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he month of January is a great time for royal birthdays. One of the first is King Juan Carlos of Spain, who is 77 on the 5th. The charming monarch relinquished the Spanish throne in June last year in favour of his son Felipe, who will be 47 on 30 January. The ever-glamorous Princess Michael of Kent celebrates her 70th birthday on the 15th. The youngest of the Capricorn royals is Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughter, Mia Grace, who will be one on 17 January.

   On the last day of November several members of the royal family, including the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince William, were at St Nicholas Church in Cherington, Gloucestershire, for Mia’s christening. There was neither press nor fuss and if it weren’t for a passing ITN reporter, out for a walk with his family, few would be any the wiser.

   Although little Mia is the Queen’s latest great-grandchild and 16th in line to the throne, her parents decided not to announce when and where the christening would take place. The tiny country church was also the venue for the baptism of Peter and Autumn Phillips’ second daughter, Isla, in 2012. It is the Princess Royal’s local church and only five minutes from her Gatcombe Park home, where she hosted the christening tea.

   William, who arrived without Kate or George, is thought to be a godfather, as is Iain Balshaw, a rugby team-mate of Mike before he retired from the game. The Duchess of Cambridge, another Capricorn, celebrates her 33rd birthday on 9 January. At the time of going to press she and William had just arrived in freezing New York City at the start of their three-day visit to the United States, full coverage of which will appear in our next issue. There was great excitement on both sides of the Atlantic ahead of the trip. Even hardened New Yorkers used to having royalty and A-listers in their midst got caught up in the media frenzy and were fascinated by what Kate might wear, say and do. The Duchess was lucky to experience New York for the first time just before Christmas and to see the designer stores wrapped up like giant gifts and the shopping villages that pop up for the festive season. Kate must have longed for the chance to do some shopping, but if you are a royal lady quite often the shops come to you. Not as much fun!

   Our birthday cover girl, the Countess of Wessex, shows just how stylish she can be. Sophie works hard and does so without fanfare. She always looks good, whether she is hosting a charity supper at Buckingham Palace or representing Her Majesty in a far-flung corner of the globe.

   Sophie will be 50 on 20th January and there is little doubt that both her mother-in-law the Queen and her husband Prince Edward will make a big fuss of her. A special birthday party has been planned for family and close friends.


 
 
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