A 7.0 Earthquake Rocks Tokyo, Japan As H.I.M Emperor Akihito Celebrates the New Year (VIDEO)

To say that the year 2011 was a difficult one for the Imperial family as well as for people of Japan is an understatement and so far 2012 began with a rocky start.

A 7.0 earthquake shook Tokyo, Japan on Sunday as His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito led his country’s New Year celebrations by urging people to work together in rebuilding the nation from March’s quake-tsunami disaster.

The earthquake struck at 2:28pm near Torishima, a northwestern Pacific Island about 560 kilometres south of Tokyo. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warning was issued.

To read more about the Imperial family’s new year celebrations please click here.  To watch a video of the New Year’s reception at the Imperial palace please click here.

Sources: AFP and the Japan Times

Photo courtesy of: Daylife/Reuters

Members of the British Royal Family Attend New Year’s Day Church Service in Sandringham (VIDEO) Plus, Other News.

On January 1, 2012, members of the British royal family attended New Year’s Day church service held at the St. Mary Magdalene at Sandringham.  To view photos please click here.  To watch another video please click here.

Meanwhile, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales along with his cousins Their Royal Highness Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice and her longtime boyfriend, Dave Clark, rang in the new year in Klosters, Switzerland.  To view photos please click here.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco Delivers His New Year Speech (VIDEOS)

On December 31, 2011, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco delivered his New Year speech from the Palais Princier de Monaco.  The Sovereign Prince spoke about tolerance, the world economic crisis, and Princess Charlene.  Here is what he had to say:

This past year has certainly been exceptional for Princess Charlene and myself. On the occasion of our marriage, we witnessed the strong union between the community and our family of Monaco.

Tonight I am here to express, on behalf of us both, our hope that each of you, I remember this shared joy.

While around us, several countries are or are marked by a financial crisis, severe economic and social, the dynamism of the Principality allows us to resist.In this delicate situation, particularly wise management of public finances is necessary to integrate the constraints on us, while preserving our social model and our growth prospects. That is why we must make balanced choices, reasonable and fair.

Do not lose sight of that in situations of economic crisis that the urgency of solidarity is strongest to protect against stress. The holiday season is a special time of reunion for families and between generations.

These periods also sensitizes us to the values of tolerance, respect for others and cultural diversity. It is my wish that Monaco remains a model of “living together” based on a common set of values.

Tonight, my thoughts especially go to our community experienced the death, illness or loneliness. I also want to provide my warm encouragement to our young people who embody the future. We believe in their imagination, their ideals, their will, their capacity for hard work and generosity.

Women and men who work, invest or choose to live among us, I hope that their contribution to our country brings them, in turn, an authentic personal development.

To one and all, in the Principality or who are away but remaining near in heart, I say again with confidence: “Happy New Year!”

To watch videos please click the links below:

Photo courtesy of Monaco Matin

His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain’s Son-in-Law Court Hearing Postponed

On Saturday, December 31, 2011, a Spanish court in Palma de Majorca postponed the appearance of His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain’s son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, on accusations of corruption following legal representations. Mr. Urdangarin will now have to appear on February 25, 2012, instead of February 6.

Apparently, Judge Jose Aragon, who is in charge of the case, had received a number of requests from lawyers, including Urdangarin’s own, to put off the hearing to give them time to study the file.

The judge is investigating corruption in a non-profit organisation, Instituto Noos, formerly run by Urdangarin who is married to the His Majesty’s youngest daughter, Her Royal Highness Infanta Cristina.  Mr. Urdangarin’s lawyer, Mario Pascual Vives, said his client was “absolutely innocent”.

In a court document it notes that “… state prosecutors are investigating suspected forgery, perversion of the course of justice, fraud and embezzlement of public funds to the tune of several million euros…” according to AFP.

On December 12, the royal family suspended Mr. Urdangarin from official engagements and the palace’s highest official, Rafael Spottorno, gave an unprecedented rebuke, telling Spanish media his behaviour “does not seem exemplary”.

Source Associated Press and AFP