Friday, October 29, 2010

Constitutional Monarchy is an avenue to Serbia's recovery

Balkan Business News Correspondent – 29 October 2010

Does Serbia have an “ace up its sleeve”? Serbia might need to turn to another avenue that they have to recover from the financial crisis and enter the European Union sooner- Constitutional Monarchy. Certainly the return of constitutional monarchy after almost 70 years would attract media attention and without a doubt erase Serbia’s image of war and replace with a more elegant picture. And what about the European Union? Let’s not forget that almost half of the initial participant countries in the European Union were Constitutional Monarchies. One quarter of European countries are constitutional monarchies today, out of 27 countries in the European Union, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom are.

Do constitutional monarchies lead to better lives? In fact 5 out of 10 richest countries in Europe are Constitutional Monarchies. According to reports, Luxembourg is the richest country in Europe. It possesses the highest GDP of $ 81,730 per capita when measured on purchasing power parity followed by Norway: Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per capita (PPP) in Europe having $ 55,198. The Netherlands has the 16th largest economy in the world, and ranks 10th in GDP (nominal) per capita; GDP (purchasing power parity) of Netherlands is $ 40,433. Denmark is the eight richest countries in Europe with GDP (PPP) $ 38,207 per capita and Sweden is ninth richest country of Europe having $ 37,525 GDP (Purchasing power parity) per capita.

Forbes ranked the best countries to live in 2008 and the list again shows the constitutional monarchy countries of Norway, ranked No. 1, scoring 82% while Sweden was not far behind posting a score of 81.4%. Other monarch countries in the top 10 include New Zealand (79%), Denmark (75%) and the Netherlands (74%).

Why Constitutional Monarchy? Why Tradition? Is there an advantage to have a head that has no political affiliations? Who is there to provide unity, continuity and peace? Does monarchy help with lowering corruption? The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index score below five, on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt). The 12 out of the top 20 which had scores above 7.5 are monarchies and include Denmark, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Barbados, Australia, Norway, Luxembourg, Japan, Qatar and the United Kingdom. Serbia ranked 78th with a score of 3.5. These monarchies in Europe are Constitutional Monarchies provide unity, continuity and peace not political interference.

Will having Constitutional Monarchy in Serbia influence the European Union? Certainly it could not hurt. Does it mean anything that the European Union is located in a country that has a Constitutional Monarchy? In fact, there is no doubt that the image of monarchy creates money. Overseas tourists flocking to sites linked to the British royals is generating around 500 million pounds a year, reveals research from VisitBritain.

A United Nations 2009 human development report ranking 187 countries shows that 6 out of the top ten are monarchies. Norway, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Japan. Actually, if you look at the Annual report on the Quality of Life in different countries, you will notice that more than half of the countries in the first 10 are Monarchies (UK, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, etc.).So believe it or not, life could actually better under Constitutional Monarchies.

“A symbol is a concretization. Every human being, even the most depraved of the moderns, needs something tangible, something to point to and say to themselves and others: "This is what I believe," or "this is what I am.”

So what’s the negative? Will Serbia accept more charitable contributions, more possibilities to enter the European Union, an elegant image, gracious hosts, business people from all over the world gracing the steps of the Palaces, and promotion of Serbia throughout the world? Many Serbs support this notion, and other Serbs relish on all the benefits it brings. “There will be only good benefits, and I don’t see that there will be any more strain on the country.” said Jelena Tasic a student in Belgrade.

But would Crown Prince Alexander continue to commit to dedicating his life to Serbia with the endless hours of work associated? The answer is yes; even with all of this he'd be happy to take the throne. A typical day for the Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine range from the charitable to investor promotion to international public relations for Serbia. Crown Prince Alexander is bringing investors, educational scholarships, and important VIP’s from all over the world each and every month. Crown Princess Katherine has saved many lives, provided millions in aid and support. The couple continually travels throughout the world meeting heads of states, top business people and the media for their quest to help Serbia and the Serbian people. All this attributes to tens of millions a year in support for Serbia. There is even a Kingdom of Serbia association that has reared up recently in the country with tens of thousands of members.

The bottom line is that Kingdom of Serbia seems to make good business sense.

London begins to hear more gossip about Wally

October 29, 1936

There is a rift in the royal family "caused by the friendship of King Edward VIII of England with Mrs. Wallis (Wally) Simpson and his likely for other Americans whom he introduces  in highest court circles, according to the latest scoop in the Chicago Daily Tribune, which is basing its reports on "gossip in London."
It is being said in London that the king's two Scottish sisters-in-law, the Duchess of York and the Duchess of Gloucester, do not approve of his friendship with Mrs. Simpson.  They have "chagrined him by making the fact so clear that he in turn expressed resentment."
According to gossips in palace circles, the duke and duchess of York "have figured less prominently in public functions in recent weeks, in fact hardly at all."   The King's youngest brother, the Duke of Kent, who is said to be his favorite, is "being placed much in the public eye."
While the public has not seen much of the duke of York and the duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent "has been making a number of speeches."   The rumors are that this is "an expression of family difference" over Edward's relationship with Mrs. Simpson.  The duke and duchess of York have been relegated "into the background for voicing their disapproval."
American media interest in the king and Mrs. Simpson has been "augmented" since Tuesday when the "former Baltimore belle" won  a decree nisi against her husband, Ernest Simpson. 
It appears that many British subjects are riled by so much attention.  Writing in today's British press, John Drinkwater condemns the "malicious gossip" about the King.
"Certainly foreign papers with a circulation in this country are now busy with our king's private life which under no circumstances can be a proper subject for public discussion or private conjecture. In the circle of his own friends, the king's life is as much his own affair as mine or the dustman's and to not respect his private life is disgraceful."
The editor of This Week doubts that king will ever marry Mrs. Simpson. He has known for sometime that Mrs. Simpson was a member of the King's "inner circle of friends," but he sees no evidence that the king is contemplating marriage with Mrs. Simpson.  He saysa  marriage is "extremely slender."

Paul proclaimed king

October 29, 1920

Prince Paul of Greece, younger brother of the late King Alexander, has been proclaimed king by the Greek Parliament, according to a report in the New York Times.  The prince, who was born in Athens in December 1901, lives with his family in exile in Switzerland.

Premier Venizelos has answered criticism to the Government's policy in making Paul's "accession to the throne conditional."  The Premier has made it clear that if Prince Paul "were made King he should not be a proxy for ex-King Constantine."
Admiral Coundouriotis was elected as Regent, and his swearing in ceremony took place after his election.

Neither Prince Paul nor former King Constantine have replied to the former Greek government communications "informing them that Prince Paul's accession depended upon the formal renunciation by Constantine and his eldest son, Prince George."  No replies are expected until after Alexander's funeral, which will take place on Friday.

However, aides to the former king say that the "family is indignant, charging the Greek Government did not facilitate" Queen Olga's journey from Brindisi, which meant that she did not arrive in Athens until ten hours after Alexander's death.  The family has also complained that their request to allow former Queen Sophie to come to Athens and nurse her son was not answered.  Constantine and his wife are said to be suffering from shock, and they "receive no visitors."

The New York Times' correspondent reports that he received a telegraph from Constantine in Lucerne who said that he "received no official information concerning plans for placing Prince Paul on the Greek throne on condition that Constantine and Prince George abandon all claims thereto."  

The correspondent notes that Constantine and Sophie have shut themselves up in their apartments, and are "too much overwhelmed by grief" over the death of their son to see any reporters.  The New York Times reporter does not believe that Constantine has abandoned "the hope of once more wearing the Greek crown."

Alexandra, the princess who might have been Queen of Portugal

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 October 29, 1910

A new portrait of Princess Alexandra of Fife, niece of King George V, has been published in the Los Angeles Times.  The princess is said to be "deeply interested in the Portuguese revolution."

If her mother and the Queen Mother of Portugal "had their way," Alexandra would have been the Queen of Portugal.  If she had married Manoel, he "would not have lost his throne for the Portuguese people are keenly alive to the value of the alliance with England.

About a year ago, King Manoel came to England for the wife hunting season, and his first choice was Princess Alexandra.  The Queen Mother was fond of the young princess, and was a close friend of Alexandra's mother, the Duchess of Fife, since their school days.  Both women "were keenly anxious" to arrange a marriage between their children.  Plans for the marriage were ended due to the Duke of Fife and the late King Edward VII, who was the Duchess of Fife's father.   The late king had a "veritable flair for politics," and he knew that Manoel's throne was shaky.  The Duke of Fife did not see the advantage of an alliance with one of the "poorest kings in Europe."

More recently there were rumors of Alexandra's marriage to Prince Christopher of Greece, one of the younger sons of King George of the Hellenes. 

This rumor has been "vigorously denied.  The marriage did have the support of Christopher's aunt, the Dowager Queen Alexandra, who also is Princess Alexandra's grandmother.  The Queen knows that her nephew is keen to marry an heiress, and Princess Alexandra is a very rich heiress.

Princess Alexandra's "future is a good deal of a problem to the royal family.  She may be the niece of a king, but she is also the daughter "of the man who is known as the 'bourgeois duke.'"  Before his marriage to Princess Louise, the Duke of Fife was "merely an earl," and he "has never been received as an equal by the highest society."

The Duke of Fife is an extremely frugal man, despite being one of the richest men in Britain.

Princess Alexandra will one day be the Duchess of Fife, due to a special remainder for the title, as she has no brothers.  She will be one of the "greatest territorial magnates in Scotland."

She may end up marrying an English or Scottish nobleman, now that the Portuguese marriage "is out of the running."  Alexandra is, however, likely to remain single for the time being, as she is said to be "young and shy even for her years, and the gossips declare that she is rather stupid and undeveloped."

The Greek marriage is "also out of the question," as Prince Christopher has no "private fortune." He would "also have to settle down in Scotland" as the husband of the Duchess of Fife,  and "for dynastic reasons he could hardly become a British subject."

[Note:  Prince Christopher was a British subject due to the Sophia Naturalization Act, which gave British nationality in perpetuity to the non-Catholic descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover.  This act was superseded in 1949 by the British Nationality Act.]

Archduchess Maria Immakulata marries

October 29, 1900

In the presence of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria and other members of the Imperial family,  Archduchess Maria Immakulata was married today to Duke Robert of Württemberg.  The New York Times reports that the marriage was solemnized in the Chapel of the Hofburg palace in Vienna.

More than 150 guests were present for the wedding banquet which followed the wedding ceremony. The Emperor offered a toast to the newlyweds, and expressed "his lively satisfaction between the Houses of Habsburg and Württemberg."

In the evening, a Court concert was held, "at which the Archduchess wore a splendid diamond necklace, the gift of the Emperor."

Duke Robert is the fourth child of Duke Philipp of Württemberg and Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria.  He was born in Meran in 1873.  His new wife is five years his junior.  The archduchess is the seventh child of Archduke Karl Salvator and Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Victoria's grandson succumbs to Enteric fever

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October 29, 1900

The newspapers are reporting today the death of Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein, grandson of Queen Victoria.  He died from enteric fever in South Africa.
The death was announced in today's Court Circular:
"The Queen deeply mourns the loss of so dear a grandson and of a brilliant officer of great promise.  She suffers doubly in the grief of his afflicted parents and their family, who were so devoted to him.  He was universally loved and respected.
"He had taken part in the whole campaign and gone through the greatest hardships and dangers.  The Queen and all her family were looking forward to his happy return when suddenly his life was thus cut short."
The announcement of Prince Christian Victor's death was "withheld for a time from the public, by the special desire of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, to avoid casting a gloom on the City Imperial Volunteer festivities,"  according to the New York Times.
Prince Christian Victor, one of the most popular members of the British royal family, was a Major in the King's Royal Rifles.  He died at Pretoria, South Africa, where he contracted the fever during the Boer-British campaign.

Embed from Getty Images 

 The Prince was the eldest son of Princess Helena and her husband,  Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein.    He was born on April 14, 1867, at Windsor Castle.  At the age of 21, he joined the King's Royal Rifle Corps as Second Lieutenant.

The Chicago Tribune notes that the royal family has lost "one of its most democratic and most popular members.  From his school days he "won his way into the hearts of the people by his own sterling qualities."  Christian Victor was a "crack football player and cricketer."   He entered the British Army in 1898, and worked his way from "brevet rank to that of Major," having provided "valuable service: in the Miranzi, Isazai, Ashanti and Sudan campaigns."

One war correspondent in South Africa noted the Prince's unflagging willingness to work."  he watched the Prince for several hours one day as Christian Victor pushed mules "up a gangway of the army transport."

Only a week ago did the news of his illness reach London.   Prince Christian Victor was 33 and unmarried.  His body will probably be brought home and be buried at Windsor.

Queen Victoria is "said to feel his loss keenly."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Queen Natalie won't take the documents

October 28, 1888

Queen Natalie of Serbia, now residing in Bucharest, has declined "to receive the documents notifying her of the divorce obtained by her husband," according to a New York Times dispatch.  The decree was brought to Bucharest  by "special messenger, and the decree will therefore be conveyed to her through the foreign office."

[Natalie, born in Florence, Italy, in 1859, was the daughter of Russian colonel Peter Keshko and Princess Pulcheria Sturdza, a member of a Moldavian princely family.]

On October 17, 1875, Natalie married Prince Milan Obrenovic IV of Serbia.   She gave birth to the couple's first son, Alexander, whose godfather was Alexander II of Russia, in 1876.   A second son, Prince Sergei, lived for only a few days in 1878.

In 1882,  Prince Milan proclaimed Serbia as a kingdom.  Natalie was now the Queen of Serbia, but her time in Belgrade was not a happy one.  Milan was notoriously unfaithful, and he pursued a pro-Austrian foreign policy.   Natalie was pro-Russian, which was not a surprise considering her own family.

The political differences between the king and the queen erupted into a public scandal.  The queen and her 11-year-old son, Crown Prince Alexander, left Belgrade and settled in the Crimea.   Pro-Russian Serbs demonstrated support for Natalie.

In July 1887,  Natalie and Alexander returned to Belgrade. Only a month later, Natalie again left the country for  Austria.  That October, Milan, and Natalie met in Budapest to arrange a formal reconciliation.  The Queen secured her husband's permission to travel with their son to Italy.

In reality, Natalie had no intention of returning to Belgrade.   She and Alexander moved to Wiesbaden, where Milan's behavior led to an international scandal.  He arranged to use German police to bring back his son to Serbia. 

The Chicago Daily Tribune wrote on July 13, 1888: "The Queen of Servia was today treated with great indignity by the German authorities.  Her son was taken from her by the German police and sent to Belgrade.... Her Majesty was determined to resist to the last.  She had her boy with her and together they waited for the arrival of the police.  When the door opened the Superintendent, followed by twenty gendarmes, forced his way into her apartment.  The poor child flung himself with a cry of alarm into his mother's arms.  The Superintendent demanded possession of the Prince.  The Queen clasped him to her breast. 'I refuse,' she said, 'to give up my child.'  It was a terribly painful moment.  The Queen, although dignified, was intensely excited.  The boy sobbed aloud as he clung to his mother's neck. 'If you refuse.' said the Superintendent of Police, 'I am instructed to use force.'  He pointed to the gendarmes and paused, waiting a moment before giving the signal to his men to wrench loose her son from the convulsive embrace in which the poor Queen locked him."   The young prince was pulled from his mother. "A moment more and he hurried out of her sight, weeping bitterly as he was taken under escort to the station."

 The Queen "is still guarded by the gendarmes and is kept as an absolute prisoner in the villa.  No one is allowed to visit her.... Sympathy for her Majesty in Wiesbaden is universal."

Milan also began the procedure to divorce his wife, although he lacked the support of the Serbian Orthodox church.  Although he was able to wrangle a divorce from one church official,  Queen Natalie refused to accept the decision.  She continued to state that she was the queen, and married to Milan.
The political situation became further entrenched.  In 1889, Milan abdicated the crown in favor of his son, Alexander, who would reign under a regency until 1893.

The former king tried to manipulate Alexander's regency to keep Natalie out of  Belgrade.  

But Natalie refused to abide by these conditions, and she received a rapturous welcome from the Serbian people when she returned to Belgrade in August 1889.
The situation between Milan and Natalie remained tense. Although divorce was officially recognized by the church in 1890, Natalie refused to give in.  After Milan made the decision to leave Serbia in 1891 and allow Alexander to rule on his own,   he still tried to control his former wife. 

 Natalie refused to leave the country, even at the request of the government.  Eventually, the police were called in, but Natalie opened a palace window, screamed for help, and within minutes a crowd gathered to support her.   But the support was brief.  The next day, a military garrison showed up at the palace and escorted Natalie out of the country.

So what do you think happened next?  Alexander remains in Belgrade with his regency.  His parents are living in exile.  Much to the surprise of everyone, including their son, Milan, and Natalie announce in January 1893 that they have reconciled.   The Serbian church annulled the divorce.

Milan returned to Belgrade in early 1894 as the former king has accepted the position of deputy to his son, who has ruled with a majority since mid-1893. With all of her royal titles restored, Natalie finally returns to Belgrade a year after her husband.   But her penchant for travel continued, and she would spend a part of each year in France.

The young king needed a wife to strengthen the succession.  He offered proposals to Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia and her cousin, Grand Duchess Helen, Princess Sybille of Hesse, Princess Feodora of Schleswig-Holstein, and even the widowed Queen Mercedes of Spain.  But none of his conquests would accept his proposal.  His mother, Queen Natalie, put forth a candidate of her own: Princess Anna of Montenegro. Although the news of a proposed betrothal was "at first received with much incredulity at the European courts,"  it was officially confirmed in St. Petersburg.  Natalie sold her estates in the Crimea and Bessarabia to provide a marital income for her son, but it was all for naught,  as Princess Anna broke off the engagement.

In April 1896, the Chicago Tribune reported that King Milan was about to travel to the United States to find a bride for his son.  "It looks more than probable that some fortunate or unfortunate American heiress will soon marry a European ruler.  Her husband-to-be is only the sovereign of a petty kingdom, but all the same, she will be a full-fledged Queen.... For the exchange of shekels, it is stipulated that the bride-to-be shall be formally elevated to the nobility, after which the marriage will take place in royal style. In contracting this unequal matrimonial alliance ex-King Milan is to provide that King Alexander secures absolute control of his millionaire bride's money. Queen Natalie, the mother of the royal bridegroom-to-be, evidently does not favor this scheme of King Milan, and there is therefore a bright prospect of too much mother-in-law in this match.  But this need not discourage young American heiresses ambitions to sit on a European throne, for King Alexander has not a dollar to his name and is head over ears in debt, and head over ears in love with anyone who will help him out of his financial straits....The American girl who will become King Alexander's wife will have to be a strong-minded woman who will be able to reform her husband should any degree of happiness be hers.  An ex-attache thus describes this personage: 'King Alexander, or King 'Sasha,' as he is nicknamed, is one of the most offensive and displeasing youths that could be found anywhere from the Bosporus to the banks of the Tagus. His manners are coarse and brutal in the extreme, fully in keeping with his beetling brows, low forehead, and almost bestial nose and jaw, while the opinions which he vouchsafes with regard to women, in general, are characterized by an affection of cynicism and disillusion that is revolting indeed."

Milan never made it to the United States, and no American heiress volunteered to marry Alexander.  Nor could he find a suitable royal bride. 

In 1900 Alexander decided to marry Draga Masin, one of his mother's former ladies-in-waiting, who was ten years his senior.  His choice of a bride did not sit well with either parent.  Former King Milan resigned all of his commissions and positions and left Serbia.  He died in Vienna a year later

Natalie made quite clear her feelings about Draga, and her relationship with her son broke after he expelled her from the country.  She described Draga as a "petty, narrow-minded subject." 

In May 1902,  Natalie was received by the Pope shortly after her conversion to the Roman Catholic faith.

In 1903, King Alexander and Queen Draga were killed in a military coup.  Their bodies were tossed from New Palace's window to the courtyard below.
Natalie was Alexander's sole heir.  She donated everything to the University of Belgrade and to Serbian churches. 

After the deaths of her son and his wife,  Queen Natalie largely disappeared from media attention.  In December 1929,  the New York Times reported on a recent assault case in Paris where a coachmen "remonstrated with by a 71-year-old Sister of Mercy for beating his horses, slashed her across the face with his whip."  The police investigation disclosed that the elderly nun as the former Queen Natalie of Serbia.

She lived in a "humble little dwelling near the Luxembourg Gardens," sharing the small flat with a Polish countess.  The New York Times reporter found her at her home asked the former queen as to why she had not written her memoirs.  She replied: Memoirs require memories. I have forgotten everything in order to forgive everything."

She became a lay sister in the Order of Notre Dame de Sion not long after her son's assassination.

Natalie died in St. Denis, France on May 8, 1941.  She lived for many years in Biarritz, "devoting much of her time to charitable works."  Her later years were spent in Paris, where she lived in seclusion in the convent.   She would leave the convent each morning at 8 a.m., to attend mass at Notre Dame.  In the evenings, she could be seen feeding the pigeons in Luxembourg Square.

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Sweden ready name Gustav Adolf as regent

October 28, 1950

From the Reuters dispatch:  the "Swedish cabinet was ordered to stand by in Stockholm today to be ready to proclaim Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf" as regent if King Gustav V's condition "continues to get worse."
An official bulletin regarding the condition of the 92 year old king was released earlier today.  The strength of the ailing king was failing, "but his heart activity is relatively good."
The king  has been "clear and lucid during the day and was able to receive members of his family."
A second medical bulletin was issued this afternoon and said " a certain bodily arrest has been justified by the use of sedatives , which have enabled the king to sleep for short periods."
The king had spent a quiet night, and that "his heart had not become noticeably worse since yesterday."   Prayers for the king's health will said in churches tomorrow.
Rumors about the king's deteriorating condition swept through Stockholm after Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Crown Princess Louise "hurried to the palace in answer to a telephone call only a few hours after an earlier visit."
Court officials, however, were quick to point out that the reason  was that King Gustav was disappointed that his son and daughter-in-law had left so early.  "I would have liked seeing them longer and having a better chat with them." 
King Gustav was sleeping when they returned.   Bedrooms have been reserved at the palace for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, for Prince Wilhelm, the king's younger son, and for Princess Sibilla, the widow of Prince Gustaf Adolf, the Crown Prince's son who was killed in an airplane crash three years ago.

Elderly Princess Marie must have guardian

October 28, 1930

A French court today "decided that a judicial guardian should be appointed" to supervise the property of Princess Marie Charlotte Constance de Broglie.
Last month the 73 year old Princess married Prince Louis Ferdinand of Orléans-Borbon, who is 41, reports the Associated Press.
"It is necessary to defend the great fortune of the Princess against disquieting covetousness," said the decision.  The Princess will not be able "use any part of her fortune for the benefit of her husband."
The court also "charged that there were certain irregularities" in the couple's marriage, which took place at a London registry office.

Olav to marry Swedish princess

October 28, 1928

The Belgian newspaper, Le Soir, reports today that the engagement of Crown Prince Olav of Norway and Princess Martha of Sweden will be "announced soon," according to the Associated Press.
Princess Martha is the sister of Crown Princess Astrid, the wife of Crown Prince Leopold of the Belgians.

Regent named for Greek throne

October 28, 1920

The Greek Chamber of Deputies has elected Admiral P. Coundouriotis as the Regent of Greece, according to a dispatch to The Times from Athens.  The Admiral is the Minister of Marine in Venizelos' Cabinet. 
The New York Times is reporting that "for the first time since the Greek revolution of 1917," Greece's government "through its Minister in Berne "officially opened negotiations with the family of former King Constantine."  The Minister informed Prince Paul of "certain conditions attached to his accession to the Greek throne."
The foremost of conditions  were demanded officially, and include Constantine's formal abdication of the throne.  The same demand has been made of his eldest son, Prince George.
The former King, who lives in Lucerne, continues to receive condolences on the death of his second son, King Alexander, including telegrams from his brother-in-law, former Kaiser Wilhelm II, and former Austrian emperor, Karl.
It is understood, according to the Associated Press, that Greek Minister in Berne "has been instructed to meet Prince Paul," and will discuss with him "that in accordance with the Constitution the Government invites him to succeed his elder brother Alexander."
The funeral for the late King will be held on Friday. The Crown Prince of Sweden, who is already in Athens, will be present.  The late king's body was removed today by car from Tatoi to the cathedral in Athens.  The coffin "was draped in the royal flag."   The Dowager Queen Olga with a lady-in-waiting followed the "improvised hearse" in one car, while in the second car was Alexander's widow, Mme. Manos, who was accompanied by the Grand Marshall of the Court.
Inside the Cathedral, members of the Cabinet and high officials "awaited the arrival of the cortege." The coffin was placed on a catafalque, which was guarded "by a special detail of soldiers and officers."  After a brief prayer service, the mourners departed and the church was open to the public.
King Alexander "was kept alive for days by artificial means."  When he was lucid, doctors said his :morale seemed good."  He "only realized the gravity of his condition the last two days and all his thoughts were for his wife."   At the  very end Alexander tried to embrace his wife, but he died before he"could do so."
Queen Olga arrived the day after Alexander's death.  There was a "pathetic scene" between the elderly Queen and her morganatic granddaughter-in-law."  The two remained "alone in the death chamber" for thirty minutes.

Prince Alexander of Serbia, the Prince Regent, left today for King Alexander's funeral.

Prince Heinrich XXXII is visiting the US

October 28, 1906

Prince Heinrich XXXII Reuss reached San Francisco "the other day," will, in "(the virtually certain) event of Queen Wilhelmina's remaining childless, succeed, at her death, to the throne of Holland, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy.
The Prince is traveling throughout the United States and will also visit Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York. 

Wilhelmina's heir presumptive, the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar, has "already intimated his unwillingness to surrender his German throne for the Crown of the Netherlands."  The next in the line of succession is the Grand Duke's aunt, Princess Heinrich Reuss, daughter of the late Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar and his wife, Sophie, only daughter of King Willem II.

Prince Heinrich's mother, Marie, an elderly widow in her 70s,  is the daughter of Princess Sophie, who died in 1897.  (Until her death, Sophie was heiress presumptive to the throne.)

Princess Heinrich may be relied upon to "waive her rights of succession in favor of her eldest son, Heinrich XXXII, who was born 28 years ago in Constantinople, where his father served as German Ambassador.  The young prince, who is not yet married,  is an officer in the German Navy.

A final interview with Princess Irmingard

Last spring, Princess Irmingard of Bavaria gave an interview to SZ, the German newspaper, to talk about her life. She was engaging, and, according to the interviewer, she was also "astonishingly frank." She spoke about her family, especially her father's role in speaking out against Hitler.
Irmingard, a tall slender lady, "with a remarkable pace," showed the interviewer her father's office at Schloss Leustetten. Crown Prince Rupprecht was determined that Hitler would never enter his home.
The Princess' gait was upright, and she maintained "an athletic lifestyle" even in old age.
The princess, the eldest of six children of Crown Prince Rupprecht and his second wife, Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, was born at her father's home in Berchtesgaden. The Bavarian alps and the the family's pets were among the princess and her siblings' fondest memories.
After the war, Princess Irmingard and two of her siblings bought the Kaltenberg brewery, which her husband, Prince Ludwig, helped to run. Their only son, Prince Luitpold, expanded the business, and now runs the company.
This past summer, the Princess and her granddaughter, Princess Auguste, traveled to Rome to visit the grave of her mother, Princess Antonia, at the church of La Navicella. "It was unbelievable," Princess Auguste told SD. "We even went another 14 kilometers through the city."
Princess Auguste, who is married to Prince Ferdinand zur Lippe, said that her grandmother died peacefully surrounded by members of her family.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wally gets her divorce, but not much attention from the British press

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October 27, 1936

The British press today "finally took notice of the Simpson divorce case, reports the New York Times.   It was "the first time the newspaper-reading public" in Britain  had been made aware that Mrs. Simpson 'was seeking freedom from her husband."  But the news coverage was seen to be perfunctory, "so brief and buried so inconspicuously on back pages that not one reader in a thousand would have guessed that there was anything unusual about the case."

British law allows newspapers to print only the bare facts of a divorce case.  There has also been a gentlemen's agreement between the editors of the Newspaper Proprietors Association regarding the publication  of "gossip, no speculation even remotely suggesting that Mrs. Simpson has long been the most-discussed woman in the highest society of Britain."

Only one afternoon newspaper, The Star,  provided readers with a prominent headline: "Society Woman's Divorce."  The newspaper reported a brief account of the case, and stated: "Mrs. 'Wally' Simpson has been well-known in London social circles for the past eight years as a brilliant American hostess."  The newspaper's report also included information about her first marriage to Earl Winfield Spencer, her marriage to Simpson, and his career.

But most newspapers, including The Times,  tucked the report in the back pages,  providing readers with few details "of the scene at Ipswich, no account of how Mrs. Simpson looked in court or how she behaved while testifying."

British editors would "explain their restraint by quoting Winston Churchill," who said last night that Britain's press "has freedom plus responsibility."

"There are two great features which I trust the British press will always preserve.  There is no press in the world in which the invasion of private life is more condemned and more sedulously avoided.
"People can live their private lives here with a greater measure of freedom and respect for their feelings by their neighbors than is the case in any other society in the world.  And our British press has played a great part in that."

King Edward VIII was very busy today.  He met with the Privy Council in the morning, which was "notable for the presence" of Canadian Prime Minister W.L. Mackenzie King, who is on his way home from Geneva.  In the afternoon, the King's mother, Queen Mary, came for a visit. She was followed by the Sultan of Selangor in the Malay States who was invested with the insignia of the Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

The King also discussed plans for his Coronation, which will take place in May, and he will be opening Parliament  "for the first time in his reign next Tuesday."

Prince Nicolas does his own thing

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October 27, 1926

Queen Marie of Roumania and her son, Prince Nicolas, and her daughter, Princess Ileana, are in Montreal, and, according to the AP, the city has taken the royals to "its heart."  But while the Queen and Princess Ileana were enjoying the "brilliant homage," city officials found it difficult to round up "the truant Prince Nicolas share the official honors."

The prince was "in his place when the royal party alighted from the train," where they were greeted by city and government officials, but by the time, the royal party reached  City Hall for the formal reception, Prince Nicolas was missing.
The prince decided that he did not want to take part in the official welcoming ceremonies.  Instead, he asked his driver to turn into a side street so he could visit the terminals of the Canadian National Railroad.   Nicolas had "accepted the invitation of the railroad officials" to inspect the "train management  and safety signal system of the terminals."   Nicholas "fully intended to rejoin the official party" after the official ceremonies at City Hall.

But "his good intentions" were swept aside by his "enjoyment of brief liberty from official rigid ceremony.  He was supposed to join his mother and sister at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel for a civic lunch, but instead, he headed to the St. James Club "for a private meal with a few intimates."

He told friends that "he had no desire to offend anyone, but "the sight of a silk hat" does not please him.  Prince Nicolas has been living away from the Roumanian court for the past eight years, as he has been serving with the Roumanian navy.   He said he had lost "his taste for official functions."
"When you are keen on the service, that really is the main thing."

Nicholas enjoyed "a leisurely meal" at the club before returning to the hotel "just in time to rejoin the procession as it left for a second tour of the city."

Obviously aware of her son's actions, Queen Marie took a half hour longer than expected to change into her "luncheon gown," but with her son still missing, she and Ileana finally "entered the dining room."

Will Nancy Leeds be the new Queen of Greece

October 27, 1920

The Associated Press' latest dispatch from Geneva reports the "possibility of a former American woman becoming the Queen of Greece."     The woman in question is Princess Christopher of Greece, who was Mrs. William Leeds, the widow of the Tin Plate king.   The former Mrs. Leeds married Prince Christopher, younger brother of King Constantine, earlier this year.
The Greek Constitution would "permit Constantine's brothers to pose as candidates for the Greek throne," should Constantine deny the succession of his youngest son, Prince Paul.

A daughter for the Szechenyis

October 27, 1908

The Countess Szechenyi gave birth to a daughter today at the Szecheny castle in Budapest, according to the New York Times, which received the news by special cable.
The Countess is the former Miss Gladys Moore Vanderbilt, youngest daughter of the late Cornelius Vanderbilt and sister of Cornelius, Alfred G. and Reginald C. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney.
The marriage between Miss Vanderbilt and Count Szechenyi, a Hungarian nobleman, took place last January 276, and "was perhaps the most notable wedding since that of her first cousin, Miss Consuelo Vanderbilt, daughter of William K. Vanderbilt, to the Duke of Marlborough.  
The couple were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony at the Vanderbilt Mansion at 58th Street and  Fifth Avenue.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prince Sixte-Henri of Bourbon-Parme tries to stop exhibition

Prince Sixte-Henri of Bourbon-Parma is seeking a court order to stop the Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami, from exhibiting his work at Versailles.
Murakami's show, which "blends Japanese classical art with manga-style modernity, will remain on display until December.
But the prince thinks that Murakami's works "dishonors the memory of his ancestors," and "denatures" French culture.
"By exhibiting at Versailles, artists benefit from an added value. We're not against the modernity of art but against a way of thinking that denatures and does French culture no good."
This is not the first time that a member of the Bourbon-Parma family has gone to court to stop an art exhibition at Versailles.  In 2008,  Prince Sixte-Henri's nephew, Prince Charles-Emmanuel of Bourbon-Parma. tied to ban an exhibition by the American sculptor Jeff Koon, but his appeal to the courts failed.

Sophie Winkleman gets new gig in Hollywood

The British actress Sophie Winkleman has not had an easy time in Hollywood.  Shortly after her September 2009 wedding to Lord Frederick Windsor, Sophie. best known as Big Suze in the BBC series, Peep Show, moved to Hollywood to begin work on a situation comedy, 100 Questions,  playing Charlotte Payne, a woman who signs up with a dating service to meet men.   NBC stopped production after only six episodes.  The show failed to gather viewer support when NBC televised the show in the summer of 2010.
Now Sophie has netted a new role, in a forthcoming HBO series, Luck, which will star Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte.    HBO announced in July that the series' first season will consist of the pilot and seven to nine weekly episodes.
Luck is described as a "cutting-edge depiction of life on the racetrack."  The pilot was filmed earlier this year at the Santa Anita race track.  Filming for the series begins this fall and will continue into early next year.
Lord Frederick was able to get a transfer to J.P. Morgan's Los Angeles office. They have rented a home off Sunset Boulevard.

The death of Princess Irmingard of Bavaria

Princess Irmingard of Bavaria has died, according to an announcement from the Duke of Bavaria's office.  The princess died on Saturday at her home, Schloss Leutstetten.  She was 88 years old.
The princess was the widow of Prince Ludwig, who died in 2008.

Princess Irmingard was born in 1923 at Schloss Berchtesgaden, one of six children of Crown Prince Rupprecht and his second wife, Princess Antonia of Luxembourg.  During the second world war, the princess and members of her family were persecuted by the Nazis, and were imprisoned in concentration camps.  Irmingard's mother, Antonia, never recovered from the ill-treatment she received in the camps, and she died in Switzerland in 1954.  The princess wrote about her youth in the book, Jugend Erinnerungen 1923-1950.

Princess was sent to England in 1936 to attend a Roman Catholic boarding school, Convent of the Sacred Heart in Roehampton.  Several other members of her family also attended the school.  Four years later, the princess and her sisters and brothers were given permission to go to Italy, where their father was living.  Rupprecht had left Germany because he opposed the Nazis. 
On March 29, 1936, the AP reported that the Crown Prince and his wife, "were among the few who dared to stand out today against the Nazi steamroller and refused to vote in the Reichstag election."
Stormtroopers showed up at Rupprecht's home to remind the 66-year-old heir to the former Bavarian throne that he had not yet voted, Crown Prince Rupprecht "politely refused."  He also refused to fly the Nazi flag from his home.
In 1941, United Press reported that King Michael of Roumania was in Florence, Italy, to meet with his mother, Helen, "about a marriage offer received through German authorities."  The reports state that the Germans want King Michael to marry Princess Irmingard.   The Germans were anxious for Michael to marry and provide Roumania with an heir to the throne "as a means of blocking the possible return of King Carol."
 After the German invasion of Italy,  the Nazis tried to find Prince Rupprecht, and arrest him.  They were unsuccessful.  But they did arrest Irmingard, who was tossed into prison.  She was transferred to a prison hospital in Innsbruck where she was treated for typhus.  She recounted in her memoirs that after she had recovered from her illness she was sent to Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen, where other members of her family were already being held.

They did not stay long at Oranienburg, and soon, the Nazis transferred them to Flossenburg, and, eventually Dachau,  where the family was liberated by American soldiers on April 30, 1945.  The family did not go back to Germany but traveled to Luxembourg to stay with Antonia's older sister, Grand Duchess Charlotte.   Irmingard also traveled to the United States to visit her aunt Hilda and uncle, Prince Adolf of Schwarzberg, who owned a ranch in Montana. 

In 1950, Irmingard married her first cousin, Prince Ludwig.  The couple had one son, Prince Luitpold, and two daughters, Maria and Philippa, both of whom died shortly after birth in 1953 and 1954, respectively.

The funeral will be held on November 4 at the Theatinerkirche in Munich.   The princess is survived by her son, Prince Luitpold, and five grandchildren, Princess Alice, Princess Auguste, Prince Ludwig, Prince Heinrich, and Prince Karl,   She is also survived by three of her younger sisters, Princess Editha, Princess Gabriele, Duchess of Croy, and Princess Sophie. Duchess of Arenberg, and many nieces and nephews.

The photo of Princess Irmingard was taken last summer when her granddaughter, Princess Auguste of Bavaria married Prince Ferdinand zur Lippe.  Photo credit: Ulrike Bartsch.

Monday, October 25, 2010

King Alexander is dead; Succession acute

October 25, 1920

The AP is reporting that King Alexander of the Hellenes died at 5:20 p.m.  His death "was due to wounds which he had received in an attack on him by a pet monkey" earlier this month.  The King was "badly mutilated," according to the dispatch.

Last night, his "heart action grew weaker, his general debility became more pronounced and pulmonary systems were intense."  It was difficult for the king to breath, and it was announced earlier today that his condition was seen as hopeless.

King Alexander, second son of King Constantine and Queen Sophie, sister of Kaiser Wilhelm, succeeded to the throne on July 12, 1917, after his father left Greece on the "demand of France, Great Britain and Russia."

His older brother, Prince George, the heir apparent, was "passed over by the entente powers" because they believed he "was too much in sympathy with the pro-German policies of his parents."
Constantine was told that he must abdicate in favor of his second son, Alexander, or the Allies would recognize the Venizelos Provisional government for all of Greece.  Constantine complied in order to save the throne for his family.

King Alexander was born on August 1, 1893.  He was educated "in part at Oxford," and he was selected a King "largely by the believe that his residence there had caused him to be friendly to the English."   Before succeeding to the throne, he served as a Captain of the artillery in the Greek army, and "was said to "have an excellent military record."  He was raised without the restraints placed on his older brother, as heir to the throne.   
Although he was placed on the throne by the Allied powers,  Alexander "appeared unable to forget the pro-German sentiments" of his parents, and there were reports during the war that he clashed with Premier Venizelos "on the matters of policy and that he might be deposed."   Alexander succeeded n weathering all the political storms until he "fell into fresh trouble in the Greek court" when he married Aspasia Manos, the daughter of a Greek colonel "of an old family."

They were married in Athens by that city's Archimandrite, but the Metropolitan of Athens, who outranks the Archimandrite of the Greek Orthodox church, refused to give his consent, "which is necessary to make the marriage civilly binding."

The king declared that he was legally married to Aspasia Manos, but she was unable to withstand the gossip in Athens, she left the country and settled in Paris, where the king joined her earlier this year.
After the king returned to Athens, the popular press "advised Parliament to make the marriage regular, so that his wife might be regarded as his consort," and their children be able to enjoy all "of the prerogatives of royalties."  

 Others called for Aspasia to be granted the status of a morganatic wife.

Much has been made in the Greek press of Aspasia's Greek ancestry.

All of the questions regarding the marriage and the succession became acute when the King was bitten by his monkey, who had been fighting with his dog.

King Constantine has never abdicated, so the heir apparent remains Prince George, but the reasons for their exclusion still remain.   Prince Paul, Constantine's third son, born in Athens in 1901,  has also been suggested as Alexander's successor, but there are reports that Constantine would not agree to his becoming King.

Constantine and Sophie live in Switzerland.  They were denied permission to visit their dying son.
Some in Greece desire a republic with Venizelos as their first president.  But he has repeatedly said that the Greeks are not ready for a republic.   

 On October 14, newspapers in London and in Paris were commenting on two possible candidates for the throne.  Prince Arthur of Connaught is said to have "English backing," and Prince Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma, "who had carried on the negotiations for an Austrian separate peace" with his brother-in-law, Emperor Karl, and "who was supposed to have French backing.

According to Swiss dispatches of October 17, King Constantine was "intending to take advantage of the situation created by his son's grave illness" by returning to Greece to reclaim his throne.

Dutch consider changing the succession laws

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 October 25, 1916

There is a movement in Holland to "change the order of succession to the throne,"  according to the Marquise de Fontenoy's latest dispatch.    The heir presumptive, Princess Juliana, is now in her eighth year.  She is in "the best of health and a strong and sturdy child, in whom all the affection, the loyalty. and the hopes of the Dutch people are centered as the next heir to the crown."

But Juliana is Queen Wilhelmina's only child, and she "has but one life."   Following her in the order of succession is "a whole series of German princes, most of whom are now fighting under the kaiser's orders."   They are all born and bred in German, and in the event of succeeding to the Dutch throne, they will do whatever it takes to "bring that country within the sphere of the Teuton empire, at least in an economic sense."

This is why a number of groups in the Netherlands are advocating a change in the succession law. Prof van Hamel, who lives in Amsterdam, has pointed out that the succession to the throne -- outside the direct line -- "is regulated at present in such a manner as no longer to correspond to the highest interest of the state."  Every one of the possible heirs to the throne is German, "mostly officers in the German army, and naturally devoted heart and soul to Germany's politics."

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 Second in line to the Dutch throne is the Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, whose grandmother, Sophie, was a sister of Willem III of the Netherlands.   The Grand Duke and his wife, Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen, have a daughter, 6, and a son, 5. 
After the Saxe-Weimars comes the widowed Princess Heinrich VII Reuss, 69, who is a daughter of the late Duchess Sophie of Saxe-Weimar.  The Princess has three sons, two of who are married, and each has a young daughter.  All have succession rights to the Dutch throne.

They are followed by Prince Friedrich zu Wied and his two sons.  The Prince's mother, Princess Marie, was the daughter of Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, the only brother of Willem III.  Friedrich zu Wied's younger brother, Wilhelm, follows in the succession.  He "showed himself too entirely fit to reign during his brief and ignominious tenure of the throne of Albania."

The question of succession is causing "considerable anxiety" to the Dutch people.  They "might default" on the German princes and princesses, and seek an "heiress among the younger sisters of the Grand Duchess of Luxemburg."  

But all the princesses are "German, having been brought in Germany by a mother who, although she was born as an infanta of Portugal, has never set on the Iberian peninsula and has spent all her life either in Germany or in Austria."

But what is more probable is "that in default of Crown Princess Juliana," the Netherlands will once again become a republic, and Germany will be powerless to "enforce the claims of her princes and princesses of Saxe-Weimar, of Reuss, and of Wied, to the crown of Holland."

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Franz Ferdinand does not want throne

October 25, 1900

Archduke Franz Ferdinand will shortly renounce his right of succession to the Austro-Hungarian throne in favor of his brother, Otto,  and the latter's son, Archduke Karl.  This news is based on dispatch from Budapest and reported in the Berlin Tageblatt, according to the New York Times.
Earlier this year, Franz Ferdinand married Countess Sophie von Chotek.  On June 28 at the Hofburg, the archduke, in the presence of  the Emperor Franz Josef, other members of the Imperial family and the government, took "a formal oath" acknowledging that his marriage would be morganatic, and his children would not have dynastic rights.   The emperor gave the title Princess of Hohenberg to Franz Ferdinand's wife.
If this Berlin report is to be believe, Archduke Otto, the new heir presumptive, is 35-years-old.  He is married to Princess  Maria Josepha of Saxony, and they have two sons, Archduke Karl and Archduke Maximilian.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Duchess Beatrix of Oldenburg weds

Another royal wedding this weekend.  Duchess Beatrix von Oldenburg, 39, elder daughter of Duke Huno and Duchess Fenita von Oldenburg married Chilean born Sven von Storch.
The civil ceremony took place on Friday at Eutin.  The ecumenical wedding - the bride is Lutheran and the groom Catholic  -- was held yesterday in the Schlosskirche at Eutin.  The couple had met while skiing, and have been a couple for several years.

The bride is a lawyer, based in Berlin, and her new husband, Sven, has a degree in Business Administration.  He was born in Chile in 1970, and works as a consultant for strategic communications.
The von Storch family emigrated to Chile in 1945 after their property in Mecklenburg had been expropriated.   It was a bitter loss for Sven's grandfather, who had been anti-Nazi.   After 1990, Sven's brother, Thomas, was able to purchase the property back.  Thomas died in 2004
Sven von Storch's father, Bernd-Detlev, was a farmer in Chile, where he met his wife, Antje Krüger, who was also originally from Germany.
The bride, wearing a cream-colored wedding gown and a long lace veil, was driven to the church in a dark sedan.  She was escorted by her father. The groom was escorted by his mother, Antje.  He is the youngest of four sons.  Von Storch was born in Osomo, Chile.  He was educated there and in Brunswick before attending university in Santiago, Greifwald and Göttingen.
The reception was held in the south wing of the castle.
Sven von Storch is also the chairman of the Allianz für den Rechtsstaat e.V.,  an association that is involved in trying to restore compensation to those who lost property in East Germany between 1945 and 1949.
The groom's older brother, Klaus, is a Chilean aerospace engineer, and trained as an astronaut with NASA.

The couple's website:

Photo credit:  Lübecker Nachrichten.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First mention in British press of Mrs. Simpson's divorce

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October 21, 1936

The World's Press news, a London weekly newspaper that has a "large circulation in British newspaper offices, " published the following tonight:  "Newspapers throughout the country have been requested to refrain from reporting the divorce case of Simpson v Simpson to be heard in Ipswich next week."  According to the New York Times report,  the World's Press News does not state the source for the request, although it is understood that the request was made from the lawyers for the Newspaper Proprietors Association.

The new British weekly to break the "unofficial censorship, self-imposed by all United Kingdom editors on the Simpson divorce case is the News Review, which wrote: "Reporters were last week laying lines at Ipswich, Suffolk, in readiness for the divorce suit between Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Aldrich Simpson, which is expected to be heard next week before Mr. Justice Hawke."

The News Review also published "an abstract discussion of the law governing royal marriages."

"From musty statute books and precedents, constitutional lawyers have ferreted out the information that King Edward need not marry a royal princess but may wed a commoner.  His own consent given in council (not necessarily with the permission of the Privy Council) is all that is required for his marriage outside royalty.
"The only limitation on the King's choice of a bride is that which forbids him to marry a Catholic."  

Mrs. Simpson is not Roman Catholic.

Victoria Eugenia believes Spain will restore the monarchy

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 October 21, 1936

Former Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, traveling as the Duchess of Toledo, believes that the "deposed monarchy will be returned to rule the people of Spain."  She also believes that the throne will go to her younger son, Don Juan, Prince of Asturias.

She expressed her confidence for restoration before boarding the Cunard White Star liner Queen Mary.  It was reported last week that the Queen might leave this week for her London home, but the "liner's officials kept the departure secret and her name was not on the passenger list."

When the queen arrived at the West 50th Street pier to board the Queen Mary, she was accompanied by her daughter, Infanta Beatriz, and son-in-law, Prince Alessandro Torlonia, the Prince's two sisters, and the elder Princess Torlonia.  Victoria Eugenia was dressed in a dark dress, and "carried a bouquet of orchids as she went up the gangway."

The royal party arrived by limousine and with a police escort.  A police guard of eight men accompanied the queen to her stateroom.

Victoria Eugenia had come to New York to see her eldest son, Alfonso, Count of Covadonga, who is a patient in the Presbyterian Hospital.  The count is suffering from hemophilia.   Count de Mora, the queen's gentleman in waiting, said that the Count was unable to travel with his mother, but he hoped to join her later at her London home.

Count de Mora, who acted as an official spokesman for the queen, told the New York Times that the Queen expected for her family to be restored to power.  He was asked if the Queen believed she would return to the throne.

"No, it is expected that the Duchess of Toledo would not return, but that Prince Juan, who is now heir to King Alfonso would become king of Spain."  He added that the Queen believed that Americans misunderstood Spain's civil war.  He said it is a misconception for Americans to believe that the war is a "conflict between Communism and Fascism."

"We are perfectly convinced that the trouble in Spain will not last much longer and there is no doubt as to the issue.

"Those whom you call the Rebels will win, but it is wrong to think it is a Fascist movement.  It is an uprising of the people of Spain, who have been oppressed under the so-called republic.  And they are not  Fascists, they are a coalition of many groups, Carlists, Monarchists, Republicans and others."

The Count added: "Her Majesty has charged me to express her gratitude for the kindness with which she was received here."

The former Queen arrived on September 17, and went "immediately to the side of her son, who was gravely ill at the time."  While in New York City, she stayed at 375 Park Avenue, the home of her son-in-law's mother, Princess Torlonia, the former Elsie Moore.   She traveled to Niagara Falls and visited the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., "where she was received as a Princess of the British Empire," the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a cousin of King Edward VIII.

The Count of Covadonga's condition is said to be "progressing," but it is not known when he will be able to travel.

Archduke Friedrich recovers

Archduke Friedrich of Austria, 81,  was reported "entirely recovered today from an attack of influenza, according to the New York Times.  The archduke, a cousin of the late Emperor Franz Joseph, was the "wartime commander-in-chief of the Austrian army."
His son, Archduke Albrecht,  arrived in Budapest today from Sarvaf, told the press that his father "is now able to resume the duties of managing their large properties there."

Prince de Ligne back from Europe

October 22, 1928

Prince Albert de Ligne, Belgian Ambassador to the United States, returned today with his wife and their two daughters, on the Red Star Liner Belgenland.   The ambassador said he had "enjoyed his three months vacation in Europe very much, but was glad to return to America," according to a report in the New York Times.

He and his family spent two months, and one month in Belgium, and "found both prosperous."
"I met the King and Queen of Belgium, and they were very pleased with their trip to the Belgian Congo and much interested in what they saw there. 

Prince Albert said that the Belgian government was about to appoint a Consul General for New York, "as commerce was increasingly steadily between that country and the United States."

Alfonso's cousin to tour America

October 21, 1928

The New York Times reports today on an "unofficial preliminary" visit to the United States by Infante Don Alfonso of Orléans-Borbon, a first cousin of King Alfonso XIII.  The Infante's visit is meant to test the waters for the King's proposed visit to the United States and South America.  Don Alfonso and his wife, Beatriz, a sister of Queen Marie of Roumania, will sail on the Majestic on November 7.  They will tour America and "be entertained in both social and official circles."

Although Don Alfonso does not have "Governmental sponsorship," he has been charged with "personal messages from the King to President Coolidge," and other important political and business leaders. He will carry instructions to Ambassador Padilla, and "will make a complete report to the King on his trip, with details on all subjects interesting the monarch."

Don Alfonso "is the commanding officer of the Spanish air forces and wears the uniform of a Lieutenant Colonel of the aviation corps."  He is one of Spain's "greatest aviation enthusiasts," and during his stay in the United States, he will meet with American aviation leaders.

Both Alfonso and his wife, Beatriz, born Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, speak fluent English.  They are inveterate travelers and "have visited all the continents except those of the Western Hemisphere."

Don Alfonso is the eldest son of Infanta Doña Eulalia, who is King Alfonso's aunt.  They will be accompanied on their trip, by their eighteen-year-old son, Infante Don Alvaro.

Duchess Alexandra Victoria reaches Berlin

October 21, 1908

Duchess Alexandra Viktoria of Schleswig-Holstein, who will be married tomorrow to her cousin, Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, arrived today in Berlin.  The Associated  Press reports that the Princess, a niece of the Empress Augusta Viktoria, "was received at the railroad station by a brilliant escort, composed of retainers of the household.   She was driven through the streets, lined with "immense crowds", en route to the palace.
At the palace, the Duchess was received by Kaiser Wilhelm II and Empress Augusta Viktoria and"fifty visiting Princes and Princesses.  The evening culminated with a family dinner at "which the marriage contract was signed."
Prince August Wilhelm, the fourth son of the Kaiser, is 21 years old, and a Lieutenant in the First Regiment of Foot Guards.  His bride-to-be is the second daughter of Duke Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein.

No more Malvern water for the Queen

No more Malvern water for the Queen as the firm, which is owned by Coca Cola, is shutting down because it cannot compete in the market place.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Queen agrees to cut in royal spending

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, today announced the Comprehensive Spending Review.   How the Queen and the Royal Family are funded will change after the Diamond Jubilee.   Queen Elizabeth II has agreed to cut total Royal Household spending by 14% in 2012/2013.  Starting in 2014, the monarchy will be receive a "new sovereign support grant linked to a portion of the revenue of the Crown Estate," according to the Daily Telegraph.     However, £1 million will be made available for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
The Queen has responded to government pressure to cut the cost of the Royal Family, and she herself "is understood to have been keen to be less ostentatious at a time of general austerity."
Earlier this month, the palace announced that the Queen canceled the staff Christmas party, which would have cost £50,000.
The £7.9 million Civil List has already been frozen for 20 years. 

The Prince of Wales remains largely unaffected by this because his official duties are funded by the Duchy of Cornwall.   He pays income tax on the profits from the duchy.  
The members of the Royal Family on the civil list are the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh,  Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra. 
This will change in the next decade.  The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra are all in their 70s.    The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are in their 60s.  Their royal duties will not be inherited by their children. 
The same can be said for the children of the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.   This leaves the children of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York.  It seems likely that Princes William and Harry will continue to be funded by the duchy of Cornwall until Charless succeeds to the throne.  
I expect to see police protection listed for the Gloucesters and Kents except when they are carrying out official engagements.   Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie will lose their 24-hour protection.  
Overall, the monarchy will lose about £6 million a year in funding.   This may not be too much of a problem due to the aforementioned attrition within the size of the royal family.

Now, about that much talked about wedding between the second in line to the throne and his longtime girlfriend ... it won't be a state occasion.  Too costly.   Even if the couple want to marry at Westminster Abbey, they may be advised to have the wedding at St. George's Chapel. Windsor.

Albrecht, candidate for Austrian throne, talks to US paper

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 October 20, 1928

By wireless to the New York Times.  

It is possible now that a Habsburg will sit on the Hungarian throne. Candidates for for the throne "loom largely in the Hungarian public eye," have taken heed to remarks made a week ago about the Hungarian Premier Count Bethelen "that the late Allies and makers of the Treaty of Trianon, completely unpopular here and fairly unsuccessful, must one day consider the election of a ruler who will give the State a real future."

There are two possible candidates for the Hungarian throne.  Archduke Otto. who recently celebrated his 16th birthday, and, thus, has reached the age of majority, is the legitimist candidate.  His father, Karl, was the last Emperor of Austria.

The "leading opposition candidate" is Otto's kinsman, Archduke Albrecht, who recently received the New York Times reporter, Wythe Williams, at his palace in Budapest.  The Archduke refused to discuss politics, except to echo Count Bethelen's words:  the time is "not yet ripe" for restoration.

Albrecht is "strongly in the running" for several reasons.  He is young  -- he is only 30 -- and he is "sturdy, extremely intelligent and not married into any royal house that might complicate his changes."   Albrecht is very wealthy, and "could be King in truly regal style." Although he is one of "those unpopular Habsburgs banned by allied decree from ruling any nation," he was born in Hungary.   Through his mother, Archduchess Isabella, he is of "the House of Croy."  If convenient, "he may forswear the Habsburgs altogether.

Albrecht lives in the house of his father, Archduke Friedrich, once the Commander-in-Chief of the Austrian Imperial Armies.   The reporter received "considerable ceremony," when he arrived: "much bowing, saluting and heel-clicking from officers and servants of the Archducal household."

Once inside the reception room, the "formality vanished completely."  The archduke, "a brisk, blond young man," entered the room in a "rush resembling that of an American football player."   He pulled out a chair, started smoking and "in perfect English launched into torrent of questions.

Albrecht, who does not think that he is about to be made king, is very interest in the upcoming American presidential elections.  He also expressed an interested in visiting America.

"I intend to go.  What is the best time of year?  What is the best hotel in Washington.   They tell me Al Smith is a fine fellow, but what change has he got?  Do you know Untermyer and Morgan?

"Yes, I guess I'm asking you too many questions, but I like to ask questions.  Perhaps if I didn't have to work here I might qualify on a newspaper. I'd like that.  I've met lots of newspaper men, some Americans around the Ritz at Paris,  but I was incognito.  They were fine fellows; give them my regards."
Albrecht reflected for a few minutes:  "Oh, yes, about my work. Well, you understand.  I'd really like to open upon political subjects, but you see, well.  I'm studying law just now - hard.  I've got to get that down pat before talking politics.
"My real work just now is child welfare.  All our children who got a bad start on account of war suffering are now being well looked after.  We had a great number of them in Holland and Switzerland, but now we have things so organized that we can look after them in Hungary.

"I went to Holland for the Olympics and had a great time aboard the Roosevelt with your General MacArthur.

"Yes. I'm also a qualified farmer, a graduate of an agricultural college.  Farming, you know, is our greatest industry.  How do you like our gypsy musicians?  They play rotten jazz, don't they?  Much netter for them to stick to their own stuff."
The New York Times reporter left the palace and watched the changing of the guard at the old Imperial Palace, now the home of the Regent, Admiral Horthy.   He notes that "the testimony of everyone here is about the same: Hungary wants a king again on her throne."

King Alexander slightly better

October 20, 1920

King Alexander of the Hellenes "passed a better night and a slight improved was noted," reported the New York Times, which based its dispatch on the official announcement. 
The condition of "lung congestion remained stationary," and the wound caused by the bite of the monkey is "improving, but an examination of his lungs showed the presence of pneumonia germs."

Queen Mother Olga of Greece left Lucerne "hurriedly yesterday for Athens to nurse her grandson."  She had received a telegram that his condition was desperate and another operation was immediately necessary."  The King's mother, Queen Sophie, who lives in exile in Switzerland, with King Constantine, has not been given permission to go to Athens to care for her second son.

Wilhelmina's fiance received with enthusiasm

October 20, 1900

Queen Wilhelmina and her fiance, Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin arrived this morning in the Hague and "were enthusiastically welcomed," reports the New York Times.  They were accompanied by Wilhelmina's mother, Queen Mother Emma.   The Queen's future consort was presented to officials assembled at the railroad station.  The royal party then "drove to the palace, where crowds sang the national anthem."
It was at the palace where Duke Henry was presented to members of the Diplomatic Corps. 
Tonight  at an official dinner at the Palace, Queen Mother Emma proposed a toast to her daughter and  future son-in-law, where "she dwelt upon the importance to the country of the alliance."
The newly betrothed Duke also received a telegram from Kaiser Wilhelm II:  "The task you have taken upon yourself is arduous, but by the side of the Orange Princess, who discharges her high duties with steadfastness and clear insight, you will with God's help, succeed in giving happiness to the sturdy people of the Netherlands.  My thoughts and best wishes attend you and the dear Queen."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

King to give up throne for Mrs. Simpson

Embed from Getty Images 
 October 19, 1936

There are rumors circulating in London society circles today  --but "they must be treated as no more than rumors," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune - that King Edward VIII "intends to abdicate."  According to these rumors, the King will abdicate in favor of his brother, the Duke of York, and marry Mrs. Simpson after she obtains a divorce.

The rumors that the king "will give up his throne follows worldwide publicity given to the monarch's close friendship with  Mrs. Simpson."

In Ipswich last week, Mrs. Simpson began divorce proceedings against her husband, Ernest Simpson, a shipping broker.  The case is undefended.

What led to the reports of these rumors is "the announced plans to rent the farms of the monarch's Sandringham estate in Norfolk."  Sandringham is private property, and not a part of the crown estates.

In the case of the king's abdication, the "eventual succession of Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the duke of York, would be assured.    This is seen as a very "popular development."  The British are "intrigued by a second Queen Elizabeth, the reign of the first Elizabeth having covered one of the most glorious periods in English history."

It is not known that if the King abdicates, he will revert to the dukedom of Cornwall.

Reports say Alexander has died

October 19, 1920

The Central News correspondent in Rome has wired London with a report from the Giornale d'Italia, obtained by wireless from the Greek steamer Brindisi that "King Alexander is dead."

This report is not considered credible as the "last bulletin, received by Reuters from Athens," at 11 a.m. stated the King's condition "was unchanged."

A French noted surgeon, who has not been named, left Paris today for Athens by special train "in answer to an urgent summons from the bedside of King Alexander." 

 It is understood that he will "attempt another operation on the King."