Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ludwig says no marriage with Jessica

In a Jakarta court on Tuesday,  lawyers for Hereditary Count Ludwig von Waldburg zu Wolfegg und Waldsee  said they will submit evidence showing that no marriage took place between German nobleman and Indonesian celebrity Jessica Iskandar.   This denial has also been asserted by Ludwig's parents, the Prince and Princess of Waldburg von Wolfegg und Waldsee.

The lawyers have not stated what the evidence is, but they are convinced they will win the case.

Hereditary Count Ludwig is in Germany with his family.

Iskandar's attorney told the media that Ludwig has been in contact with Jessica, asking about their son.  He does not know if Ludwig has offered to pay child support.

The new Duke and Duchess of Wellington

In NYC in late 80s at the ballet:  Princess Margaret greets Lady Douro   @Marlene A Eilers Koenig

Lady Douro (now Duchess of Wellington)  Photo by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig
If you wish to use the first three photos, please contact me for permission. I am the copyright holder.

last three photos:  Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The new heir to the Wellington Dukedom is a descendant of Queen Victoria

The Duke of Wellington died today at his home, Stratfield Sayre.  He was 99 years old.
At the 2014 Garter ceremony at Windsor Castle.  Photo is by Hein Bruins. 

He is succeeded by his eldest son, Charles, as the 9th Duke of Wellington.    The new Duke is married to HRH Princess Antonia of Prussia, daughter of the late Prince Friedrich of Prussia and Lady Brigid Guinness.

The Duke and Duchess were married in February 1977.  The bride was given away by her paternal uncle, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, then head of the former ruling house of Germany.

They have five children: Arthur, now Marquess of Douro, Lady Honor Montagu, Lady Mary, Lady Charlotte and Lord Frederick, and five grandchildren.

Lord Douro is married to Jemma Kidd and are the parents of Lord Mornington, Lady Mae (twins) and Lord Alfred Wellesley (who was born two weeks ago.)  Lady Honor and her husband, Hon. Oliver Montagu have two children:  Walter and Nancy Montagu.

Donna Sandra Torlonia (1936-2014)

Infanta Beatriz and four children on her 80th birthday (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)

Donna Sandra (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection)

Donna Alessandra Torlonia died today at Cap Martin, France. She was 78 years old.

Donna Alessandra Vittoria Torlonia was the first of four children of Infanta Beatriz of Spain, elder daughter of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. 

Beatriz married Don Alessandro Torlonia, Prince of Civitella-Cesi, a member of a historic Italian noble family. (Alessandro was half-American. His mother was American heiress Elsie Moore) in January 1935.

Donna Alessandra was born the Anglo-American Hospital in Rome on Valentine's Day in 1936.  Two queens were present for the birth.  Queen Ena arrived in Rome the day before her daughter was due to give birth, and Queen Elena of Italy "reached the hospital a few minutes" before Alessandra was born.

Prince Alessandro and his mother were also at the hospital.   King Alfonso XIII visited his daughter and granddaughter in the afternoon only after Queen Victoria Eugenia had left the hospital.   Spanish royalists had hoped that the birth of a grandchildren would reunite the king and queen.  Alfonso was living in Rome, and he was reported "anxious to arrange a reconciliation in order to strengthen his prestige with Spanish monarchs," according to an Associated Press dispatch two weeks before Sandra's birth.

In February 1954, Donna Sandra was made her official debut at a grand party hosted by her parents at their palace in Rome.

In the late 1950s,   European papers were reporting that King Baudouin was going to marry Donna Sandra, but she was in love with an Italian nobleman Count  Clemente Lequio di Assaba, whose father, Francesco, was Italy's ambassador to Spain.  They were married on June 20, 1958 at St. Nicolino Church in Rome.

Infanta Beatriz and Don Alessandro did not attend their daughter's wedding, although Alessandro released a statement announcing that the wedding had taken place earlier that day. He released the statement "to prevent possible unjustified scandalistic speculations."

This statement was in response to reports in local newspapers that Sandra's parents were opposed to her marriage.

The reports of the marriage caught everyone off guard, even the French weekly royal magazine, Point de Vue, which ran a cover story on Sandra (June 27, 1958.) 

Sandra gave birth to a son, Don Alessandro, on her first wedding anniversary.   A daughter, Desideria (Desiree) was born in September 1962.  Count Clemente died in 1971.

In 1966, she was named Lady Europa.

Sandra was the first of four children. She had two younger brothers (Marco Alfonso, 6th Prince of Civitella-Cesi (1937-2014), Don Marino (1939-1995) and Donna Olimpia (1943).  Don Marco Alfonso died on December 5.  Sandra was present for his funeral.

Donna Sandra is survived by her son, Don Alessandro, and her daughter, Donna Desiree, and four grandchildren,  Clemente and Alessandro Lequio, and Count Giovanni and Count Giorgio Tournon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Queen Margarita of Bulgaria

A new addition to my collection.  A signed photo of Queen Margarita of Bulgaria!

Merry Christmas from the Swedish royal family

Foto Anna-Lena Ahlström, / Photo Anna-Lena Ahlström,

Hope this gets released as a postcard.  Lovely

Jessica names father of baby in her new book

The Indonesian celebrity, Jessica Iskandar, has released her new biography, Jedar Power.   She refers to Ludwig (presumably Hereditary Count Ludwig zu Waldburg von Wolfsegg und Waldsee )as the father of her son, El Barack Alexander.

She wrote: "Ludwig has taught me a sweet bitterness of life and made me a complete woman, and more appreciative of the life that I lead."

El is aid to be the "fruit of love" between Jessica and the German-born nobleman.

The trial to have the alleged marriage declared annulled continues.  Next week, Ludwig's lawyers will introduce more evidence to prove that the marriage was a sham.  Jessica's lawyers state that they will have evidence to refute Ludwig's claims.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Ones that Got away (Europe)

This is the full version of an article that I wrote for Majesty several years ago.


by Marlene A. Eilers-Koenig

The late duke of Windsor called them "tea-cup betrothals," a description that referred to the art of royal matchmaking during the early part of the 20th century. It was a natural process for Europe’s sovereigns to spend time together to discuss their children’s marriages. King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians and King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena of Italy had met several times -- and tea was invariably served -- to consider marital opportunities for their sons and daughters. Crown Prince Umberto was expected to propose marriage, and a dutiful Princess Marie-José would say yes. Theirs was one of the last truly dynastic marriages of the 20th century.

Until the advent of the second world war, royal marriages were largely arranged for political or diplomatic reasons. This attitude toward marriage began to change after World War I, when the imperial thrones of Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany collapsed in the fire of revolution. Princes and princesses were still marrying each other, but "mates were often commoners."

Princess Marie-José and Crown Prince Umberto’s marriage in 1930 was one of the rare occasions when the papers got it right. Most of the time, the news accounts of a royal romance would prove to be fiction, and the papers would move onto another royal subject.
One of the world=s most respected and influential newspapers, The New York Times, often published original reports from British and European newspapers. There were a few occasions when the story was true, and engagement announcements would follow. Several engagements were annulled before the wedding day. Some engagements were "impending" or "forthcoming." Most of the time, the courts would "officially deny" such reports, especially if there was little merit to the story. It’s safe to say that little has changed in the media’s coverage of European royalty.

Princess Elisabeth   (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)
Elisabeth and Ileana (Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection)

A British princess by birth, Queen Marie of Roumania was described by The New York Times as a "veteran matchmaker," who actively sought grand marriages for her children. It was reported in September 1913 that Marie"s two eldest children, Crown Prince Carol and Princess Elisabeth would marry Grand Duchess Olga and Crown Prince George of Greece at "an early date."

But Olga did not want to leave Russia for a foreign marriage. Her parents, Nicholas and Alexandra, both of whom were Marie’s first cousins, did not force the issue, and the Roumanian royal family returned to Bucharest without a bride for Carol.

After a brief marriage to a Roumanian commoner, which was annulled, Carol married Princess Helen of Greece. They were married in March 1921, just one month after Elisabeth had wed Helen’s older brother, the future King George II of the Hellenes. Both marriages had been arranged by Queen Marie, eager to strengthen relations among the Balkan countries. Helen and George were children of Marie’s first cousin, the former Princess Sophie of Prussia. Apart from their impeccable genealogical ties, neither couple had much in common. Both marriages ended in divorce.

The frequent rumours about a marriage between George and Elisabeth proved to be true. The New York Times printed a report from a German newspaper that Kaiser Wilhelm II had "arranged the match" and would act "as a witness" at the marriage. At the time, George was involved in a "flirtation" with his cousin, Countess Zia de Torby. After reading about the engagement in a magazine, she wrote to George for confirmation. "There is not a word of truth in it," he responded. He thought Elisabeth "was awfully nice," and "we got on quite well together, but only as a guest would with his host."

Queen Marie certainly used her "tea-cup" diplomacy to arrange the marriage of her second daughter, Marie, to King Alexander of Yugoslavia. Rumors of this proposed marriage first appeared in 1920, but, at the time, were not considered to be authoritative. King Alexander was described as a man who "has frequently been reported engaged," but was unable to find a bride to share his throne. In 1921, according to a Belgrade dispatch, Alexander had become engaged to Princess Sophie of Orleans, the daughter of the Duke of Vendome. Although "enamored" with Sophie, Alexander, having signed a treaty of alliance with Roumania in the summer of 1921, gave serious consideration to marriage with the young Princess Marie of Roumania. The marriage, which took place in June 1922, was certainly a dazzling achievement for Queen Marie.
[Sophie was mentally handicapped.]

The Queen, having helped put crowns on the heads of her two eldest daughters, now turned her attention to her youngest daughter, Princess Ileana.

Although denied by Queen Marie, Crown Prince Umberto of Italy was reported engaged to Ileana in December 1926. The marriage would take place "within six months if King Ferdinand [Ileana"s father who died in July 1927] lives" or after a decent mourning period. The marriage was allegedly arranged in September 1926 during the Italo-Rumanian convention, where Roumanian received a financial loan from Italy. The Roumanian prime minister is reported to have told friends: "I didn=t get much from Italy, except a throne for a Princess of Roumania."

A "reliable court authority" told a reporter that a marriage was expected between Ileana and King Boris of Bulgaria. He could not have been that reliable because an official denial was quickly issued in Sofia. "This eventuality is out of discussion," said a Bulgarian courtier.

There was not a shred of truth to the story, but Ileana was said to have eloped with a young naval lieutenant, an aide-de-camp to the late King Ferdinand. The rumor arose from the fact that the "two young people are old friends and were recently seen together at a Black Sea resort." In the late 1920s, there were discussions for a marriage with Archduke Albrecht of Austria. Several reports suggested that if Archduke Albrecht was elected as King of Hungary, Ileana would become his queen. "Rumors concerning the marriage of the Hungarian Archduke Albrecht with Princess Ileana are daily growing stronger," reported the Hungarian Foreign Minister who met several times with his Roumanian counterpart.

"Winsome and still very youthful," Ileana was "frequently put down as a likely consort for the Prince of Wales." At the age of twenty, she was described as "pretty" and of "her accomplishments it goes without saying are all wonderful," which meant she was eminently suitable. Queen Marie told her American biographer, Mabel Potter Daggett that she would "not marry Ileana even to a King, unless she loved him, but that princes without thrones for Ileana to sit on, need not apply."

Ileana did not get her crown. In 1930 she was briefly engaged to Count Alexander of Hochberg, son of Marie’s good friend, Princess Daisy of Pless. But Marie ordered the marriage to be called off she learned that Alexander had been involved in a homosexual scandal. A year later, Ileana married Archduke Anton of Austria. According to "court gossip, the engagement was dictated by affection rather than reasons of State." The marriage was actually arranged by Ileana’s brother, King Carol II, who was angry with Ileana for siding with his former wife, Helen. Carol stripped his youngest sister of all her patronages, and eagerly searched for a husband for her. After the wedding, she was allowed to visit Roumania for only one month per year, and only with Carol’s permission.

On her wedding day, Ileana "upheld the romantic glamour of royalty, and has been observed by more than one journalist as a pawn in the political game of Central Europe."

Ileana summed up her feelings about marriage in an interview in 1929: "It is not easy for a girl to get married today, even if she is a princess."

It took a great deal of careful diplomacy to achieve his goal, and once the religious obstacles [Boris was Orthodox and Giovanna was Roman Catholic] were largely overcome, the marriage took placed in October 1930. The exiled Empress Zita of Austria was reported to be behind the engagement rumors about her son, Otto, and Princess Maria of Italy. In 1930, Zita invited various officials to her home near Parma, to discuss the marriage, which would hinge on Otto. The engagement was believed "certain [to happen] in well-informed court circles," but Otto’s lack of a throne placed a damper on the negotiations, and the plan fell apart. In 1939, Princess Maria married Zita’s younger brother, Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma.

Before the Russian Revolution, rumours were rife about marriages for several members of the Imperial Family. A year before the putative engagement between Grand Duchess Olga and Crown Prince Carol, the New York Times reported a "rumor in circulation" that Olga was to marry the third son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Prince Adalbert of Prussia. The engagement was expected to be announced "during or after the coming meeting between the German and Russian Emperors at Baltishport." 

A cousin of Nicholas II, Grand Duke Dimitri was "supposed to have been destined" to marry his second daughter, Tatiana. But in March 1914, Dimitri had apparently "made an offer to renounce his imperial rights" because of his intention to "marry a handsome American girl, Miss Durham, who recently came to St. Petersburg with a party of American friends." This relationship "was aggravated by the fact that the Grand Duke is the prospective husband " of Grand Duchess Tatiana, the Tsar’s second daughter. Dimitri met Alice Durham, a "bewitching beauty of slender figure and delicate manners," at a skating rink. It was "love at first sight," and ever since, Dimitri had been "availing himself of every opportunity to meet her." (In 1926, in exile, Dimitri married an American heiress, Audrey Emery.)
Princess Philipp of Thurn und Taxis

There were a number of actual engagements that were broken before the marriages could take place. In 1902, the engagement of Archduchess Maria Annuciata of Austria and Siegfried Duke in Bavaria was "broken by mutual consent." Princess Ila von Thurn und Taxis, 20, left her fiancé, Prince Raphael of Thurn und Taxis, at the altar when she declared she was in love with his brother, Philipp Ernst. The Bishop of Regensburg was ready to perform the service when Ila, in tears, went to see the head of the family, Prince Albert - the father of the groom - to say that she "found it incompatible with the dictates of her conscience to marry Prince Raphael. The princess was credited with "sincere motives springing from a deep religious conviction that it would be wrong to marry Prince Raphael when she really loved Prince Philipp.

They were married later in the year. Prince Raphael wed another Thurn und Taxis cousin in 1932.

Princess Irene of Greece’s two-year engagement to her cousin, Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe was broken in May 1929 "because she found that she would be obliged to live almost permanently in the atmosphere of German monarchist and military society at Potsdam where Prince Christian usually resides." Neither would rush into marriage. In 1937, Christian married his first cousin, Prince Feodora of Denmark. Two years later, the "tall, beautiful, blue-eyed" Princess married Prince Aimone, the Duke of Aosta, a cousin of the Italian king.

When Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Princess Olga of Greece was announced in the spring of 1922, it was hailed as an achievement for their mothers, Queen Alexandrine and Princess Nicholas. The two women conspired for some time to bring their eldest children together. Although nineteen-year-old Olga was delighted by Frederik's attention towards her, she knew very little about him. According to Olga's uncle, Prince Christopher of Greece, "a misunderstanding arose" that led first to a postponement and then to the marriage being called off.

Crown Prince Frederik had a serious drinking problem. At one event, Frederik was so drunk that he had taken the hand of Olga’s sister, Elisabeth, instead of Olga’s, to acknowledge a cheering crowd. That September, Olga gave back his ring, and Frederik said he was glad they parted without bad words." Olga did not mourn for long. A year later, she wed Prince Paul of Yugoslavia.

Although Crown Prince Frederik was "unlucky in his engagement with Princess Olga, he was soon linked with Princess Ingrid of Sweden. Rumours of their marriage surfaced in 1928, but all of the stories were said to be "without official confirmation." In January 1935, just weeks before the official announcement was made, Danish court officials "professed to know nothing of the reports." Two months later, "despite denials of rumors of the engagement," the story "reappeared" on front pages of Scandinavian newspapers, There also appeared to be a "corroboration of the story," as Frederik was en route to Stockholm. On April 8, a New York Times headline stated: "Royal Betrothal Now Open Secret.
Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection

"Despite official denials, it was learned today from persons closely associated with Scandinavian royalty that the announcement" of Frederik and Ingrid’s engagement was expected after King Gustav V returned from France.

Their marriage took place in Stockholm on May 24, 1935. Despite the fact that she was among the least attractive of Europe’s eligible royals, Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands was considered a major catch. When Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, and her husband, the Earl of Athlone, made a "prominent appearance" at Queen Wilhelmina’s official New Year’s reception in 1922, the New York Times reported "Queen Mary’s Nephew as Next Dutch consort. Visit of Earl of Athlone starts rumors of marriage of his son to Princess." The couple’s two children, Lady May and Lord Trematon had accompanied their parents to the Netherlands where they stayed with Queen Wilhelmina. The "young children are brought together frequently," but it is possible that the Dutch princess, an only child, was delighted to play with her English cousins

Juliana was only 11-years-old at the time, and Rupert, 15. Perhaps Alice was given a prominent place at court because she was a British princess who happened to be Queen Wilhelmina. In 1926, after spending five days with the Dutch Royal Family, Prince Nicholas of Roumania made a favorable impression, although, according to Wilhelmina, the "plump, amiable looking" princess was still too young for marriage.

Sweden’s Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf in July 1930 "officially denied an Amsterdam report" of his son, Prince Sigvard’s engagement to Juliana. Yet, two months later, "there are persistent rumors in Holland" that Queen Wilhelmina would, in her address opening Parliament, " will announce Juliana’s engagement" to Prince Sigvard.  It did not happen.
Marlene A Eilers-Koenig collection

Prince Charles of Belgium was briefly considered as Juliana’s spouse only because her father, Prince Hendrik, had paid a visit to Brussels. "It was authoritatively denied" that the Prince’s visit was to arrange his daughter’s marriage. When the new Dutch ambassador to Sweden told a reporter in June 1934, "Holland would greet with joy a Swedish prince in the royal family at The Hague," the newspapers jumped on the possibility of a new royal romance between Prince Bertil and Princess Juliana, both of whom were in England at the time. A few months later, "there was a direct official denial" of an engagement between Bertil’s younger brother, Prince Carl Johan of Sweden and Princess Juliana. Within a space of four years, the Dutch Crown Princess was "engaged" to three of the four sons of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf.

An authoritative source" stated December 1934 that Juliana’s engagement to Grand Duke Friedrich Franz of Mecklenburg-Schwerin would be announced after the New Year. When Prince Karl Viktor of Wied arrived in Holland with his father in April 1936, everyone assumed a "prospective engagement" was forthcoming. On September 8, 1936, "the entire country was elated" when Queen Wilhelmina officially announced Juliana’s engagement to another German, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.
Marlene A Eilers Koenig collectio

Was King Leopold III searching for a new wife two years after the death of Queen Astrid in a car accident in 1935? The New York Times reported that a "romance is expected" between the King and 21-year-old Lady Anne Cavendish-Bentinck, a granddaughter of the Duke and Duchess of Portland, who were said to be old friends of the King. In December 1937, Leopold and his mother, Queen Elisabeth, traveled to England to stay with the Portlands at their home, Welbeck Abbey, Lady Anne said to be "tall, attractive and a keen huntswoman." According to Belgian sources, the King wished to remarry "for the sake of Queen Astrid’s three children, " but Lady Anne, who never married, was not destined to be Leopold’s second consort.

A year later, more rumors of a proposed marriage for the King appeared in the paper. King George II of Greece’s visit to Brussels "gave rise to the rumor of a possible marriage" between George’s sister, Irene, and Leopold. A trained nurse, the princess, who had already broken off an engagement with Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe, was, according to a wireless sent to the paper, "of a shy and retiring disposition."

Although reporting has become more sophisticated and intrusive, newspapers and magazines continue to thrive on nuggets of royal romance. The Prince of the Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne, has been the subject of marital rumors for the past decade. Several Spanish newspapers and magazines were so convinced that he was going to marry Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Parma that they even named the date and place of the wedding. In Denmark, the news of Crown Prince Frederik's romance with Australian Mary Donaldson has thrown the entire country into a frenzy. A report on an "impending announcement" by a TV station in late September led to Danish journalists setting up camp outside the palace in Copenhagen. The reports were dismissed by Crown Prince Frederik’s private secretary, Per Thornit, who said in a statement. "There will be no announcement today or in the near future." He added that the report was "speculation invented by the media.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Prince Bernard zur Lippe joins German Navy

Prince Bernard zur Lippe is the first member of his family to serve at sea for more than 400 years.

The 19-year old prince is the eldest of six children of Prince Stephan and Princess Marie zur Lippe, who live in Detmold.   Prince Stephan is the heir to his father, Prince Arnim, the current head of the zur Lippe family.

The young man is now serving as a member of the crew of the Gorch Fock, a training ship based in Kiel.  He was recently visited by his parents and his sisters, Luise and Mathilde.  In November, Prince Bernhard sailed to Malaga on board the Gorch Fock.

Prince Bernhard is committed to serving in the military for twelve years.  He also plans to study aerospace engineering in Munich.

No originality: Daily Mail

The Daily Mail, a British-based tabloid newspaper (a word I use loosely), has fallen so far down that it can no longer get up.

The notion of responsible journalism or ethical reporting is largely non-existent these days.  The website (which has been given an American flare to encourage more American readers, which was duly noted by the New York Times more than a year ago) is filled with errors, repeated statements in articles,  material lifted straight from US papers, and largely nonsensical reporting.  It is sad to see this paper fall so far down into the gutter.

In the U.S media it is customary to site the source of a news story.  The Daily Mail's editorial staff have no compunctions to respect the source, let alone credit the source.

One of the lead stories on the Mail on Sunday is about the protection of palace guards, who have been moved back behind gates, and less accessible to the general public.

Here is a link to the Mail's story.

But there is little originality in the Mail's story, which has been picked up by other British newspapers, including the Mirror, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph.

The original story was published on December 6 on Royal Central, a British-based website that reports on the daily activities of the British royal family.  The site's authority continues to grow as most of the British media have largely stopped reporting on the day to day activities of the Queen and her family, concentrating on Kate Middleton (The Mirror has yet to catch on that Kate has been married for several years now and is now known as HRH The Duchess of Cambridge) and her what she wears.  There is also a lot of cooing over the ever adorable Prince George of Cambridge (which means less press attention for Lupo).

The Mail is guilty of non-stop snark about the Middletons.   The Mail's editors and reporters won't up be upfront about the negative reporting about Catherine's parents and siblings, but I will say that the paper does not play fair.  The paper is run by a bunch ersatz snobs, and they cannot appreciate the fact that the Middletons are self-made millionaires.  Michael and Carole worked hard to create their Party Pieces business.  Party Pieces is a great success, allowing the family to send their children to the best schools and universities. 

But they have no titles.  They are not aristocrats.   The Mail went all giddy when Prince Harry was dating Cressida Bonas's whose mother, Lady Mary-Gaye, is the daughter of an earl.    It didn't matter to the Mail that Lady Mary-Gaye has been married and divorced four times, and the Middletons are a happily married couple.  

The Duke of Cambridge's mother, Diana, was the daughter of an earl.  Her parents were divorced when she was a young child.  Unlike Catherine Middleton,  Diana did not have the benefit of growing up in a stable home.  A big house, yes, but not a two-parent home.   When her sons were spending Christmas Day with their father and grandparents at Sandringham, Diana remained at Kensington Palace, alone, playing the martyr, seeking pity for her "desperate" situation.    She did have her own family: two sisters, a mother, a brother in South Africa, but none of them appears to have extended invitations to come and join them for Christmas dinner.   If invitations for a turkey dinner and all the trimmings were issued, Diana seemed to eschew them all, preferring beans on toast and the star at her own pity party.

It is no wonder that William enjoys the robust family life that the Middletons offer.  Stability, honesty, and loving parents.  The Queen understands this, and, made sure that the Middletons were invited to attend Christmas Day services.   (The Countess of Wessex also grew up in a two parent middle class family.  The Queen has also included Christopher Rhys-Jones in royal events, including riding in the carriage with her at Ascot.)

I have digressed. Back to the reason for this post: the shameful stealing of Royal Central's exclusive story without the acknowledgement of the original source.  Although Royal Central's Deputy Editor, Chloe Howard is quoted near the end of the article,  the two reporters neglected to mention the original source.   According to the original article's writer, Martin, the reporters did "contact us for the facts," and promised to provide credit, when the Mail's article was published.    Promise not kept. For true journalists, this lack of credit is considered to be unethical.

Another British newspaper, The Independent,  also has a story about the guard situation.  Although the article does not mention Royal Central by name,  the reporter did include a link to Royal Central's original story.

Without Royal Central's exclusive piece three weeks ago,  it is unlikely that the Mail would have reported on the change to the placement of the palaces' guards.   More likely, the paper would have run yet another factually inaccurate and negative story about the Middletons.

I hope to see more exclusives from Royal Central.

Friday, December 26, 2014

latest issue of European History Journal

I wrote the cover story - the wedding of King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie  (on the occasion of their 50th anniversary).

The issue to follow will include an article I wrote in the 100th anniversary of the death of Prince Maurice of Battenberg. 

On the agenda for European Royal History Journal for 2015:   Princess Augusta of Cambridge (Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz),  Princess Frederica of Hannover (daughter of Georg V),  the Spanish royal weddings in 1935,  the death of Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg) and one other.  (Six issues a year.)

Danish & Greek Royal Families celebrate at Fredensborg

@Steen Brogaard
Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince Consort and their family assembled by the Christmas tree in The Great Hall at Fredensborg Palace on Christmas Day.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Attending a royal funeral: the final goodbye to Queen Fabiola of Belgium

Queen Fabiola's Funeral by Arjan Bower
In 1993, King Baudouin of the Belgians died unexpectedly during his holiday in Spain. I remember it vividly: I was 12 years old at that time and it made a huge impression on me. There was a huge outpouring of emotions from the Belgian people and his funeral was an impressive event, attended by many heads of state from all over the world, including Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. For me, it marked the beginning of a fascination for royalty that lasts until this day.

 More than 21 years later, King Baudouin's widow, Queen Fabiola died on December 5, 2014, at the age of 86. The funeral would take place a week later, on December 12, in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula in Brussels.

A few days after the Queen's death, I read that 200 seats in the Cathedral would be available for members of the general public. Those interested could send an email with some personal information. I live in the Netherlands (not even a two hour ride by car from Brussels) and I would be free on the day of the funeral: I decided to apply for an invitation. I didn't expect too much of it: I figured many people (5000, as I heard later) would try to attend and most inportant: I'm Dutch and I expected that only Belgians would be allowed to attend.

I almost forgot about it, when on Thursday December 11 (a day before the funeral) I received an email with a pdf-file containing an invitation for the funeral!


I was flabbergasted. I had never expected this! That afternoon, I was busy sorting out my outfit and making travel arrangements.

The day of the funeral, I got in my car at 6 a.m.,  to drive to Brussels. It was very bad weather.  There was a storm. and after two hours, I arrived on the outskirts of Brussels. I parked my car, took the subway and half an hour later, I was at the Cathedral. A police officer looked at my invitation and my ID and everything was okay. I was amazed that security measures didn't seem tight: I wasn't extensively searched or whatsoever. Before I knew it, I walked on the main stairs of the Cathedral. I almost felt royal myself!

Inside the Cathedral, I could take a seat in one of the last rows of the Cathedral. I had a good seat: fourth seat from the aisle, about the seventh row from the back. Not bad. It would take another hour before the service would begin, but I knew that it would be a great hour, watching many high guests arrive.

During that hour, I could see many guests arrive. I saw Archduchess Yolande of Austria arrive with her son Rudolf. I also saw Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia walking by very quickly, with huge steps. He seemed to be in a hurry. I also recognized the Duke of Braganca, Princess Isabelle of Liechtenstein and the Duke and Duchess of Castro walking by. Meanwhile, I saw on the TV screens that King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain and Empress Farah of Iran were already inside. I was surprised: I would have expected Juan Carlos and Sofía to arrive later, more in line with the order of precedence. Later it would appear that this was only one of the strange things concerning protocol and precedence that day.

Many descendants of the late Queen's sister-in-law, the late Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, attended the funeral. Besides all of her children and their spouses, I also saw the children of Princess Margaretha and Prince Guillaume. Later, it appeared that also some children of Prince Jean attended, but I failed to recognize them. Of course, also Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie attended.

After that, the highest ranking foreign royal guests arrived. Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the King of Norway with his sister Princess Astrid, the King and Queen of Sweden, the Empress of Japan and the Queen of Denmark. It was nice to see that the congregation stood up when a high guest arrived: a huge difference with the Netherlands, where everybody remains seated (f.e. the Inauguration of King Willem-Alexander). Very respectful. I even saw some curtseys here and there. When the Empress of Japan arrived, everyone seemed very impressed by her quiet, regal presence.

 As you can see, I took some pictures. I was in doubt whether it was the appropriate thing to do. Many people made pictures with their cell phones and in the end, I decided to take some pictures myself as well. Maybe I shouldn't have done so, but as this was such a unique experience for me, I couldn't resist myself.

 Then, the casket containing the remains of  late Queen arrived, followed by the members of the Royal Family. Very impressive.

Then the service began. I'm not religious, but I think some beautiful texts were being read and the soprano sang beautifully. I was most impressed by the Spanish choir, that was joined by the Marchioness of Ahumada, one of Queen Fabiola's nieces. The acoustics on the Cathedral made it even more memorable. Beautiful.

 Turned out I seemed to be the only non-Catholic of the 'normal citizens' attending (not that surprising of course), because when everybody could take Communion, I was the only one who didn't take it.

 After a 2-hour service, the coffin, the Royal Family and the extended family of Queen Fabiola left the Cathedral.

King Philippe, Queen Mathilde and King Albert II.

Left to right: Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg, Princess Margaretha and Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein and Princess Alexander of Belgium.

Next to Prince Guillaume: his wife, Princess Sibilla.

After the family had left, I expected that the next to leave would be the highest ranking royal guests, as protocol prescribes. I didn´t expect to be able to leave the Cathedral for the next 30 minutes or so. Not that I cared: it would be nice to see all the royals walking by. But to my surprise, an official made clear that we were all allowed to go. Everybody stood up and I walked to the door. I was very surprised. I walked outside and everybody could stand on the steps, while the car with the coffin and the cars of the family still hadn't left.

The logistics were all a bit chaotic. I walked off the stairs and I was that the Luxembourgish siblings (Marie-Astrid, Margaretha, Jean and Guillaume) and their spouses all had to wait in the pouring rain for their cars to arrive. They all hid under an umbrella. I could hear them laugh about it and I could make some nice pictures of them.

When their bus arrived, I could see Princesses Margaretha and Sibilla walking to the bus while holding each other. They seem close.

I walked back to the Cathedral and was on the stairs again. It still seemed very strange: I had already left my seat, while the senior royals still seemed to be inside. It became stranger when I saw Grand Duke George walking off the stairs: so he was allowed to leave before the Kings and Queens? Or had those royals already left through another door? Questions, questions.

Grand Duke George of Russia

Then I saw the Empress of Japan coming out of the Cathedral. So it became clear to me that the senior royals hadn't left from another exit, but were still in the Cathedral.

I looked up and it seemed like it was allowed to go back inside the Cathedral once you had left. Since I figured many royals were still inside, I decided to go back inside as well. Good decision. I walked inside and I almost bumped into the Duke of Castro, who was on the telephone. Some moments later, I saw a woman with a very familiar face standing very close to me: it was Empress Farah. Very strange! When she was a bit further away, I took some pictures of her.

I saw on the TV screens that the highest ranking guests were still in their seats, as I already thought they would be. I decided to stay were I was: near the aisle, close to the door, so I could have a good view of the leaving royals.

King Harald V and Princess Astrid of Norway (I love the look on Empress Farah's face)

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

Prince Hans Adam of Liechtenstein

When the most senior royals had left, I saw that many family members and other guests were still in their seats in the front of the Cathedral. As everybody was allowed to move freely, I decided to walk to the front. On the way, I saw the Duke and Duchess of Castro chatting with Archduke Simeon and Archduchess Maria of Austria. Then Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand approached me, surrounded by some entourage. Someone helped her put on her coat. I also saw the Duke and Duchess of Angoulême. All those people were standing very nearby, so it felt very inappropriate to make pictures. I couldn't stop being surprised by the fact that I could just walk there.

 When I got to the front of the church, I saw many younger members of the extended family still being there, together with old Archduchess Yolande.

By then, it was time for me to leave. My head was full of all the impressions of that morning. I think this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was huge honour to be invited and I'm very grateful to the Belgian authorities. I'm also grateful to them that the protocol was a bit of a chaos: thanks to that, I could come closer to so many royals than I could have ever thought.


If you're on Twitter, make sure you follow me: @houseoflemon.

 Thanks to Marlene Koenig for asking me to write something about my experiences. It was my pleasure!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Postcards for my collection

Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria

The eldest two children of Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia. 

Prince Adolf  II (1883-1936)  Last ruler of Schaumburg Lippe

Prince Wilhelm and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, eldest sons of Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia.  The woman behind the two boys may be their nanny, Lillian Brimble,  She appears to be holding the hand of the third son, Hubertus

Viktoria Luise with her two sons and daughter, Friederike

Monica of Saxony,  daughter of Friedrich August III of Saxony and Archduchess Louisa of Austria

Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hannover, son of Ernst August and Thyra (Duke and Duchess of Cumberland)