Prague/Pardubice - Princess Anne, the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and currently ninth in the line of succession to the British Throne, ends her three-day working visit of the Czech Republic today.
Known for her jam-packed calendar of various public engagements - making her allegedly the busiest among all of the British royalty - she made sure not to miss this year's Velká Pardubická Steeplechase last Sunday.
An avid horse enthusiast and the only member of the British Royal Family to have competed in the Olympic Games (in Montreal in 1976, as part of the British equestrian team) she was certainly perfectly qualified to present the coveted trophy to the winner of the race in Pardubice.
Despite the best efforts of the organizers to see that everything goes by the book, the princess was clearly taken by surprise when one of the jockeys, ignorant of the proper etiquette, unexpectedly kissed her hand in an apparent attempt at courtesy.
Later on, the princess visited Sue Ryder Home in Prague, a nursing home providing care for senior citizens in ill health. Charity work is another territory where Her Royal Higness clearly feels at home, being actively involved with over 200 charities and organizations.
Prague has certainly seen its fair share of royal visits over the years, but for Pardubice The Princess Anne´s visit was a first of its kind since late 19th century.
"The last royalty to visit Pardubice was actually the Emperor Franz Joseph I and (his wife) Sissi in 1874," said historian Miroslav Klimpl, quoted by a regional press.
Next year the Czech Republic will celebrate ninety years since the declaration of independence from the dying Austro-Hungarian monarchy at the end of the World War I.
However, not everybody subscribes to the idea that only by abolishing the monarchy could Czechs (and Slovaks) finally achieve their national ambition.
There is a growing number of monarchists in the Czech Republic today, concentrated mostly around the political party Koruna Česká (Czech Crown), which contested its first parliamentary elections last year.
And the fact that they improved their result by more than one hundred per cent compared to the previous elections to the European parliament in 2004 (their first ever), proved, according to them, that their struggle is well worth the effort.
"Today is yours, tomorrow is ours," the party chairman Václav Srb rejoiced at the party website in his post-election address to "all parliamentary parties, their minions and the media who keep mocking the serious, democratic and temporarily non-parliamentary parties".
Deus Rex Patria! And God Save the Queen (and her daughter), of course.
autor: Pavel Vondra