Archive photo: Europe's royal families come together at the wedding of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, and Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, in 2002 (© picture-alliance / ANP / ANP)

  Europe's monarchies

  39 Debates

Princess Kate, the most popular member of the British royal family, recently triggered uproar on social media with her own PR. After undergoing abdominal surgery in January she had barely appeared in public, fuelling wild speculation about her condition, which only intensified after she had a digitally altered photo published at the beginning of March. Now the princess has announced that she is being treated for cancer.

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. No further details were made public. Well-wishes for the 75-year-old's recovery are flowing in from all over the world. Commentators also sympathise.

As announced in her New Year's speech, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has abdicated after 52 years on the throne. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed Margrethe's eldest son Frederik X as the new King of Denmark. The last time a Danish monarch stepped down voluntarily was in 1146. Commentators emphasise the tensions between the historical institution of the monarchy and the modern state that Denmark sees itself as being.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced that she will abdicate on 14 January 2024, her 52nd anniversary as reigning monarch, and pass the throne on to her son Frederik. Europe's longest-serving monarch surprised her subjects with the news in her 2023 New Year's Eve speech. Commentators pay tribute to Margrethe's achievements and take stock of her successor.

Spain's Princess Leonor, heir presumptive to the Spanish throne, has sworn an oath to the constitution at a formal ceremony on her 18th birthday. For the first time the ceremony was held in all the country's languages, but deputies from the regions striving for independence and from the left-wing ruling coalition party Sumar nonetheless stayed away in protest. Commentators are at odds over whether the country's next queen will be able to breathe new life into the Spanish monarchy.

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has formally apologised for his country's role in the slave trade 150 years after the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies. Members of the government did the same in Suriname and six Caribbean islands. The king's apology comes after that of Prime Minister Mark Rutte in December 2022.

Tens of thousands of Britons defied the rain on Saturday and lined the streets of London to watch the coronation procession of Charles III and his wife Camilla. The two monarchs were then anointed and crowned in Westminster Abbey. Commentators look at why the monarchy still generates so much enthusiasm.

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands celebrated his tenth anniversary on the throne on King's Day in Rotterdam on Thursday. But both his popularity and public trust in the monarchy are waning. The Dutch Court recently published a ten-part podcast in a bid to bring the royal family closer to the people, and Willem-Alexander has said he wants to "reunite" Dutch society. The press asks: can a king still do this in this day and age?

As part of his three-day visit to Germany, King Charles III has become the first monarch to address the Bundestag. In his speech to the parliament he praised the Anglo-German friendship and Germany's support for Ukraine. Commentators welcome his warm words, especially against the backdrop of Brexit.

The biography of Prince Harry, who with his wife Meghan has already been at the heart of several scandals involving the British royal family, will be published today. Titled Spare, the book contains intimate details and numerous accusations concerning King Charles III, his wife Camilla and Crown Prince William. Harry has stressed that he is not aiming to settle scores but seeks reconciliation. The royal family has remained silent so far.

Mourning for the late Queen is currently dominating British public life. In the media, critics of the monarchy can hardly get a word in edgeways, and on the streets the police are cracking down against anti-monarchy demonstrators.

After her reign of 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has been laid to rest. Ten thousand police officers and countless soldiers and guards were deployed for the day-long funeral procession. The media are divided about whether such an elaborate display to mark the end of a reign was justified.

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history, died on Thursday aged 96. She passed away surrounded by her family at Balmoral, her country estate in Scotland. Only three months ago she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. Europe's press pays tribute to the monarch, but also examines her reign and her successor, Charles III.

For four days, the British celebrated their queen: Elizabeth II (now 96) was unable to attend many of the festivities celebrating the 70th anniversary of her reign due to personal complaints, but she rewarded hundreds of thousands of fans on Sunday when she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The press is not quite as unanimous in its enthusiasm for the monarchy as an institution.

Spain's King Felipe VI revealed his personal assets on Monday, which he says amount to 2.6 million euros. On Tuesday, the government passed a decree aimed at strengthening the transparency, accountability and efficiency of the royal household. From now on, the Court of Auditors will audit the king's budget annually, as it already does with political parties and public institutions. Spanish commentators don't think much of the move.

On their Caribbean trip to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, Prince William and Kate Middleton were confronted with protests and debates about colonialism, slavery and compensation, as well as calls for independence from the British royal family- although they were actually there to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Commentators note that this does not bode well for the British monarchy.

Prince Andrew has reached an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiff Virginia Giuffre to avoid a trial on charges of abuse. If the court in Manhattan accepts the settlement, the civil case will be dropped and the prince will be left with a clean record. Europe's press comments on what this means for the royal family, Prince Andrew and the British people.

On February 6, 1952, Elizabeth II ascended the British throne as successor to her father, George IV. Seventy years later, the 95-year-old is now the longest-serving monarch in British history. She spent the day of the anniversary at her country estate, Sandringham House, without making any public appearances. Commentators focus on the news that Elizabeth wants Charles's wife Camilla to be Queen Consort.

Queen Elizabeth II has stripped her son Prince Andrew of all his military titles and royal patronages. Andrew is facing a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse allegations in the US, and had already resigned from public duties as a member of the British royal family in 2019. He will defend himself as a private citizen, said Buckingham Palace in a statement. Commentators see the Queen's move as the only logical step.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark celebrates her 50th anniversary on the throne this Friday. On 14 January 1972, she succeeded her father, King Frederik IX, as the country's monarch, becoming the first woman on the Danish throne in over 500 years. The press congratulates her and explains why the 81-year-old is so popular among the people.

After almost 400 years under British rule, the Caribbean island nation of Barbados this week removed the Queen as its head of state. The new head of state is Sandra Mason, who previously served as governor general and the Queen's representative. The press examines the move from different perspectives.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, passed away last Friday aged 99. Obituaries across the world paid tribute, stressing his modest stance at the Queen's side, which was unusual for a man of his generation, and his sometimes questionable sense of humour. Europe's press takes the opportunity to reflect on the status and future of the British monarchy.

US talk show icon Oprah Winfrey's interview with Prince Harry and Meghan is still making waves in Europe's press. The couple talked about racism, pressure from the palace, and the young duchess having suicidal thoughts. Commentators discuss whether this latest shakeup will turn the British against their monarchy.

Following a public outcry the Dutch royal family has returned from a holiday in Greece after just one day. While the Netherlands is in partial lockdown and restaurants and other facilities have had to close for at least four weeks, King Willem-Alexander and his family had flown in a government plane to the Peloponnese region, where they own a villa.

Spain's ex-monarch Juan Carlos I has apparently left the country and plans to live elsewhere in the future, as he states in a letter to his son and current monarch King Felipe VI published by the royal family on Monday. Despite his departure, Juan Carlos, who is under investigation for accepting bribes from Saudi Arabia, remains at the disposition of the Spanish judiciary, according to his lawyer. What are the repercussions of his departure?

Since former Spanish king Juan Carlos's departure rumours are rife that his son King Felipe VI forced him out of the royal palace. In a speech on Tuesday Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez praised the royal house for distancing itself from the ex-regent, but among Sánchez's left-wing coalition partners and on the streets, calls for the abolition of the monarchy are growing louder. Has the time come for this move?

In a letter to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, King Philippe of Belgium for the first time expressed his regret for the violence and cruelty his country inflicted on the region during the colonial period and the discrimination that continues to this day. The letter was sent on the 60th anniversary of the DRC's independence. Europe's press approves of the step but stresses that much more must be done.

In a televised address Queen Elizabeth has called on the British to be strong in face of the coronavirus pandemic, saying that she hopes that in the years to come people will be proud of how they faced this challenge. The queen normally only addresses the nation in her Christmas speech. But this message was more than worthwhile, journalists concur.

Spain's King Felipe VI has renounced his personal inheritance from his father Juan Carlos I and cut the former monarch's annual stipend from the royal budget. The move came after an investigation was launched into an offshore fund set up by Juan Carlos. The move is being interpreted as a break between the king and his father - but will Felipe be able to rescue the royal family's prestige?

Following the announcement by Harry and Meghan that they wanted to step back as senior royals, Queen Elizabeth released a statement on the weekend. The two are to give up their titles as royal highnesses, will no longer perform tasks as members of the royal family, and will no longer receive public funds. Observers believe this "Megxit" is harder than the young couple may have intended and assess the Queen's response.

The British have been waiting with bated breath for the Queen Elizabeth's reaction to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's announcement that they intend to step back from their royal obligations and become financially independent. On Monday the Queen announced that her family will support the couple in their desire to create a new life for themselves. Commentators speculate about the future of the royals.

Prince Andrew has announced that he is stepping back from all his public duties as a member of the British royal family. Many observers consider his claim that he knew nothing of the predatory practices of his friend Jeffrey Epstein implausible. Epstein, who died in his prison cell in August, had been accused of abusing minors and forced prostitution. Is the public being too harsh on the prince?

In a TV documentary Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have spoken openly about their problems with the tabloid press. They complained that the media have made things very hard for them with constant attempts to invade their privacy. Is this the price they must pay for being members of the royal family?

Denmark's Prince Henrik, husband of Queen Margrethe II, has died aged 83. French by birth, Prince Henrik is said to have been a great support to the queen although he resented the fact that he was not allowed the title of king consort. Danish media pay their last respects.

For many people she was the People's Princess and for many media the coveted object of thier reporting. Princess Di made a lasting impression on British society. But some commentators lament that 20 years after the princess's death Britain still spends more time mourning this icon than discussing the future of its monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth presented the programme of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Wednesday. Almost a third of the 27 bills deal with Britain's planned exit from the EU. Commentators examine the Queen's speech in the context of the parliamentary elections and the Brexit negotiations.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is stepping down from public life. As of this autumn he will retire from public duties, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday. While some commentators lament the loss for the British royal family, others say they would like to see the monarchy go too.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday. She has been on the throne since 1952 and is the world's oldest reigning monarch. Journalists examine what society can learn from the sprightly queen.