Royals: The best and not-so-best of 2012 (Part II)
The year 2012 will go down as a year of transition for the royals in Britain.
This will go down as the year the members of the younger generation made their presence felt, where you could sense them forging their regal identities. Harry made his first overseas tour, William and Kate strode confidently through both crisis and triumph, even Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie lent a hand in royal duties.
All the while, the Queen, after 60 years on the throne, stayed dutifully above the fray, basking in the Diamond Jubilee while most definitely sharing the stage with her grandchildren.
With all that in mind, we pick up where Part 1 left off from our look back images from the royal year that was ....
Prince Harry made the most of his first royal tour, bringing a sense of informality and fun every place he went, from Belize to the Bahamas to Jamaica and Brazil. One of the most enduring images, above, was him striking the iconic Usain Bolt pose with the originator himself at the University of the West Indies on March 6 in Kingston, Jamaica. In Brazil, right, he charmed the kids while playing rugby at Flamengo Beach in Rio de Janeiro. (Getty Images)
LADY IN RED
The Thames River Pageant on June marked the apex of the Diamond Jubilee with a thousand boats cruising through London and all eyes on the Spirit of Chartwell barge carrying the Royal Family. Despite dreary weather, it was a triumph of spectacle. On board, the Queen was resplendent in white. The Duchess of Cornwall chose a creamier outfit, while Kate picked up on the boat's red colour scheme with an Alexander McQueen dress. Kate's choice was not without its critics, who suggested she was trying to "outshine" the Queen. (AFP/Getty Images)
The 5-foot-4 Queen didn't quite measure up to some of the British Olympic athletes, but she still walked tall while in the Athletes Village on the first day of the London Olympics on July 28. (Getty Images)
FIELD OF DREAMS
She never quite made it to the Olympics as an athlete, but the Duchess of Cambridge was not entirely out of her depth when she joined Great Britian's field hockey teams on March 15. The former captain of Marlborough College's team acquitted herself quite well as she donned her form-fitting athletic wear for a workout with the national team. It was all part of her duties as an official ambassador for Team GB. (Getty Images)
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge acknowledged the welcome of the Solomon Islanders as they left the airport aboard a truck decorated as a canoe in Honiara on Sept. 16. The royal couple made a nine-day tour of Asia and the South Pacific to mark Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. The visit was bittersweet for the royal couple, who became embroiled in a legal battle during the tour to keep topless pictures of Kate from further publication. (AFP/Getty Images)
This sheep wasn't going to let Prince Charles think he was just one of the flock, leaping into the air as the royal toured the Leenavale Sheep Stud at Sorell, Australia, on Nov. 8. Charles and Camilla made a two-week tour of Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.
MUM'S THE WORD
Prince William and Kate looked none too pleased as they departed Kuala Lumpur airport in Maylasia on Day 4 of their Diamond Jubilee Tour, Sept. 14. The night before, they found out that a French magazine, Closer, was about to publish topless photos of the duchess taken while they were on holiday in France. Prince William, according to sources, was livid about the invasion of privacy and legal action was immediately launched. (Getty Images)
Being the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge has its privileges, including seats at Centre Court for Wimbledon. Pippa Middleton made an unflattering face at Kate during the Roger Federer-Andy Murray match on July 8, but it was a rare off moment for the mostly-smiling Pippa. It was an up-and-down year for Pippa, who remained a paparazzi target in 2012. She split with her boyfriend and earned some bad reviews for her party-planning book, "Celebrate," but she remained a hot commodity in social circles. (Reuters)
A ROYAL FLUSH
There are plenty of strange customs around the world, one of them being a toilet-throwing contest in the Netherlands. It was part of the festivities marking Queen's Day, a Dutch national holiday celebrating the birthday of Queen Beatrix's mother, Juliana. Dutch Crown Prince Willem Alexander did his part in this pageant of all things orange in Rhenen on April 30. A month later, he said he felt "shame" at the contest since it was at odds with role as chairman of the United Nations Water and sanitation advisory board. (AP Photo)
One can only guess what Prince Philip might have been thinking as he examined the rear of this mannequin at the Yorkshire Museum. The Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by Janet Barnes, CEO of York Museums Trust, was touring an exhibition of medieval costumes designed by York College Students on April 5. (Getty Images)
There was much to celebrate as Prince William and Kate embarked on their second major foreign royal tour in September, and this photo captures that spirit. The couple was in Singapore, kicking off their nine-day Southeast Asian and Pacific tour. With a clink of glasses (water for the duchess), they toasted the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on Sept. 11 at a gala reception at Eden Hall. A few days later, smiles turned to frowns as topless pictures of Kate emerged. (AFP/Getty Images)
Kisses on the balcony has now become standard behaviour for royals. Luxembourg's Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume didn't disappoint the crowds as he plants one on his wife Princess Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, on the Grand Ducal Palace balcony. The scene came after the religious marriage ceremony on Oct. 20. The couple, who are distant cousins, had been dating for about two years. (Reuters)
We end Part II with another balcony scene as members of Britain's Royal Family watch a flypast from Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 16. The ceremony marked the 86-year-old monarch's official birthday (her actual birthdate is April 21). From left: Prince Andrew, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Anne, Prince Philip, Tim Lawrence, Louise Windsor, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Princess Eugenie and Prince Harry. (Reuters)