Royals attend Holocaust Remembrance Day events

Royals attend Holocaust Remembrance Day events

Yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, by Soviet troops. There was a ceremony at Auschwitz attended by heads of state, dignitaries, and over 300 Auschwitz survivors. Additionally, there were a number of commemorative events held around the world. A number of Europe’s royals attended the ceremony at Auschwitz or other events in their own countries. Prince William released a statement from Mustique.

Those in attendance at the ceremony at Auschwitz:

The King and Queen of the Netherlands, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.

The King and Queen of the Belgians, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg. Victoria said: “We can’t forget what we can learn from history. It’s important that we gather here. That we remember.”

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

Those in attendance at ceremonies around the world:

The King of Spain, King Felipe in Madrid. Felipe gave a speech (full speech here), he said in part: “The Holocaust represents an unmitigated defeat at the hands of evil, brutishness and ignorance… Jews and Gypsies from different nationalities, believers of all religions, freedom fighters of all countries, the disabled and those discriminated against, suffered a brutal assault outside any reference to humanity.”

Felipe at Holocaust remembrance ceremony

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at a candle lighting ceremony with Holocaust survivors in London. Charles gave a speech (full speech here), he said in part: “The Holocaust is an unparalleled human tragedy and an act of evil unique in history and it is for these reasons that we must always remember it and honour its Jewish victims – and the Nazis’ other victims.”

The King and Queen of Sweden, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and well as Prince Daniel, attended events in Stockholm.

Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia at Holocaust memorial ceremony

Daniel at Holocaust event

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway at an event in Oslo.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, of course did not attend any memorial events, as he is busy sunning himself in Mustique, but his people decided it would be a good idea to release a statement on William’s behalf to Jewish News. The statement reads:

“The theme of Holocast** Memorial Day 2015 is ‘keeping the memory alive’. On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we remember all those who suffered so terribly in the monstrous evil of the Holocaust. We must never forget the indescribable suffering, the millions of lives shattered and the human impact behind the statistics.

“The commemorations allow us to honour the victims of one of the darkest chapters in human history and pay tribute t** the survivors and their stories of hope. Memories are the legacy for future generations and we must keep these memories alive to learn from the past and create a safer future.”

**This typo exists in the article.

Photos: Getty/Casa de S.M. el Rey/Kungahuset

77 thoughts on “Royals attend Holocaust Remembrance Day events

  1. Beyond horrible event, which should have received even more media on the day.
    Glad to see so many working royals, taking their time to attend events. For me, the statement from the Cambridges, while on holiday had little meaning.

      1. AH, completely unrelated. Sartorial Splendor listed some upcoming events for QM’s 75th birthday. Looks like you might have another chance to see an exhibit of her gala dresses.

        1. I will definitely go see that exhibit. Frederiksborg castle is one of my favorite museums and they have a lot of interesting exhibitions – there are 3 right now that I’m going to see. The have a huge collection of history paintings (that are the focus of my academic work) and a lot of portraits, both historical and contemporary.

          The castle itself is a beautiful piece of north renaissance architecture, and it has become a national monument in itself after it was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1859. Immediately after people all over the country spontaneously began to raise money for a rebuild and mourning poems and songs were published in newspapers and other journals.
          It is definitely worth a visit if you ever visit Denmark.

  2. Why did Charles and Camilla stay home? They should have been there. So many other European Royals went.
    Yes, Will and Kate on vacation. They so deserve that, don’t they? Work so hard, don’t they?
    The lack of attendance by any of the British Royals says more than I can say here.
    Sometimes I think we are on the brink of repeating what happened in the l930s and 40s. Scary, but possible.

    1. I was surprised that Britain didn’t send any royals to Auschwitz when almost every other European royal house did.

        1. It seems the Brits give very little shits about what goes on in Europe. It’s sad.

          1. So true. This is the second time the BRF has dropped the ball in as many months. Not sending anyone to the former (Belgian?) Queen’s funeral was a black mark on them, now this. Clearly, they just don’t care to inconvenience themselves for anyone or anything.

          2. Quite true, but when I lived there I found that is an attitude that is quite widespread. IMO the Brits generally don’t see themselves as a part of Europe that way the Danes, the French, the German, etc. do. For the Brits Europe is the Continent and something different that the British Isles.

            I lived in England when CP Frederik got married to Mary and I didn’t have the time to fly home to see the events in the flesh. I had to follow on the internet because the event wasn’t covered in British news the way foreign RFs (especially weddings) are covered in the Danish news.

          3. I can kind of understand, a bit, since there is a separation via the Channel. It’s not as easy for the Brits to visit the other European countries as it is when you’re just across the border. But it’s not that hard, either. Maybe it’s a snootiness thing. Like, the Brits are snootier than the rest of Europe? I hate to stereotype, and I don’t even know if that’s an accurate way to describe it. But it’s just a thought.

            The British press still doesn’t really cover the European royals much. It sucks.

  3. At least Charles and Camilla made the effort to do something. I can type up a statement and blast it out on e-mail in five minutes. Lots of crowned heads were there. Where was Her Majesty, the only head of state alive during these horrendous events? Her husband, who fought to stop them? In Norfolk. Disgraceful. I have no words to describe Willy and Waity.

    1. I think it would have been nice for HM to attend, or at least send Charles. Almost every other royal house sent it’s King or Queen or first in line. Charles and Camilla attended a ceremony in London, which is good, but why couldn’t they have gone to Auschwitz?

      1. The thing is the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are due to make a multi-day state visit to Germany in June. Why they couldn’t have gone for A DAY when every other crowned head made it or sent someone I don’t know.

        1. Well, travelling all the way to Poland for a few hours is a big deal when you’re 88 and 93. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been preferable that they attend, but I can understand not wanting to travel so far for only a few hours. I think they should have sent Charles and Camilla.

          1. Despite their ages, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh carried out a combined 750 engagements last year-462 for the Queen and 288 for the Duke of Edinburgh. For the record, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge-56 and 61 years younger respectively than H.M. and H.R.H.–carried out a combined 253. A one-day engagement in honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz wouldn’t have killed either of them; literally or figuratively. At the least, the Queen could have gone with the Earl of Wessex or the Princess Royal, like she did at the Paralympic Games. She and the Duke of Edinburgh managed to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day with a multi-day state visit to France (yeah, I know it’s just across the Channel; I don’t care), then the Palace announced that they wouldn’t make any more overseas visits. Then it was announced six months later that lo and behold, they AREN’T foreswearing overseas travel because apparently the Duke gotten tired of English ale and wants to try authentic German lager for a change. The only thing I can think of, is that this was a calculated snub of the “senior” royals of Europe b/c it commemorates an event of the systemic mass slaughter of Jews, which the British upper class and the royals have detested for decades (ie. Diana Mitford, who married Oswald Mosley, the founder of the British Union of Fascists, the Windsors, the Countess of Snowdon). I think they could have made the trip but like Willy and Waity, the Queen didn’t want to interrupt her holiday in Norfolk.

          2. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh carried out a combined 666 engagements total in 2014 (393 and 273 respectively), and only 37 of those were overseas. BTW Will and Kate did a total of 234 (143 and 91 respectively). I’m going off the Tim O’Donovan numbers

            I really don’t care to argue this anymore, Seth. All I’m saying is I can understand why two super elderly people wouldn’t want to make a one day trip (France was different, it was multiple days; as is the Germany trip). It would have been nice if she went, but I can understand why she didn’t. She should have sent Charles and Camilla.

            Whether there was antisemitism at play or not (which is sadly still present), I can still understand why they wouldn’t want to make a one day trip. Charles and Camilla clearly didn’t mind attention a Holocaust memorial ceremony in London. They could have made the trip to Poland. Not every King or Queen went themselves; Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Luxembourg all sent the heir apparent. Spain didn’t send anyone (though Felipe attended a thing in Madrid). It’s fine if Liz and Phil didn’t want to go (it would have been nice, but it’s fine if they didn’t), but they should have sent Charles – or someone.

          3. Ok, KMR, I was under the obviously mistaken impression that we were discussing this, not arguing about it. And the Queen and Duke carried out 750 engagements in 2014, not 666. I use the Royal Forum counter, which is more accurate. They could have made the one-day trip if they wanted to, to show respect for the 1.1 million people that died there. They chose not to. I’m done discussing this.

          4. And Bill and Kate Middleton chose to honor the fallen by skipping off on vacation again, their staff sending a typo-ridden statement in lieu of actually giving a rats ass. W&K are the ones who should have been sent. William needs to start interacting with the heirs to the throne and the new Kings. He will have them as colleagues far longer than his father will.

          5. Actually My2Pence, only the heirs apparents of Sweden, Norway and Denmark are really close in age to Willy. The heirs of Monaco and the Netherlands are children and will likely outlive Willy by decades. They’re more contemporary to Georgie Porgie.

          6. Along with the new set of monarchs (Spain, Netherlands, Belgium) who are only 10-15 years older than he is. He snubbed the spouse of the Swedish heir at the Olympics and failed to recognize HM King Felipe of Spain recently. William needs to start doing the international work/engagements that Edward and Sophie have handled for years, while Charles takes on more and more of HM’s role at home.

          7. I agree that William and Kate should start handling the international royal events like wedding and birthdays and whatnot since he’s the heir’s heir and will likely be king (if he becomes king) when the other heirs are king and queen. He should get to know them and not snub them like he did to Daniel and Felipe. I think it’s interesting when events like weddings and birthdays happen it’s only the Brits who don’t send the king/queen or heir apparent – they send Edward (and Sophie) who is 8th in line. It’s like an afterthought because the monarch, heir apparent, and heir apparent’s heir don’t want to go but they have to send someone so they send the 8th in line.

  4. I actually think it was a mistake of William’s team to release a statement on behalf of him. I think since he is on vacation no comment was better than that press release. Some how to me it seems worse releasing a statement while on an expensive tropical island. It comes across more callous to me.

    1. Agree with that. It points out what he’s doing: Nothing. I thought he was an “air ambulance” pilot. How much time does an average bloke get off? Not anywhere close to nearly as much as Ordinary Prince Willy, I’m positive of that.

    2. I agree. It’s trying to make it look like William cares, but it seems so hollow because of the reason he missed the commemorative events. He wasn’t held up by a previous commitment. He wasn’t ill. He wasn’t off working to benefit a charity. He was basking in the sun on a tropical island. He cares so much about remembering the Holocaust that he decided to show his support for the memorial gatherings by taking an expensive vacation.

    3. I agree. Why make a statement at all when all it does is draw attention to the fact that they are on vacation?

    4. Or they could have postponed their vacation until after the commemoration. It’s not like they have hectic schedules that they need to rearrange!

      I do wonder about the Queen and the Duke and their health when it comes to some of these events. They are still very active but are slowing down.

      1. They don’t really travel as much as they used to. A trip to Poland for only a few hours would have been a huge hassle for people who are 88 and 93.

  5. I think that we are all being a little bit hard on Wills. Don’t you realise how hard it is to balance a lap top on the sun lounge AND have a drink in the other hand?

    It is disgusting that this went out with a typo. Whoever let it get through should lose their job.

    1. Totally agree with your last sentence. To put out a statement in lieu of anything else while you’re wiping up your spilt Mai Tai and hoping it didn’t gum up your laptop is one thing; misspelling the TOPIC is another.

    2. He at least could have included, “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it for this very important anniversary, but I’m currently lying on the beach.”

      1. Exactly Bookworm or he could have said “I am so sorry, I really wanted to attend but my control freak Mother in law would not allow me to”.

        1. “My wife wanted to come to this somber commemorative event, but her hot pink miniskirts were being laundered, and so she had nothing appropriate to wear.”

          1. I still have nightmares when my neighborhood bar ran out of Don Weber. 🙂 The other excuse is “My wife couldn’t find a skirt short enough to flash all the dignitaries. We would prefer you would all leave us alone so she can sunbathe in a public area nude. Surely the French empathize with us there.”

  6. He sent a statement from Mustique…Well d*mn. I have no words.

    It would have been nice for C&C to be there, but they did something. Good for the rest of the Royals. I also agree that QEII should have been there. She was a girl during this and it would have shown continuity and strength. The BRF are doing themselves no favors right now.

    Okay, I am gonna be really vapid and say that Prince Haakon looked handsome as usual.

    1. It would have been great if HM had gone, but since she’s getting older I could understand not wanting to travel so far for one day, but then at least send Charles. At least Charles and Camilla did something, though.

      Haakon looks so good with that beard.

      1. Haakon always look good. I had quite the celeb crush on him when I was a teen, lol. I do find King Felipe to be the sexiest of the European royals – just to continue in the superficial track. He looks positively yummy with the salt and pepper beard. 😉

        1. Both Felipe and Haakon rock the beards. I’m not usually into beards, but they look so great with the facial hair.

  7. I love Mette-Marit. She’s beautiful. I know it’s cold in Norway, but….a ski hat? She’s nicely dressed, beautiful scarf…and a knit ski hat? Does anyone else find that a little casual for the occasion? If it was a meet and greet at a primary school…or an art center…well, ok. But THIS day? I would have been happier to see no hat at all, but if she was going to wear one, I feel it should have not been as informal. Silvia’s beret was fine…a touch casual, but a REAL hat, with a pretty hat pin. Don’t know why this is bugging me, but it is!

    1. LOL, I thought the same thing. The whole outfit is dressy. A lovely coat with a scarf and pearls, and then the beanie. It makes no sense. I guess she cared more about staying warm. Which I can’t blame her, but it looks very odd with her outfit and a little too casual. There are even fancier looking beanies if she really wanted to stick with that 🙂

    2. Overall, MM’s hat game is lousy. She wears little girl floral headbands, or pillbox hats hanging off the back of her head.

      Better to have gone without a hat like most of the other attendees. This is also the woman who made a point of wearing a giant fake pearl necklace on the outside of her winter coat. She is at her most stylish in evening wear. Otherwise her style is mostly a “WTF is she wearing now?” event.

  8. Sometimes it is better to say nothing at all than to be drawing attention to the fact that you are on a very expensive holiday William! Minus marks to Jason (sorry mate) for letting this statement be released from William.

    1. I can see where Jason was coming from with the statement, trying to make it look like William cares, but Jason failed because the statement only draws attention to the fact that William is on vacation.

  9. Will would have been better off saying nothing. A statement with typos….does he not care enough to read what he is saying and perhaps proof read. He’s a disgrace.

    1. You think William had anything to do with this? I doubt W&K are aware of this being the 70th anniversary of anything. One of Jason’s staff read the DM comments about the Mustique vacation and threw this together, typos and all, to counter the negative PR. W&K remain unaware that any of this has happened.

      I hope whatever photos emerge of this vacation, they are on the day of this anniversary – showing W&K frolicking on the beach instead of giving a damn about the world around them. Like the proof of her shopping instead of attending Queen Fabiola’s funeral. That resulted in HM releasing a statement to cover their collective asses for the international incident Middleton’s laziness caused.

      1. We should give them a break since it’s really hard to type on your phone and what if the spell check was off? Those letters are small!

        I was just thinking about the fact the Jewish News published the quote exactly as written and didn’t correct the typos. I can just imagine the behind the scenes discussions that were had. “Yes, those typos were in the original! Should I correct them?” “Leave them in. If they are going to send an official statement, they should learn to proofread.”

  10. First time commenting, but I’ve followed this blog for a while. I do love the very thorough coverage, and appreciate all of the work KMR does to make it so wonderful.

    Did anyone else notice something in the ears of the royals at the Auschwitz? At first I thought it was a translator, but I know CP Victoria speaks German, so I was unsure of my assumption. Does anyone know?

    1. Hi Regular Reader! I assumed the ear pieces were translators, too. The only thing I can think of is that Auschwtiz is in Poland, so maybe someone was speaking Polish at the time that photo was taken? Or maybe Victoria just got lazy? I don’t actually know.

    2. My guess would be that part was in Polish as well. There are others in that crowd who speak German and are also wearing the translators.

  11. So something I have never understood, why are people who are obsessed with Kate called sugars? I know it is off topic, but it has been bothering me for awhile 🙂

    1. I think it is used with anyone who is an obsessive fanatic of a fan for any royal, not just Middleton. The Royal Forum is referred to as a “sugar board” because any negative comments are removed or the discussions are shut down – all sickeningly sweet at KMR said. All positive, no negative comments allowed ever.

      Does that make us vinegars?

  12. Just scrolled through this post and comments again. Glad to see that so many are appalled by the lack of presence of the British Royals at this event. I agree that having William release a statement while on vacation was very foolish. Just draws attention to the “We don’t give a damn” attitude that he has. Kate, too. Her pregnancy, though, excuses her not going.
    I do also agree that The Queen and Phillip are a tad old to be making such long “day trips.” Still, I believe someone should have been there. Yes, Camilla and Charles attended an event for Holocaust survivors. She could have done that solo while he flew to Poland. Or, isn’t there another Royal who could have attended? This looks bad. As bad as it looked for America when Obama didn’t go to Paris for the Solidarity march held there after the terrorist attacks in France. Sophie and Edward seem to be working consistently. Perhaps, if Charles did not go, they could have gone?

    1. It won’t be as bad as Obama not sending someone to Paris and then having Kerry go several days later to offer a “hug” to the mayor and bring James Taylor along to sing a cheesy song. I doubt the Queen will send Charles or Phillip Hammond (the British Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Secretary) with whatever British anthem is appropriate for a death camp.

      1. Ah, yes, John Kerry and James Taylor. Maybe Sir Paul can write a song and sing it at the next commemorative event the Royals miss.

  13. Thanks for this post. As a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, obviously this was a very meaningful anniversary for me. My own grandmother, who is 92, survived Auschwitz and lost almost her whole family there.

    I think it was only right for the European Royals to be there, given the culpability of their ancestors in this tragedy (except the Danes, who saved the Jews of their countries). I would have liked the Swedish Royals to address the incredible, virulent anti-Semitism prevalent in Sweden today.

    I can’t get too worked up about William’s statement when our own President thought it was more important to go to the funeral of a murderous tyrant instead.

    1. It amazes me that there is still such widespread antisemitism in 2015. I recently was directed to a disturbing blog post about Kate that was so horribly antisemitic I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. I just don’t understand the hatred at all.

      I hope your grandmother has lived a wonderful life since her time there. I’ve read a number of memoirs from survivors and have seen footage from the liberation of Bergen-Belsen; it’s truly horrifying.

      1. I lived in a university dormitory dedicated to the Liberation of Denmark and the Resistance. It was built specifically for young people who had been active in the Resistance and their descendants. The 4th May (the day of the Liberation is a big deal there) and I’ve met a lot of the original resitance people, some of whom survived concentration camps.

        While I lived there we organized a trip to Krakow to visit Auschwitz and it was a chilling experience, especially Auschwitz 2, which was built solely for the mass murder of the Jews. The architecture of that place is beyond horrific. We also arranged a talk with a French-born woman who survived Auschwitz as well as the death march into Germany when the Red Army approached the camp. Her account was chilling but I was also deeply impressed of how she didn’t let that experience define her and how she had managed to live a full and meaningful life despite the horrors of her youth. Quite a few of the resistance fighters that I’ve met have been profoundly damaged and even broken by their experience but I also met a lady who was one of the most vivacious people I’ve ever met. She was a composer and she survived a camp as well as an SS interrogation where she sang Wagner in defiance of the interrogator.

    2. Faye, I am sure this anniversary was very meaningful for you and your family. Bless your Grandmother — a survivor. She must be an incredibly strong woman to have lived to such a good age — after losing so many of her family members, too. I hope she is well and is surrounded by love, now.
      So many people have suffered so greatly and it is nauseating to me that today’s young Royals were lounging on a beach celebrating the birthday of a Royal Wannabe while others in Europe had the dignity and respect to attend the event.
      And, yes, I am ashamed of our U.S. President, too.

  14. I just found this post, (my email alert ended up in my spam folder) and I am still dumbfounded by the events the BRF skips when they are represented by nearly every other major royal family.

    I’ll never understand the reasons behind it, not that they give us any explanations. It was a World War that was going on and every country lost someone. The BRF should have had a representative.

    I once volunteered for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Japanese American National Museum was located near the MOCA annex. They had a full size recreation of an internment camp complete with barbed wire, flood lights, barracks, everything. Even though it was a recreation, it was one of the eeriest things I’ve ever seen. Especially walking past it at night when it was all lit up with the flood lights. Although it was not anywhere near the scale and did not (thank God) have the loss of life that occurred at the concentration camps, it made me appreciate the liberties that we do have and that we, as a generation, have never had to experience anything at that level. It also makes me respect and feel sorrow for those who had to live through those times. Considering some events that are going on in the world today, I really wish William had gotten off of his spoiled backside and actually shown up somewhere to pay his respects. It’s such an “us and them” mentality.

    1. The BRFs seeming lack of respect to those millions of people who died is disheartening.

      I’ve never been to LA, but the Japanese recreation does sound eerie.

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