Saturday, January 31, 2009

faux connections

I've been a royal genealogist for more than 30 years now. I specialize in the descendants of Queen Victoria. I doubt there are many others who know as much about the QVDs, as I do. Thus, I feel confident in blowing open one of the latest "royal" descendants. Consider the strange case of "Lady Grania Mountbatten", who claims to be the daughter of the late Lady Iris Mountbatten and her first husband, Hamilton O'Malley. Fortunately, her story does not told water or much else because she cannot get her facts right. She's even on Facebook, where she apparently gets away with her faux story.
Lady Iris's life was well-documented.

Let's consider the facts vs "Grania's" story. Please feel free to giggle or guffaw:

If Iris and Hamilton had children (they didn't), the children would have had the surname O'Malley and would have been commoners. No children were born of this marriage. The courtesy title of Lady before one's Christian name applies only to daughters of dukes, marquesses and earls. It is not hereditary.
"Grania" claims to be the Baroness Burrishole (allegedly through O'Malley) and has a seat in the House of Lords. Burrishole is an Irish barony (as in a part of the county), but Burrishole is not a barony as in a peerage. (Even so, Irish peers cannot sit in the House of Lords.)

She also claims that Iris and Hamilton were married at "Brantridge Park CE Parish in Balcombe, Sussex in England and by Royal License by THE KING, George the Third on January 29, 1941.) George III died in 1820 and was unlikely to have approved the marriage.

The engagement was announced on January 18,1941 and was announced in The Times. The announcement included "The engagement has his Majesty the King's sanction and approval."
George VI's approval of the engagement was not the same thing as official approval of the marriage, according to the requirements of the Royal Marriages Act. Lady Iris never sought official permission to marry because she descended from a princess who married into a foreign family. Although Prince Henry of Battenberg was naturalized as a British subject, he was born as a foreign prince; thus, Princess Beatrice, who was required to marry according to the Royal Marriage Act, married into a foreign family. Her descendants are excluded from the Royal Marriage Act.
Thus, George VI's approval was done, largely because Iris's grandmother, Princess Beatrice, was a member of the British royal family.
Nor did George VI issue a Royal License for the wedding. "Grania" also claims that the O'Malleys were Protestant. Reality check. Lady Iris and Hamilton O'Malley were married at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Hayward's Heath.

 This was one of the controversies regarding Lady Iris's wedding. She married a Roman Catholic and ceased to be a dynast, according to the Act of Settlement.
The wedding was announced in the Marriages section of the Times:
"The marriage took place quietly on Saturday afternoon at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church, Hayward's Heath."
In several interviews, Iris talked about the scandal of marrying a Roman Catholic, and then being divorced by him.
"Grania" also states that Hamilton was a Major in HM Royal Air Force. At the time of his marriage to Lady Iris, O'Malley was a Captain in the Irish Guards. He retired in 1949 with the rank of Major. According to his obituary, Hammy, as he was known to his friends, took part in D-Day, taking a glider on the River Arne. "He also flew a glider into the Battle of Arnhem, and was reported missing on 25th September, and then a Prisoner of War, he was repatriated in May 1945." 

By that time, his marriage was already over. In 1946, Lady Iris and Hamilton were divorced although the proceedings had begun more than a year earlier. Hammy was already involved with Sadie de Pentheny O'Kelly, whom he married on January 25, 1947. The couple had at least two sons, Charles Patrick, who was born on October 16, 1947, and Patrick, who was born on March 17, 1949. 

This marriage ended in divorce in 1970. He married for a third time to Elizabeth Saunders.
In an interview with the Toronto Star in 1981, Lady Iris said that her first marriage was a "total disaster, a nightmare." Hamilton divorced her. "I couldn't get an annulment without telling things I still refuse to tell. I could never tell a divorce court the horrible, ugly things that happened, but my husband finally agreed to divorce me.
"If I had divorced him, it would have been okay. But for him to divorce me -- that was really scandalous."

In a 1969 interview with the Toronto Globe magazine, Lady Iris said about her first marriage: "The first indication that I had that I was doing something rather unusual was when an official from the government came to request a signature on a paper which said that I and my heirs agreed to renounce all claims to the British throne. Well, I figured the only chance I had of becoming Queen was if a terrible plague hit Buckingham Palace. But of course, I had to sign it."

The journalist notes: "There were no heirs and in a few years, there was no marriage."

No heirs mean Lady Iris and Hamilton did not have children.
Lady Iris did have one son, Robin Bryan, by her second marriage to an American jazz musician. The couple was married for only a few months before they separated.
In 1947, Lady Iris came to the US, seeking employment. She was in the news because she bounced a few checks, which brought her to the attention of U.S. Immigration. After her third marriage in 1965 to a Canadian, William Kemp, Lady Iris settled in Toronto. The marriage to Kemp lasted only two weeks, but the couple never divorced.

I met Lady Iris in the late 1970s when I visited her Toronto home on two separate occasions. We talked about her family, and she showed me private albums. We also talked about her childhood.  I've also been in contact with her son, Robin. He was his mother's only child.

My favorite comment was a response "Grania" made to an article about exiled monarchs:

"Lady Grania Mountbatten - June 18th, 2008 at 9:41 am

I am ´ligit Queen of Germany whenever I as Queen as Monarch is required in Germany, not the Prince of Prussia. That family renounced their right to the throne and for their future generations did they not? as you said he is a ´pretender."

Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia is the head of the former German Imperial Family. He succeeded his grandfather, Louis Ferdinand, as his father had died a year after he was born, and his two uncles had renounced their rights because they had married unequally. Moreover, Salic law applies to the German throne, and the Battenbergs do not descend from this family. The Battenbergs were a morganatic branch of the Grand Ducal House of Hesse and By Rhine.

If the monarchy had not been abolished after the end of the first world war, Georg Friedrich would now be the German Emperor and King of Prussia.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Grand Duke's natural son sues for inheritance

January 30, 1909

Count Valevoski, the natural son of the late Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, who died two months ago in Paris, plans to file suit against Grand Duke Wladimir, who is the executor of Alexis's estate.
Grand Duke Alexis openly acknowledged his son, whose mother was a maid of honor at the Russian court, and stated in his will and other documents that his son was entitled to the bulk of his estate, which is worth more than $100,000,000. However, Grand Duke Wladimir, has so far "refused to disgorge a solitary kopeck," to Alexis's son.

Princess Alexandra Victoria seeks US citizenship


January 30, 1929

Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein has stated her intention to become an American citizen. During the last three years, the princess, who divorced Kaiser Wilhelm II's son, Prince August Wilhelm, in 1920, has spent much time in the USA. The princess says she intends to support herself as a painter.

It appears that the princess will become the first member of the former Imperial court to seek American citizenship. She said today that she has always been interested in art and painting, and has painted since childhood. Her work has been exhibited in Europe, but her first American exhibit of chalk drawings, watercolors, and pastels, will open on February 5 at the Grand Central Art Galleries.

The Princess says that "painting in this country interests her intensely," and she hopes to paint Western canvasses.

She knows that succeeding here as an artist will be difficult, and she spoke frankly with reporters: "But the very things that make success difficult here also make life stimulating. The competition spurs one on to do better and better work. Here one sees new things from all parts of the world; and meets constantly new people. And I like the tendency here to make work something of a sport, and the feeling of people that even though they have means they must themselves accomplish something."

Princess Alexandra Victoria and her husband, Commander Arnold Ruemann, live in a modest apartment, which is "crowded with examples of her work awaiting exhibition."

Commander Ruemann, who once served in the Imperial German Navy, said he and his wife both intend to seek American citizenship.

Duke of Gloucester engaged to Duke of Buccleuch's daughter

January 30, 1929

The Daily News, a London newspaper, reported today that the Duke of Gloucester, the third son of King George V, is about to become engaged to Lady Angela Scott, the youngest daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch.
Before the Duke left on a trip to Africa, "it was understood that his engagement would be published as soon as he arrived home." This did not happen because of the King's illness. The announcement is now expected to be made after the King has recovered.
Lady Angela is 23-years-old, and is a "pretty brunette who loves open-air life and is a good rider to the hounds." The Duke has been a frequent visitor to the Duke of Buccleuch's "hunting seat on the Scottish border and has been a close friend of the family for years."

Prince Oskar elected as head of order

January 30, 1927

Prince Oskar of Prussia, the youngest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, has been elected as Grand Master of the Order of St. John, "the most exclusive aristocratic order in Germany." He replaces his older brother, Prince Eitel Friedrich, who stepped down as Grand Master, following his divorce from Duchess Sophie Charlotte of Oldenburg last October.
Although the divorce proceedings were held in a "secret session," the grounds for the divorce against Prince Eitel Friedrich were made public. Princess Eitel Friedrich charged her husband with "ill-treatment and incompatibility."

New article on the Spanish article

From ABC News:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Royal cousins play in the snow

January 29, 1935

Crown Prince Michael of Roumania, an ex-king at the age of 13, visited his first cousin, 11-year-old King Peter of Yugoslavia, for the first time today. They got out their skis and "slid down the long slopes of the palace grounds." Peter then showed his cousin his tools in the palace workshop. Tomorrow, Michael and Peter "plan more exciting skiing."

This was the first royal visit that King Peter has received since succeeding to the throne following his father's assassination last October. Crown Prince Michael " was ceremoniously introduced" to King Peter. The two boys were "left to get acquainted in the fashion of boys everywhere."

Crown Prince Michael recently visited his mother, Queen Helen, in Italy.
Peter's mother, Queen Marie of Yugoslavia, and Michael's father, King Carol II, are sister and brother.

American honeymoon for the Torlonias

Embed from Getty Images 
 January 29, 1935 

 Don Alessandro Torlonia, Prince di Civitella-Cesi, and his new wife, Infanta Beatriz of Spain, the daughter of King Alfonso XIII, arrived today on the Cunard White Star liner Aquitania. They will be spending their honeymoon in the United States. The Princess, "who comes of royal blood on both sides of her family, has the dark hair and complexion of her father and the Guelph nose resembling that of Queen Victoria." 

The newlyweds will stay at 400 East 57th Street and will visit the Prince's American-born mother, Princess Torlonia, who arrives tomorrow on the Italian liner Rex, at her home, 375 Park Avenue/ On the voyage the couple had all their meals in their suite and "did not mingle with the other passengers." Don Alessandro had a "slight attack of tonsillitis," and his bride suffered from seasickness. Infanta Beatriz "was very nervous" at meeting the press on the arrival at Quarantine, "especially the photographers, as she said, they had been so hounded before sailing from the other side." This is Beatriz's first visit to the States. 

She said she enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline, "about which she had read and heard so much about it." She is "tall and slim and has a kindly charm of manner which made her very popular in England. Beatriz's mother, Queen Victoria Eugenia, is currently staying a London hotel. Beatriz is about five inches shorter than her husband, "who is 6 feet 2 inches tall, with dark curly hair, broad shoulders, and a pleasant democratic bearing."

 Don Alessandro said they would stay in New York City before traveling to Florida. "We must be back in Europe in March for the wedding of my brother-in-law, Don Jaime," he told reporters, "and will probably sail on the Olympic from New York on March 6. "I want my wife to see America because I have a lot of American in me. If I can get away from New York in time, we will probably visit Niagara Falls, where all honeymooners go; Washington, D.C., and Palm Beach. It all depends on what plans my mother has made." 

Infanta Beatriz "wore a brown ensemble and a mink coat that reached to her ankles. Before leaving the ship, the couple posed for photographers. They were met at Pier 54 by a large Spanish delegation, who presented the Infanta with a large bouquet of yellow roses, bound with a red ribbon, "symbolizing the colors of Spain." The Countess of Colloredo-Mansfield, the Marquis de Belmonte, Doña Mena Belmonte, and the Princess of Bourbon were among those who welcomed the Infanta and her husband to New York City. 

Infanta Beatriz is a granddaughter of Princess Beatrice of Great Britain, Queen Victoria's youngest child.

Secret marrige revealed for archduke

January 29, 1929

Austrian society is gasping over the latest sensational news about Archduke Joseph Ferdinand. He is said to have received a communication from the spirit world regarding his marriage. During the war, he commanded the Austrian Fourth Army with "little success." At the "conclusion of peace," Joseph Ferdinand retired to a villa, near Mondsee, and devoted himself to farming. He dropped the use of his titles, and called himself Joseph F. Habsburg. Eight years ago, he married a farmer's daughter, Rosa Jockl, and "for several years they lived happily." Then "their relations cooled" when the former archduke became interested in spiritualism. He took part in a seance, where "a message from a Habsburg ancestress came through the medium," imploring the archduke to "divorce your wife; marry a younger girl and raise heirs to the House of Tuscany."
It is not known "whether the advice was actually received," but it is evident that Joseph Ferdinand "acted along the lines indicated." He divorced Rosa about a year ago, and moved into a house in the Schwarzenbergplatz, Vienna, and married secretly Getrude Tomanek, who is thirty years his junior, a few days ago.
The first reports stated that his new wife had worked as a chambermaid in a top Vienna hotel, but it turned out that the hotel had employed a Prussian woman with the same name. The new Mrs. Habsburg is the daughter of Colonel Tomanek, a distinguished Austria officer.
Joseph Ferdinand has declined to discuss "the story of a spirit message directing his actions, considering that the motives of the romance concern himself and his wife and no one else."

Joseph Ferdinand is a younger brother of the former Crown Princess Louise of Saxony.

Grand Duke Serge pulls the strings

January 29, 1905

"Evidence is accumulating," according to the New York Times reporter in Moscow, that Emperor Nicholas II "throughout the present crisis has acted largely upon the advice" of his uncle, Grand Duke Serge, who is described as "the most reactionary member of the imperial family." The Grand Duke is also the head of what is called the War Party, and "whom the Liberals stigmatize as Russia's evi; genius." The Associated Press has learned from a high source that Grand Duke Serge "more than Mr. Witte was responsible for the elimination from the imperial manifesto" for an elected delegation to the Council of the Empire. Ministers are powerless against Serge's influence. He remains in his palace behind the strong walls of the Kremlin's fortress.

Louise loses Saxony titles

January 29, 1903

Crown Princess Louise of Saxony has now lost all of her marital titles and prerogatives following her elopement with Monsieur Giron. Her father-in-law, the King of Saxony, issued a decree that was gazetted today in Dresden. Louise had already renounced her titles on January 9. This decree makes the renouncement official. No new titles for Louise were announced. Earlier, the Austrian emperor stripped her of archducal title and prerogatives as a member of the Imperial House of Austria.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prince Emanuele Filiberto to design clothes

Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Italy has no chance of succeeding to the Italian throne because there is no throne, and there is no change of a restoration. So what does a prince do if he doesn't have a throne, and he's Italian. He could become a vitner. Or he could design clothes. Prince Emanuele Filiberto has taken the second option.

No love lost between Kaiser and Cumberland

January 28, 1899

Kaiser Wilhelm II, recently in Hanover, accepted an invitation to attend the Silver Wedding celebrations of the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He "heard with chagrin" that the Duke of Cumberland, who is the pretender to the Hanover throne, was also invited to the celebrations. The Kaiser was infuriated by this, and he "sent a strong expression of dissatisfaction to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha" about Cumberland's invitation. He did not know that the Duke of Cumberland had already sent his regrets to the Duke and Duchess, and Kaiser Wilhelm "remained in high dudgeon and staid away." There have been "persistent rumors" that the Duke of Cumberland's eldest son, "might one day ascend the ducal throne of Brunswick," but only if he abjures all rights to the Hanover throne, and "demonstrates his loyalty to Prussia."
It appears that the Kaiser went to Hanover "to repudiate any intention of a rapprochement with the former Guelph dynasty." Wilhelm II has made it clear that the "union of Hanover and Prussia is to be an unalterable fact."
It has been said in "some Court Circles" that the Kaiser "has been made aware of recent utterances of the Duke of Cumberland regarding His Majesty, which have deeply wounded his self-esteem."

'Troth denied

January 28, 1935

The secretariat for the Swedish cabinet today denied rumors about an engagement between Princess Ingrid of Sweden and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark. An official denial was also made by King Christian X of Denmark when he was made aware of the press reports regarding a forthcoming engagement.
Princess Ingrid, who is the only daughter of the Swedish Crown Prince, has been the subject of marital rumors for several years now. The Crown Prince of Denmark has figured prominently in the more recent rumors, but in the past few years, the Princess has also been linked with Britain's Prince George and his elder brother, the Prince of Wales.
More than a decade ago, Crown Prince Frederik was engaged to Princess Olga of Greece. The engagement ended after only a few months, and she later married Prince Paul of Yugoslavia. Prince George, now the Duke of Kent, married Olga's youngest sister, Princess Marina, last November.

Albrecht wants art gallery back

January 28, 1935

Archduke Albrecht of Austria arrived in Vienna today to begin negotiations with the Austrian government for restitution regarding his father, Archduke Friedrich's, property, which was confiscated after the end of the world war. The negotiations are moving slowly, and the Austrian government has refused so far to pay restitution for Friedrich's picture galleries and art work, which form "a greater part" of the estate.
Albrecht is now "endeavoring to reach an agreement" regarding the family's Albertina collection, one of the world's most famous collection of sketches drawings. The collection was considered Archduke Friedrich's private property. So far, the Austrian government has refused to transfer this collection to Hungary, where Archduke Albrecht now resides. The government also refuses to pay an indemnity for the collection. The Archduke has said he will take his case to the World Court at the Hague if the Austrian government refuses to provide the restitution for Friedrich's property.

Ena races to mother's side

January 28, 1931

Queen Victoria Eugenia has now left Madrid and is en route to her mother, Princess Beatrice's bedside, in London. Princess Beatrice is suffering from bronchitis and a fractured arm. The most recent official bulletin regarding the princess's health stated that she is maintaining her strength. An earlier bulletin stated that the princess had a "fairly restful night."

Double Greek Roumanian wedding upcoming

January 28, 1921

The royal houses of Greece and Roumania are to be united, doubly, in marriage. According to the latest plans, Crown Prince George of Greece will marry Princess Elizabeth of Roumania between February 10 and February 15 in Bucharest. King Constantine will be represented by Prince and Princess Nicholas.
After the ceremony, the newly married couple, who will be accompanied by Princess Marie of Roumania, will travel to Athens for the marriage in late February between Princess Helen of Greece and Crown Prince Carol of Roumania. King Ferdinand will not attend this marriage.

George and Helen are the children of King Constantine and Queen Sophie of Greece and Carol and Elizabeth are the children of King Ferdinand and Queen Marie of Roumania. The Greek and Roumanian consorts are first cousins, as both are granddaughters of Queen Victoria.

Kaiser's grandson suffers relapse

January 28, 1915

Kaiser's young grandson, Prince Ernst August, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg, is seriously ill. Earlier this month, the prince, who is the son of the Kaiser's only daughter, Victoria Luise, and her husband, the Duke of Brunswick, underwent an operation for an inflammation of the year,and then suffered an attack of influenza. Prince Ernst August appeared to be getting better, but according to reliable reports coming out of Berlin, the infant prince has suffered a relapse.
Prince Ernst August was born on March 18, 1914. He is the couple's first child.

Alfonso: no estrangement

January 28, 1911

The head of the Spanish Legation in Washington, D.C., Minister Rieno has denied emphatically that there is disharmony between King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. This denial is in response to stories appearing in the American press, Minister Rieno says his denial is based on "personal knowledge" as well as information obtained in his "official capacity." He "asserts unhesitatingly" that the king and queen "enjoy the happiest relations." He believes that the rumors "have been set afloat maliciously by anti-dynastic influences."

Princess in car crash, no serious injuries

January 28, 1909

Princess Alice of Bourbon, the daughter of Don Carlos, who is the Carlist pretender to the Spanish throne, was not injured when her car was involved in an accident today on the Via Reggio in Rome. The princess and several of her companions were tossed from the car at the time of the accident, but none were seriously hurt. The automobile was wrecked, however.

Crown Princess Louisa loses archducal titles

January 28, 1903

Emperor Franz Josef of Austria has stripped the Crown Princess of Saxony of her archducal titles, styles and prerogatives. This act has been done with the approval of the Crown Princess' father, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and her father-in-law, the King of Saxony.
The former Archduchess Louisa of Austria is estranged from her husband, the Crown Prince of Saxony. She fled the marital home with her children's tutor, Monsieur Giron.
The Emperor's act is without parallel in the Imperial House, and is considered as a drastic measure.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frederik leaves for Sweden

January 27, 1935

Crown Prince Frederik has left Copenhagen, and is now en route to Sweden, where it is expected that his engagement to Princess Ingrid of Sweden will be announced. Princess Ingrid is the only daughter of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and his late wife, the former Princess Margaret of Connaught.

Kaiser Wilhelm II celebrates 70th birthday

January 27, 1929

The former German Emperor Wilhelm II today celebrated his 70th birthday at his home in Doorn, the Netherlands. A small group of veterans and monarchists held events in Berlin, but none of the events gathered large numbers of people. Several of the Kaiser's children, who were present for the party, chose not to address their stepmother as Kaiserin. Hermine chose to suffer an attack of grippe, which allowed Crown Princess Cecilie to act as hostess.

Archduke Rainer is dead

January 27, 1913

Archduke Rainer of Austria died today in Vienna. He was 86-years-old. The archduke was a second cousin of Emperor Franz Josef, and a brother-in-law of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy. He was born in Milan on January 11, 1827, the son of Archduke Rainer and Princess Elisabetta of Savoy. In February 1852, he married Archduchess Marie Caroline of Austria. Last year, they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

Although known primarily as a soldier, Archduke Rainer was also interested in science and art. He created the "the magnificent science and art museums" in Vienna. He also organized and promoted international exhibitions in Vienna and at the Prater in 1873 and 1889, respectively. "The scientific world owes to him the possession of a rare collection of papyrus records and Egyptian manuscripts," which includes manuscripts of the Gospel, dating before the 5th century. This collection is now housed in the library at Alexandria, Egypt.

Archduke Rainer and Archduchess Marie Caroline "were among the richest members of the House of Habsburg," and next to the Emperor, "were the most popular." The couple did not have any children, but they had adopted their niece, Countess Maria Rainiera, who is the wife of Enrico, Prince of Campofranco.
Maria Rainiera is the daughter of Rainer's youngest brother, Archduke Heinrich, who in 1868 contracted a morganatic marriage with Leopoldine Hofman. Ten years later, Leopoldine was created Baroness von Waideck. Maria Rainiera was also known by this title until the time of her marriage in 1892, when she was created Countess von Waideck.

Assassination attempt planned for Queen Elizabeth II

Monday, January 26, 2009

Will Olga marry Luigi?


January 26, 1899

Prince Luigi, Duke of the Abruzzi, maybe postponing a projected exploration of the North Pole due to a possible marital engagement with Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy in her column today.

The prince, who is a nephew of King Umberto I, has been in St. Petersburg for several weeks, where "he has devoted most of his time to visiting the widowed Empress Marie and two youngest children, Grand Duke Michael, and Grand Duchess Olga. The prince has now returned to Rome, apparently, to seek the consent from his uncle for a marriage between himself and the 17-year-old Olga.

Luigi has made a "favorable impression" on the Dowager Empress and her young daughter. Luigi, who is an internationally-known mountaineer and explorer, and "is undoubtedly the best of the younger generation of the Italian princes." Nicholas II "could not wish for a better brother-in-law."

The Italian Crown Princess Elena, a Montenegrin princess by birth, and was educated in Russia. Two of her sisters have married into the Russian imperial family, so it comes as no surprise that ties between the Romanovs and the Italian royal family would grow stronger.

It is worth mentioning that if an engagement is announced between Luigi and Olga, he will abandon his projected expedition of the North Pole, which is scheduled to take place in the spring.

Princess Victoria has a cold

January 26, 1929

Princess Victoria is suffering from a cold, according to Buckingham Palace, and is confined to her home today. She is "only following the example of about a third of the subjects of his Majesty, Britain having been visited during the last few weeks by the milder type of influenza which has been raging in America."
Victoria is the middle sister of King George V.

Karl in seclusion

January 26, 1919

Austrian Emperor Karl is "living in absolute seclusion" with his wife, Zita, and their children. He is not in contact with any other members of the Imperial Family or with Austrian political officials, and he receives no visitors, apart from business calls. His only "pastime" is his family and reading the newspapers.
Karl, who lost his throne after the end of the world war, is described as being in poor health and is depressed. Empress Zita is "resigned and holding up her head in adversity." She has no communication with her mother, the Duchess of Parma, and her mother-in-law, Archduchess Maria Josef, recently had her palace seized by the new republican government. She is "compelled" to accept her son's hospitality, as she has no other "means of support."

Marie Henriette dying of a broken heart

Embed from Getty Images 

 January 26, 1901 

 The doctors call it "chronic bronchitis and general exhaustion," but in reality, Queen Marie Henriette of the Belgians is slowly dying of a broken heart. "Few women of whatever degree have had as much mental suffering as this rich and popular Queen," whose life would have been very different if she had not been born an archduchess of Austria and a granddaughter of the late Empress Maria Theresia. Archduchess Marie Henriette, as a member of the Austrian Imperial Family, could not marry for love. 

She would be betrothed in a dynastic alliance with King Leopold II of the Belgians. Her father-in-law, King Leopold I, "a stiff, stern, cranky fellow," who made life miserable for his young daughter-in-law. There were too many rules and regulations issued by Leopold for his family, and Marie Henriette found her spirit quickly broken. King Leopold, I would often scold his daughter-in-law in public. This was compounded by the unquenchable grief that Marie Henriette suffered when her only son died as an infant. Although the couple had three daughters, the loss of a male heir "was a source of much bitterness" to the future Leopold II. 

Marie Henriette did give birth to three healthy daughters, but only males can succeed to the throne in Belgium. Queen Marie Henriette wanted crowns for all three of her daughters. Her eldest daughter, Louise, was married in 1875 to Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Princess Stephanie made a far more grand marriage when she wed Archduke Rudolf, the Crown Prince of Austria. These two marriages "proved to be the unhappiest two marriages that royalty has made in our time." Prince Philipp "was a brute, according to all accounts," and subjected his wife "to all indignities." 

Princess Louise eventually fled the marital home. She left her home with her lover, but ended up in debt and dissipation, and was "eventually carried off" to an asylum on the order of her husband. She remains today in a mental institution although she is believed to be sane. Louise pleaded with her father for help. She turned up one morning at 4 a.m., at her father's place, begging for his help. She was bruised and in tears, a victim of domestic abuse.

Louise wanted to be free from her marriage, but her father, unbending as usual," sent her back to her abusive husband. Her "pleading brother her mother's heart," because Marie Henriette could not help Louise as she was also a victim of spousal abuse.

 Stephanie was also married to an unsympathetic man, whose dissipated life led to his tragic death at Mayerling. His legacy was one young daughter, and a wife who could not give him a son. Rudolf had infected his wife with a venereal disease that rendered her unable to have more children. Marie Henriette, once so full of life, now "no longer cares to live."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy have split

Prince Harry of Wales and his South African-born girlfriend, Chelsy Davy, have ended their five-year relationship.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Maria of Italy married to Bourbon-Parma prince

January 23, 1939

Princess Maria, the youngest daughter of King Victor Emmanuel and Queen Elena of Italy, was married this morning to Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma. Princess Louis is the son of the late Duke of Parma and Duchess of Parma.

The court chaplain performed the "intimate but brilliant ceremony in the Pauline chapel of the Quirinal Palace." More than 500 guests attended the wedding, "representing the flower of Italian nobility."

Immediately after the ceremony, the bride and groom were received by Pope Pius, for a fifteen-minute audience. The pope presented Maria with a rosary of agate beads set in gold. Prince Louis received a gold pontifical medal. The newlyweds then returned to the Quirinal Palace, where they will remain for several days before going on their wedding trip.

Princess Maria "wore a plainly cut white satin gown that fell in a straight line." Two members of the court bore the eighteen-foot train. The princess's dark hair "was crowned by an orange blossom diadem, covered by a long lace veil held in place by a diamond clasp and reaching her feet. The groom wore a full evening dress.

The bride's witnesses were her brother, the Crown Prince, and her uncle, the Count of Turin. The groom's brothers, Princes Saverio and Gaetano, were Prince Louis' witnesses.

At 11 a.m., the Grand Master of Ceremonies "announced the arrival of the royal procession. King Victor Emmanuel headed the procession with the bride, followed by King Boris of Bulgaria, who escorted Queen Elena. Prince Louis followed with his mother, then former King Ferdinand of Bulgaria with former Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, former King Alfonso XIII of Spain with Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria, a sister of the bride, the Crown Prince and Princess of Italy, the Prince of the Asturias and Prince Cyril of Bulgaria. The procession also included Prince Philipp of Hesse, who walked alone as his wife, Princess Mafalda, has been unwell, and was unable to attend her youngest sister's wedding, and Princess Yolanda of Italy, and her husband, Count Calvi di Bergolo.

The Italian premier Benito Mussolini was also present. He "sat alone in his uniform with the golden braid and cocked hat, wearing the collar of the Annunciata, Italy's highest decoration."

The couple knelt at the altar, the witnesses at their said. When the chaplain asked "the ritual question," Princess Maria, before replying, "looked to her father for royal assent." When the king "nodded slightly", the bride bowed her head and whispered "yes," while the organ played "Ave Verum."

It is believed that the honeymoon will be spent in Italy, leaving in the spring for Mozambique, where Prince Louis owns property.

Ferdinand to abdicate; Carol to succeed

January 23, 1927

Several dispatches coming out of Bucharest today state that King Ferdinand of Roumania will abdicate his throne in favor of his eldest son, Carol, who is being recalled from Paris.
It is understood that Ferdinand has "won his fight for the political and dynastic domination of his own kingdom." The transfer of power is expected to take place in a few weeks so Ferdinand can travel to France "to wage a battle against the disease, which has been undermining his health for years."
It is also reassured that Crown Prince Carol and Crown Princess Helen will reconcile. The couple have been estranged for more than a year. The reconciliation is expected to take place somewhere in Italy.

Princess Patricia to become a Lady after marriage

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January 24, 1919

King George V has consented to his first cousin, Princess Patricia of Connaught's wish to relinquish her title of Princess when she marries Captain Alexander Ramsay of Mar in February. The popular Princess Patricia will renounce the title of Princess and the style of Royal Highness and will be known as The Lady Patricia Ramsay.

Her precedence will proceed the Marchionesses of England.

The Princess will also receive a "considerable fortune" from the estate of her late mother, the Duchess of Connaught.

Captain Ramsay is the younger brother of the Earl of Dalhousie.

Nicholas II completely incompetent

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January 23, 1905

Former American Ambassador to Russia, Andrew White has made the following statement concerning the situation in St. Petersburg: "If the Czar is a weak man, as the present Emperor is, he can do very little. A week man cannot know an anything about the empire to speak of, because he is surrounded by Grand Dukes, women &c., who tell him what they want him to believe and keep all the truth away from him which they do not wish him to hear.

"The main difficulty in the whole case is that the Emperor is supposed to do all the thinking for 140,000,000 of people, scattered over the largest territory possessed by any Government in the world with all sorts of different races, religions and ideas, and this no man can do, and least of all in a time life this.

"The simple fact is that the evils of the old system have now become absolutely intolerable. And when you add to that facat the sending off of immense numbers of the best young men in the country to an utterly useless and wicked war, and the pressure of taxation which grinds the people to the dust, you have a situation which none but the very strongest rulers in human history can cope with.

"The Czar has no strength of character, no proper education, and is hopelessly unfit to grapple with the situation.

"No doubt the worst of the features of the situation have been kept from him.
Mr. White believed that advisers to the Russian emperor would recommend a policy similar to that of Nicholas I, who sent the "ringleaders of the insurrection of eighty years ago shot, hanged, or sent to Siberia." He did not believe "that important changes to Russia could be long delayed.

Andrew Dickson White served as ambassador to Russia from 1892 to 1894. He later served as the USA's first ambassador to Germany. He is also a co-founder of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Prussian princes have the measles

January 23, 1903

An outbreak of the measles has affected several younger members of the Prussian royal family, including Princes August Wilhelm and Oscar. The princes' illnesses "great interferes with the brilliance of the court festivities at Berlin this winter." The Empress will not attend the various soirees because she prefers to remain with her sick children.

Prince of Wales to reign as Edward VII

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January 23, 1901

The new King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland has chosen to be styled as King Edward VII. His only surviving son -- and heir apparent -- the Duke of York will now be known as the Duke of Cornwall and York. In due course, it is believed, the Duke will be created Prince of Wales.

In London, the king met with the Privy Council, and took the oath of accession. In his first statement to the council, King Edward said that "this is the most painful occasion on which I shall ever be called upon to address you. My first and melancholy duty is to announce to you the death of my beloved mother, the Queen; and I know how deeply you and the whole nation and, I think I may say, the whole world sympathize with me in the irreparable loss we all have sustained.

"I need hardly say that my constant endeavor will be always to walk in her footsteps. In undertaking the heavy load which now devolves on me, I am fully determined to be a constitutional sovereign in the strictest sense of the word and, so long as there is breath in my body, to work for the good and amelioration of my people."

The king's statement also included his reason for using the name Edward, although he had been known as Albert Edward as Prince of Wales.

"I have resolved to be known by the name of Edward, which has been borne by six of my ancestors. In doing so I do not undervalue the name of Albert, which I inherited from my ever-to-be-lamented, great and wise father, who by universal consent, is, I think, deservedly known by the name of Albert the Good, and I desire that his name should stand alone.

"In conclusion, I trust to Parliament and the nation to support me in the arduous duties which now devolve on me by inheritance, and to which I am determined to devote my whole strength during the remainder of my life."

The late Queen Victoria now lies in state at Osborne House. Funeral arrangements are expected to be made today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Princess Beatrice's car is found

Victoria dead; Albert Edward succeeds as king

January 22, 1901

Queen Victoria died tonight at 6:30 p.m. She "passed away quite peacefully," and suffered no pain. She died one day before the anniversary of her father, the Duke of Kent's, death on January 23, 1820.
The Queen, who was surrounded by members of her family, including her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, who is now the King, and her eldest grandson, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The end came in a "simply furnished room at Osborne House. On the wall, the queen could see through her feeble eyes a portrait of her beloved Albert, who had designed the room where she now lay dying.
The Bishop of Winchester prayed ceaselessly at the Queen's bedside.
The Queen's family has not released a lot of information about her final hours, but it is known that Victoria, in a feeble voice, bid farewell to her son, "to whom she spoke a few words of great moment." All of the other members of the family who were present filed past the four poster bed to hear a whispered good bye. All were in tears.
At six p.m., as the Bishop continued his intercession, one of the Queen's young great-grandchildren "asked a question in a shrill, childish treble," and was immediately silenced.
The "strictest of secrecy" regarding the queen's final hours and death.
Funeral arrangements for the 81-year-old queen are expected to be announced in the next few days.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a wonderful day!

The alarm was set for 3:15 a.m. I got myself out of bed, fed the cats, and dressed. Warmly. Numerous layers. Silk long johns followed men's' thermal sleep pants and my jeans. Thermal shirts, a wool sweater topped by my Icelandic wool jacket, and a fleece cape. Warm hat. Leather lined gloves topped by Icelandic wool mittens. I bought new boots at Target (which cost me $8.75 in the Clearance section) on Saturday, lined to keep you warm (down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.) Didn't get that cold today, but the temperature barely made it above freezing.

I added two scarves and made sure I had enough heat warmer and toe warmer packets, in case I needed them. I needed them. I also brought some fruit, a bottle of water, binoculars and a camera. Metro opened at 4. I drove (about 3 minutes) to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. I noticed a long line of cars making their way from off the 95 exit into the Metro station. I came locally, with no traffic. Parked the car. The line to get into the Metro took about an hour. Got on the Blue line just after 5 am. It was slow going due to delays as we got closer to DC. Trains would be kept in stations, as other subway trains let out passengers at stations close to the Mall.

I was lucky to get a Silver ticket to the Inaugural. This got me onto the Mall just below the Reflecting Pool, which is south of the Capitol. (There is also another Reflecting Pool by the Lincoln Memorial.) One could see the Capitol, but the Jumbotron provided better coverage.

I arrived in D.C. after 6 a.m., getting out at L'Enfant Plaza, as the train would not be stopping at the next station, Federal Center. Metro had closed the station because there were too many people trying to exit from there. This was where I should have gone out because the Security entrance for the Silver ticket was closest to this stop. It made sense to get off at L'Enfant Plaza, and I was able to calm out-of-towners who knew they had to get off at Federal Center. I said it was only a few blocks away. In the end, it didn't matter. The line for the Silver Tickets was stretching all the way down Independence Avenue by the Air and Space Museum. As I walked toward Independence to make my way to the line, I spotted a hotel, which of course would have a ladies' room. I got in line, which was very long, but a very kind hotel employee took a group of us to another ladies room, which was actually located in the FEMA building, attached to the hotel. He took us right through security.

Then it was off to the Silver ticket line, which moved slowly until 8 am when the checkpoint opened. I got into the Mall after 9, which meant I had at least another hour until the music started.

Security had checked my plastic bag and padded down my pockets ... nothing major, just hand warmers and a small plastic bag filled with Quaker Oat Squares. I surveyed my surroundings to see where would be the best place to stand. There were several Jumbotrons, as well as Port-a-potties. Many of us moved toward the front of the fence, which was a flimsy green plastic fence, which collapsed quickly when a few people (not me) leaned on it  ... and the peasants charged out, around the Reflecting pool to a barrier made out of bike racks in front of the Reflecting Pool. Let's just say the U.S. Capitol police watched with amusement as we filled in the empty section in front of the Reflecting Pool. We cheered. We applauded the police as they drove or rode their bikes around the area. We started all the cheers O BAM A or YES WE CAN. Or YES WE DID! I started that one, actually -- and we would hear the cheers resonate down the mall.

So if you see any aerial shots, look for the Capitol - and then the street that divides the Capitol from the Mall. I was in the first row of the pile of many, many people. Hundreds of thousands of people. Make that perhaps more than a million people. Two million people!

It was impossible to go to the Inauguration and the parade afterward due to separate security checkpoints. The parade route was largely filled in by people even before the Inauguration was finished. This was perhaps a good thing. The parade was scheduled to start at 2:20 p.m., after the Departure of President Bush and the Congressional luncheon, where Senator Ted Kennedy, who is suffering from brain cancer, suffered a seizure.

The USA may be a republic, but we do have pomp and circumstance, and pageantry. Symbolic pomp to be exact. Pomp based on tradition. You won't find foreign dignitaries attending an Inauguration. Invitations are never extended to other heads of state or heads of governments. Heirs to thrones don't get to represent their fathers or mothers at a Presidential Inauguration. Foreign ambassadors, however, do receive invitations.

January 20th is a day for Americans and America. This is the day, every four years when a president is inaugurated. Not everyone is happy with the choice.  My feeling: don't let the door hit you on the way out! I've been an Obama supporter for two years. He got my vote even before he became a candidate, thanks to a super Newsweek magazine profile.

The guest list for this inauguration included the former living presidents and their wives. Senator Clinton, who has not yet been confirmed as Secretary of State, walked out with her husband, President Clinton. All three of the former living vice presidents were also in attendance: Mondale, Quayle, and Gore. Ditto the former Speakers of the House (Foley and Gingrich). Other American dignitaries were also present, including Colin Powell, a Republican who supported President Obama (oh, how I love writing that!)

The entire ceremony is completely American, even down to the music. Aretha Franklin did justice to "America." I was also not impressed with Rick Warren, who gave the invocation. He did not come across as sincere, and even, though I am a passionate and devout Lutheran, I do not think the Lord's Prayer was necessary for a Presidential inauguration. The Lord's Prayer is perfect for Christian services, but not for an inauguration, which is supposed to be inclusive, not exclusive.

I was touched by Obama's speech because he spoke to all Americans. He -- and we-- know that these next few years will be difficult - but we also know and believe that Yes, We Can get through the turmoil and build -- and rebuild -- our way of life.

Yes, I shed tears because I am so proud of my country. Did you see the diversity in the crowd? We - the American people - are indeed a "patchwork nation."
Several factoids: this was the largest crowd ever for an Inauguration. But do you know what was the previous record: Lyndon Baines Johnson's inaugural in 1965.

One member of the government, who is in the line of presidential succession, was not present for the inauguration. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was taken to a secret location, as Obama's designated successor, in case of a tragedy. This was the first a designated successor was named for the inauguration, although one Cabinet member is always missing from the annual State of the Union Speech.

The ceremony was largely over by one p.m. I started walking back toward L'Enfant Plaza. I was tired, a bit cold, hungry, and ready for a nap. It took a bit of time to get down into the Metro. Crowd control at this particular station was being maintained by Army personnel. Passengers were allowed through the entrances without having to pay. The Blue line came within a few minutes. I got on and got a seat, and got home about 2:30. Kudos to Metro for being able to move so many people with few incidents.

I peeled off the many layers and jumped into the shower to thaw out and then made a cup of coffee, opened a can of soup,  and put on something comfortable, to watch the Inaugural Parade, which is, again, uniquely American.

After a nice, lovely 5 day weekend, it is back to work tomorrow. A start of a new day, a new nation. A new president.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Queen dying, according to Osborne staff

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January 19, 1901 

 A local rumor, "purveyed by Osborne House employees," declares that Queen Victoria "lies at death's door." There is no official confirmation of this, but the Prince of Wales has received "authority to act in Her Majesty's stead, and there thus been created a practical, though not Constitutional, regency." The Prince of Wales now has the power of signing State documents. The Prince and Princess of Wales, Princess Louise, and other members of the royal family are at the Queen's bedside. Lord Salisbury remains in "telephonic communication" with Osborne House. 

The Prince of Wales will go to London today, and with his son, the Duke of York will meet with Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser is Victoria's eldest grandchild. Whether he travels on to Osborne will depend on the outcome of his meeting with the Prince of Wales. Official bulletins "may safely be described as optimistic," although the bulletins are accepted as "merely official evasions of fact." The Queen "lies helpless and almost speechless in her bed" at Osborne House. She is surrounded by every comfort. The Queen has received fruits and flowers and has "all the accessories of modern medicine." It has been said by those best qualified to judge that the Queen's deteriorating condition has been precipitated "by intense worry over the losses by the British troops in South Africa."

 Privately, she had told court officials that "another war would kill her." 

According to a Reuter's telegram, Queen Victoria "was most seriously ill" last fall at Balmoral. Although it appeared that she "was then almost dying." Her illness had not been made public "because of the rigorous etiquette which she imposes alike upon her family and attendants prevented her condition being even spoken of as dangerous." The present stroke that the queen has suffered is certainly a sequel to what happened at Balmoral.

Although Victoria has become "a mere shadow of her former self," she would never admit that she was ill. The "Queen Victoria tradition and etiquette decree that she is never ill; and so, with dogged determination, she fought off the ravages that worry over the Boer war, the deaths in her own family, and her increasing years have brought upon her." Despite the bulletins, "nothing official is obtainable," but no one connected with Osborne House believes that the Queen "can survive this attack."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Queen Victoria Ill

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 January 18, 1901 

 There is great concern in Great Britain regarding an announcement today concerning the health of Queen Victoria.

 "The Queen has not lately been in her usual health and is unable for the present to take her customary drives. The Queen, during the past year, has had a great strain upon her powers, which has rather told upon her nervous system. It has therefore been thought advisable by Her Majesty's physicians that Her Majesty should be kept perfectly quiet in the house, and should abstain for the present from transacting business." 

Queen Victoria is staying at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. She was born on May 24, 1819, and she succeeded to the throne on June 18, 1837.

 The Queen's doctors say there is no cause for alarm, but the announcement has caused great concern as Victoria's absolute freedom from an illness during the longest reign in English history has led her people to regard her as more than mortal." 

Up to midnight, there were no changes to the plans of the Royal Family.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Young Grand Duchess Caroline is dead

January 17, 1905

Grand Duchess Caroline of Saxe-Weimar died this morning "from inflammation of the lungs supervening upon influenza." She was 21-years-old. The former princess of Reuss married Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar in April 1903, but the marriage was fraught with tension. At one point, the Grand Duchess fled the marital home, but was persuaded to return.
The couple had no children.

Alfonso XIII to marry Mecklenburg duchess

January 17, 1905 

 Pope Pius X is said to be behind the proposed engagement between King Alfonso XIII and Duchess Marie-Antonia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The Duchess's parents, Duke Paul and his wife, the former Princess Marie of Windisch-Graetz, have lived in Venice for some years now. 

 Marie was born in Venice in 1884. Pius, who was Cardinal Sarto, acted as the couple's spiritual advisor, and "was naturally drawn towards the family of a prince, such as Grand Duke Paul." The Grand Duke had sacrificed a military career, "which had given promise of great brilliancy," as well as his rights to the Ducal throne because of his conversion to the Roman Catholic faith. Duchess Maria Antonia is described as a special favorite of the Pope, and he is "exceedingly anxious that she should become the queen of Spain." 

It is said that the heads of the houses of Russia, Austria, and Prussia are also in favor of the marriage, as "it is exceedingly likely to become a fait accompli." There is one drawback, however. Duke Paul has little money, and his daughter is unlikely to bring to her husband a dowry. 

Maria Antonia is one of four children of the Duke and Duchess, although her two older sisters, Duke Paul and Duchess Marie Luise, are deceased. Young Paul died in 1904, and Marie Luise was only four years old when she died in 1887. Marie Antonia has one younger brother, Heinrich Borwin, who was born in 1885. One of Marie Antonia's aunts, Marie, is the wife of Grand Duke Wladimir of Russia. One uncle, Heinrich, is married to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

Bagration dispute

There appears to be a family dispute among members of the Georgian royal family. Prince David, whose engagement to Princess Anna Bagration was recently, is considered by many to be the legitimate heir to the Georgian throne. Anna's father, Nuzgar, is the senior male line descendant from Georgia's last king. Thus, this marriage unites both lines, thus clearing up confusion over the line of succession. But does it.

A few days ago, David's half-aunt and half-uncle, Princess Maria Paz and Prince Bagrat, released a statement to the media where they challenged David's position as the head of the Georgian royal house.
They claim to be the legitimate descendants of HRH Prince Irakly Bagration-Mukhrani, and they do not recognize David Bagration Zornoza as head of the Georgian royal house or heir to Georgia's non-existent throne. Maria and Bagrat also claim that their older half-brother, Jorge Bagration Pasquini, was removed from the succession by their father, Prince Irakly, although this statement contradicts comments made by Princess Maria in 1992.
They also want it known that David's wedding is not a royal wedding but "a private wedding between two individuals."
Although the Spanish media have written that David is related to the Spanish royal family, Maria and Bagrat make it clear that he is not related to Juan Carlos and his family.
The late Prince Iraki, who died in 1977, was married four times. His first marriage, to Maria Belaiev ended in divorce. His second marriage took place in 1940. when he married an Italian countess Maria Antonietta Pasquini. Four years later, Irakli was a widower, as his wife died after giving birth to Jorge. In 1946, Irakli married again, this time to a member of the Bavarian royal family. His third wife was Princess Maria de las Mercedes of Bavaria, who was also an Infanta of Spain, due to her father's marriage to King Alfonso XIII's sister, Infanta Maria Teresa.
Maria and Bagrat are the issue of this third marriage, although their statement says second marriage. Their mother died in 1953. Irakli married for a fourth time in 1961 to a Spaniard, Maria del Pilar Pascual y Roig. There were no children born of this marriage.

This is not the first time that Maria has commented on the unworthiness of her elder half-brother's line. In an 1992 interview with the Associated Press, Jorge said that he believed that if a restoration occurred it "will be sooner rather than later. I believe that I have more possibilities of being king than my children, that's what I meant by sooner.
Princess Maria Paz, then 44, and an oral surgeon in Madrid, did agree that there was a new interest in the monarchy in Georgia, but she did not believe that monarchy was the answer to Georgia's problems.
"There is a feeling in several former communist countries that a return to the monarchy will solve all the problems. It won't. Royal families do not supply bread and other vital essentials of daily life." She also said that her older brother would be unfit to be king. "His matrimonial life is a tangle. And if he cannot organize his family life, how could he manage the affairs of state?"
Maria also said that Jorge had renounced his claim when he married, and she believed that her younger brother, Bagrat, would make a better king.
She was also asked about her position as heir to the throne. "I have no aspirations for myself, but if they call me I will go. There is no rule laid down for male or female succession."
Maria's father, Prince Irakli, had died suddenly from a heart attack, and she said that his will included no references about the succession. "But he never thought there was a possibility of the monarchy going home. Nor did I until a few months ago."
She added: "If the monarchy is to be restored it will have to show leadership.It cannot just be a figurehead. Anyway," she added, "the succession problem has to be resolved. But there are other branches of the family living in the United States and Italy.
Another article in 1992 notes that Georgian politicians who visited Spain in 1992 to meet the royal family, were leaning toward Jorge's more serious younger brother, Bagrat, or his young son, Juan.
Jorge was a former motor-racing champion who appeared frequently in Spain's gossip magazines.
Jorge's mother was a commoner, while Bagrat's "was impeccably blue-blooded."
It was also noted at the time that Maria Paz was the only one who had a job, and was the one most interested in Georgia, having even taught herself "the difficult language of her homeland."
Another profile of the family from 1992 notes "that there is no love lost between Maria and Jorge." The princess once described her brother as a playboy.
"She claims I am immoral and feckless, a man who can't even run his marital life properly. That is not true. She is bitter because I divorced my first wife, who was a childhood sweetheart, who was also Maria's best friend." It was said at the time that Maria never forgave her brother for his failed marriage, as he lived with his second wife, Nuria, before he was divorced from his first wife.

Despite Maria Paz's protestations, her late brother, Jorge, and his son, David, have been recognized as the heirs to the former monarchy. David now lives in Georgia. In 2005, he said in an interview: "I am an ordinary person with ordinary habits without any monarchist approaches. I try to follow Georgian traditions." In that interview he also said that he wanted to marry a Georgian woman so he can raise his children as Georgians. "Nobody ordered me to marry here, but I, myself, want to have a Georgian wife. I want my children to speak Georgian. This will be a great happiness." He also wants to marry for love.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Will the Duke of Coburg attend Missy's wedding?


January 15, 1893

Will the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha be present for the wedding of his great-niece, Princess Marie of Edinburgh, when she married the Crown Prince of Roumania? Queen Victoria, Empress Friedrich, and the King of the Belgians "have all been endeavouring to obtain a promise" that Duke Ernst II will attend. But so far, their requests have gone to no avail.

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha "has not been on cordial terms with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh for many years," even though the Duke of Edinburgh is next in line to the Coburg throne. But the Duke's real reason for not wanting to attend the wedding is to avoid Kaiser Wilhelm II, as Ernst "has carefully avoided any intercourse" with the Emperor since Bismarck's dismissal.

The German view is that Duke Ernst "entertains the very highest opinions of his own abilities," and he expected to play a major role in imperial politics after the death of Emperor Friedrich in 1888. He resents Wilhelm's indifference to his own advice. Ernst's wrath "was greatly increased" when he learned that the King of Saxony and the Grand Duke of Baden "were the only royal personages whom his grandnephew ever thought of consulting respecting affairs of State."


Duke Ernst II is the older brother of the late Prince Albert, who in 1839, married Queen Victoria. The Duke of Edinburgh is their second son and fourth child. Princess Marie, 17, is the Duke of Edinburgh's eldest daughter and second child. She married Crown Prince Ferdinand at Sigmaringen on January 10. The Duke of Coburg did not attend.

This report is based on an article in the London Truth, which was republished by the New York Times.

Little Bulgarian princess baptised into the Orthodox faith

January 15, 1933 

 Queen Elena of Italy arrived in Sofia this evening to attend the Roman Catholic baptism of her granddaughter. The baptism, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic church, was to have taken place later this week.

Much to the queen's surprise -- and the surprise of many others -- the little princess, only forty-eight hours old, had been hurriedly baptized earlier in the day into the Orthodox faith. The princess, the first child of King Boris and Queen Giovanna, has been named Marie Louise, after Boris's devoutly Roman Catholic mother, Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma. 

There is no doubt that this baptism will cause great consternation at the Vatican, as Boris had agreed to raise his children Catholic. This agreement was a condition for approval of his marriage to Princess Giovanna of Savoy by the Pope. Pius would not allow Giovanna, a Roman Catholic, to marry Boris in an Orthodox service. Alexander Malinoff, who is president of Bulgaria's parliament, was named as Marie Louise's godfather, and he held her during the ceremony. 

Members of the court and the government were present for the baptism, as well as the king and queen. Later in the day, the Papal representative, Msgr Roncalli, visited the Bulgarian premier and made an official protest against the Orthodox baptism.

To bob or not to bob

January 15, 1927 

 To be blunt: former Kaiser Wilhelm II hates short hair on women. His wife, Hermine, "wears hers long and drawn tightly about her head." Wilhelm's only daughter, the Duchess of Brunswick, has also kept her hair long. His daughters-in-law have other ideas. Crown Princess Cecilie wants to follow the example of her sister, Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, who recently bobbed her hair, but the Crown Prince objects.

 The first member of the family to cut her hair was Princess Alexandra Victoria, former wife of Prince August Wilhelm. She had "her hair shingled as soon as it became fashionable in Germany." Alexandra Victoria has since remarried and is now visiting the United States. Prince Eitel Friedrich's former wife, Princess Sophie Charlotte, "adopted a permanent wave bob even before the dissolution of her marriage."

 Prince Joachim's widow, Marie Auguste, "discarded her tresses" shortly before her marriage to Baron von Loen. Princess Adelheid, the wife of Prince Adalbert, quickly succumbed to the more modern style. Shortly after the end of the world war, the prince and princess were staying at a "fashionable hotel" in Meran, Tyrol. When other guests learned that the royal couple was arriving, they gathered in the lobby to glimpse the prince and princess. There was much disappointment when Adelheid and Adalbert arrived "wearing old-fashioned, almost pre-war, attire." 

Princess Adalbert sensed the situation. She quickly called for a barber "to shingle her hair." She also kept a modiste "working night and day to modernize her wardrobe. The transformation was complete in a few days." 

However, Prince Oscar's wife, Ina Marie refuses to give in to modern fashion. She says she will not "sacrifice her hair for any consideration, believing it to be the greatest attribute of womanliness."

New Grand Duchess in Luxembourg

January 15, 1919

The Government of Luxembourg today informed the Government of France of Grand Duchess Charlotte's accession to the throne, succeeding her sister, Marie Adelaide, who has abdicated.
Charlotte took the oath of office this afternoon before the Chamber of Deputies, which had previously approved her succession. The new Grand Duchess is the eldest of Marie-Adelaide's five sisters. She was born January 23, 1896, and is eighteen months younger than the former Grand Duchess.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Death of a 105 year-old countess

Countess Isabelle von Loë died on Saturday at her home in Kevelauer, Germany. She was 105-years-old. Isabelle was born at Potsdam, Germany, on February 3, 1903, the eldest of four children of Emanuel, the Hereditary Prince of Salm-Salm, and his wife, the former Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria. Emanuel was killed in action in 1916 at the age of 44.
Isabelle had two younger sisters, Rosemary and Cäclie, and a younger brother, Nikolaus Leopold, who succeeded his grandfather as the Prince of Salm-Salm.
The Hereditary Prince of Salm-Salm was a Lieutenant in the Prussian Uhians, headed by Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany. Crown Princess Cecilie was a close friend of Archduchess Maria Christina.
In 1925 at Anholt, Princess Isbaelle married Count Felix von Loë. Between 1926 and 1939, Isabelle gave birth to seven children: Fritz, Christine, Wessel, Elisabeth, Paula, Franz and Maria. In July 1944, Count Felix was killed in action in Russia. Isabelle never remarried. She raised her children at Schloss Wissen, which has been the von Loe family seat since 1629. (Today, the Schloss is the residence of Isabelle's grandson, Baron Raphael von Loë and his family. A part of the schloss has also been converted into a luxury hotel."
Countess Isabelle is survived by her six of her seven children, 23 grandchildren, and, at least, 65 great-grandchildren.

The photo shows a young Isabelle (before World War I) with her younger sister, Rosemary (1904-2001). Princess Rosemary married Archduke Hubert Salvator of Austria.

The von Loës were also Habsburg descendants through Archduchess Leopoldina of Austria (1776-1848) who married Ludwig, Count Arco, in 1804. In 1854, their granddaughter, Countess Theresia von Arco-Zinneberg, (1835-1906) married Maximilian, Count von Loë. The von Loe title passed to their second son, Friedrich Leopold, who married Countess Paula von Korff gen. Schmising. The first world war nearly decimated their family, as the couple's three sons, Degenhard-Bertram, Klemens and Felix, were all killed in battle. The two elder sons were killed during the first world war. Degenhard-Bertram had succeeded his father as Count in 1899, and following his death in action, the von Loë title passed to Felix (Klemens had been killed in 1914).
Baron Raphael, who is the eldest son of Count Fritz, is the heir apparent to the von Loë title.

Here is a link to Isabelle's obituary (in German):

Huge cheers for Alfonso as Beatriz marries

Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection

January 14, 1935
The "monarchistic spirit in Spain is dying hard," according to the Chicago Daily Tribune, which covered the wedding today of King Alfonso XIII's elder daughter, Infanta Beatriz, to Italian nobleman, Don Alessandro Torlonia. It is estimated that 4,000 Spaniards came to Rome to cheer the king and his daughter. The demonstrations outside the Jesuit Church of Jesus were described as "unusual," and the throngs of royalists threw kisses to their exiled king.

The only "jarring note" was the absence of the bride's mother, Queen Ena, who remained at her London hotel. There are unconfirmed rumors that the king and queen are estranged and will seek a divorce.

Further monarchists demonstrations took place at the Hotel Excelsior, where the wedding reception took place. The New York Times reported that "royalists gave vent to such loud cheering that Italian police sought to calm them."

The religious service was conducted by Pedro Cardinal Segura y Saenz, the exiled primate of Spain. The wedding guests included the King and Queen of Italy, and other members of the Italian royal family, who sat in the royal pew. Other royal houses that were represented were those of Bavaria, Orleans, Braganza, Greece and the French Bourbons, "with a sprinkling of Habsburgs."

The bride's family included her father, her sister, Maria Cristina, and three of her brothers, the Count of Covadonga, and the Infantes Jaime and Juan. Beatriz's youngest brother, Infante Gonzalo, was killed in an automobile accident last summer while Beatriz was driving the car.

Beatriz wore "a simple, almost severe, white satin gown with a long train." The train and the gown were trimmed with ermine. Orange blossoms from Spain "formed her coronet." Beatriz also wore a "tulle veil and a collar and necklace of pearls" that belonged to her grandmother, Queen Maria Cristina.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom had a private audience with Pope Pius XI.

Don Alessandro is half-American, as his mother is the former Elsie Moore of New York.

Princess Elsie "was pushed nearly out of the picture, taking her place on the benches back of the altar for near relatives." No chair was provided for her, as the mother of the bridegroom, as was customary. At the wedding breakfast, Elsie was seated "far down the left side of the table."

The bride received several impressive wedding gifts. King Alfonso's gift was a diadem, collar, and pendant of black pearls that once belonged to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, and later to Beatriz's grandmother, Maria Cristina. An aquamarine parure was given to the bride by Queen Elena. Princess Torlonia's gift to her new daughter-in-law was a "jeweled spray."

The newlyweds "slipped away to Frascati" for an overnight stay before traveling on to London to visit Queen Ena.

Queen Ena has not responded to requests for interviews, but her secretary has issued the following statement: I cannot give any reason why her majesty did not go to Rome."

La Guardia wants to know who is paying for Boris' visit

January 14, 1925

New York Congressman Fiorello LaGuardia wants to "find out if anyone is paying for the steamship fare" of Grand Duke Boris of Russia, who is currently en route to the United States. The congressman has sent a letter to the Secretary of Labor Davis to determine if the Grand Duke is "an assisted alien" and likely to become a "public charge."
Rep. LaGuardia requests "that this person be carefully inspected upon his arrival to ascertain whether or not he is coming here in violation of our immigration laws." In his letter, the congressman makes reference to recent visits by "members of the same family" to this country."Subsequent to their leaving, it was learned that they were assisted aliens within the meaning of the law, that their passage was paid for by others and that had they remained here they would have been likely to become public charges."
LaGuardia writes that he would like the Grand Duke to be investigated to see if he is an "assisted alien, and what assurances the Government will have that he not become a public charge.
"Moreover, judging from the actions of his relatives who were here recently and the conduct on the part of many impressionistic and plastic-minded citizens, I believe the department would be justified in ascertaining whether these repudiated, unemployed and shiftless dukes and archdukes are not coming here with the intention of overthrowing our republican form of government in the hope of establishing a monarchy. According to newspaper reports, people clamored and paid admission for the purpose of curtseying and kissing the hands of these pretenders in a manner so un-American that it would have been shocking were it not so ridiculously stupid.
"According to press reports, one of these jobless archdukes has even a 'military representative' in New York, one Captain Galokhvastoff, while the Russian royalists are reported to have headquarters at the Russian National Society, 5 Columbus Circle, New York City.
"I believe that the same rigid application of the immigration law that is generally applied to arriving aliens should be applied to these roaming royalists who come here to collect funds to destroy organized governments and to prey upon the credulity of social climbing dupes.

Royal engagement announced today

January 14, 1929

King Gustav V of Sweden today announced the engagement of Princess Martha, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Vastergotland, and Crown Prince Olav of Norway.
The prospective bride and groom are first cousins. Crown Prince Olav will turn 26 in July. His future wife is two years his senior. Olav arrived incognito this morning in Stockholm from Oslo. He accompanied Princess Martha and her parents, he visited the king, and then called upon the Crown Prince and Princess at the Ulriksdal Palace.
Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha were the guests at a lunch hosted by Prince Eugene.
Tomorrow, the King will host a luncheon party in honor of the engaged couple. The entire royal family is expected to attend.
No date has been set for the wedding, which has brought "great satisfaction" to the Swedes. The engagement came as a surprise in Oslo. King Haakon summoned members of the government to the palace, where they were told about the betrothal. The king asked the government for consent, which is required by the constitution. The Norwegian prime minister said that the engagement would "create enjoyment among the Norwegian nation."
The engagement dates back two and half years when Princess Martha and her mother, Princess Ingeborg, visited Oslo. At that time, the young couple agreed that they would marry, but would keep their troth secret, even from their closest relatives, until the Crown Prince completed his studies at Oxford.
Crown Prince Olav left Oslo without no one noticing. He wore "dark blue goggles and an unfamiliar suit so nobody would recognize him." A berth in a sleeper car on the train was reserved under an assumed name.
Princess Ingeborg and King Haakon are siblings. Martha's two sisters, Margaretha and Astrid, are already married. Margaretha is married to Prince Axel of Denmark, and Astrid is the wife of the Crown Prince of Belgium.

Helen and Michael to spend winter in Italy

January 14, 1927

Semi-official sources in Roumania are reporting today that Princes Helen and her 5-year-old son, Crown Prince Michael, will spend the winter in Rapallo, Italy. It is also believed that she will arrange for a meeting with Prince Carol, where he will be able to see his son.

Marie Adelaide quits throne

January 14, 1919

Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide, in proclamation dated Saturday, has abdicated, according to a dispatch sent to London's Daily Mail. The country of 200,000 remains undecided about offering the throne to one of Marie Adelaide's sisters or establish a republic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Princess Stephanie faces arrest because she won't leave

January 13, 1941 

 The Justice Department today said that immigration officers have served a deportation order on Princess Stephanie of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, in Palo Alto, California. The princess had arrived in the USA in 1939 and received an extension to her visa. 

A second extension was denied, and she was to have left the country last Saturday. But on January 6, the princess notified immigration officials that she was unable to travel due to "a nervous condition." Two public health officials visited the princess and certified that she was suffering from "hysteria," and was "too ill to travel." 

However, according to the Justice Department's own report, the princess' physician told immigration officials that the princess had been taking sedatives, which had not been prescribed, and which were the cause of her mental and physical condition. He said there was no need for her to take the pills, which appear to have been illegally obtained. The Princess is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. Bail has been set at $25,000. 

Princess Stephanie has been described as a Nazi sympathizer, although she denies these reports.

 In a statement from her home, where she remains in seclusion, the Princess said: "I am anti-Nazi, Pro-British and Pro-American. London is my home and England is my country." 

 Her lawyer, Stephen Bullock, tells the Los Angeles Times that his client "is not now and was never connected with the Nazi Government."