30 December 2012

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2012

The latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 4, 2012) was waiting for me in my mailbox when I returned from my Christmas break on Boxing Day (26 December). I enjoyed reading the magazine today, and my first impression was that the topics in this issue were much more varied and interesting than in the previous one.

The magazine's editor and publisher Ted Rosvall used his column to reflect on the British Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh's 65th wedding anniversary earlier this year. A list of other long-lasting royal weddings was added.

Roger Lundgren, royal commentator and editor of Kungliga Magasinet, published in 2007 a biography about Princess Sibylla of Sweden, née Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, mother of King Carl XVI Gustaf (Albert Bonniers Förlag, ISBN: 978-91-0-011112-0). The biography is one of too many books in my library that I still haven't found the time to read (which says nothing about the biography, I must add). Lundgren has now written a short version for the magazine titled Princess Sibylla - A Royal Destiny.

The RDQ's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat, has as usual made several contributions. Her first article is titled 'A cuttle  fish has been captured off Boffin Island' ... on the trail of a forgotten royal visit, and tells the story of the then Princes Albert Victor and George's tour of North Wales in June 1875. Zeepvat's second contribution is the part IV of Habsburg - A Family Album: The Emperors of Austria and Kings of Hungary. In addition to the traditional short introduction the reader can enjoy as many as 78 images as well as 5 pages with family tables.

Elizabeth Jane Timms, who according to the public part of her Facebook page is a writer and historian specialising in European royalty with a particular focus on the family of Queen Victoria, has written the article Elm Grove - The Battenberg House at Walton on Thames.

In RDQ no. 3, 2012, Edward W. Hanson wrote about the will of Queen Marie Amélie of Portugal, while he this time has chosen to focus on the will of Philippe, Duc d'Orléans. In my opinion one of the most interesting articles in this issue. The first prize should go to Christophe Vachaudez, however. He has interviewed HSH Princess Sophie of Hohenberg - a great granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - about the confiscated castle of Konopiste and her struggle to get the property returned. Princess Sophie presents her case at her own website.

Ove Mogensen has traveled all over Europe to take photographs of royal graves, and his contribution to the Toms, Graves and Monuments section is on Tatoi and its Royal Burial Ground, i.e. the last-resting place for (as of today) 22 members of the Greek Royal Family.

Michael L. Nash focuses on the British Royal Family's Hannover roots and connections in his article The Prince of Hanover in Court. The article is absolutely worth reading, but I only wish a few errors could have been dealt with before the magazine was published. For instance, Prince Ludwig Rudolph (1955-1988) did not renounce "his rights of succession for himself and his descendants to the Throne of England" (!). He lost them automatically when he married the Catholic Countess Isabella von Thurn und Valsassina-Como-Vercelli in 1987. I am not sure if his son Prince Otto Heinrich has been raised Lutheran or Catholic, though.

Lucas Szkopinski has authored the obituary of Princess Maria Krystyna Habsburg (Princess of Altenburg) (1923-2012), the daughter of Archduke Karl Albrecht of Austria and Alice Ankarcrona, while Charlotte Zeepvat returns with her third contribution, this time dealing with Saxton Elizabeth Winter (1855-1936), who was a governness at the courts of the Netherlands (Princess Wilhelmina, later Queen), Wied (Princesses Luise and Elisabeth) and Romania (Prince Carol, later King Carol II).

The column The World Wide Web of Royalty gives news from the courts/Imperial/Royal/Princely families of Austria, Bourbon-Parme, Fürstenberg, Kinsky, Luxembourg, Lippe-Weissenfeld, Oldenburg, Saxony, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Thurn and Taxis, Toerring-Jettenbach and Urach.

In addition the readers will find the basic facts about the forthcoming 2013 Royalty Weekend, which will take place at Ticehurst, East Sussex, on 6-7 April 2013. I attended in 2011 and plan to attend again in 2013. You can also find advertisements for forthcoming titles from Rosvall Royal Books: Prince Michael of Greece' Eddy & Hélène ... an impossible match, Randi Buchwaldt's Axel & Margaretha. A Royal Couple and Harold Brown's Personalities. Royalty and Celebrity in the 1870s.

If you wonder, the front cover shows a photo of  Archduchess  Maria Josepha with her sons Archdukes  Maximilian (left) and Karl (the latter the last Emperor of Austria).

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentations of RDQ here.

Christmas break summary

I left Oslo on Saturday 22 December in order to celebrate Christmas with my family in Sandefjord, and even though I was connected to the Internet most of the time (too often, perhaps) during the Christmas weekend, I had decided to take a break from blogging and website updating. I had long days at work on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 December, so here comes finally a short summary of the events I find worth mentioning.
  1. The Swedish Royal Court announced on Sunday 23 December 2012 - the 69th birthday of Queen Silvia, by the way - that Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill's wedding date was set for 8 June 2013. The wedding will take place in the Palace Chapel in Stockholm. The couple's engagement was announced on 25 October 2012. The wedding date announcement can also be found on Princess Madeleine's Facebook page, which was launched on 7 December.
  2. Several European held their traditional Christmas speech on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's speech can be read, viewed and/or listened to here (in Swedish). A summary by The Local can be read here. See also Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom's Christmas Broadcast on SkyNews. An English summary of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg's speech can be read here, while King Albert II of the Belgian's speeech can be read in Dutch or French. Finally, King Juan Carlos of Spain's speech was broadcasted on Christmas Eve and can be read (in Spanish only) at Casareal.es.
  3. Archduke Christoph of Austria married Adélaïde Drapé-Frisch at the city hall in Nancy, France on Friday 28 December 2012. The religious ceremony took place at the Basilica St. Epvre on Saturday 29 December. Archduke Christoph, who is the second son of Archduke Carl Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid, née Princess of Luxembourg, had his brother Imre and his first cousin Prince Louis of Luxembourg as witnesses. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, the bridegroom's uncle and godfather, was also in attendance, among many other guests. See the blog Luxembourg. All things grand ducal for more details.

22 December 2012

Christmas reading list

After long days at work it is great to have a little vacation and to celebrate Christmas with my dear ones. I hope to get some time to read during the Christmas weekend, and one of the items on my reading list will be the 5th issue of the Swedish royal magazine Kungliga Magasinet. I missed out on issue 3 and 4, so it will be interesting to see how the magazine has developed (go here for my comments on the magazine's first issue). In the latest issue you can read about the Nobel party, King Carl XVI Gustaf's father Prince Gustaf Adolf, Queen Silvia's visit to Finland, the Portuguese pretender Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill's engagement, Prince Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar and much, much more!

I have also bought the latest issue of the Swedish ice hockey magazine Pro Hockey, which first of all deals with the National Hockey League. Oh, how annoying isn't the current NHL conflict!

In addition I have several books waiting to be read on my Kindle device, including several Rizzoli & Isles crime novels by Tess Gerritsen. Maybe I will get a book or two for Christmas as well? If not, I have 3 book gift cards ready to be used after Christmas. At my work we arrange a wine lottery at lunch every Friday. The person who wins the first draw gets one red wine and one white wine, while the third and last bottle of red wine goes to the winner of the second draw. But if you don't want any wine for whatever reason, you can get a book gift card instead. So, on the last two Fridays I have won 3 gift cards. Oh, there are so many books I would love to read, including the new Queen Sonja biography and Anders Heger's biography about Thorbjørn Egner.

I wish all my blog readers a Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year!

19 December 2012

Condolences from King Harald to the President of the USA

King Harald of Norway has in a letter to the President of the USA, Barack Obama, offered his condolences following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last Friday (14 December):

The Honorable
Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
Washington, D.C.

I was shocked and saddened by hearing the news about the tragic loss of so many lives at the Sandy Hook elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut; and particularly that so many of the dead are children.

I extend to you, Mr. President, to the affected families and to the people of the United States of America my sincere condolences and my sympathy at this difficult time.

Harald R

18 December 2012

December news summary

I have had another break from blogging, due to family events, Christmas preparations and genealogy work (read: The Norwegian Genealogical Society work). I will be very busy at work this and the next 2-3 weeks, but I still hope to post 2-3 more articles before the new year. There have been several news lately that I normally would have (or might have) covered, so I have decided to keep up the tradition by making a short summary:
  1. Prince Sverre Magnus of Norway celebrated his 7th birthday on 3 December. He was born at Rikshospitalet (the National Hospital) at Gaustad, Oslo in 2005, and is third in line in succession to the Norwegian throne.
  2. Princess Christina Mrs. Magnuson has become a grandmother for the first time after her youngest son Victor, b. 10 September 1980, and his partner  Frida Bergström, b. 18 February 1980, became parents to a boy on 11 December. The name is still not made known to the public.
  3. 12 December 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian author and artist (and much, much more!) Thorbjørn Egner. The anniversary was celebrated all over the country with theatre performances and other arrangements. Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening - The Norwegian Genealogical Society - marked the occasion by publishing Egner's ancestry table at Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki initiated by the said society. Hopefully the table will be expanded on later. The genealogy wiki is still in the starting phase (it was launched in the latter half of September 2012), but it is great fun to be involved. You can read more about the Egner anniversary at the website of the National Library (in Norwegian).
  4. The Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg announced on 13 December the engagement between Prince Félix, the second son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and Claire Lademacher, daughter of  Hartmut and Gabriele Lademacher. Claire was born at Filderstadt, Germany on 21 March 1985 and grew up in Usingen where her parents still reside. She is currently living in Rome, Italy where she is working on her PhD on the ethical aspects of organ donation consent. Claire's CV can be read here, while an article on the engagement by Wort.lu can be read here. Does anyone know the maiden name of Gabriele Lademacher, by the way? Any more details on Claire's ancestry at all?
  5. Over in the United Kingdom on the same day, the bill to change the British succession law, the Succession to the Crown Bill, was finally introduced and had its first reading in the House of Commons. The explanatory notes can be read here. The bill aims among others to "make the succession  to the Crown not depend on gender" and the disqualification arising from marriage to a Roman Catholic will be removed. This means among others that several people who so far have ben excluded from the line of succession due to being married to a Roman Catholic will have their rights returned, including the late Princess Ragnhild Mrs. Lorentzen's daughter Ragnhild, b. 1968, who in 2003 married Aaron Long, an Irish-American Catholic. And this again means that the line of succession will be expanded rather than limited, which many have favoured. I can't really see the point of such a long line of succession, even if it is only of academic interest, and wonder if wouldn't have been better if the succession was limited to the descendants of King George V (or even King George VI or Queen Elizabeth II).
  6. Prince Aimone of Savoy and Princess Olga of Savoy, née Princess of Greece, became parents to a daughter, Isabella, on 15 December (cf. Monarchia.it and Nobiliana.de). Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia is the son of the Duke of Aosta, one of two pretenders to the extinct Italian throne. The Duke and Duchess of Apulia also have the sons Umberto, Prince of Piedmont, b. 2009, and Amadeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, born in 2011.
  7. On the evening of 15 December, HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway received the Golden Heart award in Berlin in recognition of her work on behalf of children and young people. Her speech (in German) can be read here.
  8. The Norwegian daily Aftenposten published on 17 December an interview with Harald Hallberg, whose book Norske dekorasjoner ("Norwegian decorations") was recently released by Dreyer Bok. The book is said to be the first of its kind to give a complete survey of all the Norwegian decorations (orders and medals), and names among others all the recipients - 19.339 so far - of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. The price is set at NOK 399, the book has 463 pages with illustrations, while the ISBN is 978-82-93193-17-3.
Updated on Wednesday 19 December 2012 at 08:55 (minor language correction).

3 December 2012

UK: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to become parents

The British Royal Court announced today that the Duchess of Cambridge, to many better known as just Catherine or Kate, is pregnant. The announcement in full:

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news.

The Duchess was admitted this afternoon to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, Her Royal Highness is expected to stay in hospital for several days and will require a period of rest thereafter.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum is very acute morning sickness, which requires supplementary hydration and nutrients.
The media and too many royalty-watchers have been guessing and speculating for months now, and at last they got it right. The future heir will become third in line of succession to the British throne, after the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. As the process of changing the succession law to make it gender blind is already underway, and the British government has declared that the law will be retroactive, the ducal couple's firstborn will inherit the throne regardless of its sex.

As the pregnancy is in its very early stages, one can only hope that everything will go well. We can now  expect months of speculations over the child's sex, the names he or she will get and many other aspects a royal birth in the UK may have!

Updated on Tuesday 4 December 2012 at 11:50 (among others was a link changed).

30 November 2012

Se og Hør launches royal magazine

Earlier this month I wrote about Her og Nå's yearbook (booklet) Året med Kongefamilien 2012 ("The Year with the Royal Family 2012"). The publication has now got competition in Se og Hør/Aller Forlag's new royal magazine called Royal, which was launched on 19 November 2012.

The first issue has the subtitle Året i bilder 2012 ("The year in photos 2012") and it goes without saying that it first of all covers the main events of 2012. The main focus is naturally on the Norwegian royal family, but you will also find articles on other royals, including Crown Princess Mary of Denmark's 40th birthday celebrations, Prince Albert and Princess Charlène of Monaco's visit to Norway and the royal christening in Stockholm. Most main events are covered, such as Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner's 80th birthday, the Norwegian royal family's Easter vacation, state visits, 17th May celebration, the war hero Gunnar Sønsteby's funeral, King Harald and Queen Sonja's 75th birthday celebrations, Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen's death and funeral etc., etc. All in all 116 pages with lots of photos and short texts, to the price of NOK 69. In addition you get a feature article about Crown Princess Mette-Marit's wardrobe. In other words, more pages and cheaper than Her og Nå, but the quality is more or less the same.

Se og Hør's publisher Aller Forlag informs that the next issue of Royal is planned to be published in the spring of 2013.

16 November 2012

The remains of King Zog brought home to Albania

The remains of King Zog of the Albanians, who died in exile in France in 1961, were exhumed at the Cimetière de Thiais in Paris on Wednesday 14 November 2012 and flown to Tirana, Albania the day after. The interment will take place at the royal mausoleum in Tirana on Saturday 17 November, with King Zog's grandson Prince Leka (II) and many Albanian officials present.

Selected news articles:

15 November 2012

Norway: Medal of Merit scandal brought to a close

It has not been a good week for King Harald of Norway, currently abroad, and his court, following the headlines created by a controversial a Medal of Merit nomination.

According to the Royal Court Dr. Trond Ali Lindstad was nominated for the King’s Medal of Merit in silver "for his many years of dedicated effort to promote the integration of minorities as a medical doctor at Grønland and through his work at Urtehagen. The medal was awarded in recognition of this beneficial public service." The court had been warned about Lindstad's controversial statements that many view as anti-Semitic, but did not react until it became known that Oslo's Mayor Fabian Stang had refused to hand out the medal in a public ceremony planned to take place at the National Theatre on Tuesday this week. The ceremony was called off "for security reasons", and today it was announced that the medal was revoked with authority in the statutes' section 7.

Articles in Views and News of Norway:

The Royal Court's statement in full:
Medal of Merit rescinded
The King’s Medal of Merit conferred on Dr Trond Ali Linstad has been rescinded, in accordance with Section 7 of the Statutes for the Medal of Merit.

Dr Linstad was nominated for the King’s Medal of Merit for his many years of dedicated effort to promote the integration of minorities as a medical doctor at Grønland and through his work at Urtehagen. The medal was awarded in recognition of this beneficial public service.

The King’s Medal of Merit is a personal award bestowed on an individual for particularly meritorious service over an extended period of time. The service to be recognised must be an integral part of activities that also in a wider context are compatible with the overall purpose of the medal. “In this particular case, the Royal Court had not obtained an adequate overview on which to base such a comprehensive assessment. This regrettable oversight is the responsibility of myself and the Royal Court,” says Lord Chamberlain and Chancellor of the Council of the Order of Merit, Mr Åge Grutle.

Respect for freedom of speech must of course be one of the premises on which the review of medal candidates is based. We are normally extremely careful not to judge a nominee’s public statements. However, in a new review of this case, we have taken note of written statements by the candidate that can be interpreted as promoting the stigmatisation of the Jewish people as a whole and which seem to reflect stereotypical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. We have also taken note of statements that may be interpreted as stigmatizing homosexuals. Dr Linstad has to us maintained that his statements should not be interpreted in this manner. Nevertheless, the Royal Court has concluded that Dr Linstad’s statements as they are presented and understood, are not compatible with the objective of the King’s Medal of Merit. Therefore, the conferral of the King’s Medal of Merit on Dr Trond Ali Linstad has been rescinded.

“We strongly regret having placed Dr Linstad in this situation,” says Mr Grutle.
For the record it is the Office of the Governor which gives a recommendation for nomination after a person has been suggested as a candidate to receive the medal, while the Council of the Order of Merit makes the decision. Formally it is the king who has the last word, but as far as I understand it is not often he is personally involved in the process. Itgoes without saying that the council has not done its job properly, which has caused a great deal of embarrassment to the king and the court. Obviously the court had no choice but to rescind the medal, and personally I am pleased about the decision. I expect, though, that the storm will soon calm down and that the king's position in the long run will not be weakened by it.

The coat of arms of the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg

The coat of arms of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg was published by Grand Ducal decree 31 October 2012 in Mémorial, the Legal Gazette of Luxembourg (No. A 236, 9 November 2012).

The proposal to the new arms was given by the Heraldic State Commission (Commission héraldique de l’Etat) on 17 July 2012, with authority in act 23 June 1972 concerning national emblems.

14 November 2012

Norway: New yearbook published: Året med Kongefamilien 2012

The weekly magazine Her og Nå, published by Egmont Hjemmet Mortensen, is behind the recently released Året med Kongefamilien 2012 ("The Year with the Royal Family 2012"), which as the title suggests covers the main events of the Norwegian royal family in 2012. The price is NOK 89, ISBN 978-82-7227-097-0. It can be bought in most kiosks and supermarkets in Norway as well as from the publisher's webshop.

"Yearbook" might be somewhat misleading, as the publication is not a book, but a "special magazine" and has the same format and style as the ordinary weekly magazine. But for the sake of a suitable tag I will stick with "yearbook". After all, it deals with the royal family throughout the year.

This issue opens with the Christmas celebrations in 2011 and ends with the  Grand-Ducal wedding in Luxembourg in October 2012. We learn from the headline that Crown Princess Mette-Marit was the queen of the evening. Oh well, I am sure the equivalent publications in Sweden and Denmark will say the same about Crown Princess Victoria and Crown Princess Mary! Other articles include the opening of the exhibition The Royal Journey, the visit from the Prince of Wales in connection with Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, the public celebrations of King Harald and Queen Sonja's 75th birthdays, Their Majesties' state visit to Poland, the official county tours, the first anniversary of the 22 July terror acts, the London Olympic Games, Marius Borg Høiby's confirmation, Princess Ragnhild Mrs. Lorentzen's funeral and many private events as well. Lots and lots of photos (unfortunately some of them paparazzi) and short introductions (in Norwegian only) to each topic.

I am not sure if there will be any other yearbooks covering the Norwegian Royal Family this year. Last year Juritzen Forlag published Kongefamiliens årbok 2011 ("The Royal Family's Yearbook 2011"), but as of today I can't find any information at the publisher's website about a yearbook also in 2012.

Postscript 17 November 2012 at 23:10: If you don't get past the Norwegian order form, you can always send an e-mail to kundeservice [at] artisti.no.

Postscript 23 November 2012 at 11:00: It appears that the webshop doesn't post items to foreign addresses...

Postscript 27 November 2012 at 00:10: The publisher (Juritzen Forlag) confirmed in an e-mail on 23 November 2012 that it would not publish a yearbook in 2010.

The article was updated on 17 November 2012 at 23:10, last time on 27 November 2012 at 00.10.

31 October 2012

Royal family tree in Dagsavisen 29 October 2012

Following the engagement between Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill last week, the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen published on Monday 29 October 2012 a family tree showing the relations between the British, the Danish, the Swedish and the Norwegian royal houses. The stated sources were Kongehuset.no, the Palace and NTB.

Unfortunately, there are so many mistakes in the family tree that the readers better throw it away rather than keeping it for future reference (I am commenting on it here just for the fun of it!). I am not going to list all the mistakes, as it would probably take the whole evening, but I will give a few examples. We learn for instance that Queen Maud died in 1939, but the correct year was in fact 1938. Queen Ingrid of Denmark, née Princess of Sweden, was not born in 1920,  but in 1910. Her eldest daughter Queen Margrethe II was not born in 1949, but 9 years earlier. Her husband Henrik was certainly not born in 1967 (!), but in 1934. Yes, their wedding took place in 1967... King Christian X of Denmark was not married to Princess Margaretha, who was Crown Princess Märtha of Norway's elder sister. Princess Madeleine's future husband was not born in 1985, but 11 years earlier. The maiden name of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway and the surname of her eldest son Marius is spelt Høiby, not Høibye... I think I better stop here!

It is difficult to say how Dagsavisen, or more likely NTB, has got it so wrong. I haven't got the time to look through all the details in the family tree presented at Kongehuset.no, but it looks okay to me and it is not to blame. If only NTB and Dagsavisen could have spent a few minutes on proof-reading...

Catherine Oxenberg: My mother’s triumph – exhumation & burial of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia

The actress Catherine Oxenberg, daughter of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and her first husband, Howard Oxenberg, has written the following blog article about the reburial of her grandparents Prince Paul and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia at Oplenac:

30 October 2012: My mother’s triumph – exhumation & burial of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia

The reburial took place on Saturday 6 October 2012.

25 October 2012

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 3, 2012

I received my copy of the magazine Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 3, 2012, three weeks ago, but it is first now I have got the time to have a look at it. As always the magazine has plenty of interesting and readable articles to enjoy.

The magazine's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat, has made more than one contribution also this time. The article Dear, Unforgettable Alix focuses on Grand Prince Alexei Nikolaievich, the only son of Emperor Nicholas II. Zeepvat also continues her Family Album, this time the third Habsburg article, which deals with the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. Besides a short introduction the readers can enjoy 88 images as well as as much as 6 pages with genealogical tables.

Edward W. Hanson has written about Queen Marie Amélie of Portugal's will, while Coryne Hall pays attention to the British Princess Louise (the Princess Royal) and Alexander, Duke of Fife's daughter Alexandria (1891-1959) in the article A Dedicated Royal Lady. Alexandra, The Duchess of Fife.

The freelance writer/historian Elisabeth de Guitaut has contributed with a piece on the royal country house Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, while the editior, Ted Rosvall, has made space for his own article Notre Amie, la Comtesse de Gyldensteen... A Colorful Royal Ancestor. The countess in question  was Marguerite Huguetan (1702-1766, ancestor of among others Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Prinse Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein.

As usual we get the more or less lated news in the section The World Wide Web of Royalty, with pieces about the Imperial/Royal/Princely houses of Austria, Hesse, Hohenlohe-Bartenstein, Liechtenstein, Neipperg, Norway, Radziwill, Reuss, Saxony, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Schaumburg-Lippe. The editior managed to include the news of the death of Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen before the deadline. She is presented as "Princessed [sic!] Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs. Lorentzen". True enough, she kept her rank as Princess of Norway when she married Erling S. Lorentzen in 1953, but at the court she was only styled Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen, and as the little article was titled "Norway", so the "of Norway" part was kind of superfluous. A trifle, perhaps, but still... More important is that Rosvall has missed out on Princess Ragnhild's sixth grandchild, Elisabeth, the second daughter of Ragnhild Lorentzen Long.

The readers will certainly not be disappointed with the latest issue, as it covers many different monarchies and topics. But I would like to see even more variation. Always the Windsors, the Romanovs and the Habsburgs! What about Waldeck-Pyrmont, Ghika, Castell-Castell and Czartoryski! I know is is partly a matter of what contributions the editor receives, but how active is Rosvall in finding authors who can contribute with articles on other, "lesser known", princely families?

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earler presentations of RDQ here.

Sweden: Princess Madeleine engaged to marry Chris O'Neill

The Royal Court in Stockholm announced today, 25 October 2012, the engagement between Princess Madeleine, youngest child of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and Christopher "Chris" O'Neill:
Engagement between Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O'Neill
The Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce the engagement between Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O'Neill.
After His Majesty The King of Sweden had given his consent to the marriage between Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O'Neill, His Majesty requested the approval by the Swedish Government, in accordance with the procedures set out in the Swedish Constitution.

The wedding date has not yet been decided but it is planned to take place during the summer of 2013.

Svante Lindqvist
Marshal of the Realm
The court also published an interview with the couple as well as Chris O'Neill's CV. The latter informs us that Princess Madeleine's fiancé was born on 27 June 1974 in London, England as the son of Paul O'Neill (d. 2004) and Eva Maria O'Neill, née Walter.* His mother has been married four times and has given Chris two half-sisters: Tatjana and Natascha. Chris also has three half-sisters - Stephanie, Annalisa and Karen - on his father's side.

Christopher, who has both British and US American citizenship, but is not seeking Swedish nationality, attended boarding school in St. Gallen, Switzerland before obtaining a bachelor degree in International Relations from Boston University. He also has obtained a Master's degree in Business Administration from  Columbia Business School in New York.

After graduating he has worked in the finance sector, working for firms such as NM Rotschild & Sons and Steinberg Asset Management. Today O'Neill is a Partner and Head of Research at Noster Capital, which is an investment firm with offices in London and New York City. We are also told that O'Neill enjoys downhill skiing, tennis and golf, while among his other passions are music, literature and - of all football clubs - Chelsea FC.

Chris O'Neill's father is from New York originally, but moved to London in the 1960s. He has Irish, Scottish and Italian ancestry, while Chris' mother is Czech/German.

Mr. O'Neill proposed to the princess in early October. The wedding is planned for the summer of 2013. The couple has for now decided to continue living in the United States.

Princess Madeleine was earlier engaged to Jonas Bergström, but the relationship ended in 2010.

Some news articles today:

* Besides the details from the Royal Court, information for this article is gathered from the thread Ancestry of Christopher O'Neill, at Nobiliana.de, sub-forum Ancestry & Descendancy, with contributions by Netty Leistra, Hein Bruins and the signature "Ronald66".

Photo © The Swedish Royal Court/Ewa-Marie Rundquist.

Updated on Friday 26 October 2012 at 14:10 (mistake corrected, see comments section). Last time updated on 13 June 2013 at 15:00 (Eva Marie O'Neill's nationality was earlier presented as Austrian, but now corrected to "Czech/German", cd. Expressen 4 June 2013. Mrs. O'Neill was born in Karlovy Vary in the then Czechslovakia in 1947, but was brought up in Germany).

23 October 2012

Luxembourg: Official wedding book on the market 27 October 2012

The grand wedding of the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy has just taken place. If you still haven't got enough of the wedding, rest assured that the official wedding book - and a DVD - will be on the market already on Saturday 27 October. The book and DVD costs 21 Euro and can be ordered from Editions.lu. The author is Stéphane Bern. You can chose between a French or a German version.

I am not sure if the publisher has picked the best photo of Princess Stéphanie, though. Concerning the bride's title, I am still waiting for the decree which will make her Hereditary Grand Duchess. Nothing on Leguilux yet, and the official website of the Grand Ducal Family has not been updated since the wedding. The new member still has to wait for her own entry.

21 October 2012

Moen Chapel and Cemetery, Gran, Norway, Part I

Yesterday my family and I spent a few hours at Gran at Hadeland north of Oslo where we visited my wife's 91 years old great aunt. We took her out for a car drive around the area so that she could show us some of the farms her family (and thus also my wife's and daughter's) come from, including Haugsbakken (none of the original farm buildings are left, though), Trulserud, Tingelstad and Røssum.

We also made a stop at Moen Chapel and Cemetery (Moen kapell og kirkegård (gravlund)), which was consecrated in 1914. The chapel was built at Festningshaugen in Østre Tingelstad on farm land given by Johan Jakobsen Trulserud (1851-1935), my wife's great-great-grandfather on her mother's side. Originally the church building was named Østre Tingelstad Church (before the construction was finished), but was soon renamed to Moen Chapel. At the time this was in Brandbu municipality, which merged with Gran in 1962.

Unfortunately it started to rain just as we arrived at the chapel, so I only managed to take one photo. It shows the grave of the Johan Jakobsen Trulserud mentioned above, his wife Kjersti Pedersdatter Trulserud, née Anfossen (1855-1951) and one of their grandsons, Johan Trulserud (1924-1973).

Obviously I will have to return to take more photos - of the church building and of various graves - later on, when the weather is nicer and the light is better. In the meantime, you could always check out the Churches of Gran's official website and Wikipedia for some photos.

Source: Marta Leirset/Marie Olerud (ed.). Moen kapell 1914-1984, published by Tingelstad Menighetsråd (Parish Council), Jaren, 1984.

20 October 2012

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy married

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume was married to the Belgian countess Stéphanie de Lannoy at the City Hall in Luxembourg on Friday 19 October 2012. A gala dinner took place at the Grand Ducal palace in the evening.

The religious ceremony took place in the Notre-Dame Cathedral today at 11 p.m., followed by a reception at the Grand Ducal palace. I was only able to follow the events on the Norwegian TV channel NRK1 up to bride's arrival at the cathedral. The weather was great and the crowd was  impressive. The TV commentators could have been more informative when commenting on all the royals arriving for the wedding, though.

More details about the wedding and photos can be found at the official website, Gouvernement.lu and the local newspaper Wort.lu (German and English versions). See also NettyRoyal and Luxarazzi.

Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy became Princess of Luxembourg upon the civil wedding on Friday. The Grand Duke will soon issue a decree making her Hereditary Grand Duchess. As mentioned earlier, the new member of the Grand Ducal family has obtained Luxembourgian nationality by act 10 October 2012, published in Mémorial 15 October 2012 (no. 221, p. 3014). The preparatory works can be read here.

16 October 2012

Norwegian TV coverage of the Grand Ducal Wedding after all

Last month I was told by the Norwegian TV channels NRK and TV2 that neither were going to broadcast the wedding (religious ceremony) of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy on Saturday 20 October 2012.

Today NRK informed me by e-mail that it had decided to cover the wedding after all. The TV guide is still not updated, but the information departement tells that the broadcast will last from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The religious ceremony in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg starts at 11 a.m. 

15 October 2012

Rosary Cemetery, Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom

I am preparing for yet another trip to Norwich, which will take place during the first weekend of November. It will be my 17th visit to "the fine city", and the second this year. Last time was in September when I travelled with my wife and daugher for a long weekend. I watched  a football game, of course (Norwich City vs. West Ham United 0-0), but without my girls. Besides exploring the city and doing some shopping, we also took a train ride to Cromer at the coast I hope to write a blog article about later.

During my November visit I will be joined by several members of the Scandinavian supporters' club, and the main purpose of the trip will be the home game vs. Stoke City. But I will also have some time on my own. Even if football has been the main purpose of most of my trips to Norwich, I have been able to see many of the most important sights the city can offer, including the castle, the cathedral as well as numerous other churches, walks along the remains of the city wall, walks along the Wensum river, the market and much more! This time I am thinking about stopping by at a cemetery, which is the reason for my choice of subject title for this article. The website Norfolkchurches.co.uk has a great presentation of Rosary Chapel and Cemetery. I have been to the area before, as Norwich City FC's former stadium The Nest was situated next to it, and I believe I walked up there to take a photo of the place some time in the late 80s or early 90s. There is also a nice pub, The Coach & Horses, nearby, where many supporters meet up before the games.

I wonder if I will be able to take better photos than the ones at the said website, though. An alternative would be the Norwich Cemetery at Earlham Road. If anyone has other suggestions, please tell. I won't have time to get too far from the centre of Norwich, though.

I have written an endless number of articles about my visits to Norwich in the Scandinavian supporters' club's newsletter The Canary Magazine, but not so much for my blog. I have plenty of photos to choose from, so one of these days I will come back with a photo article or two. Other topics have to come first, though, as I have a long list of planned articles. It is only about finding the time, obviously. It seems I am busier than ever these days, but I have stopped worrying about the blog posting frequency. It is just that I have other commitments, and I make many contributions in other fields as well. But I do enjoy working on this blog, even if I haven't managed to carry out all the plans I had when I started out. Just have to see how things develop. As with my websites, including Hoelseth.com, there is progress, but somewhat slower than before.

Former King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, is dead

The former King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk, died at Beijing, China, earlier today, 15 October 2012, 89 years old.

Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk was born in Phnom Penh on 31 October 1922 as the son of the then Prince Norodom Suramit and Princess Sisowath Kosamak. Sihanouk succeeded his grandfather Monivong in 1941, abdicated on behalf of his father Suramit in 1955 and became king again in 1993. He abdicated on 6 October 2004 and was awarded the title of "Great King" with presedence over his son, Norodom Sihamoni, who was elected King by the Throne Council on 14 October 2004.

Between 1955 and 1993 Sihanouk held several offices, including Prime Minister for several periods as well as head of state during the first year of the Khmer Rouge regime. One could say that he was a man of nine lives, but after having been ill for many years, he finally passed away.

Sihanouk had two offical wives, Princess Thavet Norleak (his first cousin, from whom he separated in 1968) and Princess Monique, née Monique Izzi, and had at least 14 children. See the Royal Ark for a genalogical survey.

His obituary was published at Telegraph.co.uk on 15 October 2012. See also the the news article at the same website as well as BBC News (which has links to even more articles on the subject).

Recommended literature: Milton Osborne. Sihanouk. Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness, Allen & Unwin, 1994. ISBN 1-86373-642-5.

7 October 2012

Royal reburial in Serbia, Part II

The reburial of the (former) Yugoslavian Prince Paul (Pavle) (1893-1976), Princess Olga (1903-1997), née Princess of Greece, and Prince Nicholas (Nikola) (1928-1954), took place at Oplenac on Saturday 6 October 2012.

The Office of HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (Serbia) issued the following press release after the ceremony had taken place:

Belgrade, 6 October 2012 - Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II, Crown Princess Katherine, their sons, Hereditary Prince Peter and Prince Philip, Prince Alexander (son) and Princess Elizabeth (daughter of Prince Paul and Princess Olga), other members of Kradjordjevic Royal Family, together with H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Serbia, Arhierarchs and clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church, representatives of Parliament of Serbia, Serbian Army, members of other Royal Families, and a great number of citizens from all over Serbia, Republika Srpska and abroad, representatives of diplomatic corps, paid final respect to TRH Prince Paul, Princess Olga, and their son Prince Nicholas, who were buried at St. George church in Oplenac today.

The coffins with the remains of TRH Prince Paul, Princess Olga and Prince Nicholas, covered with Serbian flags and Karadjordjevic insignia were brought into the church with a salute from the Serbian Army Guard. Then the Holy Liturgy for the dead and Requiem was served by Their Graces Bishop Pahomije of Vranje and Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand, with the clergy of Sumadija diocese.

At the church service there were also present TRH Prince Nicholas of Greece, Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Barbara, Princess Linda, Prince George, Prince Michael, Prince Vladimir and Princess Brigitta, Mrs. Catherine Oxenberg and Mr. Nicholas Balfour (grandchildren of Prince Paul and Princess Olga).

After the Liturgy and the Requiem, and the laying wreaths took place, H.E. President of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand, HRH Princess Elizabeth and HRH Crown Prince Alexander II, delivered speeches before the reburial.

President of serbia, H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, said that Serbia was releaved of a great burden today. “We are burying them at the Holy Serbian land, at the church built by King Peter I”, President has stressed out.

HRH Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Prince Paul and Princess Olga, said that a great injustice has been rectified, and a deep wound has been healed, and thanked President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic for his support in bringing back to Serbia her beloved ones.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander emphasized in his speech: “This is a historic moment for our family, but also very important event for our nation. My late father, King Peter II, who is unfortunately still buried abroad, always spoke with kindness and affection about Prince Paul and Princess Olga. I have dearest memories of meetings with them from my youth. Let us all pray to God at this solemn and sad event today for unity and prosperity of our Serbia, at the bier of this great statesman and patriot”.

TRH Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Hereditary Prince Peter and Prince Philip will host a reception on this solemn occasion for the Family, high officials, church dignitaries, members of foreign royal families from aborad and ambassadors at the White Palace at 8 pm this evening.
See also B92.net's article Remains of Serbian royals laid to rest, published 7 October 2012, and my earlier blog article on the subject, Royal reburial in Serbia (Part I), published on 5 October 2012.

Hopefully it will not take too much time before also the remains of King Peter II (1923-1970), King of Yugoslavia 1934-1945, currently buried at the St. Sava Monastery in Libertyville, Illinois, will be brought to Serbia for reburial at Oplenac.

See my earlier blog article on this subject, Serbian royals visit the grave of King Peter II, published on 9 November 2009.

Updated on Wednesday 10 October 2012 at 13.30 (King Peter II's burial place corrected, link added).

5 October 2012


The fall has arrived... Not my favourite time of year, but the fall colours are certainly beautiful. The photos are taken last Sunday, 30 September 2012, at Østensjøvannet in Oslo.

See also Views and News from Norway's photo article Fall colors set forests ablaze, dated 1 October 2012.

Royal reburial in Serbia, Part I

The remains of the Prince Paul (1893-1976), Princess Olga (1903-1997) and Prince Nicholas (1928-1954) of Yugoslavia, who have been interred in a cemetery in Lausanne, Switzerland (Cemetery Bois-de-Vaux), were transported to Belgrade, Serbia on Thursday 4 October 2012. A Holy Litury was held at the St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade later the same day. The reburial takes place on Saturday 6 October 2012 in the crypt of St. George Church at Oplenac. The ceremony will be held with full state and religious honours.

The Office of the Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (Serbia) issued the following statement yesterday:

Belgrade, 4 October 2012 - Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander II and Crown Princess Katherine attended this evening the arrival of the remains of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Paul, Princess Olga, and their son Prince Nicholas.

A Holy Liturgy was officiated by His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia and the Hierarchs of Serbian Orthodox Church Their Graces Bishop Jovan of Sumadija, Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand, Vicar Bishop Porfirije of Jegar and Vicar Bishop Andrej of Remesiana at St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade.

The three coffins were brought into the Cathedral after the playing of the National Anthem of Serbia "Boze pravde“.

The President of Serbia, H.E. Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, Serbian Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Ivica Dacic, Speaker of the House H.E. Mr. Nebojsa Stefanovic, HRH Prince Alexander (son) and HRH Princess Barbara, HRH Princess Elizabeth (daughter), HRH Princess Linda, HRH Prince George, HRH Prince Michael, HRH Prince Vladimir and HRH Princess Brigitta, Mrs. Catherine Oxenberg (daughter of HRH Princess Elizabeth),as well as ministers from the Serbian government, members of the diplomatic corps, religious and other officials were present at the arrival and during the Cathedral ceremony.

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine together with their sons His Royal Highness Hereditary Prince Peter and His Royal Highness Prince Philip will attend the ceremonies that will take place on Saturday, October 6 with other members of the Karadjordjevic Royal Family and distinguished guests at the St George Church at Oplenac, which will be held with full state and religious honours.
See also B92.net's article 28 September 2012, Serbian royals exhumed ahead of burial in homeland, as well as a photo of the former grave of Prince Paul at Gravestone.com and Findagrave.com.

Later article: Royal reburial in Serbia, Part II, published 7 October 2012.

This article was last time updated on Sunday 7 October 2012 at 20:05 (link added, subject title modified).

18 September 2012

Princess Ragnhild's funeral set for 28 September 2012

The Norwegian Royal Court announced today, 18 September 2012, that the funeral service for Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen will take place on Friday 28 September 2012 at noon in the Palace Chapel. King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner and Princess Märtha Louise will be present. Around 120 guests are expected to attend the service. The Bishop of Oslo, Ole Kristian Kvarme, and the Dean of Oslo, Olav Dag Hauge, will officiate.

The announcement besides information from the Norwegian Seamen's Church also said that a memorial service will take place in Christ Church (the Anglican Church) in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday 20 September.  Sjømannskirken. Norsk Kirke i Utlandet (The Seamen's Church. Norwegian Church Abroad) has been asked by the Lorentzen family to take care of the memorial service, and Pastor Anne Netland and Pastor Ørnulf Steen will officiate.

Princess Ragnhild's coffin is expected to arrive at Oslo Airport Gardermoen on Saturday 22 September. King Harald V and Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner will be present.
After the funeral service King Harald will host a reception at the Royal Palace. As mentioned earlier, the burial will take place at the cemetery at Asker Church.

17 September 2012

Princess Ragnhild Mrs. Lorentzen (1930-2012)

The Royal Court of Norway announced on Sunday 16 September 2012 the death of Princess Ragnhild Mrs. Lorentzen, the eldest daughter of King Olav V (at the time of her birth Crown Prince Olav) and Crown Princess Märtha, and the eldest sister of King Harald V. Princess Ragnhild died of cancer in her home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday at 9.45 a.m. (2.45 p.m. Norwegian time).

The announcement said as follows:
Princess Ragnhild has died
His Majesty The King was deeply saddened to receive the news that Her Highness Princess Ragnhild, Mrs Lorentzen has passed away. The princess died in her home in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 16 September 2012 at 9:45 am local time.

The funeral service will be held in the Palace Chapel. The date and time have not yet been determined. Princess Ragnhild will be laid to rest at Asker Church.

The Princess was born on 9 June 1930 at the Royal Palace in Oslo, and was the eldest child of King Olav and Crown Princess Märtha.
The Royal Court said in a press release today that a condolence protocol would be laid out at the Royal Palace on Tuesday 18 September.

The Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be the first to sign the Protocol at 9.30 a.m., followed by the diplomatic corps from 10 a.m. to noon. The general public will be admitted from 12.30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement where he among other said that "Our thoughts and our sympathy goes out to Erling Lorentzen and their family, and to King Harald, Queen Sonja and the Royal Family". Stoltenberg said further that "Her home in Brazil became a hospitable place of meeting for Norwegians on visit, and the princess' considerations for them and her care for the less fortunate in her new homeland won her many friends. Among others she established Princess Ragnhild's Fund for Children in Brazil, and she always took part when she was needed at relief actions and social gatherings".

Stoltenberg also said that "We know that Princess Ragnhild was especially close to her father King Olav V. Her friends describe her as considerate, loyal, with an infectious humour and fresh remarks. In larger audiences she seemd to be shy and reserved, but her liveliness and kind heart were soon to appear in more informal gatherings. It has been said that Princess Ragnhild was our best ambassador in Brazil  - a warm-hearted representative for the Norway she alwas was closely attached to."

Princess Ragnhild, who married Erling Lorentzen in 1953 and lost her style of royal highness, leaves behind her husband, 3 children and 6 grandchildren.

When I earlier this year understood that Princess Ragnhild's health was frail, I said to myself that I had to prepare an obituary based on the authorized biography Mitt liv som kongsdatter (1995) and other material I have collected on her, but I never got or took the time. I received the news of her death late last night when I finally got connected to Internet in my hotel room in Norwich, Norfolk (Princess Ragnhild's father King Olav V, was, by the way, born at Appleton House at Sandringham northwest of Norwich). This week I will just be too busy with other commitments, so I just have to refer to others who have written about Princess Ragnhild and her life.
I understand that that the family turned down the offer of a state funeral. As the funeral service will take place at the Palace Chapel, it will due to the limited space there be a "smaller affair", but maybe most fitting for the princess. She married at Asker Church in 1953 and her wish to be interred at Asker Cemetery will be fulfilled. I must say I like the idea of a King's daughter being buried in a common cemetery in a community she partly grew up in, and her grave thus will be easily accessible to everyone.

(Photo: Det kongelige hoff/The Royal Court.)

9 September 2012

No coverage of the Grand Ducal Wedding on Norwegian TV

We learned earlier this week that the French TV channel France 2 had dropped its planned coverage of the wedding between Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy on 20 October 2012 for budgetary reasons.

I have been in contact with the Norwegian TV channels NRK and TV2 and have been informed that they will not cover the religious ceremony either. Certainly one can expect that a short glimpse of the ceremony will be shown during the ordinary news shows, but Norwegian royalty-watchers will not be able to watch the wedding in its entirety.

The royalty-watchers might be saved by Swedish TV, but as of now I have no idea if SVT or TV4 will broadcast the wedding or not.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA (2012), Part I

 Grave of William Howard Taft (1857-1930), 27th President of the United States of America (1909-1913) and later 10th Chief Justice (1931-1930), and of his wife Helen Herron Taft (1861-1943).

 Another Taft grave close to the presidential tomb. No relations to the president, it turned out later. A nephew of President Taft, William M. Taft, is buried in section 69, but I didn't get the time to visit his grave. President Taft's grave is in section 30, by the way.
 Grave of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968).

 Improvements at Senator Edward M. Kennedy's gravesite was under construction when I visited the cemetery. The work is planned to be done by the end of October 2012, cf. The Washington Post. See also Arlington National Cemetery's press release 22 June 2012.
 The temporary grave of Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009).

 The eternal flame at the Kennedy gravesite.

 Grave of John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th President of the United States of America (1961-1963).

 Grave of President Kennedy's wife, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994).
 Grave of President Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy's stillborn daughter (1956).
 Grave of President Kenendy and Jackie Kennedy's son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (1963).

 The Armored Forces Memorial at Avenue of the Heroes on Memorial Drive. Go to DCmemorials.com for more (and better) pictures and details.
I visited the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia outside Washington D.C. during my first visit to the United States in September 1999, as I have already mentioned in my previous blog article. I didn't get any time to visit the cemetery during my visit to D.C. in 2006, but this year I made sure to find the time. My aim was to take better photos with my digital camera as well as to visit more graves. In 1999 I had for instance not learned that President Taft was also laid to rest in the cemetery.

I remember that the weather was warm back in September 1999 as well, but this year it was much worse (and humid!), and because of other plans on the day I visited the cemetery (14 July 2012), I didn't get as much time as I had wanted to to. When I arrived at the cemetery, I went directly to section 53 where I remembered that my Hoelseth relative was buried,  but when I arrived, I discovered that my notes with the exact grave number was in my rental car, which was parked at the Fashion Center at Pentagon City. There were too many graves - and the weather was too hot - so I decided against making a random look, and it was also too crowded and I had too little time to get the details at the Visitors Center, so I decided to return to the cemetery on my last day of the visit to the US instead. That's why my blog article on Arlington National Cemetery (2012) will have two parts. Part II will most likely be published after my visit to England next weekend, though.

Updated on Sunday 9 September 2012 at 23.30 (link added).

5 September 2012

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA (1999)

 Grave of Grace Sigrid Hoelseth White (1894-1979), my great-grandfather Oscar M. Hoelseth's first cousin.
 Grave of Grace's husband George Robert White (1893-1980), a captain in the US Air Force who served in both world wars.

 Grave of President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). The eternal flame is invisable on the photo, though.

 Grave of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968).

 View of Washington D.C.
 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia twice this summer and plan to publish some photos from my visit later. The first time I visited the cemetery was back in September 1999 during my first trip to the United States. I thought it would be an idea (how good it is I am not so sure about!) to scan some photos taken with my old (non-digital) camera and publish them first. I didn't manage to get rid of the dust of some of the paper photos, so the quality will vary a bit. Some of the motives will reappear in my next ANC article, but not all.

I plan to deliver (most of) my old negatives to get them digitalized in a not too distant future, meaning that I will be able to use photos taken with my old camera (before November 2004) without worrying so much about the quality. I will only have myself to blame then, and not the scanning!

See also Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA (2012), Part I.

Updated on Sunday 9 September 2012 at 22.20 (link added).

4 September 2012

Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy to take Luxembourgish nationality

It can hardly be a great surprise to anyone, but according to Wort.lu yesterday (3 September 2012), Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy is to become a citizen of Luxembourg when she marries Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume.

The bill was filed in the Chamber of Deputies yesterday and is expected to be voted on in early October.

Wort.lu claims that the act will come into force on 20 October 2012, the day the religious celebration takes place in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg. However, I can't find anything in the bill that explicitly states when the act is to come into force. It would also make more sense - at least to me - if the act comes into force on the date of the couple's civil wedding on 19 October. I guess we will know for sure when the promulgated law is being published in the legal gazette (Mémorial).

The bill (no. 6474 (2011-2012) can be read here.

Updated on Wednesday 5 September 2012 at 08:10 (minor correction).

2 September 2012

Stamps of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and his fiancée

The P&T Luxembourg is to issue a stamp ("special postmark") and a sheet ("block") in connection with the forthcoming wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg, eldest son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy. The stamps will be on sale from 25 September.

The civil wedding will take place at the Luxembourg City Hall on 19 October 2012, while the religious wedding will be celebrated in the Notre Dame Cathedral the day after.

See also Wort.lu's article Royal love birds to feature on stamps published on 31 August 2012.

Confirmation of Marius Borg Høiby

Marius Borg Høiby, the son of HRH Crown Prince Mette-Marit of Norway and Morten Borg, was confirmed in Asker Church today, 2 September 2012. Besides the Crown Prince family, the confirmation service was attended by King Harald and Queen Sonja.

Go to the online versions of Budstikka, VG and Dagbladet for articles and photos covering the event.

Long break

 View of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The photo is taken from Grandview Avenue.
 What is in the water at the Lake Farmpark, Kirtland, Ohio...
The rental car we used during the 3 weeks' long visit. A Buick Enclave, one of the best cars I ahve ever driven. Unfortunately no company in Norway imports this brand.

I haven't blogged for quite a while. The long break was mainly caused by my visit to the United States from 13 July to 4 August and work and other commitments both before and after my vacation. I am still quite busy with various commitments both at and off work, so I am not sure how often I will be able to write. Just have to wait and see how things develop. The work on my website is progressing slowly as well, but I will soon pay the bills to continue Hoelseth.com for at least one more year.

My round-trip in the United States together with my wife and daughter took me to some familiar but also many new places: Arlington, Alexandria and Williamsburg, Virginia; Rockville, Maryland; Outer Banks and Raleigh, North Carolina; Charleston, West Virginia; Franklin and Kirtland, Ohio (with excursions!); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Gaithersburg, Maryland and at the end of the tour Alexandria, Virginia once again.

The purpose of the visit was first of all to visit family and friends besides my wife attending a conference in Pittsburgh, but we got to do some sightseeing as well, so rest assure that the round trip will result in many blog articles. I have seen several memorials, Colonial Williamsburg, 2 state capitols, 3 presidential graves (two of them for the first time), one Romanov-related grave, 3 cemeteries (again two of them for the first time), several museums and much more. Of course I had to do several "children-friendly" things as well, as for instance several children's museums, a farmpark and Pittsburgh Zoo, but they will most likely not be covered in my blog. The most pleasant surprise was perhaps Old Town Alexandria in Virginia. Don't spend all your days exploring Washington DC. Go to Alexandria! Or stay in Alexandria (or Arlington), as the hotels are usually cheaper there, and take day visits to DC instead!

There are also many other blog articles waiting to be written, about numerous cemetery visits in and outside Oslo and other visits I have made in Norway and abroad. It is just a matter of getting the time to write...