Royals: The best and not-so-best of 2012 (Part III)

The year 2012 was a special for a lot of reasons royal-wise. For one, the Queen, 86 years young, proved to be as vibrant, and as relevant, to a nation that is looking for role models. Her Diamond Jubilee year just added more sparkle to an already impressive reign.

For another, the year marked the emergence of the new generation, but this glance was perhaps as fleeting as youth itself. Prince William and Kate are no longer just a couple of newlyweds. They took on more royal duties and now are starting a family. This next year is a definite new phase in their lives, both family and work-wise.

With that in mind, here's the final part in our series of images that helped tell the royal story in 2012:


Best-Best of the royals 2012

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge got down to the level of her audience at Rose Hill Primary School in Oxford on Feb. 21. The visit carried special significance for the newshounds, who picked up on a conversation Kate had with some of the children, letting it slip out that the name of her new dog was Lupo. The black cocker spaniel was bred from a family pet owned by Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton. (AFP/Getty Images)


Best-Best of the royals 2012_3

Queen Elizabeth was all smiles and giggles as she attended the Epsom Derby on June 2. It was the start of a four-day celebration of her Diamond Jubilee to mark 60 years on the throne. It was a fitting start to the Jubilee weekend, considering the Queen's long association with thoroughbred racing. Horses from her stables have been in the the winner's circle of some of Britian's most prestigious races. The one crown that has eluded her in 60 years is the Epsom Derby, though she came close in 2011 when Carlton House finished third. (Reuters)


Move-Best of the royals 2012

Prince William looked a little out of place with a grass skirt and blazer, and also proved to be a little out of rhythm with the rest of the Tuvalu natives, and Kate, as he made a brave attempt at island dancing at the welcoming ceremony for the royals on Sept. 18. With the topless-Kate scandal behind them, at least temporarily, the couple seemed to get their second wind on the nine-day tour of Asia and the South Pacific with plenty of fun photo-ops like this one. (Getty Images)


Move-Best of the royals 2012

Even from the rear, there was no mistaking this threesome during the London Summer Olympics. As ambassadors of Team GB, Will, Kate and Harry were the most visible spectators for much of the Games. Here, they were just getting started as they took part in welcoming the Olympic flame to Buckingham Palace on July 26. (Reuters)


Move-Best of the royals 2012_2

Before the Olympics even began officially, it was proving to be full of surprises. The biggest was the Queen playing a lead role in the James Bond spoof video during the opening ceremony. When it came time for the Queen to jump from a plane, though, it was stunt-double Gary Connery (no relation to Sean) who took the leap. Wearing a copy of the Queen's dress and a wig, Connery steered the parachute to a spot just outside the Olympic Stadium and a few minutes later the real Queen entered the stadium. Connery's only regret was that he couldn't keep the dress. As for why he was chosen to impersonate the monarch, the only answer he could come up with was "I've got Queen-style legs." (Reuters)


Not-Best of the royals 2012

Here's a sight you won't see much ... Prince Charles doing a little ironing. He and his daughter-in-law Kate were pressing a couple of artworks they made during a visit to the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts at the Dulwich Gallery in South London on March 15. (AFP/Getty Images)


Not-Best of the royals 2012_2

Prince Charles has a knack for looking slightly out of place when presented with a prop. Here, he kept one ear free while he learned how to scratch and fade with a turntable during a tour of an employment skills workshop in Toronto on May 22. He and Camilla made a four-day whirlwind tour of Canada -- with stops in New Brunswick, Regina and Toronto -- to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. (CP Photo)


Not-Best of the royals 2012_4

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall appeared slightly intimidated as she shared a stage with her husband and a couple of chiefs from First Nations University in Regina on May 23. The serious faces seemed to disappear as the day went on and the royal couple was treated to a drum circle and traditional dancers. (Reuters)


Portrait-Best of the royals 2012

The biggest royal event in Sweden in 2012 was the birth of a new heir. Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, aka Princess Estelle, Duchess of Ostergotland, was born Feb. 23 to Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Daniel. As Victoria's first-born child, she is second in line to the Swedish throne behind her mother. (AP Photo/Swedish Royal Court)


Portrait-Best of the royals 2012

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge cleaned up very well for an appearance at Royal Albert Hall on May 11 to take in the British Olympic Association's concert, 'Our Greatest Team Rises.' Kate rose to the occasion with a Jenny Packham gown while Prince William shined the shoes and put on a tux. (Getty Images)


Portrait-Best of the royals 2012

We wind up this look back at royal photos of 2012 with two striking images of the woman of the Diamond Jubilee year, Queen Elizabeth. The first is the monarch in profile, eyes closed, as she stood by a cross bearing a poppy during the service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, on Nov. 11. About 10,000 veterans marched past the Cenotaph in the annual service to remember those who have lost their lives serving in the Armed Forces. The Queen herself served in uniform during the late stages of the Second World War with the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. (AP Photo)


Portrait-Best of the royals 2012

The final image is actually a painting, the official Diamond Jubilee portrait commissioned by the Palace. Done by Australian artist Ralph Heimans, it shows the monarch standing on the Cosmati pavement, where kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey for 700 years. The 2.5x3.5-metre portrait shows a reflective Queen, dressed in the robes she wore at her Coronation in June 1953. Among the many portraits done of the Queen, this one stands out.


Best of the royals 2012, Part I

Best of the Royals, Part II


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