October 2008 - The In-laws

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Aug 21, 2005
Somewhere in
United States
In the 1960’s there was a television show shown in the United States called The Mothers-In-Law, which starred the fabulous Eve Arden and Kaye Ballard. The premise of the show was simple: two families (the Hubbards and the Buells) lived next door to each for fifteen years. Despite the differences (i.e. ages and personalities) of the two families, they are the best of friends. This friendship is tested when the son and the daughter go to college, fall in love and marry. And decide to live in the renovated garage literally between both families! Needless to say, both set of parents (okay, it’s mainly the mothers) have different ideas of how the kids should live their lives, and it’s the meddling of the mothers in law that sets the tone for the comedic hijinks of the show.​

Prior to the 1950’s (depending on the country) when royals married, they tended to marry other royals. The exception but not the rule are the British royals who began to marry members of the British aristocracy during the reign of Queen Victoria. But for every Prince Edward of Wales who married Princess Alexandra of Denmark (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) there was a Prince Albert, Duke of York who married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). But we digress. Royals married other royals. They traveled in the same circles; they met on foreign trips, weddings and funerals. They knew what was expected from each other. This changed, however, as the ruling families were removed from their thrones following war and revolutions, and times (and more importantly people) started to change, and royals were more than ever meeting, well every day people. So that brings us back to the topic for this month, Royal in Laws. Please join us as we take a look at the families of Maxima, Mary, Letizia, etc.

After the summer and a few quiet months where we enjoyed the Royal Vacations and Royal Sightings at the Olympics (okay…maybe July and August weren’t so quiet after all), the Fall Rush has begun! In September and October, your favorite royals have a lot on their respective plates: we have foreign trips, a couple of State Openings, a wedding (Congratulations to Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aotsa and Princess Olga of Greece) and a baby (Welcome Emma Talluah Behn)!

We hope you enjoyed your September and we will see you next month.

Lady Jennifer, Anna_R, Zonk and Mandy
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TRF Moderation Team

Since the September newsletter, there have been some changes with the moderation team here at The Royal Forums:

  • It is with great sadness that we report that Norwegianne and Grim_Lady have stepped down from the moderation team. While it seems quite repetitive to say this, as you know, sometimes real life responsibilities take precedence, and this is one of those times. Both Norweiganne and Grim_Lady are in school, and we wish them the best of luck with their endeavors. If you are like me (Zonk) there hasn't been a time when Norwegianne hasn't been a part of The Royal Forums, whether its been in the capacity of Administrator, Newsletter Editor or a sounding board, so she definitely will be missed. Hopefully, she will need a break from school and will visit her old friends on the Royal Forums. So with that in mind, we won't say Goodbye, but rather Until We meet Again.
  • We're very pleased to welcome JessRulz to the moderation team as a moderator in the Luxembourg and Sweden forums and Sofajr as a moderator in the Norway forum.
  • Congratulations to Lady Jennifer who is the new Newsletter Editor. Lady Jennifer has some great ideas that the newsletter team is looking to implement in the new year. Congratulations! Also please join us in welcoming Mandy to the newsletter team, as the new Newsletter Advisor. Welcome Mandy!
As always, current moderators, supermoderators and administrators can be found here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there are any questions and/or concerns.

Questions about The Royal Forums?

We have a new thread in the Support and Feedback forum that contains all sorts of information about TRF and also contains a copy of the Member FAQs for easy reference.

Picture of the Month

There has been an administrative change, in regards to the Picture of the Month Poll here at the Royal Forums. Dazzling is the new Picture of the Month Coordinator, LadyK is the new Picture of the Month Assistant Coordinator and Empress is assuming the position of Picture of the Month Advisor.​

Also, don't forget to vote for September's Picture of the Month. You can view the choices and make your selection http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...official-picture-of-the-month-poll-18589.html .​

The Royal Articles

If you haven't had the opportunity, to check out The Royal Articles, you can do so here The Royal Articles . There are great articles on Queen Amelia of Portugal and King Leopold III of the Belgians, the Kelly Family, a Husband for Juiliana, etc.

Since we are unable to use professional photos to illustrate the articles, the editors are very interested in hearing from any members who have taken photos of royals and would be willing to have their photos used in the articles. Also, anyone who would like to try their hand at writing an article should contact one of the editors. The editors are Elspeth, Mandy, Marengo, and TheTruth.

The Royal Book Club

The book for October is http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...provencal-sisters-who-ruled-europe-18581.html by Nancy Gladstone. The discussion of this book will be led by Empress. The thread for this discussion is here.

Owing to the small number of member who have been participating in the book club discussions, the book club team (Empress, GlitteringTiaras, and Elspeth) has reluctantly decided to suspend the book club after the October discussion. This means that the scheduled November and December discussions will not take place.
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September 3 - Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia
September 5 - Pierre Rainier Stefano Casiraghi
September 6 - Prince Hisahito of Japan
September 7 - Prince Rudolf Ferdinand of Liechtenstein
September 8 - Duke Paul Marie of Oldenburg
September 11 - Princess Kiko of Japan
September 11 - Queen Paola of Belgium
September 11 - Prince Talal of Jordan
September 11 - Princess Iman of Iran
September 12 - Prince Mohammed of Jordan
September 13 - Princess Astrid of Liechtenstein
September 13 - Archduchesses Monika and Michaela of Austria
September 14 - Count Friedrich Richard Oscar Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth
September 15 - Prince Henry of Great Britain
September 15 - Crown Princess Letizia of Austrias
September 15 - Princess Jalilah of Jordan
September 17 - Odysseas Kimon, Prince of Greece and Denmark
September 17 - Duchess Rixa Marie-Alix of Oldenburg
September 17 - Crown Princess Pavlos Marie-Chantal of Greece and Denmark
September 22 - Princess Märtha Louise of Norway
September 23 - Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia
September 25 - Prince Johan Friso van Oranje-Nassau
September 26 - Princess Salma of Jordan
September 27 - Princess Iman of Jordan
September 29 - Baroness Christina Louise Silfverschiold
September 29 - Juan Urdangarín y Bórbon
September 29 - NEW! Emma Talluah Behn
September 30 - Princess Maria-Esmeralda of Belgium
September 30 - Ari Behn

Wedding Anniversaries

Sepember 4 - Donna Lavinia dei Principi Borromeo Arese Taverna & John Elkann 2004
September 8- Prince Ali and Rym al-Brahimi: 8 September 2004
September 8 - Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg & Sibilla Weiller 1994
September 9 - Crown Prince Bilah of Brunei & Sarah Salleh - September 2004
September 10 - Archduchess Constanza of Habsburg & Prince Franz-Joseph Auersperg-Trautson 1994
September 10 - Tom Parker Bowles & Sara Buys 2005
September 11 - Archduke Sigismund of Austria-Tuscany & Lady Elyssa Edmonstone 1999
September 12 - Simoneta Gomez-Acebo & José Miguel Fernández Sastrón 1990
September 13 - Erbprinz Philipp zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg & Saskia Li Binder, 2003
September 15 - Prince Kyril of Bulgaria & Rosario Nadal, 15 September 1989
September 16 - Prince Hussain Aga Khan and Princess Khaliya: 16 September 2006
September 16 - NEW! http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...ss-olga-of-greece-september-2008-a-18538.html
September 18 - King Constantine of Greece & Princess Anne Marie of Denmark 1964
September 18 -Beltrán Gómez-Acebo Borbón & Laura Ponte 2004
September 19 - Princess Anna of Bourbon-Two Sicilies & Count Rodolphe de Causans 2005
September 21 - Princess Astrid Of Belgium & Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este 1984
September 21 - Princess Margarita of Romania & Radu Duda 1996
September 24 - Alvaro Fernandez de Araoz Gomez Acebo & Nathalie Picquot 2005
September 25 - Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy & Clotilde Courau 2003
September 25 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...bavaria-and-daniel-terberger-2004-a-3684.html
Sepember 27 - Victoria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Markos Nomikos
September 29 - Prince Louis of Luxembourg and Tessy Antony: September 29, 2006

Death Anniversaries
September 13th - Death of HSH Princess Grace of Monaco​

Special Events
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October 1 - Crown Prince Himani of Nepal
October 1 - Prince Nicholaos of Greece
October 4 - Prince Emmanuel of Belgium
October 5 - Archduchess Walburga of Austria
October 5 - Princess Noor of Jordan
October 7 - Queen Saleha of Brunei
October 8 - Laure Clementine Napoleon
October 9 - Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent
October 11 - Prince Faisal of Jordan
October 11 - Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
October 11 - Princess Luisa Maria of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este
October 11 - Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands
October 12 - Prince Boris of Bulgaria
October 13 - Jaime (Jacques) de Bourbon-Parma, Count of Bardi
October 13 - Archduchess Gabriella of Austria
October 13 - Margarita de Bourbon-Parma, Countess of Colorno
October 14 - Empress Farah Pahlavi
October 15 - HRH Prince Christian of Denmark
October 15 - Sarah, Duchess of York
October 16 - Princess Kritika of Nepal
October 17 - Princess Marie Caroline of Liechtenstein
October 18 - Princess Aimée of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven
October 19 - Prince Charles Napoleon and Princess Catherine Napoleon
October 19 - Prince Laurent of Belgium
October 20 - Empress Michiko of Japan
October 21 - Shaikh Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
October 23 - Princess Mako of Japan
October 24 - Prince Nikolaus Ferdinand Maria Josef Raphael of Liechtenstein
October 24 - Princess Caroline Napoleon
October 25 - Princess Yoko of Mikasa
October 25 - King Michael of Romania
October 25 - Princess Elisabeth of Belgium
October 26 - Lucas van Lippe-Biesterfeld van Vollenhoven
October 26 - Ashraf Pahlavi
October 27 - Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi
October 27 - Princess Anita of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven
October 28 - Hereditary Princess Sophie Elisabeth Marie Gabrielle of Liechenstein
October 28 - Prince Omar of Jordan
October 29 - Tessy de Nassau
October 29 - Prince Konstantinos-Alexios
October 29 - Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
October 31 - Princess Nora of Liechtenstein
October 31 - Princess Margaretha, Mrs Ambler
October 31 - Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg
October 31 - Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi
October 31 - Infanta Leonor of Spain

Wedding Anniversaries

October 4 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...and-i-aki-urdangarin-october-4-1997-a-45.html
October 5 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...and-b-rbara-cano-de-la-plaza-2002-a-9367.html
October 6 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...n-and-laetitia-bechtolf-10-6-2006-a-9941.html
October 8 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f31/david-viscount-linley-and-serena-stanhope-1993-a-759.html
October 12 - Wedding Anniversary of Infanta Margarita and Don Carlos Zurita
October 13 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...icilias-and-michele-carrelli-2001-a-7660.html
October 18 - Wedding Anniversary of Archduke Paul Georg von Habsburg & Erika von Oldenburg
October 22 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...-e-s-hngen-october-20-and-22-2005-a-7366.html
October 26 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...-of-bulgaria-and-kitin-mu-oz-2002-a-8799.html
October 27 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...d-anthony-bailey-october-27-2007-a-14613.html
October 31 - http://www.theroyalforums.com/forum...siciles-and-camilla-crociani-1998-a-9186.html

Death Anniversaries

October 3, 1990 - Death Anniversary of Stefano Casiraghi​
October 6, 2003 - Death of Prince Claus of the Netherlands
October 26, 2001 - Death Anniversary of Queen Soraya Esfandiary

Special Events
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The Royal-In-Laws

Prior to the 1950’s (depending on the country) when royals married, they tended to marry other royals. The exception but not the rule are the British royals who began to marry members of the British aristocracy during the reign of Queen Victoria. But for every Prince Edward of Wales who married Princess Alexandra of Denmark (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) there was a Prince Albert, Duke of York who married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). But we digress. Royals married other royals. They traveled in the same circles; they met on foreign trips, weddings and funerals. They knew what was expected from each other. This changed, however, as the ruling families were removed from their thrones following war and revolutions, and times (and more importantly people) started to change, and royals were more than ever meeting, well every day people. Please join us as we take a look at the families that shaped Maxima, Mary, Letizia, etc.


Prince Fulco Ruffo di Calabria, the late father of Queen Paola of Beligum, was born in Naples in 1884 and died in Apuania (today’s Massa-Carrara) in 1946.

He was an aviator, and a WWI flying ace and was decorated with the prestigious Gold Medal for valour for having shot down 20 enemy planes. He bore the titles of Prince di Scilla; Prince of Palazzolo; Patrician of Naples; Duke of Guardia Lombarda; Count of Sinopoli; Count of Nicotera; Marquis of Licodia; Baron of Calanna and Crispano. In 1934 he was also appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. He was also a keen botanist, and discovered a variety of clover that was named after him: the Ruffo Clover.

He married Donna Luisa Gazzelli of the Counts of Rossana and had seven children: Donna Maria Cristina, Donna Laura, Don Fabrizio Beniamino (whose son Don Fulco is the current head of the family), Don Augusto, Donna Giovannella, Don Antonello and Donna Paola, the Queen of the Belgians.

One of Prince Fulco’s great grandsons Don Alessandro Ruffo di Calabria married HRH Princess Mafalda of Savoia Aosta in 1994 , but they divorced in 2000 with no children. Alessandro was also linked to Princess Chantal of Hanover after she divorced HRH Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Princess Caroline of Monaco’s 3rd husband.

Princess Mathilde was born Mathilde d'Udekem d'Acoz on 20 January, 1973, to Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz (recently deceased) and Countess Anna Maria Komorowska. Her maternal ancestors were Polish nobility and aristocracy and her ancestors include the current President of Poland. Though her grandfather and her uncle were barons, she and her father were members of the untitled nobility. As such, until her marriage Mathilde had the rank of Jonkvrouw, which is roughly comparable to the British honorific "Lady". At the time of Mathilde's marriage, King Albert made Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz and his children counts and countesses. They were already noble, but didn't have a title.

The late Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz, studied to be an agronomist, specializing in forestry. He was for many years the mayor of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, the small town where Mathilde and her family have always lived. He also served as a local councilor of the city Bastogne, and was a judge at the court of commerce in Neufchâteau. Countess Anne, prior to the birth of her children, worked as a nurse in a hospital in Brussels.

Princess Mathilde is the oldest of five children born of this marriage. In addition to Marchioness Elisabeth Pallavicini (née Countess d'Udekem d'Acoz) , Countess Hélene d'Udekem d'Acoz and Count Charles-Henri d'Udekem d'Acoz, there was Jonkvrouw Marie-Alix d'Udekem d'Acoz who died in 1997. Mathilde's father, Count Patrick, died in September 2008, after a long coma. It was said however that he was able to see his 5th grandchild, Princess Eleonore of Belgium before he slipped into a coma.


Crown Princess Mary of Denmark is the youngest of four children born to John Donaldson and Henrietta Clark Donaldson. Her siblings include Jane Alison Stephens, Patricia Anne Bailey and John Stuart Donaldson. Her parents emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1963.

Professor John Dalgleish Donaldson, is an applied mathematician with a PhD from the Univesity of Tasmania. His Bachelor of Science (BSc) was completed at the Univeristy of Edinburgh. Professor Donaldson has had an academic career at the University of Tasmania, and taught at Houston, Oxford, South Korea and most recently in Denmark at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Aarhus. The Crown Princess’s Mother, the late Henrietta Donaldson worked for many years at the University of Tasmania and before she retired she was the executive assistant to the Vice-Chancellor. She died in 1997, following complications six weeks after a heart operation for a long-term heart condition.

In 2001 John Donaldson married English author Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, who writes novels under several pseudonyms including Susan Moody. In 2006 she taught creative writing at the University of Copenhagen. The couple currently live in Aarhus. He will return to teaching at the University of Copenhagen next year, before retiring to France, according to recent reports.

Mary's siblings live in Australia with their families. Jane (a pharmacist) and Patricia (an intensive care nurse) each have three children and John Stuart (a geologist) has two.
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Great Britain

The Shands and the Keppels

The Duchess of Cornwall is famously the great-granddaughter of Alice Keppel, the last mistress of Edward VII. Alice, the daughter of the fourth Baronet Edmonstone, married George Keppel in 1891. They had two daughters, Violet and Sonia. Violet married Denys Trefusis in 1919, but she was already involved in a lesbian relationship with Vita Sackville-West, a relationship that continued for some years after her marriage. In 1920 Alice's younger daughter, Sonia, married the Hon. Roland Cubitt, heir to the second Baron Ashcombe; on her father-in-law's death in 1947 she became Baroness Ashcombe. Sonia and Roland had three children, a daughter followed by two sons. The daughter, Rosalind, married Major Bruce Shand in January 1946. Bruce Shand came from a background of artists, writers, and literary critics. His father, Philip Morton Shand, was an architect and writer who also had an interest in food and wine. Bruce was educated at Sandhurst Military Academy and joined the army in 1937. After seeing action in World War II and winning the Military Cross twice, he left the army to pursue a business career, most notably in the wine trade. Eighteen months after his wedding to Rosalind Cubitt, their eldest child, Camilla, was born. Camilla has two younger siblings, a sister, Annabel Elliot, an interior designer and antiques dealer, and a brother, Mark Shand. Mark Shand is a travel writer and environmentalist.

Camilla's first husband was Andrew Parker Bowles, a descendant of the sixth Earl of Macclesfield and the son of Derek Parker Bowles, a friend of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Camilla and Andrew had two children, Tom (a godson of Prince Charles's) and Laura. Tom, a food critic and writer, married fashion editor Sara Buys in 2005; they have a daughter, Lola, who was born in October 2007. Laura, who works in an art gallery, married Harry Lopes, an accountant, in 2006. Their first child, Eliza, was born in January 2008.

The Mountbattens

Prince Philip, like Elizabeth II, is a great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria. He traces his descent via Victoria's third child and second daughter Alice, wife of Louis, Grand Duke of Hesse. Their eldest child, Victoria, married Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1884. Prince Louis and Princess Victoria lived in England, and Prince Louis served in the British Navy, eventually becoming First Sea Lord in 1912. Because of his German origins, he was obliged to give up his naval career soon after the start of World War I. In 1917, when George V decided to abolish German titles in the British royal family, Prince Louis renounced his German titles, anglicised his surname to Mountbatten, and was created first Marquess of Milford Haven.

Louis and Victoria had four children, Alice (who married Prince Andrew of Greece in 1903), Louise (who became the second wife of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden), George (who succeeded his father as Marquess of Milford Haven), and Louis (who entered the Royal Navy and eventually became First Sea Lord, and later in life became a mentor to his nephew Prince Philip and his great-nephew Prince Charles). Princess Alice, known after her marriage as Princess Andrew of Greece, was congenitally deaf and also suffered from schizophrenia. Prince Andrew was an officer in the Greek army, and was court-martialled and exiled in 1922 after an unsuccessful battle in the war against Turkey. Princess Alice and Prince Andrew had four daughters born between 1905 and 1914 and a son, Philip (the future Duke of Edinburgh), born in 1921, shortly before his family went into exile.

Prince Andrew and Princess Alice lived increasingly separate lives; Prince Andrew had a succession of mistresses and spent his time in Monaco and the South of France, while Princess Alice was institutionalised in Switzerland because of her mental instability. Prince Philip's elder sisters were all married and living in Germany, and he divided his time between living with his sisters and living with his Mountbatten relations in England. He attended the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he graduated in 1940. While he was at Dartmouth, he met Princess Elizabeth, the 13-year-old elder daughter of King George VI, a meeting engineered by Lord Mountbatten, who was close to the royal family and ambitious for his nephew to marry the princess. Prince Philip married Princess Elizabeth in November 1947.

Prince Philip is currently Queen Victoria's oldest surviving great-great grandchild.
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Masako, Crown Princess of Japan, is the wife of Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, the first son of the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko. She was born Masako Owada, the eldest daughter of Hisashi Owada, a senior diplomat. She has two younger sisters, twins named Setsuko and Reiko. Masako and her family moved to the United States when her father became a guest professor at Harvard University and also vice ambassador to the United States.

Currently, Hisashi Owada is a judge on the International Court of Justice, Owada also serves as president of the Japan Institute of International Affairs and advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, he is a professor of international law and organization at Waseda University. Owada also serves as senior advisor to the president of the World Bank. Masako's mother, Yumiko (nee Egashira), was working for an airline before she and Hisashi Owada were married. They married in 1962, and Masako was born in the following year.


Queen Rania of Jordan was born Rania Al-Yassin to Faisal Sedik Al-Yassin and Ilham Yassin. The family originally lived in Kuwait, where her father was a doctor (pediatrics). After the war, the family moved to Jordan, where they still reside. She has a sister, Symia Dina and a brother, Majdi. Queen Rania is fiercely protective regarding her family, as such, not much information is known.
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The wife of Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Princess Máxima was born as Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the daughter of Jorge Horacio Zorreguieta and María del Carmen Cerruti de Zorreguieta. She has two brothers (Martin and Juan), a sister (Ines ), and three half sisters (Delores, Angeles, and Maria) by her father’s first wife Mara Lopez Gil.

The news of the couple's relationship and eventual marriage plans caused controversy in the Netherlands. Máxima's father had been the Minister of Agriculture during the regime of former Argentine President Jorge Rafael Videla, a military dictator who ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1981 and who was responsible for many atrocities against civilians. However, the research that the Dutch Parliament conducted in order to decide whether Máxima Zorreguieta could become the spouse of the future King determined that her father had not been directly involved with the many deaths in question. Even so, his possible presence at the royal wedding was debated for several months.

Approval for the marriage was granted by the Dutch parliament (necessary by law for the Prince of Orange to remain heir to the throne), but Máxima's father offered not to attend the wedding. Out of solidarity with her husband, Máxima's mother also remained absent from the wedding. Since the marriage of Maxima and Wilhem Alexander, both Maxima’s parents have been a constant presence in the Netherlands and have publicly attended the christenings of their three grand daughters.
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The in-laws that Crown Prince Haakon of Norway acquired when he married Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby in 2001 came in two categories. You had the brash, outspoken former journalist, Sven O. Høiby, who courted a relationship with the Norwegian media. He often spoke out about his relationship with his daughter, and her son Marius. He also had plans on writing a book about Marius. A rift came up between father and daughter, from all the media debacle, where, allegedly, Crown Prince Haakon ended up as a mediator. It was Crown Prince Haakon, not Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who invited grandfather Sven to Princess Ingrid Alexandra’s Christening. The relationship between father and daughter began to heal as Sven O. Høiby fell ill; Mette-Marit brought Haakon and the children to the hospital to visit him. At his funeral, Mette-Marit read from the Bible, and Crown Prince Haakon was among the pallbearers.

On the other hand, you have the Crown Princess’ mother, Marit Tjessem. Unlike her ex-husband, and like Queen Sonja's mother Dagny Haraldsen, she has opted for almost total silence in the media where her daughter and new family are concerned. That particular line of action has resulted in her being invited along with Queen Sonja for walks in the mountains and the two are rumoured to be good friends: Queen Sonja and King Harald, as well as the Crown Prince and Crown Princess came to the funeral of Marit Tjessem’s new husband earlier this year. Marit Tjessem was invited along with Queen Sonja and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to Rome some time afterwards, when the latter two had an official duty at the Norwegian Institute.

As Haakon and Mette-Marit have had longer trips abroad, it has usually been Grandmother Tjessem, and not the nannies, who have been the chief babysitter at home.


Letizia, Princess of Asturias, was born on September 15, 1972, to Jesús Ortiz Álvarez (b. December 1949), a journalist from Oviedo, and Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez (b. April 1952), a registered nurse and hospital union representative from Madrid. Her parents met while her mother was on vacation with her family in Asturias. They married in October 1971, and Letizia was born less than a year later. Letizia's parents divorced in 1999, and, in 2004, her father married fellow journalist Ana Togores. Jesús Ortiz's mother, Menchu Álvarez del Valle, was a radio broadcaster at Radio Oviedo, and he himself owned a company that produced material for the radio. Letizia's interest in communications and journalism thus has deep roots in her childhood.

Letizia had two younger sisters. Telma Ortiz Rocasolano (b. October 1973) is an economist who works for international aid agencies (Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross); she is unmarried but lives with her partner Enrique Martín Llop, and they have a young daughter, Amanda (b. March 2008). Érika Ortiz Rocasolano (b. April 1975 - d. February 2007) had a Fine Arts degree and worked as a literary agent for an Italian magazine. In 2007, Érika was found dead in her apartment in Madrid. Prior to her death, she had taken a leave of absence from work due to severe depression, allegedly due to the break-up of her marriage to Spanish sculptor Antonio Vigo. She had a daughter, Carla, aged six at the time of her mother's death.

The relationship of Letizia's family with the media has its ups and downs. The relationship with her parents and grandparents could be called respectful. Her mother tends to be the most approachable, although not saying much. Her father has always a 'no comment' ready when a reporter approaches him.

The relationship of the press with her sisters has always been a difficult one, with paparazzi chasing both women. At the time of the wedding Telma was considered a "golden single" and was even rumoured to be dating Prince Albert of Monaco, what was later claimed untrue. The press went all the way to the Phillipines and to Indonesia, countries in which Telma was working, to snap a shot of her. Erika, on the other hand, suffered a massive paparazzi harrassment as she was living in Madrid, more so after her split from Antonio Vigo, when the press chased her in order to report on her love life.
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