Friday, January 11, 2019

Prince Philip moving closer to longest living QVD

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 My friend Lauren reminded today that Prince Philip will soon become the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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 The current titleholder is HRH Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline of Albany, who was born at Windsor Castle on February 25, 1883, the first of two children of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, eighth of nine children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Princess Helene of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

The Duke of Albany, a hemophiliac,  died at Cannes on March 28, 1884, following a fall.    The Duchess of Albany was expecting a second child at the time.  She gave birth posthumously to a son, Charles, Edward, on July 19, 1884.  The infant prince succeeded immediately to his father's peerages.

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Princess Alice married HSH Prince Alexander of Teck, her second cousin once removed,  at St. George's Chapel on February 10, 1904. Following her marriage, the princess was styled as HRH Prince Alexander of Teck.

The second cousin once removed relationship is due to their descent from George III's granddaughters,   Queen Victoria (daughter of the Duke of Kent) and Mary Adelaide (daughter of the Duke of Cambridge), who were first cousins.   Prince Leopold and Prince Alexander were second cousins, thus making Alice and Alexander second cousins once removed.

Alexander's older sister, Mary, was married to Alice's first cousin, King George V.  This meant that Alice and George were in-laws as well as first cousins.

In 1917,  Alexander, with other collateral members of the British royal family, who had German titles (and who were not affected by the George V's July 17, 1917 declaration establishing the House of Windsor and the renouncement of all German titles) .  He and his family relinquished the Teck princely title and the style of Serene Highness.  George V created Alexander as Earl of Athlone and Viscount Trematon.   (His older brother, Adolphus, relinquished his titles, too, and was created Marquess of Cambridge.)

As a Princess of Blood Royal, Alice resume the use of her own as part of her title, HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.

The family name for Adolphus and Alexander became Cambridge,  as their mother was born a Princess of Cambridge.

Alice and Alexander had three children:  HSH Princess May (Lady May Cambridge (January 26, 1906- May 29, 1994) who married Sir Henry Abel Smith),  HSH Prince Rupert (Viscount Trematon (August 24, 1907-April 15,1928)) and HSH Prince Maurice of Teck  (March 29, 1910- September 14, 1910.)

Princess Augusta

The Earl of Athlone died at Kensington Palace on 1957.   Princess Alice died at Kensington Palace on January 3, 1981 at the age of 97 (and 313 days.)  She was the oldest living blood member of the British Royal Family, having surpassed the record held by her husband's great-aunt, Princess Augusta of Cambridge, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822-1916).  Augusta lived for 94 years, 4 months and 16 days.

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 Princess Alice broke the British  record on July 15, 1977.   Although Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother lived longer than Princess Alice, she remains the longest living blood member of the British royal family, as well as the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (now HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) will tie the  the record on  April 18, 53 days before his own birthday.  I think.  I  A member of the Royal Musings Facebook group says Philip will break the date on April 19.

35,741 for Alice and Philip will achieve 35,742 days on April 19, 2019.

Philip will celebrate his his 98th birthday on June 10.

This is a interesting achievement as May 24th will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

New patronages for the Duchess of Sussex

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Kensington Palace announced this morning the first four patronages for the newest member of the British royal family, the Duchess of Sussex.

Two of the patronages, the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities were passed to the Duchess by Queen Elizabeth, who has been the patron for the past 45 and 33 years, respectively.  The other two charities are the Mayhew Trust, an animal welfare charity, and Smart Works, which helps " long term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives."

Mayhew released a statement this morning after Kensington Palace's announcement.
"We are honoured to reveal that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex has become Patron of Mayhew, as announced by Kensington Palace earlier this morning.
Her Royal Highness’ Patronages reflect the causes and issues she has spent decades championing, including female empowerment, the arts, access to education and animal welfare.
We are incredibly proud to reflect the values that The Duchess supports, and are delighted that HRH has selected Mayhew as one of her four newly announced Patronages.  We very much look forward to working closely with HRH to focus even more public attention on animal welfare, and the ground-breaking work Mayhew does in the local community and overseas."

Some months ago I had tweeted and/or wrote that I thought at least one of her first patronages would be arts related.  I didn't consider that the Queen would suggest one of her own patronages, the National Theatre, which started in 1963, but I think that the Queen knew what she was doing when she decided to pass on this stellar and prestigious patronage. 

The four patronages are focused on the arts, community, empowerment and animal welfare.  Sienna and Harper hope that the Duchess will adopt a cat from the Mayhew Trust, when she visits them later this week.

Four excellent patronages to begin a royal career.  Of course, there will be more patronages added in the months and years to come, perhaps a regiment or two, as well. 

It is apparent that Her Majesty the Queen has great faith in the Duchess of Sussex's ability to communicate effectively as a patron.  In case you do not realize it,  passing on the patronage of the National Theatre is a VERY BIG DEAL.  

The National Theatre is one of the two premiere theater companies in the United Kingdom.  The Royal Shakespeare Company is the other.  The Queen is also the patron of the RSC and the Prince of Wales is its president.

I am envious of the Duchess' National Theatre patronage.  Yea, she gets to support British theater and she will get to see any play she wants to for free!!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

What was George V thinking?

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On November 30, 1917,  King George V issued a Letters Patent that limited and redefined royal titles, thus limiting the size of the Royal Family.

The Letters Patent was published in the London Gazette on December 14, 1917.

"Whitehall, 11th December, 1917.
The KING has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the 30th ultimo, to define the styles and titles to be borne henceforth by members of the Royal Family. It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of any Sovereign of the United Kingdom and the children of the sons of any such Sovereign and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names or with their other titles of honour; that save as aforesaid the titles of Royal Highness, Highness or Serene Highness, and the titular dignity of Prince and Princess shall cease except those titles already granted and remaining unrevoked; and that the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes."

This Letters Patent limited the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (now Northern Ireland) to the children of the Sovereign, the grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (the heir apparent).

This meant that great-grandchildren in the male line would no longer be titled as Prince or Princess with the rank of Highness, which had been the case.  In fact, no previous Letters Patent had limited royal titles in the male line although, only the children of the Sovereign, the grandchildren in the male line and the children of the eldest son the Prince of Wales were entitled to Royal Highness.  Other great-grandchildren in the male line (and further down, as was the case of the descendants in the male line of King Ernst August of Hanover,  Duke of Cumberland, the 5th son of King George III, had the style of Highness and title of Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

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 In February 1864,  Queen Victoria issued a Letters Patent that gave the HRH to the children of the Sons of the Sovereign.   This meant that the children of the Prince of Wales and the Dukes of Edinburgh, Connaught and Albany would have the style of royal highness.

"Whitehall, Feb. 3.
The Queen has been pleased by letters patent under the Great Seal, to declare her Royal will and pleasure that, besides the children of the Sovereigns of these realms, the children of the sons of any Sovereign of Great Britain and Ireland shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective christian names, or with their other titles of honour; and further to declare her will and pleasure that the Earl Marshal of England, or his Deputy for the time being, do cause the said letters patent to be recorded in Her Majesty's College of Arms to the end that the officers of arms, and all others, may take due notice thereof."

None of Victoria's immediate predecessors lived long enough to witness the birth of a great-grandchild in the male line.   Victoria's first great-grandchild, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, was born shortly before her 60th birth in May 1879, was in the female line.  Feo was the only child of Princess Charlotte of Prussia, the second child of Princess Victoria, Princess Royal and Friedrich III of Germany.  Victoria was the eldest of Queen Victoria's nine children.

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 The first male line great-grandchild was born on June 23, 1894, and was named Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David.   The infant prince, the eldest child (and son) of Prince George, Duke of York, son of the Prince of Wales, and Princess Mary of Teck.  The infant prince was styled as HH Prince Edward of York.  He was third in line to the throne.

The Duchess of York would give to two more children (Albert (December 14, 1895) and Mary (April 25, 1897) who were styled as Highness, until May 31, 1898, when Victoria issued a new Letters Patent.

"Crown Office, May 31, 1898
The Queen has been pleased by letters patent under the Great Seal, to declare that the children of the eldest son of any Prince of Wales shall have, and at all times hold and enjoy, the style, title, and attribute of "Royal Highness"."

This new Letters Patent established that the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales would also be entitled to the HRH.  Other great-grandchildren would remain styled as Highness, until 1917, when George V issued his Letters Patent.

The caption is not correct.  Alistair was not HRH, but HH.  

There would be instantaneous changes with the new Letters Patent.  His Highness Prince Alistair Arthur of Connaught,  the only child of TRH Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught, who was a great-grandson in the male line, ceased to be a prince.  His mother,  Princess Alexandra (elder daughter of Princess Louise, Duchess of Fife, Princess Royal) was a peeress in her own right, having inherited her father's peerage, the dukedom of Fife by special remainder following his death in 1912.    Three-year-old Alistair would now be styled as the Earl of Macduff, the secondary title for the Fife dukedom, as he was the heir apparent.  He was also second in line for his maternal grandfather, the Duke of Connaught's peerages.

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 The male line Hanover and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha descendants were also affected by this Letters Patent.   The Titles Deprivation Act stripped  HRH Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, grandson of Queen Victoria, and HRH Prince Ernst August, Duke of Cumberland,  a great-grandson of King George III, of their British peerages.  Charles Edward, who reigned as Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, did not lose his British princely title as his status as a prince was defined by Letters Patent.

Ernst August, the Duke of Cumberland, was the son of Georg, the last King of Hanover, was a great-grandson of the Sovereign, which meant that he and his male-line descendants were no longer entitled to the title Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.   This was also the case for Carl Eduard's children.

Less than a month before Britain entered World War I,  King George V issued a Letters Patent for the children of the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg.  I find this Letters Patent to be moot because the children were already princes and princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland due to their male line descent from George III.   The Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg was a first cousin of King George V as their mothers were sisters.

The Duchess of Brunswick (Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia) gave birth to a son, Prince Ernst August in  March 1914.

Whitehall, July 15, 1914.
The King has been pleased to declare and ordain that the children born to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg shall at all times hold and enjoy the style and attribute of 'Highness' with their titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names, or with any titles of honour which may belong to them; and that the designation of the said children shall be a Prince (or Princess) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. And to command that the said Royal concession and declaration be registered in His Majesty's College of Arms."

The Titles Deprivation Act applied solely to the peers, not the royal titles, which were governed by Letters Patent.

As the Brunswick children - Ernst August, Georg Wilhelm,  Friederike,  Christian, and Welf Heinrich - were not children of the Sovereign or grandchildren of the Sovereign in the male line, they also lost their British HH and their royal titles.  Some may disagree with this, but the precedence is HH Prince Alistair of Connaught, who was demoted to Earl of Macduff with the surname Windsor, following the 1917 Letters Patent.

[In the 1930s, Ernst August's son,  Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, who was married to Kaiser Wilhelm II's only daughter, Princess Viktoria Luise,  issued a non-binding decree that his male line descendants would continue to be styled as Prince or Princess of Great Britain and Ireland because of their direct male line descent from George III.   It should be noted that King George V nor his successors,  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, have ever challenged that decree.  When Ernst August's son,  Ernst August was married in 1951 to Princess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein,  King George VI and Queen Elizabeth sent a congratulatory telegram to the couple, addressing them with their British titles.]

Prince Ernst August, the one married to Viktoria Luise, abdicated as Duke of Brunswick in November 1918.

Carl Eduard's male-line descendants dropped the use of the British titles after 1917.

The 1917 Letters Patent has an obvious loophole.  It seems to me that George V did not consider the possibility that there would be a repeat of three heirs in the line of succession as was the case in 1894 with the birth of his son, Edward.  He was the father of three sons and one daughter when he became the heir apparent on January 22, 1901, when Queen Victoria died and was succeeded by her eldest son, Albert Edward, who reigned as Edward VII.

Now let's look at this with a different scenario.  What if the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (the Prince of Wales' eldest son) had not died in January 1892.  His marriage to Princess Mary of Teck would have taken place with great fanfare.  Their eldest son would have been third in line.  There is also no doubt that Queen Victoria would have issued a similar Letters Patent, extending the RH to the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales,  as she did in 1898.

The Duke of York would have married another princess, but their children would have remained styled as Highness until Edward VII succeed to the throne, when they would gain the style of royal highness as grandchildren in the male line of the sovereign.

This is pure speculation on my part as Queen Victoria, knowing that George's children would also be grandchildren of King, could have issued another Letters Patent that extended the RH to all of the male line grandchildren of the Prince of Wales.

The changes made in the Letters Patent are reflected today with how members of the Royal family and their descendants are styled.

The present Dukes of Gloucester and Kent are grandsons of a sovereign (George V).  They are royal.  Their children are not.   Their eldest sons are styled as the Earls of Ulster and St. Andrews.  Their daughters are styled as daughters of a duke: Lady Davina, Lady Rose, and Lady Helen Windsor.  The Duke of Kent's younger son is styled as the younger son of a Duke: Lord Nicholas Windsor.

These two royal dukedoms will cease to be royal when the peerages pass to their heirs apparent.  The new dukes will be addressed as Your Grace.

The children of the Duke of Kent's younger brother, Prince Michael, who is not a peer, are styled as a younger son of a duke and a daughter of a duke:  Lord Frederick and Lady Gabriella Windsor.

This brings us back to the 1917 Letters Patent.  George V's children were born with the princely title so why limit the royal style for the children of the next eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

Perhaps for George V, Victoria's long reign was an anomaly, which would not to be repeated any time soon so he saw no reason to include royal status for all of the children of the sons of the Prince of Wales.  He may have assumed that the Prince of Wales would have succeeded to the throne before he had grandchildren.  Yet, there is the example of his own children -- the first three -- and how their status was changed by Queen Victoria, their great-grandmother.

King Edward VII reigned for only nine years.  He was sixty-eight when he died on May 6, 1910.    His eldest male line grandson,  Prince Edward of Wales, was a month short of his 16th birthday at the time of King Edward's death.  King George V lived to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in May 1935.  He died on January 20, 1936, at the age of 70, and was succeeded by his eldest son, David, who reigned as Edward VIII until December 11, 1936, when he abdicated and was succeeded by his brother, Bertie (George VI).

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The eldest male line grandchildren at the time of King George V's death was Princess Elizabeth of York, the nine-year-old daughter of the Duke of York.  She was third in line to the throne at the time of "Grandpa England's death."

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George VI was only 56 years old when he died on February 6, 1952.   His elder daughter, HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, succeeded him as queen.  At the time of his death,  George VI had only one male line grandson,  HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh, who was was then only three years old.

The 1917 Letters Patent did not provide for the possibility of a female heir in the male line so in 1948, not long before Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles, George VI issued a Letters Patent that gave royal status to her children.

Whitehall, November 9, 1948.
The KING has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm bearing date the 22nd ultimo to define and fix the style and title by which the children of the marriage solemnized between Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, shall be designated. It is declared by the Letters Patent that the children of the aforesaid marriage shall have and at all times hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their respective Christian names in addition to any other appellations and titles of honour which may belong to them hereafter.

Without this Letters Patent,  Charles and Anne would have been styled as the Earl of Merioneth and the Lady Anne Mountbatten, taking their titles and rank from their father, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, until Elizabeth succeeded to the throne.

The 1917 Letters Patent has not been superseded with the exception of one clause, which I will refer to shortly.

Queen Elizabeth II has three sons so the grandchildren in the male line are princes and princesses with the rank of royal highness.   Yes, the children of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, are STYLED  as Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn, but they are technically royal as the Queen never issued a Letters Patent that changed how male-line grandchildren are styled.

On April 29, 2011, Prince William of Wales, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, became the first male grandson of the living Sovereign to marry since July 6, 1893, when Prince George, Duke of York (George V) married Princess Mary of Teck.   Fast forward to December 33, 2012, when Kensington Palace announces that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first child in the summer of 2013.

Royal advisers blow the dust of the 1917 Letters Patent and read the bit about the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales having royal status, but ducal status for siblings.  What if the Duchess gives birth to a daughter?  The new Succession to the Crown Act, which would establish the succession of the first born, regardless of sex, was moving closer to final passage and a Royal Assent (which came in April 2013.)

A daughter, even first in line, would be styled as the Lady Christian name Mountbatten-Windsor.   A son, born second, would be HRH Prince Christian name of Cambridge.
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The solution was easy peasy.  The Queen issued a new Letters Patent in December 2012 that gave royal status to all of the children of the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

"The Queen has been pleased by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 31 December 2012 to declare that all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour."

Please notice the subtle difference in the wording with the 2012 and 1898 Letters Patents.   The newer one refers to the Prince of Wales, which Victoria's states any Prince of Wales.

But what about the status of the male line grandchildren of younger sons of the Prince of Wales?  Bertie had only one surviving son, George, when he succeeded to the throne.  George's kids were styled as royal highness thanks to great-granny's 1898 Letters Patent.

The present Prince of Wales has two sons, two male-line grandchildren of the Queen.  The 2012 Letters Patent only refers to the eldest son's children and not the children of younger sons of the Prince of Wales.   Was this Letters Patent a not-so-subtle statement that the children of younger sons of the Prince of Wales would not be royal even if they were born when their grandmother, the Queen was still alive?

The downsizing of the Royal Family has been a topic of discussion since the late 1990s with the now-defunct Way Ahead group, which included seniors of the Royal Family and advisers.   I expect it was decided a long time ago that the RH and the title of Prince or Princess will be further limited when Charles succeeds to the throne.

I believe he will issue a new Letters Patent that will limit the royal titles to the children of the sovereign,  the children of the eldest child of the Sovereign, and the children of the eldest child of the eldest child of the Sovereign.   (I used the eldest child rather than Prince or Princess of Wales) as it has not been determined on how a female heir apparent will be styled.)

The announcement on the morning of Prince Edward's wedding in June 1999 that stated his new titles and the style and titles of any possible children was necessary because of the 1917 Letters Patent.  Louise and James are grandchildren in the male line, and thus, would have been styled as HRH and Princess and Prince if not for the official announcement that they would be styled as children of an earl.

(Several years ago, in an interview, their mother, Sophie, told a reporter that she knew that her kids were royal, despite their style.)

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No such announcement was needed for the Duke of Sussex's children because the 1917 Letters Patent states that great-grandchildren in the male line (with the exception of the children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales)  .... shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes.

Harry's eldest son will be styled as the Earl of Dumbarton.  Daughters and younger sons will have the courtesy title Lady and Lord before their Christian names.   If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have only daughters,  the peerages will revert to the Crown when Harry dies.  The Succession to the Crown Act applies solely to the succession to the throne.   Parliament has been unable to pass gender equal legislation for succession to peerages.

Queen Elizabeth's 2012 Letters Patent focused on the children of the eldest son, not the children of all the sons of the Prince of Wales.   If  Charles and the Queen wanted Harry's future children to be royal as well,  2012 Letters Patent would have established the HRH and title Prince for the children of all of the sons of the Prince of Wales, instead of focusing on fixing the issue with the other children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. Within the royal house, it has probably been known for some time that Harry's children will not be royal.

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Sunday, January 6, 2019

Paula Dowager Princess of Fürstenberg (1926-2019)

HSH Paula, Dowager Princess of Fürstenberg died peacefully today surrounded by members of her family at her home, Salzmannhaus, in Donaueschingen.   She was 92 years old.

Countess Paula Maria Eusebia Julia zu Königsegg-Aulendorf was born at Aulendorf on May 22, 1926.  She was the third of five children of Maria Joseph Erwin Leo Franz Maximilian Karl Borromäus Aloys Johannes d. Ev. Georg Benedikt EusebiusAlfred, Count zu Königsegg-Aulendorf and Countess Lucia von Wilzek.

Her marriage to the HSH Hereditary Prince Joachim Egon Maximilian Friedrich Leo Joseph Maria Hubertus zu Fürstenberg (1923-2002) took place at Königseggwald on June 25, 1947.   Prince Joachim Egon succeeded his uncle, Karl Egon as Prince zu Fürstenberg,  in 1973.

The Dowager Princess is survived by five of her six children: Princess Marie Antoinette, Frau Bagusat;  Heinrich, Prince of Fürstenberg, Prince Karl-Egon,  Prince Johannes and Princess Anna Lucia, Frau Giraldo,  and grandchildren, Franziskus, Katharina and Ferdinand Bagusut, Hereditary Prince Christian and Prince Antonius,  Prince Vincenz, Prince Ludwig and Prince Johann-Christian zu Fürstenberg,  Santiago, Simeon and Joaquin Giraldo and great-grandchildren including Prince Tassilo, Princess Maria Cecilia, Prince Tristan, Prince Carl and Prince Alexander zu Fürstenberg, Friedrich Stocks, and Antonius Bagusat.;art372512,10010923

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Grand Duke Jean celebrates his 98th birthday

1st row Comtes Constantin et Léopold, enfants du Comte Rodolphe et de S.A.I.R. la Comtesse Marie-Christine de Limburg-Stirum

3e rangée : S.A.R. le Prince Louis, S.A.I.R la Comtesse Marie-Christine de Limburg-Stirum et le Comte Rodolphe de Limbourg-Stirum avec leur fils le Comte Gabriel, la Comtesse Diane de Nassau et S.A.R. le Prince Jean, S.A.R. la Princesse Sibilla, S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Gabriella d’Autriche avec sa fille Victoria, S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Alexander d’Autriche, S.A.R. la Princesse Charlotte de Nassau, S.A.R. la Princesse Alexandra. Copyright : Cour grand-ducale/Claude Piscitelli

A superb family photo of Grand Duke Jean, with Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, Frau Sandhofer (1942-2019)

TR & IH Archduchess Elisabeth, Frau Sandhofer,  Archduchess Maria Magdalena, Baroness von Holzhausen and Archduke Dominic, owners of Bran Castle.  @BranCastle.

The death of HI & RH Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, Frau Sandhofer, was announced earlier today by Bran Castle's  Administration.

The Archduchess died Tuesday night (January 1) at 8:30 p.m., at Salzburg, Austria, after a long illness.  She was 76 years old.

The funeral is scheduled to take place on January 11.

"We at Bran Castle regret to announce the passing of Her Imperial Royal Highness, Archduchess Elisabeth Sandhofer, after a long and hard suffering. Following the long Communist period, the Castle was brought back to life and was graced with her warm, humorous and discreet presence. She will always be in our thoughts and prayers, along with her grandmother, Queen Marie and her mother, Princess Ileana."

@Bran Castle

May God rest her soul in eternal peace!

Bogdana Balmuş, the spokesman for Bran Castle, said that a special place for those who want to light a candle and a condolence card was set up in the inner yard of the castle.

The Archduchess was one of the three co-owners of Bran Castle, with her sister, Archduchess Maria Magdalena and her brother, Archduke Dominic.  The late Princess Ileana had left the castle to her children, and in 2009, the family was able to regain the possession from the Romanian government.

Mother Alexandra's 80th birthday (Jan 7, 1989)  Archduchess Elisabeth, Archduchess Alexandra, Mother Alexandra,  Archduke Stefan and Archduchess Maria Magdalena (Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection)

Elisabeth was born at Sonnberg on January 15, 1942, the youngest of six children of the late Princess Ileana of Romania and Archduke Anton of Austria.   She married at Mondsee on August 3, 1964, to Dr. Friedrich Sandhofer.

She is survived by her husband and her four children,  Anton, Margareta, Andrea and Elisabeth, and their families, and her siblings, Archduchess Alexandra, Baroness von Baillou, Archduke Dominic and Archduchess Maria Magdalene, Baroness von Holzhausen.

Archduchess Elisabeth and Dr. Sandhofer at the wedding of their daughter, Andrea, in 1997.  (Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection)

Sale of Schloss Marienburg put on hold

When Hereditary Prince Ernst August of Hanover appeared at Schloss Marienburg on December 12, he looked relieved as he joined others in front of the castle's Christmas tree.

The 35-year-old prince was about to make his last appearance as the owner of Schloss Marienburg, once the summer home of his ancestors.  The castle was for Ernst August's great-great-great-grandmother, Queen Marie, the consort of King Georg V, the last king of Hanover.

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Schloss Marienburg has been a cultural albatross around Ernst August's neck.  He and his wife, Ekaterina and their daughter Elisabeth, do not have live at the castle and live in Hanover.   The Hereditary Princess expects a second child in the spring.

In the front of the Christmas tree in the Knights' Hall,  Prince Ernst August told his guests "Today is very important for my family.  We have found a good solution to keep the castle and its inventory permanently for the public --that has always been a matter of the heart."

The prince had agreed to see Schloss Marienburg to the State Ministry of Science and Culture for Lower Saxony for the nominal sum of one Euro.

The agreement would also allow the state museum in Hannover to purchase furniture and artwork for two million euros, allowing for the art and furniture to remain at the schloss.

Prince Ernst August said he would set up a charitable foundation that would include furniture and artwork worth 6 million euros.

The cost of maintaining the castle has been a financial burden for Prince Ernst August, as the castle suffers from dry rot.  The State Ministry announced it  would invest more than 27 million euros in rehabilitation and maintenance.

Prince Ernst August's grandfather, Prince Ernst August, the eldest son of Prince Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, opened Schloss Marienburg to the public.   Ernst August's father, Ernst August, inherited the schloss and other family properties following his father's death in 1987.

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These properties were passed to the young prince in 2004 largely due to tax and financial reasons.

Although there were questions about the financial investment from the political opposition, the sale of the castle and the other financial obligations from the state government appeared to be final, a deal that pleased both sides.

Only a few days after the announcement, a patrimonial spanner was thrown into the deal.  Papa decided that the deal was not legitimate and claimed that his elder son had acted with "gross indignation" in his negotiations with the Kosterklammer.   He declared the deal invalid, claiming that his son had negotiated without his knowledge.

The decision in 2004 to turn over the family properties to his then 22-year-old son led to the young Ernst August taking on a large debt.  He made the decision to sell off 44 million euros worth of family treasures to pay off the debts and restore Schloss Marienburg.

Unfortunately for the younger Ernst August, the Schloss has continued to lose money as the revenue is disproportionate to the maintenance costs.

Although Papa tried to withdraw his gift to his son in 2017,  the younger Prince is the listed in the land register as the official owner of the properties.

The day after the announcement of the sale,  Papa sent a letter to Lower Saxony, which decided to put the sale on hold.

Prince Ernst August, jr., believes that he will win this battle.  He told one newspaper that a "comprehensive inheritance review came to a clear conclusion.  There is no doubt that I am in every way entitled to conclude the proposed contracts in all matters relating to the real estate and its inventory. There is no reason for speculation to the contrary.  Only I am listed in the land register.  There have been no changes.  The legal situation is crystal clear.  I am allowed to sell the Schloss.  The deadlines for my father to recover the property have long since expired."

The putative sale remains on hold for now.

"I am happy to dispel any misunderstandings and unreasonable concerns.  I am in direct contact with the state government."

Embed from Getty Images

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Royal Portraits come to Texas

For Thanksgiving Break I traveled to Austin, Texas, to spend the holiday with friends.  We drove to Houston (about 2.5 hours) to see the Tudors to Windsors exhibit at Houston's Museum of Fine Arts.  Most of the portraits were on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The ceiling lights did not work well with my flash, which explains the dots on many of the photographs.

I have visited the National Portrait Gallery in London on numerous occasions.  I did not have time to visit during my May 2018 trip  -- there was a royal wedding that seemed to be taking precedence, so this exhibit offered an opportunity to see several new portraits and photographs.

If you are unable to make a quick trip to Houston,  you can purchase the companion book by David Cannadine.

The exhibit travels to  Australia, in 2019.

One of my favorite paintings - Charles II and his siblings

My other favorite royal portrait from the NPG