Of course, the big news this week was the death on Monday of His Imperial Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria at the age of 98 in Germany. Funeral services will be held in Vienna, Austria next Saturday at the Cathedral of St Stephen with His Eminence Christoph Cardinal Schoenorn presiding and representing the Pope. He will be entombed in the Imperial Crypt save for his heart which will be buried in Pannonhalma Archabbey in Hungary. In the place of wreaths or flowers the House of Hapsburg has asked for donations to be made to the “Otto von Habsburg Foundation”. He will be buried with military honors and the funeral will be carried live on Austrian Television with a one and a half kilometer funeral procession. Among the many dignitaries expected to attend are HSH Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, HRH the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, the President of Georgia and Heinz Fischer the President of Austria as well as the Austrian Chancellor and cabinet members. The Christian Social Union of Bavaria (which the Archduke represented in European Parliament) will also hold a special commemoration.
My absolute favorite picture of the Cambridge couple!
In much happier news, Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have finished up a totally successful tour of Canada. They visited Ottawa where they were given a rousing welcome, Montreal and Quebec City where they faced a few unpleasant protestors and later took part in a dragon boat race on Prince Edward Island. The couple then went west, visited Yellowknife and took in the sights in the cowboy capital of Canada, Calgary, Alberta. Everywhere they have gone huge crowds have greeted them and the vast majority have had nothing but kind words for the newlyweds who seemed to have impressed almost everyone. Newspaper stories have been running all across Canada that interest in the monarchy has shot up, the favorable opinion of the monarchy has gone up and there has been a renewed emphasis on the Canadian Crown in the government these days. All in all, things look pretty good for the Canadian monarchy. Having been a resounding success north of the border, yesterday the Duke and Duchess flew south, landing in Los Angeles, California for a short visit but probably the most anticipated and talked about royal visit in decades.
Many royals have gathered in South Africa for a meeting of the International Olympic Committee including HRH Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, HRH Prince Willem-Alexander of Orange, HRH the Princess Royal Anne and of course Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco. The Monegasque newlyweds held a special reception for all of their Olympic friends who were unable to attend the festivities in Monte Carlo and this visit has, of course, been especially significant for the new South African Princess of Monaco. Back in Europe, HRH Prince Felipe of the Asturias participated in the inauguration of a new United Nations Support Base in Valencia. In Italy, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI recently left the Vatican for his summer palace of Castel Gandolfo to take his vacation which he will spend relaxing; which means praying, reading and writing theology.