On December 24, 2016, the Palais Princier released a lovely Christmas video of Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied by their two adorable children, Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
On the evening of December 24, 2016, the Belgian royal court released His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium’s Christmas and New Year speech.
The pre-recorded message was filmed at Château de Laeken near Brussels, Belgium earlier this month.
Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech:
“Ladies and gentlemen,
For many of us the Christmas and New Year celebrations are a time of happiness. The illuminated streets and squares create a festive atmosphere. In the hearths reigns the joy of being together, of being together. Unfortunately this is not for everyone. For many, these are difficult days. I am thinking of those who are alone, those who are sick, those who bear heavy burdens. I think of all those who lost a loved one. And this year in particular to the victims of the attacks in Brussels and Zaventem, and to their relatives.
The events of the past year, in Belgium, Europe and elsewhere in the world, cast doubt on the future. Many people are worried about their jobs, their income, their safety. Too many young people think their lives and those of their children will be worse than their parents. Too many elderly people are wondering if they will still be able to keep up with current developments. This sense of uncertainty, disarray, even anger, can also lead to a loss of confidence in institutions.
And yet I want to send you today a message of hope. Throughout the country, the Queen and I are impressed by remarkable projects in which citizens are involved and who motivate others to become involved.
I see men and women who dare to interact with sincerity and truth. I felt this on my recent visit to a home that provides a family environment for adults with mental disabilities. To meet without prejudice and tenderness, to recognize the frailties of the other at the same time as his own. I was shattered by the energy that it releases in itself. Sweetness is a force.
I also see many examples of solidarity and generosity. In holiday camps that give their smile to children who are victims of mistreatment and harassment. In families hosting excluded people. In projects that bring together people of different generations and origins. Many do not hesitate to sacrifice their comfort to get closer to the other.
I see finally many young and old who have understood that to succeed, one must have the courage to start over. They refuse to remain on the margins of society. They do not resign themselves. They understand that to succeed is also to want the success of the other and to accept his help. I think of those who grasp with outstretched hands to learn, to resume their studies, to find a job. I am thinking of those retirees who are embarking on new meaningful projects. And the older ones who accept to be helped without seeing a loss of dignity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
All these examples express the will to build a society where one sustains one another in the ordeal and where one helps each other to succeed. They show that a more cordial society is within our reach. They deserve greater visibility. I am convinced that they can also create a dynamic that enriches the action of our institutions and builds confidence in the foundations of our democracy. This is what I sincerely hope for our country and for Europe on the eve of 2017.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Queen and I and all our family wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
On December 15, 2016, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II Monaco attended a gala at the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) to celebrate “…Monegasque drivers licensed at the ACM to celebrate them and celebrate their [international] victories…”
On the evening of December 20, 2016, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco accompanied by Mr. Pierre Casiraghi attended the 2016 Yacht Club de Monaco Trophée Credit Suisse Awards held at the Yacht Club de Monaco in Monte-Carlo.
During Tuesday night’s ceremony the sovereign prince presented the 2016 Sailor of the Year award to Mr. Vincenzo Onorato. The well-known Italian sailor recently won the Melges 32 European Champion as well as the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race.
On Thursday, December 15, 2016, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands accompanied by Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Their Royal Highnesses Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and Her Royal Highness Princess Mabel of Oranje-Nassau attended the 2016 Prins Claus Prijs held at the Koninklijk Paleis in Amsterdam.
The Prins Claus Prijs is awarded annually to individuals and organizations based mainly in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development and the positive effect of their work on their direct environment and the wider cultural or social field.
Traditionally, the Fund has presented one Principal Award and ten additional Awards. On this 20th anniversary year, the Fund is taking a somewhat different approach. It has selected a smaller number of Laureates than usual and, in addition to the Award, which is given in recognition of their excellent achievements, the Fund has created the opportunity for each of the five Laureates to support a project that they feel expands and enhances creativity in their own environment.
The winner of the Prins Claus Prijs went to writer and director, Mr. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, for his:
“…visual richness, spiritual lyricism and intellectual depth of his provocative works; for his subtle yet powerful examination of Thai realities that resonates beyond his own society; for inventing an original cinematic language that evokes a live experience of the animist sense of being, reinstating a way of connecting paralyzed by western mechanisms that disrupt the body’s ability to evaluate what is good for life and what isn’t; for transforming filmmaking into something far more complex and far-reaching, clearly demonstrating that artistic excellence creates experience and is inseparable from the social and political; and for inspiring others by remaining uncompromisingly true to his own vision and principles…”
On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied by their two children, HSH Hereditary Prince Jacques and HSH Princess Gabriella, Mr. Louis Ducruet, and Miss Camille Gottlieb distributed Christmas gifts to dozens of Monégasque children at the Palais Princier in Monaco-ville, Monaco.
On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan presided over the 2016 Queen Rania Awards for Excellence in Education in Amman, Jordan.
Per a press release:
“In the award ceremony, held at Al Hussein Youth City’s Palace of Culture, Her Majesty awarded prizes and certificates to winners of the 11th Teacher Award, and the 2nd cycle of the School Counselor Award.
In a speech she delivered, the Queen underscored the critical role of teachers in the development of education across the Kingdom, explaining that ‘development requires substituting methods of the past with those compatible with the needs of the future.’
Queen Rania underlined that progress in education involves training teachers before and during their employment, and called on teachers to lead what she described as an ‘educational renaissance’ from within their classrooms, and to invite their communities to be a part of this renaissance.
The Queen delivered her speech less than two months after she launched the Queen Rania Teacher’s Academy’s pre-service professional training program.
In her remarks, she said that a ‘teacher’s light’ has the power to break through the stockpile of challenges, including financial, social and logistical, explaining that those with us today have been able to devise solutions out of sheer need and despite great challenges.”
‘They have proved that there is still room in those packed classrooms for innovative solutions and creative ideas,’ she added.
Queen Rania stressed that despite the pressing need for an upgrade in Jordan’s educational system, ‘we maintain our principles and identity, while advancing the sciences and our knowledge.’ In this scope, the Queen explained that textbooks should become a partner and a reference for teachers rather than a hindrance limited by rigid style and wording.
Her Majesty said she is baffled by those who do not wish to advance and develop Jordan’s education, adding that her appreciation grows “for each exceptional teacher and for anyone who stands by teachers and support them.
Describing teachers as the ‘heroes of this country,’ the Queen said: ‘nothing can match the greatness and nobleness of your work, no measure of gratitude gives justice to your patience and dedication, and no joy is equal to the joy I feel when I see the smiles before me today, which will continue to fuel my drive to keep championing on behalf of teachers.’
As QRAEE’s Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Queen Rania awarded 23 teachers and 5 counselors at the ceremony, which was attended by more than 2000 people. The winners went through a competitive process and were selected from a pool of 1,609 teachers and 147 guidance counselors.
Winning teachers and counselors received monetary awards of JD 3,000 for first place, JD 2,000 for second place, and JD 1,000 for third place.
Also speaking at the ceremony was Minister of Education Dr. Mohammad Thneibat, who said that the time has never been riper for welcoming change, overcoming setbacks, and turning challenges into opportunities.
Thneibat said that the ministry is working with the Association of QRAEE to capitalize on the strengths of previous awardees, and identify areas that need improvement in Jordan’s education system, in order to create a competitive culture of excellence in all of the ministry’s directorates.
The event also featured opening remarks by the Director of QRAEE, Ms. Lubna Touqan, shorts films and a performance by Jordanian musician Hussein Al Salman.
Launched in 2005 by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania in partnership with the Ministry of Education, QRAEE aims to set a national standard of excellence in teaching, and to celebrate, encourage, and honor those who reach it.”
Recently, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the 2016 Gala des Ambassadeurs held inside the Salle d’Or at the Hotel Fairmont in Monte-Carlo.
On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain met with the President of Colombia, Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, at Palacio de La Zarzuela in Madrid.
Last Saturday in Oslo, Norway, President Calderón received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for “…his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end…” according to the official website for the Nobel Peace Prize.
On Monday, December 12, 2016, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain met with the Qué es un Rey para ti contest winners at Palacio de La Zarezuela in Madrid, Spain.
On Friday, December 9, 2016, Her Imperial Highness Crown Princess Masako of Japan celebrated her 53rd birthday.
In honor of her birthday the Imperial Household Agency released new photos as well as video of the beautiful crown princess with her family, His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko of Japan.
The crown princess also released a statement regarding her thoughts about this past year. Here is what she had to say (rough translation):
“In the past year, there were various things both inside and outside of the country. Floods caused by the Kumamoto earthquake in April, the typhoon in the summer, and many other natural disasters that occurred abroad. I express my heartfelt condolences to the people who passed away in unhappiness and their bereaved families. Also, I wish to express my condolences for the hardships of the affected people as well as I pray from the bottom of my heart that I can return to life I can relieve as soon as possible. The occurrence of an earthquake of seismic intensity 7 in Kumamoto Prefecture was an unexpected thing, my heart ached from the magnitude of the damage. Also, since the big aftershocks lasted for a long period of time, I think that many people had a hard time thinking.
East Japan great earthquake disaster is also always getting hung up on my mind. In June, I visited Iwate Prefecture with Prince Crown Prince for visit to the reconstruction situation, I realized that the reconstruction is progressing steadily, such as the development of disaster public housing and housing estates progressed . On the other hand, my heart felt painfully as I heard stories about the difficulties continuing from people living in temporary housing now. Furthermore, in such a situation, I knew that Typhoon No. 10 brought about major damage to Iwaizumi Iwaizumi Town and Hokkaido, I thought about the magnitude of the impact the people suffered. Also, in recent years, it seems that there are a lot of large-scale disasters, I feel once again the importance of preparation for daily disasters. I hope that those affected will be able to live peacefully as soon as possible and I would like to keep in mind the restoration of the afflicted areas for a long time with the Crown Prince.
The bright topic of the year was that the Japanese team won great performances at the Rio Olympics and the Paralympics during the summer and that Dr. Yoshinori Osumi was awarded the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in autophagy research I will. And the selection of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, which was established in 1965 as a Nobel Prize in Asia, was chosen as a proof that international contributions by Japanese young people are highly valued from the world, I am very pleased about these things.
However, in Japan, it is becoming apparent that people with disabilities, people who are socially vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, will be sacrificed, which is of concern. Even with looking to the world, issues such as poverty, the increase of refugees, the occurrence of many victims by terrorism, and so on are piled up. I feel that it is important for people to overcome each other’s differences with a broad mind, to gather wisdom together with hands and work together to solve various problems in the current world .
To the Emperor and Empress, I began visiting the Philippine country in January, I also saw how I was fulfilling my duties while carefully working each and every single year, deep emotion We are renewing our philosophy. And, the words of the Emperor in August this year, I have grasped the television broadcast with a solemn thinking, and I take it heavily for your Majesty’s feelings. I am praying to the Emperor from the bottom of my heart that every day I am very busy with my duties and I am treating my physical condition and treating my health forever.
In October, His Highness Prince Makasa Mikasa had passed away. To Mikasa Miya, I am feeling lonely, since I received my highness, Prince Crown Prince, me and Aiko as well as having taken care of me. I am rewarding this opportunity to express my appreciation of gratitude and my respect for my longevity and pray for the souls. Also, overseas, His Majesty the King of Bhumibol of Thailand had passed. I was deeply sorry for the citizens of Thailand because I was devoted to the Thai country for many years and I was deeply appreciated by the people, so it was a shame. About twenty years ago, I invited you to Bokkok, Bangkok which I visited on the way to the Middle Eastern countries that became my first foreign visit after marriage, for me, to host a deep and memorable heart-warming dinner party I remember old times. I sincerely pray for the souls.
Regarding myself, while paying attention to the physical condition this year, starting the ceremony of the Emperor Jinmu 2,600 years in April and striving to fulfill as much duty as possible for the public service inside and outside the East Palace I give up. Among them, I visited Chiba and Iwate Prefecture in June, Nara Prefecture and Kyoto Prefecture in July, Nagano Prefecture in August and Gifu Prefecture in November, welcoming a lot of people with a smile with a warm smile What I received was great encouragement for me. From now on, I would like to continue my efforts to recover while receiving assistance from everyone.
Princess Aiko is surrounded by many friends and lives a fulfilling middle school life, and this year, along with the Crown Prince and I, including the ceremonial ceremonial commemorative ceremony of Jimmu Emperor Yamanashi and “mountain days”, various events and places I also got more to go out. Through such things, I feel that I am learning the awareness and role as an imperial family. I entered autumn, I lost my physical condition, I worry very much to everyone. Indeed, I feel that my physical condition has recovered fairly now, I am working on study while sending important days of my remaining junior high school life carefully. I hope to continue growing more and more while accumulating various experiences from now on. I sincerely thank each of my majesties for rewarding this opportunity to watch over me and Aiko while having a warmest heartfelt than usual. We would like to express our gratitude to the warm feelings offered by the people as well.
We believe that the affected areas including the Tohoku area and Kumamoto are also experiencing severe winter cold. I sincerely hope that those affected by the disaster will be able to spend a calm and daily life with warm support from many people.”
On Thursday, December 8, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited CPAS Namur to meet with individuals participating in the project, Miriam.
Established in 2015, the project aims to provide intensive support to single mothers “…on issues related to employment and personal development…” according to the Belgian royal court.