Saturday, February 13, 2010

Monarchial Olympics

The XXI Winter Olympic Games have begun in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While watching the opening ceremonies HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal was the only member of the Royal Family I was able to spot. However, also on hand were King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Crown Princess Maxima and their daughters from the Netherlands. This is the sixth time that the Winter Olympic Games have been held in a monarchy although, sadly, this year as in years past, no Winter Olympic Games held in Canada have ever been opened by a royal. Others have however and here is a list of those Winter games held in monarchies along with those who officially declared the games open:

1952 - Oslo, Norway: The VI Winter Olympics, opened by Princess Ragnhild of Norway, daughter of King Olav V.
1972 - Sapporo, Japan: The XI Winter Olympics, opened by HIM the Showa Emperor of Japan.
1988 - Calgary, Canada: The XV Winter Olympics, opened by Governor-General Jeanne Sauve
1994 - Lillehammer, Norway: The XVII Winter Olympics, opened by HM King Harald V of Norway
1998 - Nagano, Japan: The XVIII Winter Olympics, opened by HIM Emperor Akihito of Japan
2010 - Vancouver, Canada: The XXI Winter Olympics, opened by Governor-General Michaelle Jean

The very first modern Olympic games were opened by King George I of Greece in 1896. The 1908 summer Olympics in London were opened by King Edward VII and the next games, held in 1912 in Stockholm, were opened by King Gustaf V. After the interruption of World War I the games of 1920 were held in Antwerp and opened by King Albert I of the Belgians. In 1928 Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands opened the games in Amsterdam. This was the first time the head of state had not opened the games but the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina was upset that she had not been consulted about the scheduling of the event and so refused to cut her Norwegian holiday short to open the games. Tokyo would have been the next host city but World War II interrupted the competition. The next games were held in London in 1948 and were opened by King George VI. The 1956 Olympics were held in Melbourne, Australia and were opened by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1964 Tokyo was the host city and the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) opened the games. Queen Elizabeth II opened the games for the first time in 1976 in Montreal, Canada. In 1992 King Juan Carlos I of Spain opened the games in Barcelona. In 2000 the Olympics were held in Sidney, Australia but, for the first time for summer games held in a monarchy a royal did not open them with that honor going to Governor-General Sir William Deane. The last time a reigning monarch opened the games was the 1998 Winter Olympics opened by the Emperor of Japan.

1 comment:

  1. HRH The Infanta Pilar of Spain,sister of King Juan Carlos is representing the Kingdom of Spain at the games


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