Friday, August 26, 2016

Royal Profile: Princess Maria Laura of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este

Princess Maria Laura Zita Beatrix Gerhard of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este was born 26 August 1988, the second child and oldest daughter of Prince Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium, Archduchess of Austria-Este at the University Clinic St. Luc,Woluwe-St-Lambert, Belgium{Source}.  She is currently eighth in line to the Belgian throne after her four cousins, and mother, elder brother and niece. At her birth she was not in line due to the laws at the time, however when the laws changed in 1991, she was placed 4th, eventually moving down the line after the births of her cousins who now occupy the 1st-4th positions for the succession.

She has four siblings, one older and three younger,  a sister-in-law and a niece{Source}:
  1. Prince Amedeo (b. 1986)
    1. Archduchess Elisabetta of Austria-Este (1987, m. 2013)
      1. Archduchess Anna Astrid of Austria-Este (2016)
  2. Prince Joachim (1991)
  3. Princess Luisa Maria (1995)
  4. Princess Laetitia Maria (2003)

Her godparents are her paternal uncle Archduke Gerhard of Austria-Este and her elder paternal aunt Archduchess Maria Beatrix of Austria-Este, Countess von und zu Arco-Zinneberg{Source}.

Until 1993, she resided in Basel, Switzerland, at which point her parents relocated to Belgium{Source}. She was educated at the Jesuit school College Sint Jan Berghmans in Brussels{Source}. She completed her secondary education at the St. John's International School in Waterloo, Belgium {Source}. She then went to London, like her brother Amedeo (educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science), but attended SOAS in London, where she studied Chinese{Source}. In 2007–2008, she spent time in China as part of her studies {Source}. She then enrolled at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris in 2008{Source}. The Princess is fluent in French, Dutch, and German, the three official languages of Belgium, as well as English {Source}.

On 9 September 2005, Maria Laura, along with six other students, were riding home from St. John's International School in Waterloo when the bus collided into three cars and rolled over several times {Source}. All of the students managed to escape before the bus burst into flames {Source}. The princess was unharmed but was taken to the hospital for observation and released to her parents after a few hours {Source}.

Because she is so distantly in line for the throne, her mother has guarded the private lives of her and her siblings, therefore, she and her siblings have rarely made public appearances. She appeared in family photos, at the baptism of her younger sister Princess Laetitia Maria,the wedding of Archduchess Marie-Christine of Austria and Count Rodolphe of Limburg-Stirum and her mother's 50th birthday celebrations.

Royal Profile: Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester

Prince Richard Alexander Walter George, The Duke of Gloucester was born 26 August 1944, the second son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Princess Alice, The Duchess of Gloucester {Source}. He is the youngest grandchild of King George V and a first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II{Source}.

It was not anticipated that he would become the Duke of Gloucester as his elder brother Prince William of Gloucester stood in front of him for the role{Source}. However, when his brother was killed in a flying accident on 28 August 1972, that changed {Source}. He succeeded his father in the role of Duke of Gloucester in June 1974 {Source}.

Although distantly in line for the throne, he began taking on a public duty very early on in life. At four months old, he accompanied his parents to Australia while his father served as Australia's Governor General from 1945-1947 {Source}.

His education began as most royals did during that time, at home {Source}. He then attendedThe Wellesley House, before attending Eton College {Source}. In 1963, he began to attend The University of Cambridge, Magdalene College, studying architecture {Source}. He completed three of five years of his studies before joining what was then known as Offices Development Group of the Ministry of Public Building and Works for a year's worth of practicum {Source}. He returned to Cambridge in 1967, and finished the last two years of his studies, passing all the necessary exams in 1969 {Source}. After completing his training, he began to go into practice as a partner in a London architecture firm {Source}.

Given the likelihood of him ever succeeding the throne or Dukedom, he planned on pursuing a full-time career as an architect, but with the death of his brother, he became his father's heir and his royal duty workload increased{Source}. Therefore, he resigned his partnership and aspirations to be a full-time architect{Source}.

In February 1972, his engagement to Birigitte van Deurs was announced {Source}, they were married five months later on 8 July 1972 at St Andrew's Church {Source}. Together, they have three children, 3 grandsons, 3 granddaughters and a stepgrandson:
  1. Alexander Windsor,The Earl of Ulster
    1. Dr. Claire Windsor. The Countess of Ulster (married 2002)
      1. Xan Richard Anders Windsor, Lord Culloden (2007)
      2. Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor (2010)
  2. Lady Davina Lewis
    1. Gary Lewis (Married July 2004)
      1. Ari Lewis (stepson, 1992)
      2. Senna Kowhai Lewis (2010)
      3. Tāne Mahuta Lewis (2012)
  3. Lady Rose Gilman
    1. George Gilman (married July 2008)
      1. Lyla Gilman (2010)
      2. Rufus Gilman (2012)
None of his children or grandchildren carry out official duties, but do make appearances at royal family events and are all in line for the British throne.

The Duke is associated with over 150 charities and organisations. His patronages reflect his professional and personal interests and can be grouped under the following themes{Source}:

  • International humanitarian issues; these can be sub-divided into:
    •  international development
    • disaster prevention and relief
  • Health issues
  • Social welfare, community and youth development 
  • Environmental issues and climate change
  • Social sciences and technology
  • Culture and the arts
  • Heritage and the built environment
  • Military veterans and the disabled community
  • Armed forces

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Royal Profile: Alexandre Coste Grimaldi

Alexandre Éric Stéphane Coste-Grimaldi was born as Alexandre Éric Stéphane Tossoukpé and later known as Alexandre Éric Stéphane Coste  on 24 August 2003 as the son of  of Prince Albert of Monaco and Nicole Coste{Source}. He has two older half brothers from his mother, and an older half sister and two younger half siblings from his father, who are{Source}:
  • Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (1992, also illegitimate)
  • Prince Jacques of Monaco (2014)
  • Princess Gabriella of Monaco (2014)

He is also the step-son of Princess Charlene of Monaco, and nephew of Princess Caroline & Princess Stephanie.


His mother Nicole changed their surname to Coste on 10 November 2004, a move in which is believe to be in homage to Prince Albert's lawyer, Thierry La Coste.

His mother owns a villa just outside of Monaco in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France and has an apartment in Paris{Source}. It is believed that one of these is their primary residence and that Alexandre attends school in either Paris or Villefranche-sur-Mer. At present, Alexandre should be preparing to enter 6ème, this is equal to the 6th grade in the US system.In 2014, it was revealed that Nicole and Alexandre had moved to London after many years in Paris, where his mother legally added "Grimaldi" to his name (after many years of being unable to do so due to French-Monégasque laws regarding the surname "Grimaldi") {Source}.

Like his elder sister's mother, his own mother fought for years for Prince Albert to publicly acknowledged him as his own. However, Nicole had much more success than his elder half-sister's mother, Tamara, in that department-Prince Albert publicly acknowledged his son in 2005, nearly a year before his sister was acknowledged, and after only about 22 months of fighting it{Source}. Also like his sister, he is rarely seen, the last photos of him were around 2009.

In October 2006, his father was interviewed by Larry King, in which he stated his children out of wedlock would not be in line for the Monégasque throne but that they would be taken care of financially{Source}. They are also an heir to Prince Albert's personal fortune, estimated at more than one billion dollars{Source}. Due to the accession of Monaco to the Council of Europe on 5 October 2004, the European Convention on Human Rights regulates inheritance rights, in addition to the laws of Monaco, which also guarantees familial inheritance for children born out of wedlock.

He shares a birthday with his father's paternal 1st cousin 1x removed, K. Sébastien Knecht de Massy.

Royal Profile: The Lady Amelia Windsor

The Lady Amelia Sophia Theodora Mary Margaret Windsor was born 24 August 1995 as the youngest daughter of George Philip Nicholas Windsor, Earl of St. Andrews and Sylvana Palma Tomaselli {Source}. She has two older siblings{Source}:
  1. Edward Edmund Maximilian George Windsor, Lord Downpatrick (1988)
  2. Lady Marina-Charlotte Alexandra Katherine Helen Windsor (1992)
She is a granddaughter of The Duke and Duchess of Kent. 

At her birth in August 1995, she was 19th in line for succession to the British throne, however, with the rule changes and births of several babies, she is currently 36th in succession.


On 30 November 2013, Lady Amelia made her début into society whilst attending the Ball Des Débutantes in Paris {Source}.

Like most teens, Amelia is active on Social media, most notably on Facebook (DO NOT ask for her link). She attended St. Mary's School, Ascot.

Royal Profile: Keith Sébastien Knecht de Massy

Keith Sébastien Knecht de Massy, or Sébastien as he is known by the family, was born the son of Christine Alix de Massy and Charles Wayne Knecht on 24 August 1971, in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to being a 1st cousin once removed of the present reining Monégasque Princely Family, he is also a distant cousin of the family on their maternal side as his father was a cousin of Princess Grace (I believe Sébastien's grandfather was Princess Grace's uncle on her father's side).

He is a member of his aunt Baroness Elisabeth-Anne de Massy’s organization, All-sports Country team (A.S.Co.T., Team Monaco captain) of the tennis tournament. He also serves as founder and director of the board to his wife's organization, ConservationGuardians.

After obtaining his BA in business, Sébastien moved to Lima, Peru to work for Grana y Montero Petrolera. After living in Peru he moved back to Monaco and started his shipping career with the V. Ships Group. This brought him to live in London, Singapore and Paris. In 2005, Sébastien founded Madison Marine and today controls a fleet of merchant vessels.

In 2008 he co-founded Transport & Commodities which is based in Monaco and manages shipping, upstream and mining ventures.


He is a citizen of Monaco, where he resided with his wife Donatella, and four daughters until 2011 or 2012, now the family resides in South Africa. His daughters are:

  1. Christine (2001)
  2. Alexia (2002)
  3. Vittoria (2007)
  4. Andrea (2008)
Because he and daughters *technically* lost their place in succession with the death of Prince Rainier in 2005, she and her family are known to keep out of the main limelight. However, in more recent years, they have come to a few family events. In 2008,he, his wife, and their two older daughters (who were 6 years old and 7 years old at the time) attended the 32nd annual International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, and they sat in the royal box with the rest of the Grimaldis. They also attended the event in 2011. In July 2011, he attended his mother's cousin's wedding ceremonies with his wife and three elder daughters. He also attended the Eagles and JM Jarre concerts (sitting in front of Princess Charlene). That November, he and his wife appeared with the family during the National Day festivities, at the church service, during the honor guard ceremony ( behind his wife, who is across and behind Princess Stephanie) and of course, on the balcony. In 2015, he and his wife were present during the baptism of the Princely Twins and his whole family was present for Prince Albert II's 10 year celebrations (Sébastien can be seen dead center, the really tall guy, his two daughters Christine and Andrea can be seen in front of him next to Charlotte Casiraghi, and his 3rd daughter Alexia is to his right between Charlotte and Pierre. I also think that his wife Donatella is directly behind-thus hidden behind-Charlotte.).

He shares a birthday with the son of his maternal first cousin 1x removed, the elder son of Prince Albert of Monaco, Alexandre Coste Grimaldi.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Royal Profile: 65 Facts of Queen Noor of Jordan

  1. Queen Noor al-Hussein,Queen Dowager of Jordan was born Lisa Najeeb Halaby on 23 August 1951 the daughter of Najeeb Halaby and Doris Carlquist in Washington, DC, USA. 
  2. She has two siblings, brother Christian and sister Alexa{Source}.
  3. She was educated National Cathedral School from fourth to eighth grade, before she briefly attended The Chapin School in New York City. 
  4. She went on to graduate from Concord Academy in Massachusetts{Source}. 
  5. She attended Princeton University with its first coeducational freshman class, and received a BA in Architecture and Urban Planning in 1973{Source}.
  6. After she graduated, Lisa Halaby moved to Australia, where she worked for a firm that specialized in planning new towns. 
  7. She became increasingly interested in the Middle East and immediately accepted a job offer from a British architectural firm that had been employed to redesign the city of Tehran{Source}.
  8.  In 1976, she moved back to the United States{Source}. 
  9. She thought about earning a master's degree in journalism and starting a career in television production{Source}. 
  10. However, she accepted a job offer from Managing Director of Arab Air Services, which was founded by her father, who was commissioned by the Jordanian government to redesign their airlines{Source}.
  11. She became Director of Facilities Planning and Design of the airline he founded{Source}.
  12.  In 1977, she was working for Royal Jordanian Airlines, in which capacity she attended various high-profile social events as the Director of Facilities Planning and Design{Source}.
  13. This is where she met Hussein of Jordan for the first time on the development of the Queen Alia International Airport{Source}. 
  14. The airport was named after Queen Alia, Hussein's third wife, who died in a helicopter crash the same year{Source}. 
  15. Halaby and the king became friends while he was still mourning the death of his wife{Source}. Their friendship evolved and the couple became engaged in 1978{Source}.
  16.  Wearing a Dior gown, she wed King Hussein on 15 June 1978 in Amman, becoming his fourth wife and Queen of Jordan{Source}.
  17. Together, they have four children:
    1. Prince Hamzah (1980)
    2. Prince Hashim ( 1981)
    3. Princess Iman (1983)
    4. Princess Raiyah (1986)
  18. They have the following children-in-law together:
    1. Fahdah Mohammed Abunayyan of Saudi Arabia (Hashim, m. 2006)
    2. Princess Noor bint Asem bin Nayef (Hamzah, 2003-2009)
    3. Princess Basmah biani Ahamad (Hamzah, 2012)
    4. Zaid Azimi Mirza (Iman, 2013)
  19. They also have the following grandchildren together:
    1. Princess Haya bint Hamzah (2007,Hamzah)
    2. Princess Noor Al Bint Hamzah (2014,Hamzah)
    3. Princess Haalah bint Al Hashim (2007,Hashim)
    4. Princess Rayet bint Al Hashim (2008,Hashim)
    5. Princess Fatima Al-Alia bint Al Hashim (2011,Hashim )
    6. Prince Hussein Haidara bin Hashim (2015,Hashim)
    7. Omar Mirza (2014, Iman)
  20. From this marriage, she also gained 7 stepchildren, and several children-in-law :
    1. Princess Alia bint Al Hussein (1956)
    2. King Abdullah II of Jordan (1962)
    3. Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein of Jordan (1963)
    4. Princess Zein bint Hussein (1968)
    5. Princess Aisha bint Hussein (1968)
    6. Princess Haya bint Hussein (1974)
    7. Prince Ali bin Al Hussein (1975)
  21. She has the following step-children-in-law:
    1. Nasser Wasfi Mirza (m. 1977, div)
    2. Sayyid Mohammed Al-Saleh (M. 1998)
    3. Queen Rania of Jordan (m. 1993)
    4. Princess Alia Tabbaa of Jordan (m. 1989-2008,Faisal)
    5. Princess Sara of Jordan (m 2010-2013,Faisal)
    6. Princess Zeina of Jordan (m. 2015,Faisal)
    7. Mr. Zeid Juma (divorced, Alisha)
    8. Mr. Majdi Al-Saleh (Zein)
    9. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (2004, Haya)
    10.  Rym Brahimi(2004, Ali)
  22. She also has the following step-grandchildren:
    1. Prince Hussein Mirza bint Al Hussein (1981)
    2. Master Talal Al-Saleh (1989)
    3. Princess Ayah bint al-Faisal of Jordan (1990)
    4. Master Abdul Hamid Al-Saleh (1992)
    5. Prince Omar bint al-Faisal of Jordan (1993)
    6. Crown Prince Hussein (1994)
    7. Princess Iman (1996)
    8. Princess Sara bint al-Faisal of Jordan (1997) 
    9. Princess Aisha bint al-Faisal of Jordan (1997)
    10. Princess Salma (2000)
    11. Prince Hashem (2005)
    12. Princess Jalila bint Ali (2005)
    13. Prince Abdullah bin Ali (2007)
    14. Princess Haya bint al Hamzah of Jordan (2007)
    15. Princess Haalah bint Al Hashim (2007)
    16. Sheikha Al Jalila (2007)
    17. Princess Rayet bint Al Hashim (2008)
    18. Princess Fatima Al-Alia bint Al Hashim (2011)
    19. Princess Zein bint Hamzah (2012)
    20. Sheikh Zayed (2012)
    21. Princess Noor bint Hamzah (2014)
    22. Prince Hussein Haidara bin Hashim (2015)
    23. Princess Badiya bint Al-Hamzah of Jordan (2016)
    24. Prince Abdullah bin Faisal (2016)
    25. Master Aoun Juma 
    26. Miss Muna Juma
    27. Master Jaafar Al-Saleh
    28. Miss Jumana Al Saleh
    29. Miss Tahani Al Shawan al Saleh (Adopted)
  23. Queen Noor plays an active role in promoting international exchange and understanding of Arab and Muslim culture and politics, Arab-Western relations, and conflict-prevention and recovery issues such as refugees, missing persons, poverty and disarmament{Source}. 
  24. She has also helped found media programs to highlight these issues{Source}. 
  25. Her conflict-recovery and peacebuilding work over the past decade has focused on the Middle East, the Balkans, Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa{Source}.
  26. Queen Noor's work in Jordan and the Arab world has focused on national development needs in the areas of education, conservation, sustainable development, human rights, and cross-cultural understanding{Source}. 
  27. She is also actively involved with international and UN organizations that address global challenges in these fields{Source}. 
  28. Since 1979, the initiatives of the Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF)  have transformed development thinking in Jordan and the Middle East through pioneering programs in the areas of poverty eradication and sustainable development, women's empowerment, microfinance, health, environmental conservation, and arts as a medium for social development and cross-cultural exchange, many of which are internationally acclaimed models for the developing world{Source}. 
  29. She is chairwoman of the  Noor Al Hussein Foundation (NHF)  {Source}. 
  30. She chairs the King Hussein Foundation and the King Hussein Foundation International (KHFI), founded in 1999 to build on her late husband's humanitarian vision and legacy in Jordan and abroad through national, regional, and international programs that promote education and leadership, economic empowerment, tolerance, and cross cultural dialogue and media that enhance mutual understanding and respect among different cultures and across conflict lines{Source}. 
  31. Through KHFI, headquartered in the United States, Queen Noor awards the annual King Hussein Leadership Prize to individuals, groups, or institutions that demonstrate inspiring and courageous leadership in their efforts to promote sustainable development, human rights, tolerance, equity, and peace{Source}. 
  32. Queen Noor is co-founder of The Alliance of Civilizations Media Fund, an unprecedented, not-for-profit initiative formed out of a partnership between private media, the United Nations, and global philanthropists to promote and support media content that enhances mutual understanding and respect within and among different societies and cultures{Source}.
  33. She has traveled extensively throughout the Balkans since her first humanitarian mission in 1996 after the fall of Srebrenica{Source}. 
  34. She is a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) created through the Dayton Accords to promote reconciliation and conflict resolution through the search for, recovery, and identification of missing persons from the armed conflicts in the Balkans{Source}. 
  35. She has supported and overseen the ICMP's groundbreaking forensic DNA identification and families/community reconciliation programs{Source}. 
  36. She has advocated with the leaders of BiH to finalize the establishment of The Missing Persons Institute, critical to resolution of the tragedy of tens of thousands of missing and murdered in the 1990s Balkans conflicts{Source}. 
  37. She has assumed an advocacy role in the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and has traveled to Central and Southeast Asia, the Balkans, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America to advocate with governments, support NGOs, and visit with landmine survivors struggling to recover and reclaim their lives{Source}. 
  38. She has testified before the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus, appealing for humanitarian assistance and justice for hundreds of thousands of landmine victims worldwide{Source}.
  39. At the invitation of President Andrés Pastrana and President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Queen Noor has undertaken several humanitarian missions to Colombia to try to negotiate a series of humanitarian accords with the leaders of the country's guerilla insurgency on landmines, child soldiers and kidnappings, to promote mine awareness programs in rural and conflict areas with UNDP, to advocate against the use of anti-personnel mines especially in civilian areas, and to oversee the destruction of Colombia's last arsenal of anti-personnel mines{Source}. 
  40. In gratitude, the Government of Colombia granted Queen Noor full Colombian citizenship{Source}.
  41. In 2004 and 2005, as an expert advisor to the United Nations, Queen Noor traveled to Central Asia to advocate for adoption and implementation of the Ottawa Treaty throughout the region and for multi-sectoral commitment to the Millennium Development Goals in Tajikistan, one of the world's poorest countries{Source}. 
  42. She is a board member of Refugees International {Source}.
  43. She is an outspoken voice for the plight of refugees, displaced persons, and other dispossessed people around the world. She has visited Pakistan to assess the Afghan refugee situation and is advocating for international support for the nearly 5 million Iraqis displaced in Iraq and in Jordan, Syria, and other countries after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq{Source}.
  44. Queen Noor is actively involved in a number of international organizations advancing global peace-building and conflict recovery{Source}. 
  45. She is a founding leader of Global Zero, an international effort to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide, an Advisor to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Seeds of Peace, Council of Women World Leaders, Women Waging Peace, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and International Patron and Honorary Chair of Survivor Corps {Source}.
  46. She is President of the United World Colleges{Source}.
  47. She is a Board Member of the Aspen Institute
  48. She is a part of the Refugees International{Source}.
  49. She is a member of America Near East Refugee Aid{Source}.
  50. She also takes part in Conservation International{Source}.
  51. She is Patron of the International Union for Conservation of Nature,
  52. She is Founding President and Honorary President Emeritus of BirdLife International {Source}.
  53. She is Patron of the SOS Children's Villages - USA in Jordan{Source}.
  54. Queen Noor is on the board of the Daniel Pearl Foundation, alongside former President Bill Clinton{Source}. 
  55. She is the International Spokesperson for the McGill Middle East Program of Civil Society and Peace Building (MMEP); in this capacity she has twice visited Montréal, Canada, officially and unofficially visited a number of the MMEP's centres in Jordan and Israel, and undertaken a number of fundraising activities, including the establishment of an MMEP program fund in her name{Source}. 
  56. Queen Noor has been awarded numerous awards and honorary doctorates in international relations, law, and humane letters{Source}. 
  57. She received the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Award for her activism in environmental protection and advocacy {Source}. 
  58. She was honored with the 2009 Global Environmental Citizen Award by Harvard University's Center for Health and the Global Environment{Source}. 
  59. In June 2009, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles Chapter, honored her with its Healing the Planet Award{Source}. 
  60. She has published two books{Source}: 
    1. Hussein of Jordan (KHF Publishing, 2000) 
    2. Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life (Miramax Books, 2003)
  61. She divides her time between Jordan, Washington, D.C., and London. 
  62. She continues to work on behalf of numerous international organizations and makes 70 to 100 speaking appearances annually{Source}.
  63. She holds numerous orders and honors from various countries, including{Source}:
    1. Grand Cordon of the Orders of Hussein ibn 'Ali with collar, Renaissance special class (5.6.1978)
    2. Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (26.11.1983)
    3. The Virtues (Nishan al-Kemal) of Egypt (1989)
    4. Member of the Royal Family Order of Brunei (DK) (1984)
    5. Royal Order of the Seraphim of Sweden (15.9.1989)
    6. Knight of the Order of the Elephant of Denmark (27.4.1998)
    7. The Grand Decoration of Honour for Merit in gold with sash of the Republic of Austria
  64. She is active on social media, especially twitter.

Monday, August 22, 2016