Royal Roundup: A Warm Windsor Welcome for London Games
The whole royal family’s turning out for the Games.
Queen Elizabeth hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on Monday for members of the International Olympic Committee.
“In the coming days,” she said, “over 10,000 athletes from more than 200 nations will be undertaking their final preparations after years of dedication, hard work and personal sacrifice. We send our warm wishes to them all for a rewarding and enjoyable Games.”
IOC president Jacques Rogge gave the Queen a set of gold, silver and bronze medals.
Metro pointed out that other European countries are also represented by their royal families in the IOC, “so the event was also a gathering of members of foreign monarchies,” the paper wrote.
Among the royals: Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik, Holland’s Prince of Orange, and Monaco’s royal couple, Prince Albert II and his wife, Princess Charlene. Charlene is also a former Olympic swimmer, who competed in the 2000 Games for South Africa) and her husband has been a member of Monaco’s bobsled team.
In other royal-related news about the Olympics:
• Anticipation is high for the official launch ceremony of the Olympics, which the Queen will host on Friday and which is being produced by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. The cost of the ceremony is reported to be £27 million ($42 million), and many details have already been leaked, reports the Associated Press. A pre-recorded segment, filmed in Buckingham Palace, is believed to include the Queen and actor Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Clarence House, reports USA Today, has released the schedules of members of the royal family for the big day. Prince Charles and Camilla, William and Kate and Harry will all be joining the Queen at the opening ceremonies.
• One of the members of the royal family who won’t be at the opening ceremony is Zara Phillips, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter. That’s because she’s going to be competing in the Games as part of Britain’s equestrian team and says she needs to concentrate on training.
“I would rather get on with my competition than go to the opening ceremony,” she explained, according to Female First.
But she was eager to take part in the excitement of life in Athlete’s Village, where she will be staying.
“In the past the equestrian has been based quite far out,” Zara said, “and this time they have made a big effort to have it as part of the Olympics and really nearby, so it will be great to have the atmosphere and benefit from that.”
Zara’s mother, Princess Anne, was the first member of the royal family to compete in the Olympics – she rode for the equestrian team in the 1976 Montreal Games.
• There will be royal family members attending events on almost every day of the Games, writes Tom Sykes in the Daily Beast’s Royalist column.
A royal aide told the Telegraph: “The Queen and Prince of Wales will be active in the first few days, and then the younger royals will lead the way in taking up the Olympic baton.”
William, Kate and Harry will be attending all of the equestrian events – where they’ll not only be showing their support for Zara but they’ll also be presenting medals to the winners.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will also be going to various events.
“The Olympics are being seen within the Royal household as an opportunity for the young royals to take on more prominent official duties,” writes the Telegraph.
William will also go to soccer matches, while Harry will go to volleyball games. Kate will attend gymnastics and synchronized swimming. Because she’s not an actual member of the royal family, there was no word on where Kate’s sister Pippa will be.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princess Anne will make up the royal party attending the closing ceremony on August 12.
• Last week, Kate attended a special preview of an art exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery celebrating the Games. The exhibit, Road to 2012: Aiming High, celebrates athletes and others who helped to make the Olympics happen. It’s the largest photographic commission ever undertaken by the Gallery, and parts of it travelled to Cardiff (from March through May) and Edinburgh (May through earlier this month) and are now on display in Birmingham (until Sept. 9).
• Princess Anne brought the Olympic torch from Greece in May, her daughter Zara was a torchbearer, and now the flame is heading to Buckingham Palace later this week.
The Queen’s already welcomed the torch at Windsor Castle earlier this month in the pouring rain.
Estimates are that one million people in London have already seen the torch as it has wound its way around London since its dramatic aerial entrance into the city on Friday – when it was lowered from a helicopter by a commando into the Tower of London.
On Thursday, the torch will arrive at Buckingham Palace, where it will spend the night before it travels to Hampton Court. From there, it will be ferried by the Queen’s rowboat Gloriana, the lead boat in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant last month, to the Tower Bridge. The London Evening Standard predicts that hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the riverside to watch. From the Tower Bridge, the torch will then be taken to the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony.