Royalty is a very fascinating hobby, although many people might not really understand what some of us find so interesting in it. I even can't remember anymore what attracted me so much to the subject as I was only six when I started with my royal hobby. I suppose it was the fame of the royals that I found very intriguing, their totally different lives, the palaces they live in, the gala dresses of the queens and princesses, as that all still fascinates me. I started collecting pictures of the Dutch royal family, and because I live in the Netherlands, there was much to find about them, but also the princely family of Monaco frequented the magazines I read and I adored Princess Grace. Soon also a certain Lady Diana Spencer became engaged to the Prince of Wales, and I guess their wedding was one of the first big royal events I watched on television in a time in which we still had a black-white television; we got our first colour television in December of that year. I cut out all pictures of the wedding I could find in the magazines. When I grew older more and more royal families became known to me and of course also the good-looking princes came in sight. I also must have read hundreds of books about royalty over the years. At the end of the 1980s I discovered genealogy, as I was interested in how the royal houses were connected to each other.
Only in 1997 I discovered the Internet and found that it is an endless source of information about all kinds of royal subjects, from the past to the present. The Internet brought me closer to royal news in other countries because lots of foreign newspapers and magazines can be found there. When I started my website in October 1998 people started emailing me, and I soon discovered there were hundreds of people around who also liked royalty, just as I do. Some were younger and others much older, but I found out that Internet crosses most borders. People from all ages discuss with each other on the same level on message boards and newsgroups, most of them respecting each other's knowledge and views, others pretending to know much more than they actually do and disrespecting other people from time to time. People share their information with each other and sometimes a birth or a death is much quicker known on the Internet than by magazines or newspapers.
Sometimes people even become friends and visit each other. I have met several people over the past years and have always enjoyed it very much. I have just returned from a one-week vacation in Finland staying with a friend I met on the Internet some three years ago. She visited me with her family one year ago and now it was my turn. Happily she has a husband who likes her hobby and didn't become bored by our endless royal discussions and of driving me around to have a look at the few wonderful imperial and royal sights of Finland. As I collect all kind of articles and nice photos, she is mainly interested in royal weddings and has a huge collection of wedding photos. It was a pity I only could stay for a week so I wasn't able to have a look in most of her splendid scrapbooks.
Although Finland is a very beautiful country, it isn't the best place to keep up-to-date with the daily royal news, unless you have time to go on the Internet. Newspapers mostly have quite small articles, and there are only a few foreign magazines for sale that cover royalty well. So, as we were very, very busy with other things, it took me three days to find out that Prince Claus of the Netherlands had been admitted to hospital again, which shocked me quite a lot, and I hope he will recover soon although the reports sound very precarious. It also took me two days to find out that Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark had become the proud parents of a second son. Lucky me, I travelled back via Copenhagen the day after the baby was officially presented to the press, and I had some time there to buy several magazines and newspapers containing lots of photos. The baby really looks very cute, but we have to wait again a few months until the christening to find out what his names will be.