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ROYAL FAMILY

King Felipe strips his scandal-hit sister of title

The Spanish King stripped his sister Cristina of the title of the Duchess of Palma in the wake of her implication in a scandal that has damaged the reputation of the royal family.

King Felipe strips his scandal-hit sister of title
The Infanta Cristina leaves court after a hearing in Palma de Mallorca. Photo: Jaime Reina / AFP

King Felipe VI will formally issue the decree this morning.

“The Official Journal of the state will (on Friday) publish a royal decree by which His Majesty the King will revoke the use of the title of Duchess of Palma de Mallorca by Her Royal Highness the Infanta Cristina,” the palace said in a statement on Thursday evening.

Cristina, 49, stands accused of taking part in tax evasion by her husband, the former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin.

A judge ruled in December that she must stand trial on two counts of accessory to tax fraud, making her the first member of the Spanish royal family to be sent to the dock. No date has been set for her trial.

Both Cristina and Urdangarin have suffered a dramatic fall from grace since they married in 1997 in a lavish ceremony in Barcelona and were bestowed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Palma by Felipe's father, king Juan Carlos, who unexpectedly abdicated last year.

The couple's multi-million-euro mansion has been impounded by the courts and Cristina was notably absent from ceremonies marking Felipe's ascension to the throne in June 2014.

Urdangarin, 47, is accused along with a former business partner of creaming off six million euros ($6.6 million) in public funds from contracts awarded to Noos, a charitable foundation which he chaired.

Cristina's lawyers say she is innocent of any wrongdoing and that she trusted her husband to handle their financial affairs.

The corruption controversy has outraged Spaniards and helped sour the last years of the reign of Juan Carlos, who gave up the throne after nearly four decades hoping his son could freshen up the image of the monarchy.

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ROYAL FAMILY

What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King’s 50th year on the throne?

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf marks his 50-year jubilee next year, while the nation will mark the 500th anniversary of the year Gustav Vasa ascended to the throne after liberating Sweden from Danish rule. So, how is Sweden celebrating?

What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King's 50th year on the throne?

Carl XVI Gustaf was only 27 when he became king following the death of his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973, and he had been Crown Prince since his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, died in a plane crash when he was just four years old. 

In 2018, he became Sweden’s longest reigning monarch ever, and he’s currently showing few signs of slowing down. 

Here are the main events planned for 2023 to celebrate his rule. 

January 27th: the Sweden Dinner

Jubilee celebrations will begin shortly after the New Year’s celebration, with a Sverigemiddag, or “Sweden Dinner”, planned in Stockholm at the Kungliga slottet, or Royal Palace, for January 27.

Leaders from each of Sweden’s 21 counties are invited, and those leaders will also select significant people from their counties to “set the tone” (tongivande människor) for the event.

February-September: Tour of Swedish counties

Throughout the year, the King and Queen will travel to all of Sweden’s counties, riding in a horse-drawn carriage wherever possible. These visits will take place between February and September.

June 6th: National Day celebrations

As mentioned above, on June 6, the royal couple will be in Strängnäs to mark the anniversary of the founding of modern Sweden under Gustav Vasa.

After visiting Strängnäs, the King will give a National Day speech at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, which has its own statue of Gustav Vasa, and which will itself be celebrating its 150-year anniversary next year. A National Day reception will also be held at the museum.

September 15th and September 16th: Main jubilee celebrations

September 15, 2023, officially marks 50 years from the day when Carl XVI Gustaf became Sweden’s king. 

A Jubilee dinner with international heads of state and royals will be held that evening in the Rikssalen at the Royal Palace.

The next day, on September 16th, the King and Queen will travel through Stockholm in a Jubilee Cortege. This will be followed by a Jubilee Concert, which will be open to the public and may also be broadcast live on TV and radio.

While not all these events will be open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities for regular civilians to get caught up in Jubilee celebrations. In March, an exhibition titled “Vasa to Bernadotte – Culture in the service of the kingdom 1523 – 1973 – 2023”, tracking the history of the Swedish monarchy, will open at the Royal Palace. And in June, an outdoor photography retrospective on Carl XVI Gustaf’s time as King will open at Slottsbacken, by the Royal Palace. 

Gustaf Vasa led a rebellion against the Danish King Kristian II, led Sweden’s reformation, and established Sweden as a unitary kingdom. Photo: National Museum of Sweden

So what’s planned to celebrate the the Vasa anniversary? 

Next year isn’t all about contemporary royalty, there’s also a historical king to celebrate. 

Gustav Vasa, or Gustav 1st, is seen by many Swedes as the country’s greatest ever ruler. During his rule, Vasa did away with the tradition of elected monarchs, replacing the system with a hereditary monarchy, then ruled by the House of Vasa.

The day he was elected king, June 6th, 1523, is now celebrated as Sweden’s national day.

So on June 6th, a full day of festivities is planned in Strängnäs, the city where Vasa’s election was held, with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia presiding over the day’s events.

The Royal Castles will mark Gustav Vasa’s election with a variety of events, including lectures, concerts, and park walks planned throughout the year at Vasaborgen Gripsholm, or Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred. The castle itself is an important historical site, dating back to the era of Sweden’s Vasa rulers

You can apply for tickets here from March for the events at Gripsholm Castle. 

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