Welcome to the February 2006 edition of The Royal Forums’ newsletter.
This month for our newsletter, we thought we would try something different. Each month our newsletter has a royal focus of some sort, whether it be a profile of a member of a royal house, royal couples, or a palace. This month however, we are paying homage to the fact that this forum—all 10,000+ members of it—is comprised of individuals from across this vast world of ours who have come together for their mutual interest in royalty. Acknowledging that our members proudly come from all points of the globe, we are paying homage to another great international event that has the ability to unite individuals from around the world: the Olympic games.
For me, national pride is never more evident than during the Olympic games. Whatever the sport, whomever the athlete and no matter what part of the country they are from, everywhere I go, I see my fellow citizens uniting to cheer on our athletes abroad as they compete against the world’s very best. And in watching the event, whether it be ski jumping, the triathlon, rowing, or figure skating, we really are seeing the world’s finest athletes compete for the gold. It is undoubtedly evident that these athletes have spent hundreds—thousands even—of hours training to truly excel at their sport.
It is fitting then that this year’s games, taking place in Torino, Italy from February 10 to 26, bears the slogan “Passion lives here.” From the Opening Ceremonies right through to the Closing Ceremonies, no doubt all of us will bear witness to hundreds of examples of passion, not to mention determination and dedication by individuals of all nationalities.
Conversely, I can see the same slogan being applied to The Royal Forums: Passion (for royalty) lives here. Our members always surprise the Moderating Team with how passionate they are when discussing and sharing information, images and insight about their favourite royals, past and present. It can be something as serious as the origins of a particular tiara to something more “trivial,” such as which designer has designed a certain princess’s latest evening gown. Without a doubt, our members are serious about their royals—and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The same passion and dedication has been put into this newsletter by the Moderating Team, in providing our members with some background and historical knowledge about the Olympic games in general, as well as about this winter games’ host city Torino. And what would a newsletter from The Royal Forums be without some mention of our favourite subject? From which royal couples met at games past to which royals have been the proud flag bearers for their respective countries, anything you wanted to know about the royals attending the Olympic games is in this month’s newsletter.
Let the games begin!
//GrandDuchess & Alexandria
PS. If there is a royal person or residence, or a special piece of jewellery you would like to see covered in a future issue of our newsletter, please let us know here. Our member comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Thanks to a wonderful idea from tbhrc, we have a new program that started at the beginning of the year, our Picture of the Year Program. Representatives for the various royal houses have been chosen and each month these members will select one picture to represent the activities of their respective royal families. Then a poll will be created and members can vote on their favourite picture of each month, ultimately leading to a picture of the year at the end of the year.
Lately, the Moderating Team has had to send out a lot of PMs regarding attachments and hot linking. Some members have even been suspended as a result of these problems being repeated. So that everyone is clear, we have put our Attachment Policy and Hotlinking Policy into one post, so please read the policy.
Princess Stephanie of Monaco(1 February 1965)
Princess Angela of Liechtenstein (3 February 1958)
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (4 February 1972)
Princess Louise of Belgium (6 February 2004)
Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein (14 February 1945)
Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg (16 February 1991)
Prince Andrew of Great Britain, Duke of York (16 February 1960)
King Harald V King of Norway (21 February 1937)
Prince Amedeo of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este (21 February 1986)
Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan (23 February 1960)
Arietta Morales, daughter of Princess Alexia of Greece and Carlos Morales (24 February 2002)
Prince Ernst August of Hannover (25 February 1954)
Crown Prince Willem-Alexandre and Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands (2 February 2002)
Princess Benedikte & Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (3 February 1968)
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa of Luxembourg (14 February 1981)
DAYS OF NOTE
Death of Count Sigvard Bernadotte (4 February 2002)
Death of Princess Margaret of Great Britain (9 February 2002)
Still working on the sports theme, add your own pictures and comments to the Royals Rooting for their Teams thread, of which we'll see much more of as the Olympic games are celebrated this month.
The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Orange celebrate their fourth anniversary this February second. Four years after their glamorous and exuberant wedding, the couple have two beautiful daughters, Catharina-Amalia and Alexia. You can re-live their wedding here.
While Queen Rania wears many beautiful suits and gowns by many different designers, she is well-known for her love of designer Elie Saab's elegant gowns fitting of a queen. You can vote on your favourite Elie Saab gown as worn by the Queen of Jordan in this poll.
On February 9, we will mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Princess Margaret of Great Britain. A thread on Queen Elizabeth II's younger sister's life can be seen here.
Waldi, a dachshund, was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Munich in Germany in 1972. The colours of Waldi were the official colours of the games in Munich.
Amik, a beaver (the name means beaver in the Algonquin Indian language), was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Montreal in Canada in 1976. Amik represented the friendliness, patience and hard work that built Canada, and the red sash was the same as the one attached to the Olympic medals in Montreal.
Misha the Bear Cub was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Moscow in the USSR in 1980. Misha was chosen by the people of the city because there are many bears in Russia.
Sam the Eagle was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Los Angeles in the USA in 1984. The colours of the American flag were to show the pride of having the Games hosted in the US, and Sam was designed by the Walt Disney Company.
Hodori the Tiger Cub was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Seoul in Korea in 1988. Hodori means “little tiger” in Korea, where tigers are very popular, and the hat is a traditional farmer’s hat.
Cobi was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona in Spain held in 1992. Cobi is a mountain sheep dog and even got to have its own television series.
Izzy was the mascot of the Olympic Summer Games held in Atlanta in the USA in 1996. Izzy stands for “Whatizit” and was named by local children.
Olly, Syd and Millie were the mascots of the Olympic Summer Games held in Sydney in Australia in 2000. The three are all native animals of the country. Syd is a platypus and represented the world's athletes and our environment, Millie is an echidna and her job was to keep everyone up to date on the Games, and Olly is a kookaburra who represented the spirit of friendship that's part of any Olympic Games.
Phevos and Athena were the mascots of the Olympic Summer Games held in Athens in Greece in 2004. The brother and sister were named after two Greek gods. Phevos is the god of light and music, and Athena is the goddess of wisdom and patron of the city of Athens. The mascots were based on thousands of years old dolls found at archaeological sites in Greece.
Schuss was the mascot of the Olympic Winter Games held in Grenoble in France in 1968. Schuss was an unofficial mascot, and the predecessor of all future Olympic mascots.
The Tyrolean snowman was the mascot of the Olympic Winter Games held in Innsbruck in Austria in 1976. The snowman’s hat was a traditional Tyrolean one, and he lived in the mountains.
Roni was the mascot of the Olympic Winter Games held in Lake Placid in the USA in 1980. Roni is short for the Iroquois Indian name for raccoon, and the name reflected the heritage of these natives of the New York State and Lake Placid.
Vucko was the mascot of the Olympic Winter Games held in Sarajevo in Yugoslavia in 1984. Yucko was a wolf spreading the Olympic message.
Hidy and Howdy were the mascots of the Olympic Winter Games held in Calgary in Canada in 1988. The two polar bears represented the city’s western welcome and the country’s love for winter sports.
Magique was the mascot of the Olympic Winter Games held in Albertville in France in 1992. Magique’s job was to spread the Olympic spirit to children world wide.
Kristin and Haakon were the mascots of the Olympic Winter Games held in Lillehammer in Norway in 1994. The two represented the children of the country and were named after historical figures from the 12-1300’s, King Haakon IV and his daughter Kristin.
Snowlets were the mascots of the Olympic Winter Games held in Nagano in Japan in 1998. The four baby owls named Sukki, Nokki, Lekki and Tsukki, represented the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water which represented life in the forest.
Powder, Copper and Coal were the mascots of the Olympic Winter Games held in Salt Lake City in the US in 2002. The hare, coyote and bear represented the Native American legend that tells of the hare travelling swifter, the coyote climbing higher and the bear being stronger than the other animals. The mascots represented the motto of the Olympic Games, "citius, altius, fortius", "swifter, higher, stronger."
Some information about the 2006 Winter Olympic Games’ host city.
Name: Torino -- though sometimes referred to as Turin.
Timezone: GMT + 1
Currency: euro (EUR); Italian lira (ITL)
Geography: Located in northwestern Italy, on the banks of Po River near the foot of northern Italy’s alps.
Population: 857,433 of Italy’s 57,715,625
Major Industries: Motor car industry—the Fiat Group- Fabbrica Italiana Automobili is the biggest industrial company in Italy, with its headquarters and many of its associated businesses (eg. car design companies and parts dealers) located in Turin such as Bertone, Italdesign-Giugiaro and Pininfarina. Tourism and textiles are also major industries.
History: Fittingly, in addition to hosting the 2006 Winter Olympic games, Torino is a city steeped in royal history.
The city was built 2,000 years ago by the Roman Emperor Augustus, who used it as a camp for his troops who were protecting the northern borders.
In the 15th century, the city was chosen as the official residence of the Dukedom of Savoy, making it the capital of the Savoy Kingdom. Duke Emanuele Filiberto set about building and repairing many of Torino’s most magnificent buildings and structures including the Royal Park of Viboccone and the Cathedral of San Giovanni.
Continued expansion of the city benefited from the original orderly grid layout of the city. The “old” or “original” city of Torino clustered around Piazza Castello, where the House of Savoy set up its residences and offices. The Royal Palace was built on the site of the old Bishop’s Palace, and later in the 17th century, the Church of San Lorenzo and the Cappella della SS. Sindone (the chapel of the Holy Shroud) with its massive domes added a majestic quality to the city.
What to see and do: Some galleries and monuments of note and favourite and popular attractions in Torino.
Mole Antonelliana—(pictured below) Built in 1863, this is the symbol of Turino. Once the highest stone building in Europe at 167.50 metres, the classical style of the tower contrasts with its height. The Mole Antonelliana previously housed the Museo del Risorgimento and is now the home of the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Cinema Museum), which opened in September 1999, and honours the history of cinema from its early beginnings with a magic lantern to its role as an international phenomenon.
Piazza Castello—Italian for “the Castle Square” was designed in 1564 by Vitozzi, and is the heart of Torino. At the square’s epicenter is the Palazzo Madama, The Royal Theatre, The Royal Palace and The Royal Library.
Basilica di Superga—Completed in 1731, and commissioned by Amedeo II of Savoy, this basilica was built to fulfill a vow made to the Virgin Mary by the Duke upon his victory over the French in September 1706.
Palazzo Reale—This was the official residence of the House of Savoy, which was designed by the Count of Castellamonte in 1645. This ornately-designed baroque palace was opulently decorated in a heavily gilded manner. The Savoys, being as appreciative of art as they were, filled their palace with some of the most beautiful tapestries that depicted the life of Don Quixote and a stunning collection of Chinese and Japanese vases.
Museo dell'Automobile—Paying homage to the city’s pivotal role in the Italian auto industry, the Automobile Museum features a century’s worth of Fiat automobiles, as well as a collection of other Italian-made cars including Isotta Frashinis and Lancias, and the 1907 Itala automobile that took first place in the Peking to Paris rally.
Parco del Valentino—For the romantics, this botanical garden shares the grounds with a castle and the Borgo Medievale, a medieval village built for the 1884 Turin International Exhibition.
Mascots: Neve and Gliz: Neve a snowball and Gliz an ice cube, representing the two essential elements of winter sports: snow and ice.
Official poster: The Mole Antonelliana, Torino's symbol, in the shape of a mountain with five bands of colour, representing the five colours of the Olympic rings (green, blue, red, yellow, and black), as an interpreation of the ski slopes.
“Thanks to a graphic negative/positive technique, the light blue colour of the image highlights the profile of another “Mole”, this time as white as snow, on which the Torino 2006 logo and claim are placed, Passion Lives Here."
WHERE THE GAMES WILL BE PLAYED
Stadio Olimpico — (pictured below) Host of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, February 10 and February 26 respectively.
Oval Lingotto — (pictured below) This multi-purpose building, which features a refrigerated ice track measuring 400 x 12.60 metres, will be the venue for men and women’s speed skating, ranging from the 500 metre race to the women’s 5,000 metre and the men’s 10,000 metre.
Sestriere— (pictured below) The highest location of the games measures 2,035 metres above sea level, located between the two Olympic valleys, Val Chisone and Val di Susa, and has 120 kilometres of downhill slopes. These hills will be the site for the men and women's slalom, giant slalom, downhill/slalom combined, and downhill skiing events.
Palasport Olimpico (pictured below) This newly-built indoor facility will allow 12,800 spectators to watch the puck drop at the men and women’s ice hockey games.
Palavela[ — (pictured below) Two side-by-side sections comprise this facility (originally designed for the Italia ‘61 Exhibition to celebrate the first United Italy centennial) where figure skating (men and women’s individual, pairs, and ice dancing) and men and women’s short-track skating (500 metre to 5,000 metre relay) will take place.
Piazza delle Medaglie —The Medals Plaza is located in the centre of the Piazza Castello, with 55 of 84 prize ceremonies taking place here.
Mascots: The Five Friendlies will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace--and blessings from China--to children all over the world.
Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, the Five Friendlies also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals--the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow--and the Olympic Flame.
Each of the Friendlies has a rhyming two-syllable name--a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.
When you put their names together--Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni--they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of the Five Friendlies as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.
Beibei (pictured below): In China's traditional culture and art, the fish and water designs are symbols of prosperity and harvest. And so Beibei carries the blessing of prosperity. A fish is also a symbol of surplus in Chinese culture, another measure of a good year and a good life. The ornamental lines of the water-wave designs are taken from well-known Chinese paintings of the past. Among the Five Friendlies, Beibei is known to be gentle and pure. Strong in water sports, she reflects the blue Olympic ring.
Jingjing (pictured below): Jingjing makes children smile--and that's why he brings the blessing of happiness wherever he goes. You can see his joy in the charming naivety of his dancing pose and the lovely wave of his black and white fur. As a national treasure and a protected species, pandas are adored by people everywhere. The lotus designs in Jingjing's headdress, which are inspired by the porcelain paintings of the Song Dynasty (A.D.960-1234), symbolize the lush forest and the harmonious relationship between man and nature. Jingjing was chosen to represent our desire to protect nature's gifts--and to preserve the beauty of nature for all generations. Jingjing is charmingly naïve and optimistic. He is an athlete noted for strength who represents the black Olympic ring.
Huanhuan (pictured below): In the intimate circle of Friendlies, Huanhuan is the big brother. He is a child of fire, symbolizing the Olympic Flame and the passion of sport--and passion is the blessing he bestows. Huanhuan stands in the center of Friendlies as the core embodiment of the Olympic spirit. And while he inspires all with the passion to run faster, jump higher and be stronger, he is also open and inviting. Wherever the light of Huanhuan shines, the inviting warmth of Beijing 2008--and the wishful blessings of the Chinese people--can be felt. The firery designs of his head ornament are drawn from the famed Dunhuang murals--with just a touch of China's traditional lucky designs. Huanhuan is outgoing and enthusiastic. He excels at all the ball games and represents the red Olympic ring.
Yingying (pictured below): Like all antelopes, Yingying is fast and agile and can swiftly cover great stretches of land as he races across the earth. A symbol of the vastness of China's landscape, the antelope carries the blessing of health, the strength of body that comes from harmony with nature. Yingying's flying pose captures the essence of a species unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the first animals put under protection in China. The selection of the Tibetan Antelope reflects Beijing commitment to a Green Olympics. His head ornament incorporates several decorative styles from the Qinghai-Tibet and Sinkiang cultures and the ethnic design traditions of Western China. Strong in track and field events, Yingying is a quick-witted and agile boy who represents the yellow Olympic ring.
Nini (pictured below): Every spring and summer, the children of Beijing have flown beautiful kites on the currents of wind that blow through the capital. Among the kite designs, the golden-winged swallow is traditionally one of the most popular. Nini's figure is drawn from this grand tradition of flying designs. Her golden wings symbolize the infinite sky and spread good-luck as a blessing wherever she flies. Swallow is also pronounced "yan" in Chinese, and Yanjing is what Beijing was called as an ancient capital city. Among the Friendlies, Nini is as innocent and joyful as a swallow. She is strong in gymnastics and represents the green Olympic ring.
Emblem (pictured below): The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games emblem "Chinese Seal, Dancing Beijing" is filled with Beijing's hospitality and hopes, and carries the city's commitment to the world.
WHERE THE GAMES WILL BE PLAYED
National Stadium (pictured below): Although still under construction, this 91,000 seat stadium will be ready for the football games played during 2008 Olympic games.
Ying Tung Natatorium (pictured below): Will be used for the water polo and Modern Pentathlon swimming during the olympic games.
Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park (pictured below): Still under construction, will be used for rowing/kayaking/canoeing activities during the games.
Emblem: For centuries, the Inuit people of Canada's Arctic stacked rock in human form to create the inukshuk, a steadfast guidepost that provided direction across the vast horizons of the North. Over time, the inukshuk has become a symbol of hope and friendship, an eternal expression of the hospitality of a nation that warmly welcomes the people of the world with open arms every day. The emblem of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games is a contemporary interpretation of the inukshuk. It is called "Ilanaaq", which is the Inuit word for friend. Ilanaaq also represents the deep connection between Canadians and our breathtaking natural environment.
WHERE THE GAMES WILL BE PLAYED
BC Place Stadium: With the capacity of 60,000 people, BC Place Stadium (or British Columbia Place Stadium) is the largest air supported domed stadium. The stadium will be host to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre: The Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre or Vanconex offers more than 150,000 sq. feet of highly flexible function space arranged in a series of modules over two levels. The Centre will be used as the broadcasting and main press centre during the Olympic Games.
Pacific Coliseum:An indoor arena completed in 1967 at the site of the Pacific National Exhibition, the arena seats 16,150 for ice hockey. Today, the arena is the home of the Vancouver Giants. The coliseum will be used for figure skating and short track speed skating for the duration of the 2010 Olympic Games.
Cypress Mountain: Cypress is the largest mountain on Vancouver's North Shore. Snowboarding and speed skating will take place during the Olympic Games.
Mascot: The mascot will be launched later 2006 or early 2007. It will be used extensively after the Beijing Olympic Games.
WHERE THE GAMES WILL BE PLAYED
Olympic Stadium (pictured below): The Olympic Stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Athletics. The stadium will be able to hold 80,000 people.
Wimbledon (pictured below): Home of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club and the setting for the self-titled tennis tournament since 1877, Wimbledon is one of the most famous and historic sporting venues in the world. As the only remaining major grass-court venue in world tennis, Wimbledon provides a truly unique environment for players and spectactors alike. It will be used for tennis championships during Olympic Games 2012.
Hyde Park (pictured below): The largest of London's Royal Parks, Hyde Park has been open to the public since 1637. It will provide the backdrop for the triathlon in 2012.
Eton Dorney (pictured below): Eton Dorney enjoys a spectacular location beneath the ramparts of the Windsor Castle. It will be enhanced to offer 20,000 people seats to enjoy the events. Eton Dorney will host the Rowing and Canoe/Kayaking competitions in 2012.
Horse Guards Parade (pictured below): Horse Guards Parade dates from 1745 and takes its name from the soldiers who have provided protection for the monarch since the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The parade ground lies at the heart of London's ceremonial life, and hosts the Trooping of the Colour event that takes place on the Queen's official birthday each year. Two temporary stadia would provide seating for 15,000 spectactors to enjoy Beach Volleyball in 2012.
Love Is In the Air - Royals Who Met At the Olympics
At the Olympic games, while a gold medal may be actively sought, it isn't the best thing that athletes and spectators can leave with. For a handful of our favourite royals, the highlight of the Olympics wasn't winning a medal or watching one's native athletes make it to the podium, but it was meeting the person they were destined to spend the rest of their lives with.
A rundown of our favourite royal couples who met beneath the glow of the Olympic torch.
Love needed no translation when King Carl XVI Gustaf spied Silvia Sommerlath at the 1972 Munich Olympic games, where the Brazilian-born future Queen was working as a translator for VIP guests. Their engagement was announced 12 March 1976 and they were married 19 June at Stockholm Cathedral.
It was in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic games that love took the center podium for Infanta Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin, the Duke and Duchess of Palma Mallorca. Cristina, an avid sports fan herself, attended the Atlanta Games to support the Spanish athletes, including Inaki who played for Spain’s handball team (and helped the team to win bronze medals). Their engagement was announced 3 May 1997, followed by their 4 October wedding at Barcelona Basilica.
Cheering on the Danish athletes at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games wasn’t the only thing Crown Prince Frederik did during his visit Down Under. He also fell in love with Sydney real estate agent Mary Donaldson, whom he met at a pub one evening. After a rather public relationship, Frederik and Mary’s engagement was announced in October 2003, followed by a glamorous spring wedding on 14 May 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral.
Crown Prince Olav took part in the sailing competitions (6m mixed) of the 1928 Summer Olympics held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Together with his crew, the future King won gold.
Not that many years later, his son, the then being Crown Prince Harald, also took part in the sailing competitions of another Olympiad – namely the 1964 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo. During his years as Crown Prince, Harald took part in several Olympic Games, but at the 1964 ones, he was also the Norwegian standard bearer during the opening ceremony.
The then being Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was a part of the Greek reserve crew in one of the sailing competitions at the 1960 Olympic Summer Games held in Rome, Italy.
In 1972, King Juan Carlos of Spain took part in the dragon class of the sailing competitions held at the Olympic Summer Games held in Munich, Germany.
Anne, The Princess Royal, hold the rather unique position of being the only member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympics. She was a member of the British eventing team competing at the 1976 Olympic Summer Games held in Montreal, Canada.
Another avid sailor fan, Infanta Cristina of Spain who has inherited the love of sailing from her father, was a member of the Spanish sailing team at the 1988 Olympic Summer Games held in Seoul, Korea. She also had the honour of being the Spanish standard bearer at the opening ceremony.
The Heir to the Spanish Throne, The Prince of Asturias, is another avid sailing fan, also inheriting the love for the sport from his father. At the 1992 Olympic Summer Games held in his come country in the city of Barcelona, Spain, Felipe competed in the soling class of the sailing competitions held at the Games. He was placed 6th in his class and received a diploma.
1: Crown Prince Olav talking to a fellow sailor at the 1928 Olympic Summer Games in Amsterdam, 2: Crown Prince Harald acting as the Norwegian standard bearer at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, 3: Anne, The Princess Royal, dressed to compete at the 1976 Olympic Summer Games in Montreal, 4: Prince Albert acting as the Monegasque standard bearer at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, 5: Prince Albert posing with his bobsleigh at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, 6: Infanta Cristina acting as the Spanish standard bearer at the 1988 Olympic Summer Games in Seoul, 7: The Prince of Asturias acting as the Spanish standard bearer at the 1992 Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona.
The Spanish Royal Family is not only a sports loving family, they also have a former professional handball player married into the family. Iñaki, the Duke of Palma de Mallorca, competed in both the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Summer Games.
Princess Haya of Jordan is an avid equestrienne who has been seen at competitions around the world, and in 2000 she participated in the Olympic Summer Games held in Sydney, Australia. Haya was also the Jordanian standard bearer during the opening ceremony.
Albert II, The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, must be the athlete in the royal circles to have participated in the Olympics the most number of times. Being an avid athlete, Albert has participated in no less than five Olympic Games as a bobsleigh driver – namely the 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2002 Olympic Games. At the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, Albert was also the Monegasque standard bearer at the opening ceremony.
1-3: The Duke of Palma de Mallorca participating in the handball competition of the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, 4-5: Princess Haya competing and acting as the Jordanian standard bearer at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, 6-7: Prince Albert participating in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City
1: Crown Prince Haakon carrying the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony of the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer (he also lit the flame), 2: Prince Carl Philip during the Olympic Torch Relay for the Olympic Summer Games in Athens 2004, 3: Prince Albert during the Olympic Torch Relay for the Olympic Summer Games in Athens 2004, 4: The Prince of Asturias during the Olympic Torch Relay for the Olympic Summer Games in Athens 2004, 5: Prince Joachim during the Olympic Torch Relay for the Olympic Summer Games in Athens 2004
1896 inaugurated the celebration of the modern Olympic Games. In fitting its proud heritage, the first modern Olympic games were held in Greece, site of the ancient games.
Greece started a tradition that is still continued today of having the head of state open the Olympic games. This tradition has meant that a long line of distinguished monarchs and members of royal families have opened and supported the Olympic games. In the first games, the monarchs also gave out trophies and medals to the winning athletes. Although this tradition has died out, we can still see our favorite royal families in the opening ceremonies.
The opening ceremonies start when the head of state enters the arena and is greeted by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the IOC delegation.
Now the procession of athletes is ready to begin. Greece is always first and the host country is always last in the procession. Between them the countries parade in alphabetical order (according to the language of the host team). In front of each team marches a flag bearer and a delegate that bears a placard with the country's name. After the procession, the delegates go to their seat while rest of the teams remain on the field.
The IOC president then introduces the head of state who now officially proclaims the Olympics Games open after which the host country's national anthem is played.
Next the Olympic flag is brought into the stadium and hoisted on a flagpole to the tune of the Olympic anthem. Following the Olympic flag, the torch makes its appearance after being relayed from person to person all the way from Greece to the Olympic stadium. The last runner circles the stadium before ascending the torch platform and lighting the Olympic flame. Following the lighting of the flame, doves are released to symbolize peace.
What follows next is as varied and individual as the countries who have hosted the Olympics. Each host country seeks to show its best foot forward while entertaining the spectators. The opening ceremonies are a combination of fun, pagentry and tradition that kicks off the competition between the best athletes in the world.
Following are the kings and queens, princes and princesses who have opened the Olympic Games.
Here Queen Alexandra hands out a medal to one of the athletes.
(photo courtesy of corbis)
1912 V Olympiad - Stockholm, Sweden
Opening: King Gustav V
King Gustav opened the games of the fifth Olympiade at which the great American athlete, Jim Thorpe won several gold medals. When the king handed Thorpe one of his many medals, Gustav declared, "You are the greatest athlete in the world."
1920 VII Olympiad - Antwerp, Belgium
Opening: King Albert I
The first post WWI Olympics was awarded to Belgium in recognition of the horrible toll the country endured during the war.
King Albert walks to the opening ceremonies
Belgian Royal family at opening
King Albert hands out a medal to one of the athletes