Jumat, 01 November 2013

Queen Sofía turns 75

Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain celebrates her 75th birthday today. She was born Princess Sophia Margarita Victoria Friederika of Greece and Denmark nearly exactly three years to the day that Greece had voted in a referendum to restore the Monarchy (3rd November 1935). King George II of the Hellenes had returned after 12 years of exile, but he and his Romanian born wife Queen Elisabeta had no children, therefore Princess Sophia’s father Pavlos was Crown Prince of Greece. In 1947 the Crown Prince ascended to the Greek throne as King Pavlos I. When she was born Princess Sophia was second in line to the Greek throne until her brother Konstantinos was born on 2nd June 1940. He succeeded his father in March 1964 as King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

Princess Sophia with her father, King Pavlos, and sister Princess Irene 1948.

The Greek Royal Family was again forced into exile in 1941, when German and Italian troops invaded the Kingdom. In an adventurous escape Crown Princess Friederika and her two children fled first to the island of Crete, then to Egypt and finally to South Africa, where the family stayed until in 1946 another referendum affirmed the Monarchy in Greece.

During the Greek civil war and the years of reconstruction in the 1950s Princess Sophia fulfilled her duties as a member of the Greek Royal Family.

Royal wedding in Athens in May 1962.
On 14th May 1962 she married Prince Juan Carlos of Borbón y Borbón in a colourful ceremony in Athens. The Greek parliament has approved a $300,000 tax-free dowry for Princess Sophie. The bill was passed by a show of hands. Two parties, the Union of the Centre and the Pro-Communist United Democratic left, abstained from the voting. Opposition leaders "denounced the practice of granting dowries and anachronistic and barbarous."

Between 1963 and 1968 the couple had three children: Infanta Elena (* 20th December 1963), Infanta Cristina (* 13th June 1965) and Infant Felipe (* 30th January 1968).

Queen Sofia cuddles a panda bear in the Madrid zoo.
After General Franco’s death Prince Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain and the return of the Monarchy, which had been approved in a referendum in 1947 was completed in November 1975. A new democratic constitution was drawn and accepted by the Spanish people in a referendum. In the difficult years of the renewed the Monarchy as well as democracy and various attempted coups that were tried by adherents of the old regime Queen Sofia was at her husband’s side to encourage and inspire him. On the occasion of his 30th anniversary as King, Don Juan Carlos thanked Queen Sofia "for her constant support, sensitivity and commitment”.

Queen Sofia behind the wheel of the Peugeot iON, a zero-emission electric vehicle with a battery life of 80 miles.

Kamis, 31 Oktober 2013

Prince Charles' charity to open South Australian office

The Prince of Wales’s charity organisations Foundation for Building Community will open an Australian office, which will be part of a "landmark urban development project in South Australia". According to Adelaide’s The Advertiser, The Prince's Foundation “will open its first office outside of the United Kingdom in SA in the near future.

What began in 1987 when His Royal Highness aired “Vision for Britain” - a documentary on the BBC which detailed the contemporary design and planning in Britain - turned into part of the group of charities known as the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community.

It astounds me to think that it was over twenty-five years ago that I started on the rather rough road towards what has now become my Foundation. It seemed to me then, as it does still, that the nature of our built environment has a crucial impact on our quality of life and our physical and mental well-being,” commented Prince Charles on the Foundation's website.

The trust, along with Renewal SA, will construct six terrace houses which would "demonstrate attractive, low-carbon and medium-density living" as part of a government drive for better housing and "best practice design". According to the Housing in the City policy released by Premier Jay Weatherill, it would also benefit the building industry, which would gain from "detailed design, pre-construction and construction work".

The Prince became interested in undertaking city revitalization projects after his visit to Adelaide with the Duchess of Cornwall in November 2012.

"I am delighted that my Foundation combines education with championing community-building worldwide ... to create long-term, practical solutions to the communities in which we live,” Prince Charles commented via The Prince of Wales' website.

The Prince's Foundation for Building Community has undertaken projects throughout Britain, Haiti, Sierra Leone and The Galápagos Islands.

It also offers courses through Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education, the University of Wales and Construction Skills, as well as internationally in such places as New Orleans and Vancouver according to Prince Charles's website.

Rabu, 30 Oktober 2013

Australian national rugby league players received by Prince Charles

The Prince of Wales speaks with Australia's national rugby league team manager Gareth Holmes (l.). and Captain Cameron Smith (c.) during a reception for the Rugby League World Cup at Clarence House.

The Prince of Wales met players and representatives from the 14 countries competing in this year's Rugby League World Cup.

Brian Barwick, chairman of the Rugby Football League, told His Royal Highness: "The critical thing for Rugby League is that it is being talked about."

Andrew Henderson, who plays for Scotland, said he was excited about the match against Fiji. "We have prepared really well for the match. We had a warm up game against Papua New Guinea which we lost, but we drew important lessons from it and we got a feel of what to expect tonight."

Cameron Smith's tweet.

Prince of Wales to be patron of Australian wildlife body

His green credentials are well known and today the ABC reported that Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, has accepted to become patron of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

The AWC says his patronage will bring global attention to the plight of Australia's threatened native species and efforts to halt animal extinctions.

"A lot of Australians don't even know we have the worst mammal extinction rate in the world," says the conservancy's CEO Atticus Fleming. "I think it's the Prince saying that he has a special bond with Australia and the bush, and he recognises Australia's biodiversity and wildlife is globally significant, and that it needs help. We need help to put the spotlight on the loss of of wildlife in Australia, and he's going to help us do that."

Prince Charles will be the first official patron of the AWC, which has been in operation for more than a decade.

Chairman Martin Copely says the Prince has a lifelong record of supporting conservation: "He will play a vital role in raising awareness of the need for decisive, practical action to protect Australia's threatened wildlife. As patron of the AWC, His Royal Highness also becomes guardian of species like the greater bilby, strengthening the Royal family's connection to this iconic Australian animal. Australia has named a bilby breeding enclosure at Taronga Zoo in Sydney in honour of (Prince Charles' grandson) Prince George."

The Australian Wildlife Conservancy owns and manages three million hectares of conservation estates in the Kimberley, the Top End, Cape York and Central Australia, most of it former cattle station land.

Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

A message from The Prince of Wales to the volunteer Firefighters of New South Wales

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is making a contribution to the Australian Red Cross to help them support people affected by the bushfires in New South Wales.
The Prince has also sent a message to New South Wales Rural Fire Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons who The Prince met during his visit to Australia in 2012.
A Message from The Prince of Wales To the Volunteer Firefighters of New South Wales
Having had the great pleasure of meeting some of the volunteer firefighters of New South Wales at Bondi Beach last year, I just wanted you all to know that you are very much in my thoughts as you battle courageously against such appalling bushfires around Sydney.
My wife and I so greatly admire the selfless service you provide in such incredibly dangerous and distressing circumstances and our hearts go out to all those – including firefighters – who have lost their homes in this terrible conflagration. My wife joins me in sending you our special wishes, and heartfelt encouragement at such a difficult time.
The Prince of Wales

Sabtu, 19 Oktober 2013

Queen sends message over NSW bushfires

H. M. Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, has expressed her admiration for the firefighters, volunteers and emergency workers battling the wildfires in New South Wales as she sends her sympathies to all those affected.

In a personal message to the people of the State conveyed through NSW Governor Marie Bashir, the Queen sent her sympathies to those hit by the fires.

I would like to convey my heartfelt sympathies to all those who have been affected by the devastating bushfires across New South Wales.

My thoughts are with the many people who have lost their homes or livelihoods in the fires and I have the greatest admiration for the firefighters, volunteers and emergency services officers who are working tirelessly to control the situation.”

Devastating bushfires rage across New South Wales.

Jumat, 18 Oktober 2013

Prince Philip renamed the world's oldest clipper ship "City of Adelaide"

The City of Adelaide on a barge.
According to mariner superstitions, to rename a ship without appeasing the gods of the sea and the winds will bring bad luck to the ship at sea. In 2001, the clipper's name reverted to City of Adelaide but without a ceremony. After having been named Carrick in 1923, a renaming ceremony is now needed as the City of Adelaide is about to proceed on her first international voyage since 1893.

Prince Philip during the renaming ceremony.
On Friday, 18th October a Renaming Ceremony was held in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh KG, KT in front of the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, hosted by the South Australian Agent General and Clipper Ship City of Adelaide Ltd. (CSCOAL).

The City of Adelaide was built in 1864 and carried migrants to South Australia in the late 19th century.

In the 1920s she was renamed HMS Carrick and used as a navy training ship in Scotland, and was left there to rot until a restoration project began.

Prince Philip bestowed the clipper's original name.
During the ceremony, Prince Philip bestowed the sailing ship's original name back upon her.

After a long battle the clipper is now returning to Adelaide via London. It is hoped it will be back in Australia early next year.

Federal support had been held up since the change of government in Canberra, but now has been finalised.

Commemorating the ceremony.