Friday, June 18, 2021

Frederica of Hanover: A Passionate & Obstinate Princess

King Georg Vm Queen Marie, Crown Prince Ernst August,  Princess Friederike, and Princess Mary

The messenger arrived in London on the night of January 13, 1848,  having traveled four days from Hanover to bring word to Queen Victoria that the wife of her first cousin, the Crown Prince of Hanover, had given birth to her second child, a daughter.   The new princess, born on January 9,  was named Friederike Sophia Maria Henrietta Amelia Theresa, in honor of her paternal grandmother, Queen Friederike. She is better known by the English spelling of her name – Frederica – as she spent most of her life as a British, rather than a Hanoverian, princess.   

In 1714,  Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover, succeeded his kinswoman, Queen Anne, as King of Great Britain.  The two countries were joined in a personal union (Hanover became a kingdom in 1814), with one sovereign on both thrones, but the two countries were never united.  This changed in 1837 when William IV died.   His niece, Victoria, succeeded to the British throne, but due to Salic law (males only) in Hanover, William’s brother, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, became King Ernst August of  Hanover.   

Ernst August, the fifth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte, accompanied by his wife, Frederica, and their only son, George, newly styled as  Crown Prince Georg, moved to Hanover.   Victoria’s accession to the British throne changed the dynamics of the succession, and the Hanoverians became a collateral branch in the line of succession.   In an attempt to keep the two thrones in the same line, Ernst August had hoped that his son would marry Queen Victoria.  It was not meant to be as she loved another first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and they were wed in February 1840.   Three years later Georg married Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, eldest daughter of the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg.  Their first child, Ernst August, was born in September 1845, followed by Frederica, in 1848, and Marie, who was born in December 1849.

King Ernst August died on November 18, 1851, and his only son succeeded to the throne as   King Georg V of Hanover.  He also succeeded to his father’s British titles: Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and Earl of Armagh.  

King George and his family returned to England for the baptism of Victoria and Albert's eighth child Prince Leopold, which took place on June 29, 1853, as the king was one of the young prince's godparents.   The King and Queen and their three young children arrived on the evening of June 17 at the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich from Ostend, Belgium.   It must have been exciting for the five-year-old Princess Frederica to travel by carriage to Ostend, where she and her family boarded a ship for the Channel crossing to England.

King Georg V

Queen Marie

The royal guests were welcomed at the dock by the king’s first cousin, the Duke of Cambridge.  Frederica and her older brother, Crown Prince Ernst August, got into the second carriage behind their parents and younger sister, Marie.    En route to London, the carriage procession stopped in Greenwich, where the royal party was met by the Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, and the Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Princess Augusta of Cambridge.)   

The carriage procession arrived at Hanover Legation at Grosvenor Place at 7:00 p.m.   King Georg and Queen Marie “retired for a few moments” before getting into another carriage to visit the Queen and Prince Albert.  The British sovereign and her husband had already received word of the Hanoverians’ arrival, and were already on the road toward the Legation, “hastening to their illustrious relatives.”

Victoria and Albert spent about thirty minutes with the king and queen at the Legation.  The Times does not record if King Georg introduced his three children to Victoria.   It was already late in the evening, and the three young royal children were more likely having baths and being put to bed.

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, then only 19, wrote  in her diary of the various meetings with the “Hanoverians.”  On June 24, Princess Mary Adelaide accompanied Queen Marie and her children to the Zoological Gardens.  The following day a special dinner and entertainment were held at Gloucester House in honor of the Hanoverian children, whose playmates included several of Victoria’s children and Hereditary Prince Adolphus of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the son of Princess Augusta of Cambridge, who was six months younger than Princess Frederica.     

On June 25, the king and queen and their children visited the Parliament and Westminster Abbey before returning to the Legation, where the King received the Duke of Nemours and the Duke of Cambridge

The baptism took place on June 28 at the chapel in Buckingham Palace.  When the Archbishop of Canterbury asked for the names of the infant prince, King Georg announced in a “clear, sonorous voice,” Leopold George Duncan Albert.  The other godparents were Princess Mary Adelaide, the Princess of Prussia, and Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.   The Hanover children were not present at the baptism, but they and their British and Mecklenburg cousins, “appeared before the banquet” and were presented to the guests.

After all the celebrations for the baptism and for dinners and balls in their honor, the King and Queen of Hanover and their children left for Hanover on July 4, returning to Woolwich to board a ship for Ostend.   More than twenty years would pass before Princess Frederica, determined to take control of her life, made the decision to move to England.

As the elder daughter of the King of Hanover, Frederica was not without suitors.  In April 1862, Queen Victoria wrote to her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia that she thought "the Hanoverian" would be a good match for her second son, Affie, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.  When the possibility of such a marriage was broached again two years later, Victoria had changed her opinion of Princess Frederica.  In a letter to her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, the queen wrote:   "Affie's sudden predilection for the Princess of H has startled me!  That I would fear to be a doubtful thing."

Vicky concurred:  "It was quite a surprise to see that Affie seemed struck with the elder Princess of Hanover - which he certainly did. Whether or not she would do for him I cannot presume to give an opinion upon.  She is said to be grown into a fine girl and to be very good-natured -but I have never heard more.  I should not think the impression could be very deep - the visit lasted so short a time, but he certainly seemed pleased with her."

Queen Victoria was concerned with “Affie’s affairs,” but “Hanover is out of the question on the score of health alone – and good Sir James has positively declared this.  Three generations of blindness and double relationships which, if you will reflect on, you will see there are – viz. the late Queen was a first cousin to the late King of H. and the present Queen is her great-niece – and Fritz of Strelitz (also blind) is the first cousin of George of H. I have said to Affie positively it cannot be.”

Embed from Getty Images

[The late Queen was Princess Friederike (Frederica) of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a  niece of Queen Charlotte, consort of George III.  Frederica had married as her third husband, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, and they had one son, Prince George of Cumberland, born three days after his first cousin, Victoria.  He lost sight in one eye in 1828, following an accident, and became totally blind in 1833.   Fritz was Grand Duke Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.  He was the nephew of Queen Frederica and married to Princess Augusta of Cambridge, a first cousin to King Georg of Hanover and Queen Victoria.   Fritz and Augusta were also first cousins, as their mothers were sisters.    Georg’s wife, Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg’s paternal grandmother, Charlotte, was the sister of Queen Frederica.   Queen Victoria wanted Prince Alfred to marry another Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg, whose father, Duke Georg, was Queen Marie of Hanover’s first cousin.  There is also a hint of irony here when one considers that one of Victoria’s sons was a hemophiliac, and two of her daughters carried the hemophiliac gene.  Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.]

Thus,  Frederica was “struck off the list” of candidates to marry Prince Alfred, although the Queen wrote to her daughter in June 1864: “He is still (I am sorry to say) leaning to Hanover.  However, I think reason will put it out of his head.”

In January 1866, Count Platen-Hallermund, representing Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, arrived in Hanover to discuss a marriage between Princess Frederica and Prince Albrecht of Prussia.  But the marriage negotiations collapsed as the relationship between the Hanover Royal family and their Prussian cousins disintegrated rapidly after Prussia annexed Hanover, and King Georg V and his families were forced into exile.   

In August 1874, a German newspaper, the Magdeburg Gazette reported on a rumor that the Duke of Brunswick would marry Princess Frederica.   This seemed an unlikely arrangement as Duke Wilhelm, a grandson of Princess Augusta, sister of George III, who married the Duke of Brunswick, was in his late 60s.  He had never shown interest in marriage, although he was the father of several illegitimate children.   

The Duke of Brunswick’s relationship with Prussia was strained as Prussia refused to recognize Frederica’s brother, Ernst August, as the Duke’s heir because of his claim to the Hanover throne.  

There was also talk of a Danish marriage, but nothing came of this rumor or the report that the Prince of Orange, the heir to the Dutch throne, wanted to marry Frederica.  (Alexander had also been linked to Frederica's future sister-in-law, Princess Thyra of Denmark. He died unmarried in 1884.)

  Known as Lily to her family, Frederica was said to be  “passionate and outspoken,” especially after her father lost his throne, as she defended her family’s honor, and then sought emancipation from her family.  King Georg  (and the majority of other German sovereigns) sided with Austria in its war against Prussia in 1866.  Prussia was victorious,  and King Wilhelm I of Prussia and Chancellor Otto von Bismarck exacted revenge on the King by annexing Hanover as a part of Prussia.  King Georg V was now without a throne. He and his son, Crown Prince Ernst August, headed for their home in Austria, while Queen Marie and the two princesses remained in Hanover for another year.  Frederica saw her father once during that period when they met at her maternal grandfather’s palace in Altenburg.

The Prussians put immense pressure on the distaff members of the Hanover royal family to leave Schloss Marienburg, and in the summer of 1867, they joined Georg and Ernst August in Austria.   Frederica’s “experiences of defeat and exile” would shape her political views and her immense distrust of Prussia and von Bismarck.    She also found her voice, making it clear that she would not succumb to a “potential political marriage” with Prince Umberto of Italy.  

The Hanoverian royal family settled in Austria as King Georg purchased homes at Gmunden, near Lake Traunsee, and Penzing, near Vienna.  The family also owned a home in Paris.   But there would be financial issues for the king and queen and their three children, as Prussia had sequestered the Guelph Fund, which was the family’s largest part of their income.   He had also moved some of his to England before the war.

Queen Victoria’s relationship with her Hanoverian cousins was fraught with tension, especially after Georg lost his throne.   The Duke of Cambridge wrote to Victoria about providing assistance to their Hanoverian cousins, and Victoria “claimed she would do anything in her power” to save her dynasty, but she did not want the king to be “allowed to come to England,” even for a visit, and there was no question that the exiled king and his family would be permitted to live in England.

In the spring of 1876, the elderly Duchess of Cambridge invited King Georg and his family to visit her in England.  Queen Victoria was furious with her aunt for extending the invitation without asking her first.  But the Duchess was not the first member of the British royal family to show compassion for the Hanoverians.   In March, Prince Leopold, Victoria's youngest son, sought a warmer climate by traveling  to Cannes, stopping  in Paris for a few days to visit his godfather, King Georg V.  The Hanoverian royal family was happy to welcome the young British prince, and Leopold enjoyed meeting the king's two daughters, especially the younger Princess Marie, "who reminded him of his sister, Louise."  The question of marriage was not discussed, although one can assume that the king would have been delighted to see one of his daughters marry Queen Victoria's youngest son.

King Georg and his family arrived in London on May 16, and shortly after their arrival, they called upon the Duchess of Cambridge at her residence at St. James’s Palace. They stayed at Claridge’s Hotel, spending time in London’s cultural sights, visiting family in London and in the country.  The Duke of Connaught invited them for tea at Buckingham Palace, and they had dinner at Marlborough House with the Prince and Princess of Wales.  Several of Queen Victoria’s children called upon King and Queen at Claridge’s, but the Queen herself was at Balmoral, thus avoiding meeting her cousin.   

Queen Marie, accompanied by her son and her youngest daughter, left England on June 5.  Georg and Frederica remained in England for several more weeks.  This was a time where Frederica could attend social events,  become more acquainted with her British cousins, and, perhaps, finally find a husband.  They were invited to the Dowager Duchess of Cleveland’s garden party at Osterley Park, near Brentford, and left Claridge’s in an open carriage.  There was also a shopping excursion for the 28-year-old princess, attended by Countess Bremer, in London.  One evening, Georg and Frederica were invited to dine with Lady Poulett at her Hanover Square home, where a “select company” was invited to meet the king and his daughter.    Princess Frederica accepted an invitation to join the Prince and Princess of Wales at Ascot.

On their final day (June 17) in London, the king and his daughter hosted a luncheon at Claridge's, where the guests included the Duke of Connaught, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Mary Adelaide, and the Duke of Teck.  After the luncheon, the King and Princess Frederica said their goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Claridge and were driven to Victoria Station in one of the Queen's carriages to start their journey back to Paris.   

One of the king’s attendants was his secretary, the Coburg-born  Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen.

The young princess enjoyed her visit to England as she got to know better her Cambridge cousins and her aunt (who described Frederica as her favorite niece), and she was included in numerous invitations with the British royal family.   She was also keeping a secret from her family as she was in love with her father’s secretary.

Prince Leopold was visiting Italy and France when the Hanoverians came to England.   He, too, was harboring a secret.  He had fallen in love with the "tall woman, stately, rather than beautiful" Princess Frederica.   It did not matter to Leopold that Frederica was five years his senior.   He confided his feelings about Lily to his sister, Alice, the Grand Duchess of Hesse and By Rhine.  Leopold wanted to marry her, but Frederica asserted that she had more pressing concerns that included the political and financial issues facing her family.  

Although Victoria had sided with Hanover and not with Prussia, she didn’t approve of “Georg V’s political efforts to restore the king of Hanover by insurrectionary means.”

Financial arrangements for the Hanover royal family were included in the peace treaty between Hanover and Prussia.  It was seen as a generous offer on the part of the Prussians, as Georg would receive the interest on his income on the condition that he left the “administration of the funds and the total of his remaining property to the Prussian state.”  The King accepted this offer, but he made a fatal mistake when he used some of the  money to “finance separatist opposition to Bismarck’s confederation.”   A very angry Bismarck chose to freeze all of Georg’s assets in Hanover, and he used the money to fight insurrection in Hanover until the royal family renounced their rights to the kingdom.

Their financial security was again shaken when King Georg V died suddenly at his home on the Rue de Presbourg in Paris on June 12, 1878.  He was buried in the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Georg’s son, Ernst August, did not take the title king of Hanover, choosing instead to be styled by his British ducal title, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale.  He did not renounce his claims to the Hanover throne, which was made clear in a letter he sent to the other European sovereigns announcing his father’s death. 

  Queen Victoria referred to Ernst August’s letter as “injudicious.”  She knew that Ernst August would not make a formal renunciation of his rights to the Hanover throne, and she believed that if he chose not to interfere with Prussian influence in Hanover, his fortune would be restored.   But the “ill-advised” (according to Queen Victoria) Duke of Cumberland did not hold back with his vitriolic statement about Prussia.   

In March, the Prince of Wales asked his elder sister, Victoria, and her husband, Crown Prince Friedrich of Prussia, to visit Frederica, who wanted to broach the matter of her family’s money.   Although Queen Marie and her younger daughter were content with their lives at Gmunden, Princess Frederica was determined to live her own life.   Her brother pressured her to accept the Prussian annuity, as he felt she should also contribute to the family’s finances.  Frederica was defiant, standing up to the Prussians in defense of her family.  Disappointed by her brother and mother, Frederica felt too confined by life in exile in Austria, especially after her brother’s marriage to Princess Thyra of Denmark in December 1878. 

Princess Thyra was the youngest daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, and whose sisters, Alexandra and Dagmar were married respectively, to the heirs of the British and Russian thrones.  

Suffice to say that the Duke of Cumberland and Queen Marie were overbearing in their treatment of Frederica.  Princess Marie may have been content to remain at her mother’s beck and call, as she had no suitors.  Still keeping her love for Alfons close to her heart, Frederica began to consider her options to leave Gmunden.  She also had to face the wrath of the Prussians as she would not agree to new financial terms proposed by the Prussians.

If you want to read the second half of this article

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The newest QVD August Rhodes Robert Reynolds


@Tatiana Reynolds

HSH Princess Tatiana zu Leiningen and Clayton Reynolds are new parents.

Tatiana gave birth to her first child, a son August Rhodes Robert Reynolds on June 14, 2021, at the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in Oakville, Ontario.

August was born on my birthday.

@Tatiana Reynolds

Victoria - Alfred  - Victoria Melita - Maria - Karl - Hermann - Tatiana - August.

Tatiana is the eldest of three daughters of HSH Prince Hermann zu Leiningen and his wife, Deborah Culley   This is their grandchildren.

August is also the first great-grandchild of Hermann's mother, HRH Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria, daughter of the late King  Boris III of Bulgaria, and HRH Princess Giovanna of Italy.   

The Bulgarian line also provides another Saxe Coburg and Gotha line of descent.

Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld - Ernst I Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha - Albert - Alfred - Victoria Melita - Maria - Karl - Hermann - Tatiana - August

Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld -Ferdinand - August - Ferdinand (King of Bulgaria) - Boris - Marie Louise - Hermann - Tatiana - August

Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld  - Victoire - Victoria - Alfred - Victoria Melita - Maria - Karl - Hermann - Tatiana - August 

Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld  - Victoire -Carl, Prince of Leiningen - Ernst -Emich  - Karl - Hermann - Tatiana - August

Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld  - Victoire - Feodora -Hermann, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg - Feodore -Karl, Prince of Leiningen - Karl - Hermann - Tatiana - August 

Thank you to Tatiana for allowing me to use these photos.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Mail Call

Rainy day today. Envelopes in the mailbox brought a few smiles.

A thank you for the 1st birthday wishes for  HRH Prince Charles of Luxembourg, second in line to the throne


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The marriage of Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Prince Rene of Bourbon Parma

June 9, 1921

Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma were married today at the  Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Copenhagen in the presence of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine,  Queen Louise, the Queen Mother,  the Dowager Empress of Russia, and other members of the Danish royal family.

The 25-year-old princess is the youngest child and only daughter of Prince Valdemar of Denmark, the youngest son of the late King Christian IX, and Princess Marie of Orléans, daughter of Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres, and Princess Francoise of Orléans.  When her parents married in 1885, it was decided that their sons would be raised Lutheran, the faith of their father, but daughters would be raised in Princess Marie's Roman Catholic faith.

Princess Margrethe was only 14 years old when her mother died after a short illness in December 1909.

King Christian IX and Princess Margrethe, 1899

The couple's four sons, Princes Aage, Axel, Erik, and Viggo were all baptized Lutheran but the youngest child, Princess Margrethe Françoise Louise Marie Helene was baptized as a Roman Catholic.   She was named for Princess Marie's sister, Princess Marguerite is married to  Marie-Armand-Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta.

The Princess' First Communion

Prince Rene Charles Marie Joseph of Bourbon-Parma, 26, is the seventh surviving son of the late Duke Roberto I of Parma and his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal.  Two of his full siblings are Prince Felix, the consort of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, and former Empress Zita, the widow of Emperor Karl of Austria, who died in exile in 1922.

The prince and two of his brothers, the Duke of Parma and Prince Felix joined the Austrian army during the Great War.

Princess Margarete, a first cousin of King George V, lived in England for several years during the war, where she worked as a nurse at  Harrogate Hospital which treated wounded soldiers. During her stay in England, she lived with Queen Alexandra until the end of 1920.   Family members were somewhat concerned that Margrethe had not yet found a husband.  She eschewed their attempts at matchmaking, saying that she would marry for love, "even if he turned out to be a chimney sweep."

The Princess was in Paris visiting her cousin, Prince George of Greece when she married Prince Rene.  She did not take her grandmother, the Duchess of Chartres' advice: 'Whatever you do, never marry a Bourbon." 

The couple fell in love and began to make plans for their future together.  The engagement of Prince Rene and the "pretty, vivacious" Princess Margrethe was announced in March.

 She was one of the "most popular" princesses in Denmark and has received numerous gifts, which include a sapphire and brilliants ring from Queen Alexandrine, a pearl collar from the Dowager Queen Olga of Greece, "a tiara of brilliants and rubies," from the bride's grandmother, the Duchess of Chartres, a diamond collar from Empress Zita, and from the Duke and Duchess of Magenta, a diamond bracelet.

The bride wore her mother's bridal veil, made from "old Brussels lace."

Large crowds were lining the streets of Copenhagen to "cheer the Princess on her return from church to Amalienborg Castle," where the reception was held.

All images  Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The newlyweds plan to live in Paris.

If you liked this post, perhaps you can buy me a cup of coffee

Lilibet - what is in a name!


Time Magazine May 29, 1929.   "Princess Lilibet"

There is so much nonsense out there about the name, Lilibet, which is the first name of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's daughter.  

Here are a few things that are not true.  No, Philip did not give her the nickname.  Nor was he the last person to use the name.   The nickname is used by the queen's family, her nieces, nephews (Aunt Lilibet) and their families,  her cousins on both sides of the family, close friends, other royals, reigning and non-reigning.  King Felipe VI addressed the queen as "Aunt Lilibet", in his note of condolence following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Nor did Marion Crawford reveal the nickname to the world in her book The Little Princesses.  The world already knew.    When did they know?  Certainly by 1929, thanks to the Time magazine cover story.

Western Daily Press  12/13/1929

11/7, 1935  The Times, coverage of the wedding of HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott

And my favorite citation:

Dundee Courier July 16, 1931

No one whined when King George V named a horse after his granddaughter.  So why the fuss about Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.  New parents do not need the Queen's permisson to use a name.   The Queen is not her grandfather who vetoed Ann Margaret, the name selected by the Duke and Duchess of York for their second child.  Ann was dropped, and the duke and duchess named their daughter, Margaret Rose.  

Family members perhaps discuss names with the Queen, as a matter of courtesy, but she is unlikely to say no can do!

It the name was good enough for a filly, it is surely good enough for the Queen's 11th great-grandchild.

If you liked this bit of research, perhaps you can buy me a cup of coffee

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Duke of Kent marries "in elaborate rite"

Embed from Getty Images 
June 8, 1961

The Duke of Kent, eighth in the line of succession to the British throne, was married today to Miss Katharine Worsley, the daughter of a Yorkshire baronet, reports the New York Times.

The marriage took place at York Minster and was conducted by the Archbishop of York.  Queen Elizabeth II and other Royal Family members journeyed north to attend the ceremony, which was televised.  The more than 2,000 guests included twenty-four members of European royal families, members of the Cabinet, and Members of the Parliament.  This was the first royal wedding at York Minster in 633 years.

The streets were filled with "proud Yorkshiremen" as the one of their own married into the royal family.  The "golden-haired" bride is the daughter of Sir William Worsley, Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding.  The Worsley family has lived at Hovingham Hall for more than 500 years.

The "solemn young bride and her father stepped stiffly through the west door of the cathedral" and were greeted "with a fanfare by trumpeters of the Royal Scots  Greys."   The Duke is a member of this regiment.

The bride and her father "moved slowly to the altar, her long white train sweeping behind her."  She was attended by eight little girls, including ten-year-old Princess Anne, the Queen's daughter, and three little page boys, all dressed in white. The bride's gown was designed by John Cavanagh.  The Times of London described the gown as "a statuesque and simple dress. It was of white silk gauze, with a specially woven design that shimmered lightly."

Embed from Getty Images 

The Duke of Kent, 25, dressed in the ceremonial uniform of the Royal Scots Greys, waited for his bride at the altar.  His best man was his younger brother, Prince Michael.  

The bride, who is three years older than the Duke, chose the wedding ceremony from the Church of England's 1928 Prayer book, "instead of the original 1662 version."   The newer version omits the word obey in the bride's pledge, but "it was used by the Archbishop at her request."

After the Duke placed a plain gold band on Katharine's finger, and the vows were exchanged, the couple "moved to the altar and knelt there while the golden-robed Archbishop bent over them, giving them his address in a low voice that only the wedding couple could hear."

Embed from Getty Images 

The newlyweds emerged from the cathedral and passed under "an arch of swords held by noncommissioned officers from Royal Scots Greys.  The crowds cheered as the Duke and his new Duchess got into the car for the twenty-three-mile drive to Hovingham Hall "for the huge wedding reception."

Later today, the newlyweds will leave for Scotland to start their honeymoon at Birkhall, the Queen Mother's residence in Scotland.

The Members of the Royal family who attended the wedding included the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Princess Royal, accompanied by the Earl and Countess of Harewood and the Hon. Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Lascelles, the Duchess of Kent, accompanied by Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent.  The Court Circular did not list the foreign royals who attended the wedding.

In its coverage of the wedding, the Times noted that this was a Yorkshire wedding.  The people "who lined the streets to cheer in the tentative sunlight were the people of the city and of the East, West, and York Ridings.  In London, it would have been certain that at least a tenth of them would be Americans."

Embed from Getty Images

Sunday, June 6, 2021

The newest QVD Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor


Queen Elizabeth II's 11th great-grandchild will be known as Lili.   She is eighth in line to the throne.

As the daughter of a duke, she bears the courtesy title Lady before her Christian name but her parents have chosen to eschew the ducal courtesy titles.

In her book, The Little Princesses,  Marion Crawford wrote: "From the time of my arrival, Lilibet came down to me.  She had given herself this name when she found 'Elizabeth' rather difficult to get round, and it had stuck to her ever since."

Mail call

@Palais Royal, Belgium Photo Bas Bogaerts

@cour grand-ducal/ Lola Velasco

@cour grand-ducal/ E. Sorcelletti

@Royal Palace, Belgium  Photo: Michel Gronenberger

H Ill H Countess Vittoria von Waldburg zu Wolfegg & Waldsee 
                and Ferdinand Lovrek, son of Paul Lovrek and HSH Princess Maria                         Beatrice of Auersperg-Trautson.  Ferdinand's uncle,  Franz Josef, the                     present Prince of Auersperg-Trautson, is married to Archduchess                             Constantza of Austria


Friday, June 4, 2021

The Funeral of the Duke of Aosta


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

The funeral of HRH the Duke of Aosta was celebrated today in Florence's Basilica of San Miniato.   The guest list was largely limited to members of the late Duke's family and members of the Italian nobility.  Foreign royals including the late duke's relatives were unable to travel to Italy due to Covid restrictions.

His son, Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta described him as an "exceptional father -- and he was a reference figure for many in addition to my family.  I am moved by the number of people who came here to remember my father,"

Princess Signoretta Alliata Licata di Baucina, a longtime friend of the Duchess of Aosta, spoke of her sadness that the news of his death.  

"I am deeply saddened. Amedeo was a generous man, available, ready to help friends but also people he did not know, of any social class they were, because he had a great love for his neighbor and felt the needs of the others as his problems. He had an upbringing as a member of the royal family, an upbringing different from the one we all receive.

"I met him 43 years ago - he had just separated from Claudia d'Orleans and had started a relationship with Silvia (Paternò di Spedalotto), who was one of my closest friends.  She was young and her father, Marquis Spedalotto, was worried and went to Tuscany to better understand Silvia's relationship which later turned out to be a wonderful union. Silvia entered the Savoy family with great lightness, almost on tiptoe, and she loved  Amedeo and Claudia's children as if they were her own.
What has always struck me and what I will miss a lot about Amedeo is his extreme humanity: if you needed something he was the first to get in motion to help you solve problems. He made you feel at the center of the world, a special person, and everywhere he left an excellent memory of himself. Moreover - and this was the result of his 'royal' education - he was always very attentive to everything that happened in Italy and he experienced unpleasant things as open wounds. He had been brought up in total respect of the others and thus educated his three children, Bianca Mafalda and Aimone, in simplicity and love for nature and the sea, without ever losing sight of an extraordinary sense of righteousness that made him clearly distinguish good from evil, white from black, unlike a society like the one we live in which is immersed in the gray in which good and evil are confused.

"He had fought with extraordinary tenacity against cancer and for this reason, none of us thought he would die. He loved the house in Pantelleria very much, he still wanted to live and return to the island and his sea ​​that for him was a world. I will make him say a mass in Palermo."

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

HRH Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta (1943-2021)


HRH Prince Amadeo Umberto Constantino Giorgio Paolo Maria Fiorenzo, 5th Duke of Aosta, died today after suffering a heart attack at San Donato Hospital in Arezzo, Italy.  He was was 77 years old.

The Duke of Aosta, who headed the Aosta branch of the Italian Royal Family, had undergone surgery in Milan earlier this year for the removal of a tumor on his kidney.  On May 27, he was admitted to the hospital for a minor procedure, a success.    He was scheduled to be released today but suffered a fatal heart attack during the night, according to the Italian newspaper, Repubblica.

He was born at Villa Della Cisterna in Florence  Florence on September 27, 1943.  His father, Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto, was named King Tomislav II of Croatia by his cousin, King Vittorio Emanuele III, in May 1941.  Although he never visited Croatia, Aimone was considered the sovereign until the King asked him to abdicate on July 31, 1943, after the fall of Italy's Fascist government.  Aimone, according to Count Ciano's diary, was "proud of having been chosen King of Croatia, but has no exact idea of what he is supposed to do and is vaguely uneasy about it."   The Duke of Spoleto succeeded his older brother,  Prince Amedeo, the father of two daughters, as Duke of Aosta on March 3, 1942.  The late duke had died in a British prisoner of war camp.

Irene remained in their Florentine residence even though the area was subjected to Allied bombing,  She gave birth prematurely to her only son, who was given the title Duke of Puglia.  Amedeo later revealed that soon after his birth, his mother had him fingerprinted by the police in case he was kidnapped.  

The new prince was given an "emergency baptism" due to being born eighteen days too early.  Two days after his birth, the Royal Chaplain arrived at the villa, but before "the water was applied or the blessing given, wrote Edward Hanson in The Wandering Princess, as another "air raid commenced.  Aimone was not officially baptized until he was six years old and able to "make his own baptismal promises."

Only July 26, 1944,. Heinrich Himmler ordered Amedeo, his mother, and the widowed Duchess of Aosta and her two young daughters, Princesses Margherita and Maria Cristina, deported to a concentration camp in Hirschegg, near Graz in Austria.   The family was liberated from the camp in May 1945.  Irene and her son lived for several weeks in Switzerland before returning to Italy to live.  It was in Milan, where Aimone met his nearly 2-year-old son for the first time.

After a referendum that ended the Italian monarchy in June 1946,  Aimone and Irene planned to settle in Belgium but the Belgium government made it clear that the Aostas would not be welcome.  Irene and Amedeo returned to Switzerland, and the Duke of Aosta flew to South America, where he planned to settle in Argentina.  

He died in Buenos Aires in January 1948.

Amedeo, only 4 1/2 years old, succeeded his father as Duke of Aosta.  He and his mother returned to Florence to live as he was not affected by this clause in the Italian constitution: "Access and sojourn in the national territory shall be forbidden to the ex-kings of the House of Savoy, their spouses, and their male descendants."

The wedding of Princess Irene of Greece & Denmark (1904-1974) and Prince Aimone, Duke of Savoy (1900-1948)

The young Duke studied at the Collegio alle Querce in Florence and Seaford College in England before attending the Morosini Naval College in Venice.   He received a degree in political science from the University of Florence.

For some years,  the Duke of Aosta managed the family estate in Il Borro in Arezzo

He was married twice.  His first wife was Princess Claude of Orléans, whom he had first met in May 1962 at the wedding of then Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, one of Amedeo's first cousins.  More than 300 people attended the wedding, including former King Umberto of Italy, which took place at Sao Pedro de Sintra, on July 22, 1964.

The couple had three children:  HRH Princess Bianca Irene Elena Isabella Fiorenza Maria of Savoy (1966)  HRH Prince Aimone Umberto Emanuele Filiberto Luigi, Amedeo Gustavo Elena Maria Fiorenzo of Savoy, Duke of Puglia (1967) and HRH Princess Mafalda Giovanna Shams Maria Fiorenza Isabella of Savoy (1969).

This marriage ended in divorce in 1982 and was annulled four years later.   On March 30, 1987, at Bagheria, near Palermo,  the Duke of Aosta married Marchesa Donna Silvia Paterno di Spedalotto.  Financial reasons forced the Duke to sell the 1,700-acre property to Ferruccio Ferragamo in 1993.

He and his wife moved to San Rocco in Castiglion Fibocchi, where he owned a wine company,  Vini Savoia Aosta.

The wedding of HRH Princess Claudia of Orléans and the Duke of Aosta.  They married on July 22, 1964

The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Aosta (1987)

The Duke of Aosta is survived by his wife, Silvia, five children and eleven grandchildren (Viola, Vera, Mafalda, Maddalena, and Leonardo, the children of Princess Bianca and her husband, Count Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga,  TRH Prince Umberto, Duke of Puglia,  Prince Amedeo and Princess Isabella of Savoy, the children of Prince Aimone, Duke of Aosta and his wife, Princess Olga of Greece, and Anna, Carlo Ferrante and Elena Lombardo di Chirico, the children of Princess Mafalda and her husband Francesco Lombardo di Chirico.

The late duke also has a natural daughter, Ginevera Maria Gabriella Beatrice van Ellinkhuizen (2006) by Kyara vn Ellinkhuisen.  He is also the biological father of Pietro Incisa della Rochetta (1967) whose mother, Donna Nerina Corsini (1942-2014) married Enrico Incisa della Rochetta in 1961.  Nerina's mother, Elena was one of Princess Irene's ladies-in-waiting.

The funeral will be held on Friday 4 June, at 11.30 am, in the abbey of San Miniato al Monte in Florence.

Prince Aimone, 6th Duke of Aosta has lived in Russia since 2000 when he became president of Pirelli Tires' operations in Russia.  In 2012, he was named as CEO of Pirelli Tyre's Nordic division.

The Duke of Aosta and Princess   Irina of Romania   Bucharest 2011

 Bucharest 2011

The Margrave of Baden and The Duke of Aosta  Bucharest 2011

Crown Princess Margareta and the Duke of Aosta  Bucharest 2011

The Duke of Aosta and Princess Ilona of Schaumburg-Lippe 

all the Bucharest photos: @Marlene A Eilers Koenig

The Duke of Aosta was a descendant of Queen Victoria.   

Victoria - Victoria - Sophie - Irene - Amedeo.

He was a first cousin of King Michael of Roumania,  Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia. and King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

I corresponded for many years with the Duke of Aosta and was delighted to finally meet him in Bucharest in October 2011 for King Michael's 90th birthday celebrations.