The biggest happy news this week is the birth of a future Queen of Sweden. On Thursday morning TRH Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden welcomed their new baby girl into the world; HRH Princess Estelle Silvia Mary, Duchess of Östergötland. Congratulations to the proud parents, the Royal Family and the Kingdom of Sweden! The little princess is set to become the fifth reigning Queen of Sweden, following her mother, Queen Ulrika Eleonora, Queen Christina and Queen Margaret I. In other Swedish royal news, following up on reports from last week, the Royal Court has officially confirmed that HRH Princess Madeleine has indeed been living with her New York boyfriend, financier Chris O’Neill, since November indicating that things are getting quite serious indeed between the two. O’Neill is 37, has a reputation for being something of a high-society playboy and is well known amongst the well-heeled set in the Big Apple. He has accompanied the Princess on at least one official engagement, though without permission (Prince Daniel was not allowed such a privilege until after he and the Crown Princess were engaged) and many are now speculating that wedding plans may be in their future. Hopefully it goes better than the last time though, as usual, I think dear Madeline could do better.
Moving south to much sadder news, things are certainly not looking good for Prince Johan Friso of Orange-Nassau and we can only imagine what worry and heartache the Dutch Royal Family is going through in this difficult time. The Austrian doctors have now said that the Prince, who is still in a coma, likely suffered considerable brain damage and may not survive, may not ever come out of the coma, and if he does may require extensive physical therapy for months or even years before recovering. According to doctors his heart ‘stood still’ for nearly an hour, preventing the flow of oxygen to the brain. An MRI showed extensive damage and caused the pessimistic report from doctors that he may never regain consciousness. The Dutch Royal Family is reportedly now looking for a suitable rehabilitation center where the prince can be moved to, hoping for the best of course. Prince Johan Friso is 43, married to Princess Mabel with whom he has two little girls ages 5 and 6. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Dutch Royal Family and all the Netherlanders in this terrible, difficult time. The only other thing I will say is, for all of you who enjoy winter sports like skiing, for the love of God don’t go off the marked slopes! I’ve never understood the appeal of anything cold myself but I don’t care what enjoyment you get out of it -it’s not worth it.
It has been a busy week for the Princely Family of Monaco. HSH Prince Albert II was on official visits to the African republics of Mali and Burkina Faso this week, talking to government leaders and inspecting facilities made possible by Monegasque government programs and the Prince Albert II Foundation. Although not announced beforehand, HRH Princess Caroline also visited Burkina Faso, inspecting the work of her own charitable organization in that country and other activities. Back in Monaco, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene presided over the Monegasque Red Cross graduation ceremony and later attended a gala at the Yacht Club de Monaco to raise money for “Monaco Disease Power” which aims to help children and adults suffering from mental illness. The proceeds will go to the construction of a new facility in Annot. However, what has probably grabbed the most headlines was Princess Caroline’s son Pierre Casiraghi being socked in the face by a former nightclub owner, Adam Hock, in the Double Seven Club in New York City last Saturday. Pierre was taken to the hospital with some nasty facial wounds and Mr. Hock was arrested. He claims Pierre and his friends started the trouble which the Casiraghi crowd naturally disputes. No doubt there will be some lawyers making a pretty penny from it all. Meanwhile, Charlotte Casiraghi has been in Dubai taking in the Cartier Polo match. Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene also sent an official note of congratulations to the Royal Family of Sweden on the birth of the new princess.
More sad news came this week from the former Royal Family of Portugal. HSH Infanta Maria Adelaide de Bragança departed this life on Friday. Only last month she had celebrated her 100th birthday. The Princess was the daughter of Duke Miguel II of Braganza (Miguelist claimant to the throne of Portugal from 1866 to 1920) and Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. Her grandfather was King Miguel I and she counted among her many cousins the likes of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary and other royals of Bavaria, Liechtenstein, Bourbon-Parma and others. Born in France she lived in Vienna where she married a Dutch biochemist (later a naturalized citizen of Portugal) with whom she had six children. During World War II she was marked for death because of her participation with anti-Nazi resistance groups but Portuguese leader Antonio de Oliveira Salazar obtained her release. She and her family then lived in Switzerland, moving back to Austria after the war and finally to Portugal in 1949. HRH Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza and claimant to the Portuguese throne is her nephew. Our condolences go out to the Portuguese Royal Family and the loyal monarchists of Portugal. May she rest in peace.
In the Far East, HM the Emperor of Japan thankfully came through his recent heart-bypass surgery successfully. The Emperor is 78-years-old and has suffered a number of health problems in recent years which has naturally led to some concern. The loyal Japanese sent many messages of encouragement and support for their monarch during this time. Also, on Thursday, HIH Crown Prince Naruhito celebrated his 52nd birthday and said at a press conference that, “Considering the Emperor’s age, it is necessary to cut down on his burden,” and that he was ready and willing to help in any way he can by taking on additional imperial duties saying, “I would be more than happy to do anything if I can be of help to him,” and that the Emperor had mentioned having some slight discomfort in the aftermath of his surgery. Considering his age and what he has gone through, that is probably a reflection of the famous reserve and understatement Japanese emperors have been known for. The Crown Prince was not specific about what additional duties he may take on, saying only that “there are various options available” for his children to support him in his recovery. The Crown Prince also expressed his continued concern for the people who suffered the most from the tsunami-earthquake disaster of almost a year ago. He also said that the long-suffering Crown Princess Masako is still being treated for stress but that he hopes her capacity to undertake official duties will expand but added that her recovery is “the top priority”. Their daughter, HIH Princess Aiko, is also doing much better and is now attending school on her own (the Crown Princess had been accompanying her) and has even gone on field trips and is playing in the band which is, of course, very good news to hear.