Friday, June 22, 2018

Royal Ascot Day The Carriages

Day 4.   The Queen was accompanied by her nephew. the Earl of Snowdon, and Mr. Peter Troughton and Mr John Warren in the the first carriage.    Mr. Warren is the Queen's Racing manager.  Mr Troughton was in the carriage procession on Thursday, accompanied by his wife. Sarah, a first cousin once removed of the Queen.

The second carriage included Sir Nicholas, who was in the first carriage with the Queen on Thursday,  and Lady Bacon.   The Hon. Edward Tollemache, is the eldest son and heir to Baron Tollemache.   He is a godson of the Prince of Wales.  The Hon. Mrs. Tollemache is the former Sophie Johnstone.   From 1988 until 1990, Edward was a page of honour to the Queen.

Mr and Mrs William Wyatt, Lady Caroline Warren (wife of of John Warren) and Lt. Colonel Charles Richards, who rode in the 4th carriage on Tuesday.   Mr. Wyatt, chief executive of Caledonia Investments, is the head of the Newmarket Racing course.

The fourth carriage included Lt. Colonel and Mrs. James Gaselee and Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Henderson.   James is the Commanding Officer of the Household Cavalry.  His sister. Sarah, was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

Mrs. Gaselee was born Sophie Leschalles.  She is a great-granddaughter of Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, an elder sister of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who married the 16th Baron Elphinstone.  She is a third cousin of the Duke of Cambridge (or a first cousin twice removed of the Queen.)

Sir Nicholas Henderson is a retired British diplomat and served as the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States from 1979 until 1982. 

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Helen divorces Carol

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June 21, 1928

The tumultuous marriage between Prince Carol and Princess Helen of Greece ended today in divorce in Bucharest, reports the New York Times.

The divorce was pronounced in a "small, sombre, unadorned court room."  Neither the former heir to the Romanian throne nor his estranged wife were present for the pronouncement.  There were no witnesses to offer a "good word for the absent Prince," apart from his lawyer, "who read a brief defending the disinherited Prince."

The indictment against Prince Carol in the name of Princess Helen, stressed in "vigorous terms" the 'violation' of the "sanctity and dignity of his marriage" to Helen in 1921.   The princess' lawyer also charged Carol with abandoning his young son, King Michael.

After the arguments were heard,  the Court's decree was announced, granting an "absolute divorce" for Princess Helen.''

Carol has five days to appeal, but his lawyers noted that the procedure would be "futile."

The Court also ruled that the custody of the young King Michael had already been established as the "result of his kingly status" and court not be altered.

Princess Helen filed the petition to divorce two weeks ago following Carol's alleged plot to regain the throne while he was in England.

She was gracious, rather than joyful, about the end of her marriage.

Speaking about her former husband, Princess Helen said: "I hope that now he will begin a better life and will find the happiness that he apparently failed to find with me. I can forgive , but never forget the wrong he did to me and my child."

Helen is now free to marry again, but she said she will "devote her life to her adopted country and to making a good king out of her small son, Michael."

Royal Ascot Day 3 the carriages

Day 3 for Ascot.

The Queen was in the first carriage with the Duke of York, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa and Sir Nicholas Bacon.   Salman is the Executive Director for banking operations at the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Sir Nicholas Bacon is the Premier Baronet of England.  In the late 1960s, he served as a page of honour to Queen Elizabeth II.

The second carriage included The Princess Royal and her husband, Sir Timohty Laurence, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Earl and Countess of Snowdon were in the third carriage and in the fourth carriage were Mr. and Mrs. Peter Troughton and Sir Marcus and Lady O'Lone.   Mr. Troughton is a financier. Mrs. Troughton is the Lord Lieutentant of Wiltshire. She was born Sarah Rose Colemn, the eldest child of Sir Timothy Coleman and Lady Mary Bowes-Lyon, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth.  From 1990 to 2000,  Mrs. Troughton served as Lady-in-Waiting to the Duchess of Kent.  She was also an extra lady-in-waiting to Princess Alexandra.

 Sir Marcus is the Queen's land agent at Sandringham.  He received the Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in December 2017.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

HH Princess Elisabeth of Denmark (1935-2018)

all images  Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

HH Princess Elisabeth of Denmark has died after a long illness surrounded by her family.  She died at a rehabilitation center, Fortunen, at Lyngby.  The Princess was 83 years old.

Elisabeth Caroline-Mathilde Alexandrine Helena Olga Thyra Feodora Estrid Margrethe Désirée of Denmark was born on May 8, 1935 at Sorgenfri Palace in Copenhagen. She was the eldest of three children of TRH Hereditary Prince Knud and Hereditary Princess Caroline-Mathilde.   She was King Christian X's first grandchildren.  Although at the time of the birth, she was not in line for the throne, her birth was "greeted with a cannon salute and the flying of flags."

Knud was the younger son of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine.  In September 1933, he married his first cousin, Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark.

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Elisabeth had two younger brothers, Prince Ingolf (1940) and Prince Christian (1942-2013.)   

Prince Knud was the heir to his brother, Crown Prince Frederik, who succeeded as King Fredrerik IX in 1947.  Frederik and his wife, Princess Ingrid, were the parents of three daughters, Margrethe (1940), Benedikte (1944) and Anne-Marie (1946).   Denmark's succession law was Salic, meaning males only so it was largely assumed that Knud, who was the father of two sons, would succeed his brother.   

Certainly to Knud's disappointment, the succession law was changed to male primogeniture, which would allow for female succession.  The new law, which went into effect in 1953, was based on male primogeniture: sons before daughters, brothers before sisters. This meant that Frederik's three daughters moved into the line of succession after their father and before Uncle Knud.   As the line of succession is limited to the descendants of Christian X,  Elisabeth was 12th in line to the throne, the last eligible person.

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Knud, who died of a heart attack in 1976, never "concealed his bitterness at the change that deprived him of a throne."  There would be a great strain between Knud and his older brother and his family for some years.  This was in spite of the fact that Knud continued to receive an allowance as the Hereditary Prince.
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Princes Ingolf and Christian lost their titles and rights of succession when they married without official consent.   Both were created Counts af Rosenborg.

Princess Elisabeth never married.   She lived for many in Holte with Danish director and filmmaker Claus Hermansen,  They never married.   In an interview, the Princess once said that she had not wanted children.  After Claus' death in 1997, the Princess returned to Sorgenfri, where she lived in an apartment in one wing of the palace.  

The princess's niece, Countess Camilla af Rosenborg, was with her aunt when she died.    She said her aunt died from old age.  "She got weaker and weaker, and we've been there for her all the way, but unfortunately it was old age."

Elisabeth was "incredibly social," said Camilla.  "She always had time for us.  One of her favorite expressions was 'Let's go bananas!'"

As Elisabeth and Claus had decided they did not want children,  the princess lavished love and attention on her three nieces, the twins, Countess Camilla, Countess Josephine and their younger sister, Countess Feodora, and their families.

"After the deaths of my children's' grandparents. Elisabeth became their grandmother.  We are all very affected by her loss," said Camilla.
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Princess Elisabeth's funeral will take place at Lyngby Church on June 25.  The church is the perfect place for the funeral as the princess had been baptized and confirmed there.  She will be cremated and her remains will be buried next to Claus Hermansen, at the Sorgenfri cemetery.

Princess Elisabeth is survived by her youngest brother, Count Ingolf, her nieces, Camilla, Josephine and Feodora and their families.  

For more information on Princess Elisabeth's life and career, please click the link.

Day two - Carriages at Royal Ascot

The only members of the Royal Family who were in the carriages today were the Queen, Princess Alexandra, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.  The Princess Royal's son, Peter Phillips and his wife, Autumn, were in the second carriage with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Accompanying the Queen in the first carriage were her first cousin, Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Harry Herbert and Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt.

The Hon. Harry Herbert (1959) is the younger brother of the present Earl of Carnarvon.   Harry's sister, Lady Caroline Warren, is married to the Queen's Bloodstock and Racing Adviser.

Charles Anthony Johnston-Burt, CB, OBE, is Master of the Queen's Household.

The third carriage: Lord and Lady Vestey and the Lord and Lady de Mauley, The 3rd Baron Vetsey is Master of the Horse to the Royal Household.

The fourth carriage:  Mr. and Mrs. Michael Magnier, the Lady Susan Hussey and Lt. Colonel Charles Richards.

Mr. Magnier is Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner.   Lady Susan Hussey is one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting.  Anthony Charles Richards, CVO, is an Equerry to the Queen and Deputy Master of the Royal Household.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lord Ivar Mountbatten to marry James Coyle

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This is wonderful news.  Lord Ivar Mountbatten  is to marry his partner, James Coyle, an airline cabin services director, later this summer, at his home, Bridwell Park, in Devon.

The tabloids and a selection of royal websites are touting this marriage as the first same sex marriage in the Royal Family.   The papers and sites describe the 55-year-old Lord Ivar as as Queen Elizabeth's cousin.

Yes, the words Royal Family and Queen's cousin get the clicks and the attention.  But it must be stressed that Lord Ivar is not a member of the Royal Family.  He is Queen Elizabeth II's third cousin once removed, which is not that close.

Victoria - Edward - George - George -Elizabeth
Victoria - Alice - Victoria - George -David -Ivar

What these journalists and bloggers are omitting are the real family connections.  Lord Ivar's father, David, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven (1919-1970), was Prince Philip's  FIRST Cousin.  Childhood playmates.   David's father, George, who was married to Countess Nada de Torby,  was Prince Philip's guardian until his death in 1938.

George had two older sisters, Alice (Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark), Louise (Queen of Sweden) and a younger, brother, Louis, known as Dickie, known as Lord Louis Mountbatten after the family relinquished their German titles (Princes and Princess of Battenberg) for a British peerage.   George's father. Prince Louis of Battenberg, a naturalized Briton, who rose to the position of First Sea Lord, was created Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina and Viscount Alderney.  His wife, Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was offered the opportunity by her first cousin, George V, to retain her own title of Princess (dropping the of Hesse and By Rhine) but she preferred to be styled by her husband's new title.  Princess Victoria, whose mother was Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's second daughter and third child, had new style and title:  Marchioness of Milford.

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Victoria, as Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven lived in a grace and favor apartment in Kensington Palace until her death in 1950.

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It is important to stress Lord Ivar's relationship to the Royal Family without insisting that he is a member of the Royal Family.

David and Philip were childhood playmates, good friends, along with David's first cousin, Alex Wernher.  Alex (1918-1942)  was the son of Sir Harold and Lady Zia Wernher (nee Countess Zia de Torby, sister of the Marchioness of Milford Haven.)   Alex was Philip's mentor and very much like a supportive older brother.  Philip was devastated when he learned that Alex had been killed in action in 1942.

David Milford Haven was Philip's best man at the latter's wedding to the the Princess Elizabeth, in November 1947.    But after Philip's marriage, the friendship between he and his first cousin dissipated as Lord Milford Haven may have blotted his copy book with his royal cousin.   The palace -- and especially Philip, may have been disappointed in the choices that David made and the hard-partying friends that he made among London's demi-monde society.

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Lord Milford Haven caught the attention of the press when he became engaged to an American, another Mrs. Simpson, who was born Romaine Dahlgren Pierce (1923-1975).  The marriage took place in Washington, D.C., in 1950.  The marriage did not last long, as Lady Milford Haven sought a divorce four years later in Mexico.

In 1958, David petitioned the High Court of Justice to have the Mexican divorce recognized as valid in the United Kingdom.  The Mexican divorce was ruled invalid and in July 1960, Lady Milford Haven filed a divorce petition in London.  A week later,  a judge granted a decree nisi to Lady Miford Haven on the grounds of Lord Milford Haven's adultery.

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In November 1960, Lord Milford Haven announced his engagement to Bermuda-born Janet Mercedes Bryce.  The only member of David's family to attend the wedding, which took place on November 17, 1960 at St. Andrew's, Frognal, was his aunt, Queen Louise of Sweden.

The new bride and groom shared a family connection.  Janet's paternal aunt Mary Mercedes Bryce married Col. Joseph Harold John Phillips.  Their younger son, Lt. Col. Harold Pedro Joseph Phillips (1909-1980) married Georgina Wernher, David Milford Haven's first cousin.

The couple had two sons:  George, the 4th Marquess of Milford (1961) and Lord Ivar Mountbatten (1963).

Lord Milford Haven died on April 14, 1970 after collapsing at Liverpool Street Station.  The Duke of Edinburgh was present for the Memorial Service, held in the Queen's Chapel, St. James's Palace, on June 23, 1970.

Lord Ivar attended Gordonstoun.  He decided to attend university in the United States and received a BA in geology from Middlebury College in Vermont.   After spending several years working as a mining expert in Venezuela,  Ivar returned to England to live.  He and his older brother had inherited Moyns Park, a stately home in Steeple Bumpstead in Essex.  The estate had been left to the brothers by Josephine Hartford Bryce, the widow of Janet's first cousin, Ivar Bryce.  Josephine was a heir to the A&P fortune and the sister of Huntington Hartford.

Ivar Bryce was a long time friend of Ian Fleming.

Lord Ivar moved into Moyns Park and planned to make it his home.  He bought his brother, George's half of the inheritance.   In 1994, Ivar married Penelope Thompson,   The guests at the wedding including Princess Margaret, Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones.  Edward and Lord Ivar have been friends since childhood so it was not a surprise that Lord Ivar was named as one of Lady Louise Windsor's godparents.

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 They lived in Moyns Park for several years before deciding that they wanted to raise their family in a more quiet setting.  Moyns Park was more business than home as the house was rented out for conferences and other events.

Lord Ivar sold Moyns Park for £4 million in 1997 and purchased Bridwell Park in Uffculme, Devon, not long afterward.   The first reports of marital discord surfaced in September 2010.  They divorced a year later.

Lord and Lady Ivar are the parents of three daughters, Ella Louise Georgina (1996), Alexandra Nada Victoria (1998) and Louise Xenia Rose (2002).   The Earl of Wessex is a godfather to Ella and the Countess of Wessex is one of Alexandra's godmothers.

It was not until the fall of 2016 that Lord Ivar decided to go public about his homosexuality and that he had fallen in love with a man who attended the same yoga class as his former wife.

He spoke to the Daily Mail about coming out and acknowledging his relationship with James Coyle in a very public manner.

"Being a Mountbatten was never the problem. 'It was the generation into which I was born. When I was growing up, it was known as "the love that dare not speak its name", but what's amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance."

The two men met in Verbier in March 2015.

Lord Ivar realized he was bi-sexual when he was a teenager, but "I just did not want to go there because there would have been so much grief.

"I never thought I would get married because I didn't want to be untruthful. Penny was aware before we got married. I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways. She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her. We had a lot of fun, we have three fabulous daughters and I don't regret any stage of my life.

"Ultimately, Penny did not feel sufficiently loved and she wanted more from a husband than she could get from me. Given my sexuality, I was quite surprised she married me in the first place. It was brave. Perhaps she thought she could change me but in the end she realised she couldn't."

Last week, Lord Ivar announced that he and James will marry later this summer.
The marriage has the support of his former wife and their three daughters.  In fact, Penny joined Ivar and James for their first interview.

Penny will be giving Lord Ivar away at the ceremony.

"It was the girls' idea.  It makes me feel quite emotional. I'm really very touched"

Lord Ivar said that the marriage "has the full blessing" of their family and friends, including the Earl of Wessex. "Sophie and Edward know of our plans and are really excited for us.  Sadly they can't come to the wedding. Their diaries are arranged months in advance and they're not around, but they adore James. Everyone adores him."

Lord Ivar is a descendant of Queen Victoria,  Peter the Great and Alexander Pushkin.  Although he is closely related to the Duke of Edinburgh  -- and the Prince of Wales is his second cousin -- he is not a member of the British Royal Family.  He is the younger brother of the 4th Marquess of Milford Haven and is related to all of Europe's royal houses.  Through his maternal grandfather, Lord Ivar has Peruvian ancestry.

Ascot day one - the carriages

Lord Vestey is Master of the Horse to the Royal Household . 

Rupert Charles Ponsonby is the 7th Baron de Mauley.  He is married to Hon. Lucinda Royle, daughter of Baron Fanshawe of Richmond, a life peer.

This was the first appearance at Ascot for the newly married Duchess of Sussex.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Friedrich III is dead

June 15, 1888

German Emperor Friedrich III died peacefully earlier today at the Neues Palais in Potsdam.   This is the second time in "the short space of three months the loyal German nation have renewed their pledge of fealty, as the devoted land has darkened with the shadow of the imperial death," reports the New York Times.

Friedrich III was 56 years old.

The emperor's death took place "quietly and painless" at 11:12 a.m.  From midnight until 3 a.m., there was "no material change" in Friedrich's condition. His doctors noticed a change between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m., and all of the members of the Imperial Family were summoned to the dying emperor's bedside.

Family members had said their farewells yesterday afternoon. Friedrich III had a period of consciousness, but it was brief.  Having spent nearly 24 hours with her husband, Victoria left his side at midnight for a rest, only to return four hours later and she remained with him until his last breath.

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 The news of Friedrich's death spread quickly throughout the city. The Ministry quickly assembled and Prince Bismarck made the formal announcement that Friedrich III had died and his elder son, Wilhelm II had succeeded to the throne.

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The late emperor's body will probably lie in state in the Garrison Church in Potsdam.  The body is expected to be interred in the Friedenskirche.

The official announcement of the Emperor's death was announced in the Reichszeiger, the official government newspaper.

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The new emperor, Wilhelm II, is 29 years old.  He is the eldest grandchild of Britain's Queen Victoria.

He is married to Princess Auguste Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein.  They have four sons, Princes Wilhelm, Eitel Friedrich, Adalbert and August Wilhelm.   The eldest child, six-year-old Wilhelm, has become the Crown Prince.

The new Empress expects a fifth child later this summer.

The late emperor is also survived by his widow, Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria,  his younger son, Henry, who married his first cousin, Princess Irene of Hesse and by Rhine on May 24, four daughters,  Charlotte, the Hereditary Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen,  Viktoria,  Sophie and Margarete and five grandchildren, including the four sons of the new emperor and the Hereditary Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen's daughter, Princess Feodora.

Read more about Friedrich III

Prince Georg Constantin's funeral will be in Weimar

The funeral of Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach will take place on July 2 at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Weimar.  The church is also known as the Herderkirche.

It is not yet known if the Prince will be buried in Weimar.  He and his wife, Princess Olivia, maintained a small home in Weimar.  Only last week Prince Constantin had been in Weimar to discuss plans for the 200th birthday celebrations of Duke Carl Alexander.

The late prince, heir to the de jure Grand Duke Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, died in a riding accident of June 9 at Apethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire.  He was 41 years old.

Constantine's second cousin, Princess Leonie, who will provisionally take over Constantine's rights and duties, as heir, was said to be close to the late prince.   Prince Michael told reporters:  "It is very difficult for her now to not know him by her her side."    Princess Leonie, 31, and Constantin often exchanged plans for the Klassik music foundation and other Weimar cultural centers that continue to have ties with the former ruling family.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Princess Leonie named as heir

Prince Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach has named his only child, Princess Leonie, as his heir following the tragic death of Prince Constantin of Saxe-Weimar in a riding accident on June 9.

Prince Constantin, who lived in England with his wife, Olvia, was 41 years old when he died.  He was the presumed heir to Michael, the de jure Grand Duke, who was his first cousin once removed.   Constantin was the only and younger child of Prince Wilhelm,  who is Michael's first cousin.

The 71-year-old head of the house of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was said to be "deeply shocked" at the news of Prince Constantin's death.  In a statement, Michael emphasized the "warm and trusting" relationship" with Prince Constantin.  This relationship had been "cruelly ended" with the younger prince's death.

However, that did not stop him from announcing earlier today that his 31-year-old daughter, Princess Leonie, will succeed him as the head of the family businesses and several Weimar cultural organizations including the Klassik-Stiftung in Weimar, the Wartburg Stiftung in Eisenach and the Wartburg Wirtschaftsbetriebe.

Succession to the headship is based on Salic law -- males only -- so it has not yet been officially confirmed if Prince Michael will make a change to the house to law to allow Princess Leonie to succeed him as the de jure Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

I find Michael's announcement a bit presumptuous as the funeral plans for Prince Constantin have not been announced.   This announcement could have waited until after Constantin's funeral and burial.

Princess Leonie is a reporter with RTL Deutschland in Berlin.  She attended Schule Schloss Salem and received a BA in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of the Arts in London.

Princess Leonie is unmarried.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach dead at 41

@Arturo Beeche

Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach died in a riding accident on Saturday June 9, near Aplethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire.  He was 41 years old.

He was thrown from a horse while while riding with his friend Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten, a senior adviser to the Chinese government. Prince Constantin had been visiting Baron von Pfetten at his home, Apethorpe Palace.

The accident happened shortly after 8 p.m,, as emergency services were called at around 8:30 p.m. His injuries were severe and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the German magazine, Bunte, which first reported his death.

HH Prince Georg-Constantin Friedrich Wilhelm Johannes was born at Munich on April 14, 1977, the second and youngest child of Prince Wilhelm Ernst Emich Georg Rudolf of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his former wife, Eva Kovarcz.

He married Briton Olivia Rachelle Page in a civil ceremony at Weimar on August 29, 2015.   The met at a concert at Hyde Park in 2011.   Constantin proposed to Olivia at Apethorpe Palace.

A close friend of Constantin, Alexander Fiske-Harrison, shared a remembrance on Facebook. 

The prince was known professionally as Constantin Sachsen-Weimar.  He was a founding partner at Sustainability Factory Ltd., based in London.  Princess Olivia was a director at the firm until April.   She is the office manager in the London office of Edmiston, "a world leader in the super yacht industry."

Georg-Constantin was the designated heir to his first cousin once removed, Michael, the Prince of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach,  the 71-year-old head of the family.  Michael has one child. Princess Leonie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, but as a female, she cannot succeed to the headship of the family.   Apart from his elderly father, there are no other male heirs in the family.

The prince is survived by his widow, Princess Olivia, along with his parents and his sister, Princess Désirée, who is married to Count Florian von und zu Hoensbroech, and his 98-year-old paterna grandmother, Princess Felicitas of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (nee Princess of Salm-Hortsmar.)

Several genealogical mistakes in the Daily Mail article.  Constantin was not Michael's nephew, but his first cousin once removed and he was not heir to the Kingdom of Saxony, but the former Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Thank you from Charlotte

A thank you for Princess Charlotte's third birthday.  This photo was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge for Charlotte's first day of school.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

York Cottage for the Sussexes ... I think not

May 15, 2018  @Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

News outlets, such as Metro, a free tabloid newspaper in London,  have reported without verification that the Queen plans to gift York Cottage on the Sandringham estate.

This is the link to the original report in early May that has been regurgitated by other sources without any further updates since May 3.

This article uses the word "reportedly" but the reporter provided no sources, named or unnamed, apart from the story appeared on several websites.

Substance, please, substance.

I am calling foul on these reports and here is why.  Originally known as the Bachelor's Cottage, the house was given by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) in 1893 as a wedding present to his son, Prince George, the Duke of York, and his wife, Princess Mary.

Sir Roy Strong noted that the house's original name was due to the fact that it was used as an overflow for male guests.

The newly renamed York Cottage was King George and Queen Mary's country residence until the death of Queen Alexandra in December 1925.

King George V loved York Cottage, although according to Sir Roy, he, like his father, was "devoid of aesthetic sensibility."   He described the house as "resembling three Merrie England pubs joined together.

The Duchess of York was not keen on "ghastly Maples furniture" that her husband had purchased for their marital home.

The house is within walking distance from Sandringham House and is visible -- and accessible -- to the public as Sandringham is open to the public in most days of the year.
@Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

York Cottage is not open to public and the area around it is deemed to be private but the house and front grounds can be seen from across a small lake.  A stream feeds into the lake and one can hop across rocks to get to York House.  FYI:  I did not try this to this.

The house has not been used as a royal residence for nearly 100 years.   It is now Sandringham's estate office.  There are also flats for the staffs' use.

as you can see from Google maps,  this area is entirely open.  

Unlike Anmer Hall, the country residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,  York Cottage is right on the tourist path - the Lake path, to be exact.  This path merges with another path that leads you to the exit or back to the main house.

The front of the house and gardens are not ringed by walls or fences, but the back of the estate is gated.

Anmer Hall, which the Prince of Wales purchased in 1896, is more than 3 miles away from Sandringham House and York Cottage, in the private area of the Sandringham estate.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace have verified any of the reports about this alleged gift.  In the mid-1970s, the Queen gutted plans to demolish more than 94 rooms at the Big House for a modernization. The house and estate were open to the public.

No one has reported a request from the Queen to the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, as was done in January 2013 for Anmer Hall.

To become a royal residence again York Cottage would need considerable and extensive work inside and out.  From plumbing and electrical work to redesign and reconfiguration of rooms (as many are the size of a rabbit warren).

The view from the front of the house is delightful - gardens and the lakes with ducks.  Tourists can view the house and garden from across the lake.

Anmer Hall may have had its own security issues, but the estate is not accessible to the fee-paying general public.

York Cottage, albeit not open to the public, is just off the open area.

Wood Farm, a more "modest" house, is also on the Sandringham estate.  The house has been used to house guests, but more recently,  the Duke of Edinburgh has been spending his retirement there. 

Prince John, the youngest son of King George V and Queen Mary, died at Wood Farm in January 1919.

Why do so many assume that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex want to live in Norfolk?  Harry has rarely visited Sandringham, apart from the largely obligatory family gatherings.  His friends are more Glosse Posse than Norfolk aristocrats.

The Duke of Sussex has allegedly signed a two-year lease for a house on the Great Tew estate in Oxfordshire.  This has not been confirmed by the Palace nor have the mainstream newspapers published articles about it.

The Great Tew estate is in the Cotswolds, near Chipping Norton.  In January, there were unsubstantiated reports that Harry was going to purchase Beaconsfield Farm on the Great Tew Estate.

The Cotswolds with its glitterati residents may appeal more than Norfolk.

Buckingham Palace has neither confirmed nor denied any of the reports.  This is their usual way of responding to stories.    I will await further clarification of this alleged gift.

Monday, June 4, 2018

I really did go to Highgrove

both photos @Paul Burns

I could not bring my camera to Highgrove House, the Prince of Wales' country home, but photos were taken by the Prince of Wales' official event photographer.

a wonderful family portrait at Sandringham

I was thrilled to bits to be able to see this superb painting which is on display at Sandringham House.  The painting is by Andrew Festing.