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Today’s modern royal families

(Part II – Marching across Copenhagen with the WAGGGS led by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden)

DENMARK— My Part I article last week, “Marching across Copenhagen with the WAGGGS led by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden,” narrated the three-day event of the 67th World Baden-Powell Fellowship Assembly of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, together with the World Scout Movement.

The afternoon of the last day of the fellowship was devoted to the Scout Outing Activity. All the participants walked from the Confederation of Danish Industry building to Vor Fure Plads (Plaza) led by the Copenhagen Scout Orchestra. It was a kilometer parade of sort. Scouts varying from 9 to 18 years old marched together with their scout masters and parent scout volunteers. The Danish folks alongside the streets, cafes and shops stopped and applauded. King Carl XVI Gustaf is leading the March. Seldom have they seen the king so close by.

Four entertaining young adult scouts walked with me and my principal, Lumen Duran in the city center. They themselves are overwhelmed to be able to shake hands with King Carl XVI. Let us observe the lives of royalties and their children in Europe.

The toddler, preschool and grade school heir apparents of Europe

Crown Prince William and wife Princess Kate Middleton, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have receded in the background since baby Prince George was born. The nine-month-old blonde, blue-eyed baby has been stealing headlines and winning legions of fans. However, he has other enchanting playmates from other royal households of existing monarchy-democratic countries of Europe.

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Most of the grandchildren of kings and queens who are in direct line of succession are girls, except 10-year- old Prince Christian of Denmark. His parents are Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. The new generation of working royals is being eased into public life with encouragement and support from their parents.

Hello Magazine featured five of them in the May 12, 2014 issue:

Princess Estelle of Sweden, two years old, was at the 66th birthday of grandpa, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (currently Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation). She viewed the crowds at her mother, Crown Princess Victoria’s birthday celebrations at Solliden Palace. Estelle’s first royal engagement and handshake came in January this year, during her parents’ visit to Umea, European Capital of Culture 2014.

Princess Ingrid of Norway, 12 years old, is the daughter of Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Her first royal duty started in June 2009, when, at 5 years old, accompanied her mother to the Eco-agents’ Parade in Oslo. They also went together to the Nobel Peace Prize Festival in December 2012.

Princess Elisabeth of Belgium is the 12-year-old daughter of Crown Prince Philippe and Crown Princess Mathilde. She began royal duties at the age of 4, during a service at Brussels Cathedral in July 2006. She behaved impeccably with just a few tired yawns. Elisabeth’s first public engagement was in September 2011, when she opened the Princess Elisabeth Children’s Hospital in Ghen, she was nine. She greeted various dignitaries, mingled at a reception and gave a speech.

Princess Amalia of Netherlands is in primary school, the eldest daughter of 3 of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. Her parents wanted her to have as normal a life as possible until her 18th birthday. So, while there have been photocalls for family celebrations and special events, Amalia hasn’t yet done any formal engagements.

Princess Leonor, a grade school student, is the 8-year-old daughter of Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain. Just recently, the aging King Carlos abdicated the Spanish throne in favor of his son, Crown Prince Felipe. Princess Leonor is already a popular princess, despite the fact she hasn’t yet undertaken any formal royal engagements. There’s been press coverage of milestones, such as her first day at school – as well as her younger sister Sophia, and the religious occasions regularly attended by the royal family, one of the most important of which is the Easter Sunday mass at the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. The two princesses were also present at a less official event, when King Juan Carlos hosted a reception at the Zarzuela Palace in July 2010 for the World Cup-winning of the Spanish football team.

The preparation of a king or queen in modern times

Sometime between the 50s and 70s, European countries like Great Britain, Low Countries – Netherland, Belgium, and Luxemburg, Scandinavian Countries – Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, headed by royalties, revised their Rule of Government to make the reigning king replace their political power to a ceremonial nature. Their constitution also decreed that a woman could ascend the throne if there were no male heirs. Furthermore, “commoners” or persons not of royal birth may marry members of the royal families. Meantime, the modern Constitution of France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Eastern Europe do not relate anymore to royalties, being republican states.

Queen Margrethe II was born on April 16, 1940, a week after the Nazis occupied Denmark, and was regarded as a welcome ray of light breaking through the darkness of war. She became the first Danish Queen to be elected by the population. She was 13 when she became heir-apparent, and she has two younger sisters, Benedikte and Anne-Marie. Princess Benedikte represents her as a patron of the Olave Baden-Powell Society (OB-PS). Anne-Marie married the king of Greece, the brother of the current Queen Sophia of Spain. However, today the Greek Constitution did away with monarchy and retains a republican form of government.

Her education: After graduating from the Danish gymnasium (upper secondary school), she studied national and international law at Danish and foreign universities. She also found time to attend lectures in archeology, and takes part in fieldwork. Even military service was included – she served in the Women’s Flying Corps, and the WAAF in England. Certainly, she could claim to be Europe’s best educated monarch.

At 13, she ascended the throne in January 1972, after her father’s death. She is married to Prince Henrick, French Count de Laborde de Monpezat and the mother of two boys, Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim. Despite her public duties, she still found time to take care of her family. Margrethe, who kept herself politically informed, met her government weekly and has full round of social and diplomatic functions.

From her mother’s family, the Swedish Bernadottes, she has inherited artistic talent. She has twice translated books into Danish. The first of which is in partnership with Prince Henrik, under a pseudonym - Danish translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s novel Tou Les Homme some Mortelle. She also illustrated J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; then designed costumes and scenery for a TV production of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep.’

Prince Carl XVI Gustaf Of Sweden

Prince Carl XVI Gustaf was the youngest of five children and the only son of Sweden’s Prince Gusaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla (sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark). When his great-grandfather Gustaf V died in 1950, the four year-old Prince became the heir apparent of Sweden.

After graduation from high school, the Crown Prince completed two and a half years of education in the Royal Swedish Army, the Royal Swedish Navy, and the Royal Swedish Air Force. He received his commission as an officer in all three services in 1968, and he eventually rose to the rank of captain (in the army and air force) and lieutenant (in the navy), before he ascended to the throne. He has also completed his academic studies in history, sociology, political science, tax law, and economics at Uppsala University and Stockholm University.

            To prepare for his role as the Head of State, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf followed a broad program of studies on the court system, social organizations and institutions, trade unions, and employers’ association. In addition, he closely studied the affairs of the Riksdag, Government, and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Crown Prince also spent time at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), worked at a bank in London, at the Swedish Embassy in London, at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in France, and at the Alfa Laval Company factory in France.

The King Carl XVI Gustaf married Silvia Sommerlath, whose father was German and whose mother was Brazilian, and who had grown up in both countries. They met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where she was an interpreter and hostess. The wedding was held on June 19, 1976, at the Stockholm Cathedral.

Breaking the barrier of cultural diversity

Scouting and Guiding comprises almost 50 million young people, girls and boys in over 200 countries and territories. Members represent all religious and all ethnic groups.

“Scouting and Guiding already has huge positive impact on business and society today, but the vision is to double over the next ten years by growing from 50 million to 100 million members. Imagine, for example, the impact on peace in the Middle East or other places if a majority of business and community leaders have a Scout or Girl Guide background crossing religious and ethnic boundaries. Imagine the impact on the state of our planet if the majority of leaders have been trained to respect and protect nature, and think of the difference it will make if the majority of the world’s leaders have learned to cherish diversity and make people with different backgrounds work together as a team.” —Vibeke Riemer, Danish Girl Guide Association president

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