Friday, December 14, 2018

How to cover the royals -- as in stick to facts.


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 Full disclaimer here:  I am not royal journalist.  I am a royal historian who writes articles for this blog and for several magazines  ... on royalty.

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I am a careful observer of coverage of the British royals in the British newspapers.  A number of reporters (no names) have largely strayed from the who, what, where, how and why in writing about the Duchess of Sussex, the former American actress Meghan Markle, who married Prince Henry of Wales - now the Duke of Sussex, last May.

The reporters have preferred to rely on innuendo rather than facts.  They like throwing around the word "protocol" without knowing what it means.

FYI: protocol has nothing to do with nail polish or off the shoulder gowns.  It has everything to do with diplomatic and state events or in medicine.

Nor has the Queen ever issued a decree or a Letters Patent regarding what color nail polish a distaff royal is allowed to wear.  The Queen wears Essie's Ballet Slippers polish.  That her is choice, her go to polish when she has a manicure.

I have checked the Gazette and have not found a Letters Patent that offers direction on what nail polish other royals can wear.  This means there are no rules. 
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This also applies to pantyhose (tights) as well.

There is also no need to keep mentioning that Duchess' father is white and her mom is black.  These are facts.  We know these facts.  The Duchess is a bi-racial American.  This is a fact.  There no need to write around it -- and try to make being bi-racial a bad thing.  It is not.  It is a good thing.  Diversity is good.  Celebrate it.

Adding color to a story does not mean writing about one's skin color.  It means filling in the who, what, where, how and why of a story.

It is okay to describe the Duchess as a former actress.  The late Diana, Princess of Wales was described as former nursery school teacher, which of course she wasn't.  She was a teenage  assistant who worked part time, wiping noses, playing with the kids, but she was not a teacher.  Grace Kelly was an American actress who gave up her career when she married the Prince of Monaco in 1956.  She did not have easy time adjusting to her new life in Monte Carlo. 

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 Princess Grace was described as a former actress throughout her married life and she maintained contact with many of her Hollywood friends.

Unless a reporter has a direct quote from one the royals or has received information from one of the royal's staff, who was authorized to speak for that royal, don't try to write stories about alleged family disputes.

I am not surprised that the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex are not best buds.  They are two totally different women with different personalities and backgrounds.  Both come from middle class families.  Both attended private schools.  Catherine's parents are self-made millionaires.   The Duchess of Sussex worked hard to achieve success in television.  Acting is not an easy profession to break into and remain and build a career.  Most actors will not win Oscars, star on Broadway or have their name above the title in movie ads.  The Duchess was what many would call a "middling actor."  This is not an insult.

She also used her position to support numerous charitable and humanitarian causes.  The Duchess of Cambridge's entry into the charitable world largely began after her marriage when she began to take on several patronages.   Her patronage list -- and the Duchess  of Sussex's -- will continue to grow in the next few years.

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The late Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, was rather scathing about her two sisters-in-law, the Duchess of York and the Duchess of Gloucester.   (This was before Edward VIII abdicated in favor of the Duke of York,  and married Wallis Warfield Simpson.)   She described the two women as "those common little Scottish girls."  Ouch.  Marina was the daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark and Grand Duchess Helen of Russia.   Great titles, a few good jewels, but the Russian monarchy ended in 1917 and Marina spent a good part of her young life in exile in France due to the fragility of the Greek monarchy.

The Duchess of York was the daughter of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and the Duchess of Gloucester's father was the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury.  Nothing to sniff at.   These are ancient peerages with large estates and large back accounts.  Both titles were much older than the Greek monarchy.

The Duchess of York became the Queen consort in 1936 when her husband succeeded Edward VIII.  (Marina was a bit of snob.  I can only imagine how she reacted to learning that the Hon. Angus Ogilvy turned down a peerage from the Queen and her daughter, Princess Alexandra, would have Mrs. in her title.  Smelling salts anyone?)

Reporters asserted that the Duchess of Cambridge cried during a fitting of Charlotte's bridesmaid dress.  This was followed by suggestions that Catherine broke down and cried during the fitting and it was Meghan who made her cry.

Several things here:  we do not know if Meghan was present for the fitting.  Is it not possible that Catherine cried because she was post-partum having giving birth to Prince Louis less than a month before?   Did Charlotte have a meltdown?    Little girls, even cute little Princesses, have temper tantrums?

We don't know why?  But the reporters have written their articles to give the impression that a "difficult" Meghan was the reason for Catherine's tears.

We do not know.  So don't write it.  Stick to facts.

If I had been reporting about the move to Frogmore Cottage, I would have omitted the alleged tensions between the two brothers.  Why?  These are alleged and have not been backed up with real facts.    How many brothers live next door to each other?  It is possible that in the fullness of time that the Sussexes will have a London residence, especially after Charles succeeds to the throne.   Clarence House, perhaps.

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The Duchess of Sussex has barely put a foot wrong since coming out of St. George's Chapel.  Okay, she didn't wear a hat when she went to Chester with the Queen for a master class in royalty 101, but the Queen did not seem to mind.  There were no orders to send the Duchess to the Tower after they returned to London.

Who:  the Duchess of Sussex.  What:  the British Fashion Awards.  Where: Royal Albert Hall, London.   How:  a few things here.  The winner was the designer of Meghan's wedding gown. The event honored British designers.  That sort of thing.   Why:  So Meghan could present an award to the designer Clare Waight Keller.

It is all right to describe Meghan's gown, which was designed by Keller, who is Givenchy's designer.  I am not usually keen on what a royal wears, but there are others who take pride in maintaining reference points on royal clothes.  It is also important to acknowledge that fashion designers benefit (more jobs) from what royal women wear, especially the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.

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But there was no need to mention over and over again that the Duchess of Sussex cradled her bump. It is a very natural thing.  Moms-to-be do it all the time.  Catherine was photographed often patting her bump.    Baby Sussex may be very active and mom was trying to calm her little one.  Meghan's back might have been hurting and holding the bump may have offered a bit of comfort.

Cradling a  baby bump is not important to a story unless you are writing about women cradling their bumps.

Meghan and Catherine are the same rank, royal highnesses.  Meghan does not curtsy to any royal lady apart from Sovereigns and female consorts.  If some one says or writes that a HRH curtsies or bows to another royal highness,  look them straight in their eyes, take their hands to comfort them, and tell them they are WRONG.  Period. Full stop.   Smile politely and tell them to order a copy of Debrett's Correct Form because they need it.

Don't go to Compton.   If you wrote that, you are being racist and ignorant.  Meghan never lived there.  Meghan grew up in a nice middle class area in Los Angeles. 

Meghan is learning how to be royal and she has the support of her in-laws (Charles and Camilla) and her husband.   The Queen, too.   Royal staff were not keen on Prince Philip, who was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark.  He was seen as a foreigner even though most of his childhood was spent in the United Kingdom, he attended British schools, his mother and maternal grandmother were born at Windsor Castle and his grandmother resided at Kensington Palace.

I realize that the reporters are writing for particular audiences, but do we want to continue to encourage racist and anti-foreign sentiment in the press.   I hope not.  Would it not be better to celebrate what the Duchess of Sussex is bringing to her role as a member of the Royal family?

If your editor tells you to write with a particular slant that does not ring true, but will appeal to the readership, just say no. 

I hope that these reporter will not be finding coal in their stockings this Christmas.

Here is another idea:  how about more diversity in tabloid newsrooms?  Britons are white, black, mixed race, Arab, European, Asian --- it is time that the newspapers' reporting staffs reflect this growing diversity.  Employing and training a diversified workforce can only help with better coverage all all subjects, not just British royals.

(If you have enjoyed this article, please feel free to make a small donation.  Of course, you are not obligated to do so. Thank You.)





Autopsy ordered for von Goess victims

From Facebook - other media also using this photo


A court in Mistelbach, Lower Austria, has ordered autopsies for the three victims of a family shooting at Schloss Bockfliess.  The autopsies will take place next week.

Count Anton von Goess, 54, has confessed to killing his father, Count Ulrich, his stepmother, Countess Margherita and his younger brother, Count Ernst.  The murders took place yesterday afternoon.     He was interviewed today by the police.  The interview took place in the presence of a lawyer.

It is understood that a family dispute led to the murders, although until the count is tried and found guilty, he remains an alleged murderer.

He married Barbara Grüber in 1997 but none of the reports his wife.  One of the photos on the Schloss' site show Anton with a young man?  Perhaps he has a son.

The dispute may have been over money.

Count Anton will undergo psychiatric, toxicological and forensics tests.


https://www.krone.at/1826658

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Count Anton von Goess arrested in three murders




Count Anton "Tono" von Goess was arrested earlier today in Mistelbach, Lower Austria, following the shooting deaths of three members of his family.

The three family members who have been killed are Anton's father, Count Ulrich von Goess, 92,  his stepmother, 87-year-old Countess Margherita von Goess (nee Cassis-Farone) and his younger brother, Count Ernst. 52.   Count Anton is 54 years old.

The murders took place at the Schloss Bockfliess in Mistelbach, the Goess' family home.

http://schlossweingutbockfliess.at/?lang=en

Count Johann Anton Adam von Goess is the second child and elder son of Count Johann Ulrich Anton Maria Josef Konrad Nikolaus von Goess and his first wife, Countess Maria Margarete von Abensberg und Traun, who died in 2010.  A year later, Count Ulrich, married Margherita Mautner von Markhof.

In 1997, Count Anton married Barbara Grüber.

Count Anton was arrested "without resistance" at Schloss Bockfliess.   It was about 2 p.m. when a neighbor heard the shots and immediately called the police.

The motive for the murders is believed to be a dispute over money.  A hunting rifle was allegedly used to kill all three people, according to the police.

One local resident, an elderly woman, told police that she had never of domestic conflicts within the family.  She said they were very social people.  A family member who lives near the the schloss told the police that family was active in the community.  "They've done a lot, especially for the church," she said.

Countess Margherita is the grandmother of Sophia Mautner von Markhof, who is engaged to marry Otto-Friedrich, the 6th Prince of Castell-Rüdenhausen.

Count Anton also has an older sister, Countess Marie Jeanne, who is married to an African American Arthur Peoples. Marie-Jeanne converted to Islam when she married.  They had four children, Mohammed,  Alia, Alawia and Alisha.  The family lived in Saudi Arabia for some years.   Anton offered congratulations on Marie Jeanne's Facebook account, following the birth of Alawia's son, Noah, who was born on June 25, 2018.   Alawia is married to Hani Othman.   Alia is married to an American, Leslie Lincoln. 


Count Ulrich's niece, Countess Maria Theresa von Goess, the daughter of Count Johann Zeno von Goess, is married to Hayo Wilms.  Their son, Antonius, is the husband of Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau, daughter of Prince Jean of Luxembourg.

Another first cousin of Count Anton von Goess is Count Moritz von Goess -- son of Count Ernst-Friedrich von Goess -- who is married to Duchess Fleur of Württemberg. 

Counts Ulrich, Johann Zeno and Ernst-Friedrich are three of 10 children of Johann Anton Douglas , Count von Goess, (1892-1970) and Countess Marie Valerie von Meran (1902-1990).


Less than 24 hours, Count Tono posted several times on his Facebook account about security due to increased terror during the holiday season, the riots in Paris and immigrants.


http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2018/10/two-rather-nice-noble-engagements.html

https://www.krone.at/1826117

https://kurier.at/chronik/niederoesterreich/dreifachmord-in-noe-mann-soll-drei-verwandte-getoetet-haben/400353154

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Duchess of Abercorn (1946-2018)


The Duchess of Abercorn, the wife of the 5th Duke of Abercorn, an Irish peer, has died "following an illness."   She was 72 years old.


The Duchess was born Alexandra "Sacha" Anastasia Phillips on February 27, 1946 in Tucson, Arizona, the eldest of five children of Lt. Col. Harold Pedro Phillips and Georgina Werhner, who was the second of the three children of Sir Harold Werhner Bt., and Lady Anastasia  (Zia) Torby,  second of three children of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia and Countess Sophie von Merenberg.

The Countess of Merenberg was a granddaughter of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

Her baptism took place at St. Margaret's Westminster, and her godparents included the Duchess of Kent and Lord Mountbatten.

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Sacha made her debut in society in the summer of 1964 at a dance hosted by her grandmother Lady Zia Werhner.  The date was held at at the Werhners' home Luton Hoo and the guest list was rather impressive:  Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh,  Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, the Margrave of Baden and Prince Ludwig of Baden,  Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon and Princess Alexandra and the Hon. Angus Ogilvy.

The dance was held in Luton Hoo's ballroom and the "grounds were floodlit, according to The Times."


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Lady Zia  was certainly pleased when Sacha, then only 20 years old, became engaged to the Marquess of Hamilton, the elder son of the 4th Duke of Abercorn.

The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey on October 20, 1966.   It was a true royal occasion as Prince Andrew served as a page and the guests included the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the Duchess of Gloucester,  Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and Lord Mountbatten.

The reception was held at St. James's Palace.

Lord Hamilton served as a Member of Parliament for Fermanagh and South Tyrone from 1966 until 1970.  He succeeded in his father as the 5th Duke of Abercorn in 1979,  As the dukedom of Abercorn is in the Peerage of Ireland, the Duke took his seat n the House of Lords (until 1999), sitting with a subsidiary title, Marquess of Abercorn, which is in the peerage of the Great Britain.

The Abercorn's family seat is Baronscourt in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone.

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 The Duchess of Abercorn is survived by her husband, their three children, James, Marquess of Hamilton (& his wife Tanya), Lady Sophia and Lord Nicholas (and his wife Tatiana) and five grandchildren,  James, Viscount Strabane, Lord Claud Hamilton, Soraya and Caspian Arouzi, and Miss Valentina Hamilton.  She is also survived by her three younger sisters,  Fiona Burnett of Leys, Marita Knight and Natalia, Duchess of Westminster.

The late Duchess's genealogical connections are fascinating.  Her maternal great-grandfather, Grand Duke Michael of Russia, was married morganatically to Countess Sophie von Merenberg, who was herself the the daughter of Prince Nikolaus of Nassau and Natalya Alexandrovna Pushkina, the daughter of the famed Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.   Prince Nicholas was the brother of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg, who gave the title Countess Torby to Sophie von Merenberg after her marriage.  This title was passed to Sophie and Grand Duke Michael's children.

Countess Zia married Sir Harold Werhner, Bt.  Their family seat was Luton Hoo, now an exclusive hotel.   Zia's younger sister, Nada, married Prince George of Battenberg, the elder brother of the future Earl Mountbatten of Burma.  Within a year of their marriage,  Prince George of Battenberg became the Earl of Medina as their father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, renounced his German titles and was created Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina and Viscount Alderney.

George, the 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven was the young Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark's guardian, although it must be said that Philip spent more time with the Wernhers than with the Milford Havens.  Philip was close to Lady Zia's three children,  Alex (who was very much the older brother to Philip) and his two younger sisters, Georgina and Myra.  This circle of friends included Philip's first cousins, Patricia and Pamela Mountbatten (the daughters of the then Lord Louis Mountbatten) and David, the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret of York.

Sacha's father's maternal first cousin, Janet Mercedes Bryce, was the second wife of David Milford Haven, who died in 1970.

The Duke of Abercorn is a first of the late 8th Earl Spencer, father of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

This post will be updated after I get home and can access more information on the late Duchess. She was interviewed by the Financial Times in 2017.

https://www.ft.com/content/de36c674-b458-11e7-aa26-bb002965bce8


https://barons-court.com/

http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2011/05/georgina-lady-kennard.htm

lhttp://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2017/12/of-course-elizabeth-knew-philip.html


Monday, December 10, 2018

Less Saves the Planet

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Archduke Imre and Archduchess Kathleen were among the guests at the Less Saves the Planet gala at Three Crowns Hotel in Vevey, Switzerland.   The event was organized by Fadi Joseph Abou.

Other guests included the Duke of Vendome, Crown Prince Leka of Albania and Prince Gabriel de la Rouchefoucauld.

Less Saves the Planet is an environmental organization.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Empress Friedrich arrives at Palace

December 7, 1888

Empress Friedrich arrived at Buckingham Palace today, according to the Chicago Daily Tribune,  She received a deputation of Greeks, "who  expressed their pleasure at the betrothal" of Princess Sophie, the Empress' daughter, to the Crown Prince of Greece.

The Empress thanked the visitors, "expressing her desire to identify herself in every way" of her late husband's country.  Later, the Empress visited the Throat Hospital, where she met with Drs. Mackenzie and Hovel.  She spent some time speaking with the patients.

Netherlands will give up Wilhelm

December 7, 1918


The Netherlands will hand over former German Emperor Wilhelm II and his eldest son, the former Crown Prince, to an international court of justice, if the Allies insist, reports the New York Times.

However, the Dutch will suggest that "Herr Hohenzollern and his son be placed on an island in either the East or West Indies, where they will be guarded by a Dutch fleet."

The former Crown Prince was interviewed by the Associated Press today.  The interview has "drawn out displays of anger" from the local press in Munich. 

In the interview, Wilhelm wrote to a friend last March that he had "witnesses with great anxiety how Ludendorff undervalued the power of the United States."  The Crown Prince did not have any influence although he tried several times to "get a conference on important matters, but was prevent by Ludendorff.

It was no secret that there was a "conflict between Wilhelm II and his son.

One German newspaper wrote in response to Crown Prince Wilhelm's interview: "if the former Crown Prince really made such statements he has done his reputation a bad service.  His belated excuses and attempts to clear himself make such a disgusting impression that no one will need to grieve over his flight to Holland."



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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Frogmore Cottage -- A History

From the book  The Boy Who Would be Tsar The Art of Prince Andrew Romanoff. (2006.)  Photo is from the mid 1920s.


Sometime early next year, perhaps after the birth of their first child, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will move into Frogmore Cottage, a small manor house within the precincts of the better known Frogmore House in Windsor Great Park.  The Duke and Duchess will be the first members of the British royal family to make Frogmore Cottage their home, although other royals have used the house as a retreat or a place to spend the weekend.   Frogmore Cottage has been the home of Henry James’ father; Abdul Karim, Queen Victoria’s beloved Munshi lived in the cottage; a nursery for the children of the Prince and Princess of Wales (King George V and Queen Mary); a safety net for the nearly destitute Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia, a sister of the murdered Nicholas II, and for more than 70 years, the home of loyal Windsor Castle staff.

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Queen Charlotte, the consort of George III, acquired Little Frogmore, in the north-west area of what is now the Frogmore estate, in 1790.  The 3rd Earl of Harcourt, a “loyal servant and friend of both the King and Queen,” was able to obtain the Crown lease of this property for the Queen.  There was a small house on the estate, which the Queen used as a retreat for herself and her unmarried daughters.  The small house that they used was renamed Amelia Lodge, in honor of Charlotte’s youngest daughter, Princess Amelia (1783-1810).    

The Lodge underwent several additions and changes, which suited the Queen as she looked forward to her “sweet retirement” at Amelia Lodge.

Two years after the acquisition of Little Frogmore, Queen Charlotte purchased the Great Frogmore estate, which had been owned the Aldworth family until the early part of the 18th Century, when the main house was leased to the Duke of Northumberland, the son of King Charles II and the Duchess of Cleveland.   During the next few decades, the Great Frogmore estate passed through several owners including Edward Walpole, the second son of Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole.

The two estates, now under one owner - the Queen - led to numerous changes.  Amelia Lodge was demolished and the Queen devoted her energies to Frogmore House, which was “altered and greatly extended,” according to Frogmore House's official guidebook.   

Queen Charlotte considered Frogmore to be the place that will “furnish me with fresh amusements each day.”  It was at Frogmore that the queen was able to create a “calm retreat” for herself as she wrote, “a life of constant hurry and bustle is not reasonable.”   Charlotte preferred the country life.

The Frogmore estate was inherited by Charlotte’s eldest unmarried daughter, Princess Augusta (1768-1840) when Queen Charlotte died in 1818.  Although most of the contents of the house were sold at auction after the queen’s death.   It was not until 1841, after the death of Princess Augusta, that the Crown purchased the estate from Augusta’s executors.  An Act of Parliament allowed for the estate to become a part of the “royal domain” at Windsor.

On the grounds of Frogmore House is the smaller Frogmore Cottage, which was often used as a retreat by Queen Charlotte and her unmarried daughters.

In May 1841, Queen Victoria offered Frogmore House to her mother, the Duchess of Kent, where she lived for the next 20 years.    Frogmore Cottage was rented out to tenants.   In the mid-1840s, the American theologian Henry James, Sr., lived at Frogmore Cottage with his wife and two young sons, William and Henry.  The family returned to the United States in 1845.  Young Henry grew up to write numerous books including Daisy Miller, The Turn of the Screw and Portrait of a Lady.

Several years after the James family returned to America, the road in front of the house was closed to the public in order to give more privacy to the royal family.

I found few references to the Cottage from the 1850s to the 1890s, although, due to its close proximity to Frogmore House – and Victoria’s affection for the house and gardens – it may be assumed that the cottage may have been leased or used as a retreat for members of the royal family.
On July 5, 1891, Queen Victoria’s third daughter, Princess Helena and her husband, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein celebrated their Silver Wedding anniversary with a grand party.  The Aberdeen Weekly Journal reported that the Queen had been “suffering from such a superfluity of superiority personages that many of them had to be bedded out.”  There was not enough room for the guests at Windsor Castle or at Helena’s residence, Cumberland Lodge, that the “Queen’s apartments at Frogmore House, Frogmore Cottage and the White Harte Hotel had to be requisitioned.”

The need for extra beds came up again later that year when  the Lord Chamberlain’s office was asked to “prepare all the available rooms in Windsor Castle, as well as those at Frogmore House and cottage, for Her Majesty’s guests attending the marriage of the Duke of Clarence and Princess Victoria of Teck.”

The order would soon be canceled as the Duke of Clarence died from pneumonia on January 14, 1892. [Princess Mary married the Duke of Clarence's younger brother, Prince George, Duke of York at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace in July 1893.]

The Cottage would soon have a new resident, however, as in October 1893, Queen Victoria offered the cottage to her Munshi, Abdul Karim.  It was reported that the house was “being decorated, refurnished, and generally renovated for his occupation.”  Abdul Karim and his family lived at Frogmore Cottage until shortly after Queen Victoria’s death in January 1901, when they returned to India.   None of Victoria's close family members shared her affection for the Munshi.  She would often join he and his family for tea at Frogmore Cottage.  Victoria's friendship with Karim was platonic.  He acted as one of her secretaries.  The Queen was eager to learn Urdu and was able to write notes to Karim in his native language.

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King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra enjoyed having quiet luncheons or tea at the cottage during the summer, especially when they were able to spend time with their grandchildren.  

In August 1904, Truth, a British magazine, suggested that King Edward VII was going to offer Frogmore Cottage to his daughter, Maud and her husband Prince Carl of Denmark, but some people at Windsor maintained that “the King had offered the place to Prince and Princess Louis of Battenberg.  Princess Louis was the King’s niece, Princess Victoria of Hesse and By Rhine, the eldest daughter of his late sister, Princess Alice.  Neither story proved to be true as Frogmore Cottage was largely being used by Prince and Princess of Wales as a nursery for their young children. 

By 1909, however, the cottage became the home of King Edward’s Lord-in-Waiting, Lord Colebrooke,  The king gave permission for Lord Colebrooke’s daughter, Mary, to marry Edward Packe, at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace.  The Times’ announcement for their wedding noted that the honeymoon “is to be spent at Frogmore Cottage.”

King Edward VII died in May 1910 and was succeeded by his son, George.  In October of that year, one newspaper reported that George V intended to keep Frogmore House and Frogmore Cottage  “in his own hands,”  for the “greater accommodation at Windsor.”   The new king envisioned eventually handing over Frogmore House to his eldest son,  Edward, known as David, “ when he sets up an establishment of his own.”George also planned for Frogmore Cottage to be used as a “bachelor annexe” for male guests and their suites, as well as a grace and favour” residence. 


 In June 1912,  Queen Mary decided that her daughter, Princess Mary, then age 15, and her governess would stay for a few weeks at Frogmore Cottage,  instead of Windsor Castle. The Queen made the decision for two reasons.  Princess Mary’s new “suite of apartments” were not yet ready and Queen Mary was “anxious that her daughter’s education should not be interrupted” because of a house party – it was Ascot Week -- that was underway at the Castle. The Cottage was described as a “pretty little residence in Windsor Forest,” that Queen Mary contemplated converting the house into a residence for the royal children when Court was at Windsor.   
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Every morning, the young princess had a lesson in Scripture before breakfast and Queen Mary was insistent that she read at least one chapter of her Bible each day.

Princess Mary found the Cottage quite charming and its gardens which “were beautifully laid out.”   

The following year, the King and Queen were expected to spend Easter at York Cottage and not at Windsor.  It had been reported that they would stay at Frogmore Cottage “but the smallness of that otherwise charming little abode would alone render such a project impossible.”   They could not stay at Frogmore House, as the King’s aunt, Princess Helena, and her husband, Prince Christian, had been living there for eighteen months as their home, Cumberland Lodge, was under renovation.  The rebuilding of Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park was completed in December 1912, but Prince and Princess Christian were not able to move back in until the spring of 1913. 

Mary’s plans for a country retreat for her children was put on hold as in the fall of 1912,  the king offered Frogmore House or Frogmore Cottage to the Duke and Duchess of Teck, who had recently given up their home in Holkham.

The Duke was Mary’s eldest brother, Prince Adolphus, who was married to Lady Margaret Grosvenor, third daughter of the 1st duke of Westminster.  The Sunday Times reported that the Tecks were expected to choose the latter as it was “more suited to their requirements  and costing considerably less  to maintain.”The  Cottage occupied a “charming position in the heart of Windsor Forest.”   

Queen Mary had wanted Princess Mary to continue to “occupy this house whenever convenient,” but if the Duke and Duchess of Teck accepted the King’s offer, arrangements would be made for Princess Mary to use Frogmore House.   The Duke and Duchess of Teck did accept the King’s kind offer to use Frogmore Cottage.  They also had a lease for a home on Devonshire Place in London, which they gave up in August 1919.  The Court Circular noted that the Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge returned to Frogmore Cottage, where they remained until September after their younger daughter’s wedding.    Lord and Lady Cambridge settled into a new home, Shotten Hall, in Shrewsbury.


The change of titles came in July 1917 when the Duke renounced his German titles and was created the Marquess of Cambridge, Earl of Eltham and Viscount Northallerton.   Lord Cambridge’s four children ceased to be styled as princes and princesses of Teck and adopted the style and precedence of children of a marquess.  The eldest son, George, was known as the Earl of Eltham.  His younger siblings were Lady Mary, Lady Helena, and Lord Frederick Cambridge.  The Marquess chose Cambridge as the family’s surname, as his mother, the late Princess Mary Adelaide, was born a Princess of Cambridge, the youngest of the three children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

All four of the children spent a good part of their youth at Frogmore Cottage.

Lady Helena’s engagement to Major John Evelyn Gibbs of the Coldstream Guards was announced on July 18, 1919, with the wedding scheduled to take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on September 2.  It was the first royal wedding at St. George’s Chapel since June 1905, when Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, married Hereditary Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden - the future King Gustav VI Adolf, the grandfather of the present King Carl XVI Gustav.


all three postcards: Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection.

Lady Helena is the only royal bride who has dressed for her wedding at Frogmore Cottage.  A Royal Landau drawn by a pair of greys brought the bride and her father to the chapel’s western entrance.    

Lady Helena “looked very girlish in her wedding gown of white satin,” a simply made gown “trimmed with lace.”

The reception was held at Frogmore House with the permission of King George V, who was unable to attend the wedding as he and Queen Mary were at Balmoral.   Frogmore Cottage was “too small” for the wedding reception.
As Colonel Gibbs was based in Windsor, King George V granted the lease of Frogmore to Lady Helena and her husband in the early 1920s. In the 1925 Berkshire Electoral Register, Gibbs is listed as a resident of Frogmore Cottage, along with several servants.   They would soon move out to another home as Frogmore Cottage was about to become the home of King George V' first cousin, Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia.

Xenia was one of the two surviving sisters of the late Russian Emperor, Nicholas II, who was executed with his family by the Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg in July 1918.  Grand Duchess Xenia, who was married to Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia, was finally able to leave Russia in early 1919.   Her financial situation was dire and George decided to offer her Frogmore Cottage.

She sent a letter to the King, expressing her gratitude for his kindness. "Really Georgie, it is too good & kind of you."

There was no public announcement that the Grand Duchess would be moving into the house, officially known as "Grace & favour apartment 9."   Prince Nicholas of Greece wrote to Xenia about her move into the "pretty little house,"  which had about twenty-three rooms, but only one toilet "that was fitted out in a manner which suggested a stubborn devotion to the sixteenth century."

Prince Nicholas was a first cousin to both King George V and Grand Duchess Xenia.  His daughter Marina married the Duke of Kent in 1934.

Xenia was not living alone in the house.  She was joined by several of her sons and their families.   When it became too crowded, George V also offered Home Park Cottage  (formerly named Frogmore Lodge), which was opposite Frogmore Cottage, as overflow for her large family.

A Ministry of Works official in 1929 found that cottage was in "deplorable condition," as the house had not been "touched for several years."   Wallpaper was tearing off the walls,  the ceilings were dirty and the plaster was breaking off from the walls.  The house needed more than a mere lick of paint.

George wanted his cousin to be "made as comfortable as possible" so arrangements were made to install gas lighting.   There was one major problem when the Ministry of Works asked about who would pay for all the refurbishments.  Residents of grace and favour homes were required to pay for all internal changes, but Grand Duchess Xenia, a close relative of the king, was in no position to pay.

Bills would be quibbled over, but all the work - from installing hot water pipes to the installation of a "second-hand" gas stove from the Castle  -- were paid for by King George V.


Embed from Getty Images

By 1934, twenty-one people were living at Frogmore Cottage.  A plan to move the family into Frogmore House was vetoed.  King George did approve of the addition of a new wing that would include three bedrooms and another bathroom.

Again, all the expenses were paid for by the king.

On occasion,  King George V invited Xenia to tea,  sending a car with two footmen to bring her to the castle.   He also provided her with a £2400 annual pension.

In his book, The Boy Who Would Be Tsar,  Prince Andrew Romanoff, a grandson of Grand Duchess Xenia,  wrote briefly about living at Windsor.  He lived with his nanny in a building near the Cottage.  I expect this residence was Home Park Cottage.

[The title of the book is misleading.  None of Xenia's sons married equally, which meant that the thrice-married Andrew, an artist who has lived for many years in the United States,  was not in line for the Russian throne.]

Andrew, who was born in London in 1923, noticed the distance between the two families.  One afternoon, he was riding his bicycle on the palace grounds when he met Princess Elizabeth.  He said to her:  "How do you do?" before getting back on his bike and riding back home.  That night, the family received a phone call from the castle.  Xenia's family would not be able to walk in the private gardens when their British cousins were staying at Windsor Castle.   The young Andrew also remembered another incident when "three enormous packages" were delivered to Frogmore Cottage.  Andrew and siblings opened the packages to find very large chocolate Easter eggs,  One egg was as tall as Andrew.  Then came the phone call from the Castle.  The packages were meant for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Too late ... Andrew and his siblings had devoured the eggs.   Christmas was celebrated at Frogmore Cottage.   The children would perform plays for the adults before tearing open dozens of presents. Each child's gifts were placed on a separate couch.  "There were at least six different couches,"  Andrew wrote.

King George V died in January 1936.  His son, King Edward VIII, decided that he wanted to retain Frogmore Cottage for "the immediate royal family," and sent word to the Grand Duchess.   He offered Wilderness House, at Hampton Court, another "grace and favor" home.   The late king's sister, Queen Maud of Norway, in a letter to Queen Mary, appeared relieved that Xenia was leaving Frogmore Cottage.   Hampton Court "will be further away for all her tiresome family."

Grand Duchess Xenia and her family moved to Wilderness House in November 1936.

Coryne Hall and John van der Kiste's biography, Once a Grand Duchess, provides more details on Xenia's time at Frogmore Cottage, including the costs of renovations and additions.

This begs the question -- what happened next to Frogmore  House after the Grand Duchess was "chucked out."  In 1937,  British and American newspapers reported that Queen Mary would move into the Cottage.   One newspaper reported that she "had made several visits to the cottage recently to give instructions for the decorations and furnishings."   The cottage was described "as extremely comfortable and well- arranged."

Queen Mary was not expected to "take possession" of the Cottage until the fall of 1937.   There are no references, not even in James Pope-Hennessy's classic biography, Queen Mary, about the queen using Frogmore House.   Within two years,  Britain was again at war with Germany and Mary spent most of the war at Badminton House, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort,  The Duchess was her niece, the former Lady Mary Cambridge, elder sister of Lady Helena Gibbs.

In November 1947, just a few weeks before Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip,  the deputy manager of Windsor Great Park went to Balmoral to meet with King George VI to discuss "another home" for Princess Elizabeth and Lt. Philip Mountbatten.  Their proposed country home, Sunninghill Park, was largely destroyed by fire only a few days earlier.  One of E.H. Savill's suggestion was Frogmore Cottage, but this suggestion was not accepted.

The Cottage had already been divided into several apartments for Windsor Castle Staff.  I expect this had been done in the early 1940s, as the Berkshire Electoral Register lists five couples living at the Cottage including Florence and Henry Shurley.

The Shurleys continued to live in one apartment at the Cottage until the 1960s.  Unfortunately, the Electoral Register did not include occupations of the residents of Frogmore Cottage.

Harry Shurley's death notice in The Times notes that he died "peacefully, at Frogmore Cottage, Windsor Castle, his beloved home, on February 16, 1965.

Now, nearly fifty-five years later,  Frogmore Cottage will once again become a home, this time a royal residence, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their growing family.  Perhaps, they will feel as, as Queen Charlotte did,   that Frogmore will be a "calm retreat."   One hopes that Harry and Meghan will see Frogmore Cottage as their "beloved home," just as Harry Shurley did.



Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A message from Harper & Sienna - Holiday shopping


Sienna thinks inside the box




Harper wants a few words with you



Dear Mommy's readers,

It is Holiday shopping time and we know many of our mom's readers use Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk to purchase books and just about everything else under the sun .. yes, even cat food and cat toys!!!

You can purchase from Amazon even when we are sleeping  ... which is most of each day .. and yes, we know we are cute 
Our mom does not earn money from Royal Musings and Royal Book News.  She likes to do the blogs because it  is a great way  to reach people interested in royal history, past and present.  Neither blog has paid advertising, apart from Amazon links for books (on royalty, of course) and the Amazon search boxes.

There are three Amazon search boxes (US, UK and German) on the right side of both blogs.  If you enter your first Amazon search through one of these boxes, Mommy earns a teeny percentage for each item you purchase ... and it is a teeny tiny percentage.  It takes a long time to earn an Amazon gift card.  Amazon.co.uk's threshold is £25.00 -- it has been three years since Mom got her last UK gift card because it takes a long time to reach the threshold.

Harper says it is really easy to use the links and boxes

There are no extra costs to you when you make purchases from links or through search boxes.

Sienna knows you like Amazon

You can use Amazon on a computer or your phone or your tablet

Our Mom loves Amazon gift cards so she can get more books.


But you cannot get this cat bed on Amazon.  Sorry. Mommy bought it Buckingham Palace some years ago.

The holidays are all about love


Thank you so much,

Love,
Sienna and Harper

PS   You can shop all year round with Amazon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

No Proof Nicholas and family executed says reporter (What about the bullet holes?)



Embed from Getty Images

November 28, 1918 (report sent November 21)


New York Times reporter Carl Ackerman is reporting that there is no evidence that former emperor Nicholas II and his family were killed in Ekaterinburg.   He writes:  "I have been through the house where he [Nicholas] is supposed to have been killed, and have talked with many inhabitants and foreigners.  None possessed proof that the family were executed.  There is no evidence except some twenty bullet holes in the wall, and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to make the Bolshevist story that the family were executed a doubtful one."

For the last three months an Ekaterinburg judicial commission has been investigating the reports of the executions, but "so far has been unable to reach a conclusion."

The Allied Consular corps, which has been in Ekaterinburg throughout the Bolshevist occupation, "does not possess evidence that the family were executed."

Prominent Ekaterinburg residents have doubts that Nicholas was killed.

The owner of the house where the family was imprisoned has no information on the status of the family.

Ackerman says, "on the other hand, there are bullet holes in the walls of a basement room, and there is the Bolshevist official statement that the family were executed."




The reporter adds that there is the "testimony of a prominent Ekaterinburg citizen" who claims that he saw the former emperor and his family at the railroad station three days after their reported disappearance.

The family arrived at the Ipatiev House in May and were allowed outside for one hour each day.   The house was under daily surveillance.  On the morning of July 17, every one who worked at the house departed.  The house was in a deplorable condition.

One room in the basement, according to Ackerman, were "bullet holes in the  wall about thirty inches from the floor.  There were bullet holes also in the floor and on it some blood stains.  This is the only evidence there is of executions."

The prisoners included Nicholas, his wife, Alexandra, their five children, one valet, one doctor and one maid.   "Ten persons must have been executed, or some of them or all escaped."

After the Bolseviki were forced to leave the city by Czechs, a judicial commission was formed to find out what happened to the former Emperor and his family.  Parts of the wall and floor were removed and taken to the courtroom.  "If the family had been executed they must have been seated on chairs but no chairs have been found.  The bodies have never been found, and no traces of them have ever been discovered."

Ackerman stated that it was possible that the Bolseviki "took every evidence with them, this does not seem logical considering the hopes of the Bolsheviki who were guarding the Czar."

A local resident walked into the station master's office at the train station in Ekaterinburg and said that he had seen the family  who were hidden in an inner room in the house.  Although he is the only person who claims to have seen Nicholas since the reported execution, "he is considered a reliable man."


The report concludes:  "Added to all the evidence here must be the German influence, which at the time was very great.  This is believed to have been exerted in the Czar's behalf.  After my investigation I am of the opinion of most people here that there is not sufficient evidence to prove the family were executed.  There is circumstantial evidence that they may still be alive.  The question of the Czar's fate is a conundrum to which even the judicial commission has not found the answer.  The Czar may be alive, or he may be dead.  Who knows?"

The execution was "alleged to have taken place on July 17."  The Czech soldiers arrived in Ekaterinburg on August 1.   On August 15, a dispatch from Amsterdam announced that Nicholas' body "had been taken from the well where it had been placed by his executioners and buried with great pomp by the peasants."




Monday, November 26, 2018

Mail Call today





Look what the mailman brought today  ... the thank you from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.




Sunday, November 25, 2018

A thank you from Princess Elisabeth




A thank you from Princess Elisabeth of Belgium, Duchess of Brabant

Friday, November 16, 2018

A lovely interview with Lady Amelia Windsor







The interview was done by my good friend, Mickey Boardman, the editor of Paper Magazine, must reading for the chic and the hipsters.
thanks to Mickey Boardman for allowing me the use of this photo

Lady Amelia Windsor is the youngest of three children of the Earl and Countess of St.  Andrews.  Lord St. Andrews is the heir apparent to his father, HRH The Duke of Kent, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.  

A royal engagement: Princess Theodora of Greece & Denmark to marry Matthew Kumar


@ HM King Constantine II

"Their Majesties King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie are delighted to announce the engagement of their youngest daughter Theodora to Mr. Matthew Kumar.

Further details about the forthcoming wedding will be provided in due course.

Mr. Matthew Kumar, 34, was born and raised in Southern California to Sam and Lonnie Kumar. He is a practicing attorney in Los Angeles."


He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Los Angeles and his law degree from the University of La Verne in Ontario, California.

Matthew Jeremiah Kumar was admitted to the California bar in 2012.  He was born December 15, 1983 and is the son of  Shalendra Kumar and Yolanda Sherry Richards.

The couple began dating in 2016.

Mr. Kumar owns the FarMar Law firm, which is a debt collection service.


Princess Theodora, an actress who uses the stage name Theodora Greece, was born June 9, 1983 at St. Mary's Hospital in London.  She graduated from Brown University with a BA in Theater Arts in May 2005.  She is a goddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

BULLETIN: Elizabeth gives birth to a son, crowd goes wild

Page 1 of the New York Times  November 15, 1948


November 14, 1948


Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to the British throne, gave  birth to a son.  The news was released in an official announcement from Buckingham Palace.

"Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh was safely delivered of a Prince at 9:14 P.M. today.  Her Royal Highness and her son are both doing well."

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were in the palace for the birth of their first grandchild.  Their younger daughter, Princess Margaret, who moves down to third in the line of succession,  was out of the palace for evening. 

Queen Mary, who lives at Marlborough House, "hastened over and received her full share of cheers."  When she returned to her home at midnight, her "car was surrounded by a frenzied crowd," reported the New York Times.

The Home Secretary, James Chuter Ede, was the first person to "be officially notified.  [ The newspapers reported that this was the "first time in centuries that a  Home Secretary was not in official attendance at a royal birth," as King George VI had "abolished the ancient custom."  Yes, it is true, that the King ended the custom before Elizabeth gave birth, but the final royal birth for the Home Secretary was on December 25, 1936, when the Duchess of Kent gave birth to Princess Alexandra.  The formality was dispensed during the second world war for the births of Prince William of Gloucester (1941), Prince Michael of Kent (1942) and the Duke of Gloucester (1944).]

Mr. Chuder Ede immediately informed the Lord Mayor of the news of birth.  "Telegrams and messages" were sent to the rest of the United Kingdom and to all the Governors of the Dominions.

The New York Times described the birth as the "biggest news in the world to millions of persons."  As "affair of state," the birth of a prince is considered a :"great national and imperial event." 

What "counts most of all" is that the infant prince will succeed his mother on the throne.  This birth is seen as a "long historic tradition and a great wave of simple human joy."

The Princess' gynecologist, Sir William Gilliat, arrived at the palace last night at about 10:00 p.m.  Earlier this evening Sir William summoned his assistant, John H. Peel and the the royal family's physician, Sir John Weir.  An anesthetist V.F. Hall was also called.   The doctors arrived shortly after 7:30 p.m.   The baby was born less than two hours later, thus assuming that the princess "had a relatively easy time of it."

The news of the birth was made public at 10:10 p.m.

The Press Association's Court Correspondent reported:  "The new royal baby was described to me by one who has just seen him as a 'lovely boy, a really splendid baby.'" 

A large crowd waited outside Buckingham Palace.  A royal page slipped out the palace and whispered the news to a police constable, who made the announcement to the crowd: "It's a boy!" 

The crowd broke into "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."  There were also cheers "We Want Philip, We want Philip, we want Philip," which continued for about five minutes. 

No members of the Royal Family appeared on the palace's balcony, as it was "not considered for Philip to make a public appearance despite the urging of the crowd."

The huge crowd went wild," reported the Washington Post, after hearing the news.  The baby's father, the Duke of Edinburgh, was playing squash when he was told by the doctor that he was a father. He immediately rushed to his wife, who was still under an anesthetic.  He was then taken to see his newborn son, who had been taken to the palace nursery.

The Duke of Edinburgh then brought the King and Queen to see their first grandchild.  Queen Elizabeth "embraced her son-in-law and the King shook his hand warmly."

A bottle of champagne was opened after 81-year-old Queen Mary arrived.  The "first health" to the infant prince was drunk by the Duke and his staff.

The Washington Post's reporter commented that "many years may pass" before the new prince "ever touches a scepter.  King George is only 53 and in excellent health.  Princess Elizabeth at 22 is apparently assured of a long life, too."