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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Princesses of the World

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royal music playing

[Narrator] Of all the fables recited to us as children,

there is no more enduring character than that,

of the fairy tale princess.

Whether they are born into royalty,

like Sleeping Beauty or marry into it like Cinderella.

Real life princesses,

have plenty in common with their fairy tale counterparts.

Dressed by couturiers, dining on fine cuisine,

and luxuriating in palaces and exclusive resorts.

But the complications of modern day existence,

conspire to make the lives of real princesses,

far more rich and diverse than any fairy tale.

royal music plays

Our story begins with a young woman from Philadelphia,

who conquered hearts as a Hollywood princess,

before being whisked away by a real life prince charming,

to become her Serene Highness, the Princess of Monaco.

Born in 1929,

Grace Patricia Kelly's cherished dream,

was to become a stage actress.

She funded her own way through drama school,

by modeling evening wear for New York fashion houses.

classical music

After gaining her first professional acting experience

in live television, she landed her first starring role,

in 1952's, High Noon.

She went on to win a Golden Globe,

for Mogambo the following year.

Then she won a Leading Actress Oscar,

for the black and white film, The Country Girl.

And by the age of 26,

she'd starred in the classic musical, High Society.

And three films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Having made only 11 films,

and with her whole career ahead of her,

Grace stunned the world,

by announcing she was willing to give it all up,

to marry the Crown Prince of a tiny European principality,

called Monaco.

Surrounded by France,

the world's second smallest independent nation,

was practically unknown to anyone,

except the wealthy jet-set who basked in the luxury,

of Monaco's beaches, casinos, and lax income tax laws.

But in 1955,

Crown Prince Rainier's engagement to Grace Kelly,

immediately put Monaco on the map.

classical music

And if she had been popular with the press before,

the young film star now had to deal,

with the unprecedented frenzy,

sparked by the media's obsession,

with documenting her transition from Hollywood siren,

to her Serene Highness.

Even aboard the cruise ship,

that was crawling with film crews and photographers,

she managed to keep smiling,

no doubt finding solace,

in the company of her pet Hungarian Vizsla.

Before having to face the crowds of adoring Monégasques,

who were soon to become her loyal subjects.


Prince Rainier was there to meet her as she landed,

and guide her through all the pomp and ceremony,

that her new role as her Serene Highness would demand.

Billed as the wedding of the century,

the ceremony took place on April, 19th, 1956.

The day before, the royal couple had exchanged vows,

in a private civil ceremony.

But on the big day,

it was clear that the years of dramatic training,

and professional acting, had prepared her,

to play a starring role as the princess bride.

In front of a television viewing audience,

of 30 million people around the globe.

Her stunning dress of silk, taffeta, tule, and lace,

shown like silver.

It was designed by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer's,

Oscar winning costume designer, Helen Rose.

And took 36 seamstresses six weeks to complete.


The lavish ceremony at Saint Nicholas Cathedral,

was attended by the likes of Ava Gardner,

David Niven, Gloria Swanson, Cary Grant, and the Aga Khan.

The story goes that Britain's Queen Elizabeth,

turned down an invitation to the wedding,

on the grounds that there would be too many film stars there.

Exquisitely poised and quietly composed,

the celebrated beauty carried her part off to perfection.

Leaving Hollywood to mourn the premature retirement,

of one of its brightest stars.

Her Serene Highness approached her new role,

with the same dedication,

she plowed into her Oscar winning film career.

After a seven week honeymoon cruise,

aboard the prince's yacht.

She got straight down to the task,

of producing an heir to the throne.

Nine months later, she gave birth,

to Princess Caroline,

whose arrival was celebrated with a 21-gun salute.

A year later,

101 guns welcomed Prince Albert into the world,

and seven years after that,

Grace gave birth to their third child, Princess Stéphanie.


While Grace may have missed her Hollywood friends,

and stellar career.

She contented herself with her civic duties,

as the Crown Prince's Consort.

And pictures of their growing family,

became staple fodder for news bulletins,

and glossy magazines around the world.

In 1982, just one year,

after the royal couples' 25th wedding anniversary,

Princess Grace was driving her daughter Stéphanie home,

from their country retreat,

when her car plunged over the mountainside,

on a windy strip of road.

They were both taken to the Princess Grace Hospital.

And while Stéphanie was destined to recover,

from her injuries,

her mother died the following day,

at the age of 52.

The dramatic end to her life,

added a fitting twist to the fairy tale.


Devastated by her death,

Prince Rainier never married again.

And was buried along side her in the Grimaldi family vault,

following his death in 2005.


royal music plays

[Narrator] While Grace was transforming,

from movie star to princess,

in the late 1950s,

Princess Soraya of Iran,

was attempting to reverse the metamorphosis.

Back in 1948,

the daughter of the Iranian ambassador to West Germany,

had been introduced to the recently divorced Shah of Iran.

While she was still studying at a Swiss finishing school.

The Shah was instantly enamored.

And the couple married in decadent splendor,

at Golestan Palace in Tehran in 1951.

One and a half tons,

of orchids, tulips, and carnations,

were flown in from Holland.

And Soraya wore a silver lamé gown,

encrusted with pearls and trimmed with marabou feathers,

by Christian Dior.

The outfit was topped off,

with a full length white mink cape.

The heavy snow that formed a background,

to the lavish celebrations was deemed a good omen.


Unfortunately, however, the opulence and extravagance,

of Iranian royal life,

could not cover over the cracks that quickly began to appear,

in the marriage.

Which after several years, remained childless.

After seeking treatment in France and Switzerland,

for Soraya's apparent infertility,

the Shah suggested that,

as allowed by their Muslim religion,

he should take a second wife who could produce an heir.


Soraya refused to go along with his proposal.

And despite his pleas for her to return,

she left for her parent's home in Cologne,

on the same ship that carried Grace Kelly to Monaco.

Preferring to be divorced than sidelined.


In April 1958, a weeping Shah,

announced to Iran, that their marriage was over.

Keeping the title,

Her Imperial Highness the Princess Soraya of Iran,

for a while it looked like she might marry,

Prince Raimondo Orsini of Rome on the rebound.

However, the Catholic church did not look favorably,

on Raimondo's proposed union to a Muslim.

Soraya then moved to France,

and set her heart on breaking into the movies.

She finally made her film debut,

in Three Faces of a Woman,

which premiered to an audience of 3,000 in Rome in 1965.

As the green-eyed Soraya,

dressed in a long emerald green evening dress arrived,

crowds swarmed around her.

By this time, she was well used to the clamoring paparazzi,

and their flashing bulbs.

Three Faces of a Woman was not a success,

but Soraya did find love with the movie's director,

Franco Indovina.

Tragically, Franco died six years later,

in a plane crash.

And Soraya spent the rest of her life,

being dogged by deep depression.

royal music plays

[Narrator] Another royal contemporary,

of both Grace and Soraya,

may also have made her way to the big screen,

if the restrictions imposed by her birthright,

had not prevented her from seeking a performing career.

There's no doubt that the young Princess Margaret,

was beautiful enough to have held her own,

among the starlets of the 1950s.

After her death at the age of 71 in February 2002,

her nephew, Prince Charles, shared his fond memories.

My aunt was one of those remarkable people,

who, apart from being uh... incredibly vital,

and uh... attractive um...

...uh and of course when she was young,

so many people remember her,

for that vitality and attractiveness,

indeed her incredible beauty.

Uh, but she also,

and I think many people don't realize this,

had such incredible talents.

Um, I remember so well she used to play the piano,

incredibly well.

And, um, she had an extraordinary ear.

She could pick up, uh, and play by ear,

almost any tune,

and she sang like an angel.

I always remember that as a child.

And of course, she was, uh...

she had this wonderfully sharp mind,

and used to literally win crossword puzzle competitions.

And, I think one of the, one of the fondest memories,

I shall have of her is uh... is of sitting at the piano,

Uh... playing away, with a large, very elegant,

cigarette holder in her mouth.

And, uh, as I say, we shall all miss her dreadfully.

[Narrator] But Charles's affection,

for Princess Margaret was not always shared,

by other members of the royal family,

or the general public.

Thanks to her aptitude for courting controversy,

she was often depicted as a rebel princess.

She was born in Scotland in 1930.

Her parents were then, Duke and Duchess of York.

In 1936, the abdication of Edward the VIII,

unexpectedly put her father on the throne,

and Margaret and her older sister, Elizabeth,

were suddenly saddled with the responsibility,

of being daughters of the King.

As she grew up, Princess Margaret,

began to win a place in the public's affection.

She was very different in personality to her sister,

who came across as conscientious and well-behaved.

While the more wayward Margaret,

was more likely to get into trouble.

When World War II ended in 1945,

Margaret and her sister joined their parents,

and Prime Minister Winston Churchill,

on the balcony of Buckingham Palace,

on V-E Day to wave to the cheering crowds.

[crowd cheering]

In 1952,

her father, King George VI, died.

And she saw the attention switch to her sister,

as she became Queen Elizabeth II.

A year later, however,

the spotlight snapped back to the 23 year old princess,

when she fell in love with Peter Townsend,

a former Battle of Britain pilot.

But he was divorced,

and Margaret was given an ultimatum.

Marriage to Peter, would mean giving up her title,

and a place in the royal family.

Royal duty won out over romance.

And five years later,

Margaret announced her engagement,

to photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones,

who later became Lord Snowdon.

This time, there could be no objections.

And in 1960, they were married at Westminster Abbey.

[music and cheers]

The couple were the focus of high society.

And they had two children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah.

But before long,

speculation about Margaret's extra-marital affairs.

Became the subject of many a rumor.

Throughout the '60s and '70s,

her name was linked with a string of lovers,

such as Mick Jagger and Peter Sellers,

who allegedly visited her house,

on the Caribbean Island of Mustique.

And in 1978,

her well publicized romance with gardener Roddy Llewellyn,

finally led to her divorce from Lord Snowdon,

and the associated scandal,

led to public demand for Princess Margaret,

to stand down.

Her failing health in later life,

was often blamed on her earlier excesses.

Known to enjoy a drink, she'd also been a chain smoker.

And had part of her left lung removed,

prior to suffering her first stroke in 1998.

But while many wrote the princess off,

as a waste of tax payers' money,

the artists and intellectuals she loved so much,

saw her differently.

Writer Gore Vidal was once quoted as saying,

"She was far too intelligent for her station in life."

Finally, bound to a wheelchair,

Margaret spent her last years in the bosom of her family.

Often appearing in public alongside her sister.

royal music playing

[Narrator] Another royal rebel,

is Princess Grace of Monaco's daughter Stéphanie.

Although her story bears more resemblance,

to that of Princess Margaret,

than the shy and retiring Soyako.

At 19, Stéphanie was in the car with Grace.

When it ran off a mountain road in Monaco.

Her own severe injuries prevented her from bidding,

farewell to the mother who lovingly labelled her,

"wild child."

Since then, Stephanie, has run off the rails numerous times.

Her relationships have included affairs with a Spanish singer,

the son of a French film star, a con man, and actor Rob Lowe.

And in 1995,

she married her former bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet,

with whom she'd already had two children.

A year later, they were divorced,

and Stephanie embarked on more affairs,

with actor, Jean-Claude Van Dammme,

footballer Fabien Barthez, and a ski instructor,

to whom she became pregnant with her third child.

She went on to strike up liaisons,

with a Swiss circus owner and her father's butler.

As well as having a fling,

with her sister Caroline's ex-husband.

Now in her 40s,

she is said to be dating French actor and musician,

Merwan Rim, who is 12 years her junior.

Aside from her penchant for tough, active men,

since her father Prince Rainier's death in 2005,

she had become, just as passionately involved,

in the fight against AIDS.

And in 2006, she was honored to be appointed,

special representative,

for the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS.

[speaking French]

[woman translating] Everybody is concerned.

Every country in the world is concerned.

It's a global problem. AIDS has no borders.

No social, political, religious, or racial barriers.

I think it affects really everybody.

[speaking French]

royal music playing

[Narrator] Like her younger sister,

Princess Caroline of Monaco,

is passionate about good causes.

As well as founding the children's charity,

Jeune J'ecoute.

she has been awarded Commander of Cultural Merit,

in recognition of her commitment to the arts.

And in 2006, she was honored,

with the UNICEF Children's Champion Award.

She came into the world with great fanfare,

on January 23, 1957.

The first child of proud parents,

Princess Grace and Prince Rainier.

Her birth was marked with public celebrations,

in front of Monaco's great palace.

Still basking in the afterglow,

of their Crown Prince's wedding,

to the beautiful Grace Kelly,

Monaco, was delighted for the excuse to throw another party.

Later that year, she made her first public appearance,

on the palace's balcony.

[Announcer] Amid general rejoicing,

balloons stamped with the date of the baby's birth,

were released, while there was free champagne,

to drink to her health.

[Narrator] As the oldest child,

of Monaco's reigning family,

she became well used to the spotlight at an early age.

Rather like her kid sister, Stéphanie,

she discovered her rebellious streak as a teenager.

And much to her mother's disapproval,

married a divorced banker called Philippe Junot,

who had quite a reputation as a playboy.

However, as Grace had predicted,

the marriage was over within two years.

Two years later,

Caroline was devastated by Grace's sudden death,

and struggled to keep her composure,

during the state funeral.

Not long after, she seemed to have found happiness,

when she married businessman, Stefano Casiraghi.

They had three children together,

before Stefano was tragically killed,

in a speed boat accident, at the age of 30.

Princess Caroline finally married again in 1999,

and this time into royalty.

Her third husband is Ernst August,

the fifth prince of Hannover.

A match much more in keeping,

with her royal position,

than either of her previous marriages.

Especially in view of her status,

as presumptive heir to the throne.

This means that, if her younger brother, Albert,

the current Crown Prince of Monaco,

dies without a legitimate heir,

she will automatically become the crown princess,

making her elder son, Andrea Albert,

second in line to the throne.

Having well and truly put her wild days behind her,

Princess Caroline seems content to be continuing,

her mother's legacy.

Blessed with the same film star radiance and elegance,

her charity work now takes priority over her social life.

On the downside,

the beauty and intrigue of Monaco's royal women,

has drawn so much media intrusion,

into their private lives that in 2004,

Princess Caroline obtained a judgement,

from the European Court of Human Rights,

condemning the publication of private photos.

royal music playing

Perhaps Princess Caroline's move to protect her privacy,

was inspired by the experience of the late Diana,

Princess of Wales,

who sparked a passion so powerful within the media,

that they literally hounded her to death.

After the media circus that accompanied,

her separation and divorce from Prince Charles in 1996,

she aired her grief about the intensity,

of the press' obsession.

When I started my public life 12 years ago,

I understood the media might be interested,

in what I did.

I realized then,

their attention would inevitably focus,

on both our private and public lives.

But I was not aware,

of how overwhelming that attention would become.

[Narrator] No doubt she couldn't quite comprehend,

how such a shy and unremarkable young woman,

had managed to ignite a global obsession with her every move.

Certainly, she did not possess,

the film star looks and poise of a Monaco princess,

nor could she dazzle with the accomplishment and wit,

at the disposal of Princess Margaret.

In fact, she often joked about her lack of aptitude,

at Riddlesworth Hall School.

Although, by all accounts, she was very happy there.

I made many friends, who I often see.

And in spite of what Ms. Barge,

and my other teachers may have thought at the time,

I did actually learn something.

[audience laughing]

Though you would never have known,

by my A-level results.

[audience laughing]

[Narrator] Indeed, it may well have been,

Princess Diana's very lack of extraordinary recommendations,

that made her so accessible to the people in the street,

who quickly crowned her their Queen of Hearts.

The love affair with the People's Princess,

began back in 1980,

when she was plain old Lady Diana Spencer,

a 19 year old nanny sharing a flat with friends in London,

who just happened to be dating the future King of England.

[Reporter] ...there's any possibility?

[Narrator] Her relationship,

with the overzealous press,

got off to a tentative start,

with a shy smile and a nervous wave.

[Reporter] How well are you coping with all the press attention?

Well, as you, you can see,

you can tell. [nervous laughing]

Are you, are you bearing up with it quite well, though,

'cause it must be quite a strain,

with all of us after you.

Well it is, naturally.

Can you, you care to be doing alright, though.

You seem to be doing very well.

Well, I'm still around.

[Narrator] And she had no intention of going away.

In February 1981,

Buckingham Palace announced Diana's engagement to Charles,

and the happy couple embraced photo opportunities,

to show off the walnut sized 30,000 pound ring,

consisting of 14 diamonds and a sapphire.

Charles recalled his first impressions,

on meeting the 16 year old Diana.

I remember thinking what a very jolly,

and amusing and attractive 16 year old she was,

and, I mean, great fun,

and bouncy and full of life and everything,

and, um, I don't know what you thought of me.

Pretty amazing.

[both laughing]

[Narrator] But during the lead up,

to their wedding in July, it became clear,

that the down-to-earth and disarming Diana,

had already eclipsed her royal fiancée,

in the public consciousness.

[crowd chanting] We want Di!

[applause and cheering]

[Narrator] Her fresh-faced sincerity,

and sense of fun were overdue antidotes,

to the guarded stiff upper lips of the monarchy.

On the day of the royal wedding,

people were chanting her name in the streets.

The nation was given the day off,

and crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse,

of the fairy tale bride.

[fanfare ♪]

[organ playing ♪]

[Narrator] Resplendent in her Emanuel gown,

complete with 25 foot train,

the brand new princess emerged from St. Paul's Cathedral,

to the cheers of thousands of fans,

totally smitten with her naïve charm and cheeky smile.

Over the next few months,

she consolidated her relationship with the public,

both at home and overseas.

On walkabouts with Charles,

she was always a huge hit with the crowds.

[crowd cheering]


And in less than a year,

she'd done her duty to the Royal Family,

by presenting it with a healthy heir to the throne.

[baby crying]

In her obvious affinity with children,

the public found yet another reason to adore her.


Then there was her courageous compassion.

In 1987,

when AIDS patients were being demonized by the press,

Diana was holding their hands.

HIV does not make people dangerous to know.

So you can shake their hands and give them a hug,

Heaven knows they need it.

[Narrator] Along with all the media proof,

of her tireless dedication to good causes and charity work,

came stories that she also visited the sick in secret,

begging nurses and patients not to let on to the press.

With public opinion on her side,

she went on to win even more hearts,

as reports emerged that Charles was carrying on an affair,

with his old sweetheart, Camilla Parker Bowles.

While there were also plenty of stories,

of Diana's alleged infidelities,

many magazines and tabloids chose to contend,

that she was merely acting out of loneliness.

This line was bolstered by stories,

about her battles with bulimia and multiple suicide attempts.

She was being stalked by telephoto lenses,

and media speculation.

In an attempt to redress the balance,

she approached biographer, Andrew Morton,

to tell her side of the story, depicting Charles,

as a neglectful and unfaithful husband.

After that, it was only a few short months,

and the odd awkward public appearance,

before Prime Minister John Major,

announced their separation.

Even under the intense glare of the spotlight,

she continued to use her public profile,

to raise awareness of issues,

that had been swept under the carpet,

by polite society for years.

And she wasn't afraid to speak,

form her own agonizing experience.

I have it, on very good authority,

that the quest for perfection our society demands,

can leave the individual gasping for breath,

at every turn.

This pressure, inevitably,

extends into the way we look.

Eating disorders,

whether it be anorexia or bulimia,

show how an individual can turn the nourishment of the body,

into a painful attack on themselves.

[Narrator] Despite her pleas for privacy,

the media's obsession with her continued,

as did her own obsession with body image.

Her increasingly frequent trips to the gym,

were always accompanied by a gaggle of photographers,

desperate to add fuel to one of the many rumors,

making the rounds about her private life.

After her separation,

the press had her linked with every man,

she came into contact with,

from rugby captain, Will Carling,

and singer, Bryan Adams,

the Juan Carlos I of Spain,

and John F. Kennedy Jr.

And while she may have cut down on her public engagements,

she certainly didn't abandon those causes,

that had always been close to her heart.

In January 1997,

these pictures of her visiting,

a land mine site in Angola,

were flashed around the world,

bringing much needed publicity to the issue,

of unexploded land mines in war-torn territories.

Seven months later, she went on another visit,

to meet land mine survivors in Bosnia.

For one last time, she managed to turn,

the relentless media pressure into a positive.

Just days after the Bosnian trip,

she lay dying in a dark tunnel in Paris,

surrounded by the rapid fire click of automatic cameras,

that had punctuated almost every waking moment,

of her adult life.

Torn from her adoring public, in the prime of life,

she was guaranteed to continue her reign,

as the undisputed Queen of Hearts.

royal music playing

[Narrator] Another top contender,

for the Queen of Hearts title,

is Denmark's Crown Princess Mary.

The photogenic wife of the heir to the Danish throne,

and mother to Prince Christian and Princess Isabella,

has helped promote the profile of Denmark's Royals,

which in turn has boosted tourism,

in the country's capital of Copenhagen.

While she may not quite fit the mold of a Cinderella,

Mary's rise from simple Australian country girl,

to beautiful crown princess,

does indeed read like a fairy tale.

And since marrying her handsome prince,

and moving into the Fredensborg Palace,

she has become the idol of every young girl,

who dreams of becoming a princess.

She began life as plain old Mary Donaldson,

in the former penal colony of Hobart,

on the island of Tazmania in 1973.

She grew up loving the outdoor life and riding horses.

Upon graduating from university,

she began a career in advertising in Melbourne.

But after her mother died in 1997,

she left her job to travel,

before settling down in Sydney,

where she became a real estate agent.

She and Prince Frederik first bumped into each other,

at a bar called the Slip Inn,

during the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Out socializing with separate groups of friends,

they got talking,

and without knowing exactly who he was,

Mary slipped him her phone number,

and so began the romance.

Their long-distance courtship continued secretly,

until Mary moved to Denmark in 2002,

and began taking lessons in Danish language,

history, and etiquette.

Finally, the Danish Court announced,

that Frederik's mother, Queen Margrethe,

intended to give her consent to the marriage.

And in October 2003, they became officially engaged.

Australia was overjoyed,

at the prospect of having its very own princess,

and the people of Denmark,

warmed to her charm and beauty immediately.

In fact, a poll found that 75% of Danes,

believed that she would make a good queen,

and the couple looked truly in love.

Mary's last evening as a commoner,

was marked with a grand gala,

that drew royal guests from around the world,

and helped prepare her for the onslaught,

of official engagements that awaited her as a princess.

Braving a chilly Scandinavian wind,

the star of the show was the radiant bride-to-be.

Elegantly dressed in a low-cut red gown,

if she was nervous about the day to come,

it didn't show, as she smiled and waved to the crowds.

that grace and composure,

carried her through the much hyped wedding,

with the eyes of the world upon her.

In fact, while she stayed calm and collected,

it was Frederik who seemed overwhelmed,

by the emotion of the day, as he wiped away a tear.


The sensitive prince was just as demonstrative,

as he excitedly greeted the media,

after the birth of the couple's son,

and heir in October 2005.

Of course, it's tremendous joy,

from the, a warmth coming up from deep within.

We just have a new desire of, um,

[stammering] of warmth and love and,

just so excited,

to realize what's happening a few hours ago,

a little bit, less than eight hours ago.

[Narrator] A few days later,

the new Prince Christian made his first public appearance,

in the arms of his mother who practiced her Danish.

[speaking Danish]

[woman translating] I'm feeling absolutely wonderful.

[Narrator] Two years later,

Christian was joined by a baby sister, Isabella Henrietta.

Becoming fluent in the Danish language,

has allowed the princess to involve herself,

in a raft of local charitable ventures.

She's been a leading light in the campaign,

to improve disadvantaged migrant areas of Copenhagen,

as well as becoming involved in a new campaign,

to raise awareness about skin cancer,

through the Danish Cancer Society.

It's also no surprise to learn,

that the impeccably dressed Princess Mary,

is an active patron,

of Denmark's third highest earning export,

the fashion industry.

One of the perks of that plum role,

is a guaranteed front row seat,

at all the local fashion events.

No doubt, it also helps her keep up with the pressure,

of putting together the perfect haute couture outfit,

for that next red carpet event.

[light applause]

royal music playing

Over in Spain,

Princess Letizia has also become a major style icon,

like Princess Mary of Denmark,

the former newsreader had no aristocratic connections,

before marrying into the Royal Asturias family.

She was born Letizia Ortiz in Oviedo, Spain in 1972,

the daughter of a journalist and a registered nurse.

After completing a Bachelors' degree,

she followed her father into the newspaper business,

and worked her way into television,

to become the anchorwoman,

of the most viewed newscast in Spain.

Having become a celebrity in her own right,

there was no need to win over the public,

as Prince Felipe's intended bride.

Still, the announcement of their engagement,

came as quite a shock to the Spanish people,

who'd been completely blindsided,

by the royal romance.

[speaking Spanish]

[woman translating] I understand,

that it must be a big surprise for everyone.

But it hasn't been a quick decision,

it's been based on the great love,

that we feel for each other.

[Narrator] However,

there was still the matter of Letizia's previous marriage,

to her high school literature teacher to contend with.

Thankfully, the Roman Catholic church,

found a loophole to allow the marriage.

But two months after their official engagement,

came the claim by Cuban artist, Waldo Saavedra,

that the artwork on a new album by Spanish singer Maná,

was a nude study of the future Spanish Crown Princess.

Scandal was averted,

when he clarified that Letizia had not posed nude,

but had simply given him a photograph of herself,

in which she was fully clothed,

and that he'd used his imagination to paint her naked.

And on the 22nd of May, 2004,

the cathedral in Madrid,

became a mecca for royal guests and dignitaries the world over,

as a nervous Prince Felipe,

awaited the arrival of his stunning bride.

The pouring rain did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm,

of the waiting crowd,

as Letizia began the daunting walk down the aisle,

on the arm of her father.

The picture perfect couple's moving vows,

were broadcast to the nation,

and witnessed on huge screens outside the cathedral.

[priest speaking Spanish]

[Felipe speaking Spanish]

[Letizia speaking Spanish]

[Narrator] As the ceremony ended,

cheers rang out in the square.


Since then, Princess Letizia has been featured heavily,

in the glossy magazines of Europe,

and is frequently praised by fashion critics,

for her impeccable taste in clothes.

She also has her own fan club,

with websites dedicated to gathering photos and updates,

on the queen of Spanish style.

Her waif-like figure and chiseled cheeks,

have lead to speculation,

that she may have an eating disorder.

But despite her fragile frame,

she has given birth to two healthy daughters,

Leonor and Sofía.

And although the current Spanish law of succession,

would hand a potential younger brother the throne,

over his older sisters,

it is possible that the law could be changed,

to make Leonor the heir apparent.

royal music playing

Meanwhile in Japan,

another young princess has recently been at the center,

of succession debate.

Princess Aiko was born on December 1, 2001.

She is the first child of their Imperial Highnesses,

Crown Prince Naruhito,

heir apparent to the Japanese throne,

and Crown Princess Masako.

Before little Aiko was born,

there was much concern among the Japanese people,

about the health and state of mind of Princess Masako,

who had become something of a recluse,

since marrying the prince in 1993.

So when the announcement came in 2000,

that the princess was pregnant, the people were overjoyed.

However, the birth of a baby girl,

instantly rekindled the debate,

about the controversial succession law,

which as recently as 1946,

was changed to restrict the throne to men.


not long after the former Prime Minister,

pledged to submit a bill to Parliament,

to let women ascend the throne,

Aiko's aunt, Kiko, gave birth to a baby boy, Hisahito.

With a male heir apparent on the scene,

plans to change the succession law were temporarily shelved.

royal music playing

One European crown,

that is assured of being inherited by a female,

is that of the Netherlands,

where three princesses stand directly in line to the throne.

Catharina-Amalia, Alexia, and Ariane,

are the three beautiful daughters of heir apparent,

Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima,

of the Netherlands.

Máxima was born in Argentina in 1971,

and after graduating with an Economics degree in 1995,

started a career in investment banking.

She met Willem-Alexander four years later in Spain,

during the Seville Fair,

but as he introduced himself only as Alexander,

she had no idea he was actually a prince.

When he broke the news to her later,

Máxima was convinced he was joking.

Still, she agreed to meet him in New York two weeks later.

The romance blossomed, and they were engaged in 2001.

Throughout January, 2002,

Amsterdam was a buzz with activity,

in preparation for the royal nuptials.

Big event and big operation.

We use 6,000 police officers in that period.

Uh, the operation cost a lot of money, 5 million euro.

So, it's a lot of money,

and, um, it's first thing, it's safety first.

[Narrator] Despite some controversy,

caused by the fact that Máxima's father,

had served under the regime of former Argentine president,

Jorge Rafael Videla, a military dictator,

who had been responsible for many atrocities,

during the 1970s,

the mood in the Dutch capitol,

was one of great anticipation and excitement.

Since the wedding,

Princess Máxima has endeared herself to her new country,

by becoming fluent in Dutch,

and giving birth to three heirs to the throne.

royal music playing

Another country that has guaranteed the ascension,

of a female monarch is Sweden.

Thanks to the change made in 1979,

to the country's Act of Succession,

Sweden became the first country in the world,

to adopt equal primogeniture,

ensuring that the throne,

is inherited by the ruler's eldest child,

regardless of gender.

Now in her early 30s,

Princess Victoria's unorthodox preparations,

have included undergoing basic military training,

at a base outside Stockholm.

Sporting combat fatigues,

camouflage face paint, and full battle gear,

the future queen was asked by reporters,

whether she found the training tough.

It depends what you mean with "tough,"

of course, but, uh,

for me it was, uh, it has been very good,

in that sense that I've learned a lot,

yes it has been tough,

in the sense that you don't sleep as much as usually,

uh, but, yes of course, you carry heavy stuff,

but it has been extremely interesting.

I've learned a lot.

Um, the exercises has also been really,

very well prepared, I must say,

so it really gives you, a sort of, the right idea,

of what it's all about, and a sort of right impression.

Uh, of course,

you're doing something that you're not used to.

[Narrator] More used to designer outfits,

and formal suits than battle dress,

she was happy to muck in with 40 other men and women,

to learn combat and marksman skills,

as well as practicing first aid and chemical warfare safety,

to get an understanding of the role played,

by Swedish forces,

in international peace keeping assignments.

royal music playing

As Princess Victoria continues her preparations,

to assume the role of Queen of Sweden,

Britain's Princess Beatrice can relax in the knowledge,

that she is unlikely ever to be called upon,

to assume such responsibility.

With four male heirs before her,

she is fifth in line to the throne.

Princess Beatrice is the daughter,

of Queen Elizabeth's second son, Andrew,

Duke of York,

and Sarah, Duchess of York,

who divorced in 1996,

when Beatrice was eight,

and her younger sister, Eugenie,

was just six years old.

In spite of the worldwide publicity,

stirred up by the divorce,

her parents have remained on the best of terms,

as co-parents,

and Beatrice has grown up relatively free,

of intrusion from the press.

However, on the eve of her 18th birthday,

she declared that she was ready to start following,

in her mother's footsteps,

and using her privilege to help those less fortunate.

And while she may have been a little nervous,

ahead of meeting patients,

as she accompanied her mum on a visit to a London hospital,

She understood that the prospect,

of shaking hands with a princess,

was probably just as daunting for the patients.

Maybe before they meet me,

um, they might have been scared, but once,

once they find out that I'm really just a normal,

[Sarah] Normal?

Okay, no, nope, I'm so not normal.

But once they find out that I'm just me, then,

then it should make it easier.

[Narrator] And Beatrice was quick to credit her mum,

with being a great role model.

[Beatrice] I see myself as a mini-mommy,

I kind of have this, sort of,

image that anything you can do, I want to do better.

She is the best advice giver,

I could ever, I could possibly ever possibly wish for,

and she's a,

sort of, she leads by, she leads by example.


And her behavior kind of,

is one that I really would like to follow.

[Narrator] However,

the princess' enthusiasm is not shared by everyone.

Just one year earlier,

some sources close to the Queen,

were questioning her mother's advice giving talents,

when Beatrice appeared on the cover of Tatler magazine.

The sultry photos raised a few eyebrows in royal circles,

and signaled Beatrice's intentions,

to take on public life as a confident 17 year old.

But I think the photos are a bit unfortunate.

Buckingham Palace has spent years,

keeping the girls away from the media radar,

and they succeeded.

Uh, but now that Beatrice has turned over 16,

she turned 17 on Monday, um, she's out of their hands,

and there's not a lot they can do about it.

This really came, probably as a result of parental agreement.

No prizes for guessing which parent.

[Narrator] In fact,

her mum not only sanctioned the article,

she sat in on the photo shoot and interview,

in which Beatrice revealed that the divorce of her parents,

had actually brought the family closer together.

The young princess also admitted,

that she was very lucky,

and wouldn't trade her life for anyone else's.

Beatrice and her sister, Eugenie,

belong to a new breed of princess.

Combining the advantages of royal privilege,

with the freedom of a normal life,

they look set to enjoy the best of both worlds.

royal music playing

While in royal families around the world,

other young women are preparing to ascend,

to positions of power formerly preserved for their brothers,

and although the stories of their lives,

may not read like classic fairy tales,

these very modern princesses,

are still setting their sights on that,

happy ever after.


The Description of Princesses of the World