Royal Highlights of 2013

It's the last month of the year so I'll be making my year-end reviews and look-back to some of the biggest news, intrigues and controversies ever reported in the European royal circuit in 2013.


Queen Beatrix with her son, Wilhelm-Alexander and daughter-in-law, Maxima

Abdication of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands

The Dutch monarchy has been practicing the abdication tradition since the time of Queen Whilhelmina. Though no specific reasons cited for this tradition, it is historically believed that its purpose is to give room for young generation royals to rule the Kingdom. But despite this century-old tradition in the Netherlands, still, the abdication announcement of Queen Beatrix at the first quarter of this year, took many by surprise. The monarch, who ascended the Dutch throne in 1980 following the abdication of her mother, Queen Juliana, is only 75 years old and still sprightly active.

What made the whole thing more poignant was the fact that one of her sons, Prince Friso, was still in a coma and confined in a London clinic. Prince Friso was not at his mother's side when this historical event took place. Prince Friso died in September when his mother was already bearing the title, Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix of Orange-Nassau.

Wilhelm-Alexander's accession to the throne brought another significant mark in the Dutch history. He is the first King to ascend the Dutch throne since King William III in the 19th century. But the country might not witness another King to ascend in the coming decades because the reigning King's successor is a female, her eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, the Hereditary Princess of Orange-Nassau.

Abdication of King Albert II of Belgium

If royal watchers were surprised on the abdication announcement of Queen Beatrix, half of the world was even more astonished (including this royal blogger) when Albert II, King of the Belgians, announced his plan to relinquish the throne to his son, Prince Philippe, a move that has not heard in Belgium since Albert's father, King Leopold III, was pressured by the government in 1951 to abdicate.
King Albert II of Belgium made history last July 2013 when he abdicated the throne, he cited his frail health as the mean reason of his abdication. He is the first Belgian King to make a voluntary abdication and the second abdication history since his father, King Leopold III, was forced by the government to leave the throne in 1951.

King Albert, who was 79 years old at the time of his abdication, cited his frail health as the mean reason of his voluntary abdication. His eldest son, Philippe, the Duke of Brabant, succeeded him and took the throne in July 21, 2013. For the first time since the uncle of Queen Victoria of England, King Leopold I, became the first King of Belgium in 1861, the country will have a female monarch after King Philippe, because the reigning King's successor is a female, his eldest child, Princess Elisabeth. Belgium, just like other European countries: Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Great Britain, changed its succession law from male-preference primogeniture to lineal primogeniture where an eldest child of a monarch, irrespective of gender, will be the heir-apparent to the throne would no longer push by a younger brother in the right of succession.

The birth of the future British King

If constitutional monarchy will still prevail in England for the next decades, Prince William's newly born son, Prince George, will ascend the British throne as King George VII, thus, his birth in July 22, 2013, was marked as "historical" in the book of world history. Other than that, nothing is significant in his birth.
His Royal Highness, Prince George of Cambridge, the name I easily predicted for William's eldest child. His birth marked a historical shake-up in the line of succession to the British throne. On his birth each of the present royal member was pushed down one notch farther from the throne including his popular uncle, Prince Harry. If constitutional monarchy will still prevail in England for the years to come, this infant Prince will succeed his father, William, and will go down to history as King George VII.

Prince George, who has no noble/royal lineage in his mother's family tree, is third in line of succession after his grandfather and father, pushing his uncle, Prince Harry, one notch down to the throne. This is the first time since the birth of Prince David (King Edward VIII and eventually Duke of Windsor) in 1894 that the British throne has three male heirs in direct succession to the throne. Officially known as HRH Prince George of Cambridge, the infant prince was christened last October bearing these full names: George Alexander Louis.


Prince Harry's love life and new girlfriend

Like the rest of the royal watchers in the world, I have my own list of favorite royal news too! One of these items is the much-publicized royal romance of Prince Harry of Wales.

For so long, since Prince Charles married the young and lovely aristocrat, Lady Diana Spencer, I had been hoping that one day, one of the current male British royals will marry an upper-class, someone with an aristocratic background. When I read that the younger son of Charles and Diana is currently dating the pretty blonde girl, Cressida Bonas, daughter of Lady Mary Curzon, a descendant of King Charles II, I was more than pleased.
Wiser than his brother?
Prince Harry might choose an upper-class blonde for a wife. He has been dating Cressida Bonas, daughter of a British aristocrat with a royal descent from King Charles II, since the summer of 2012 and speculations have been louder than ever that the irresistible prince might propose anytime soon. Both their maternal grandfathers (The Earl of Althorp for Prince Harry and the Earl of Howe for Cressida) were direct descendants of the Duke of Richmond, son of King Charles II, making them 5th cousins once removed.

As a traditional royalist, nothing is more fulfilling than chronicling the latest romantic exploits of Prince Harry with someone from the aristocracy. It's always lovely to write something interesting on the family tree when the prospect is of royal heritage because that's what Royal World is all about.

Royal observers speculated that Prince Harry might propose anytime with Cressida and that the announcement might happen before the first quarter of 2014, no confirmation from the Clarence House (official residence of the Prince of Wales) yet though.

If the marriage will push through, Cressida will be the first woman with an aristocratic background to marry a senior male British royal since the late Princess of Wales, Diana, married Prince Charles in 1981. Cressida is the 5th cousin once removed of Prince Harry, both their mothers (Lady Diana and Lady Mary) directly descended from the Duke of Richmond, one of the illegitimate sons of King Charles II.

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson might remarry?

Despite the public's reservations on the Duchess of York, it still brought some surge of delight if I can read something about Sarah Ferguson joining the royal family (officially) again. I did not share the public's misgivings towards Fergie (as Sarah is known), for me, she is just a normal human being worthy to be respected. Prince Andrew loved and respected her down the decades and even after their divorce became final in 1996 (ahead of the Prince and Princess of Wales), the Duke of York continued treating Sarah fairly and allowed her to share his apartment in Sunninghill Park.
Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew, the Duke of York during their 1986 wedding

I admired the way this royal couple treated each other. Even after they parted ways, they continued making joint holiday vacations abroad with their daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. And last August 2013, news spread in the royal world that the two might consider remarrying in the months to come, Buckingham Palace kept mum about the issue and the couple has not yet heard confirming the news.

Prince Philip's Health

One of my favorite British royals is the Duke of Edinburgh. I find him very endearing and fascinating at times. He is always realistic with no inhibitions and doesn't go around rallying with artificial praises to anyone when it is not really due. The press and other people sometime find his public remarks on almost everything, boorish, bordering on arrogance, but I find it humorous and honest. He has a very genuine character and never withhold emotions even in public, he would express honest comments even if it cost him a few amount of troubles. 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

The Queen, for so long, well, since marrying Philip in 1947, has been very candid in saying that her husband had been her strong support and that most of the time she relied on his independence and resilient character.

The Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. At 92, he is the oldest surviving great great grandchild of Queen Victoria of England. He is the last true-blooded European royal to marry into the British royal family.

Prince Philip's health had been the great concern of the British royal family since Christmas 2012 when he was wheeled to the hospital due to heart attack, he recovered soon but endured another health problem in June during the Jubilee celebration of the Queen, he spent his 92nd birthday in confinement. He was rushed to the hospital again in August for another health complaints. He was discharged several weeks later and resumed his public duties since then.

I am wishing Prince Philip a healthier existence in the years to come!

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