A Royal Vacation

Summer in royalty-land is mostly what we in the Netherlands call 'komkommertijd' (in English: 'silly season'). Not that I really mind about it, because it offers me some space to relax and think about things rather than collecting royal news for my website. In the summer royals go on vacation like many other people in the world and carry out fewer official engagements than during the rest of the year. Only genealogy always continues as the summer seems to be a popular season to get married, and of course people - thus also royals - continue to die and to give birth to new life. Like Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, also Crown Prince Paras Shah of Nepal and his wife Crown Princess Himani became parents for the second time. The new baby- boy, second in line to the throne, was named Hridayendra in a special ceremony at the royal palace.

In July Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange, Princess Máxima, Prince Constantijn, and Princess Laurentien with their one-month- old daughter Eloise - spent some weeks in Porto Ercole, Italy, where the Dutch royals have spent their vacations for as long as I can remember. The magazines always have nice pictures of the family walking around in the harbour or on the beach, or diving into the sea from their boat. After returning to the Netherlands the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima paid an official visit to the Dutch Antilles followed by another short vacation on those islands that resulted in photos of the couple at the hotel relaxing at the swimming pool. As her husband Prince Claus has spent almost the whole summer in hospital, Queen Beatrix stayed home this year, but some pictures showed up in the magazines of her sailing on the royal yacht 'De Groene Draeck' at the IJsselmeer in the Netherlands.

As usual the Norwegian royal family spent part of their vacation in Norway at their house in Magerø. Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and son Marius also spent some time in Greece together with friends. In August King Harald V, Princess Märtha Louise and her husband Ari Behn were spotted at Mallorca, of course together with the Spanish royal family who seem to spend lots of time at Mallorca each summer enjoying the weather and taking part in sailing competitions. They were also joined by members of the Greek royal family, who first had spent some time with the Danish royal family - including the newborn son of Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra - and the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburgs at Gråsten. The yearly visit to Legoland was much enjoyed by the children. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik as usual spent the whole month of August at their castle in Caïx. Before they arrived Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian girlfriend Mary Donaldson were staying at the castle before leaving for a few days vacation at Mallorca, where Mary Donaldson seems to have met the Spanish and Greek royals sailing there. Denmark is eagerly awaiting an engagement.

Of course Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh spent lots of time at Balmoral Castle and finished the celebrations around the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a unique garden party at the castle. The Duke of York enjoyed a vacation at Saint-Tropez with some nice ladies while his ex-wife went away with their daughters and the Prince of Wales spent most of the time with Camilla Parker Bowles. And in August Prince and Princess Michael of Kent were spotted in Saint-Tropez, in the south of France, accompanied by Prince Charles and Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. In Sweden Crown Princess Victoria celebrated her 25th birthday on July 14th with a big party at the island of Öland together with family, royals, and friends. Also her new boyfriend Daniel Westling was invited. Another vacation destination of the family was their summer house at the French Côte d'Azur for which also Emma Pernald, the girlfriend of Prince Carl Philip, was invited.

The Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg usually also spends some time at the Côte d'Azur where Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte own a property in La Tour Sarrazine. But in August they were all present when Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume finished his 11-month military training at the Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst, like his father and grandfather before him. Also King Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium have a summer house in the south of France, although they like too to spend some time in Italy, where Queen Paola was born. Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde for the first time with daughter Elisabeth enjoyed a sunny beach vacation, again in France I think.

And also in the far Japan a little Princess, Aiko, celebrated her first summer vacation with her parents, Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. The prince of Monaco and Prince Albert seem to have spent most of the summer at home in Monaco, where Prince Albert enjoyed the beach and the beautiful women there. His youngest sister Princess Stephanie has found herself another controversial boyfriend after her break up with circus director Franco Knie. She now has a relationship with a palace employee Richard Lucas, who seems to have been fired when Prince Rainier found out about the relationship. They were mainly seen around in France during the summer.

So if you would like to meet royals during your vacation the destinations mentioned in this article are surely worth trying. Especially the south of France seems to be very nice.

Netty Leistra
Royal Watch
September 2002

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