35 (press release from La Moncloa added), last time on Monday 23 June 2014 at 22.20 (postscript added).

8 June 2014

Christening of HRH Princess Leonore of Sweden

The christening of Princess Leonore of Sweden, the daughter of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Chris O'Neill, took place at the Royal Chapel of Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm today, 8 June 2014. The christening coincided both with Pentecost as well as the first wedding anniversary of Princess Madeleine and Mr. O'Neill.

Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland was born at New York City, USA on 20 February 2014, and is fifth in line of succession to the throne of Sweden.

With such a great weather I preferred to stay outdoors rather than watching the televised ceremony, so I am not able to give a personal review of today's events, but here are the main facts.

The ceremony was officiated by Archbishop Anders Wejryd assisted by Chief Court Chaplain of the Royal Court and Bishop Emeritus Lars-Göran Lönnermark and Vicar of the Royal Court, Court Chaplain, Michael Bjerkhagen. The latter two also officiated at the wedding of Princess Leonore's parents, Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill, on 8 June 2012.

Princess Leonore's six sponsors were: 
  • Crown Princess Victoria
  • Louise Gottlieb (friend of Princess Madeleine)
  • Patrick Sommerlath (first cousin of Princess Madeleine)
  • Tatjana d’Abo (sister of Chris O'Neill)
  • Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun (brother-in-law of Chris O'Neill and Princess Madeleine)
  • Miss Alice Bamford (childhood friend of Chris O'Neill)
Guest list
After the christening ceremony there was a reception for all the 160 people who attended the ceremony, followed by a private lunch hosted by the King and Queen for about 100 guests. The following guest list was published at the official website (I haven't always followed the same order of names):

The Royal Family
  • King Carl XVI Gustaf
  • Queen Silvia
  • Crown Princess Victoria
  • Prince Daniel
  • Princess Estelle
  • Prince Carl Philip
  • Princess Madeleine
  • Christopher O'Neill
HM The King's family
  • Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler 
  • Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld and Baron  Carl Silfverschiöld
  • Baroness Christina Louise De Geer and Baron Hans De Geer
  • Hélène Silfverschiöld and Fredrik Dieterle
  • Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson and Tord Magnuson 
  • Gustaf Magnuson and Vicky Magnuson
  • Countess Marianne Bernadotte of Wisborg
  • Countess Gunnila Bernadotte of Wisborg
HM The Queen's family
  • Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath and Bettina Aussems
  • Walther L. Sommerlath and Ingrid Sommerlath
  • Patrick Sommerlath and Maline Sommerlath
  • Leopold Lundén Sommerlath
  • Anaïs Sommerlath
  • Chloé Sommerlath
Mr. Chris O'Neill's family
  • Eva Maria O'Neill
  • Annalisa O'Neill
  • Karen O'Neill
  • Tatjana d'Abo and Henry d'Abo
  • Anouska d'Abo
  • Jasper d'Abo
  • Countess Natascha Abensperg und Traun and Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun
  • Countess Milana Abensperg und Traun
  • Countess Chiara Abensperg und Traun
  • Count Louis Cajetan Abensperg und Traun
  • Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Riksdagen (the Parliament)
  • Speaker Per Westerberg and Ylwa Westerberg
The Government
  • Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt
  • Deputy prime minister and Minister for education Jan Björklund and Anette Brifalk Björklund
  • Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask
Party leaders
  • Chairman of the Social Democrats Stefan Löfven
Corps diplomatique
  • Martin Rivera Gómez, Ambassador of El Salvador
  • Mark F. Brzezinski, Ambassador of the USA 
  • Paul Charles Johnston, Ambassador of the United Kingdom
  • Anne K. Lund, Ambassador of Norway
  • Kirsten Malling Biering, Ambassador of Denmark
  • Harry Helenius, Ambassador of Finland
Other officials
  • Fredrik Wersäll, President of Svea Court of Appeal
  • Archbishop Anders Wejryd and Kajsa Wejryd
  • General Sverker Göranson, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
  • Governor Cecilia Schelin Seidegård, Gotland county
Personal friends
  • Sofia Hellqvist (girl-friend of Prince Carl Philip)
  • Louise Gottlieb and Ludvig Blomqvist
  • Nathalie Werner and Dag Werner
  • Katarina von Horn and Robert von Horn
  • Charlotte Kreuger Cederlund and Christoffer Cederlund
  • Countess Louise Cronstedt and Count Jacob Cronstedt
  • Lovisa de Geer and Niklas Bolle
  • Ellen Dinkelspiel and Jan Dinkelspiel
  • Marco Wajselfisz and Heike Wajselfisz
  • Cedric Notz and Andrea Engsäll
  • Alice Bamford
  • Sofi Fahrman and Nick Zijlstra
  • Fredrik Gottlieb and Carola Gottlieb
  • Lena Biörck Kaplan 
Arms and monogram
The arms and monogram of Princess Leonore were also published in connection with the christening. The four quarters of the arms show the lesser coat of arms of Sweden (field 1 and 4), the arms of Folkunga (field 2) and in field 3 the arms of Gotland (Princess Leonore is also Duchess of Gotland), while the inescutcheon shows the arms of the House of Bernadotte. The arms are crowned by the princess crown. The monogram consists of the initial L and a princess crown above. The heraldic artist Henrik Dahlström has designed the arms, while the monogram has been designed by Vladimir A. Sagerlund. Both were approved by the king. Sagerlund also designed the arms and monogram of Princess Estelle.

It was also announced that King Carl Gustaf had bestowed upon Princess Leonore the Royal Order of the Seraphim in connection with the christening.

All the press releases connected to the christening can be read here

Updated on 9 June 2014 at 13.20 (names of heraldic artists corrected), last time on 1 July 2020 at 22.10 (had one place written «Countess of Gotland» when I obviously meant «Duchess of Gotland», as also written otherwise in the article).

3 June 2014

Information about the abdication process by the Spanish Presidency of the Government

Following yesterday's announcement of King Juan Carlos' decision to abdicate the throne, the Presidency of the Government of Spain published the following information concerning the abdication process after today's extraordinary government meeting:
See also the website of the Congress of Deputies, where the bill has been registered (Proyecto de Ley Orgánica por la que se hace efectiva la abdicación de Su Majestad el Rey Don Juan Carlos I de Borbón. (121/000098)).

The vote on the bill (in both chambers) is expected to take place in mid June. The organic law (the abdication act) will then come into effect as soon as it has been published in the Legal Gazette (BOE). Still waiting for confirmation, but as of now it seems that the new king, Felipe VI, will be proclaimed and will take the oath (in accordance with the Constitution Article 61) on 18 June 2014.

Postscript 6 June 2014: According to El Pais 6 June 2014 the proclamation ceremony will take place on Thursday 19 June 2014.

Uupdated on Wednesday 4 June 2014 at 09.00 (typo corrected), last time updated on 6 June 2014 at 15.15 (postscript added).

NTB gjør ikke hjemmeleksen sin - litt om den spanske Grunnloven og kong Juan Carlos' abdikasjon

Andre lands grunnlover kan være en utfordring å forstå. Men man må likevel kunne forvente at norske journalister gjør hjemmeleksen sin. Dessverre har NTB slurvet i sin dekning av kong Juan Carlos' beslutning om å abdisere og lovprosessen som vil finne sted i kjølvannet av beslutningen.

I VG Direkte tidligere i dag (kl. 18.00) kunne man lese følgende om dagens regjeringsmøte:
Godkjenner spanskekongens abdikasjon
Den spanske grunnloven hadde ingen paragraf som omhandler abdikasjon, og derfor må grunnloven endres før Kong Juan Carlos (76) kan overlate tronen til kronprins Felipe (46).
Den spanske regjeringen godkjente en grunnlovsendring i et ekstraordinært møte tirsdag, og den må nå vedtas i nasjonalforsamlingen, melder NTB.
NTB har åpenbart ikke sjekket fakta. For hva er det den spanske Grunnloven artikkel (seksjon) 57 pkt. 5 sier? Kan man ikke spansk, kan man finne mange oversettelser på nettet, for eksempel på hjemmesiden til det spanske parlamentet, Legislationonline.org eller ICL. Punkt 5 sier følgende:
Abdications and renunciations and any doubt in fact or in law that may arise in connection with the succession to the Crown shall be settled by an organic act.
Med andre ord, Grunnloven har så absolutt en paragraf som omhandler abdikasjon! Tirsdag 2. juni 2014 offentliggjorde kong Juan Carlos sin beslutning om å abdisere i form av et signert brev til den spanske statsministeren, Mariano Rajoy. I dagens regjeringsmøte ble det derfor besluttet å fremme et lovforslag (Proyecto de Ley Orgánica por la que se hace efectiva la abdicación de Su Majestad el Rey Don Juan Carlos I de Borbón. (121/000098)) om abdikasjonen i det spanske parlamentet (Cortes Generales). Med andre ord, det vedtas en såkalt "organisk lov" ("konstitusjonell lov") med hjemmel i Grunnloven, men dette er ikke en grunnlovsendring, som krever en helt annen prosedyre.

Etter vedtaket i parlamentet trer loven i kraft så snart den er publisert i det spanske Lovtidend (Boletín Oficial del Estado, forkortet til BOE), som forklart av det spanske SMK i dag. Juan Carlos vil da være "konstitusjonelt død" og sønnen Felipe VI overtar tronen umiddelbart, men kan først utøve sin kongegjerning når han har avlagt eden. Mange ulike datoer har vært nevnt, men det ser ut til at stemmegivningen i Congreso de los Diputados (deputerkammeret) vil finne sted fredag 13. juni, før loven går videre til Senatet. Per i dag tyder mye at kong Felipe (jf. Grunnloven artikkel 61) vil bli proklamert og vil avlegge eden 18. juni, men den endelige datoen er ennå ikke offisielt fastsatt.

Alt dette kunne NTB enkelt ha funnet ut av selv hvis man hadde tatt seg tid til å oppsøke offisielle spanske kilder (som Statsministerens kontor og Deputerkammeret) og den engelske versjonen til El Pais mfl. Leserne fortjener bedre enn det NTB har servert i dag.

Etterskrift 4. juni 2014: Ifølge en pressemelding på Deputerkammerets nettside vil behandlingen i Deputerkammeret finne sted onsdag 11. juni.

Etterskrift 6. juni 2014: Ifølge El Pais 6. juni 2014 vil proklamasjonen og edsavleggelsen finne sted torsdag 19. juni 2014.

Oppdatert onsdag 4. juni 2014 kl. 11.00 (etterskrift tilføyd); sist oppdatert fredag 6. juni 2014 kl. 15.15 (etterskrift tilføyd).

2 June 2014

King Juan Carlos of Spain to abdicate

The Spanish Royal Court most surprisingly announced this morning that King Juan Carlos, who has reigned since 1975, has decided to abdicate the throne. The decision was communicated to prime minister Mariano Rajoy in form of a signed letter (see picture above). Later the same day the king appeared on Spanish TV explaining his decision.

In accordance with the Constitution of Spain Article 57,5, the Government will soon propose a bill to the Parliament (Cortes Generales). The so-called "organic law" (constitutional law) will have to be passed by both houses and will come into effect when it has been published in the legal gazette. According to the Spanish media today the process is expected to take place before the end of June. The newspaper El Mundo outlines the process here (in Spanish).

King Juan Carlos' only son, Felipe, Prince of Asturias, will succeed the throne as Felipe VI.

Although there has been some speculations over a possible abdication for some time, following the scandals that have surrounded the royal house the last few years, most people were taken by surprise by the news this morning. The decision is by many commentators interpreted as an effort to save the monarchy, given its declining popularity. The king's poor health has also been pointed out as a main reason.

It is kind of sad that King Juan Carlos' reign ends this way, leaving the throne during such an institutional crisis. He has on several occasions demonstrated his lack of judgment both in his public role and in his personal life. Fortunately his successor seems to be much more in touch with the lives of the Spaniards and will hopefully give the institution the "new energy" it needs.

But despite all the scandals, King Juan Carlos will have to be remembered for his role in Spain's transition to democracy following the Franco dictatorship and for the way he handled the coup in 1981. 

See Prime Minister ("President of Government") Mariano Rajoy's comments here and the statement (in Spanish) of the President of the Congress of Deputies, Jesús Portada, here.

Updated on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 09.45 (change of url for one link).

28 April 2014

More details about Princess Leonore of Sweden's christening

The Swedish Royal Court revealed through a press release on Friday 25 April 2014 more details about the christening of HRH Princess Leonore of Sweden.

The christening will, as earlier stated, take place at the Royal Chapel of Drottningholm Palace on 8 June 2014 at noon. The christening ceremony will be officiated by Archbishop Anders Wejryd assisted by Chief Court Chaplain of the Royal Court and Bishop Emeritus Lars-Göran Lönnermark and Vicar of the Royal Court, Court Chaplain, Michael Bjerkhagen. The latter two also officiated at the wedding of Princess Leonore's parents, Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill, on 8 June 2012.

After the christening ceremony there will be a reception for all of the 160 guests, followed by a private lunch hosted by the King and Queen for about 100 guests. The invitations were sent out on Wednesday 23 April. Among the invited guests are the closest family, representatives of the Parliament (the Riksdag), Government and the official Sweden.

Princess Leonore will wear the same christening gown as Princess Estelle had in 2012, while the baptismal water will be taken from a spring at Öland. The names of the six sponsors will be announced in connection with the christening.

Closest family and ancestry of the Eidsvoll Men

Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening's (The Norwegian Genealogical Society's) contribution to the celebration of the bicentenary of the Norwegian Constitution was launched at the National Archives in Oslo on Saturday 26 April 2014. The book is called "Eidsvollsmennene - Hvem var de?" ("The Eidsvoll Men - Who were they?"), and covers the closest family and ancestry of the 112 men who were elected to the Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll and passed the Constitution of Norway in May 1814.

To be more exact, in the book you will find genealogical details on the Eidsvoll Men's spouses, children, siblings as well as their ancestry back to their great-grandparents, in addition to a short biography, their portrait (if found) and their seal. It has not been possible to find all the details on all the Eidsvoll Men, but for most of them. The book gives the current research status. Hopefully it will some time in the future be possible to find more information, and hopefully the book can be a useful starting point for future articles and research about various aspects of the Eidsvoll Men. Among the contributors to the genealogy are well-established historians and/or genealogists like Lars Løberg, Knut Bryn, Hans Cappelen, Elin Galtung Lihaug and Torkel Fagerli, to mention a few. The head editor is Anders Bjønnes, while the other members of the editorial commitee are Håvard Blom and Svein Becken. The same men were also main responsible for the book Segltegninger fra hyllingene i Norge 1591 og 1610 ("Drawings of Norwegian Seals from 1591 and 1610") which was published in 2010. Yours sincerely has contributed to the chapter about Arnoldus von Westen Sylow Koren (1764-1854) of Bergen, later Ullensvang.

In additon to the genealogy the reader can find a short introduction to the events in 1814 written by the historian Håkon Andreas Evju, an article about the use of seals in Norway (by Anders Bjønnes), another article about what the seals on the original Constitution of 17 May 1814 can show us (by Hans Cappelen) and a description of each seal (by Anders Bjønnes and Hans Cappelen together). The book is richly illustrated and also has a personal name and place name index. The book is meant to reach out to a wider audience of people interested in the genealogy of the Eidsvoll Men and the history of 1814. The book, which has 269 pages (including the list of illustrations and the presentations of the contributors to the book) in addition to the index (pages 276 to 320), would be too expensive to produce if also the notes (the research material) should be included. The research material will be made available through the Norwegian Genealogical Society.

The book (ISBN 978-82-998428-2-2) costs NOK 495,- + P & P and can be ordered from the Norwegian Genealogical Society by e-mail (kontor [at] genealogi.no) and soon also directly from the website (the online shop is just around the corner).

See also more information about the book (in Norwegian) here.

16 April 2014

HRH Princess Leonore of Sweden's christening to take place on 8 June 2014

The Swedish Royal Court announced today, 16 April 2014, that the christening of Princess Leonore of Sweden, the daughter of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill, will take place in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm on Sunday 8 June 2014.

8 June happens to be Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill's first wedding anniversary. They married in the Palace Church in Stockholm on 8 June 2013. Princess Leonore, the second grandchild of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, was born in New York City on 20 February 2014. Her name was announced in a Council of State six days later.

The Norwegian Royal Court. Annual Report 2013

The Norwegian Royal Court published its annual report for 2013 on Thursday 10 April 2014. The report gives an overview of the activities of the Royal Family and Royal Court and also includes the accounts for the Civil List and a survey of the orders and medals awarded by the King during 2013. The press release last week stated among others:
"During 2013, His Majesty The King attended 314 official events in Norway and abroad, while Her Majesty The Queen attended 98 official events, His Royal Highness The Crown Prince attended 200 official events and Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess attended 72 official events. The Royal Family visited 47 municipalities in 16 counties and Svalbard in Norway, and paid several visits abroad. The King and Queen carried out their annual county visit in Sør-Trøndelag county in June, while the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited Vest-Agder county in September.

The King and Queen conducted a State Visit to Turkey in November, while the Crown Prince and Crown Princess travelled to the USA for an official visit in May.

In 2013 the Royal Court completed its modernisation and rationalisation process, and all Court employees have now been consolidated into a joint overall organisational unit.

A report on the use of the funds allocated to the Royal Court (the Civil List) and the staff of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess by the Storting is submitted annually.

The allowances provided to the King and Queen and to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, respectively, are meant to cover the management, operation, maintenance and development of the private properties, as well as official attire and private expenses.

The accounts for the Civil List showed a deficit of NOK 6 701 468. This deficit will be covered by previous appropriations.

The accounts for the staff of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess showed a deficit of NOK 37 251. This deficit will be covered by appropriations from previous years.

The accounts for “Åpent Slott” (cultural outreach activities) showed a surplus of NOK 373 266. This surplus will be transferred to equity capital."
Not surprisingly the press and the social media focused on the deficit of NOK 6 701 468, but many left out the fact that the deficit was to be covered by previous appropriations. It is not as if the royal family and court are on their uppers. The activities and the costs seem to be well planned. The Norwegian tabloid VG wrote in its coverage of the annual report that the celebrations of the crown prince couple's 40th birthdays last year cost as much 2,4 million NOK. In addition security cost as much as 2,7 millions, taken from the police force budget. Crown Prince Haakon's 40th anniversary was marked by a music festival in the garden at the Skaugum estate, where numerous royal guests were entertained. Obviously a party on such a large scale has to cost something. The court's information director, Marianne Hagen, confirmed the numbers, but "had  no further comments". Maybe not the best reply, but then again what should she have said? Simply that this is what a party like this costs? Many people would then say how the money could have helped the sick and elderly. It is hardly possible to win an argument about the cost of royal celebrations. But it should be stressed that the expenses were covered by the civil list, not by any extraordinary grants. And concerning security costs, even a president would need security if he was to hold a private party.

The annual report reveals that 22 persons received the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 2013, compared to 27 in 2012 and 30 in 2011. Among those 22 were Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, President Abdullah Gül of Turkey (both Grand Cross) and the composer and musician Henning Sommerro (Commander).

61 persons received the Order of Merit (all classes combined), among them Barry White, the US Ambassador who left Norway in September 2013, and has not yet been replaced. President Barack Obama has nominated George Tsunis to the post as Ambassador to Norway, but he has not yet been confirmed by the Senate. As you might recall, he did not do too well at his confirmation hearing, and Senator John McCain has said he would fight the appointment when it is finally voted over in the Senate.

But back to the annual report again! The Medal of St. Olav was awarded to only one person, in 2013, Johan Beck, who has served as a verger at the Norwegan Seamen's Church in Stockholm since 1974! In addition there were 162 recipients of the King's Medal of Merit, among them Tove Fleischer from my home town Sandefjord. Fleischer has for many years been in charge of the local society for the protection of animals and has done a fabulous job, so it was well deserved. The King's Commemorative Medal was awarded to 9 persons in 2013. The medal is conferred for "particularly meritorious service to His Majesty the King", and among the 9 persons were one of the King's drivers, Bjørn Einar Lindstrøm.

The annual report 2013 can be downloaded here. For earlier annual reports, go here. See also my earlier blog articles The Norwegian Royal Court. Annual report 2012 (published 17 April 2013), 2011 (published 11 April 2012) and 2010 (published 12 April 2011).