Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in May 2020 — from notable birthdays and legal rulings to a new royal pet, a social media name change, a buzzy new book on the Sussexes, drama surrounding Duchess Kate and much more… But let's start with this happy event… On May 31, Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck shared a series of photos on his official Facebook account debuting his second son, who was born in March, to celebrate Queen Jetsun Pema's birthday. "To commemorate the 30th Birth Anniversary of Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen on the 4th of June, it is our privilege to share a wonderful collection of photographs of the Royal Family. These Kupars were taken at the Lingkana Palace grounds on the 29th of May. His Royal Highness' name will be announced in the coming days. With deepest gratitude and love on this special occasion, we offer our prayers for the lasting happiness and health of our Beloved Queen, Her Majesty The Gyaltsuen," the family captioned the post, which also featured 4-year-old Crown Prince Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck. Keep reading for more…
Belgian prince with COVID-19 apologizes after attending party in Spain during lockdown
On May 31, Belgium's Prince Joachim — a nephew of King Philippe and the youngest son of Belgium's Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este — apologized after it was revealed that he'd been diagnosed with the coronavirus after attending a party in Spain during lockdown. "I would like to apologize for travelling and not having respected the quarantine measures. I did not intend to offend or disrespect anyone in these very difficult times and deeply regret my actions and accept the consequences," he said in a statement, as reported by the BBC. Reports explained that the young royal travelled from Belgium to Spain for an internship in late May but instead of quarantining for two weeks as required of travelers under the country's COVID-19 state of emergency guidelines, he went to a party two days later in the city of Córdoba despite lockdown rules banning get-togethers of more than 15 people. The gathering was reportedly attended by between 12 and 27 people.
New Tatler cover story on Duchess Kate sparks rare palace statement — and a legal threat
On May 27, Kensington Palace issued a rare statement hitting back at claims made about Duchess Kate in a new Tatler magazine cover story titled "Catherine the Great," insisting, "This story contains a swathe of inaccuracies & false misrepresentations which were not put to Kensington Palace prior to publication." The magazine's editor swiftly issued a response saying he and the magazine stood by reporter Anna Pasternak and her sources, adding, "Kensington Palace knew we were running the 'Catherine the Great' cover months ago and we asked them to work together on it. The fact they are denying they ever knew is categorically false." Then on May 30, the Mail on Sunday reported that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent Tatler a legal letter threatening legal action and demanding that the story be removed from the internet. So what, exactly, is in the July/August cover story that might have sparked such a response from the royals? There are a few juicy tidbits, including an anecdote about an "incident" at Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's 2018 wedding rehearsal, though it's unclear if this is the same one that previous reports have claimed involved Princess Charlotte — and made Kate cry. "It was a hot day and apparently there was a row over whether the bridesmaids should wear tights or not. Kate, following protocol, felt that they should. Meghan didn't want them to," recounted a friend of the Cambridges. (Meghan won out.) The Tatler piece also alleges that people around Kate and husband Prince William — who is "absolutely incandescent about Megxit," a courtier told Tatler, referring to the Sussexes' decision to leave as senior members of the royal family earlier this year — believe "Meghan and Harry have been so selfish," which has added to William and Kate's workload. Said another pal of the Cambridges: "William and Catherine really wanted to be hands-on parents and the Sussexes have effectively thrown their three children under a bus. There goes their morning school runs as the responsibilities on them now are enormous." Added another source: "Kate is furious about the larger workload. Of course she's smiling and dressing appropriately but she doesn't want this. She feels exhausted and trapped. She's working as hard as a top CEO, who has to be wheeled out all the time, without the benefits of boundaries and plenty of holidays." Read it all for yourself here.
RELATED: See the best royal wedding dresses
On May 27, Spain began an official 10-day period of mourning to honor nearly 27,000 confirmed coronavirus dead. The Spanish royal family stepped out wearing black as they publicly paid their respects to the victims, with King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia — accompanied by daughters Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofia — leading a minute of silence in the garden at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. The royal household said in a tweet the same day, as reported by HELLO! magazine, "Spain mourns for so many thousands of compatriots that we have lost in this pandemic. To all, together with their families, we owe our remembrance, our mourning and our affection."
Denmark's future king celebrates 52nd birthday
On May 26, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark turned 52. The palace marked the occasion with an Instagram post accompanied by a new portrait of the future king. Less than two weeks earlier on May 14, Frederik had another reason to celebrate: He and wife Princess Mary marked their 16-year wedding anniversary.
Spain's royals celebrate two wedding anniversaries
Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary on May 22. Felipe was still the prince of Asturias when he exchanged vows with Letizia, a divorced TV news journalist, at the the Santa María la Real de La Almudena Cathedral in Madrid in 2004. But they're not the only Spanish royals with a wedding anniversary this month: Felipe's parents also tied the knot in May…
Another pair of Spanish royals mark wedding anniversary
On May 14, King Felipe VI's parents marked 58 years of marriage: Spain's former monarch, Juan Carlos of Spain, married Princess Sophia of Greece (who later became Spain's Queen Sofía) on May 14, 1962, first in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Cathedral of St. Denis in Athens, then in a Greek Orthodox ceremony at the city's Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son in 2014.
Belgian heir to the throne to attend military school
Belgium's future queen, Princess Elisabeth, is headed to military school. The teen will enter the Royal Military School in central Brussels — her father, King Philippe, also attended — for a year-long course in social and military sciences in order to help prepare her for her future royal duties, Belgium's palace announced on May 20. "She joins a long tradition within the royal family," a statement said. Elisabeth, 18, graduates from high school — she attends the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales — at the end of May.
Prince William and Duchess Kate change their name on social media
On May 20, media outlets reported that Prince William and Duchess Kate had quietly made a small but significant name change on social media — and eagle-eyed followers who noticed were loving it. Though their Instagram and Twitter handles remain @KensingtonPalace — which is their official residence and where their offices are located — their social media accounts now use the display name The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge instead of Kensington Palace. Still formal? Yes. But for the British royals, it's about as modern and accessible as it gets. Fans characterized the seemingly random move as a win, noting that the new moniker seems "more personal" and "appropriate," InStyle reported.
The Sussexes celebrate two-year wedding anniversary
On May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry spent their day getting married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and partying into the night at an evening reception at nearby Frogmore House. On May 19, 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly spent their day relaxing at their temporary home in the Hollywood Hills — a sprawling Tuscan-style villa they're borrowing from new friend Tyler Perry — as they hunt for a house to purchase. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, they had no grand plans. "The day will simply be quality time with one another and as a family" with son Archie, 1, and their two dogs, a source close to the couple told Harper's Bazaar royals editor Omid Scobie. "They're not going to be doing any work and made sure they have no meetings or calls in the diary." The source added, "Like everyone else, they are in lockdown at the moment, so they will just be hanging out together at home. But it will still be a lovely day."
Coronavirus lockdown costs Queen Elizabeth II tens of millions
Just like everyone else, the British monarchy will have to tighten its belt in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. On May 18, MailOnline reported that the Lord Chamberlain warned staffers that Queen Elizabeth II could lose about $22 million due to the lockdown as palaces and other significant royal locations (like Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Scotland's Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mews and Clarence House) remain shut down — that's at least a third of her annual income. (Last year, ticket and souvenir sales brought in more than $85 million.) Staffers are being furloughed, pay is being frozen and recruitment is at a standstill. According to MailOnline, the decrease could also affect a planned $40 million renovation project at Buckingham Palace, among others projects.
The Netherlands' queen turns 49
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands celebrated her 49th birthday on May 17. The royal family marked her special day on Instagram with a new photo. The mother of three, who's married to King Willem-Alexander, is the first Argentine-born queen consort in the country's history.
Britain's Zara Tindall marks a birthday
Queen Elizabeth II's second grandchild, Zara Tindall (née Phillips), turned 39 on May 15. The Olympic silver medal-winning equestrian was born in 1981 to Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.
An Austrian princess dies at 31
On May 15, the Houston Chronicle published an obituary confirming that Austrian Princess Maria Galitzine — who in recent years went by her married name, Maria Singh — had died at 31. (See photos of her here.) "Sadly, I can confirm that Princess Maria Galitzine Singh died on May 4, 2020, from a cardiac aneurysm," a delegate of the Emperor Karl League of Prayer — an organization that maintains the legacy of Emperor Karl I of Austria — told USA Today on May 15. The Luxembourg-born, Russia-raised daughter of Prince and Princess Piotr Galitzine had worked as an interior designer in Brussels and Chicago before putting down roots in Houston where her husband, Rishi Roop Singh, works as a chef. The late royal was a descendant of Emperor Karl I and Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma of the Habsburg dynasty — the last emperor and empress of Austria (pictured here on their wedding day).
Prince Carl Philip of Sweden turns 41
Sweden's Princess Sofia took a page out of Duchess Kate's book and showed off her camera skills to mark a loved one's birthday. To celebrate Prince Carl Philip of Sweden's 41st birthday on May 13, the palace released a photo of the Duke of Värmland that was taken by his wife and shared it on the royal family's official Instagram page. In it, he can be seen sitting on the steps of their home, Djurgården, in Stockholm.
Monegasque royal Pauline Ducruet opens up about fashion design career
While quarantining with her mother, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, 26-year-old Pauline Ducruet — who's 16th in line to the Monegasque throne — spoke to Tatler magazine about Alter, the fashion line she founded in 2018. "I always dreamed about having my own brand," explained Pauline, who attended Instituto Marangoni, a private Italian school of fashion and design, in Paris and enjoyed internships with Vogue and Louis Vuitton before launching her own label, which debuted its first runway show at Paris Fashion Week in 2019. "It was always fashion since I was a kid. I think I've always had this sensitivity to art, creativity, and self-expression." She told Tatler that her mother — who was, briefly, an '80s pop star — is her personal style icon. "She always played a huge role in how I see fashion because I grew up seeing her dress up for galas and admiring photos of her in the '80s." Pauline also, however, admires her late grandmother, American actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly. "My family has a more formal style I'd say, but always very chic. I think they influenced me in that way and the rawness of Alter comes from a more streetwear inspiration." New York-based Pauline, whose father is Daniel Ducruet — Stephanie's former bodyguard-turned-husband of a year — revealed that she's been busy designing while isolated with her mom and half-sister, Camille Gottlieb (both are seen flanking her here during Paris Fashion Week in February), in Monaco over the last few months.
Luxembourg welcomes royal baby born amid the coronavirus pandemic
Guillaume, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and wife Stéphanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg welcomed their first child, Prince Charles Jean Philippe Joseph Marie Guillaume — who is second in line to the throne behind his father — on May 10. Due to the global COVID-19 health crisis, Guillaume's parents, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, had to meet their new grandson over a video call. "A digital meeting, certainly, but charged with emotion!" is how they described it. Three days after Charles arrived, his parents left the Grand Duchess Charlotte Maternity Hospital wearing face masks and bid goodbye to doctors and nurses before heading home with their newborn.
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly stepping back from public duties until at least the fall
On May 10, reports revealed that amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will likely not be seen outside the palace gates until the fall, at the earliest — if not longer. At 94, she is one of the most vulnerable as Britain continues to be battered by COVID-19. "The queen won't do anything which goes against the advice of people in her [age] category, and she's going to take all the appropriate advice. There are discussions what we could do and couldn't do come October," a palace source told Britain's The Sunday Times, as reported by People magazine. She'll continue with her official duties — she meets with Prime Minister Boris Johnson via phone — but won't likely leave Windsor Castle, where she's isolating with husband Prince Philip, 98, to return to Buckingham Palace in London. Some of the major events she's missing include the Chelsea Flower Show, the Windsor Horse Show, Trooping the Colour (her official birthday parade and celebration), Royal Ascot and, likely, even her annual summer trip to Balmoral, her residence in Scotland. According to The Mirror, aides have put together what they've dubbed The Royal Task Force to ensure the royal family is front and center as the health crisis continues. Prince William and Duchess Kate have been at the forefront of this, regularly and quite ably doing Zoom calls with charity workers, veterans, frontline health workers, teachers and more (they're seen here outside their country home clapping for health care workers on a BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief special), and the queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, and wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex have been recruited to fill the void left by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan. "There is going to be a lot more interaction between the family members while the crisis is ongoing. Her Majesty has given instructions that, after a turbulent period for the family last year, now is the time to heal and have a united front and get back to the basics of what the monarchy is for — her sole belief is that it goes back to the basics of duty," a source told The Mirror.
Britain's queen marks 75th anniversary of VE Day
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain's royals celebrated VE Day — Victory in Europe Day — on May 8 without fanfare, yet their solemn approach still resonated across the nation as it paid tribute to the World War II generation. Queen Elizabeth II delivered a speech that was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle and broadcast at 9 p.m. – the exact time her father, King George VI, announced the end of WWII in Europe three quarters of a century earlier — during the BBC's VE Day commemorations. The monarch delivered her address — during which she told her subjects, "When I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognize and admire" — with several significant objects in the background: a photo of her father in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform with RAF Wings; the cap she wore when she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Services during WWII (she's the only female member of the royal family ever to serve in Britain's armed forces as a full-time and active member); and a photograph of the royal family and Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE Day in 1945, Town & Country reported. Keep reading to see how Prince Charles and his wife marked the major milestone…
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla mark 75th VE Day anniversary in Scotland
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, marked VE day while isolating in Scotland. As a lone piper played in the background — adhering to coronavirus social distancing guidelines — the Prince of Wales and his wife paid their respects at the Balmoral War Memorial, where they laid a wreath. Charles also led the country in two minutes of silence and both he and his wife shared excerpts from family members' personal journals. As reported by Town & Country, Charles read from grandfather King George VI's diary entry in which the monarch described the events of VE Day 75 years ago while Camilla read an excerpt from father Major Bruce Shand's account of his time in the army during WWII. The Germans held him as a prisoner of war, though he was later able to escape and return to Britain.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are getting the Lifetime movie treatment — again
Lifetime is doing it again. On May 7, TVLine confirmed that the cable network is working on its third Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan movie, which is tentatively titled "Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace." It's set to chronicle how the couple stepped back from royal duties in favor of a more independent life — which the British press dubbed Megxit — and is a followup to previous Lifetime TV movies "Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance" and "Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal." According to the official synopsis, the movie will dramatize "the couple's controversial conscious uncoupling from the crown, after the birth of their son Archie" and detail "the struggles of the new parents and unique challenges of being part of the royal family, which ultimately led Harry and Meghan to give up their royal ties to forge a new life on their own terms." Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser, seen here, played the couple in "A Royal Romance," while another pair of unknown actors brought the couple to life in the second film — but there's no word yet on casting for the third one.
Archie Mountbatten-Windsor turns 1
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, marked a milestone birthday on May 6: He turned 1! To celebrate, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shared a nearly 3-minute-long video of Meghan reading "Duck! Rabbit!" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld to Archie — Harry served as the cameraman — for Save the Stories, a partnership between Save the Children and No Kid Hungry that's raising money to get meals to children in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (It was started by Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams in March.) A source told People magazine that the Sussexes, who've been living in Los Angeles since leaving their senior roles as members of Britain's royal family in March, had a happy, family-focused day with Archie, who got to enjoy his first smash cake. "Meghan made the cake — strawberries and cream," a source told People. "And Harry helped with decorations and blew up balloons." The trio also enjoyed video chats with loved ones. "They Zoomed with godparents, friends and family and had a really simple but incredibly joyous day," the source added. Watch Archie react as Meghan reads the book here.
Anticipated new book on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex set for summer release
On May 4, it was announced that "Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family" will be published by Harper Collins-owned Dey Street Books on Aug. 11. The book, which is authored by Harper's Bazaar royal editor Omid Scobie and ELLE royal correspondent Carolyn Durand, promises to go "beyond the headlines to reveal unknown details of Harry and Meghan's life together, dispelling the many rumors and misconceptions that plague the couple on both sides of the pond." The publisher has confirmed the authors were given "unique access" as they wrote the book with "the participation of those closest to the couple." Some reports have even claimed the Duke and Duchess themselves cooperated. As Omid said on his "The HeirPod" podcast, "I would like to think this tells the definitive version of their lives together."
Princess Charlotte turns 5
Prince William and Duchess Kate's second child, Princess Charlotte, turned 5 on May 2. To mark the occasion, they followed tradition and released a series of photos of their only daughter, which were taken by Kate. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share four new photographs of Princess Charlotte ahead of her fifth birthday tomorrow," the couple captioned the Instagram slideshow (see all four photos here), which was posted on May 1. "The images were taken by The Duchess as the family helped to pack up and deliver food packages for isolated pensioners in the local area."
Sweden's royal family welcomes a furry new member
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her family — husband Prince Daniel and their kids, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar — welcomed a furry new family member during the coronavirus pandemic: Rio. A photo of their adorable new cavapoo dog was released by the palace on May 2. At the time, Rio been living with them for a week at their home, Haga Palace, outside Stockholm. Keep reading for another pic of the adorable royal pup…
Meet Rio, Sweden's newest royal dog
On May 2, Sweden's royal family released another photo of Rio, who joined Crown Princess Victoria and her husband and kids at home a week earlier. Rio is a cavapoo, which is a mix of the Cavalier King Charles spaniel and poodle dog breeds.
Duchess Meghan loses first round in Mail on Sunday lawsuit
On May 1, Duchess Meghan's case against The Mail on Sunday and publisher Associated Newspapers suffered a blow — but her lawsuit will continue on and could go to trial in the future. One week earlier, the royal's legal team — who are waging a fight following the tabloid's decision to publish certain portions of a "deeply personal" and private letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle Sr., in 2018 — laid out part of their case, as did the defense, but a London judge ultimately ruled against Meghan in round one. According to a report from Sky News, he specifically dismissed the parts of Meghan's claim that accuse the publisher of acting "dishonestly" by leaving out parts of the letter, deliberately "stirring up" issues between Meghan and her dad and fostering an "agenda" of publishing intrusive and offensive stories about her. The judge does not believe these allegations are relevant to Meghan's primary claim that the tabloid misused her private information, infringed on her copyright and breached Britain's Data Protection Act. Meghan's side has decided not to challenge the ruling, though a spokesman said her team is "surprised to see that his ruling suggests that dishonest behaviour is not relevant." Still, the spokesman added, the ruling "makes very clear that the core elements of this case do not change and will continue to move forward."