Friday, April 9, 2021

Prince Philip: An Appreciation


all photos  Marlene A Eilers Koenig

There will be many articles in the days to come examining the life of the late HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  He was the longest ever consort of an English or British sovereign.  He was a descendant of Queen Victoria as is his widow -- I hate writing this word -- Queen Elizabeth II.   They were married for 73 years.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I covered royal visits to the US for a British magazine, Berkswell's The Royal Year.  Prince Philip visited the US on numerous occasions and it was a delight to write about his visits -- and to take photos as well, although I did not have a fancy camera at that time.

My mom thought he was so handsome when he was young.  She was right.  He was dishy.

The late Duke of Edinburgh was aware of my research into the descendants of Queen Victoria, which led to three books, all titled Queen Victoria's Descendants.    His Private Secretary at the time was always able to get the answers to questions that I posed to the Prince. 

Hatchards, the Piccadilly bookstore, is one of my favorite places to visit in London.  During one visit,  the store's manager came over to me and said that Prince Philip had recently ordered several copies of my book to give as gifts.

Well, that made my day.

In May 1991, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  I was at the White House for their arrival -- and yes this was the event of the Talking Hat.   I am short so I managed to get a photo of the Queen's face, and not merely her hat.

An off-the-record press reception was held at a local hotel in Washington, D.C., hotel.  No photos, but one hoped one would get presented.  

I was presented to the Queen first.  It's true. you do not remember what the conversation was about.  I did curtsey and she shook my hand.

A deep breath and then scanned the room for Prince Philip.  Once spotted I made my way to where the Prince was chatting.  I was in the line - and then, there he was standing in front of me.  

One of the British Embassy officials introduced me to HRH.  I curtseyed.  We chatted a bit and I said rather casually: "I correspond with your sister, Princess Sophie."

Prince Philip responded:  "Yes, she warned me about you."  It was said with humor as he was familiar with my work.  He shook my hand before turning to the next person in line.

A day or two later,  I received a letter from Princess Sophie, which was written on Windsor Castle stationary.  I had written to her some weeks earlier with a few questions and the news that I would be covering the state visit and received invitations to the press reception and the Garden Party at the British Embassy (where I ran into a friend, Crown Prince Alexander, and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine.  I was standing next to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess when the Queen walked by. She stopped immediately to greet her godson (they kissed each other on the cheek) and, much to my delight, the Crown Prince called the Queen  'Lilibet'.

Princess Sophie answered my questions and added that she had told the Queen and Prince Philip that I would be at the reception.

So Philip did know who I was.  Nearly 30 years later,  the meeting between HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh still brings a smile to my face.

Washington, DC Congressional Award  1996

Washington National Cathedral

Conserving our Heritage seminar at National Cathedral, May 1990

Planting a tree at the National Cathedral in May 1990. Spade was first used in 1919 by the Prince of Wales (Duke of Windsor)

State visit May 1991

NYC 1980s

June 1991

Diamond Jubilee  Flotilla  2012

St Paul's  2016

Garden Party at British Ambassador's residence  1991

Garden Party

Congress  1991  

Who succeeds as Duke of Edinburgh

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and it is not the HRH The Earl of Wessex.  This is made clear in King George VI's Letters Patent.  The peerage was created for Philip and "the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten."

The Prince of Wales has succeeded his father as the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.  The Heir Apparent to this dukedom is HRH The Duke of Cambridge.  The succession for the dukedom is as follows: HRH The Duke of Cambridge, HRH Prince George of Cambridge, HRH Prince Louis of Cambridge, HRH The Duke of Sussex,  Archie Mountbatten-Windsor,  HRH The Duke of York, HRH The Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn.

Here is the announcement about Edward's titles.  Please note the use of the word given and "eventually reverts to the Crown." Philip's titles have not reverted to the Crown because he has male heirs.  The peerages will revert to the Crown when Charles becomes King.   Once Charles is king, he will create a new dukedom of Edinburgh for his youngest brother.

The Palace has reiterated this statement on numerous occasions since June 1999.  

Today, the College of Arms statement on the death of the Duke of Edinburgh included this paragraph:

"The Titles of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The Duke of Edinburgh was granted the style and title of Royal Highness on 19 November 1947; on the next day, 20 November, he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, of Greenwich in the County of London. These peerages are hereditary and on the death of His Royal Highness have passed to his eldest son, HRH The Prince of Wales. In the event of the Prince of Wales or any subsequent holder of these titles succeeding to the Crown, these titles and all others held will merge with the Crown."

 I highlighted the most important sentence.  

Arrangements for Philip's death


HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021)


HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, June 1989  NYC  @Marlene A Eilers Koenig

"It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle."

HRH The Prince of Wales succeeds at the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.  His younger brother, HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Earl of Forfar, will be created as a new Duke of Edinburgh after his father's peerages revert to the Crown when Charles succeeds.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Death of HSH Prince Reinhard Georg of Bentheim und Steinfurt

 HSH Prince Reinhard Georg of Bentheim- und Steinfurt was  second child  and eldest son of HSH Viktor Adolf, Prince of Bentheim und Steinfurt (1883-1961) and his second wife HSH  Princess Rosa Helene  zu Solms-Hohensolms-Lich (1901-1963)

Viktor Adolf was succeeded by his second son, Christian, as Prince of Bentheim und Steinfurt as his eldest son, Hereditary Prince Alexis,  a German fighter pilot, was killed over the Mediterranean on December 2, 1943.   Prince Christian and his wife, Countess Sylvia von Pückler have two adopted daughters.    These two sons were the children of Viktor Adolf's first wife, Princess Stephanie of Schaumburg-Lippe who died in childbirth.

In the late 1980s, Christian adopted Reinhard Georg's eldest son, Prince Carl Ferdinand, now the Hereditary Prince, who lives with his wife, Elna-Margret, and their two children at Schloss Bentheim. 

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Prince Louis of Luxembourg engaged


The Grand Ducal Palace announced today the engagement of HRH Prince Louis of Luxembourg is engaged to marry Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue.

Miss Sirgue is the daughter of Pierre Sirgue and Scarlette Berrebi.  She was born in Bordeaux on August 8, 1991.  She is a lawyer based in Paris.  Scarlett-Lauren's mother died l

all three photos: @Private collection.

'We are happy to announce the engagement of our son, Prince Louis, to Miss Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue.

'Princes Gabriel and Noah join us in surrounding the new couple with all our affection. We wish them immense happiness.'

Miss Sirgue is a lawyer.  She works for her parents' law firm, Berrebi and Sirgue, where she specializes in Victims' Law.  Prince Louis, 34, is a mediator at this law firm.

This will be Prince Louis' second marriage.  His first marriage in September 2006 to Tessy Antony ended in divorce in 2019.  They have two sons, Prince Gabriel (2006) and Prince Noah (2007).    

He renounced his right of succession (and his descendants) shortly before he married Miss Antony.

The former Princess Tessy announced her engagement to Swiss businessman Frank Floessel on New Year's Eve. They are expecting a child in the next few months.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Lovely new photos of Charles and the Queen

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Buckingham Palace and Clarence House have released two new photos of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, taken by Chris Jackson.  These two socially distant photos were taken in the garden of Frogmore House.

The photos were released in honor of Easter.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Mail Call


I cannot believe Maria-Stella has had her First Communion - the same day as the baptism of her little sister, Cecilia,   What a sweet memory.

Crown Prince Wilhelm ready to be king

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 March 31, 1946

Crown Prince Wilhelm, the heir to the Hohenzollern dynasty, says he is ready to "serve his fatherland if Germany ever wants a king," reports the Associated Press.

The 65-year-old eldest son of the late Kaiser Wilhelm II, who died in exile in 1941, said: "The best political system in the world is the English Parliament, with a constitutional monarchy. If that were adopted for Germany, it would mean the restoration of the House of Hohenzollern."

The reporter responded: "You mean the restoration of your oldest living son, Louis Ferdinand?"

The former Crown prince offered a gentle correction: "Myself or my son."

He has forsaken his 180-room castle for a "plebian, but snug villa" in Hechingen. Wilhelm "laughed lightly" when the reporter mentioned that a monarchical party had already been launched in Bavaria with support for Crown Prince Rupprecht.

"Oh, that," Wilhelm said.  "Rupprecht is a very decent man.  A lot of people believe in him."

A week ago, the former Crown Prince met with Dr. James K Pollock, a professor at the University of Michigan, who is the number 2 political advisor to the American Military Government in Germany.   Pollock reported what was said in the interview to Lt. Gen Lucius Clay, deputy U.S. commander in Germany,  Robert Murphy, the US Ambassador, and the State Department.   Pollock's report has not been published,

Wilhelm and AP's correspondent discussed the political situation within Germany.  

"The Germans at the moment do not know their own mind.  They talk of democracy, and of course, that is a bad joke.  For the moment I am keeping quiet in the background.  No visits from the German political leaders, who seem to talk so much eyewash these days."

He is not keen on the Russians.  "These ghastly Russians are sitting on my property in Eastern Germany.  My castle on a hill here is not productive -- most of the rooms are not even furnished, and it took so much fuel to heat a few that I moved into town to be sure of having a hot bath at least once a fortnight.

He also used the word ghastly to describe German beer and German divisions. "Beer is ghastly -- fit only for plants.   

"It is ghastly for Germany to be so divided as she is.  One occupation power would have been much better than four, and Germany must always be united, Germany cannot live without the Ruhr.

"The Russians have become such imperialists...I am glad you have an atomic bomb in your trousers."   

Wilhelm admitted to the reporter that he missed "his horses and golf a great deal" after he had to leave Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam toward the end of the war.    He added that he recently completed his memoirs:

"Yes, I have been writing.  It is called 'Thirty-Five years of German History, 1910-1945.  It is my effort to see the problem as a whole."

The reporter asked if he could see the manuscript.  Wilhelm produced a Manila folder that the reporter described as a "terse effort. Thirty-five years have been wrapped into 37 pages."

Carol asks to be crowned without Helen

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 March 31, 1931

King Carol II of Romania has expressed the wish to be crowned as King of Romania without Princess Helen, reports the Associated Press.

After renouncing his rights to the throne and living in exile for five years, Carol returned to Romania last June 6.  He was proclaimed king a month later.  His young son, Michael, who had succeeded King Ferdinand in 1927 was demoted to Crown Prince.  

Carol had proclaimed Helen as his queen but she has refused to consent to his request for an annulment of their divorce.  

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Victoria Romanovna Bettarini chooses her wedding tiara


All photos by Photos by David Niviere  for Point de Vue

Victoria Romanovna Bettarini will be wearing a Chaumet tiara for her October wedding in St. Petersburg.

She will marry HIH Grand Duke George Mikhailovich on October 1, 2021, at St Isaac's Cathedral.    Victoria Romanovna has kindly allowed me to use her interview with the French magazine, Point de Vue, and the photographs.   The interview was translated into English.

How did you choose your tiara?

Stephane Berne and the CEO of Chaumet, Jean-Marc Mansvelt, welcomed me to this extraordinary Hôtel Particulier at 12 place Vendôme, and from there we talked a lot about what I hoped this tiara would symbolize for Russia, for France, and for Europe. I wanted to be able to wear a tiara on this day that had deep historical significance. This was why I chose to pay tribute not only to Russia but also to the jewelry from a house with 240 years of history such as Chaumet. The choice was very fast, I immediately found exactly what I was looking for.

Which type of tiara attracted you?

I chose a breathtaking tiara -- because it balances lightness in construction with the extraordinary stones, it is both classic and contemporary, sumptuous and simple. It suits the wedding dress perfectly and reflects my own personality very well.

Why did you choose Chaumet?

Maison Chaumet created many masterpieces for the Russian Imperial House [in the past]. In particular, George's great-great-grandmother [Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna) one of the house's most important clients by 1899. The “Waterfall” tiara that the house created for her remains today a mythical and extraordinary piece, which unfortunately disappeared during the revolution. It must also be remembered that Chaumet created a sensation during The Red Cross Exhibition of 1901 in Saint Petersburg, following which [Joseph] Chaumet was decorated with the Imperial Order of Saint Anna.

Why this particular one?

The choice was hard because they had majestic tiaras. But I wanted to choose a tiara that had never been worn, and which would be both a tribute to Russian culture, as well as a tribute to the firm’s fine jewelry. This is why I wanted to choose a tiara created with the "fil couteau” or “knife-edge" technique, which is one of the specialties of Maison Chaumet. In its form, the tiara pays homage not only to a Russian kokoshnik [the traditional form for Russian tiaras], but also its shape is inspired by ships’ sails, and for me, this seemed like an homage not only to George’s Great-grandfather [the grand duke Kyrill] who was chief of Naval staff but also to the City of Saint Petersburg.

What does Grand Duke George think of it?

He thinks it is just perfect in its symbolism, but also that it looks great on me.

Did you choose it together?

No, because that same day the Grand Duke was participating in an official engagement at the French Senate for a ceremony as part of the bicentenary of the Emperor Napoleon.

What does it mean to you?

I think it is important to pay tribute to the history of Russia, a great European empire that over the centuries has repeatedly helped determine the fate of Europe and the world. This cultural exchange, with links between Russia, France, and Europe is part of a long historical tradition.

How did you feel when you tried it on for the first time?

I immediately felt that it was the right choice, and it made me realize that the finesse of this wonderful knowledge and craftsmanship is the result of a passion and mastery of the art  [of jewelry making] over generations.

What were the reactions to the announcement of your engagement?

It is very touching to see the interest aroused by the announcement of our upcoming marriage, which will be the first marriage of the son of the head of the Imperial House in St Petersburg since before the revolution.

How are you going to occupy the months leading up to your wedding scheduled for October 1 in St. Petersburg?

The organization of this wedding is already consuming us, we are prepared for a lot of work, we have a lot of choices and decisions to be made, and a lot of protocol work awaits us! Fortunately, we can count on the help of the Chancellery as well as the support of the Russian authorities for the organization.

What style of wedding are you hoping for?

It will be an Orthodox wedding in the finest traditions of both Russia and the Imperial Family.

Have you imagined your future dress?

I found that finding the dress was not as easy as I thought it was!  After a long search, I found what I was looking for. A dress that is imposing but soft, with a contemporary fabric but a very classic style.  A dress that will stand out from others, but very traditional at the same time.

What would you like for the reception?

The reception will take place in a historic palace in Saint Petersburg. We hope to be able to open many of the most beautiful palaces in the city to show our guests the grandeur and beauty of the “Venice of the North”, imagined by Peter the Great and which is still so beautiful and symbolic today.

Thank you Victoria Romanova for allowing me to publish your interview withPoint de Vue and to use the stunning photos as well, which were taken by David Niviere

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

It is a boy for Zara and Mike

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Zara Tindall gave birth to her third child, a son, on March 21.  The baby was born on the bathroom floor at the Tindalls' home on the Gatcombe Park estate in Minchinhampton.

In his podcast, The Good, Bad, and the Rugby, Mike Tindall announced that Zara gave birth on the bathroom floor of their home.  Lucas Philip Tindall was born around 6 p.m,, "arriving very quickly," according to the happy father.   

"A little baby boy has arrived at our house."

He added: "it was running to the gym, get a mat, get into the bathroom, get the mat on the floor, towels down, brace, brace, brace."   The midwife was going to meet the couple at the hospital but headed straight to Gatcombe when she got the call that Zara was in advanced labor.  A second midwife arrived just "as the head arrived."

Lucas weighed 8lb. 4ozs.  Mother and baby are doing fine.

Lucas is the fifth grandchild and first grandson of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips.

Shortly after Mike's podcast, Buckingham Palace released a statement: "The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted with the news and look forward to meeting their 10th Great Grandchild when circumstances allow."

Mike Tindall told reporters told CNN that his wife "was a warrior, as always, they always are.  We can never judge a woman in terms of what they go have to go through at childbirth."

Zara's close friend Dolly Maude was at their home and "recognized that we wouldn't have got to the hospital in time,.

The couple's two daughters, Mia, 7, and 2-year-old Lena, were not at home when Zara gave birth.   Tindall told People magazine that his wife had "contractions through the night -- she hadn't slept well the night before so we had someone take the kids for the day."

Lucas's middle name honors Zara's 99-year-old grandfather, Prince Philip, and Mike's father, Philip Tindall.

Mike said he has already introduced his son to sports.  "The best thing about being at home ... was as soon as he was wrapped up, it was skin on skin, TV room, golf on.  This is what me and you are doing!"

Lucas is currently 22nd in line to the throne.  he will move down a notch after the Duchess of Sussex gives birth to her second child, a daughter, sometime this summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Suspended sentence for Ernst August

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In a Wels, Austria courtroom, Judge Teresa Bergthaler asked Prince Ernst August of Hanover to temporarily remove his mask so she could see his facial expressions, reports Focus, an Austrian newspaper.   As titles have been forbidden in Austria since 1919, she addressed Ernst August as Herr Hannover.

At the start of the trial, Ernst August offered an apology. "I take responsibility, I deeply regret what happened and I am ready to pay for the damage."

The trial lasted nearly seven hours as ten witnesses were called to the stand.   Prince Ernst August received ten months probation for his verbal and physical attacks on police officers while he was drunk.   The judge reassured him that he would not be going to jail.

The prosecution did not make a statement.   Ernst August's lawyers wanted an acquittal.   The judgment is not final. 

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The Prince left the courtroom after the verdict, as a former cancer patient, he has a "justified fear" of Covid-19.

twenty seats in the courtroom were reserved for the media, most of whom came from Germany.  The prosecution dismissed the defense's claim that there was "prejudice" in the press coverage, stating that the investigations were carried out with complete objectivity.

Ernst August's problems began in the summer of 2020, when he made an emergency call to the police, claiming he was ill and felt threatened.  The police arrived and were witnesses to his aggressive behavior against the couple who was in charge of his housekeeping.  The heavily intoxicated Ernst August then turned his anger on the police.

According to the witnesses, Ernst August hit one police officer in the face and then tried to attack another officer with a knife which was knocked out of his hands.  He also made death threats against several of the officers, saying he would send mercenaries to kill them and their families.

Further threats were made when the police tried to enforce the gun ban and take away his guns.  Several weeks later, he threatened a female police officer with a baseball bat.  The officer, a single mother, feared for her safety and the safety of her children.  

"I have never had anything to do with a party that threatened me with death so often." referring to numerous calls that the prince made to the police station.

The defense made several references to the prince's apology.  His lawyer emphasized that Ernst August was in an "exceptional situation" because he had undergone an operation for cancer and his conflict with his elder son.   "He felt abandoned," claimed his lawyers.

Although some may see the suspended sentence as a slap on the wrist, the judge also banned Prince Ernst August from living in his Auerbach, near Grünau home for the next three years.  He is also banned from visiting other buildings that belong to the Herzog von Cumberland Foundation, nor can he have contact with the administrators of these buildings.  He also cannot have alcohol and must under psychotherapy.

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Prince Ernst August called the judge's decision "impossible and unthinkable."  He has resided in the former hunting lodge for over 50 years.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Ernst August faces three years in jail

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March 21, 2021

Prince Ernst August of Hanover is scheduled to appear in court for trial in Wels, Austria, this week.  He could be sentenced to three years in jail.

The 67-year-old prince is accused of negligence, "by putting himself in a state of insanity with alcohol and medication," reports the Nachrichten, an Austrian newspaper.  He allegedly attacked a police officer and threatened another office and several employees.  If he had not been under the influence of alcohol and drugs, he would have been charged with "resisting state authority, grievous bodily harm, dangerous threats, property damage, and coercion."

During the evening of July 15, police were called to Ernst August's hunting lodge in Grünau, where he became violent and attacked a police officer.  

The public prosecutor's office states that one of the major issues is the enforcement of a provisional gun and the need to have Ernst August committed.   The prince, according to one of the original news reports, made the call to the police because he felt threatened by his housekeeping couple.   Medical officials recommended that he be reprimanded to a hospital for further treatment.

Ernst August claimed that he had been beaten by police officers.  His complaints again the police force and the provisional gun ban are "pending at the Regional Administrative Courts of Upper Austria."

Five days after the first attack, Ernst August faced more charges when he was accused of threatening a policewoman with a baseball bat.   He took a taxi to the local police station to report the police violence.  As the officers who were named in his complaint were not at the station when he arrived, the prince left "without achieving anything."  

 He was on his way home when he met with two policewomen and spoke to them from the taxi.   According to the police report,  Ernst August made verbal violent threats against one of the policewomen.  He had brought a baseball bat with him, and it was lying on the floor of the taxi next to him.

A third complaint was filed against Prince Ernst August on September 7.  He was said to have broken a window in a house that belonged to a member of the Herzog von Cumberland foundation.  The complaint also noted that Ernst August allegedly tried to force the couple and their daughter from the building.

He was arrested for this incident and jailed for two days.

His lawyer, Malte Berlin, complains that Ernst August, who is "exposed to massive media prejudice" will not receive a fair trial.  Berlin said that Ernst August does not "personally want to contribute."

The German celebrity magazine Bunte has speculated that Ernst August's defense strategy will claim that he obtained the alcohol from the housekeeping couple although they knew he was not permitted to consume it.

More than ten witnesses and a psychiatric expert will be called into the trial.  The trial will be postponed if Ernst August does not appear. He does not have to answer the judge's questions about his income, assets, and debts, but should he be sentenced to a fine, the court will make inquiries into his financial situation.

The court has received a number of media requests from the German press.  Due to COVID-19,  there will be a limited number of people allowed into the court so the journalists must register in advance.  Their cell phones and laptops will not be allowed in the courtroom to avoid live updates.;art4,3368329