Spain's future queen turns 15 on Halloween
Get caught up on all the royals news you might have missed in October 2020 — from royal COVID-19 controversies and a juicy new book about the origins of Prince WIlliam and Prince Harry's feud to a sneak peek at Princess Diana's wedding dress on "The Crown" and much, much more… Let's start with this happy milestone…. On Oct. 31, the eldest child of Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia — Leonor, the Princess of Asturias — celebrated her 15th birthday. Princess Leonor, who was born on Halloween in 2005, someday will be Spain's first queen regnant since Isabella II, who reigned from 1833 to 1868. Keep reading for more of the biggest global royals news from October 2020…
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Europe has a new royal reality TV star
On Oct. 26, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway announced that she's filming "Märtha," a documentary fly-on-the-wall TV series she hopes will show the world another side of her and set the record straight about her headline-making personal life. People magazine writes that the show "will detail the impact that the combination of the coronavirus [pandemic] and the tragic Christmas Day 2019 suicide of her ex-husband, Ari Behn, has had on the princess," who's currently in a relationship with American spiritual guide Shaman Durek.
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The Sultan of Brunei's son Prince Azim is dead at 38
On Oct. 26, the Kingdom of Brunei's government announced that Prince Azim – the son of Hassanal Bolkiah, 29th Sultan of Brunei – died at 38 on Oct. 24 in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. The film producer and philanthropist's cause of death was not confirmed but according to Tatler, rumors claimed Azim had been sick for some time, and many believed he had cancer.
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Albania's crown prince and his wife welcome a princess
Crown Prince Leka II and Crown Princess Elia of Albania — seen here at their 2016 wedding — welcomed their first child, Princess Geraldine, in Tirana, Albania, on Oct. 22. Her name is a tribute to her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Geraldine, who died on Oct. 22, 2002 — exactly 18 years to the day before the new royal's birth, People magazine reported.
Dutch king issues apology for vacationing in Greece amid fall coronavirus surge
In an Oct. 21 video message, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands publicly apologized for their decision to travel to Greece for a vacation — which they ultimately cut short — after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte urged the country to avoid unnecessary travel and issued a partial lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, HELLO! reported. The monarch said, in part, from their royal residence Huis de Bosch in The Hague (as translated into English), "It hurts to have betrayed your trust in us. … Even though the trip was in line with the regulations, it was very unwise not to take into account the impact of the new restrictions on our society. Our own decision to return was made with the realisation that we should not have gone." Shortly after arriving in Greece days earlier, the couple issued a statement explaining that they would be returning home: "We will abandon our vacation. We have seen people's reactions to media reports. And they are intense, and they have affected us," they said.
Juicy new book makes new claims about Prince William's relationship with Prince Harry
Another month, another juicy tell-all… On Oct. 20, author Robert Lacey – who works as the historical consultant for Netflix's "The Crown" – released the book "Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult." Some of the most fascinating allegations center on the origins of the princes' rift, Harry's reluctance to always play second to William all the time and why, unlike other family members, an allegedly miffed William and wife Duchess Kate waited eight days to meet Harry and wife Duchess Meghan's newborn son, Archie, in 2019. It also shares new stories about William's disdain for father Prince Charles growing up (though it claims they're close and have a good relationship now), explains why Kate declined her first opportunity to spend Christmas with Queen Elizabeth II when she and William were still dating, and reveals how William further upset Harry when he turned to his uncle Charles Spencer for help when he thought Harry and Meghan were moving too fast. (Us Weekly has more highlights.) "What many people would like to see is those two brothers to come back together. But … they are not going to," the author told The Sun on Oct. 16, adding that the deep resentment they share was "crystallized by Meghan."
Queen Elizabeth II finally leaves her coronavirus bubble but sparks controversy with maskless outing
For the first time in seven months, Queen Elizabeth II on Oct. 15 publicly left her COVID-19-free royal residence bubble that staffers have been maintaining for her and husband Prince Philip since March in order to keep them safe amid the global health crisis. She stepped out with grandson Prince William to formally open the Energetics Analysis Centre, a state-of-the-art building about 90 miles outside London that's dedicated to scientific research and analysis to protect the U.K. against terrorist and criminal threats relating to explosives. The pair toured the facility, watched counterintelligence weapon demos, met dozens of staff and visited a lab that researches deadly diseases like Ebola as well as chemical and biological warfare weapons. The royals also reportedly met some of the key scientists helming the U.K.'s response plan for the coronavirus pandemic. However, the outing was riddled with controversy as neither the monarch nor the Duke of Cambridge wore face masks despite British public health guidelines and rising cases across Britain. Though a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told ITV the royals were cleared to go maskless by medical professionals, and reports further indicated everyone there had tested negative and was social distancing, the visuals sent a much different message that caused many on social media to criticize the queen, William and their advisers.
Fergie turns 61
Britain's Sarah, Duchess of York, celebrated her 61st birthday on Oct. 15. She shared a short-and-sweet video on Instagram thanking her followers for all their birthday messages. "61, still redheaded and not out," she quipped. Daughter Princess Eugenie took to Instagram too, where she honored her mother with a photo slideshow. "Happy Birthday to my dear mumsy… You are one of a kind. There were too many pictures to choose from that show how completely unique you are. 🎉🎊🎉🎊," she captioned pictures of Fergie through the years.
Happy anniversary, Princess Eugenie!
On Oct. 12 — a few weeks after she revealed she's pregnant — Britain's Princess Eugenie of York marked her second wedding anniversary with Jack Brooksbank with a sweet Instagram post. In the video clip, she shared some previously unseen wedding photos from their big day in 2018 as well as some casual and candid shots of herself and Jack traveling and just spending time together. "Been the best 2 years married to you and 10 years with you in total.. happy memories always my dear Jack," Eugenie captioned the clip.
The Sussexes reflect on son Archie's latest milestones, launch Archewell website
While sitting on the sofa of their new home in Montecito, California, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan opened up about son Archie during a conversation with Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai to commemorate International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex talked about the unexpected silver lining of coronavirus lockdown this year, with Harry telling Malala of their 1-year-old son, "We were both there for his first steps, his first run, his first fall, his first everything." Added Meghan, "And it's just fantastic, because I think in so many ways we are fortunate to be able to have this time to watch him grow, and in the absence of COVID, we would be traveling and working more externally and we'd miss a lot of those moments. So it's been a lot of good family time." Later in the month, the couple quietly launched their new Archewell foundation, choosing to simply go live with its new minimalistic website rather than make a big announcement. "Archewell is not expected to have a formal launch in the short term," a source told ETonline. However, "The work is already underway. It's already an operating organization."
Belgium's future queen marks start of military academy academic year
On Oct. 8, Belgium's future queen, Princess Elisabeth, was joined by her parents — King Philippe and Queen Mathilde – as well as her siblings at a ceremony marking the start of the academic year for the Royal Military Academy, where the future monarch is currently attending school. The princess – who graduated from high school in Wales and is now spending a year studying social and military sciences at the academy in her home country — wore her fatigues as she posed alongside her parents at the event in Brussels. Elisabeth celebrated her 19th birthday a few weeks later on Oct. 25.
Kristen Stewart talks prepping to play Princess Diana in the drama "Spencer"
Back in June, it was announced that Kristen Stewart will play Princess Diana in "Spencer," a drama from "Jackie" filmmaker Pablo Larraín that's expected to chronicle what happens over three days in the '90s when the late Princess of Wales, who's at Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate, realizes she needs to end her marriage to Prince Charles. In an interview with InStyle that hit the internet on Oct. 7, K-Stew revealed how she's preparing — and why she's feeling the pressure to get it right. "We don't start shooting until mid-January. The accent is intimidating as all hell because people know that voice, and it's so, so distinct and particular," she said. "I'm working on it now and already have my dialect coach." The "Twilight" franchise star has also been reading books about the late royal to help her prepare. "In terms of research, I've gotten through two and a half biographies, and I'm finishing all the material before I actually go make the movie. It's one of the saddest stories to exist ever, and I don't want to just play Diana — I want to know her implicitly. I haven't been this excited about playing a part, by the way, in so long."
The Cambridge kids reveal their speaking voices to the public
On Oct. 3, Prince William and Duchess Kate shared an Instagram video of their three kids – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – posing questions about nature to famed conservationist Sir David Attenborough. It's the first time royal watchers have really seen the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's children speaking on camera. George asked David, "What animal do you think will become extinct next?" while Charlotte mused, ""I like spiders, do you like spiders too?" Toddler Louis adorably mispronounced "animal" as he asked the environmentalist, "What amimal do you like?" Commenters loved the post, with one Instagram user noting, "I just realize that I never heard their voices," another adding, "It's so nice to hear their voices! Cuteness overload!! 😍💖," and yet another noticing, "Charlotte sounds just like her mum!"
"The Crown" debuts its version of Princess Diana's iconic wedding dress…
On Oct. 3, Netflix released the first photo of actress Emma Corrin wearing Princess Diana's wedding dress on "The Crown" — yet another exciting sneak peek from season 4, which debuts on the streaming giant on Nov. 15. The dress was created by Emmy-winning costume designer Amy Roberts, who "wanted to capture the same spirit and style of David & Elizabeth Emanuel's original design, without creating a replica for Emma Corrin," the Twitter account for "The Crown" explained. One of the designers who made the real Diana's dress for her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles told People magazine that she approved. "The dress looks lovely," Elizabeth told the magazine on Oct. 5. "They have done a great job in capturing the spirit of the wedding gown." Keep reading to see the real Diana in her wedding dress…
…which was inspired by the late Princess of Wales' real wedding dress
And here's a look at the wedding dress the late Princess Diana wore during her July 29, 1981, nuptials at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The famed gown, which designer Elizabeth Emanuel created in secrecy with then-husband David Emanuel, was hand-embroidered with sequins and 10,000 pearls featured a 25-foot train made of ivory taffeta and antique lace. The Princess of Wales famously accessorized with her own Spencer family heirloom tiara.
The former king of Belgium's illegitimate daughter is now legally a princess
Artist Delphine Boël — the illegitimate daughter of Belgium's former King Albert II — is now officially a princess of Belgium. A court made the ruling public on Oct. 1. Nine months earlier, she was recognized as the former monarch's fourth child following a seven-year legal battle and a positive paternity test he'd long resisted taking. In September, she petitioned a Brussels court to grant her the royal title and privileges that Albert's other children, including the country's current King Philippe, have always enjoyed. Princess Delphine — who was conceived when the king had an affair with Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps that began in the '60s — is now eligible for a royal inheritance when Albert dies, plus she and her two children can take his last name, Saxe-Cobourg. The former monarch will also have to pay his daughter's legal fees, which total more than $4 million, according to the BBC. "A judicial victory will never replace a father's love, but it does offer a sense of justice," Delphine's lawyer, Marc Uyttendaele, told the BBC. "Many more children who have gone through similar ordeals may be able to find the strength to face them."