(VIDEOS) An Interview with TSHs Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

On Tuesday, December 29, 2015, the Palais Princier de Monaco released a video interview with Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied by their adorable little ones, HSH Hereditary Prince Jacques and HSH Princess Gabriella.

The interview, filmed on December 10, 2015, inside the Salon de Glaces at the Palais Prinicer, was directed and edited by Mr. Jérôme Revon with assistance from the Archives Audiovisuelles de Monaco.

If your French is a bit rusty, don’t fret, the video interview has subtitles.

And, finally, the Palais Princier de Monaco released Année 2015 reviewing the year 2015 with the Princely family of Monaco.

Enjoy!   🙂

Advertisements

(VIDEO) Concert de Nöel au Palais Royal with the Belgian Royal Family.

Last Wednesday, December 16, 2015, Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium accompanied by their four children — Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel, Princess Eleonore — attended the Concert de Nöel held at the Palais Royal in Brussels.

Today, the Belgian network, RTL, has uploaded the entire performance on their site for all to enjoy.  If you decide to watch the concert you will enjoy a performance of Georg Friedrich Händel’s, Messiah, by the Concert d’Anvers and the Vlaams Radio Koor under the direction of Mr. Bart Van Reyn with soloists from the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth.

Click here to watch the entire Christmas concert.

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden Delivers His Christmas Message on Sveriges Radio.

swdenOn December 25, 2015, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden delivered his Christmas message live on Sveriges Radio from the Kungliga Slottet in Stockholm.

“Dear Swedish citizens, at home and overseas. Everyone in Sweden!

My family and I would like to wish you all an enjoyable Christmas. This year the cheer of Christmas has perhaps been even more keenly awaited than usual by many of us.

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that this has been a challenging year for Sweden and the Swedish population. Global concerns have impacted on us here in a way we haven’t experienced for many years. We should take the opportunity now over the holiday to take a step back for a while, and take time to reflect on the past year and perhaps formulate our hopes for the year ahead of us.

There are 60 million refugees in the world. Some of them have come to seek asylum and a future for themselves and their children here in Sweden. We have a strong desire to help people. Massive and important efforts are being made to assist those seeking asylum and security.

In the autumn I met several young people at an asylum centre outside Östersund and I was greeted by a sense of enthusiasm and a keen aspiration to succeed and do well in their new country.

Together with The Queen, I also visited Kronan School in Trollhättan a while back. A perfectly ordinary Swedish primary and lower secondary school with basketball hoops in the playground and the word “Welcome” painted in large yellow letters at the entrance. It could have been anywhere at all in Sweden if it wasn’t for the terrible act of violence that had occurred at this very school several weeks earlier. Candles in memory of the victims had been lit at the youth recreation centre.

Amidst the grief and gloom it was good to see how the staff were working to restore things for the pupils. To restore a sense of normality and security, which is so valuable, to children and adults alike.

Then in November, 130 young people lost their lives in a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris. These attacks affected us all deeply, and they reminded us how vulnerable we are. The openness and trust that has characterised our society thus far cannot always be taken for granted. Not even here in Sweden. We must safeguard and stand up for these values.

Undoubtedly, our times are subject to darkness and unrest, but that is one of the reasons why it is so important to also hold onto all the positives and remind one another that we have good reason to feel hope and confidence in the future.

As Sweden’s head of State, I visit many places both in Sweden and beyond our country’s borders and meet many people from different walks of life.

Over the past year, for example, I have visited several authorities working to consolidate our contingency planning for accidents and crises. I have seen some of the important work being done by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and SOS Alarm. Work that is particularly relevant today. It is also interesting to see how international cooperation is leading to reciprocal exchange. Swedish know-how can save lives in other countries and we in turn are able to learn from others’ knowledge and experience.

During the year I have also met many talented Swedish entrepreneurs who are creating new jobs, in particular through environmental innovations. The people behind these enterprises have extremely varied backgrounds. They may come from Västerås, from Gnosjö or from Pakistan. However, they have certain crucial things in common: they have an idea, and they are focused on working hard to realise it. Such ideas, and the genuine desire and driving force embodied within them, will benefit us all in the future.

It is inspiring to gain an insight, through these meeting and visits, into some of what is being done to not just keep Sweden running, but to ensure future development, even in times of hardship and change.

One of my most recent trips this year was to Paris and the big UN climate conference. I was there when the conference opened, and there was a strong feeling of optimism in the air, but also a sense of gravity and determination.

The countries of the world have worked together on one of our biggest future challenges. We now have a common objective to curb global warming. A historic agreement is in place: the first ever global climate agreement. It is gratifying and inspires hope in the face of future challenges. I am proud to be able to say that Sweden will be a force to be reckoned with in the continued work towards a sustainable future.

Incidentally, it was also in Paris, 120 years ago, that Alfred Nobel wrote the will that formed the basis for the Nobel Prize. It was a particular honour this year to be able to award the Prize in Chemistry to a winner with a Swedish background. Tomas Lindahl began his career as a scientist here in Sweden, and together with colleagues he has laid an important foundation for the development of new cancer treatments, among other things.

The major issues of our time sometimes bring us face to face with a difficult balancing act, as a country and as individuals. It is not always easy to know which is the right way forward.

My desire is for us as a nation to shoulder our shared responsibility to contribute to constructive solutions to the challenges of the future. But we should also take responsibility as people, to show respect and consideration to one another. And our responsibility as adults is to communicate confidence, hope and belief in the future to our children and grandchildren.

On a more personal level, The Queen and I are very happy that The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel are expecting their second child. We are also delighted that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia are to become parents, which will make us paternal grandparents for the first time.

In this context, let me take this opportunity to thank you for all your good wishes during the year, on the occasion of both Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s wedding and Prince Nicolas’ christening. Your kind words and good wishes mean a great deal to all our family.

In conclusion, I want to thank those of you who are actively involved in Swedish clubs and organisations. I believe that broad networks of dedicated individuals are a huge asset to our country, in particular when it comes to taking care of our young people and helping new Swedes to settle into our community. With the new year approaching, I want to offer special encouragement to those of you who devote your time to others. You are needed!

And that brings me to the end of my Christmas message from the Royal Palace. My family and I would once again like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2016!”

(VIDEO) Members of the British Royal Family Attend Christmas Service at Sandringham.

On Thursday, December 25, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales, His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York, Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex along with their two children Lady Louise Windsor, James, Viscount Severn, Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Philips attended Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England.

Click here to view photos.

(VIDEO) His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Delivers His 2015 Christmas Speech.

On December 25, 2015, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands delivered his 2015 Christmas message.  The pre-recorded speech was filmed at Villa Eikenhorst in Wassenaar earlier this week.

Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech.

“Christmas gives us a moment of reflection. To get away from the daily flow of events can be more clearly where we believe in ourselves and that we ourselves stand for.

It is also a need, now that Europe is facing one of the biggest challenges of the past few decades. The attacks in Paris are still fresh in our memory. In the regions around us are large groups of people through terror and violence adrift. They search in the Netherlands a safe haven and a chance at a better life.

Many people in the Netherlands are worried about the future and wonder how we can protect our own way of life in a world which we can not close us.

What is particularly close to our heart, our freedom and ability to make our own choices. That freedom is fought so hard and put so many sacrifices!

In May this year my wife and I in Canada. We spoke to a group of Canadian veterans. One of them was the 90-year-old Bud Hannam. In 1945 he fought in the battle for the liberation of Apeldoorn. He told how he then looked back and his words made a big impression on me. He said, “It cost me my youth. But I feel that it was’ t worth afterwards. To see the freedom … and the joy of the people who were liberated. “

Freedom is so essential to the Netherlands, from the very beginning. At King’s Day this year we were in the Court of the Netherlands in Dordrecht, which took place in 1572 the first Free State Congress. There we signed along with other Dutch, the text: “Here the foundation was laid for an independent country. Where you are free to think what you think, believe what you believe and be who you are. “

What we have done with the freedom that has fought so hard over the centuries? Very Good! We have built a democratic state that belongs in many ways the strongest in the world. With a high level of prosperity and amenities. And with millions of citizens who selflessly for others. I spent the past year many of them met and talked. Great what you’re doing!

There is in our country to do much important work to involve everyone. Some feel abandoned and insufficiently heard. But our country – our place in the world – is precious to us. Netherlands is a country to call home.

Yet this did not make us invulnerable to worry and anxiety. About events overtake us and that we can not cope. About achievements that are not obvious.

Of course we want to protect what is dear to us. We do not stop our fear away or deny. But we must also not give the reins of our life and let him dominate our society through. Tranquility and mutual trust are friends of freedom. “Do not be afraid,” the angel in the Christmas night to the shepherds in the field.

When it comes to major challenges to show what we stand together, our democracy and our constitutional state. It is essential that people are the dignity and at peace with one another can continue to differ. Peace is not for the idle. It requires courage to listen to each other and their own ideas to keep critically. This courage is required from all of us, now we must work together to find a way in a turbulent time. The challenge is now to show what we together as liberated country are really worth.

In times like these is again clear how much we share with the countries around us. Belief in freedom. Respect for the life of every human being and for everyone’s right to make their own choices. Solidarity with those who really need our help. Concern for the future of our planet, as this month appeared in Paris, where the European countries united marched.

These values ​​are the heartbeat of our society. They are essential for us as free people and always give us the strength to continue.

Our combined strength farther and connects more than we sometimes think. We do not crawl back into our shell. On the contrary. What fits, is proud of our free and open way of life. Our belief that everyone in our Kingdom on an equal footing should be able to participate. And our law that protects what is defenseless and prevents only be heard the loudest voices.

The complex world in which we live is not as challenges more difficult than that for generations had to face before us. Who listens to veterans and persecuted and the diehards who have built our country after the war with scarce resources again, realizes that.

According to the apostle Paul, freedom is a calling. I have great confidence in the ability of our country – even now – to respond to this call and to remain a community of free people.

I wish all of you – wherever you happen to be and how well are your personal circumstances – a blessed Christmas.”

(VIDEO) A Christmas Interview with His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

henriHere is the RTL special Christmas interview with His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

Click here to watch the interview.

If you are interested in learning more about the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg and all their daily activities as well as engagements carried out by the Princely family of Liechtenstein please visit the great site, Luxarazzihere.

(VIDEO) A Christmas Message From His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium.

On December 24, 2015, the Belgian royal court released a video taped Christmas message from His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium.  The video was filmed inside the Palais Royal in Brussels.

Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Christmas holidays and New Year are an opportunity to reaffirm our hope for the future. At the end of the year we are unfortunately marked by the dramatic attacks in Paris and aware of the threats that continue to weigh on us. Beyond the horror that multiplies in various places in Europe and elsewhere, our democracies are facing a triple challenge: to defend, prevent, build. I have full confidence in our ability to carry out this task.

Faced with the threat of terrorism, our authorities have reacted with calm, speed and determination. I wish to pay tribute to all those who are committed and remain more than ever to ensure our safety, prosecute those responsible and prevent further attacks. Recent events have shown how important it is to invest in justice, police, army and intelligence services. I also want to thank you all, and especially the inhabitants of Brussels, for your dignified and responsible behavior during this difficult time.

Ladies and gentlemen,

To defend our society, it is also important not to be intimidated and not divide us. This is what our attackers looking. I am confident that we will remain united, citizens of an open country, where the vast majority of foreign compatriots seized the chances offered to them and share the values ​​of our country. They are the son and daughters of this country. Do not confuse those who abuse their faith with those who practice the universal values ​​of humanity.

Then, it seems important to return to what is the bedrock of our society, what we are absolutely committed: our values ​​and our house rules. This implies that we educate our children to respect the different religions and philosophical convictions. They have in common the desire to give meaning to life, to respect others, to be open to others. Respect for these common rules is zero tolerance in relation to hate speech. It’s fight day after day all forms of stigma and segregation. It is also helping people tempted by fanatical indoctrination to resist.

Finally, I am confident in our ability to build a more harmonious society. I would like for it to speak specifically to you young people, you who have a deep desire to believe in life, believe in yourself and believe in each other. Cultivate this ideal and investing your energy and talents in everything that brings. The harmony of a family, a neighborhood, a town, a region, a country, depends primarily on how we build relationships with each other.

Here is the meaning of life, in projects that recognize a place to another and that allow him to give the best of himself. It is the fanatics who refuse to another the right to think and live differently.

Any project that gives meaning to life is built over time. Build the future, cultivate ties with the generations preceding you. It is in history that we root/respect our values. The fanatics, themselves, want to erase all traces of history.

Finally, I encourage you to engage in dialogue and debate on key issues. Dialogue and debate are at the heart of meeting others as the self-knowledge. Go to the discovery of the other in its culture and its philosophical and religious convictions. Instead of fanaticism, which it refuses any debate.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I know we can overcome the challenges we face today. History has proven that our model is stronger than all fanaticism and all forms of totalitarianism. But we must continue to build together this society more humane and just. The Queen and I and our family wish you a merry Christmas party and a New Year full of joy.

(VIDEOS) His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan Celebrates His 82nd Birthday.

On Wednesday, December 23, 2015, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Akihito of Japan celebrated his 82nd birthday.

In the morning thousands — 26,267 to be exact — of Japanese citizens and tourists arrived at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan to wish the beloved emperor a very happy birthday.  Speaking from the balcony, where he was accompanied by Her Imperial Majesty Empress Michiko, Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko along with their daughters Princess Mako and Princess Kako, His Imperial Majesty paid “…tribute to all who suffered during World War II, including those in Japan and overseas who live with its legacy today…” according to the newspaper, Japan Times.  

The emperor also spoke about the natural disasters which hit Japan earlier this year including the torrential rains that battered the Tohoku and Kanto regions stating“…my heart aches to know that there are people who suffered danger and went through hardships…” 

In the video below is the entire interview with the press courtesy of the Imperial Household Agency on the occasion of Emperor Akihito’s birthday.

If your Japanese is a bit rusty below is a rough translation:

“Question
In the past year, although there were many sad incidents in Japan including several natural disasters, we also had some cheerful news as well, such as the awarding of the Nobel Prize to two Japanese scholars. This year was a milestone year, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and in Your New Year’s Thoughts, Your Majesty said that “it is most important for us to take this opportunity to study and learn from the history of this war, starting with the Manchurian Incident of 1931, as we consider the future direction of our country.” Your Majesty, together with Her Majesty, made many trips this year both at home and abroad to pay Your respects to those who lost their lives in the war.
In Your address at the Memorial Ceremony for the War Dead, Your Majesty used the words “feelings of deep remorse over the last war,” words which were not used before.
This year, the original recording of the speech by Emperor Showa announcing the end of the war was released, as well as images of the Obunko Fuzokuko, the air-raid shelter of the Imperial Palace, and other materials pertaining to the war.
We also understand that Your Majesties are scheduled to make an official visit to the Philippines early next year.
Would You tell us Your thoughts and impressions of the last twelve months, touching upon Your thoughts on war and peace? Also, looking back on the last twelve months, please share with us Your thoughts on the coming year.

Answer
With regard to natural disasters that occurred this year in Japan, the first thing that comes to mind is Mount Shin-dake on the island Kuchinoerabu-jima in Kagoshima Prefecture, which erupted in May, producing a pyroclastic flow that reached the shoreline, forcing all the residents to evacuate from the island. Having witnessed pyroclastic flow when we visited Unzen after the Unzen-dake eruption there in 1991, we can well imagine how truly frightening pyroclastic flow reaching the shoreline must have been. Fortunately, all the residents were safe, but it pains me that the people still continue to live away from their own homes. In September, heavy rainfall caused Kinu-gawa and other rivers to flood, resulting in a huge disaster which claimed eight lives. When I think of the many people who were trapped inside their own homes due to the floods, I can only imagine the anxiety and uncertainty they must have felt. Thanks to the rescue operations by helicopters and other means carried out by the Self-Defense Forces and others, it was truly fortunate that those people were taken to safety. I am deeply grateful to those people who risked themselves and engaged in the rescue operations. The task of recovering and repairing the flooded houses and fields require much work, and I am glad that many people are volunteering to offer their help. It is most reassuring to see that there is a growing spirit in the hearts of the Japanese people to help others in difficulty. The Empress and I later visited the affected areas in the city of Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture, and we saw the extensive areas of rice paddies and cultivated fields still covered in muddy water. Our hearts went out to the people whose crops were damaged, the crops they must have worked so hard to grow.

On the subject of this year’s happy news, I must cite the news of the two Japanese scientists who were awarded the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. Satoshi Omura for his achievements, including the development from soil bacteria a drug that treats onchocerciasis, or river blindness, a disease especially prevalent in Africa and South America, that can cause blindness when humans are infected. I had seen heartbreaking images of people who had lost their vision to the disease walking in procession, so I was truly pleased to learn that medicine to cure this illness had been found. At the same time, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Takaaki Kajita for his neutrino research at Super-Kamiokande, an observatory located under the Kamioka mine, where he discovered that neutrinos have mass. It reminded me of our visit 11 years ago to Super-Kamiokande. I have nothing but sincere admiration for the many years of untiring dedication to their research made by the two scientists.

Another happy news was the completion and test flight of a Japan-made passenger jet. It brought back fond memories of watching the test flight at Haneda Airport of the YS-11, the first propeller-driven passenger aircraft made in Japan after World War II, together with those involved in its development. More than fifty years have gone by since then.

This year was a milestone year, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The war claimed a great many lives, nonmilitary as well as military. Had peace prevailed, these people could have led meaningful lives in various areas of society, and it pains me deeply to think of the many who lost their lives.

emperor82As an example of nonmilitary people who sacrificed their lives in the war, the sailors who served on civilian vessels come to mind. These people, who may have dreamed of one day becoming sailors on international routes, went to work as crews of civilian ships which had been requisitioned to transport soldiers and military goods, and lost their lives in enemy attacks. Japan, a country surrounded by sea, had developed as a maritime power. As a young child, I used to enjoy looking at postcards of ships. But I later learned that almost all of those vessels had been sunk in the war, except for the Hikawa Maru, which remained in service as a hospital ship. In those days, Japan lacked command of the air and no battleships were available to escort the transport vessels. It gives me great pain to think of the feelings of the sailors who had to engage in transport operations under such conditions. In June this year, the 45th memorial service for the civilian sailors who died while serving the country during the war and also after the war was held at the monument dedicated to them in Kanagawa Prefecture. I thought of the fallen sailors as the Empress and I attended the service and offered flowers.

In this milestone year, together with the Empress, I visited the Republic of Palau, which had once been under a Japanese mandate, and dedicated flowers at the Monument of the War Dead in the Western Pacific, erected by the Japanese government after the war, and at the US Army 81st Infantry Division Memorial, both on Peleliu Island. I am deeply grateful to the Presidents and First Ladies of the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia for joining us on this visit. Beyond the Monument of the War Dead is Angaur Island, where many people also lost their lives in fierce battle. Today, Angaur is a verdant island lush with trees, and it is difficult to imagine that fierce combat took place there. Seen from the air, the Republic of Palau is made up of beautiful islands surrounded by coral reefs. In these seas, however, lie countless unexploded bombs still submerged, and today, former Maritime Self-Defense Force disposal experts are engaged in clearing them. It is a dangerous task, and I learned that it will take a very long time for the seas of Palau to be safe again. That the last war has imposed a heavy burden on the people living on those islands must never be forgotten.

After our trip to Palau, we visited, in the summer, the districts of Kitaharao in Miyagi Prefecture, Chifuri in Tochigi Prefecture, and Ohinata in Nagano Prefecture, places which were settled and developed by returnees from foreign lands after the war. I could well imagine the toils of the people who, after having put immense effort into reclaiming land overseas, experienced the hardship of leaving that land and returning to Japan, where they again had to struggle and cultivate mostly barren soil, raise livestock, and rebuild their lives. Kitaharao, meaning “Palau of the north,” was settled by those who returned from Palau.

Looking back over the past year, I feel that it was a year in which I spent much time thinking about the war in various ways. With each passing year, we will have more and more Japanese who have never experienced war, but I believe having thorough knowledge about the last war and deepening our thoughts about the war is most important for the future of Japan.

I shall turn 82 on this birthday. I am beginning to feel my age, and there were times when I made some mistakes at events. It is my intention to minimize such incidents by continuing to do the best I can when carrying out each and every event.

As the year draws to a close, it is my hope that the next year will be an even better year for all the people.”

Later in the afternoon a gala birthday luncheon was held at the Imperial Palace in honor of the emperor.  In the video below is a review of the past year with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as well as a tribute video, created by the Imperial Household Agency and released to several international news agencies, on the occasion of the emperor’s birthday.  The video was filmed at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

And, finally, here is an interesting video about Emperor Akihito and the history of the Japanese monarchy courtesy of well-known Youtuber, Kento Bento.  Enjoy!   🙂

(VIDEO) TRHs Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden Attend a Concert.

On the evening of Monday, December 21, 2015, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden arrived at the Gustaf Vasa Kyrka in Stockholm to attend a Christmas concert entitled, Jul i Vasastan.

Led by Swedish conductor, Mr. Jonas Gidberg, the lovely royal couple and guests listened to traditional as well as contemporary chorale music performed by Mr. Fredrik Nybladh and Ms. Molly Sanden with special guest artists Ms. Linda Brava and Ms. Gladys del Pilar.

Click here to view photos.