On February 17, 2012, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall attended the Royal Artillery Gold Cup at Sandown Park Racecourse in Esher, Surry. During her visit the Duchess met with the Military Wives Choir. According to the Press Association the Duchess of Cornwall:
…heard the wives sing their number one hit, Wherever You Are, and met the group and service families during the tour in Esher, Surrey.
She was also introduced to War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and Topthorn – one of the puppets from the stage show – which playfully stole the writer’s red beret.
The Duchess then watched several races, including the Royal Artillery Gold Cup, from the Royal Box and presented trophies.
The cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious events in the racing calendar, having existed for nearly 150 years.
The inaugural event was in 1862 in Eltham. The race moved to Sandown for the first time in 1878 and has been run there every season since 1921.
The race is restricted to horses that are owned or have been leased by those who are serving, or have served, in the Royal Artillery or one of its recognised establishments or units.
The jockeys must be amateurs and they must also be past or present members of any of the Armed Services.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco arrived in Burkina Faso on February 15, 2012, where he was greeted by the prime minister, Luc-Adolphe Tiao, and then had a meeting with the President of Burkina Faso, Mr. Blaise Compaoré at the Palais de Kosyam.
The next day the sovereign prince visited the National Fire Brigade which has been financially supported by Monaco since 2004. On Friday, February 17, 2012, he visited the SAMU Social International Center as well as toured a new school which is sponsored by Mission Enfance and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
His Royal Highness Prince Johan Friso of Oranje-Nassau is in stable condition after being buried alive by an avalanche whilst on a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria on February 17, 2012.
The Austrian Press Agency is reporting that the second son of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was struck by the avalanche “measuring about 30m wide by 40m long” shortly after 12pm. The prince was buried in the snow for roughly 15-20 minutes before a search and rescue team found him. After resuscitation Prince Johan Friso was taken to Innsbruck University Hospital via helicopter.
During an emergency a press conference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated, “The prince is stable but not out of danger, and we await more information. Austria has excellent medical care and we have great faith in it.”
Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and Prince Johan Friso’s wife, Princess Mabel, are currently at Innsbruck University Hospital. Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien are flying to Innsbruck to be by the prince’s side.
According to AFP news, “Doctors treating Prince Friso note that a prognosis will only be possible in a few days…”