July/August 2005 Newsletter: Royals on Summer Vacation
THE ROYAL FORUMS NEWSLETTER – JULY/AUGUST 2005 * Volume 7/Issue 2
Welcome to the Summer 2005 edition of The Royal Forums’ newsletter.
For our members who live north of the equator, summer is finally here after a long, cold and harsh winter. For our members who live south of the equator, the cooler days of winter have descended after a hot, sticky summer. Wherever you live, no matter what season it is, a holiday is always welcome.
When the temperature rises, so does everyone’s spirits. The sun shines brightly and everyone loosens up and thoughts of rest and relaxation quickly kick in. For royals, it’s an opportunity to loosen up on the formalities and protocol of the royal court, to put those heavy, beaded evening gowns and stiff tuxes in the closet for another night and those bejeweled tiaras back in the jewellery box. Out come the shorts, the flowery skirts and dresses, the sandals and even the sun visors. Take a ride in a convertible with the top down, dive into the clear blue water or go for a boat ride. When it comes to royal holidays, like everything else they do the rest of the year, summer vacations are done in high style and ultimate luxury.
You can decide where you want to go, whether it’s so the summer residences of our favourite royals such as to Graasten with the Danish and Greek royals, to Solliden with the Swedish royals, to Marivent with the Spanish royals, or to Balmoral with the British royals. Or, if you want to get out of the country, head to Rocca dei Dragoni in Italy with the Dutch royals, to Sainte Maxime with the Swedish royals, to Cabasson on the Côte d'Azur in France with the Luxembourg royals or to the Château de Caïx with the Danish royals. Or sail away on the Pacha III (to Croatia perhaps) with Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline and their family.
So pack your (virtual) bags, put on some sunblock and go on holiday the royal way. And don’t forget to write home to tell your friends and family about the fabulous time you’re having!
We hope everybody has a happy and safe holiday season!
/The Royal Forums Team
A Note: This edition of the newsletter has been spearheaded with great effort by Lena and GrandDuchess as well as with the numerous contributions by the other TRF Team Members. While I write this introduction, I have contributed little else to this newsletter. If you’ve enjoyed this newsletter, please send your praises to the other TRF Team members as they’ve all put in a lot of time and effort into it.
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.
The TRF Team is very pleased to welcome the addition of GrandDuchess to our moderating team. She has always made numerous contributions to the Swedish forum (as well as the rest of the forum) and we know that she will continue to do so as a SuperModerator.
Please also note our new Policy on Copyrighted Material. Please remember to credit sources properly as everyone deserves credit for writing an article or taking a picture, or even for finding pictures and posting them, even if it’s from another forum.
I know that there have been a lot of new rules and adjustments lately at the forum, and we do not mean to spoil the fun, but we are trying to ensure that everything runs smoothly and legally around here.
Here are five threads we feel are of note and worthy of a look at:
Continuing on this newsletter’s theme of royals on holiday, you can keep track of various royals this summer and their globe-trotting whereabouts as they have fun in the sun through this thread.
Princess Alexia of Greece, the eldest daughter of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie will give birth to her third child this month. She and her architect husband are the parents to two daughters: Arrietta and Ana Maria. Princess Alexia is expected to travel from Lanzatore, where she and her family presently live, to Barcelona to give birth. Check out the Greek forum for news of the Morales family’s new arrival, go here.
At the end of August, a lovely young woman will officially be joining Princess Margriet of the Netherlands’ family: Anita van Eijk. On August 25, Prince Pieter-Christiaan van Oranje-Nassau van Vollenhoven will be married in a civil ceremony at Het Loo, followed by a religious ceremony on August 27. You can find a thread for their wedding here. If you’ve got the perfect wedding gown for Anita, make them here.
If you’ve ever seen pictures in a magazine and thought that a certain princess would look drop dead gorgeous in it, then you’re not alone! Our members have created a terrific thread about (Evening) Gowns Fit for a Princess! Share your thoughts here.
After a long history of the estate, beginning as a hunting lodge, with many fires destroying the buildings on the land, beginning in 1759, a new Graasten Palace begun to take its shape, first by a new south wing being added, and in 1842 the new central building was built. In 1920 the Danish state took over the ownership of Graasten, and in the beginning, the palace was used for various things.
After extensive renovations, the palace was put at the disposal of Crown Prince Fredrik and Crown Princess Ingrid (later King Fredrik IX and Queen Ingrid) in 1935. They used Graasten Palace as their summer residence, and Queen Ingrid continued the tradition every summer until her death in 2000. Queen Ingrid, who had a great love for gardening after her mother Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, created the Graasten Palace Gardens as they are today. After Queen Ingrid’s death in 2000, the palace went over to be at the disposal of Queen Margrethe, who has continued the tradition of using the palace as a summer residence.
In southeastern Denmark there is the small town of Gråsten. The area of Southern Jutland is known for its rivers, which are filled with fish, and its moors, which dot the countryside of this region. It’s a historical region that includes the oldest town in Denmark, Ribe. Gråsten and the area surrounded it are good for the active visitor. There is a golf course in the countryside between Gråsten and Kruså, which has spectacular views of Flensborg Fjord. The area is a good place for rowing and kayaking too. They even have a club with country-line dancing which must be the only place in the world where you will see a Confederate flag hanging next to a Dutch flag on one side and a German flag on the other!
The history of the palace in a royal connection starts in 1536 when the Crown takes over the diocese of Århus’ lands and properties, and gathers large amounts estates, lands and forests under the name of Havreballegaard. In 1661, the deeply in debt King Fredrik III, had to surrender a large amount of Crown land in Jutland, Havreballegaard included, to an important creditor, the Dutch merchant Gabriel Marselis. In 1773 the two sons of Marselis took over the estate. As the last living of the Marselis sons dies without any heirs in 1699, a long period of 200 years with different owners followed.
In 1896 after the last private owner died, the Town of Århus took over. The town, much in need of more space, used the land to expand further. But the name Marselisborg lived on as Århus commissioned architect Hans Kampmann to make ideas for a palace on the lands, and between the years 1899-1902 Marselisborg Palace was built.
The people of Denmark gave the newly built Marselisborg Palace to Prince Christian and Princes Alexandrine (later King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine) as a wedding gift, and the couple took up residence in 1902. When Queen Alexandrine died in 1952, the palace entered a quiet period and remained so until 1967, when King Fredrik IX gave the palace to his daughter, Princess Margrethe. Following their take over of ownership, an extensive renovation was done and the couple began using the palace as an active royal residence again. The palace has a 32 acre park designed by Architect L. Christian Diedrichsen. It is a traditional English-style park with large sweeping lawns surrounded by trees, ponds and slopes. The park hols a fine collection of sculptures, and more notable are also a rose garden with a pergola and a herb garden.
In central Jutland, there is a city that is well known for its festival in the autumn and for its large and busy port. That city is Århus, which has a population of more than 222 000. The landscape of Eastern Jutland is well known for its beauty. The area has attracted to its lakes and rivers many Danes from adventurous walking types to faith healers and therapists. But it's also a good place for an active holiday as well. Århus is Denmark’s second largest city. It has a very large student population who no doubt appreciate the beautiful woods and beaches to the north and south of the city. Being a port, it is fitting that the city’s cathedral should be dedicated to the Patron saint of seamen, Saint Clemens. It is known for its unusually long nave, which is more than 300 feet or 90 meters. The building was started it in the 12th century and largely rebuilt in the 15th century. Another well-known attraction in Århus is the Music Hall where the annual Århus Festival takes place. One of the main attractions is The Old town. In fact, it is not an actual old part of the city but a collection of old buildings that were brought to this part of Århus from around the country. The city has a prehistoric museum with finds from throughout Denmark. Like most of Denmark, the area surrounding Århus is superb for cyclists. There are lakes and forests close by where the cyclist can ride many a road or path with joy. And if they are cycling in the early autumn, they can stop for some mushrooms that grow in the forests of central Jutland.
The Château de Caïx, located in the region Midi-Pyrénees in the south of France. The Château was built and re-built many times ever since the 14th century; in the 1800’s the Marquis Lefranc de Pompignan transformed it to a pleasant and more modern residence. After the French Revolution, the family sold the château, and many years of different owners followed.
In 1974 Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik bought the Château, situated nearby where the Monpezat family lives. Since then the residence has been extensively renovated, and Prince Henrik has taken a personal interest in re-planting the vineyards and building a new wine cellar.
Area of vineyard: 27 ha, Average annual production: 150 000 bottles, Grape variety: Auxerrois: 80%, Merlot: 12%, Tannat: 8%
Vinification: The underground winery is constructed directly below the walls of the Château, its classical façade in harmony with the Château above. The wines are vinified in stainless steel vats using the most modern techniques, matured in barrels for 12-18 months, and then aged in the centuries-old cellars, hidden from the light and kept at a constant temperature.
Come to Cahors in the south of France where there is a lot of things to do and see. In this largely rural area of France, one finds a good number of Medieval buildings including houses as well as the Valentré bridge which was built in the 14th century. It has six Gothic arches and it was restored in 1879 by Paul Gout. In case you get a tad peckish after walking around the town, Cahors can offer a lovely array of local delights. Foie Gras is a specialty of the region. The area surrounding Cahors is known for its cheese and goose liver which you can wash down with some of the region's most famous product, wine from such vineyards such as Château La Caminade, Château du Cayrou, and of course, Château de Monpezat The area is also well-known for the appearance (normally because of the smart nose of a pig) of the black gold known as truffles and where walnuts grew quite extensively in the hills of the countryside. You can take leisurely walks along the banks of the winding Lot river or cycle on the roads that weave in and out of fields dotted with many oak trees.
The Royal Yacht Dannebrog was commissioned in 1932 and build at the Naval Dockyard in Copenhagen to replace the previous royal ship, paddle streamer Dannebrog from 1879. Queen Alexandrine launched Dannebrog in Copenhagen in 1931.
In front of the funnel there is space for accommodation for the crew, cargo and the engine. At the rear is the Royal Apartment, which could accommodate patients if it was ever to be used as a hospital. During visits to Danish and foreign ports the covered quarterdeck is used for receptions. The crew comprises 9 officers, 7 sergeants and 36 enlisted able-seamen all of whom have all been hand-picked from the Navy. The officers are normally seconded for periods of two to four years, whereas the able seamen stay for just one summer.
Since the flag was first hoisted in 1932, the yacht has travelled more than 300,000 nautical miles and visited most of the ports of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The yacht has also visited European ports, especially in France and cruised the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Seas.
Length: 78.43 m, Width: 10.40 m, Mast height: 23.00 m, Speed: 13.5 knots
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert fell in love with the Scottish Highlands during their visit to Scotland in 1842, shortly after their marriage. She loved the dignity and informality of the people and the prospect of an outdoor life on a large country estate, and he was reminded of his German homeland by the mountains, woodlands, and lakes of the Highlands. Even though they'd recently bought Osborne House on the isle of Wight as a summer home, they decided to look for a suitable home in Scotland as well.
In 1847, the resident of Balmoral Castle died, and Victoria and Albert bought the remainder of the lease without having even seen the castle. The following year, Prince Albert bought the freehold of the castle and estate for £31,000, along with the adjoining Birkhall estate; in doing so, they became the outright owners. Balmoral Castle is still the personal property of Queen Elizabeth today, not part of the Crown Estates like most of her residences.
In 1852 they started to rebuild on the Balmoral grounds. The old castle, dating from the 15th century, was too small and outdated for their growing family and staff, so Prince Albert designed and built a new house on the estate, using local granite as the building material. When the new castle was completed, the old house was demolished. Queen Victoria greatly admired Prince Albert's taste in the architecture and interior design of Balmoral, which was built along the lines of other Scottish castles but with considerable influence by the German castles of his youth, and was decorated inside with tartan and thistle motifs on every available surface: carpets, walls, curtains, chair coverings. Prince Albert even designed a tartan himself, which was called the Balmoral tartan and is still worn today by members of the royal family and their pipers.
Victorian London was a very smoky and dirty place and was oppressively hot in summer; one of the great attractions of Balmoral was the clean, fresh air and the cooler temperatures of the Scottish hills. Victoria kept the windows open in the castle and did not allow fires to be lit indoors except on the coldest days. She loved the cold weather; most of her guests did not! Tsar Nicholas II said of Balmoral that it was colder than Siberia.
While at Balmoral, the royal family led a far more informal life than was possible in London or at Windsor. Queen Victoria went for rides on her pony, spent a lot of time sketching, and visited many of the cottages on the estate to talk to to the women who lived there. Prince Albert spent a lot of time shooting and fishing, and the family used to have picnics in all weathers. This lifestyle is remarkably similar to the way the royal family live at Balmoral nowadays.
Even though she was on holiday, the work of the government had to go on. The Queen was always kept up to date with the activities of Parliament, and the Prime Minister was expected to pay regular visits to Balmoral to consult with her. The distance involved in travelling to and from Balmoral and the cold temperatures of the house meant that the trips were very inconvenient for the ministers to undertake. After Prince Albert's death, the Queen spent more and more time at Balmoral and Osborne and less and less time in London, so her ministers had to put up with spending a lot of their time travelling to Scotland and the Isle of Wight in order to conduct government business.
Balmoral in the 20th Century
Queen Victoria left Balmoral to her son, Edward VII. Unlike his mother, he preferred going to Europe for his vacations, and this pattern continued after he became king. He would travel to fashionable European spas and visit friends in the country in England; he went to Balmoral for the shooting in October. The castle was left to his son, George V, who in turn left it to his eldest son, Edward VIII.
Edward disliked Balmoral, viewing it as a symbol of the protocol and tradition associated with his father's court, which he considered old-fashioned and unnecessary. When he visited Balmoral for just two weeks in September 1936, he filled the house with his personal friends, including Mrs Simpson and members of the aristocracy who were friendly with her, instead of the traditional leaders of the Establishment who had been regular visitors during George V's reign. To try and continue tradition, the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) invited the Archbishop of Canterbury to stay with them at Birkhall, since he had not been invited to Balmoral.
When Edward abdicated in 1936, Balmoral and Sandringham remained his private property, unlike Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and other royal residences. In order to keep the two estates within the royal family, George VI bought them from his brother for £300,000. During George VI's reign, Balmoral once again became the main location of the royal family's summer holiday, with traditional country activities like shooting, fishing, deer stalking, riding, and picnicking, much as had been done in Queen Victoria's day.
When Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, she continued the routines and traditions followed by her father. Every year the royal family and household would move from London to Scotland in August and remain there until October. Before the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned, the royal family would cruise up the coast to Scotland, stopping to visit the Queen Mother at the Castle of Mey before carrying on to the port of Aberdeen. When travelling overland, the family goes by royal train to Ballater, the nearest station to Balmoral. The house on the adjoining estate of Birkhall was used by the Queen Mother while the family was in residence at Balmoral. As in the reigns of Victoria, George V, and George VI, the family spends the late summer and early autumn engaged in the traditional country pursuits of hunting, shooting, and fishing. They worship at the church in the nearby village of Crathie, and they attend the Braemar Gathering at the beginning of September every year to watch the traditional Scottish sports, music, and dancing. Prince Philip has made numerous improvements to the gardens at Balmoral over the years, including designing a water garden.
Although the weeks at Balmoral are the Queen's annual holiday, she has to keep in touch with affairs of state, just as in Queen Victoria's time. The Prime Minister spends a weekend at Balmoral every year, and the Queen's red boxes containing important government papers are delivered to her regularly at Balmoral.
Balmoral Castle has been the setting for some of the royal family's most momentous memories. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses were at Balmoral in the early autumn of 1939 when war was declared with Germany. Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence at Crathie Church in December 1992. And, of course, the family was at Balmoral at the end of August 1997 when they heard the news that Diana, Princess of Wales, had died in a car crash in Paris.
The Present and Future
Balmoral continues to be the royal family's summer home; since the death of the Queen Mother, Birkhall is being used by the Prince of Wales. The Prince is very fond of Balmoral, so the family tradition is set to continue for generations to come.
As well as being a holiday home for the royal family, the Balmoral estate is a working farm, as well as containing many acres of grouse moors and forests. There are holiday cottages on the estate, which can be rented by the public, before the royal family arrives for its annual visit, when the cottages are used by members of the staff and household.
Balmoral Castle lies in the traditional county of Aberdeenshire. Aberdeenshire has quite a number of mountains and the highest is Ben Macdhui, which is the second highest mountain in the United Kingdom. The region is well known for its rolling green hills too. The rivers in Aberdeenshire are inhabited by trout and salmon. Limestone and granite are found in various parts of the region and trees such as the Scotch Fir and Larch populate the countryside. Some of the fauna of the region include rabbits, hare, squirrels, grouse and the most extensive red deer forest in Scotland. There are more than a dozen castles, manor homes and fortresses in the area. The region is also home to the 16th century fairytale turreted Crathes Castle where you may see roe deer, red squirrels, woodpeckers, buzzards, kingfishers and herons in the surroundings countryside. You may also see in the region pine martens and golden eagles especially near the Mar Lodge Estate, near Balmoral. On the long coastline, you can find small villages where local fishermen still catch herring, salmon, and haddocks. Along the coast, you will also find the large city of Aberdeen, population 212 000. Here you will among other historical buildings the second largest granite building in the world, which in the future will be for the city council. It has the UK's largest fishing port, a happening nightlife due to the presence of a university as well as three cathedrals. The city has long been famous for its outstanding parks and gardens that greet the visitor - with around 2 million roses, 11 million daffodils and 3 million crocuses, it is easy to see why it is called the "Flower of Scotland".
Until last year the Dutch royal family always went to Italy, often around August. Prince Bernhard had a villa in Porto Ercole, where a lot of family members visited him every summer.
The villa had the name: L’Elefante Felice, because Bernhard loved elephants. The house has 24 rooms, and was built in the begin of the 60’s. He bought the land from the Italian nobel family Borghese. He had in Porto Ercole also a ship with the name Jumbo VI.
The Yacht Jumbo
Jaimie and Friso aboard the Yacht
‘Who goes with who’ is every year different, often a mix of Van Oranje-Nassau, Vollenhoven, Bourbon and sometimes the Guillermo’s are too in Porto Ercole (esp. Christina and her daughter Juliana)
Prince Jaime, Prince Carlos Hugo, Princess Maria Carolina, Princess Irene, Princess Margarita, Queen Juliana and Prince Carlos
Queen Beatrix with her husband, sons and nephew Carlos
They like swimming in the sea, playing tennis, sailing, shopping and sunbathing. Because the death of Juliana and Bernhard in 2004, the family will sell the villa and ship. It was a wish of Bernhard to make it easier to divide the inheritance.
Beatrix has in Italy also her own villa ’Roca dei Draconie’ in Tavernelle, that is near Florence. It's said she has gotten it in 1975 as present from the local rich family Vicini. In 1976 Beatrix has holidayed for the first time in Tavernelle.
Nowadays it is official property of Willem-Alexander, Friso and Constantijn. It is a medieval farm with 22 rooms and 5 bathrooms. There is only one way to this house, so it is difficult for the paparazzi to make some secret pictures. The Queen is around the 2 weeks every summer in this villa to find some rest, sometimes Willem Alexander, Friso and Constantijn + their families also go to this villa. The photo shoot with Catharina-Amalia in 2004 was made here.
Tavernelle val di Pesa is in the Tuscan countryside halfway between Florence and Siena. It is known for its villas, vineyards and recently, the business of agritourism. There are many treasures in Tuscany from the clay hills which are dotted with cypress trees to the famous cities of Siena, Pisa and Florence. But it´s not only hills. A notable part, about one million hectares, is mountains, rich with centuries old woods andforests, for example the area of Amiata and Casentino. Tuscany is also famous for its many wines including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Brunello di Montalcino. Tuscany is also famous for its varied and excellent cuisine which includes local favorites such as fettuccine ai porcini (homemade flat pasta with mushrooms), scaloppine al tartufo (veal cutlet with truffle sauce) and Gamberi alla Toscana (pan seared shrimp, fresh herbs, beans, white wine, garlic, tomato). And of course, for dessert, you can finish your meal off with a bit of tirasimu which was first created in Siena. The flora of the region is also one of the most beautiful aspects of Tuscany. From red poppies to sunflowers to pink roses, Tuscany shines in a floral display of delight.
- Christina has near Porto Ercole a villa in Colonnino, she goes every summer to her villa with family (Juliana, Nicolas, Bernardo).
- Princess Irene has a farm in Karoo, South Africa. Every year she goes often to her farm, also in the summer. She loves the nature there (semi-dessert).
- Beside holiday in Italy or South Africa, they sometimes go to a other country. For example, Willem-Alexander and Máxima go sometimes to Argentina to visit family and friends.
At home it's best. This must have been the motto of king Harald and his family, when they have chosen in the early 1990's to let design a summer house. They had an clear idea in their minds.The Royal couple wanted a house out of natural materials from Norway. Functional and without gaudiness. So they set out guidelines for a competition. In the end the design of Lund Hagem Arkitekter A/S made the race and Mågerø could be built in Tjøme. Tjøme is as place for holidaying very popular, because of its closeness to Oslo and to the fjord.
Today Mågerø is for the Royal family every summer a hideaway after long months of work in the public light.
Mågerø is located on an military area, which means, that "ordinary" people don't have access.
While privacy was an important criteria, the Royal family at the same time wanted to have lot of light in the house, so Mågerø has a lot of big windows.
The big terrace, a great place for relaxation, isn't visible from the outside
Mågerø hasn't just a special place in the heart of the queen, because it´s the private owned summer residence of the Royal family, but also because she has furnished the house.
Part of an interview with Sonja:
Sonja: Everything I have collected/saved troughout life has gotten its place here. We have mostly used Norwegian design.
Q-Is Mågerø the property that best represents the Queens personal taste?
Sonja: Yes I think you can say that, it's a beautiful place, now some years after it was built the vegetation has given it a softer look. And I have gotten more interested in gardens, flowers and trees.
Pics from the inside
To Mågerø also belongs a swimming pool, filled with seawater
But mostly the family uses the much bigger "pool", namely the sea. Especially Haakon and his little stepson Marius are great "water rats". Directly at the sea the Royal family has a boat house and so Haakon can follow his hobby wakeboarding
The picture (look at the attachments) of Haakon and Mette Marit kissing (while they were still dating) was taken at Mågerø. Dagbladet took the picture and it was alot of noise in the media, the court was not amused because it was taken papparazzi style on private property, not usually seen in Norway back then. Dagbladet printed the picture because they meant it showed Haakon´s and Mette Marit´s relationship was on a new level since they were kissing in front of the rest of the royal family on Haakons birthday. They also said that they always were there when Haakon celebrated his birthday and that the royal family knew the press was there
Tjøme- On the southern coast of Norway, there is an island of great beauty and great conditions for watersports. It is also the World´s End, literally. On the island of Tjøme there is a spot called Verdens Ende or World´s End where you can look out into the sea and gaze at the birds sailing in the sky. Here you can participate in many sporting activities such as kayaking, sailing, golf, boating, canoeing and horseback riding. The island has several galleries devoted to local works by painters, ceramicists, photographers, glassmakers and graphic designers. There are several cafes and restaurants on the island that serve the local fare including mussels, crayfish, and lobster. There is also a pizza restaurant on the island as well. Tjøme is part of Vestfold county which is a center of shipbuilding and fishing. The area is over 12 acres. The entire region is an excellent place for cyclists and bike trails have been laid out extensively for all to enjoy. A beautiful place to visit, a lake in the woods, is Damvann where it is said that a beautiful but deadly witch lives. Men, do not look at her or you will die, according to local legend. Except on Sundays in July when a modern-day version of the witch serves meals. It´s okay then. The charming town of Larvik should also be on a list of places to visit. The town´s most famous resident was Thor Heyderdahl, famed scientist and explorer. The Herregården manor house was made in the 17th century as the home of the Norwegian governor general. His father Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve was the illegitimate son of King Fredrik IV of Denmark. He was given this house to more or less not to cause any problems
"The king is the king" (quote from a page on sailing, which reported about king Harald's victory)
The love for water seems to run in the family. King Harald is an exceptionally gifted sailor. After tough years with health problems he is, as he said, in a much better condition than before the heart surgery. And this new kind of fitness shows. On the 6th of July the king became with his crew and his boat european champion in the IMS class in Sandhamn/Sweden.
The King's current boat is called Fram XV. It was made in 2000 of the new zealandic company cookson boats.
King Harald also competes with his "colleague" king Juan Carlos.
Mallorca (from the Latin ‘insula maior’) is one of the Balearic Islands (along with Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca), placed in the Mediterranean Sea. Known mainly as a mass tourist destination, its privileged geography has allowed, throughout its history, an intense commercial activity with the towns of the Magreb, which was responsible for the famous mercantile reputation of its capital, Palma de Mallorca.
No wonder that, during his usual sailing competitions, Don Juan Carlos used to joke with the journalists, asking if they knew his nickname in Palma. As no one was able to answer the question, he himself unveiled the mystery: "The avaricious guy... because, whenever I arrive here, I come to haggle"!
At that moment, the young prince could not imagine that his destiny (as far as vacations are concerned) would soon be for ever united to that wonderful island, located in the Mediterranean Sea. As time passed by, hardly could we separate the images of Mallorca, from the Spanish Royal Family’s summer holidays.
The first summer
Thirty years ago, Don Juan Carlos and Doña Sofia, driving a SEAT 1400, arrived for the first time at the palace of Marivent. Until 1973, the royal couple did not have a fixed summer destiny. They used to spend their vacations visiting the Counts of Barcelona (then exiled in Estoril, Portugal), the Franco family (in Galicia), or Konstantin and Anne Marie (in Greece). But in 1972, the Council of Palma de Mallorca offered the royal couple the possibility of spending their summers at the palace of Marivent.
Constructed back in 1923 by the architect Guillem Fortesa, the palace was built at a high rocky coastal promontory over the city of Palma, originally planned to be an art museum, according to the expressed wishes of Juan de Saridakis and his wife, madame Mounier.
The restoration works were supervised by Queen Sofia herself. Small changes were made however, in order to preserve its global simplicity and respect the inner architecture of the palace.
Thirty years later, the image of the Royal Family enjoying its summer vacations has been tightened to the palace of Marivent and the island of Mallorca; a tradition that all the major institutions of that Independent Community want to preserve at any rate...
Anticipating the royal family’s growth, the Government of the Balearic Islands signed, in the 90’s, an agreement with the Ministry of Defence, through which the bordering lands around the palace should be available to the Royal family, during the upcoming 100 years. It was the culmination of two years of negotiations between the President of that Independent Community and the Minister of Defence.
Thanks to these conversations, it was possible that the heir to the throne had his own residence within the enclosure of Marivent; a slightly larger house than the two pavilions occupied by his sisters, Infantas Elena and Cristina, and their respective families.
Located next to Porto Pi (where the yacht Fortuna is usually landed), the palace of Son Vent – which means 'sun and wind' – is raised on the cliff of Cala Mayor.
Behind a green iron door, it’s hidden an ample garden of pines, palms and fruit trees, as lemon and fig-trees, a typical vegetation of Mallorca.
The entrance to the house is then made through double stairs, adorned by a green balustrade. The building is surrounded at its four flanks by an ample terrace, kind of a porch, where the magnificent views over the sea can be enjoyed. Numerous flowerpots and hammocks contribute then to the special enchantment of the place, which is reigned by an absolute peace.
In the middle of the exuberant vegetation, there is a swimming pool, placed near a beautiful well and a tiny little house.
The palace itself comprehends about 500 square meters of inhabitable surface (not counting the cellar), organized in two floors and an attic, comprising eight bedrooms, three bathrooms, a great hall, a kitchen, a dining-room and a living-room.
Perhaps the most prominent construction in Marivent consists in the outer wall, which has been constructed around the whole enclosure, including not only the Marivent Palace itself, but also the building of Son Vent and both the pavilions of the Infantas. It’s a high, thick and consistent wall, finished with a fence of three meters high, to guarantee the security and privacy of the whole Spanish Royal Family. It took more than 5 years to be concluded, and was supported by the Balearic Govern, in collaboration with the National Patrimony, as Marivent Palace, similarly to what happens with the other Royal Residences, is not property of the family, but it’s entirely in the hands of the National Patrimony.
Sport is something deep-seated among the Spanish Royal Family. As keen practitioners of several activities, King Juan Carlos (who participated in the Munich Olympic Games of 1972) and Queen Sofia (who took part of the Greek reserve crew, at the Rome Olympic Games of 1960) support and appreciate sport as a formative influence of unquestionable social value. No wonder that Felipe and Cristina inherited this old passion for sailing, reaching the unforgettable glory of representing Spain at the Olympic Games (Cristina as reserve crew in Seoul 1988 and Felipe in Barcelona 1992, where he obtained a diploma for his 6th position).
Nowadays, the family has grown up, but the Spanish royals still reserve the month of August to all together enjoy the pleasures of the Balearic waters. Thus it happens every summer. Father (steering the Bribón) and children (Felipe captaining the CAM and Cristina at the helm of the Azur-de-Puig) all participate in the regattas organized by the Royal Nautical Club of Palma (starting on June 28th, with Queen's Cup, following with the Breitling Sailing Regatta, and ending up with the mother of all the competitions: the Copa del Rey Sailing Trophy, from July 30th through August 7th).
In the meanwhile, the rest of the family rejoice and suffer, while watching the regattas from the boat Somni, or on board of the yacht Fortuna.
Inevitably all the conversations go round the very same subject: boats and boats. As one of the faithful sailors of the King once confessed, during the warm summers of Mallorca, King Juan Carlos “seems mad; whatever you ask him, he answers with the boat".
So far, Don Juan Carlos has already changed his Bribón a dozen times. But those who surround him say that his nerves are now at the very highest level. The King doesn’t want to compete with himself anymore. He wants the winner of the regattas to be the one who crosses the line in the first position, and not to depend on the opinion of a computer. He wants the public (and the televisions) to set eyes on the candle once and for all… something as simple as revolutionary.
And in order to lead the change, King Juan Carlos bought now the fastest boat of all: a TP-52. The new Bribón, which was made in New Zealand, measures 52 feet and weights just 7 tons. Before winds of 25 knots, it may reach 23 knots of speed. It’s an authentic Formula 1 of the sea, which cost the ship-owner, Josep Cusí, the low price of 1.000.000€.
Meanwhile, the Prince of Asturias, on board of the CAM (which, just a year ago, was considered to be the best boat ever made), observes the King with anxiety. His boss, Fernando Leon, already confessed: "Next year, we must change to a TP-52"... and follow the water trail left by the King...
Solliden Palace on the isle of Öland, the Italian style summer villa serving as one of the Swedish Royal Family’s two summer homes, was commissioned and built on the orders of Queen Victoria of Sweden. The Queen in her turn had received as advice from her personal doctor, the famous Axel Munthe, that the mild air of Öland would be good for her poor health. The commission went to the famous Swedish architect Torben Grut, who drew the sketches for the building, after which it was then built during the years 1903-06. The house has three floors, consists of polished brick on the outside, and in many details one can find Italian marble and Öland limestone.
In 1906 when Solliden was finished, Queen Victoria took up residence during long periods of the year. When her poor health did not force her take up residence in the more southern parts of Europe, Solliden became her haven, and it was there the Queen preferred to stay while in Sweden. After Queen Victoria’s death in 1830, her surviving husband, King Gustav V, took over the villa. Princess Sibylla, the mother of our present king, took her children with her to Öland and spent her summers there together with them. Our present king, Carl XVI Gustaf, inherited Solliden, at the age of only four, from his great-grandfather when he died in 1950.
Solliden has what is considered by many to be one of the finest parks and gardens in Sweden. A part of the estate park is open to the public during the summers, and every year there is a royal theme exhibition in the visitor’s pavilion.
The island of Öland is one of many islands on the eastern coast of Sweden. It’s filled with unspoilt beaches, mysterious and mystical forests, pleasant meadows and wooden cottages. It is a very popular summer hangout for Swedes. It still maintains its old-fashioned charms despite the throng of tourists who stop by in the summer months. It’s a well-known island for its ancient monuments including burial cairns from the Bronze and Iron Age as well as various ruined castles. The island would certainly drive Don Quixote crazy for it has more than 400 wooden windmills. It’s a great place for camping. In the south there is a large limestone plain which appears everywhere on the island on the stone walls and churches. The islands flora includes some flowers, which are not found anywhere else in Scandinavia, and includes the "wood-butter flower" which is native to Southeast Asia. The coast is rugged in some parts with stone pillars that jut out into the sea. The island has a bird reserve where one can find sea birds, lapwings, waders and skylarks. The main town on the island is Borgholm, which, while swamped with tourists in the summer, is not the tacky resort one may think it would become. The main attraction in the town (besides Solliden of course) is the Borgholm castle, which was built in the 12th century and was fortified in the 16th century by King Johan III. It has large arches and opened corridors But alas, the castle was regularly attacked andnow is largely in ruin today. But a visit to the castle with the large arches and opened corridors will give you nice views of other parts of the island as well as the surrounding waters. There is a small museum with Viking era relics as well as Bronze Age jewellery. Northern Oland has its share of flower-filled meadows and dark forests. To go for a swim, head to the east coast where the best beaches lie. Another good place to visit is the Trolls Forest in the northern part of the island. Oak trees covered by ivy are plentiful in the forest. There is also a 19th century lighthouse on a small island just off the coast from the forest too. In South Öland there is a fort at Eketorp, nearby is a site where Viking excavation turned up jewellery and weapons. The site includes 3 settlements, which includes an agricultural community from around 1000 AD and a 4th century marketplace. This part of the island is where to go to if you want to avoid a lot of people! The largest estate on the island is Ottenby, which is now a huge nature reserve and the bird station there is the largest sanctuary for migrating birds.
Villa Mirage on the French riviera's Cote d'Azur, a typical French summer villa serving as the abroad summer home of the Swedish Royal Family’s total of two summer homes, has been in the Bernadotte family for over half a century. The villa was bought in 1946 by Prince Bertil, an uncle of the king, to be used as a private escape during the times when Bertil was not allowed to marry Lilian Craig. Also after they married, Villa Mirage was their second home and they spent long periods in Sainte Maxime every year, it became a very much loved residence. Also the rest of the Royal Family have grown very fond of the villa over the years; two of the King’s sisters spent part of their honeymoon there, and after the King inherited it from Prince Bertil’s, it has become the second summer home of the royal couple and their children.
Villa Mirage is a typical Mediterranean summer villa, with a white façade and azure coloured window shuts. It has one of the best locations in Sainte Maxime, with a private beach on the backside of the house and a fenced private yard around it. The more famous town of St Tropez is just across the bay.
The Côte d'Azur is well-known throughout the world for many things: the beautiful light which has attracted many artists throughout the centuries. The exquisite countryside which includes fields of lavender and ancient olive trees beckons many a tourist and traveller from today's royals to the Ancient Romans who it should be noted where not keen on just visiting. But they saw the importance as well as the beauty of this multi-faceted land. In fact they were not the first. It was the Ancient Greeks who founded the seaport Nice. There are also stunning vistas on this rugged landscape as well as old forests. In the area surrounding Cabasson, which has a stunning beach surrounded by sand dunes filled with roses and tamarind, you will find forests of pine trees as well as vine trees. Just outside of Cabasson starts the famous Road of Mimosas which extends to the east past Sainte Maxime to Grasse, the perfume capital of the world. Of course, on the road, you can breath in the entrancing smells of the famous golden flower and take in the beauty of the rocky coast while the waves pound the shore. Of course, if you decide to go into the water, you will great conditions for windsurfing, sailing as well as scuba diving. Certainly cooling off would be a good idea if you are in Sainte Maxime where the average year consists of more than 300 days of sunshine. You could also go hiking in the Maures mountains that surround Sainte Maxime. And after a long day of hiking, you can head back down to the waterside and dine on some of the day's catch of fish and seafood.
King Carl XVI Gustaf is a man who loves cars and boats, and he has many different kinds of both of those vehicles – but the one he uses the most during the summer time is ”Polaris”. It was bought in 2000 and is the first example ever made in its series, and before the King took the boat down to anchor it at Villa Mirage in Sainte Maxime, where is lays anchored year-round, it was showcased during a party at a fashionable department store in Stockholm. The boat is 11,52 metres long and 3,50 metres wide. Complete with a few bunks, a kitchenette, warm water, cooling box, microwave, bar, ice machine and self cooling ice bucket and a top speed of 50 knots, the price of “Polaris” was around $ 318-382 000.
Prince Carl Philip has inherited his father’s love for boats, he is an educated combat boat commander in the Amphibious Battalion at Vaxholm’s Coast Artillery Regiment, and has shown a great love for boating and the marine life in private. In the summer of 2004, King Carl XVI Gustaf gave him his own boat, “M/Y Ancylus”, a Fairline made in England. The King originally bought it for around $ 765 000, today it is worth around $ 510 000. Prince Carl Philip made his “maiden voyage” as the boat’s captain already last summer when he got it, as he drove himself and three friends from Stockholm to Öland, a trip of about five hours.