Friday, December 13, 2019

King Albert's appeal rejected

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 King Albert of Belgium's appeal to provide a DNA sample to show that he is the father of Delphine Boel, has been rejected by the Court of Cessation.

Delphine Boel, 51, claims that Albert, had a long-standing affair with her mother, Baroness Sybille De Selys Longchamps.  The affair allegedly began in 1966 and ended in 1984.  At the time, Sybille was married to a French industrialist Jacques Boel, who was seen as Delphine's legal father.

King Albert,  then the Prince of Liege, and heir presumptive to the Belgian throne, married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria, in 1959.  They have three children,  King Philippe, Princess Astrid, and Prince Laurent.

A Dna test, however, proved that Jacques is not Delphine's biological father.
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King Albert cannot appeal this ruling nor does the court provide a decision on Delpine's paternity.  Delphine and King Albert, now 85 years old, were ordered to provide a DNA sample by the Court of Appeal.  Miss Boel complied, but King Albert vacillated until he was required by another court ruling on the condition that the analysis would remain private until the Court of Cessation's final ruling.

The final ruling was made earlier today.  It will be up to the Court of Appeal to order Albert's sample to be opened and the analysis be shared with Miss Boel.   

The date for Court of Appeal's hearing has not been set.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Baptism of the heir to Isenburg

@Fürst von Isenburgische Rentkammer

The infant son of the Prince and Princess of Isenburg was recently baptized at Birstein.  He was given the names Franz Salvator Ferdinand Bonifatius Wilhelm Maria.

The Hereditary Prince was born on August 8.

He was baptized according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, and he wore a an 18th century baptismal gown that once belonged to the Dukes of Ossuna.

The godparents are HI & RH Princess Sophie of Prussia (sister of the Prince of Isenburg), Dr. Simon Lorenz (brother of the Princess of Isenburg), Baron Franz Mayr-Melnhof-Sarau, Kai-Harald Solmitz and HSH Hereditary Prince Casimir of Ysenburg und Büdingen.

Pope Francis sent the Prince and Princess an apostolic greeting that was read at the baptism.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Queen Marie of Romania film now available for rental

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The new Romanian film,  Queen Marie of Romania, is now available for rental through a company called Vimeo.

 I have never heard of Vimeo so not sure of the source.  The cost is $5.00 and is subtitled in Romanian, English and French.

Romanian actress Roxana Lupo plays Queen Marie.  The movie is set in `1919 at the Paris Peace talks.

@Abis films

Friday, December 6, 2019

Baby for Guillaume and Stephanie

© Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

What wonderful news. After seven years of marriage, Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg is expecting a baby in May. Luxembourg's succession law is gender equal, which means that if Stephanie gives birth to a daughter, she will remain in second place (and future Grand Duchess) even if she has younger brothers.

This will be the fifth grandchild for Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.  Prince Felix and Princess Claire have two children, Princess Amalia and Prince Liam of Nassau and Prince Louis and his former wife, Tessy Antony, have two sons, Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah of Nassau.

The current line of succcession is Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, Prince Felix, Princess Amalia, Prince Liam, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sebastien.
Prince  Louis and his two sons do not have dynastic rights as Louis renounced his rights before Gabriel was born.

Countess Stephanie de Lannoy and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume were married on October 20, 2012.

The couple had been living in London since September 2018 as the Hereditary Grand Duke was taking classes at the Royal College of Defence Studies.   Guillaume told RTL tonight:

"We have been expecting this moment for a long time, and now it is here. The people are enthusiastic, they are happy for us and of course that makes us very happy."

Stephanie added:  "We are happy to be here as three."

The couple have moved in  Schloss Fischbach.

all five photos © Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Philip's mother, Princess Andrew dead at 84

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December 5, 1969

Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died today at Buckingham Palace, reports the New York Times.   She was 84 years old.

The Princess had been in ill health for some time. Since the military coup d'état in Greece in 1967, she had been living in a "small suite of rooms" at Buckingham Palace.

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Princess Victoria Alice Elisabeth Julia Marie of Battenberg was born on February 25, 1885 at Windsor Castle, the first child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria Alberta Elisabeth Mathilde Marie of Hesse and by Rhine, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.   Her second name was in honor of her maternal grandmother, Princess Alice, the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who died from diphtheria  on  December 14, 1878,  worn out after carrying  for several of her children who had become ill from the disease.  The youngest of the late Princess Alice's children, Princess Marie, succumbed from the disease a few weeks before her mother. 

She was baptized in Darmstadt on April 25, 1885.  Her godparents were her three surviving grandparents, Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine, Prince Alexander of Hesse and Julia, Princess of Battenberg,  her aunts, Grand Duchess Elizabeth of Russia and Princess Marie of Erbach-Schönberg and Queen Victoria.

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 The young princess spent her childhood in London, Jugenheim, near Darmstadt and Malta, where her father, who served in the Royal Navy, was stationed. 

Alice was diagnosed as deaf when she was child and she learned to lip read and speak in English and German.   Shortly before her 16th birthday, she was confirmed in the Anglican church.

In 1893,  Alice was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of Princess May of Teck and Prince George, Duke of York, second in line to the British throne.

It was in 1902  at the Coronation of Alice's great-uncle King Edward VII where she met Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the fourth son of King George I and Queen Olga.   King George was the younger brother of Edward's consort, Queen Alexandra.

Princess Alice of Battenberg and Prince Andrew were married in a civil ceremony at Darmstadt on October 6, 1903.  Two religious ceremonies, a Lutheran service followed by a Greek Orthodox wedding at the Russian Chapel in Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt.

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Alice and Andrew settled in Greece, where he continued his military career, until King Constantine I was forced to abdicate in 1917 and the Greek royal family went into exile.

Princess Alice gave birth to five children, four daughters, Margarita (1905-1981), the wife of Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg,  Theodora (1906-1969) who married Berthold, Margrave of Baden,  Cecile (1911-1937), who married her mother's first cousin, Georg Donatus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, and Sophie (1914-2001) who was married twice, first to Prince Christoph of Hesse, and after his death, Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover, and one son, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921), who in 1947 married the future Queen Elizabeth II.

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In the war against Turkey in 1922,  Prince Andrew was sought out as a scapegoat for Greece's failure.  He was arrested but was saved from "foreign intercession."  Prince Andrew was banished from Greece. He and his family settled in Paris.

By the late 1920s,  Andrew and Alice's marriage was in trouble as Andrew sought out other female companionship,  Alice, who had converted to Orthodoxy a few years after her marriage, began to suffer from mental health issues and was in and out of mental hospitals for most of the 1930s.

Prince Andrew died in Monte Carlo in 1944.  During the second world war, Alice returned to live in Greece, where she took great risk to hide Rachel Cohen, a Jewish widow, and her five children, from the Gestapo.

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After Greece's liberation, future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan visited Athens where he met with Alice.  He noted that she was "living in humble, not to say somewhat squalid conditions.

In 1949,  Alice founded a monastic society of Martha and Mary, which was based on the nursing order founded by her late Aunt Elizabeth, who had been killed by the Bolshevik, in 1918.  Although she would wear a nun's habit for the rest of her life,  Alice never took vows.  She wanted to train sisters to care for the poor and the sick. But the organization never received enough "suitable candidate" for the sisterhood,  Alice eventually had to give up her plans for the nursing order.

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Until the fall of the Greek monarchy in 1967, Alice lived in a small apartment in Athens.  She often spent time with her daughter's families in Germany and England to see her son, Philip. 

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Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark is survived by her daughter, Sophie, Princess Georg Wilhelm of Hanover, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her younger brother,  Louis, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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A private funeral service will be held next week at St. George's Chapel.  The British royal family will observe one week of family mourning.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

20 years ago - the wedding of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians

Today is the 20th wedding anniversary of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde (nee d'Udekem d'Acoz) of the Belgians.  The couple were married in a civil ceremony at Brussels' Town Hall, followed by a Roman Catholic wedding at  the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.

Queen Mathilde is the first Belgian-born Queen consort.

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and 20 years later, the King and Queen have four children,  Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant, Prince, Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore.

@Belgian Royal House

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's daughter, dead at 91

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 December 3, 1939

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. the oldest surviving child of Queen Victoria, died today at her home in Kensington Palace, reports the New York Times.  The princess, a great-aunt of King George VI, was 91 years old.

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The Court Circular announced that King George and Queen Elizabeth "received the news of the death of the Princess with 'great sorrow.'"

Princess Louise remained in her London home despite the outbreak of the war as her doctor "felt that the danger in moving her to the country would be greater than that from air raids.

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Princess Louise Caroline Alberta was born on March 18, 1848 at Buckingham Palace, the fourth daughter and sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

She grew up in "quasi-seclusion which marked the Court of Victoria for many years after the death of the Prince Consort."  After the marriage of her older sister, Princess Helena, to Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein,   Louise became her mother's "constant companion."   It was an open secret that she was exceedingly frustrated by the "somewhat isolated position."

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 The princess had an independent streak that "shocked her mother's staid court."  She made it clear that she wanted to study art.  Louise also "won a popular following" for turning down the marriage proposals of several German princes.  In 1868, the King and Queen of the Netherlands were "urgently pressing" Queen Victoria to allow a marriage between Louise and the Prince of Orange.  It was in the fall of 1870, when Queen Victoria gave her permission for Louise to marry John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, the heir apparent to the Dukedom of Argyll.

Princess Louise was the first British/English princess to marry outside the royal circle in 350 years.  Her elder brother, the Prince of Wales, was opposed to the marriage, but the queen made it clear in a letter to her son that she approved of the marriage:

"That which you object to [that Louise should marry a subject] I feel certain will be for Louise's happiness and for the peace and quiet of the family ... Times have changed; great foreign alliances are looked on as causes of trouble and anxiety, and are of no good. What could be more painful than the position in which our family were placed during the wars with Denmark, and between Prussia and Austria? ... You may not be aware, as I am, with what dislike the marriages of Princesses of the Royal Family with small German Princes (German beggars as they most insultingly were called) ... As to position, I see no difficulty whatever; Louise remains what she is, and her husband keeps his rank ... only being treated in the family as a relation when we are together."

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The marriage took place on March 21, 1871 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor.

In 1878,  Lord Lorne was named as Governor General of Canada, and Louise accompanied him.   She was also permitted to study  sculpture with Sir Edgar Boehm.  Her studio was next to her Kensington Palace apartment, which she moved into in 1873 following the death of the Duchess of Inverness, the second wife of the late Prince Augustus, Duke of Sussex.

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The princess' best known work is the marble statue of Queen Victoria in Kensington Palace Gardens.

Lord Lorne succeeded to the dukedom in 1900 and died in 1914.  Their marriage was childless.

In her later years,  the Princess "abandoned the heavier work of sculpture for sketching and watercolor painting."   She lived next to her younger sister, Princess Beatrice.

The princess remained active long after her 80th birthday.  She enjoyed walking in Kensington Gardens and often stopped to talk with the women selling fruit and chocolate.

When the Princess married, she received a dowry of £30,000 from Parliament, as well as an annuity of £6000.

Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, is survived by her younger brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and her younger sister, Princess Beatrice, the widow of Prince Henry of Battenberg.

(The best biography of Princess Louise.)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Belgian Mail Call

These two cards arrived during my Thanksgiving break from HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium and HRH Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant.

The first card included a photograph of  HI & RH Archduke Maximilian, the newborn son of Princess Astrid's eldest child, Prince Amedeo and his wife, Princess Elisabetta.

The second card commemorates the 18th birthday of the Duchess of Brabant, heiress apparent to the Belgian throne.

Cyber Monday True Royalty

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True Royalty, a streaming channel, is offer a half price subscription for six months and a year.   This deal is for Cyber Monday only - and about 8 hours left.

If you do subscribe already, please let me know what you think about it ... is it worth the price?

Quoted --

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I am asked for my view or opinion on royal topics, whether it be about the Duchess of Sussex or Princess Beatrice's wedding ... or other topics.

Here are links to several of the more recent articles where I was interviewed.

and an article I wrote for History Extra

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Badens

Princess Theodora of Greece came to the attention of the international media in March 1928, when the New York Times and other newspapers reported that the 22-year-old princess was going to become engaged to Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, the eldest son of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and his first wife, the British-born Princess Margaret of Connaught.   The Crown Prince’s second  wife, Louise, was Theodora’s aunt.  Despite the family connections, the proposed engagement was  nothing more than mere rumor. 

Theodora was the second of five children of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.  She was born May 30, 1906 at Tatoi.   Andrew was not present for the birth, as he was in Madrid to attend the wedding of Alice’s cousin, Princess Ena of Battenberg, to King Alfonso XIII of Spain.  He did not return to Greece until two weeks after his daughter’s birth.

The little Princess, who was baptized according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox church, was given the nickname, Dolla, by her older sister, Margarita, who was born in April 1905.    Margarita called her sister “dear Dolla,” as she could not pronounce Theodora.

From an early age, Theodora and her sisters (Cecilie and Sophie were born in 1911 and 1914, respectively) were taught Greek and English, and their closest playmates were their first cousins, Olga, Elizabeth and Marina, the daughters of Prince Nicholas of Greece and his wife, the former Grand Duchess Helen of Russia.  There were also visits to relatives in Germany, Russia, and England. King George V was Prince Andrew’s first cousin.

In 1917, Prince Andrew’s nephew, King Constantine I was in a difficult and perilous political situation.  Greece had lost a “potential ally” when Russia fell into the abyss of revolution that would lead not only to the abdication of Nicholas II, but also to his murder, and the  murders of numerous memoirs of his family, including Princess Alice’s aunt, Ella.

Constantine was forced to abdicate, and he and his family went into exile.   Prince Andrew and his brother, Nicholas, had hoped that they would be able to remain in Athens to support Constantine’s second son, Alexander, who was now the puppet king of a regime that sought to end the monarchy.    Andrew and Alice’s first exile began in St. Moritz, but they settled into the Grand Hotel in Lake Lucerne, which was the “base in exile” for most members of the Greek Royal family.

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The Greek royal family’s first exile ended in late 1920, following the death of King Alexander.  By the end of 1920, King Constantine I was restored to the throne, and members of the royal family returned to Greece.   Princess Alice was pregnant with her fifth child, and in June 1921,  she gave birth to a son, Philip.

Alice’s mother, Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, described her eldest granddaughters, as “quite natural & unaffected girls, really children, that do Alice credit, but though nice looking, they have merely the good looks of youth.”   All four of the princesses were bridesmaids when their uncle Dickie (Lord Louis Mountbatten) married the heiress Edwina Ashley.  Theodora and her sisters were “dressed in delphinium blue to match Edwina’s eyes.”

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Despite Constantine’s restoration, the Greek monarchy was anything but stable.  The country suffered defeats in a war with Turkey.  The king was unfairly blamed for the war, even though he had nothing whatsoever to do with starting the war with Turkey.   With every soldier returning in defeat from Asia Minor, Constantine’s “popularity went into sharp decline.”   Prince Andrew also suffered from criticism as he had remained on leave and “absent from his command in Epirius.”  His wife and family had remained in Corfu, where they learned that King Constantine had abdicated, and Crown Prince George accepted the crown.
 It was first believed that Andrew and his brother Nicholas would leave Greece with the king and queen and their children, but Andrew remained in Corfu as he and Alice were assured by the new government “that they would be out of danger.  Instead, Prince Andrew was taken into custody and quizzed about his role in the “Asia Minor debacle.”   He was tried, and found guilty of disobedience and abandoning his post in the face of the enemy.”   He was sentenced to “perpetual banishment” from Greece.

A British warship brought Andrew and his family out of Greece, and again into exile.   It has largely been assumed that Alice’s cousin, King George V, made the arrangements; when, in fact, it was the former Greek prime minister, Eleutherios Venizelos, who provided the impetus to get Andrew out of Greece.   Alice had hoped that she and her family could settle in Britain, to be near her mother, but the British sovereign did not want to encourage members of the Greek royal family residing in England.
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A new residence was found in St. Cloud, on the outskirts. Finances were difficult, but Princess Marie – the wife of Prince George of Greece – an immensely wealthy woman in her own right, paid all of the family’s bills.  According to her son, Prince Peter, Marie would never have allowed the family to become destitute.

This exile provided further strain for Alice and Andrew’s marriage.  Alice, too, began to suffer from a mental breakdown, and was eventually hospitalized.

One of Alice’s primary concerns was to find husbands for her two eldest daughters.  In the 1920s, Margarita and Theodora spent a lot of time in London with their grandmother, Victoria.  They spent a lot of time with their Aunt Louise, who was enlisted to help find  husbands for the princesses.  Aunt Edwina gave  the princesses her used clothes.  The two princesses were often mentioned in the social pages, having attended balls and parties at the most important houses in London.  Neither emerged with a marriage proposal at the end of the season.  Margarita and Theodora were not considered good catches due to their impecunious state as exiled Greek Princesses. 

(It was Louise who ended up with a husband.  In 1923, she married the future King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden.   It was the second marriage for Gustav Adolf, whose first wife, Margaret, had died three years earlier.  All four of Alice’s daughters were bridesmaids at the wedding which took place at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.     Before the first world war, Louise had received a proposal of marriage from King Manoel II of Portugal.  She turned him down, telling Dolla that she would never marry “a king or a widower.”

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When her relationship with Gustaf Adolf, a widower, who would succeed to the Swedish throne in 1950, started to become serious, Louise begged Theodora and Margarita to not leave her alone with Gustaf.  “Naturally, we did the opposite and Uncle Gustaf was extremely grateful to us for doing so.  I can remember exactly what he said to us: ‘You are bricks!’”)

Princess Margarita nearly became engaged to 25-year-old Prince Franz Ferdinand of Isenburg, but she refused to convert to Roman Catholicism.   Their relationship, however, had the approval of the family,   and Princess Louise expected that an announcement would be made.  She also noted that Theodora had a “violent flirtation with the old Fürst, which must have been very funny.”      But an announcement of a proposed marriage was never made, and the young couple went their separate ways.

Finding husbands for the pretty, but poor Greek princesses, was proving to be difficult.   The story that Dolla was going to marry Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden was nothing more than a rumor.   Dolla and her older sister continued to visit relatives in Britain, and in 1928, they spent time in Romania, at the royal family’s estate in Sinaia, with their first cousin, Queen Helen, and her young son, King Michael, who was the same as Prince Philip.  The young Greek prince had accompanied his sisters on this trip.

Much to everyone’s surprise, 16-year-old Princess Sophie was the first of the four sisters to marry.   In December 1930, she married Prince Christoph of Hesse, whose mother, Margarethe, was Sophie’s grandmother, Victoria’s first cousin.   Two months later, Princess Cecilie married her mother’s first cousin, Hereditary Prince Georg Donatus of Hesse.  In April 1931,   Margarita was wed to Gottfried, the 8th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.    Gottfried’s mother, Alexandra, was also a first cousin of the Marchioness of Milford Haven.  Thus, all three sisters, who were descendants of Queen Victoria, were married to descendants of Queen Victoria.   

Dolla was the only one of the four sisters to not marry a descendant of Victoria.  On August 17, 1931, she was married to the Margrave of Baden.   Prince Berthold had succeeded his father, Prince Max, the last Chancellor of Imperial Germany, in 1929.

Although Berthold was not a descendant of Queen Victoria, he was a descendant of George III.    His mother, Princess Marie Louise of Cumberland, was a British princess by birth, but she was better known as a princess of Hannover.   The two countries were ruled by the same sovereign from 1714 when Georg Ludwig of Hannover succeeded to the British throne after the death of his kinswoman, Queen Anne.   It was not until 1837, when the two thrones were again ruled by separate sovereigns.   King William IV died in June 1837.   He was succeeded by his niece, Victoria, but due to the Salic law in Hannover, the throne there passed to William’s brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, who reigned as Ernst August V.   Members of the Hanover royal family retained their British titles.   In 1866, Hannover was annexed by Prussia, and Ernst August’s son, King Georg V abdicated, and the family went into exile.   After Georg V’s death, his son, Ernst August was known by his British title, and his children were styled as “of Cumberland,” rather than “of Hannover.” 

When Marie Louise married Prince Max at her family’s home at Gmunden in Austria in 1900, she sought official permission from Queen Victoria to marry.   The official declaration for the marriage referred to Marie Louise by her British titles.

Berthold was also born in 1906.  He spoke English fluently, and studied at Oxford University.  In 1928, he sailed for the United States, traveling third class on the SS George Washington, as “plain B. Baden.”  He was traveling to the United States with other Oxford undergrads to tour several American universities.

The couple’s civil marriage took place on August 15, 1931 at the Neue Schloss in Baden-Baden, was attended only by the bride’s father and the groom’s mother.   Prince Andrew and Prince Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Marie Louise’s brother, were the witnesses.  Two days later, Dolla and Berthold were married in the schloss’ chapel.  Two marriage ceremonies were performed: Lutheran and Greek Orthodox.  Only “relatives and intimate friends” were present for the wedding, and the guests included Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden, Princess Marie of Baden, Queen Sophie of Greece, Crown Princess Louise of Sweden, Prince Waldemar of Denmark, the Duchess of Cumberland, the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses of Hesse and By Rhine and Mecklenburg.  (The Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg was the groom’s maternal aunt, Alexandra.)  Prince Andrew and Dolla’s three sisters were present, but Princess Alice, confined to a mental hospital, missed all four of her daughters’ weddings.

After the wedding, Crown Princess Louise wrote to a family friend: “I do hope Dolla will have a very happy life with Berthold because I think in some ways she expects more than her sisters.”   Dolla was once described as the most “correct” of the four sisters.

Eleven months after the wedding, Dolla gave birth to a daughter, who was christened Margarita Alice Thyra Viktoria Marie Louise Scholastica.  A son and heir, Maximilian Andreas Friedrich Gustav Ernst August Bernhard, was born in July 1933.   A second son, Prince Ludwig Wilhelm Georg Ernst Christoph, was born in March 1937.

The Badens’ family home, Schloss Salem, near Lake Constance, also served as a school established in 1920 by the German educator, Kurt Hahn, and promoted by Berthold’s father, Max.  One of Salem’s more famous pupils was Prince Philip, although he spent only a year at the school, and he had not enjoyed his time there.  Attending Salem was a “family decision,” as Theodora, in “token consultation,” with her uncles, the Marquess of Milford Haven (who was largely Philip’s guardian), and Lord Louis Mountbatten, decided that her younger brother should attend the school at Salem, which was, of course, in her own home.   But by 1933, Kurt Hahn, who was Jewish (in the 1940s, he converted to Christianity), was arrested and thrown into jail.  British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald was able to secure Hahn’s freedom, and the educator was able to flee to Britain, where he founded Gordonstoun school in Scotland.   It was then decided that Philip would return to Britain, where he would be enrolled at Gordonstoun.

The Nazi regime made life difficult for the liberal-minded Prince Berthold, who had little choice but to accept a “rigid pro-Nazi” regime at Salem.  If he had not agreed, the Nazis would have closed down the school.  But unlike his brothers-in-law, the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and Prince Christoph of Hesse, Berthold never joined the Nazi party.  Nor did his wife.  Princess Margarita joined the Party on the same day as her husband.   One of Berthold’s first cousins, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg was also a member.

After the war, Prince Berthold was able to regain control of his school,
which would become one of Gerrmany’s most prominent international boarding schools.    There also would be great changes to Theodora and her siblings.  In November 1947,   their little brother was married to the future Queen Elizabeth II.   It was a grand and glittering marriage, but none of the three sisters (Princess Cecilie had been killed in a plane crash in 1937 with her husband, two sons, and mother-in-law), had been able to attend.   They were not invited because they were married to German princes.  Shortly after the wedding, their cousin, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, flew to Germany, to provide firsthand details about Philip’s wedding.   By the 1950s, Philip’s sisters and their families were regular visitors to Britain.   Margarita, Dolla and Sophie were all present at Westminster Abbey in June 1953 for Elizabeth’s Coronation.

Dolla also maintained her close relationship with her aunt Louise.   On January 26, 1947,  the princess and Crown princess Louise were having tea with King Gustaf V at Drottningholm Palace.  The topic of the conversation was the recent birth of a son to Dolla’s sister, Sophie, who was now married to Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hannover.  (Prince Christoph had been killed on active service in 1943, and three years later, she married Georg Wilhelm, who was Prince Berthold’s first cousin.).   Louise was called away to the telephone, and when she returned, Dolla noted: “It was a completely different person who returned, walking with heavy steps and despair in her eyes.”

all non-Getty images are from the Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Louise’s eldest stepson, Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf, was dead, killed in an airplane accident.

Dolla’s only daughter, Margarita, was the first to marry.   In 1957, at civil and religious ceremonies at Schloss Salem, the princess was wed to Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia.  The couple  had two children, Nicholas and Katrina, before eventually divorcing in 1981.  Prince Max was briefly engaged to his first cousin, Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.   He was married in 1966 to Archduchess Valerie of Austria.   Prince Ludwig was married in 1967 to Princess Marianne of Auersperg-Breunner. 

In the early 1960s, there was a great fear that the Soviets would move into West Germany.   Britain made plans to evacuate 38 German royals.   Operation Blue Thread would have included three military transport aircraft and “an unspecified number of servicemen to collect and fly the Germans, known for short as the ‘royal relatives,” from different parts of Germany.

Once the British ambassador released the codeword “Aquila,” British servicemen were to collect and transport the relatives, where were permitted to bring 100lbs of baggage per person, to one of three airfields, where the royals would be flown to Lyon, France.  Although there was some criticism in German circles about this proposed plan – which never came about – most people didn’t realize the various connections to the British royal house.   The list of would-be royal refugees included Prince Philip’s three sisters and two brothers-in-law and their children, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg, Count Carl Theodor of Toerring-Jettenbach (Princess Marina’s brother-in-law),   Victoria Luise, Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg and their six children, Prince and Princess Welf Heinrich of Hannover and Prince and Princess Ludwig  of Hesse and by Rhine.

The Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg, who died later that year, Princess Victoria Luise, the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince and Princess Welf Heinrich of Hannover, and Prince and Princess Georg Wilhelm of Hannover were all British princes and princesses by birth or marriage, and, thus, were entitled to the protection.  Princess Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine was a British citizen, and her husband, the head of the House of Hesse and by Rhine, was a first cousin to Princess Alice.   His elder brother, Georg Donatus, had been married to Princess Cecilie.

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Berthold was only 57 years old when he died on October 27, 1963.  He had suffered a heart attack in his automobile shortly after leaving Schloss Salem for a trip to Baden-Baden with his son, Ludwig.  Theodora, too, suffered for some years with debilitating heart problems.  On October 16, 1969, the princess died suddenly in a sanatarium in Büdingen.   Prince Philip was on a tour of the USA and Canada when his sister died, and, thus, was unable to attend her funeral.  The Prince of Wales, then only 20-years-old, represented his father at Theodora’s funeral.

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HRH The Margravine of Baden was devoted to her family, and was active in social work, including the German Red Cross.  She was perhaps the least known of Prince Philip’s sisters, the most “correct,” and, according to one relative, would have made a “fine Queen of England.”

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

a soiree at the Philharmonie for descendants of Charlotte

Descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte celebrate the 100th anniversary of her accession to the throne. all photos by © Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard / Sophie Margue The event took place on November 26.

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