A royal year: From heiresses to 'Heilnesses', bathtub bans to beachheads

Royal families around the world celebrated some big milestones this year. There were plenty of memorable moments for royal watchers, who obsessed over babies, glamorous weddings and important anniversaries.

See Full Article

But just like regular families, monarchs and their heirs had some of their best -- and worst -- times in 2015.

The good times included the birth of Princess Charlotte, the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II as the longest-reigning monarch in Britain’s history and the lavish wedding of Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and reality TV star Sofia Hellqvist.

But there were also many less flattering, and sometimes odd, stories about royals that went beyond the usual tabloid headlines. We’ve compiled some of the highlights:

The future faces of Prince George and Princess Charlotte

Prince George

The world is obsessed with the youngest heirs to the British throne, so it’s no surprise that someone is already trying to predict what the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children will look like decades into the future. Scientists at the University of Bradford in the U.K. have developed software that can predict someone’s future appearance by blending their parents’ individual features. This fall, they demonstrated the software’s capabilities by creating imagined – and some say slightly creepy -- photos of Prince George and Princess Charlotte at different stages in their lives, up to age 60.

The Queen’s Nazi salute

The Sun newspaper shows photo of Queen saluting

A British tabloid stirred up controversy in July when it published images of a young Queen Elizabeth II performing the Nazi salute with her family in 1939. The Sun’s front-page headline blared: “Their Royal Heilnesses,” prompting Buckingham Palace to issue a rare response expressing the Royal Family’s disappointment with the publication.

The prince who will never be king

Romania's ex-King Michael with son Price Nicholas

The international press rarely pays attention to Romania’s royal family, but the Balkan nation’s former King Michael made headlines around the world in August when he stripped his only grandson, Prince Nicholas, of the royal title. In what was perhaps the biggest royal snub of 2015, King Michael said the royal family should instead be led by someone who is “modest, well-balanced and with moral principles.” Ouch.

An heir’s lonely end in a trailer park

Tsar Alexander III and family

Tsar Alexander III ruled the vast Russian empire of the 19th century, but his great-grandson died poor and alone – save for his dog -- in a trailer park in the Australian Outback. The locals didn’t even know Prince Philip’s real name and simply called him Old Nick. He died of a suspected heart attack and a local family paid for his funeral.

Swedish king calls for bathtub ban

King Carl XVI Gustaf

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment that nevertheless raised some eyebrows: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden suggested in an interview that “all bathtubs should be banned” in an effort to conserve water. The eco-conscious royal said the idea struck him when he realized how much “fresh water and energy” was wasted with each bath. “I really felt ashamed then, I really did,” he said.

Prince Charles is worried about his Camembert

Prince Charles

The future King of England is not known for impassioned speeches, but he delivered something close to one this year on an unusual topic – cheese. He told an audience in Paris that he fears for the very existence of traditional French cheeses as genetically modified foods become more common. “What will become of the Brie de Meaux, the Crottin de Chavignol or the Bleu d'Auvergne?" he wondered.

Prince of Monaco loses court fight over love child

Court rules against Prince of Monaco

Ten years after Prince Albert II of Monaco unsuccessfully tried to prevent the publication of a magazine story about a secret son he had with a flight attendant, the Europe’s top human rights court ruled in favour of press freedom. The court ruled that the prince was not justified in trying to keep his love child a secret and that the public had the right to know about a potential heir.

Saudi royal takeover in Cote d’Azur

French beach

Saudi Arabia’s King Salaman caused an uproar in southern France this year when he and his entourage forced the closure of a strip of beach during his visit to the Cote d'Azur. More than 150,000 people signed a petition protesting the closure in front of the king’s villa. He left France after just eight days, but it’s unclear whether the grumpy locals drove him away.

Demands for return of ‘stolen’ crown jewel

Crown jewel

A court petition was filed in Pakistan seeking the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond that the document claims was forcibly handed over to British rulers during India’s colonial times. The 105-carat diamond, presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, was set at the front of the crown made for the late Queen Mother Elizabeth. India has also been calling on the U.K. to return the diamond.

A Canadian disavowal

Dror Bar-Natan

And finally, one of the year’s odder stories about royalty comes courtesy of a new Canadian who insisted on renouncing his oath to the Queen immediately after taking part in a citizenship ceremony. While many Canadians hold the Queen and the Royal Family close to their hearts, Dror Bar-Natan, a math professor from Israel, sees the monarchy as a symbol of inequality. Since Ontario’s top court has ruled that citizens can publicly disavow their oath to the Queen, Bar-Nathan did just that in a formal letter to the judge.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Ukrainian lawmakers must leave guns outside parliament

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Ukraine's parliament has approved a bill requiring lawmakers to lock up their guns before entering the chamber. The bill passed Tuesday obliges lawmakers to leave weapons and explosives in lockers. The move follows last week's statement by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, who accused lawmaker Nadiya Savchenko, a former military pilot who became a national icon after spending two years in a Russian prison, of plotting an attack on parliament with grenades and automatic weapons. Source
  • Family friend who took in Florida school shooting suspect speaks to media

    World News CBC News
    The brother of the 19-year-old who confessed to gunning down 17 people at a Florida high school woke up in jail Tuesday following his arrest for trespassing on the campus. Broward Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Zachary Cruz, 18, on Monday afternoon, saying he rode his skateboard onto the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School campus after being warned to stay away. Source
  • Electricity deal clinches $100M bitcoin mining operation in Medicine Hat

    Canada News CBC News
    The City of Medicine Hat has agreed to supply electricity and lease land to a Toronto-based cryptocurrency mining company in a deal that will see $100 million in construction spending in the southern Alberta city. The city will provide electric energy capacity of about 42 megawatts to Hut 8 Mining Corp. Source
  • Screaming, insults, pushed chairs: Integrity watchdog slams prison official for abusive behaviour

    Canada News CBC News
    A director with Canada's prison system screamed, hurled insults and behaved aggressively at employees on a near-daily basis, the federal integrity commissioner concludes in a report tabled in Parliament today. Public sector integrity commissioner Joe Friday said Brigitte de Blois, based in the Correctional Service of Canada's downtown Ottawa headquarters, committed a serious breach of the code of discipline and values and ethics code by engaging in "repetitive abusive behaviour" and berating…
  • Ontario university won't stop talk by anti-immigration speaker Faith Goldy

    Canada News CBC News
    Some students, faculty and groups at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., are speaking out against a planned talk Tuesday evening by Faith Goldy — a woman described as alt-right and a white supremacist sympathizer. Goldy is giving a talk on keeping Canada's borders closed to immigration as part of a speaker series being put on by a new campus group, Laurier Society for Open Inquiry. Source
  • 'Patience': Spring expected to creep in slowly

    Canada News CTV News
    Spring has officially sprung in Canada, but the effects of the “fickle” season will be slow to appear across the country, according to Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips. “This spring, patience is the key word,” Phillips told CTV News Channel on Tuesday, with the temperature in Toronto sitting at several degrees below freezing. Source
  • Western law students being taught how to relax

    Canada News CBC News
    It's an annual rite of spring on university campuses — exam stress. Yet, perhaps defying the odds, almost two dozen students at Western University's Law school aren't tearing their hair out. They are meditating. "If you can focus just on the present, your thoughts are not focused on the future, our to-do list or regrets about the past," said Thomas Telfer, a law professor at Western and the man behind a new mindfulness meditation course. Source
  • Toronto woman, 27, slain in murder-suicide: police

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A 27-year-old Toronto woman is the victim of what police are describing as a murder-suicide in the city. Police say they were called to a condo building in the north end of the city on March 6 and found a 30-year-old man dead on a balcony. Source
  • Sentencing for N.S. sailboat captain caught smuggling cocaine delayed again

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The sentencing hearing for a sailboat captain caught smuggling 250 kilograms of cocaine from the Caribbean to a Nova Scotia boatyard has been delayed yet again. Jacques John Grenier, facing charges of possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and importing cocaine, appeared briefly in Halifax provincial court Tuesday. Source
  • Liberals propose tightening Canada's firearms law with new record-keeping practices

    Canada News CBC News
    The Liberal government hopes to tighten Canada's firearms law with changes to the background check system and new mandatory record-keeping practices for vendors. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale tabled Bill C-71 on Tuesday, which includes new provisions to "enhance" existing background checks for those seeking a firearms license. Source