Friday, December 13, 2019

King Albert's appeal rejected

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Baptism of the heir to Isenburg

@Fürst von Isenburgische Rentkammer

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

The Hereditary Prince was born on August 8.

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

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

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

Monday, December 9, 2019

Queen Marie of Romania film now available for rental

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

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

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

@Abis films

Friday, December 6, 2019

Baby for Guillaume and Stephanie

© Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The couple have moved in  Schloss Fischbach.

all five photos © Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Philip's mother, Princess Andrew dead at 84

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December 5, 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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

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

Queen Mathilde is the first Belgian-born Queen consort.

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

@Belgian Royal House

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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

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 December 3, 1939

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(The best biography of Princess Louise.)

Monday, December 2, 2019

Belgian Mail Call

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

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

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

Cyber Monday True Royalty

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

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

Quoted --

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

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

and an article I wrote for History Extra