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In Pictures: Christmas Cards from the Royals

The British Royal Family at Christmas

The Royal Christmas is one of the highlights which shape the Royal Family’s year. “Just like her subjects,” Trevor Hall writes, “the Queen feels that she and her relatives have deserved those few brief days together—a respite, a reunion, a polite merrymaking after a year of intense activity, unremitting publicity, triumph and difficulty, brickbats and acclamation.”
The Royal Family usually heads to Sandringham House, the Queen’s country estate in Norfolk for Christmas and New Year.  But before that, the Queen hosts a pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The dinner is a royal tradition which allows the monarch to see members of the extended royal family who cannot join her on Christmas.  
Before Christmas Eve, the Queen and Prince Philip would lead the royal exodus to Sandringham. Until the 1960s, Christmas was spent at Sandringham. However, the growing royal family prompted her to celebrate the holidays at the “more numerous and spacious rooms of Windsor Castle” until 1988 when…

Christmas with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Royalty has its own regal way of celebrating Christmas. The British royals had, in fact, their share of revolutionizing the way we celebrate it today. They were among those who popularized the Christmas tree and it was King George V who started the Christmas Broadcast, a tradition which succeeding monarchs faithfully maintained every December 25. When King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, he relocated himself to Europe together with the woman he loved, Wallis, the Duchess of Windsor, whose penchant for celebrating Christmas was well-known. 
In fact, Dina Wells Hood, the duke’s secretary and author of Working for the Windsors wrote: "The Duchess took Christmas seriously," busying herself as she meticulously set up the tree, prepared the turkeys, and carefully selected and wrapped the gifts for friends and loyal staff.
In May 1938, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor leased Château de la Croë, the white, detached villa set amidst an expansive grounds on the Cap d'Antibes i…

King Michael of Romania, the King Romanians Will Never Forget

Michael I  twice reigned as King of Romania, first as a boy in 1927 until his father seized the throne in 1930 and once again in 1940 when Carol II was deposed until 1947 when he was forced to abdicate by Communist leaders. At a young age, Michael’s life was already marred by personal struggles, turning him into the stoic, staid moral leader whom Romanians later accepted, loved and revered.
Although he lived most of his life in exile, his love for his country never wavered, thus, earning him a spot in the hearts of his countrymen. Perhaps, his most lasting legacy was when, at the age of 22, he toppled Hitler’s puppet dictator, thus, saving the lives of thousands of Romanians at the height of World War II. Throughout his lifetime, Michael has held numerous distinctions. He was the only man to have preceded and succeeded his father as king, the youngest person to become king during his generation, the last monarch behind the Iron Curtain to abdicate and the last surviving person to hav…

Here's The Queen's Gift to her Employees

Queen Elizabeth II has long held to the tradition of giving away extra special special puddings to all her 1,500 staff on Christmas.
This gift-giving tradition was started by her grandfather, King George V, who reigned from 1910 until 1936.
Likewise, palace staffers, employees at the Court Post Office and the Palace police also receive a greeting card from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Her Majesty used to hand Christmas pudding from Harrods or Fortnum & Mason - the royal grocers, but since the royal purse strings had gotten frugal lately, the Queen preferred the puddings from Tesco’s, especially, Tesco’s Finest Matured Christmas Pudding. 📽Christmas has arrived at Buckingham Palace! 🎄 Did you know that the Christmas Tree was introduced to Britain in the eighteenth century by Queen Charlotte, consort of King George III? Although it was a yew tree rather than a fir that was used. A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) on Dec 12, 2017 at 9:44am PST
Those who hav…

64 Unforgettable Quotes from Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is notorious for fiercely speaking his mind out. His gaffes  and snide remarks to people who got on his nerves graced the headlines around of world. While some of his one-liners originated from substantial amount of outrage, many of which actually made the world laughed out loud. Here are 65 of the most unforgettable quotes from Prince Philip.

“Are you all one family?" - Said to multi-racial dance troupe Diversity at the 2009 Royal Variety Performance, as quoted in " Prince Philip asks Diversity, 'Are you all one family?'"  
“Oh, what, a strip club?" - Response to Elizabeth Rendle, a 24-year-old, who, when introduced to the prince, said that she worked as a barmaid in a nightclub.
“ (Children) go to school because their parents don't want them in the house." (prompting giggles from Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban after campaigning for the right of girls to go to school with…

Althorp House, Princess Diana and the Spencers of Althorp

Althorp House, the stately home of the prominent Spencer family and more popularly Lady Diana Spencer, later Princess of Wales, before her marriage to Charles, can trace its origin way back to the 16th century John Spencer purchased Althorp estate with the funds generated from his family's sheep-rearing business in 1508. His grandson, also named John, enlarged  Althorp in 1573 using red bricks and adding the south wings, to the shape which then house retains to this day.

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara

In 1888, the Prince and Princess of Wales (future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) celebrated the silver anniversary of their wedding. For this special occasion, Marchioness of Salisbury (wife the Prime Minister) and the other peeresses of Great Britain, formed a committee known as the “Ladies of Society” to decide what gift would best please Her Royal Highness. Together with Lady Salisbury were three other peeresses: Maria, Marchioness of Ailesbury (who was a supporter of the opposition Liberal Party); the Countess Spencer; and the Countess of Cork.  The society raised enough money to buy a tiara that to this day forms one of the most prized jewels of the Royal Family: the Kokoshnik tiara. This tiara is a dream come true for the future queen. She always wanted one that resembled a kokoshnik (cock's comb), a traditional Russian folk headdress. She knew the design so well because her sister, Marie Feodorovna, had a tiara that looks like a kokoshnik. The tiara was made by Garra…

Coselpalais, a Residence Fit for a King’s Brother

Coselpalais is one of the grandest baroque palaces in Dresden. It stands in front of the Frauenkirche and demands as much attention as the other nearby structures.

Queen Alexandra, the Fashion Empress: Her Choker Necklaces, Nigh Necklines and the Alexandra Limp

Queen Alexandra, undoubtedly Britain's first queen of hearts, had her eyes on glittering jewels. While born to the lowly house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sondenburg-Glucksburg, her family was eventually propelled to European center stage when her father was elected King of Denmark and her brother, King of Greece. Her younger sister, Dagmar, was married to the future Czar Alexander III and became the popular Empress Marie Feodorovna.

Dresden’s Grandest Hotel was once a Palace Originally Built for a Notorious Royal Mistress

Beside Dresden’s Royal Palace and the Dresden Pavillon is an equally imposing baroque structure that surely grabs the attention of travellers and passersby alike. This is the Grand Hotel Taschenbergpalais, once a regal residence fit for a royal mistress. The palace was built by Johann Friedrich Karcher as a gift of Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland to his mistress, Countess Anna Constanze von Hoym.

Concerned Prince Charles sought second opinion on troubled Diana after royal doctors believed she had mental disorder

Prince Charles asked for second opinion on the troubled late Princess of Wales after the Queen’s doctor thought she was suffering from a “dangerous” mental disorder that they fear she might pass on to her children, a letter revealed.

In Pictures: Queen Elizabeth II and the U.S. Presidents

Since becoming queen in 1952, Her Majesty has meet every US president from Dwight Eisenhower, a manifestation of the special bond that Great Britain has forged with its closest ally.  Let is take a step back in time and see the Queen’s American tours and the visits paid to Queen Elizabeth II by American presidents and first ladies.

“Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret” features the royal as Grander than the Queen and ruder than Prince Philip

Princess Margaret Rose, The Queen’s younger sister, led a notorious life of scandal and intriguein her constant search for sought affection and attention.  In his new book, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, satirist Craig Brown provides a detailed account of the life of one of Britain's most colorful, albeit controversial personality.

12 More Chateaux in the Loire Valley: Part 2

A few months ago, I have written about 10 French chateaux that you might find interesting to visit in the Loire Valley. Here are 12 more breathtaking chateaux to catch your imagination!

A Day in the Life of The Queen: How Queen Elizabeth II Spends Her Day

Queen Elizabeth II is a stickler for order, and so routine is a part of Her Majesty’s day-to-day life. She rises at around 8.30 am and would be greeted by a piper who plays at 9am on the terrace beneath her apartment at Buckingham Palace. When longtime attendant and confidante Margaret MacDonald was still in service, Don Coolican noted that  Bobo, as The Queen affectionately called MacDonald, would awaken her, “bringing in a cup of tea and a plate of biscuits handed over by the footman.” The Queen’s corgis are the first creatures to grace The Queen , who would also beg to be given biscuits, Coolican writes.

Queen Elizabeth II has been using this $9 nail polish since the 1980s

There’s no question to the impeccable taste of Queen Elizabeth II. From dog breeds and chocolate cakes to handbags, the Queen knows what she likes—and what she likes always manifests a touch of class. That extends even to beauty products.

Marie Leszczcynska, Louis XV’s Pious Queen

Marie Leszczynska , Queen Consort of France, was born in Trzebnica, near Wroclaw, in Lower Silesia on June 23, 1703. She was the daughter of Stanislaw Leszczynski (who in 1704 was elected king of Poland with the support of Charles XII of Sweden) and of Catherine Opalinska. During a temporary flight from Warsaw the child was lost, and eventually discovered in a state; on another occasion she was for safety’s sake hidden in an oven. In his exile Stanislas found his chief consolation in supervising his daughter’s education.  Her youth, though, was marred by her father’s misfortune.  In 1709, Stanislaw was deposed after Swedish army lost the military upper hand in Poland. They first settled in Sweden and then in  Zweibrücken , the fiefdom of King Charles XII, the income of which was used for the family’s sustenance. With Charles’ death and Zweibrücken’s passing to a cousin of his, the family settled at a town house in Wissembourg  with financial support from the French Regent, the Duke o…

You’ll never hear the royals say these 8 words!

While many of us will never have the chance to become Buckingham Palace regulars, just in case you get invited to tea with the Queen or any of their royal highnesses, perhaps you’d like to bear in mind that these royals never utter these words and phrases ….
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