Of Princes and Palaces…

Dungeons, dragons, witches and wizards, charming princes, desperate damsels, fabulously wealthy Kings and Queens; the epic tales of royalty and fantasy abound and amaze. We’ve all been given a glimpse into the lives of what medieval monarchs went through, seen the mammoth castles and fortresses they called home (as depicted in ‘modern’ television series such as Game of Thrones, Camelot and Merlin) It is indeed a fascinating life that royalty lead, having to balance national duty with personal life and always maintaining the not less than perfect outward appearance. Royalty are revered and adored and the only way to be one was/is to be born one!

Ever since I was in Class Seven, I was an ardent fan of a guy world renowned, not in his own right or achievement, but by the simple fact that he was the Royal of one of the tiniest yet wealthiest nations on earth; Prince Albert of Monaco. As we all know, shy of two months ago, Britain’s Prince William wed relatively unknown Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, in a ceremony that was likened to that of Princess Diana and Prince Charles way back in the late eighties. Prince Albert of Monaco however, wed the former South African Olympic gold swimming champion (now Princess) Charlene (formerly Wittstock) just this past weekend, in a religious ceremony that was much less publicized by the media but was arguably more glamorous than that of the British Royals. For some snippets of just how lavish this affair was, you can have a look here:  http://on.fb.me/r23xVL

Now you have to understand, I have been obsessed with the European royals, their lives and their castles ever since I was young; I would imagine myself as the heir to the throne of Monaco or that of the equally if not wealthier Sultandom of Brunei on the Indonesian subcontinent.

The medieval and grandiose palaces they reside in, the dazzling behemoths they are driven in and the unrivaled cuisine they enjoy. Who would want to pass up life as a Royal? In this post however, I will let you admire what some of the Princes of (mostly) European monarchies enjoy and the ‘delicacies’ that are the official Palaces of their Principalities.

Prince Harry of Wales and Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry

This Prince really needs no introduction. Harry has earned a reputation as a lovable rogue. Despite getting a D in Geography, he excelled in Sports at Eton College. At age 23, he was appointed by the Queen as Counsellor of State and has already embarked on fulfilling his royal duties. But beyond the headlines, he’s got a heart of gold and a passion for causes like Walking With the Wounded, a charity that benefits wounded veterans that is currently on a trek to the North Pole.

Originally designed as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham around 1705, Architects John Nash and Edward Blore later extensively enlarged what is now Buckingham Palace to house British monarchs, the first of whom being Queen Victoria herself. This was of course way after King George III had acquired the property for his wife and during which the Palace was aptly named the ‘Queen’s House’.

Buckingham Palace (aerial view)

 

Andrea Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco and the Le Rocher Palace in Monaco

Andrea Pierre of Monaco

If Prince Albert of Monaco dies without having any legitimate children, then Andrea will adopt the name Grimaldi and be the next Prince. Casiraghi is one of a trio of Europe’s hottest young royals (along with brother Pierre and sister Charlotte). Second in line to the Monegasque throne, he lives mostly in New York and is fond of skateboarding.

Unlike most royals, though, he lacks official titles, since his late Italian father was a commoner, much like Kate Middleton (anyone he marries will have to be content with the family’s vast fortune). He is also actively involved in charity, such as with his mother’s AMADE Mondiale charity in and around the African continent.

Built in 1191 as a fortress and garrison, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, on the Rocher Island, has an elegant facade, thanks to King Honore the 2nd who commissioned the Architect Jacques Catone to transform the Palace from the grim fortified nature it possessed to a more renaissance-looking structure. The main façade facing the square, the “front” of the palace, was given decorative embellishments which gave it a beautiful appearance by the end of the 18th Century.

Le Rocher Palace, Monaco

Prince Felix of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Palace

Luxembourg Palace

Luxembourg Palace was built for the mother of King Louis Xlll of France, which would more than explain the elegant and almost femininely appealing facade of the Palace. It was thematically modelled on the Palazzo Pitti of sister city Florence in Italy. Most notably, from 29 July to 15 October 1946, the Luxembourg Palace was the site of the talks of Paris Peace Conference.

Prince Felix

One of the most intelligent royals on the planet, brainy billionaire Prince Felix is a 6-foot-tall jet-setter. He is the second son of the Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. He is currently second in the line of succession. Said to be easygoing and flirty, he’s also surprisingly down to earth: Before recently moving to Rome for a master’s degree in Bioethics, he worked in the PR department of a sports marketing firm.

Prince Azim of Brunei and the Istana Nurul Iman

Prince Azim of Brunei

For those of you had no idea, Brunei is one of the wealthiest nations on Earth! With A-listers such as singer and songstress Mariah Carey a regular attendee of his social gatherings, it is no surprise that fun-loving Azim, fourth in line to the throne, is lavishly generous with his estimated $22 billion fortune, and regularly throws blowout bashes that grab “party of the year” headlines. He’s a lover of trinkets and baubles, too: One of his favorite childhood gifts from his father was a gold- and diamond-encrusted Game Boy.

The Istana Nurul Iman is both the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and also the seat of the government. It was completed in 1984 at a total cost of $400 million. The name is derived from arabic and means Palace of the Light of Faith. Leandro Locsin was the principal Architect, basing its design on the Islamic and Malay influences within the Principality of Brunei.

The Istana Nurul Iman entrance

Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden and the Stockholm Palace

Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden

They say he is one of the ‘better looking’ of European Royals, Prince Carl of Sweden. He is the only son of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden. A wild child fond of clubbing and sports (from cross-country skiing to soccer), he’s been linked with a reality-show beauty since splitting with his girlfriend of a decade a couple of years ago. He currently studies at the Swedish University of Agricultural studies and also pursues his passion of graphic design in Stockholm.

The largest of all European royal palaces and entirely built of brick and sandstone sections, Stockholm Palace was predictably a fortress at first, to protect Lake Malaren. It happens to be the official offices of King Carl XVl Gustaf, though the family lives in Drottingholm Palace.

Stockholm Palace

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6 thoughts on “Of Princes and Palaces…

  1. Your next post should be on Cathedrals that dot the world…from St Peter’s in Rome to Cologne, Germany! They are masterpieces of architectural grandeur!

    Nice post though…!

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