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Today's Scotland Vote: What You Need to Know

The vote over Scottish independence is here

(Newser) - Scots are taking to the polls today to determine whether Scotland should gain legal independence from the United Kingdom for the first time since 1707. Voters—more than 4 million perhaps, with 97% of the electorate registered to vote—have access to 2,608 polling places across the country between... More »

Belgium's King Albert Abdicates

Son Philippe takes oath in fractious nation

(Newser) - Belgium's King Albert abdicated today after a 20-year reign, as his son, Philippe, took over as this fractured nation's seventh king later in the day. The 79-year-old Albert signed away his rights as the kingdom's largely ceremonial ruler in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo,... More »

Horrors: Belgian Royals Must Now Pay Taxes

Their allowances also are cut, except for the reigning king

(Newser) - Belgium is taking after the monarchies of Britain and the Netherlands and trimming the royal purse strings. Reigning King Albert II is exempt, but other royals are going to pay income taxes for the first time and get smaller allowances, reports Reuters . For instance, in the case of Queen Fabiola—... More »

Dutch Get 1st King in 120 Years

Huge street party greets Willem-Alexander

(Newser) - It's party time in Amsterdam: Queen Beatrix has signed her abdication papers, making her son Willem-Alexander the country's first king since William III died in 1890. Huge orange-clad crowds gathered in the Dutch capital to say farewell to the popular queen and celebrate the annual Queen's Day... More »

Netherlands' Queen Beatrix to Abdicate

Son Willem-Alexander to become country's 1st king in century

(Newser) - Dutch Queen Beatrix announced today that she will abdicate on April 30 after 33 years as head of state, clearing the way for her eldest son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, to become the nation's first king in more than a century. The announcement, in a nationally televised speech, signaled an... More »

Dig Thinks It's Found Richard III Under Car Park

Archeologists find skeleton with curved spine, arrow through back

(Newser) - Archeologists in England think they may have indeed found the remains of the "tyrant king" Richard III in a dig under a car park in Leicester, reports the Daily Mail . They announced today that a number of factors that make them think it's the real deal, most notably... More »

British Throne's 'True Heir' Dead at 71

Some historians believe Mike Hastings had a claim to the crown

(Newser) - The rightful heir to the British throne may have just died in Australia. Some historians considered Mike Hastings, the 14th earl of Loudoun, to be the true heir, descended as he was from the House of York. The AFP reports that the claim stems from documents uncovered by one historian... More »

Anti-Monarchists Gear Up to Derail Queen's Jubilee

Republicans find lavish celebrations fly in face of austerity elsewhere

(Newser) - Not everyone in Britain is thrilled beyond words about Queen Elizabeth's big diamond jubilee on Saturday: Somewhere between 22% and 50% of Britons are estimated to be anti-monarchist, and with a tough austerity program rocking Britain's economy, many anti-austerity protesters are teaming up with republicans to demonstrate against... More »

Jamaica PM Would Like Apology From UK for Slavery

Portia Simpson Miller calls history 'wicked and brutal'

(Newser) - Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller didn't mince words when asked yesterday about her country's history with Britain—just as Prince Harry arrived in the country for a visit. "No race should have been subjected to what our ancestors were subjected to," Miller said, according to... More »

Japan's Emperor to Have Heart Bypass

Akihito has suffered from variety of health problems in recent years

(Newser) - Japanese Emperor Akihito will have heart bypass surgery later this month, his palace said today after the 78-year-old monarch was hospitalized for tests over the weekend. Akihito returned to the palace today after the tests and has scheduled the surgery for Feb. 18, the Imperial Household Agency said. More »

Austro-Hungarian Empire's Last Heir Dead at 98

Otto von Habsburg became champion of European integration

(Newser) - Archduke Otto von Habsburg outlived the empire he was supposed to inherit by 92 years. The royal—christened Franz Josef Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius—was the eldest son of the final emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire, reports the BBC... More »

Britain Hacks Queen's Budget

Bill also increases public audits to royal family's expenses

(Newser) - God might save the queen, but not from budget cuts and the government peeking at her checkbook, reports the Telegraph. The belt-tightening and increased transparency will ensure "value for money" for the royal institution, proponents say; others contend the changes will attack the dignity of monarchy. Under the Sovereign... More »

Prince Charles' Public Subsidy Leaps 18%

Royal accounts reveal surge in spending

(Newser) - Anti-monarchists in Britain are wondering why public spending on Prince Charles and his household shot up 18% at a time when most government departments are grappling with major cutbacks. The prince's annual accounts show that government grants to cover things like his official travel and the upkeep of his... More »

Why the Monarchy Still Matters

It ties Britain to a powerful past—and could help lead it into the future

(Newser) - On a day like today , even someone with misgivings about the British monarchy has to feel a little pride. The empire is gone; Britain’s global reach has rapidly diminished; but once again, all eyes were on London—perhaps a billion pairs, according to some counts, writes Philip Stephens in... More »

UK Arrests Anti-Monarchists, Seizes Guillotine

Activists planned to mark royal wedding with mock execution

(Newser) - London police have arrested three people who were planning a very different kind of royal wedding celebration. The trio of anti-monarchy activists—one of whom was dressed as an executioner—had planned to mark today's ceremony with a mock execution of a royal, reports the Guardian . Police seized a... More »

Why Wills and Kate Fascinate Us

They're victims of an inescapable fate—but they seem happy anyway

(Newser) - Even to those of us with no plans to sit through the royal wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton are intriguing. “My friend is not a royal watcher or a tabloid reader. Neither am I,” writes Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post . Yet both were familiar with Kate’... More »

Brits Debate Bumping Girls Up Royal Line

Law that favors male heirs may be ditched

(Newser) - With a royal wedding on the way, the British government is considering a move to bring the monarchy into at least the 20th century. Ministers are debating changing the law on royal succession to give females the same rights as males, the Telegraph reports. As the law stands, any son... More »

Inside the King of Sweden's Crazy Sex Parties

King Carl Gustaf likes the ladies, according to new book

(Newser) - Sweden’s bespectacled King Carl Gustaf seemed respectable almost to the point of dullness, with such innocent hobbies as hunting and attending jamborees. A scandalous new book, however, changes all that: The Reluctant Monarch alleges the 64-year-old king, married 34 years to Queen Silvia, has attended sex parties hosted by... More »

New on Facebook: Queen Elizabeth

She's not going to be your friend, though

(Newser) - For an octogenarian for whom marrying a divorcee was once unthinkable, Queen Elizabeth is getting downright modern: The monarch is joining Facebook, reports the Telegraph. And while you won't be able to do anything as undignified as poking or friending, you can "like" her (and, we suppose, "unlike"... More »

Queen Sought Poverty Money to Heat Palaces

Palace applied for funds earmarked for low-income families

(Newser) - An elderly British woman struggling with her heating bills who sought help from a government program to aid low-income families was told that, as queen, she wasn't the kind of individual the program was meant to assist. Ministers apologetically rejected Buckingham Palace's request for funds earmarked to help housing associations... More »

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