Monday, September 13, 2021

Victoria Romanovna's dresses for her upcoming wedding



The first wedding of a Grand Duke of Russia to be held in Russia after the Revolution, and the first Romanov wedding to be held in Saint Isaac’s Cathedral after over 300 years, required a few dresses, and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini wanted to make sure that each of them paid homage to Russian traditions as well as Italian fashion. An international collaboration was therefore initiated, to create unique looks for each event. 


 Reem Acra, Elina Samarina for Sergio Marcone Moscow and Torzhok embroideries. 

The bride chose a design from the internationally renowned designer Reem Acra, whose creations are a favourite red carpet choice of Hollywood stars. The dress has impeccable lines. 

“Reem Acra has exquisite taste and her gowns are designed holistically as if they were a masterwork of architecture,” notes the bride. “I had only two requirements: a refined and modern dress made of Italian Silk Mikado, in the classic Italian wedding gowns of the 1960s. To create lightness and volume in a skirt made of such a rigid and heavy material, it requires an expert touch and Mrs. Acra was the right person to design such a complex and sophisticated gown.” 

The dress is a classic that is made to give a nod to the purity of the symbolism of marriage. Made of European fabric and designed in New York, and worn in Russia it’s a combination of 3 worlds and a tribute to our common roots.-  REEM ACRA

 The result is an elegant and classic, yet modern gown. It has long sleeves, a crew neckline and a 6-meter long train with a paneled cape created by Russian born designer Elina Samarina. 

“It was important for me that the dress would pull together different cultural motifs in a sort of cultural exchange."

 Elina Samarina, founder of the Sergio Marcone brand in Moscow was essential in creating something unique which would showcase the best of Russian artistry.

 Elina masterfully reinterprets Russian styles. That’s why she immediately had ideas on how to incorporate patterns of Russian style and embroidery into the ensemble of the wedding dress. There is a very long and rich tradition of embroidery in Russia, which continues to our own day, with patterns and designs that vary from region to region.  They are small masterpieces! 

It was an honour for me to take part in this project and I am proud as a Russian that I get the chance to showcase our Russian style and craftsmanship to the world.  ELINA SAMARINA 

The embroidery of the veil is done in the traditional Torzhok style embroidered into the tulle veil, instead of velvet, and which took five weeks of intense work to complete. 

“The wedding gown has a lot of symbolism,” according to the bride. 

 “It pays a joint tribute to the Italian and Russian culture. It showcases a blend of Russian craftsmanship and Italian elegance. It connects with symbols and motifs every Russian can identify with. It expresses continuity between the present and the past, and it’s issued of a high skilled collaboration between our countries.”

 “Although it was very difficult to work on this wedding dress during the pandemic, I am extremely pleased with the results. I wanted this dress to be the perfect synthesis of our cultures. The idea of having two companies involved in the process on two different continents certainly created some logistical problems, but everyone worked with enthusiasm and professionalism to create this dress as I had imagined it.” 


Reem Acra and Elina Samarina for Sergio Marcone Moscow and Torzhok embroideries. 

The bride chose a hand-embroidered tulle gown made of the fabric that Mrs. Acra describes “dreams are made of”. 

Elina Samarina added a Russian touch by creating a white cape made of silk Mikado, inspired by traditional designs and embroidered in a Torzhok style. 

According to fashion designer Elina Samarina, “the Romanoffs have always fascinated and inspired people's imaginations through their unique interpretation of Russian traditions in fashion. They were ambassadors of Russian culture, opulence, and traditions abroad, this is why for such a special occasion I wanted to revive Russian unique manufacturing traditions. It is a privilege for me to have been able to work on this extraordinary project.

 “It doesn't often happen to have clients asking me to do historical research on Russian fashion. As a Russian, I am very happy that the bride decided to pay homage to the traditions of our country “ Elina Samarina 


The dress for the civil ceremony is embroidered with Kokhloma designs

The dress for the Civil Ceremony was made by the designer Chiara Boni in an ice-blue color, embroidered with gold thread inspired by the traditional folkloric designs of Khokhloma. Ice-blue is also the color of the Imperial Order of Saint Andrew the First-Called which is the most important dynastic order of the Russian Imperial House. It was founded by Peter the Great in 1698. The light blue ribbon of the order of Saint Andrews served as an inspiration for the shade of the dress of the civil marriage.



For the first event, the bride chose a black velvet and tulle gown embroidered with golden appliqué by Lebanese designer Gatti Nolli by Marwan. The dress is black and gold, the house colours of the Romanoff Dynasty, and combines a velvet bustier with a diaphanous tulle skirt. 


Friday, September 10, 2021

After 26 years together, India said I do

@Ken Stone

 After  26 years and 5 children, India Hicks and David Flint Wood were married today at the St. Bartholomew's Church in Brightwell Baldwin, Oxfordshire. 

 A reception at the Nelson Pub in  Brightwell Baldwin was held after the service.

India, 54, is the youngest child of the late interior designer, David Hicks, and his wife, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, the younger daughter of the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the Hon, Edwina Ashley.  She and David have been together for 26 years and have four children, Felix, 24, Amory, 22, Conrad, 18, and Domino, 13.  They also have an adopted son, Wesley whose mother died some years ago from cancer.  All five children were at the wedding as was India's mother, Lady Pamela.

Felix escorted his mother down the aisle.

The Daily Mail has a largely good article about the wedding,  but the writer, Bridie Pearson-Jones refers to the bride as Lady India Hicks.    India is not the daughter of a duke, marquess, or an earl.   Her mother is Lady Pamela as she is the daughter of an earl.

Ashley Hicks pushes his mother's Lady Pamela Hicks' wheelchair

In July 1981, young India was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her godfather, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. She followed in the footsteps of her mother, who was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Charles' parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947.  Prince Philip is Lady Pamela's first cousin.

No members of the Royal Family were present for today's wedding.

The guest list included India's older sister and brother, Edwina, and Ashley, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Martina Mondadori, and his two daughters, Angelica and Ambrosia from his first marriage, the Marquess and Marchioness of Milford Haven,   The Hon Philip, and the Hon. Timothy Knatchbull, the bride's first cousins, served as ushers.

The Hon. Mr. & Mrs Timothy Knatchbull

The Marquess & Marchioness of Milford Haven

All the photos were taken by Ken Stone.  

India, a designer in her own right, and David divide their time between homes in the Bahamas and Oxfordshire.  He owns and runs Hibiscus Hill on Harbour Island.

The photos may not be reproduced without the permission of the photographer, Ken Stone.  He is the copyright holder.  I am grateful to his kindness for allowing me to use these photos.

Flora Ogilvy and Tim Vesterberg 's marriage blessing service

Embed from Getty Images 

Flora Ogilvy, the granddaughter of Princess Alexandra, and Swedish-born Tim Vesterberg had a service of blessing today at St. James's,  Picadilly in London.  

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions last fall, the couple had a private wedding on September 26, 2020, at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace with a small number of guests.

Today's service including members of the bride and groom's families and friends,  members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Kent (bride's great-uncle), Prince and Princess Michael (the bride's great uncle and great aunt), and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.   Flora and Prince Edward are second cousins once removed.

The Princess of Windisch-Graetz (Archduchess Sophia of Austria) also attended the wedding.  Her mother, Archduchess Helen (nee Countess of Toerring-Jettenbach), and Princess Alexandra are first cousins.

Flora is the daughter of James and Julia Ogilvy.

The bride's something borrowed was the Ogilvy pearl tiara and diamond and pearl earrings, both lent by her grandmother, HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Prince Albert speaks to People" Charlene "didn't leave in a huff!

Embed from Getty Images 
For Immediate Release 

September 8, 2021 at 10:00am ET

PEOPLE Exclusive: Prince Albert 'Appalled' at Princess Charlene Rumors: 'She Didn't Leave in a Huff, She Didn't Go into Exile'

Prince Albert of Monaco tells PEOPLE about rumors of a rift in his marriage to Princess Charlene: "Of course it affects her, of course, it affects me"

NEW YORK - As Prince Albert awaits the return of his wife Princess Charlene to Monaco, His Serene Highness wants to set the record straight on rumors that have bubbled up in the midst of the Princess's extended stay in her native South Africa.

"She didn't leave Monaco in a huff!" Albert, 63, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "She didn't leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else. She was going down to South Africa to reassess her Foundation's work down there and to take a little time off with her brother and some friends." 

He continues, "It was only supposed to be a weeklong, 10-day maximum stay, and [she is still there now] because she had this infection all these medical complications arose."


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The wedding of HSH Princess Maria Annunciata and Emanuele Musini


The religious marriage of HSH Princess Maria Annunciata of Liechtenstein and Emanuele Musini took place at the Schottenkirche in Vienna on September 4.   The 36-year-old bride is the eldest child of HRH Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein, the younger brother of Hans Adam, the Prince of Liechtenstein, and HRH Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg.

Musini, 42, was born in London and is the son of the late Nicolò Musini and Monica Traglio.  He is the Co-Founder and CEO of  Phillo Health, which is located in Boston, Massachusetts.  Phillo Health was recently acquired by Stanley Black & Decker.

My thanks to Gabi for allowing me to use her photos.  She is the copyright holder.

Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma  and Archduchess Gabriella and their second child, Princess Anastasia

HI&RH Archduke Michael and Archduchess Christina of Austria

Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan

Prince Lorenz of Belgium and his daughter, Laetitia-Maria

Princess Elisabeth of Thurn und Taxis and her brother Albert, Prine of Thurn und Taxis

Prince Guillaume, Prince  Jean, Countess Diane of Nassau, and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg

On the right, Archduchess Marie Astrid and Archduke Christian talking with Prince Jean, Countess Diane, and Princess Sibilla

Prince Sebastian of Luxembourg

Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue and Prince Louis of Luxembourg

Prince Alexander Fugger von Babenhausen and Gabriela Stoudemir

The Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

HRH Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg and her brother Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg

HRH Hereditary Prince  Ernst August of Hannover

The Bride and her dad

Wearing the Habsburg Fringe Tiara

Maria Annuciata's gown designed by Valentino

the Hereditary Prince and Princess of Hannover

Prince Christian and Princess Alessandra of Hannover

Marie Astrid and Christian of Austria

The bride and groom are 12th cousins, sharing descent from Lorenzo Strozzi (1595-1671)

& Maria Simona Machiavelli, a grand niece of Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince 

The reception was held in the Liechtenstein City Palace in Vienna.  The palace is owned by the Prince of Liechtenstein.

The Hereditary Prince Esterhazy von Galantha is engaged

Photo: Martin Jöchl/Kronen Zeitung

 Hereditary Prince Paul-Anton Nikolaus Maximilian  Esterházy von Galántha is engaged to marry Franziska Reutter.  The engagement took place earlier this month.

Paul-Antal is the only child of Anton  Rudolf Marie Georg Christoph Hubertus Johannes Karl Aglaë, the 13th Prince Esterházy von Galántha and his first wife, Ursula Koenig.  He was born in Munich on February 18, 1986.   

He attended boarding school in England and then studied business administration and international politics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.  He also has a master's degree, focusing on Central Eastern Europe, from Oxford University.

 Paul Anton is the great-nephew of the 12th Prince, Pál Esterhazy von Galantha (1901-1989,   The family was major landowners in the Austro-Hungarian empire but the end of the first world war changed everything as Austria and Hungary became separate nations, thus leaving the Esterhazys with property in different countries.  

In 1938,  Austria abolished fideicommiss, which had allowed family property and fortune to be kept in trusts, allowing the head of the family to maintain properties and provided allowances to other members of the house.  This change meant that Prince Paul received control of what was a large family fortune.

Unfortunately, for the family, there would be further changes that affected  After the Communists took over in Hungary, they implemented new land reforms, which including confiscating the properties of former princes and other noble families.  

The family lost everything in Hungary but continued to own property in Austria.  In 1945,  Prince Paul was arrested and placed on trial, and sentenced to jail, where he spent 15 years in solitary confinement.  He was released in 1956 during the Hungarian uprising.  The prince and his wife, the former Melinda Ottrubay, whom he had married in 1946,  fled Austria with the help of friends and settled in Zurich.

He died in 1989 and was succeeded by his nephew, Prince Anton (1936), but, tragically for the Esterhazy family,  Paul left his entire fortune to his widow, Melinda, who died in 2014 at Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt, Austria, which had been the primary residence of the Esterhazy family for more than 300 years.   She created several foundations including the Esterhazy Foundation.  

Melinda left the entire fortune to her nephew, Stefan Ottrubay (1954) who became the General Manager of Esterhazy Foundation.   Neither Prince Anton nor his son, Paul Anton, are involved with the Esterhazy foundation.  They have filed several lawsuits to regain property, but Austrian courts have ruled in favor of the Esterhazy Foundation.

Neither Prince Anton nor his son, Paul-Anton were permitted to see Melinda in the final years of her life.

Prince Paul Anton''s father, Prince Anton now lives in a stable at Eszterháza Palace in Fertőd, Hungary, where he is employed by the state, which owns the palace, to "play the Prince for tourists."

The 35-year-old prince has a strong interest in his family's history and is determined to regain their wealth and property.

 "That's my responsibility, and I do not expect any money – you always have to reinvest everything, especially now, but I really want to restore the old, positive Esterházy corporate culture."

Even if he can regain the Esterhazy properties, he has no plans to live at  Schloss Esterházy Castle in Eisenstadt.

"The castle is an outstanding cultural monument with a character that creates an identity for the region and it must remain a place of public life and culture." 

He preferred his life in Vienna.

Even after the issues with Stefan Ottrubay, Paul-Anton Esterházy sees a positive aspect. "Everyone in the country can finally tell the two families apart." 

In a January 2919 interview with the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, he was asked: Do you place no value on “Hereditary Prince” and “His Highness”?

"I have never held titles myself and live a completely normal life. Of course, these terms are still used. They are historical and come from times long past. However, this goes hand in hand with a close connection with the family history."

Is the name Esterházy an honor or a burden?

"It's a great gift. But especially about the situation in Burgenland, it is not easy to watch how strangers use the name Esterházy as a fig leaf for their purposes. All of this is diametrically opposed to the values ​​for which this family has always stood and still stands."

Mr. Esterházy, this week the 87-year-old mother of  Stefan Ottrubray was put in a limousine and brought to Tyrol. The police initially assumed a kidnapping. What's going on behind the scenes?

"I would like to start by saying that it is really annoying when the name Esterházy is associated with a purely internal Ottrubay family topic. And then it is also shocking that so many other people are drawn into this feud or whatever it may be in the Ottrubay family. Hundreds of police officers had to check cars all night in the freezing cold because of a false alarm. You have to shake your head. For me personally and for our family, to be honest, it is not particularly surprising what happened there."

How did you find out about this grotesque story?

My mother called me. She was just in her favorite chocolatier in Munich - as a good son I should actually know the name - and told me that she had just been approached by a lady. “Thank God, you weren't kidnapped at all!” Whereupon my mother said: “Yes, and unfortunately I'm not worth millions either.

As you can see: The Ottrubays are constantly being mistaken for us."

Was that imprisonment or just an old lady outing?

"It is of course difficult to say as an outsider. But how would you and how would I organize a family visit with my mother? You would meet for tea, then pack your suitcase, say goodbye, and leave as normal. But definitely not pushing a nurse away. You have to ask yourself: under what circumstances did your mother come to Eisenstadt from Switzerland if she was simply taken back with you in this - I would like to say unworthy - way?

Your statement was unmistakable: “We have completely different manners,” you said for the Esterházy family, “especially with elderly women.” What did that mean?

Those respectful manners are cultivated in our family. There is open communication, you visit each other and you travel together.

What do you think is behind it?

"I can only speak from my own experience. My great-aunt Melinda also lived in this place and in old age, she signed one highly complex foundation change after another, to the detriment of the Esterházy family, out of nowhere, for completely incomprehensible reasons, after we had been in excellent contact with Melinda for many years."

Why did your great-aunt sign all of this?

"At first, it was the Fürst Esterházy private foundation, which was in perfect harmony with the family. We were the beneficiaries there and controlled and monitored the foundation. Then Mr. Ottrubay succeeded in gaining control over the entire statutes through considerable feint. We were excluded from the benefits overnight."

How could he do that?

He left us no more opportunity to communicate with my very old great-aunt. The last time I tried to see her was in 2009. That was her 90th birthday. I drove to Eisenstadt, knowing that she lives in this house, a few stones throw away, where Mr. Ottrubay's mother was picked up on the same street and knocked there until her nurses took me in and took me to an adjoining room then was closed. I had to wait there until Dr. Ottrubay was spoken to and as a result, I was asked to leave. In retrospect, Dr. Ottrubay made it clear that he might as well have turned the police on me.

Have you written letters to your great-aunt?

Naturally. In the good times, Melinda answered them too. I used to visit her in Switzerland when I was a child. She played with me on the balcony and pushed me around on chairs with castors. I have fondest memories of that.

What happened to your letters?

I don't know. At the post box, the fate of a letter is no longer in our hands.

You have been the great opponent of Dr. Ottrubay. Do you feel comfortable in this role? 

"What does "opponent" mean? If you look at the family history, I am ultimately in the chain after my great-uncle, Prince Paul, and my father, the head of the family. It's a role you don't choose.

"This man is taking over a cultural asset and the first thing to do is to eradicate the existence of this family! 

How has he tried to "erase" existence?

 "One of his first official acts was to change the name of the Fürst Esterházy Family Private Foundation to FE Private Foundation. From the death of my great-uncle in 1989, it was always clear within the “domain” who would be the successor in the family tradition, and that was my father at the time, Prince Anton.

"Of course, this is very questionable if Dr. Ottrubay comes into this whole environment under unexplained circumstances and puts our family in front of the door." 

 Are you still in contact with Mr. Ottrubay?

If it is not necessary, there is no contact. We are civil on our side and that is also the style that we maintain. He just refused us the most normal form of politeness of shaking hands in court. But how could the relationship with a person who has been driving his own family into such bottlenecks for almost two decades?

You have to ask him that. Just this much: he is the sole ruler of a very special fortune. Will this dispute ever be settled? Or will you have to fight in court all your life?

"The courts must and will decide. In the meantime, I will represent and defend the values of the family and clear up misunderstandings. This is not an Esterházy scandal, this is an Ottrubay scandal. You are an investment manager. Would you like to manage the foundations yourself?>It would certainly be good and right if a family member were at the helm of these foundations. I also believe I have the skills to manage them conscientiously and sustainably following the values of the Esterházy family.

You were born in Bavaria and have lived in Vienna for four years. What does Burgenland mean to you?

"I feel very at home in Burgenland, it has only belonged to Austria for 100 years and no longer to Hungary. Our home in Bavaria also comes from the Esterházy surroundings of the former Austria-Hungary. In other words, this connection to Austria and Burgenland was born in my cradle."

"Which music touches you deeply?

"The symphony with the bang, of course. Haydn communicated with his patron and patron, Prince Esterházy, in a very special elegance. Haydn touches and accompanies me. Haydn even performed in my Oxford college before he received his honorary doctorate."\

Could a nobleman like you imagine marrying a commoner?"

Naturally. Where love falls.

@Stig Nielsen  The couple in 2019 at the marriage of  Otto, Prince of Castell-Rüdenhausen & Sophia Mautner von Markhof.  Her parents also attended the wedding.

The future Hereditary Princess studied Engineering at the Technical University in Munich before heading to the University of Edinburgh, where she received a Bachelor's degree in Civil engineering in 2012.   She is the head of Agile at Freelectics, a Bavarian-based company.

In 2020, Franziska, who is known as Sissi, was profiled on the website.  She was born July 6 1989 at Klagenfurt and is the youngest of four children of Georg von Reutter and Joanna Rowena Christine Doubleday.

Franziska is a descendant of Archduke Johannes of Austria  (1782-1859) and his morganatic wife, Anna Maria Josephine Plochl (1804-1885).  They married in 1829, and in 1844, Anna Maria was created Countess von Meran.  

Franziska's paternal great-grandmother was Countess Marie Valerie von Meran (1902-1990) who married Count Johann Anton von Goess (1892-1970).  Their eldest child, Countess Marie Anna von Goess  (1922-2010) married in 1945 to Georg von Reutter (1919-2003).  They had four children: Marie Valerie, Georg, Aglae, and Elisabeth.

Georg married Joanna Doubleday, the youngest child of Garth Leslie Doubleday and May Alison Hann.   They are the parents of four children: Georg (1984), Alison (1985), Clemens (1988-2011), and Franziska  (1989).

Georg is married to Rachel Anne Carson and they have two children, Clara and Josephine. Alison is the wife of Count Benedikt von Abensberg und Traun and they have five children, Bernhard, Camilla, Margaretha,  Agnes and Rudolf.

Franziska's second brother Clemens was killed in a car accident in Italy in 2011.   His family set up the Clemens Reutter Stiftung to raise funds "to take disadvantaged children and their carers into the mountains where they can enjoy the peace and power of nature, fresh air, and exercise."

Franziska is also a model

Friday, September 3, 2021

17 million and climbing


I did not notice that  Royal Musings reached more than the 17th million visitors.   This happened in late July or early August.  I reached 16 million readers in February so I was not expecting another million hits in the next five months

Thank you.  Thank you very much.

This blog made its debut in July 2008.  Trust me, I had no idea that it would be enjoyed by so many people.

I am thankful and grateful to all of my readers - and a special thanks to a special source!!!

Royal Musings and its little sister blog, RBN Royal Book News do require work.  This work includes researching and reading books, old and new.  I buy most of the books that I review as getting review copies is not as easy as it used to be as publicity departments now send out ARCS (Advanced Reading Copies) in an electronic form.  I do not have the technology (an e-book reader) to read online.  

But I do have a few books on a list that I expect to purchase in the next few weeks. 

As always, I am grateful to my staff, Sienna, 16, and six-year-old Harper.  Sienna has mammary cancer (a tumor).  She is doing fine now, eating and sleeping.  As long as she is eating 

There are blogs where you are required to pay with Patreon or other similar sources.   Royal Musings and Royal Book News are free, but I am grateful and thankful for the cups of coffee and the donations.

Truly grateful, always appreciated and never expected.