Sweden's king marks a milestone birthday
Get caught up on all the global royals news you might have missed in April 2021 — which was dominated this month by the British royal family as they endured the heartbreaking loss of their patriarch, Prince Philip. Keep reading to recap the biggest headlines, starting with this big birthday …King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden celebrate his 75th birthday on April 30. He's seen here in a new portrait released by the palace in honor of the milestone. Such a major birthday would normally be marked with public celebrations and revelry, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Swedish Royal Court announced that the monarch — who's been on the throne for 47 years, since ascending upon the death of his grandfather in 1973 — would instead honor his day with scaled-back mostly virtual events.
Keep reading to get caught up on all the other big global royals news from April 2021…
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"The Crown" casts its next Camilla Parker Bowles
On April 29, The Daily Mail reported that the award-winning Netflix series "The Crown" has cast its next Camilla Parker Bowles. Actress Olivia Williams will take over for Emerald Fennell — who just won an Oscar for her "Promising Young Woman" screenplay — as Prince Charles's future wife and Duchess of Cornwall on seasons 5 and 6, according to the paper. Netflix has yet to confirm the news. Fans will recognize Olivia from her work in everything from "The Sixth Sense," "Rushmore" and "An Education" to more recent projects "The Father" and the new HBO series "The Nevers." It was previously announced that Dominic West will play Charles, Elizabeth Debicki will portray Princess Diana, Imelda Staunton will take on Queen Elizabeth II, Jonathan Pryce will tackle Prince Philip and Lesley Manville will portray Princess Margaret on the series' final seasons.
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The Cambridges mark 10 years of marriage with new photos
On April 29, Prince William and Duchess Kate celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. To mark the milestone, they released two images taken by photographer Chris Floyd earlier in the week at Kensington Palace — as well as an incredible personal video that shows them embracing and playing at a beach and outdoors with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. They captioned the mini home movie, "Thank you to everyone for the kind messages on our wedding anniversary. We are enormously grateful for the 10 years of support we have received in our lives as a family. W&C." Keep reading to see another anniversary shot…
The Cambridges release a second 10th anniversary photo
Prince William and Duchess Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, posed for a portrait at Kensington Palace to mark their 10th wedding anniversary on April 29, 2021. A decade ago, they married at Westminster Abbey as the world watched their fairytale union unfold.
Prince Charles pushes Prince Andrew further into the background
On April 28, People magazine reported that Prince Charles has taken over another of Prince Andrew's patronages in the wake of the Duke of York's forced retreat from royal duties in late 2019. That decision was made after he gave a disastrous interview about his ties to dead pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein and addressed allegations he'd had a sexual relationship with one of Epstein's victims when she was 17, which he's denied. "The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is delighted to announce that The Prince of Wales has accepted an invitation to become the Orchestra's Patron," the RPO shared on social media on April 27. It's not the first patronage Andrew has relinquished: In November, the royal family quietly revised its online list of patronages to reflect that Charles had become the patron of York Minster cathedral, taking over the role from his brother. According to Page Six, though Andrew briefly resurfaced to publicly mourn his father, Prince Philip, in April, Charles "is making sure" his brother "stays out of [the] public eye."
The Netherlands celebrates King's Day
The Netherlands marked King Willem-Alexander's 54th birthday on April 27 with its annual King's Day celebration — it's a national holiday and everyone gets the day off work! — though it was mostly virtual this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Still, the monarch, wife Queen Maxima and their kids — Princess Ariane, Princess Alexia and Princess Amalia — were able to celebrate outdoors with a Virtual National King's Day toast in The Hague.
Princess Diana's wedding dress returns to Kensington Palace
Princess Diana's wedding dress will go on display at Kensington Palace in London, where she lived while raising her sons, for the first time in more than 25 years, it was announced on April 26. It will be there during what would have been her and Prince Charles's 40th wedding anniversary. Sky News reported that Prince William and Prince Harry agreed to lend the gown — an ivory silk taffeta dress covered in 10,000 mother of pearl sequins as well as panels of antique Carrickmacross lace that originally belonged to Queen Mary (ex-husband Charles's great-grandmother) — as well as its 25-foot sequined train to Historic Royal Palaces so they can be included in a new temporary exhibition. "Royal Style In The Making" will run from June 3, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022, at the palace's historic and newly restored Orangery. The late Princess of Wales' wedding dress, which was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for Diana and Charles's July 1981 nuptials, was last displayed at Kensington Palace in 1995, though it later was put on display at Althorp, her childhood home where she is now buried.
Prince Louis turns 3
On April 23, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge celebrated his 3rd birthday. His parents, Prince William and Duchess Kate, released this adorable image of the toddler on his bike to mark the occasion. Kate snapped the photo of her youngest child as he left for his first day at the Willcocks Nursery School during his birthday week, Kensington Palace shared.
Queen Elizabeth II marks milestone birthday
It was not a very happy birthday for Queen Elizabeth II on April 21. The monarch celebrated her 95th birthday less than two weeks after the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, and just four days after his funeral. "I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate," she said in a statement on her milestone day. "While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world." She continued, "My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life."
Norway's king returns to duty after lengthy sick leave
Norway's King Harald V returned to work on April 12 following nearly three months on sick leave during which his son and heir, Crown Prince Haakon, carried out the monarch's constitutional duties, Royal Central reported. Harald had surgery in an Oslo hospital to repair an injured tendon over his right knee in January and was initially expected to return to his duties in mid-February.
Prince Philip buried in ceremonial funeral at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle
On April 17, Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was laid to rest inside St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in a ceremonial funeral full of military touches, though it was wildly scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions in Britain. It took place eight days after his death at 99. In the lead-up to the sad day, British tabloids reported on some of the dramas unfolding, including how the queen ultimately decided that no one in the family would wear military uniforms — which was regarded as a wise choice by many considering it would have meant that the only two family members who actually served in the British armed forces (Prince Harry and Prince Andrew) would not be in uniform, as both had been forced to step back from their roles as senior working royals, albeit for very different reasons. Keep reading to see a few of the personal touches Philip requested for his funeral, including that his casket be transported atop a customized military green Land Rover that he helped design beginning 18 years earlier. See the best photos from his funeral here.
More details from Prince Philip's funeral
Prince Philip's widow, Queen Elizabeth II, was one of just 30 masked mourners on the guest list at his April 17 funeral due to COVID-19 restrictions, though hundreds of soldiers and musicians participated outdoors. She sat alone during the service, which saw the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin lowered into the Royal Vault below St. George's Chapel as Royal Marine buglers played action stations per the Royal Navy veteran's wishes — it's a signal given at sea to summon all hands to their battle stations.
Prince Philip's funeral processional
Prince Philip's four children — Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — were joined by grandsons Prince William, Peter Phillips and Prince Harry as well as the queen's nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, and son-in-law Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, as they walked in an eight-minute processional behind the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin across the grounds of Windsor Castle on April 17. The casket was covered with his personal standard, or flag, upon which his naval cap and sword and a private note and white flowers from his widow were placed.
All eyes were on Princes William and Harry
Despite a royal family feud that's been going on for years — which was recently exacerbated by Prince Harry and wife Duchess Meghan's March interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they revealed the reasons they left Britain amid ongoing strife with his family — Harry and brother Prince William were united by grief at their grandfather Prince Philip's funeral on April 17. They walked in the processional with cousin Peter Phillips between them — a move reportedly requested by William himself amid Harry's frosty homecoming — but after the service, BBC cameras saw them amiably speaking to each other, first with Duchess Kate, then together as they walked back to the private apartments at Windsor Castle. However, reports that emerged in the days that followed revealed that the brothers — as well as Harry and father Prince Charles — still have quite a ways to go if they are seeking a reconciliation. Harry's wife — who's in her third trimester with a daughter due this summer after suffering a miscarriage last July — was unable to get medical clearance to fly to Britain for the funeral. The trip, during which Harry was required to quarantine and test negative for COVID-19, was his first trip back to Britain in more than a year.
Prince Philip dies at 99
Britain's Prince Philip — Queen Elizabeth II's devoted husband of 73 years — died on April 9, 2021, at 99. "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will be made in due course. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss," read the statement released by Buckingham Palace. Over the next few days, Philip's four children, several of his grandchildren and dozens of celebrities and world leaders paid tribute with heartfelt statements and reactions on social media. Read them all here. Following Philip's death, the queen released this personal photo with her beloved, which was snapped by daughter-in-law Sophie, Countess of Wessex, at the top of the Coyles of Muick in Scotland in 2003.
Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla mark wedding anniversary on same day his father died
April 9, 2021, was a bittersweet day for Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall: While it was their 16th wedding anniversary, it was also the day the Prince of Wales lost his father, Prince Philip, who died that morning at 99. Charles and Camilla married in a 2005 civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall then had a Service of Prayer and Dedication at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle — the same place his father was buried on April 17.
Princess Martha Louise of Norway announces move to America
America is getting another princess! A year after Prince Harry's wife, Duchess Meghan (who's technically a princess of the United Kingdom) moved to California, Norway's Princess Martha Louise revealed plans to move to America with her three daughters, whose father — her ex-husband — died in 2019. "Right now there is COVID and it is difficult to plan, but we plan to move with time," she told Norwegian newspaper VG, as reported by People magazine on April 7. "The children will, of course, join me. We will keep the home in Lommedalen anyway. We must have a home in Norway. We'll still be here a lot. We cannot leave beautiful Norway completely." The royal has been dating Shaman Durek — a Los Angeles-based spiritual guide with a celebrity following that includes Gwyneth Paltrow — since 2019, though it's not clear if she'll make L.A. her home.
Poll finds Britons want Prince William to leapfrog his father, while younger Brits want Prince Harry to be king
Ouch! In a new U.K. poll that made headlines on April 6 and 7, Deltapoll — which interviewed 1,590 British adults — found that more people believe Prince William should leapfrog his father to become king, The Mirror reported, than believe Prince Charles should take the throne. According to its findings, 27% of Britons want the Prince of Wales to become king, as is his birthright, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, while 47% think he should be passed over in favor of his eldest son, the Duke of Cambridge. On top of that, the poll found that the youngest respondents (people between 18 and 24) actually prefer Prince Harry — who last year left as a senior member of the royal family due to issues with his relatives, though he remains sixth in line to the throne — to become king over William: Harry got 23% to William's 21%, Page Six reported. Of course that youngest age group also showed the most support for abolishing the monarchy altogether, with 19% indicating they'd like to see the institution go away. Another takeaway: 51% of the respondents, who took the poll between March 31 and April 1, believe Harry and wife Duchess Meghan have damaged the monarchy's reputation.
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan reveal their first project for Netflix
On April 6, Netflix announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first project from the couple's Archewell Productions deal that was signed in 2020: "Heart of Invictus," a docu-series series that will follow a group of competitors from around the globe — all service members who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses — as they prepare for the next Invictus Games, which will take place in the Netherlands in 2022. "Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve. This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year," Prince Harry — the Games' founder — said in a statement. "As Archewell Productions' first series with Netflix, in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation, I couldn't be more excited for the journey ahead or prouder of the Invictus community for continuously inspiring global healing, human potential and continued service."
Jordan royal family drama explodes
In early April, what The New York Times characterized as "a long-simmering rift" between King Abdullah II of Jordan and half-brother Prince Hamzah bin Hussein — the former crown prince — erupted spectacularly. The Jordanian government on April 4 accused Prince Hamzah of "destabilizing Jordan's security." Further accusations from the country's foreign minister claimed he'd sought to target "the security and stability of the nation" and hinted the former crown prince, who shares the same father as the current king, and others were involved in — as the Times put it — "a failed palace coup that had foreign backing." Hamzah released a video claiming he'd been put under house arrest and said he would defy orders to not communicate with the outside world, The Guardian reported. He denied any involvement in a plot against the king but was critical of the government. His mother, American-born Queen Noor, who is King Abdullah II's stepmother, said her son was the victim of "wicked slander." Abdullah — who became king upon the death of their father, King Hussein, in 1999 — had initially decreed that his half-brother Hamzah would later succeed him, but six years later in 2004, he removed him as crown prince.