Royal Highlights of the Year: The12 Biggest Royal Stories in 2022

Biggest Royal Stories in 2022

We are approaching the finishing touches of the year 2022. What a year it has been! But before we get busy with our countdown to New Year 2023, let us have some Royal Moments, looking back to the biggest royal stories of this year.

Almost all Royal Houses in the World have their highlights of the year and best moments to remember. Some are sad, tragic, and full of surprises, while others are all about happiness and celebrations. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles
The Prince of Wales and The Queen at the Trooping the Colors in June this year

The British Royal Family experienced highs and lows this year. The Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June was their best highlight of the year, but all turned into sadness in September when Queen Elizabeth II sadly passed away at the age of 96.

Here are 12 Royal Newsmakers in 2022 that caught our attention:

12. Empress Masako of Japan attended a foreign royal event for the first time in seven years - Empress Masako, the only woman in the world today to carry the title of Empress officially, finally traveled abroad to attend a royal event. 

Empress Masako of Japan
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako of Japan at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

On September 19, 2022, she joined her husband, Emperor Naruhito of Japan, and other world royals to attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

It was her first time attending a royal event overseas with her husband after the coronation of King Tupou VI of Tonga in July 2015. 

Empress Masako has been largely out of the public eye since 2003. She was diagnosed with "Adjustment Disorder", a certain form of anxiety that is rooted in her inability to adjust to imperial life.

She only returned to public life in 2019, when her father-in-law, Emperor Akihito, abdicated the throne in favor of his eldest son, Naruhito.

Empress Masako of Japan
Birthday photo of Empress Masako with Emperor Naruhito. Credit: Imperial Household Agency

On December 9, 2022, Empress Masako turned 59 and on the occasion of her birthday, Empress Masako reflected on having spent exactly half of her life in the imperial family after becoming Crown Princess in 1993.

"I felt deeply moved”, she said in a statement released by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan. “I have gone through many times of joy, as well as times of sorrow. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the emperor and many others who have supported and watched over me every step of the way”.

“Being warmly welcomed by so many people in each location made me more happy and grateful than I ever expected,” she added. Read related story about Empress Masako

11. Engagement Announcement in the Jordanian Royal Family - It's so rare to hear two royal siblings become engaged in the same year. But it happened to the Royal House of Hashemite in Jordan this year.

Princess Iman of Jordan is engaged
Princess Iman of Jordan and Jameel Alexander Thermiotis. Credit: Queen Rania instagram

In July this year, Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan announced the official engagement of their eldest daughter, Princess Iman, to Mr. Jameel Alexander Thermiotis". No schedule of the wedding date has been relayed to the public.

Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan is engaged
Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan and Rajwa Al-Saif

A month later in August, Their Majesties announced the official engagement of their eldest son, Crown Prince Hussein, to Miss Rajwa Al-Saif, whose mother is considered part of the Saudi aristocracy. Just like his younger sister, Crown Prince Hussein's wedding date has not been set. 

10. Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway's 18th Birthday Gala Dinner - It's so rare to hear royals of today having their 18th birthday gala dinner being attended by foreign royals. The two future Queens in Europe - Princess Elisabeth, the Duchess of Brabant, and Princess Catharina-Amalia, the Princess of Orange, had not.

So when the Royal House of Glucksburg in Norway announced that the second-in-line to the Norwegian throne, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, will going to have an 18th birthday gala dinner, royal watchers were so excited to wait for the event.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway
Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway turned 18 this year

Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the eldest child of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, turned 18 in January 2022, but due to the coronavirus restrictions, it was postponed in June.

Her 18th birthday gala dinner was one the grandest 18th birthday celebrations of the future monarch in Europe in recent memory. 

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway 18th birthday gala
Four future Queens and future Grand Duke. Credit: Norwegian Royal House

It was attended by foreign royals. And saw the gathering of five future Queens including (Princess Ingrid Alexandra): Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her daughter, Princess Estelle, Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, the Duchess of Brabant, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, the Princess of Orange, and future grand duke, Prince Charles of Luxembourg.

The occasion also saw Princess Ingrid Alexandra, the Duchess of Brabant, and the Princess of Orange made a tiara debut. Read this related story about Princess Ingrid Alexandra 18th gala dinner

9. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Memorial Service - The Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April 2021 at the age of 99 in Windsor Castle. However, it was still pandemic time, and the government restrictions on funerals were still very much in place. 

The Queen and Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Elizabeth II
Prince Philip's Memorial Service
The Queen and members of her family during Prince Philip's Memorial Service. Photo: Getty Images

His funeral was held on April 17, 2021, allowing only 20 persons inside St. George's Chapel. So the Queen decided that her husband's distinguished public service be honored in a Memorial Service to be held a year later. 

Prince Philip's Memorial Service
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and their two children attending Prince Philip's memorial service

Prince Philip's Memorial Service was held on March 29, 2022, at Westminster Abbey, attended by foreign royals and dignitaries, and all members of the British royal family except Harry and Meghan who declined to return to the UK due to security issues.

8. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to the UK in June to attend the Queen's Platinum Jubilee - after their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in the United States in February 2021, Harry and Meghan returned to the United Kingdom with their children, Archie and Lilibet (but it was Prince Harry's third-time visit in the UK since the controversial interview).

Harry and Meghan returned to the United Kingdom
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined the Royal Family for the Queen's Platinum jubilee celebration under the weight of controversies and heavy scrutiny from the press and the public due to their "rows" with the senior members of the Royal Family.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with cousins, Peter and Zara

However, they only attended a single public event during the celebration, at the Service of Thanksgiving at St, Paul's Cathedral. A day before, they celebrated their daughter's first birthday privately in Windsor. 

They left the United Kingdom without any public information if they ever met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who became the Prince and Princess of Wales in September.

7. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York - Talking about scandals and controversies in the British royal family, perhaps, the most controversial one, apart from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, is the Duke of York, who is said to be the favorite child of Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Andrew with his siblings at the Queen's vigil

Just before the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, she stripped her son of his military honors and royal patronages after a New York judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him by Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that she was trafficked by the sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

 Virginia Giuffre alleged that she was made to have sex with Prince Andrew several times when she was only 17. The Duke of York settled the complaint in February for an undisclosed amount. In a response to the suit, Andrew denied ever having sex with Giuffre or Epstein trafficking girls to him.

6. Princess Charlene reunited with her family and resumed her royal duty - The year 2021 was a tumultuous year for the Monegasque royal family as Princess Charlene extended her stay in South Africa due to an ear infection and surgery. 

Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene with their twins, a family portrait in time for Easter Sunday

She finally returned to the Principality of Monaco in November 2021 only to leave days later to seek medical treatment abroad. She did not return until March this year.

On Easter Sunday, the Prince's Palace of Monaco surprised the public by releasing a family portrait of Prince Albert with his wife and their twins. Dismissing malicious rumors that they are heading to divorce.

Princess Charlene resumed public duty in April this year

On April 30, 2022, Princess Charlene finally resumed her royal duty by attending a series of public engagements with Prince Albert and their twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

All is well now with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, and she fully regained her health. She also proved that she is a dedicated wife and mother and those separation rumors were untrue.

5. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrated her Golden Jubilee on the Danish throne -  The Danish Queen marked her 50th anniversary on the throne of Denmark in January 2022, but celebrations began only in September due to the government restrictions on coronavirus. 

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

Her Majesty ascended the Danish throne on January 14, 1972, upon the death of her father, King Frederik IX. This year she reached a unique milestone. Her Golden Jubilee was celebrated all throughout Denmark with festivities and public events.

The Danish royal ladies attending the gala performance for the Queen's Golden Jubilee

4. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark stripped her four grandchildren of royal titles. The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebration was tainted by a "family rift" when in September she announced her decision to strip her four grandchildren of their royal titles.

Princess Marie, Prince Joachim, Princess Athena, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik, and Prince Nikolai

In September, she announced that effective January 2023, Prince Nikolai, 23, Prince Felix, 20, Prince Henrik, 13, and Princess Athena, 10, will no longer bear the prince and princess titles but would use the titles Count and Countess de Monpezat.

The Queen's announcement surprised everyone including the children's father, Prince Joachim, who revealed to the press that he was only informed five days prior to the announcement.

Prince Nikolai, Prince Felix, Prince Henrik, and Princess Athena will lose royal titles effective January 2023 but retained their places in the line of succession

The announcement also received mixed reactions from the public, some criticizing the Queen for being harsh to her grandchildren depriving them of their birth rights. 

The Queen later made a public apology for "hurting" her grandchildren and son, but did not retract her decision because she said, it was for the good of her grandchildren and to streamline the Danish monarchy.

3. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Netflix Docuseries - Harry and Meghan continue to be in the headlines of royal controversies as the video streaming giant, Netflix, released their docuseries.

They shared details of their high-profile love story and the challenges that led to their decision to step back from royal life. The series included commentary from friends, family, and historians.

Harry and Meghan Netflix
Harry and Meghan in one of the episodes

More bombs of controversies have been dropped at the expense of the Royal Family. One episode was a direct attack on Harry's older brother, Prince William, now the Prince of Wales.

Prince Harry alleged that his brother screamed at him for stepping back from royal roles. The "screaming" episode according to Harry happened during their tense meeting with the Queen and Prince Charles in Sandringham in March 2020. 

2. Queen Elizabeth II marked her Platinum Jubilee - In a way that no British monarch ever reached such a unique milestone, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 70 years on the throne this year.

The Prince of Wales and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II during Trooping the Colors

She ascended the British throne in February 1952 upon the death of her father, King George VI. The Queen also became the second-longest-reigning monarch in world history, next only to King Louis XIV of France. 

Queen Elizabeth II attends Platinum Jubilee

The Queen was suffering from mobility issues since 2021, so many public events related to her platinum jubilee were carried out by the working members of the royal family. 

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Princess Royal, took major royal engagements on behalf of the Queen.

However, the Queen had two major public appearances during her jubilee year. She appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colors alongside royal working members.

She returned to the palace balcony at the conclusion of the Jubilee Pageant with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their three children.

1. Queen Elizabeth II died at 96 in the Balmoral estate - However, the biggest royal story this year remains to be the sad news of the death of the beloved Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. 

It comes just months after she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. The real reason for the Queen's death, other than old age, was not revealed, but since October 2021, six months after the death of her beloved Philip, the Queen had been experiencing mobility issues and thoroughly sapped her vitality. 

The last public duty carried out by the Queen, two days before she died

But true to her promise to serve the United Kingdom for life, she discharged her duty as Head of State even up to the very end of her life. Just two days before her death, she appointed the newly elected British Prime Minister, Liz Truss. 

Members of the public left flowers and notes at her royal residences and heads of state around the world offered their condolences and sympathy to the British royal family.

The coffin of the Queen

The Queen's state funeral on September 19, 20222, also drew attendance from foreign dignitaries and royals. She was privately interred with her husband, Prince Philip, at George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, on the afternoon of her state funeral.

From left: Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI, Princess Margaret, taken in July 1947 to celebrate the engagement of the future Queen and Prince Philip

Her death marked a new era in the House of Windsor and saw the ascension of King Charles III to the British throne. King Charles III, at 73, is the oldest person to ever ascend the British throne. He will be crowned in May 2023.

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