Thursday, July 31, 2014

Royally Speaking with Netty of Netty Royal

This summer we are doing a series of interview with fellow royal bloggers to keep us at least a little busy over the holiday months. Today, I talked to Netty of Netty Royal.

The year is 2014 and you are a respected royal researcher and occasional journalist but how exactly did your passion for all things royal start?
Netty talking to Hereditary Prince Alois
On 31 January 1980 Queen Juliana of the Netherlands announced that she would abdicate. Of course for a 6 year old such events are very exciting and interesting, and I really wanted to know more about it. My mother encouraged me. I guess we also learnt something about the event at school, and we had a glass that is still in my possession. I also have some other souvenirs from that time. I don't think anybody could imagine at that time that royalty would become something I would spent hours on every day.

Admittedly I wasn't a regular watcher back then and only read your account in more recent years but in 2003 you visited Liechtenstein for national day, how did you experience the Staatsfeiertag?
I had planned my vacation so I could attend the wedding of Duchess Fleur of Württemberg on 9 August and Staatsfeiertag in Liechtenstein on 15 August. I arrived in my hotel in Schaan the previous day. I remember the public transport on that day was terrific, and even better, free. It was my only visit to Liechtenstein thus far. So of course I had a look in the Liechtenstein Princely Collections dependance in Vaduz, did some shopping and managed to find myself some old princely postcards, some books about the family.
All photos: Netty Leistra
Being from a country with almost no hills, it was quite a climb to the Castle of Vaduz on Staatsfeiertag. I found it pretty exciting to go there. Although I should recommend to everybody, don't go alone like I did. It is more fun together. Of course there is some security, but you can get quite close to the family, and take lots of pictures. And during the apéritif you can even speak to them if you wish. Everybody just mixes up in the gardens and has a drink. Just take a good camera with you. Mine at the time was quite simple. The middle of the day is pretty boring if you're alone. You can hear some music in Vaduz, sit on a terrace... At the time they had an interview with Prince Hans Adam II on one of the squares in the centre, and afterwards he had a beer with some locals. If you're lucky you can see some royals in town in the early evening too. I was looking forward to the fireworks, but unfortunately because of the heat in the previous weeks there only was a laser show, which was quite good also by the way.

Can you remember the first time you attended a royal event and which is the one that has stayed in your memory the most?
I guess that must have been Queen's Day in 1993 when the Dutch royals visited Sneek, the town I lived in at the time. I can remember it was a very warm day. I tried to see as much of them as possible, although it wasn't that easy. To my idea it wasn't as crowded as nowadays, but still there were more than enough people.
Quite a lot of good memories. I still remember the wedding of Haakon and Mette-Marit of Norway. As it was my first wedding as a journalist, it was pretty exciting. A friend and I were going on the boat trip following the royals the day before the wedding, we were actually on the press stand next to the entrance of the church on the wedding day itself and even managed to see the balcony scenes at the palace. Victoria and Daniel of Sweden's wedding was quite good also. I stood in the audience with a group of friends all day from about 9am to 7pm. We had to wait and wait for hours, until finally in the late afternoon it became more interesting. The carriage passed far too quick, but then we got the balcony scene with speeches, music, lots of royal waves and guests. That half an hour made the whole day worth waiting really. But we were so happy to get something to eat and to drink afterwards!

Having been a royal watcher for so many years, what do you think has changed most about the perception of royals since you started to become interested in them?
When I started becoming interested in royals there was no internet, so there was hardly any way to get in touch with people of your own age who liked royalty. I actually put an add in the magazine "Vorsten" halfway the 1990s to find any but hardly got any reactions. I think especially young people must be very happy that nowadays their hobby is regarded less old-fashioned and strange as in my time when you rather didn't speak about it. You just go online and meet people on forums, go to events and meet people there. Neither did it cross my mind to do that, nor did I know that the royals would go somewhere unless I read it in the newspaper. 
The Internet has made it possible to follow the royals much better, surely not always to their own liking I guess. If there is a royal event, everybody can know about it long time before. People, including media, get much more of a chance to express their opinions about royals, adore them or criticize them. Lots of focus on fashion nowadays too, which I find a pity. But royals have also gotten a bigger chance themselves to make sure people know for example about the charities and good causes they support.

Lastly if you could invite six royals (dead or alive) to a dinner party, which ones would find an invitation in their mailbox?
Oh, that is a difficult question. Just thought about it very quickly and these are the first names to come in mind. Princess Marianne of the Netherlands (I think she was a very interesting woman), Camilla Duchess of Cornwall (who does very well in her job), Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway (as they come closest to my age), Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (I had a crush on him for years) and perhaps Fürst Alexander zu Schaumburg-Lippe (to provide the entertainment, and he seems to be very good company too).

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