Archive December 2010
One report after the other these days about Royal “artefacts” for auction: the legendary jewel collection of Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, Queen Beatrix’ pink Warhol portrait, Queen Elizabeth II’s knickers, several collections of historical letters, and now also an Aston Martin that once belonged to King Baudouin.
Zara Phillips, daughter of The Princess Royal and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, has become engaged to her long-time boyfriend Mike Tindall. The couple apparently became engaged yesterday, and the engagement was annouced today on the royal family’s website and Facebook page. Zara and Mike first met in 2003 and have been living together in Gloucestershire for several years.
December’s birthstone, turquoise, has long been considered a sacred stone which protects the wearer from evil and ill health. It is an opaque phosphate mineral of medium hardness and comes in many shades of blue-green, of which robin’s-egg blue is the most valuable. Its use in royal jewellery goes back for thousands of years.
Today it is exactly 50 years since King Baudouin gave his Belgians a most wonderful Queen: on 15 December 1960, he married doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragón. It was a cold December day, but that didn’t stop thousands from lining the streets to see a glimpse of the happy couple. Time to take a moment to consider the wedding of this iconic royal couple of the 20th century.
The Abdication Crisis of 1936 was resolved on 10 and 11 December when Edward VIII signed the Instrument of Abdication on the evening of the 10th and it was enacted into law the following day. The British public knew nothing about the crisis, which had been going on for months, until early December when a speech by the Bishop of Bradford mentioning the king’s apparent lack of interest in religious observance gave the British press an excuse to break the story they’d agreed to suppress in the national interest. The news shocked the public, but nobody was more traumatised than the king’s younger brother Prince Albert, who would become king in his place.
Crown Princess Masako of Japan turns 47 on 9 December. It’d be nice to be able to say that she’s celebrating her 47th birthday, but these days she doesn’t seem to have a lot to celebrate. A statement issued by palace doctors to mark the Princess’s birthday said that she was slowly recovering from the stress-induced illness that’s plagued her since 2002, identified by palace spokesmen as adjustment disorder, but that her physical and mental condition is still unstable. The palace has been saying the same thing for years – that she’s slowly recovering from a condition they identify as adjustment disorder, a condition that by definition is acute rather than chronic, not lasting for more than six months. Whatever she’s suffering from, it pretty clearly isn’t adjustment disorder.
Mark Hichens has written a couple of previous royal biographies concentrating on the wives of English and British kings. In “Queens and Empresses: from Cleopatra to Queen Victoria” he branches out into other countries and comes up with an interesting mix of British and foreign queens and empresses regnant, regent, and consort.
The announcement that Prince William is to marry his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton has led to speculation about the titles they’ll have when married and also about Kate’s precedence with respect to other royal ladies.
First, despite the claims by some royal watchers and reporters, Kate will almost certainly not be known as Princess Catherine of Wales.