28 December 2017

Royal December Summary

This December month has been rather busy due to Christmas preparations and work load, and I have not been able to write about the various events as I had wanted to. Here is a summary of the events I wish to write about.
  • 1 December 2017: The christening of Prince Gabriel, second son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, took place in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm. The christening was officiated by Archbishop emeritus Anders Wejryd, assisted by Bishop and Chief Court Chaplain Johan Dalman and Court Chaplain and Rector of the Royal Court Parish Michael Bjerkhagen. Normally the christening would have been officiated by Archbishop Antje Jackelén, but she had obligations abroad. Prince Gabriel's sponsors were Princess Madeleine, Sara Hellqvist (one of Princess Sofia's sisters), Oscar Kylberg (friend and business partner of Prince Carl Philip), Carolina Pihl (friend and business partner of Princess Sofia) and Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath (cousin of Prince Carl Philip). Guests attending the christening ceremony and the reception can be viewed here.
  • 5 December 2017: In the case between Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Princess Tessy of Luxembourg and The Telegraph Media Group Ltd., the England and Wales High Court ruled that details of the former royal couple's financial matters as well as details of their divorce settlement were not allowed to be published. The explanatory note to the court decision said:  «1. The Applicant Husband and the Respondent wife are engaged in financial remedy proceedings before the High Court of England and Wales. Those proceedings are ongoing. 2. The purpose of this order is to seek to protect the confidentiality of the parties' financial arrangements and their negotiations within the context of their financial remedy proceedings, pending resolution of the same by agreement or determination of the court. 3. In the circumstances, the court has ordered that the matters set out at Paragraph 6 of this order shall not be published pending the conclusion of the financial remedy proceedings between the parties.» Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, who were married in 2006 and have two sons together, broke up in the summer of 2016 and a decree nisi was granted om 17 February 2017.
  • 5 December 2017: King Michael died in his residence in Arbonne, Switzerland, 96 years old. King Michael was King of Romania twice, from 1927 to 1930 and again from 1940 until his abdication was forced upon him by the communist regime in late 1947 and he was forced into exile. He earned his people's respect and popularity especially for, when he felt his position was strong enough, launched a coup d'etat against the fascist dictator Ion Antonescu and brought Romania over to the allied countries. Then king was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1946. The citation can be read here. After the communist regime fell in 1989, the was on several occasions refused entry to his homeland, but in 1997 his citizenship was restored and he was allowed to visit Romania again. King Michael was married to Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parme (1923–2016) in Athens, Greece and had 5 daughters. I had the pleasure of meeting both King Michael and Queen Anne as well as their daughter Princess Margarita and her husband Radu Duda during their visit to Oslo in 1997. A man of principles, King Michael for a long time felt loyal to the last monarchist constitition of 1923, which stipulated agnatic succession and in case of the lack of a male heir, the succession would revert to the House of Hohenzollern. However, in 2007 King Michael changed his mind and signed a document named the Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, by which he designated his eldest daughter Princess Margareta as his heir. No-one would doubt that Princess Margarita would be his heir if Romania had restored the monarchical form of government. The question many monarchists and royal watchers ask is if the king should personally decide on the order of succession and include and exclude members as he saw fit. Normally succession questions are a state affair, not the king's personal toy. The last ten years of his life was partly shadowed by scandals within his family, and his own handling of the succession question and treatment of his grandson Nicholas de Roumanie-Medforth-Mills has received critical comments. Concerning the fundamental rules, The Telegraph in its obituary wrote that «As Romania is now a republic with a president, the document has no legal standing.» That is of course correct as of now. However, the Parliament of Romania is currently considering to pass a law giving the royal family a special status and by which the fundamental rules would be acknowledged. In her declaration to the Romanian people Princess Margarita referred to herself as «Custodian of the Crown of Romania».
  • 15 December 2017: The remains of Queen Elena of Italy (1873–1952) were brought from Montpellier, France to the family mausoleum at the Sanctuary of Vicoforte in northern Italy. Two days later the remains of her husband King Vittorio Emanuele III (b1869–r1900–1946–d1947) were transferred from Egypt. Parts of the royal family had wanted the former king to be buried in the Pantheon in Rome, but this was refused by the authorities.
  • 16 December 2017: The funeral service for King Michael took place in Romania. The program can be read at the official website of the royal family. The list of representatives of reigning and former reigning royal families can be read here. The courts of Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Monaco did not send any representatives. Concerning Norway, the main reason for the absence of representation, other than that there has – as far as I understand it  – been little contact between the two families over the years, was that the king was to attend the consecration of Kari Veiteberg, the new Bishop of the bishopric of Oslo at 11 a.m. on Sunday 17 December, and he would not have made it back in time for that event if he had gone to Romania. The Crown Prince could of course have attended.
  • 18 December 2017: According to the newspaper Romania Insider, «Romania’s governing parties ponder referendum on constitutional monarchy».
  • 24 December 2017: The King and Queen of Norway celebrated Christmas at Kongsseteren («the Royal Lodge») in Oslo together with Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn and their daughters, while the Crown Prince family spent Christmas at Skaugum in Asker. Ari Behn, who is on good terms with his former in-laws after his marriage to Princess Märtha Louise broke down in 2016, commented in an interview earlier this month: «I am still part of the family». In an interview with TV2, Behn said: «This will be Christmas no. 2 in my new situation. Last year the children were with me, so this will be the first Christmas with the royal family after the divorce». On 5 August 2016 the Norwegian Royal Court announced that Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn were going to divorce. The court did not reveal when the formal separation took place. According to the Norwegian marriage act section 21, «Each of the spouses may demand a divorce when they have been separated for at least one year.» This would mean that the divorce was granted some time in 2017, but the royal court has not stated exactly when the royal marriage was finally dissolved.
  • 25 December 2017: King Harald, Queen Sonja, Princess Märtha Louise and her two youngest daughters attended church service at Holmenkollen Chapel. The Crown Prince family attended the Christmas service in Asker Church the day before.
Updated on Thursday 28 December 2017 at 07.50 (I had for some reason forgotten to write King Vittorio Emanuele's numeral!).

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