Oct 17, 2014

Queen and Prince Philip Visit Poppy Field at Tower of London in Commemoration of World War I Centenary

The First World War broke out 100 years ago and this year, Britain commemorates the centenary of the unforgettable event that changed the course of Europe’s political and economic landscape.




Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red Poppy installation at the Tower of London to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.

Her Majesty and His Royal Highness walked amongst 888,256 poppies - each representing a fallen British and Commonwealth soldier. Image Credit: Press Association/ The British Monarchy



Oct 16, 2014

The Duchess of Cornwall's Speech at the Man Booker Prize 2014

Here is the Duchess of Cornwall's speech at the 2014 Man Booker Prize, who is also an avid reader and is keen to promote the importance of supporting literacy through her work as Patron of a number of literacy charities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be with you again on the most exciting evening of the literary year!  As a passionate reader myself, it is a huge pleasure for me to join this gathering of the great and good from the world of books.  I am sure that all of us here - readers and writers alike - cannot wait to hear who has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. 
Why is the Man Booker Prize important?  I believe it’s because every year writers and their books hit the headlines.  We are interested in who the judges will be and what books make the long list; we read and judge them for ourselves over the summer.  We argue about the shortlist and who was left out, and wonder why.  The Man Booker Prize puts books and authors at the top of the agenda and reminds us all of the pleasure and power of reading – no mean feat in a world where there are so many other calls on our time and attention.  And, more importantly, those newspaper articles – or that opinion on Twitter – might convert a 'non-believer'.  (I hope the Chairman of the judges will forgive my turn of phrase.)  It might just be the key which opens the door into that magical kingdom of the written word. 

Court Circular October 15, 2014


Here's the Court Circular of the British Royal Family for October 15, 2014. Source: British Royal Family's Facebook Page.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE: His Excellency Mr. Victor Emmanuel Smith was received in audience by The Queen today and presented the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Commission as High Commissioner for the Republic of Ghana in London.

Mrs. Smith was also received by Her Majesty.

His Excellency Mr. Meas Kim Heng was received in audience by The Queen and presented the Letters of Recall of his predecessor and his own Letters of Credence as Ambassador from the Kingdom of Cambodia to the Court of St. James's.

Mrs. Huot Meardey was also received by Her Majesty.

Mrs. Deborah Bronnert (Chief Operating Officer, Foreign and Commonwealth Office) was present.

Mr. Philip Barton was received in audience by The Queen this afternoon upon his appointment as British High Commissioner to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Mrs. Barton was also received by Her Majesty.

The Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP (Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury) had an audience of The Queen this evening.

The Duke of Edinburgh, Patron, today attended Receptions at St. James's Palace for young people who have achieved the Gold Standard in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

His Royal Highness, Patron, Thrombosis Research Institute, this afternoon held a Founders' Lunch at Buckingham Palace.

Oct 15, 2014

Louis Philipppe: Last King of the French

Louis Philippe, King of the French

Louis Philip was the eldest son of Louis Philippe Joseph, duke of Orleans (known during the Revolution as Philippe Egalite) and of Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon, daughter of the duc de Penthievre. He was born at the Palais Royal in Paris on Oct. 6, 1773. The legend that he was a supposititious child is dealt with elsewhere. The god-parents of the duke of Valois, as he was entitled till 1785, were Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette; his governess was the famous Madame de Genlis, to whose influence he doubtless owed his wide, if superficial knowledge, his orderliness, and perhaps his parsimony.
 
Known since 1785 as the duc de Chartres, he was 16 at the outbreak of the Revolution. In 1790 he joined the Jacobin club and joined the debates in the National Assembly. He thus became a persona grata with the party in power; he was already a colonel of dragoons, and in 1792 he was given a command in the army of the north. As a lieutenant-general, at the age of 18, he was present at Valmy (Sept. 20) and Jemmappes (Nov. 6).

Zog I: First King of Independent Albania

King Zog of Albania
King Zog of Albania was born Ahmet Muhtar Bej Zogolli on October 8, 1895 in Burgajet Castle, near Burrel in the Ottoman Empire.  He was the second son of Xhemal Pasha Zogolliwith his second wife Sadijé Toptani.

He was educated at Galatasaray High School (Lycée Impérial de Galatasaray) in Constantinople, which was then the capital of the declining Ottoman Empire, which controlled Albania. With his father’s death in 1911, Zogolli became governor of Mat, superseding his elder brother, Xhelal Bey Zogolli.

As head of the Zogolli, one of the four ruling families of the Mati district, he gained early distinction as a supporter of the Prince of Weid in 1914.

When World War I came, he fought for the Austrians. After the war, he became minister of the interior (Jan. – Nov. 1920), and organized resistance to the Yugoslav incursions during the autumn.

He was commander-in-chief of the national forces under the “Sacred Union” cabinet (Oct. – Dec. 1921), and again distinguished himself against the Yugoslavs. As minister of the interior in DjaferYpi’s cabinet (Dec. 1921 – Dec. 1922), he suppressed a serious insurrection in March 1922, and disarmed the lowlanders.

In Dec. 1922, he was elected prime minister in which capacity he governed with ability, pursuing a sound anti-irredentist and constructive policy. However, at the end of 1923 he was accused by the Democratic party of obstructing various progressive and agrarian reforms.

Following an attempt upon his life he resigned in Feb. 1924, but his influence remained. A revolt against him and his colleagues took place in June, and he sought refuge in Yugoslavia. Skillfully turning to his advantage the Yugoslavian policy, he returned to Albania in Dec. 1924 and ousted his successor, Archbishop Fan Noli.

His election as president of the Albanian republic on Feb. 1, 1925, ushered in a period of internal tranquility, with several major reforms making their way. Italy became Albania strongest ally. The Italian government actually lent his government funds in exchange for a greater role in Albania's fiscal policy. Serfdom was gradually eliminated. And Albania started to emerge as a nation rather than a mere collection of feudal localities. However, his administration was met with disputes with Kosovar leaders, primarily Hasan Prishtina and Bajram Curri.

While reforms have been instituted, Albania turned into a police state. Civil liberties were curtailed, the press censored and political opponents killed. The constitution gave Zogu virtually unopposed executive and legislative powers, including the right to appoint one-third of the upper house.

On Sept. 1, 1928, Albania was transformed into a monarchy, with Zogu proclaimed as King. Rather than using his name Ahmet as his regnal name, he took his surname Zogu since the former sounded Islamic, which might prevent him from joining the ranks of European royals.

On the same day, he was proclaimed Field Marshal of the Royal Albanian Army. As a constitutional monarch, he established a strong police force, and instituted the Zogist salute (flat hand over the heart with palm facing downwards). Zog hoarded gold coins and precious stones, which were used to support Albania's first paper currency.

The constitution barred any member of the Royal Family from serving as head of government or or a member of the Cabinet. In 1929, the King abolished Islamic law in Albania, and in its lieu, a civil code adapted from Switzerland was instituted.

In 1938, Zog allowed Jewish refugees escaping Nazi persecution in Germany to come to Albania.

King Zog was somewhat disregarded by other European monarchs because of his lack of connection with other reigning houses. He was, however, recognized by the governments of Italy, Luxembourg, Egypt, Yugoslavia, France, Romania, Greece, Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.

On April 27, 1938, he married Countess Geraldine Apponyi of Hungary; a son being born to them on April 5, 1939. Three days later, on the Italian occupation of Albania, the King and Queen became exiles.

Oct 9, 2014

Queen Elizabeth II: A Tribute to a Long Reign

Queen Elizabeth II

Like Elizabeth I of England’s Golden Age, Elizabeth II came to the throne when she was 26 years old. “A fair and youthful figure,” said Winston Churchill, “princess, wife, and mother, is heir to all our traditions and glories.” The young queen had already won the affection of the British people by her charm and thoughtfulness, her modesty and simple dignity. On her 21st birthday she had broadcast from South Africa: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of the great imperial family to which we belong.”

Elizabeth’s father was Albert, Duke of York, second son of George V, who would later ascend the throne as George VI. Her mother was Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the ninth child and youngest daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorn, and Miss Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck.

Princess Elizabeth was born April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, the London home of Lord and Lady Strathmore. Five weeks later she was baptized at Buckingham Palace and christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, after three queens of her country, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Alexandra, and Queen Mary, her grandmother. She was four years old when her sister, Margaret Rose, was born (August 21, 1930). In spite of the difference in their ages, the princesses became close companions. Margaret Rose was lively and mischievous; Elizabeth, rather serious and thoughtful.

Oct 8, 2014

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco are Expecting Twins

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene on their wedding in 2011.
Three years after the fairy tale wedding that sealed the union of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, the royal couple announced that they are expecting not just a baby but twins!

The 36-year-old Princess is set to give birth before 2014 ends. 

On the other hands, the Royal Family will definitely have a hard time afterwards because it is yet unknown which of the two will inherit the principality.

Palace officials confirmed the Princess’ pregnancy last May.
“T.S.H the Prince and the Princess of Monaco are delighted to announce the pregnancy of H.S.H. Princess Charlene.” 
However, Monaco’s inheritance laws states that while the first born child should succeed the throne, preference, however, is given to male heirs.

Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, upon seeing that his only son might now marry, quietly revised the constitution to gave his two daughters, Caroline and Stephanie, and their heirs the right the sit on throne.

The old inheritance law states that in the absence of a male heir, Monaco will have to seize sovereignty to France.

In an Associated Press interview, the Prince was quoted that he and Charlene were 'overjoyed', 'thrilled' and 'very excited' with the birth of their child. That time, it was still unknown whether the Princess was pregnant with twins or not.
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