Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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.

Friday, June 1, 2018

More on Tommy from Bolton Landing

Well, well, well ....

The Wall Street Journal, as it turns out, was not the first to out Bolton Landing, NY's new infamous celebrity,  Tommy Muscatello.    In July 2013, Mr. Muscatello filed a change of directors form with Companies House in the UK.   Mr Muscatello Delacroix Mills had become Thomas James Mace Archer Mills.

Here is a link to the British Monarchist Society's Companies House listing, complete with financials.

The applications note that Tommy is American.

In October 2017,   this article was published with interesting details about Tommy, already noting the change of name of Muscatello to Mace Archer Mills.


The red flags have been flying for some time.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

When you play pretend ...

On the One Show, BBC

Today's Wall Street Journal has a fascinating and enlightening article on "Thomas J. Mace--Archer Mills, Esq, said to be an expert on the British monarchy.


I have never heard of Mace-Archer-Mills although I discovered he follows me on Twitter, although I apparently had a brief introduction in June 2016 before the Garter ceremony.

The Crown Chronicles Blogger, Victoria Howard, with Thomas James Muscatello in June 2016 before the Garter ceremony at Windsor.  @Marlene Eilers Koenig

He caught attention during the recent royal wedding as he appeared as an expert on several networks, including BBC and Norwegian TV.

(In full transparency, I also did several BBC and ITV interviews while in London, as well as an interview with Ukrainian TV and numerous print interviews leading up to the wedding.)

If you click on the link, you learn that Thomas Mace-Archer-Mills is not British.  He tries too hard to speak Received Pronunciation -- the Queen's English -- and the affectations in his speech are noticeable even to my ears.

As it turns out,  Thomas is not British.  Doesn't even have British ancestry.  His real name is Tommy Muscatello and he is from Bolton Landing, New York.  Bolton Landing is on Lake George, named in 1755 in honor of King George II.

Mr. Muscatello runs the British Monarchy Society, which one blogger claims is the  "the UK's premier Monarchist organization."


I have my doubts about this organization as being the premier monarchist organization for a number of reasons, including a lack of support from serious historians.

 The 38-year-old Muscatello also appears to have allegedly spurious contacts.  Why?   Royal historians do not act in such a manner.   Where is the scholarship?


Take a look at the list of Patrons including the Grand Patron.  A true expert on royalty would be keeping their distance from a German reality TV personality.


 Scroll down further to see other patrons, including Nigel Farage.

Spuriouser and spuriouser ... (not a real word, but it works here.)



His biography is padded with references to numerous degrees (he has bachelor's degree from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina.  He is a self-promoter, not a royal historian.   Several directories list Thomas James Muscatello, 38, living in Boynton Beach, Florida.    Thomas' father, Thomas Muscatello, is a registered voter in Palm Beach, Florida.

I am American and I am a royal historian.  One does not become an expert on a particular subject without a lot of studying and reading.  One can be American and an expert on the British monarchy, as there are Britons who are experts on our political system.   I am saddened and disappointed that Muscatello makes use of numerous artifices to claim that he is a royal historian.  True historians do not feel the need to create a triple-barreled name to worm their way into a position for which they are not qualified.

He has parlayed a fraudulent background into a "career," although the WSJ article does not give information on how he pays the bills in the UK.   He states that he is applying for British citizenship.  I wonder how the Home Office will look upon an application that may be based on fraudulent claims.

I only hope that his "colleagues" and partners were unaware that Mace-Archer-Mills was not his real name.   Otherwise. they would be complicit in his duplicity.

Mr. Muscatello gives credence to the term "ugly American."  We do not need to pretend to be anyone but ourselves.

One does not become an expert overnight.  I am nearly 64 years old.  My interest in royalty began as a teenager.  I was already writing in my 20s, but I certainly would never have called myself an expert at that time.  It can be a slog, reading nearly everything, delving into different topics, building a personal library of books, images, and clips. I am a rare historian who has clip files covering British and European royalty that go back to the late 1800s.

You will find my name in the acknowledgments of  numerous books from Hugo Vickers, Greg King, and Philip Ziegler, among other eminent writers, to Kitty Kelley (she attended one of my Smithsonian lectures in the 1990s.)

I am angry that an American pretended to be British to acquire a status as an alleged historian.  I have been doing this royal thing for many years and I have never pretended to be anything but who I am: Marlene Koenig, who uses Marlene A. Eilers Koenig for bylines.   I speak with a mid-Atlantic American accent.


The Guardian has now weighed in with a new report.  This tale reminds me of another American, Harold Brooks-Baker, who shifted a few facts around, too, as an alleged "royal expert."


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Alexis and sisters arrive at Ekaterinburg

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May 28, 1918 (reported May 30)

Alexis Romanov, the only son of the former Emperor Nicholas II, and his older sisters, have arrived in Ekaterinburg, according to an Associated Press dispatch from Moscow.

Ekaterinburg is on the "Asiatic side of the Ural Mountains."

The former Emperor and Empress have been Ekaterinburg for several weeks after they were removed from their exile on Tobolsk in Siberia.   They were brought to Ekaterinburg after "the reported discovery of a conspiracy to bring about the escape of Nicholas."

Alexis, who is in ill-health, remained in Tobolsk until he was strong enough to travel.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day 8 A walk through the parks and not really ready to go home

After breakfast, I grabbed the camera, and headed out for one final walk before I had to leave at 12:30 for the airport.   I visited St. James's Park and Hyde Park.  I had wanted to stop at a supermarket to buy a few jars of Teasers spread but met up with several wild parakeets at Hyde Park.  This was after I had talked to squirrels and ducks in St. James's Park.

 By the time I got to Bayswater Road, it was too late to go to Tescos on Edgeware Road.

Usually, I see swans heading toward this bridge

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