Monday, February 28, 2011

A girl for Michael and Anne

February 28, 1953

Queen Anne of Roumania gave birth to a daughter today in Lausanne, according to the Associated Press.  The infant princess, who weighed five pounds, is the third daughter for the exiled King Michael of Romania and his wife.    

The baby's name was not announced.  She joins two older sisters, Princess Margarita and Princess Helen.

Donna Vittoria Ruspoli hosts reception for her daughter and Don Jaime

February 28, 1935

Donna Vittoria Ruspoli hosted a reception tonight for more than 2,000 people in honor of her daughter, Emmanuele de Dampierre's forthcoming marriage to Infant Don Jaime of Spain, second son of the former King Alfonso XIII.
The Associated Press reports that the guests included royalty and nobility of Spain, France and Italy and many Americans."  The reception was held at the Palazzo Poggio Suasa.   Members of the Spanish royal family were present, and were joined by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Italy, Grand Duke Dimitri of Russia and former Queen Amelia of Portugal.
The American Ambassador and Mrs. Breckinridge Long also attended.

The bride-to-be's maternal grandmother is the former Josephine Curtis of Boston.

Grand Duchess Marie protects her husband's life

February 28, 1905

Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, the wife of Grand Duke Vladimir, "is trying to shield his life with her own," according to the New York Times.  Grand Duke Vladimir "is high on the list of those condemned to death by the Terrorists."

Since  "Red Sunday,"  the Grand Duke has received numerous "threats and warnings."  He has also received from abroad "formal letters signed by different groups, informing him of his sentence to death, and the assignment of the men to execute it."

Grand Duchess Marie, like Grand Duchess Elisabeth, the widow of the slain Grand Duke Serge, has been notified that "her life and her sons' lives would be spared."  She has also received an appeal to not "go abroad in her husband's company."

Grand Duke Vladimir's family and household have been under great strain since January 22,  and he insists that he is not responsible for the bloodshed that occurred on that day.   He has been in poor health for over a year, and he is now "almost a complete wreck." 

The police have advised that the Grand Duke stay "within the walls of his palace," but since the funeral of Grand Duke Serge, Vladimir "has shaken off the restraint," and said he refuses "show cowardice."  He drives out in a closed carriage, and on Sunday "walked for a short time up and down the quay in front of the Winter Palace."

The Grand Duke is always, however, accompanied by his wife.  He has tried "to elude her," but she "insists upon being immediately apprised if he is going out."  The Grand Duchess refuses to allow her husband to go outside without her, as she knows that he will not be attacked if she is with him.  In short, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna is providing her husband with a life-saving shield.

Georg Friedrich of Prussia's wedding

Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia and Princess Sophie of Isenburg will be married on August 27th at the Friedenkirche in Potsdam.  The marriage service will be ecumenical, as the groom is Lutheran and the bride, Roman Catholic.
Seven hundred guests will be invited to the wedding.   The Friedenkirche, also known as the Peace Church, is on the grounds of the Sanssouci estate.  The remains of Emperor Friedrich III and Empress Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, are buried in the vault of the Friedenkirche.,4d6b86c0978ca.php

Victor Emmanuel admits killing German teen

.... and there are some people who can get away with murder

Lord Downpatrick's views of a royal wedding

A rather interesting perspective by Lord Downpatrick, son of the Earl of St. Andrews, and grandson of the Duke of Kent.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The King's Speech

I do not go to the movies a lot.  In fact, I rarely go to the movies.  Of the ten nominated films, I saw one: The King's Speech.  I saw it twice, actually.  I saw Alice in WonderlandHarry Potter, Tangled, and How Do You Know.  I was an extra in How Do you Know, playing a Washington Nationals Fan.  

Suffice to say, I am delighted and excited that The King's Speech won Best Picture and Colin Firth as Best Actor.  I look forward to the DVD ...  and ask for going to the movies.  Nothing is catching my attention right now, so it could be months before I venture again into a movie, although I will be seeing the final Harry Potter film.

Royalty rocks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Oh, bad, bad Prince Laurent

Prince Laurent has certainly become the enfant terrible of the Belgian royal family.  Only last week he was stripped of his driver's license after being pulled over in Brussels for driving 19 miles over the speed limit.
Now comes word of further bad behavior by King Albert's youngest son. According to news report, the Prince and his wife, Princess Claire "regally settled into business class seats" on a Brussels Airline flight last June en route to the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria.  Several members of the crew asked the Prince and Princess to "remove themselves to the back of the plane."   The couple had purchased economy seats.   Prince Laurent grumbled and called the crew "unprofessional."  He also refused to pay for drinks, "leading Swedish passengers to do do the same."
Prince Laurent and Princess Claire did the same thing two months later, when they, their three children, and a nanny, booked economy seats on a flight from Italy, where they had been on vacation, but when they got on the plane, they "grabbed seats in the business section."
The crew did not want a scene, so they "kept quiet," and did not ask the couple to move to their ticketed seats.

Prime Minister Yves Leterme called the incidents "incorrect," and was distancing himself from the 47-year-old Prince.  The Prime Minister's comments were reported by Belga news agency.
The original report was published in two Flemish newspapers,  De Morgen and Het Laatste Nieuws.

Several questions:   why didn't Princess Claire say to her husband, "darling, I think we are in the wrong seats.  We should move to our right seats."  Or was she a willing participant, and condones her husband's behavior.   Perhaps there is a third view:  is Princess Claire afraid of her husband's temper, and does not want to upset the royal applecart.  

Eden not engaged to Marina

February 25, 1951

Deputy Conservative Leader Anthony Eden has denied "a silly rumor" of his "impending engagement to the Duchess of Kent," sister-in-law of King George VI, according to United Press, which picked up the story from London's Sunday Pictorial, a tabloid.

The Duke of Kent was killed in "an air crash in 1942."  Mr. Eden's marriage ended in divorce last year, and his former wife now lives in the United States.  The Duchess of Kent is the former Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark.

Alfonso has a relapse

February 25, 1941

The condition of former King Alfonso XIII of Spain is considered "very grave," according to the New York Times.
A bulletin was issued at 9 p.m., tonight, which said that Alfonso had a suffered "a series of grave attacks involving insufficient respiratory action during the past twenty-four hours.  The attacks continue."
Only yesterday, the king's doctors had noted a "relative improvement" in the former monarch's condition.
King Alfonso's wife, Queen Victoria Eugenia, and his two sons, remain at his bedside in a Rome hospital.  His doctor, Cesare Frugoni, remains in "constant attendance," and is in "easy reach if the crisis, already grave, should become worse."

Royal engagement announced: Isabelle to marry Count of Paris

February 25, 1931

The Duke of Guise has announced the engagement of his son, Prince Henri, Count of Paris, to Princess Isabelle of Orleans-Braganza.
The Duke is pretender to the French throne, having succeeded his cousin, the Duke of Orleans, in 1926.  Under French law, neither the Duke nor his son can live in France.  Their primary residence is at the Chateau D'Anjou at Woluwe, near Brussels.
Princess Isabelle, who was born in 1911, is the daughter of Prince Louis Philippe of Orleans-Braganza.  He was born in Brazil, and was pretended "to the Brazilian throne until he renounced his rights in 1908."
According to the Associated Press report, the "date for the wedding was not made known."

Princess Lilly's secret revealed

February 25, 1925

An exclusive cable dispatch to the Los Angeles Times.    It's not a secret anymore.  Princess Joachim Albrecht of Prussia, who has "frequently described by the German press as the most beautiful member" of former Kaiser Wilhelm's family," is revealed to be Karoline "Lilly " Stockhammer, a 'well-know figure at Baden-Baden and Monte Carlo," before she married Prince Joachim-Albrecht.
The former Miss Stockhammer was a dancer with her partner, Baron Sascha von Meyer, and they, according to press reports, "created something of a sensation at the playgrounds of royalty."
Lilly is the second morganatic wife for Prince Joachim Albrecht.  His first wife was the "notorious" Marie Sulzer.
The Princess is "very popular" in society circles in Berlin and Vienna.  Although she is a morganatic wife, German and Austrian newspapers refer to her as Princess Joachim Albrecht.

Margaret to marry Gustaf Adolf: official

Embed from Getty Images 

 February 25, 1905

It's official.  The Duke and Duchess of Connaught have announced the engagement of their daughter, Princess Margaret, to Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Norway, the eldest son of Crown Prince Gustaf and Crown Princess Victoria.
The bride-to-be's uncle, King Edward VII, has "given his sanction and approval to the engagement," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.
The date of the wedding has not been set.

Prince Gustaf Adolf is a "dashing army officer and sportsman."  He is said to be "extremely popular with both Swedes and Norwegians."

The official announcement was made in the Court Circular.  "Their Majesties the King and Queen to-day received the gratifying intelligence of the betrothal of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret Victoria Augusta Charlotte Norah of Connaught, eldest daughter of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught to His Royal Highness Prince Oscar Frederick William Olaf Gustavus Adolphus, Duke of Schonen, eldest son of Their Royal Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden and Norway, and Grandson of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden and Norway.
"Their impending marriage has the King's entire sanction and approval."

Prince Gustaf Adolf's mother,  the former Princess Victoria of Baden, is the daughter of the late Emperor Friedrich's sister, Luise, and Princess Margaret is "of course, the niece, of the late Empress Frederick," reports The Times of London.

The announcement of the engagement has elicited "general expressions of joy" in Sweden.

First photos of the Danish royal twins

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have released the first photos of their twin son and daughter.

The Photos were taken by Steen Brogaad

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Archduke Albrecht's body arrives at the Hofburg

February 24, 1895

The body of Field Marshal Archduke Albrecht of Austria, Duke of Teschen, arrived in Vienna from Arco this evening, reports the New York Times.  The archduke's coffin was "taken from the train to the funeral car," with a military escort.  The car, drawn by six horses, was escorted by "a squadron of cavalry and the Emperor's bodyguard," and taken to the Hofburg.

The streets were lined with crowds, as the Viennese paid their respects to the late Duke of Teschen who died at Arco on February 18. 

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany will be coming to Vienna for the funeral.  He is expected to arrive before noon, and leave for Berlin later in the evening.  The Duke of Aosta "started for Vienna this evening," and will be representing King Umberto of Italy.

The Archduke was born on August 3, 1817, at Vienna, the eldest son of Archduke Johann and Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg.  On May 1, 1844, in Munich, he married Princess Hildegard of Bavaria.  They had three children,  Archduchess Maria Theresia, who was born in 1845, Archduke Karl Albrecht (who died at age 18 months in 1848); and Archduchess Mathilde, who died at age 18 in 1867).   Archduchess Maria Theresia is married to Philipp, Duke of Württemberg.

Archduchess Hildegard died in 1864.

The Teschen dukedom passes to the late Archduke's nephew, Archduke Friedrich, who is married to Princess Isabella of Croy.

The Duke of Orleans must leave Brussels

February 24, 1899

The Belgian government has asked the Duke of Orléans to "curtail his stay in Brussels in order to prevent misunderstanding," reports the Brussels correspondent for London's The Morning Post.
The Duke will leave for Turin, Italy, later today.

Grand Duke of Oldenburg dead at 78

February 24, 1931

The Associated Press is reporting that former Grand Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg died today.  He was 78 years old.

He abdicated on November 11, 1918, after a "group of revolutionary sailors from Wilhelmshaven told him that time for royalty in Germany had passed."   Friedrich August retired to his family estate at Rastede and "took up farming and local industrial interests." 

  A year after his abdication, the Grand Duke "presented a claim to the Oldenburg Diet for an allowance of 150,000 marks annually for his family for fifty years."  In his claim, he stated that his financial situation was "extremely precarious."   Three years later, he was "reported to be at the head of a meat packing plant" in Oldenburg. 
In 1926, Friedrich August "courteously refused," citing old age,  an offer from the citizens of Rastede "to become their Mayor."

It is said that the former Grand Duke was the first European sovereign to visit the United States.  He came in 1904, traveling incognito as Count Lensahn, and "accompanied only by a valet."  He visited Niagara Falls and the Metropolitan Opera.  During his visit, he "received no official attention."  

 He spent only a short amount of time in the United States, "crossing the Atlantic and returning so quickly," as he wanted to be out of Oldenburg to avoid meeting with Kaiser Wilhelm II, who "had announced his intention of going to Oldenburg to discuss the then bitter question of the succession" in Oldenburg.

Friedrich August succeeded his father in 1900, as Grand Duke of a "little territory encompassing about 2,500 square miles on Germany's northwestern coast.  
Grand Duke Friedrich August was married twice.  After the death of his first wife in 1895, Princess Elisabeth of Prussia,  he married Duchess Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.   He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and four children,  Duchess Sophie Charlotte, former wife of Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia;  Duke Nikolaus, who succeeds him as head of the house; Duchess Ingeborg, the wife of Prince Stephan of Schaumburg-Lippe; and Duchess Altburg, the wife of Prince Josias of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

Rupprecht engaged again

February 24, 1921

Former Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria is engaged to Princess Antonia of Luxembourg, according to the Berlin newspaper, Kreuz-Zeitung.  A previous engagement between the former heir to the Bavarian throne and Princess Antonia "was broken off after the revolution in Bavaria."

Princess Antonia is one of five sisters of Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg. She was born in 1899.  During the war, Rupprecht "was in command of the German armies" on the northern front "of the western theatre."   His first wife, Duchess Marie Gabriele in Bavaria died in 1912. 
Rupprecht was born in 1869.

Prince Karl Alfred of Croy dead: a suicide

February 24, 1901

Prince Karl Alfred of Croy "has committed suicide because he was jilted by a peasant girl," according to the New York Times, which based its account on a report by the Vienna correspondent of London's The Morning Leader newspaper.

Prince Karl Alfredwas the fourth child and only son of Rudolf, the Duke of Croy, and Princess Natalie de Ligne. He was born in 1859 in Brussels.  He married in 1888 to Princess Ludmilla of Arenberg.  The couple have four children.
One of Prince Karl's sisters, Isabella, is married to Archduke Friedrich of Austria, Duke of Teschen.

[ Karl Alfred did not commit suicide in 1901.  He succeeded his father  on February 8. 1902.  Duke Karl Alfred died in 1906.]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

American heiress who married a German duke is dead at 51

February 23, 1931

Lily Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the divorced wife of Duke Heinrich Borwin of Mecklenburg-Schwerin died today at the Hotel Richelieu in San Francisco, reports the Associated Press.

The former duchess, who had lived at the hotel for the last year, died of pneumonia.  She was 51 years old. She was a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Duchess was born Natalie Oelrichs.  She was a social leader in San Francisco and in Newport, Rhode.   Her first husband, Peter Martin, a Pacific coast polo player, became ill during a visit to Paris in 1913 and died two years later in Santa Barbara.

Duke Heinrich Borwin, nephew of the then reigning grand duke, and a cousin of the Crown Princess of Germany, visited San Francisco in 1915, during the Panama-Pacific international exposition.  He was a guest at the Martins' home, and after Martin's death, the duke "renewed his acquaintance" with Mrs. Martin.  A "romance followed"  and the duke and Mrs. Martin were married in New York in 1915.

The couple lived in San Francisco for some time, where Duke Heinrich Borwin "was employed as an automobile salesman."  It was at this time, the duchess "inherited a fortune estimated at $5,000.000."

The duke and duchess separated after the war, and Heinrich Borwin returned to Germany, where he wrote a book about his war experiences,  High Highness, the Stoker.   They were divorced in 1921.

The Duchess is survived by her son, Charles Martin of San Francisco; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles M. Oelrichs of New York and Newport, and a sister, Mrs. Harrison Tweed.   The funeral was held today at St. Patrick's Cathedral in San Francisco.

[Lily's will was filed on November 23, 1931. She left her large estate "in trust to her parents," and disinherited her son, Charles Oelrichs Martin "for lack of filial respect."  After the deaths of her parents, according to her will, the estate "is to revert to her sister,  Mrs. Blanche Marie Oelrichs Tweed, wife of Harrison Tweed of New York," and two nephews, Leonard M. Thomas and Robin M. Thomas and a niece, Diana Blanche Barrymore."  Blanche Oelrichs was previously married to the actor John Barrymore.

 The marriage between Lily and Peter D. Martin took place at St. Joseph's Church in Newport on July 24, 1902. It was one of the society weddings of the year, and the guests included Mrs. Astor, Col, and Mrs. John Jacob Astor, the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.,  Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Vanderbilt.

Peter Martin, who was in Paris, working for a Paris bank, became ill in July 1913. He was suffering from "severe mental trouble."

Ernst Gunther, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein - dead

February 23, 1921

Duke Ernst Gunther of Schleswig-Holstein died yesterday at his home at Primkenau, Silesia, according to a report in the New York Times.  He was 57 years old.

The Duke was the brother of former German Empress Auguste Viktoria.  Her doctors "consider her condition too serious to permit her being informed" of her brother's death.   Auguste Viktoria remains in grave condition at Doorn, in the Netherlands.

The Duke is survived by his wife, the former Princess Dorothea of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  The couple had no children, and he is succeeded by his cousin, Prince Albert of Schleswig-Holstein, son of the late Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, and his wife, Princess Helena of Great Britain.

Leopold acknowleges Victor Napoleon as a suitor for Clementine

February 22, 1905

Although King Leopold II continues to deny that his youngest daughter, Princess Clementine, is engaged to marry Prince Victor Napoleon, he has admitted publicly that the prince "is a suitor for the hand of the princess, and that the latter is in love with the prince."   The Marquise de Fontenoy bases her report on an article in the Etoile Belge, recognized as the official organ of the court and the king.  
King Leopold is "accustomed to make semi-official communications to his subjects."
The statement reads "We are authorized to add that the king is strongly opposed to the union,  and we have reason to believe that her royal highness the princess would not wish to act contrary to the wishes of her father in the matter."

It is has been suggested that "in this particular instance," the king is "acting sensibly," and he is "justified in his hostility to the projected matrimonial alliance."  The Marquise states that Prince Victor Napoleon "has been ecclesiastically married for years" to a former ballet dancer, Marie Biot, who is slightly older than the Prince, about "47 years of age - and is disposed to embonpoint."  
The Prince and the ballet dancer have several children together, although she and the children do not live with him in his house on Avenue Louise in Brussels, "but resident at an adjoining mansion, so that even the French noblemen who volunteer to act as his gentlemen-in-waiting do not come in contact with the ex-ballerina."

Parental consent is "regarded as indispensable to the validity of a marriage," no matter the age of the couples.  Prince Victor Napoleon may avail himself of the "plea that he neglected to obtain  his mother's sanction to declare his marriage to the stout and no longer the comely mother of his children as null and void."
Morganatic marriages are not recognized in Belgium nor in France, "no matter what the difference of rank between the contracting parties, or else it is not marriage at all."

Thus, King Leopold "cannot be blamed for objecting" to Clementine "marrying a man with entanglements, such as Prince Victor's actress wife and her children."  Leopold may also be "prompted by political considerations," and he does not want to offend France by agreeing to a marriage between his daughter and Prince Victor, who has been "banished by the French government."

Victor Napoleon's "previous matrimonial venture" is reason enough to give Leopold "good grounds for his hostility to the projected match."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mr. Heffer ... I agree

Hear, Hear, Mr. Heffer .. spot on!

Former Yugoslav king arrives in the USA

February 22, 1951

Former King Peter II of Yugoslavia, and his wife, Queen Alexandra, arrived in New York today on the Queen Mary, reports the Associated Press.   Reporters showed the king "newspaper reports of a rift, and a subsequent reconciliation," and asked Peter if they were true.   King Peter responded: "No."  He and Queen Alexandra made no further comments regarding the state of their marriage.

King Peter and the former Princess Alexandra of Greece were married in London in 1944.  They have one son, Crown Prince Alexander, who was born in July 1945.

Helen and Irene injured in car crash

February 22, 1935

Princess Helen of Roumania, the divorced wife of King Carol II, and her younger sister, Princess Irene of Greece,  "were injured tonight in an automobile accident" between Montselice and Stangella in Padua, reports United Press.
Helen, the mother of Crown Prince Michael, "suffered leg injuries," and Princess Irene was "cut slightly on the head and chest."
They were taken to a hospital in Rovigo, where they were treated and released.  The two princesses are now resting at a local hotel, where they will remain for a few days.
The Princesses were en route from Brioni to Florence when the accident happened.

No onesies for new Spanish royal baby

February 22, 1907

Preparations continue to be made for the "reception of the expected royal heir," according to a special cablegram to the New York Times.
An official statement was released concerning the preparations for the birth of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia's first child.

"The baby's cradle with be the one in which Alfonso XII slept.  It rests on four Corinthian columns and is surmounted by two pillars bearing the royal crown of Spain.  These pillars support curtains of old Brussels lace.
"The coverings of the little bed are hand embroidered, some with garlands of rosebuds and others with butterflies in white silk.
"By the desire of King Alfonso all the baby clothes are of Spanish make, the majority being products of marvelous painstaking industry of Spanish nuns.  Scores of charming little garments of the finest silk, flannel and nainsook, trimmed with lace and raised embroidery, are being made.  They bear the royal crown in relief and are adorned with satin ribbons of white and pale rose.
"Queen Victoria Eugenie has shown a preference for Valenciennes lace and broderie Anglaise.  Many of the trimmings used are priceless old Mechlin lace which has been in the possession of the Spanish royal family since the days of Ferdinand VII.  The christening robe has been made by a Madrid firm. It is lavishly adored with Irish lace."

Several Grand Dukes "brave peril"

February  22, 1905

Several Russian Grand Dukes have arrived in Moscow to attend the funeral of Grand Duke Serge, "in spite of the warnings of the police," who have stated that they are "unable to guarantee" the safety of members of the Imperial family, according to the New York Times
Grand Duke Alexis arrived in Moscow last night to attend his brother's funeral.  This morning, Grand Duke Vladimir went to Tsarkoe-Selo.  Both trips "were successful accomplished."  
Both Grand Dukes traveled to the railroad stations in "closed carriages driven by coachmen without liveries and traveled in special cars."
Several other Grand Dukes will also be arriving in Moscow today.  Grand Duke Vladimir is unable to attend the funeral, "owing to indisposition caused by a chill."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does King Albert have an illegitimate sister?

According to author Leo Audenhaege,  King Albert II has an illegitimate half sister, Ingeborg Verdun, whose mother, Liselotte Landbeck, is alleged to have had an affair with the late King Leopold III during the winter of 1939-1940.  Ingeborg was born in December 1940.
Landbeck was born in Vienna, Austria in 1916.  She competed in both figure and speed skating.  In 1934, she won the bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships.  She married Belgian figure skater Robert Verdun in 1935, and began competing for Belgium.  She represented Belgium in the 1936 Olympic Games, where she finished fourth in the Ladies' Figure Skating Competition.
Van Audenhaege reveals the story in his latest book,  Van Küssnacht naar Argenteuil (From Küssnacht to Argenteuil). 
Ingeborg, who lives in the United States under another name, is now 70 years old.  She did not learn the truth until she was fifty.
"I was fifty when I first heard that my father is not my father," Verdun told the weekly Belgian magazine, Humo. " Fifty, you know what that means?  I was stunned.  That destroys your life."  
Liselote Landbeck, now 94, lives in a nursing home abroad.

Ingeborg, who bears the first name of Leopold's mother-in-law, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, is not the first alleged illegitimate child attributed to King Leopold.  Count Michel Didisheim, who was born in 1930, has been described as Leopold's natural son.  The claims were made in two books,  A Throne in Brussels by Paul Belien and De Kroon Ontbloot (the Crown Uncovered.)  The second book was authored by Noel Vaessen, who once served as Prince Laurent's military aide.
After the publication of both books, Count Michel, who worked for many years at King Albert's  private secretary, issued a statement denying that he was Leopold's son.

King Albert is the father of an illegitimate daughter, Delphine Boel, whose mother is Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps.

Invitations are out

The invitations to the Royal wedding have been sent out ... I don't expect an invite ... and, yes, invite is a noun, as well as a verb, at least according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the doyen of dictionaries.

Invite is a noun,  "The act of inviting, an invitation."  The use of the word "invite" as a noun is found as far back as 1659 "Bishop Cranmer gives him an earnest invite to England."   In 1818,  from Lady Morgan's Passages from My Autobiography, "For Monday we have had three dinner invites." 

Invite is also a verb.  I do not expect to be invited to William's wedding.  I did receive an invite to join friends for dinner.

It is being reported that 40 foreign royals have been invited.  Buckingham Palace has never released a complete list of guests for royal weddings.  I covered The Duke of York's wedding for the Associated Press. and received a press kit with all of the appropriate information.  One of the press releases was the list of the members of the reigning royal houses, but not other royals, including the family members.   On the day of Prince Edward's wedding, the palace did release a list of royals that included some of the family members.  But the palace has never been good at releasing a complete list of guests, including foreign royals, distant cousins, and others.

One assumes that invitations have been sent all of the reigning royal houses.   The invitations are sent in the name of the Queen, not the Prince of Wales nor the bride and groom, which makes me think that the royal delegations will be of the highest level, i.e, sovereigns and consorts, but not their heirs.  Six hundred of the wedding guests will be invited to the wedding breakfast reception after the ceremony.   This reception is hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.  It seems plausible that most of the reigning monarchs will be attending.
Here is my possible list:  Queen Beatrix,  Margarethe and Henrik from Denmark,  Harald and Sonja from Norway,  Carl XVI Gustaf and Siliva of Sweden,  Juan Carlos and Sofia of Spain, Henri and Maria Teresa of Luxembourg,  Hans-Adam and Marie of Liechtenstein, Albert and Paola of the Belgians and Albert of Monaco with Miss Wittstock, although she may be seated separately as she is not a Serene Highness.   This means she will sit with Albert, but not be in the official procession.
King Juan Carlos does not usually attend royal weddings, but he and Sofia were planning to attend Charles and Diana's wedding, but had to bow out because of that little problem of Charles and Diana spending a part of their honeymoon in Gibraltar.  The Spanish couple may choose to attend simply because they were unable to be at Charles' wedding. 

Unlike other royal weddings,  foreign contingents at British royal weddings are largely limited to one or two people per family.   The Sovereign and Spouse, for example or the Heir and spouse.  Or perhaps both.  In 1981, King Olav attended Charles and Diana's wedding, and was accompanied by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.  The Norwegians are more closely related to the British royal family, as Olav's mother was the sister of George V. Hereditary Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, who married earier that year, did not accompany his parents to Charles' wedding.  But the rest of the heirs to the European thrones had not yet reached their majority, so none would have been able to attend.  It is entirely possible that several of the European sovereigns will be accompanied by their spouses and their heirs and their spouses. 
Several of the sovereigns may choose to send their heir apparent and spouse to the wedding.  I am not sure when Crown Princess Mary's maternity leave ends, but if she is still on official leave on April 29,  she and Crown Prince Frederik will not be attending the wedding.  Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit did attend the Prince of Wales' second wedding, as Haakon's parents attended the first wedding.  This leads me to think that the King and Queen will attend William's wedding.
It would be out of character to include the Sovereigns and the heirs at a British royal wedding, but it is possible.  Princess Grace was accompanied by her son, the then Hereditary Prince Albert.

Grand Duke Henri's appearance may depend on his health.   Maria Teresa could be accompanied by her son, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume.

Expect to see King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie to attend, along with all or most of their five children (and spouses.)  Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu of Romania will be attending as will Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia and King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria.
You can add to the mix a selection of Hesses, Hohenlohe-Langenburgs, and Badens, including Princess Margarita of Baden, who is the Duke of Edinburgh's niece.

The Crown Prince of Japan will probably represent his father, the Emperor.  Press reports have stated that he will be accompanied by the Crown Princess, but nothing has been confirmed.   The King of Thailand is unwell, and may send a rep.  He sent his daughter to Charles and Diana's wedding.
The Sultan of Brunei is probably on the guest list.  He brought both wives to Prince Edward's wedding.  The Sultan divorced his second wife in 2003.  He remarried, and divorced the third wife last year.  At this time, the Sultan has only one wife.

What about the Kings of Lesotho and Swaziland?  They are possible guests, as is the very, very rich Aga Khan.

Everything is pure speculation.  We won't know who is coming until April 29, unless a guest comes out publicly, and states that they have been invited.

Oscar Magnuson engaged to Emma Ledent

Oscar Magnuson is engaged to be married. He proposed to Emma Emelie Charlotta Ledent on February 11, during a trip to  Gattères, France.  Oscar, the second of three sons of Princess Christina of Sweden and Tord Magnuson.   He is a noted eyeglass frames and sunglasses designer.

Here in the US, Oscar works exclusively with Eldridge Optician in New York City.
[I love the purple frames!]

 Miss Ledent, who was born in Stockholm on April 18, 1981.  A graduate of the Stockholm School of Economics, Emma is the director of Marketing & Sales at Important Looking Pirates.  She started working for Important Looking Pirates in August 2010, after three years with Proctor & Gamble, where she had been the Nordic marketing manager for Pampers and Duracell Batteries.

Oscar and Emma have been dating for several years.  In 2009, they became official partners. 
The date of the wedding have not been announced.

No hope for reconciliation between Cumberland and the Kaiser

February 21, 1899

All "hopes of reconciliation" between the Duke of Cumberland Kaiser Wilhelm II "are now at an end, and the agreement that would have allowed the Duke's eldest son "to be invested with the sovereignty of the Duchy of Brunswick," has been scrapped.
The Duchy, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy,  "belongs by right of inheritance" to the Duke of Cumberland."  This acknowledgment appears in the current edition of the Almanach de Gotha, where the duke is listed as the Duke of Brunswick.
A semi-official statement from Prussia that states that the "House of Guelph, can ever, under any circumstances, ascend the throne of Brunswick, and that the Duke of Cumberland, and his sons and descendants are forever excluded from the succession."
The Duchy's prime minister, Dr. von Otto, proposed the toast to the Kaiser "on the occasion of the grand official banquet given in honor of the Emperor's birthday," and said it was "utter hopelessness" on the expecation that "any Guelph Prince should ever be permitted to reign in Brunswick."
No one knows for sure who to blame "for the failure to carry out the terms of the agreement" between the Kaiser and the Duke through a "joint intervention" between the Alexander III of Russia,  the Duke of Cumberland's brother-in-law,  Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, Queen Victoria and the King of Denmark, the father of the Duchess of Cumberland.  
Many blame the Kaiser for the failure of the proposed agreement.
It is now expected that Wilhelm II will name his brother-in-law, Prince Adolph of Schaumburg-Lippe, who will replace Prince Albrecht of Prussia.
The Duke and Duchess of Cumberland are on the most intimate terms with Franz Joseph, and Wilhelm's decision to not allow young Prince George of Cumberland "to take possession of the throne of Brunswick" has put a great strain on "relations between the courts of Vienna and Berlin."  It has also "naturally increased the undisguised apathy" between the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna toward the Kaiser.  The Duke of Cumberland is said to be her "favorite brother-in-law."
The next in line to the Brunswick duchy is the elderly Duke of Cambridge, but he is married morganatically, and his sons have no dynastic status in Brunswick and Great Britain. 

It's a boy!

February 21, 1937

Crown Princess Martha of Norway gave birth to a son today at Skaugum, the family residence near Oslo, according the New York Times.
The infant, second in line to the throne after his father, Crown Prince Olav, is doing well, as is Crown Princess Martha.
A "cheering crowd" gathered outside Skaugum, and in Oslo there was "general rejoicing.   The Crown Prince and Crown Princess have two daughters, Princess Ragnhild Alexandra and Princess Astrid, but women cannot succeed to the Norwegian throne.
It is "supposed that the Prince will be named Sverre," after the Norwegian king who reigned from 1184 to 1202.  King Haakon VII "alone will decide the name of the Prince," and tomorrow "he will formally announce the birth in a council at the royal castle."

Carol sees his son

February 21, 1927

Former Crown Prince Carol of Roumania arrived today in Rapallo, Italy, and went immediately to the Hotel Excelsior, where he saw his son, 5-year-old, Crown Prince Michael, reports the New York Times.
There were "strict orders" issued to keep people from approaching Carol or "even those who accompanied him."
Prince Michael was brought to Italy by his mother, Princess Helen, and remained here while Helen return to Bucharest.

Paul's wife cannot return

February 21, 1905

Grand Duke Paul, who recently was "restored to his rank and honors" after several years of living in exile as the result of his morganatic marriage to Olga Pistolkors, and will be returning to Russia, reports the New York Times. But no permission was received for his wife to "cross the Russian frontier."   She left Eydtkuhnen, Prussia, today, and is returning to Paris.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sarah not invited to royal wedding

What a surprise ... not.   Sarah, Duchess of York has confirmed that she has not been invited to the wedding of Prince William of Wales,

Serge's beautiful widow

February 18, 1905

The Chicago Tribune reports today that "running through the cable dispatches on the assassination of Grand Duke Sergius are expressions of thankfulness of the people of Moscow" that his wife, Grand Duchess Elisabeth was not with him when the bomb was throne.   Elisabeth, who is known as Ella,  is known for her charity work, which has "endeared her to the Russian people."  It is not "improbable" that the Grand Duke's life by the fact that he was usually accompanied by his wife when he went out driving.
Grand Duchess Elisabeth is a niece of King Edward VII, and the sister of Tsarina Alexandra.  Her husband "forced her to renounce" her Lutheran faith and become a member of the Russian Orthodox church on the advice of Father John of Cronstadt, "who laid the non-birth of a boy in the grand duke's family" to Ella's religion.   The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, although residing in the same palace, had not lived together as man and wife for many years.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Prince Michael of Kent in Washington, D.C.

Prince Michael of Kent is on  visit to Washington, D.C.

Victoria Eugenia returns to Spain to support husband

Embed from Getty Images 
 February 17,1931

Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain arrived in Madrid tonight at 8:30 from London.   She has returned to a country engulfed in a crisis that threatens her husband's throne."  As she alighted from the train, a crowd of 1,500 people cheered her, giving her "the greatest ovation of her life."  Many of the crowd wore talk silk hats, which "marked them as of the aristocracy."  They "jammed the station platform to show their loyalty to the crown," reports the New York Times.

"Viva la Reina," the crowd shouted over and over again.  The Duke of Zaragoza acted as the engineer, who pulled the train into the station.  
Queen Ena's daughters, Infanta Beatriz and Infanta Maria Cristina ran up "to their mother as she stepped from the railway car and kissed her."

The Queen was "obviously touched by the reception." She walked along the platform as "members of the government closed around her to keep her from being crushed" by the crowd.

King Alfonso waited for her in the station's royal salon, and "embraced her in front of the assembled nobility."

Outside the station were more crowds, largely young members of the Pro-Monarchist Legionnaires of Spain.  The enthusiasm of these crowds led to "subsequent rioting and numerous arrests."   More than 500 people followed the King and Queen to the Palace, and cheered in front until the royal family "appeared on the balcony and waved their handkerchiefs."

Meanwhile, Republicans "rushed along several downtown streets, shouting "Viva la Republica!"Several arrests were made by the police.

Prince Cyril attends dinner in Palm Beach

February 17, 1929

Prince Cyril of Bulgaria and Baroness de Villiers were the guests of honor tonight at a dinner dance at the Everglades Club in Palm Beach hosted by Mr. and Mrs. George L. Mesker.

Princess Aspasa of Greece, who is staying at Whitehall in Palm Beach, gave a dinner there tonight for six guests.

India Hicks to star in TLC special on Royal Wedding

India Hicks, the youngest child of Lady Pamela Mountbatten and the late David Hicks, will star in a TLC special, tentatively named "Secrets of a Royal Bridesmaid."   A goddaughter of the Prince of Wales, India was one of Lady Diana Spencer's bridesmaids.   The special will be televised on TLC (formerly known as The Learning Channel.)

William and Catherine are free to marry

At today's Privy Council Meeting, Queen Elizabeth II gave her assent to the marriage of HRH Prince William of Wales to Miss Catherine Middleton.  This assent is required by law, according to the Royal Marriages Act.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg is 20 today.

Photo ©Cour Grand-Ducale/Christian Aschman
I am getting old.  I remember clipping news reports of her birth.   Princess Alexandra Josésphine Teresa Charlotte Marie Wilhelmine is one of five children, and the only daughter of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.    She is a graduate of the Lycée Vauban in Luxembourg.  She is a freshman at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, where she is studying  history, philosophy and literature.   She is also a member of the school's tennis team.

Alexandra is not the first member of the Luxembourg Grand Ducal family to attend college in the United States. Her brother, Louis, and his family are living in the Melbourne, Florida, area, where he attends the Florida Institute of Technology.

 Her uncle, Prince Guillaume, graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in 1987.

As Luxembourg's succession law remains Semi-salic, Alexandra can only inherit the throne after all the eligible males. There have been discussions to change the law to allow for the succession of the first born child, but no legislation has been promulgated by Luxembourg's parliament.

Leadfoot Laurent loses driver's license

Prince Laurent of Belgium was stripped of his driver's license on Monday after he was caught speeding 19 miles over the speed limit in downtown Brussels, according to a statement from the royal palace.
Police stopped the prince "after a speed camera captured his Fiat Punto Abarath "whizzing by at 82 kilometres per hour on a 50 kph street."
"He was clearly speeding," said palace spokesman Pierre-Emmanuel de Bauw.
Prince Laurent's license was "taken away immediately," and was suspended for two weeks.   The prince, 47, is the youngest son of King Albert and Queen Paola.  He is married to the former Claire Coombs, and they have three children.
Prince Laurent is 12th in line to the Belgian throne. 
 This is not the first time that the Prince has been pulled over by police for speeding.  Several years ago, he was fined for driving 137mph on a Belgian highway, where the speed limit was 75 mph. In 1999,  he got caught driving 91 mph in Brussels, where the limit was 31 mph,and a year later, he was flagged for driving 85 mphad of 44 mph in Bruges.

No measles for Yugoslav queen

February 16, 1931

Queen Marie of Yugoslavia's doctors are denying reports that she is suffering from the measles, according to an Associated Press dispatch.   They state she is recovering from a bronchitis and a mild rash.   The Queen was visiting her mother, Queen Marie of Roumania, when she became ill.

The New York Times is reporting that Marie's illness, first "announced as grip and then measles, is now reported to be a light case of smallpox complicated by bronchitis."   Her temperature and pulse "are satisfactory" and her doctors are not worried.     Queen Helen, the mother of Crown Prince Michael, is recovering from grip, and has been confined to her bed for more than a week."

Was the Duke of Coburg switched at birth?

February 16, 1907

Is the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha a changeling, asks the Chicago Daily Tribune.   The Royal Houses in Germany, England, and Holland are said to be "annoyed, worried and non-plussed" over a series of "the most extraordinary letters" attacking His Royal Highness Prince Leopold Charles Eduard George Albert, Duke of Albany, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

These letters, inspired by malice and appearing to emanate from Munich or Berlin, alleged that the young Coburg ruler is "really not of royal birth at all, but the son of a matron of honor in Queen Victoria's household."  
The writer charges that the Duchess of Albany, the former Princess Helen of Waldeck und Pyrmont,  the mother of the young duke, "gave birth to a girl after the death of her husband," who was Victoria's youngest son.  Two days earlier, the matron of honor gave birth to a son.  This lady was "determined that her child should win high honors, caused it to be changed, and that, before the princess recovered, she found to her job that her baby was a boy."

It is also further alleged that the matron of honor, now living in semi-retirement in Surrey,  has raised the girl child as her own.    Even "more startling than that is the statement by the writer" that the woman was not alone in this plot, that "persons high in the nobility in England, desiring that a boy should be born to succeed the many titles of the father," encouraged and colluded with the woman to accomplish the "changing of the infants."

The story has been declared "preposterous and impossible."  The births of British royal children are witnesses, and this birth was "presided over by eminent physicians," as well as members of Victoria's household.  A few moments after the delivery, the infant prince was placed in his godmother's arms, "amid general rejoicing that it was a boy."

The switching of a baby would have been "an impossibility unless the highest officials of Great Britain had connived to assist," and they would not have had the opportunity to do it.
Moreover, none of Victoria's ladies gave birth to a son "or any child" near the time of the Duchess of Albany's accouchement.

There is a fear that this story will be circulated "to the masses, always read to believe such yarns, and cause sentiment" against the young Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The writer of the latter also appeared ignorant of the Coburg succession at the time of Carl Eduard's birth.  He was not the heir to many titles.  He was a British prince, and he succeeded to his father's dukedom, Albany.  But he was not the heir apparent or even the heir presumptive to the Coburg throne. 
Duke Ernst II, the older brother of Carl Eduard's late grandfather, Prince Albert, was still on the throne. By a family agreement, Duke Ernst, who did not have any legitimate issue, would be succeeded by Victoria and Albert's second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.  He was the father of one son, Alfred, born in 1879.

It was largely assumed that Duke Alfred's line would continue in Coburg.  Ernst II died in 1893, and Alfred succeeded as Duke.  Young Alfred got involved with the wrong crowd in Berlin, lived a dissipated life, and never married.  He died at the age of 24 in February 1899.  
Duke Alfred's heir apparent was his brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, but the Duke of Connaught nor his young son, Prince Arthur, wanted the Coburg succession, so they renounced their rights in favor of the next in line, the young Duke of Albany.

The question of Carl Eduard's birth was raised in 1900 following Duke Alfred's death, when the Regent, Prince Ernst, "received letters charging that the child was a changeling, and Prince Leopold died without male issue."

Prince Ernst, whose wife was Carl Eduard's first cousin, dismissed the comments as nonsense.  Nothing more was heard of these rumors until 1904, when the young Duke moved to Berlin to "complete his training and prepare to ascend the throne."   It was at this time that persons in German and British royal circles received pamphlets outlining the scurrilous claims and "presenting the alleged evidence."
Since that time, the person or persons behind the claims "have at intervals renewed them and demanded investigations."

Despite the "preposterous nature of the allegations,"  there are some who continue to whisper the claims, and "efforts are being made to suppress the entire matter" and capture the persons involved to "discover their motives."

Official: Carl Eduard is to marry Kaiserin's niece

February 16, 1905

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha announced his engagement today to Duchess Viktoria Adelheid,  the daughter of Duke Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.    Duchess Viktoria Adelheid is the niece of Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria, while the future bridegroom is the nephew of King Edward VII, reports the New York Times.

The Duke and Kaiser Wilhelm II are first cousins, as both are grandsons of Queen Victoria.

The young Duke succeeded to the Coburg throne in 1900, after the death of his uncle, Duke Alfred, who was also the Duke of Edinburgh.  He became the heir a year before after the tragic death of Alfred's only son, Hereditary Prince Alfred. 
The Duke of Connaught and his young son, Prince Arthur, were the next heirs, but both renounced their claims in favor of the then Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany.  

 Young Prince Arthur of Connaught was at Eton with his cousin, Charles Edward, and "declared he would punch Prince Charles's head if the young prince" refused to accept the Coburg inheritance.  
At the time,  the young Duke of Albany declared: "I don't want to be a German duke."

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, now known as Carl Edward, was born in July 1884.  He is the only son of the late Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany,  King Edward's youngest brother.   He will reach his majority next July, when the regent, Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, will turn the reins of power to him.

Prince Ernst is married to the late Duke Alfred's third daughter, Princess Alexandra.

Edward to visit Germany

February 16, 1901

It was reported in today's Pall Mall Gazette that King Edward VII plans to leave London on Monday for Germany to visit his older sister, the Dowager Empress Friedrich, who is said to be very ill.  The King's trip is "intended to be of an exceptionally private character."

The King, Queen Alexandra, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, and other members of the family are now at Windsor.

Duchess Gertrud of Oldenburg

Duchess Gertrud of Oldenburg died on February 4.  She was 85 years old.   Duchess Gertrud was the wife of Duke Peter Friedrich of Oldenburg. The couple would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on August 7, as they were married in a double wedding ceremony with Peter's older brother,  Anton-Günther, Duke of Oldenburg, and Gertude's older sister, Ameli.

Princess Gertrud Olga Ilka Emma Agnes Magdalena Mechthild was born at Langenzell on January 24, 1926, the third child of was the third child of  Udo, Prince of Lowenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg and Countess Margarete of Castell-Castell.

Duchess Gertrud is survived by her husband, Peter, and their four children, Duke Friedrich August, Duchess Margarete, Princess Philipp von Croy,  Duke Nikolaus, and Duke Georg-Moritz, and nine grandchildren,  Duchess Anastasia, Duchess Alice, Duchess Cara, Duke Christoph, Duke Georg, Duke Oscar, and Prince Alexander, Prince Maximilian and Princess Rosalie of Croy.

For many years, Duchess Gertrud was an active member of the German Red Cross in eastern Holstein.  She served in various positions, and in 1986, she was elected chairman.  She stepped down from this position in 1996.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A new mouser for 10 Downing Street

All together now:  Ahhhhhh!

10 Downing Street, the residence of the British Prime Minister, has a rat problem.    Prime Minister David Cameron and his family have decided to adopt a cat.   Larry has arrived from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.  He will be taking on the rats, and living the high life as well.  Think of the stories he will be able to tell!

Larry looks a lot like my Edison, only a lot skinnier.  Edison has no idea what a rat is or what a rat does.

Remembering the 1961 United States Figure Skating team

Remembering the 1961 United States Figure Skating Team

The Skaters:
Bradley Lord   US Champion (men's)
Gregory Kelley   Silver Medalist ( Mens)
Doug Ramsay   Fourth place (Mens), 1st alternate, and replaced the Bronze medalist Tim Brown, who was ill.
Laurence Owen  US Champion (Ladies)
Stephanie Westerfeld  Silver Medal (Ladies)
Rhode Michelson  Bronze Medal (Ladies)
Maribel Owen & Dudley Richards  US Champions - Paris
Ila Ray Hadley & Ray Hadley Silver Medals  Paris
Bill & Laurie Hickox   Bronze Medal (Pairs)
Larry Pierce & Diane Sherbloom  US Champions Ice Dance
Roger Campbell and Donna Carrier Silver Medal (Ice Dance)
Bob Dineen & Pat Dineen  Bronze Medal (Ice Dance)

The Coaches:
Linda Hadley
Bill Kipp
Maribel Vinson Owen
Danny Ryan
Edi Scholdan
Bill Swallender

Harold Hartshome
Eddie LeMaire
Deane McMinn
Walter Powell

Family Members
Ann Campell
Louise Hartshome
Nathalie Kelley
Dickie LeMaire
Jimmy Scholdan
Sharon Westerfeld

Belgian King and Queen visit crash site

February 15, 1961

King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola visited the crash site near Brussels Airport, where a Sabena Airlinea Boeing 707 crashed.  Seventy three people, including 18 members of the United States Figure Skating team, were killed.  There were no survivors.
The United States figure skating team were en route to the World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Ena going home

February 15,  1931

Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain is returning home, despite the current political situtation.  The New York Times is reporting that the Queen will leave London tomorrow for Spain, as her mother, Princess Beatrice, is doing much better.  Queen Ena now feels "she can return and be at King Alfonso's side during the present critical times."
This afternoon, Ena, accompanied by her brother, the Marquess of Carisbrooke, went to Buckingham Palace to say goodbye to King George V and Queen Mary.

Queen Marie has the measles

February 15, 1931

Queen Marie of Yugoslavia, who has been visiting family in Bucharest, is "suffering from measles and bronchitis," according to the New York Times.  An official bulletin regarding the Queen's health states that she has a "high fever," but that her "general condition is satisfactory."
Meanwhile, according to an AP report,  Marie's sister-in-law, Queen Helen of Roumania, has "conquered an attack of pneumonia."  This morning, Helen, the former wife of King Carol II, was reported to be "much better" and her "temperature had disappeared altogether."  The AP also reports that Queen Marie has the measles, and her mother, Queen Marie of Roumania, telegraphed King Alexander of Yugoslavia to say that his wife's condition "has become worse since last night.
Tonight, Marie's doctors' state that she has "developed an inflammation of the trachea, accompanied by bronchitis and a rose rash with temperature."  Doctors state that the Queen is suffering from the measles.

Princess Henry christens dirigible

February 15, 1911

The dirigible airship Suchard was named today by Princess Henry of Prussia.  The naming celebration took place in Kiel.   German American journalist Joseph Brucker will try to cross the Atlantic in the Suchard in the spring, reports the New York Times.
Admiral Prince Henry of Prussia and other high officers at the Kiel's naval station took part in the ceremony.  Cheers rang out as Princess Henry "crashed a bottle of German champagne against the bow of the shapely balloon."   The Princess exclaimed: "I wish you a pleasant journey."
The band from Kaiser Wilhelm II's yacht, Hohenzollern, played the German national anthem and the "Star-Spangled Banner."
Prince Henry inspected the airship yesterday, and "expressed the liveliest hope for its success." The Suchard will make several trial trips over Kiel's harbor before "being shipped to the Cape Verde Islands in March."   Brucker said the trip across the Atlantic will begin in April. and he "hopes to land in Trindidad or Barbadoes."

Louise tosses out nurse

February 15, 1905

The Countess Montignoso's affairs "took a dramatic turn today," reports the New York Times.  For some time, the former Crown Princess Luise of Saxony had "suspected" that her daughter's German nurse, Mahote, planned to abduct Princess Anna and take her to Germany to her father, King Friedrich August of Saxony.  Today, the Countess told the nurse that the German  Consult was waiting to meet her at the gate of the villa in Florence, where  she is living.  The Countess took Mahote to the fates, and then quickly pushed her outside, and closed and locked the gate.  She shouted to the nurse: "Go to your master, spy."
The Countess went back to the house, and ordered that all of the nurse's belongings be thrown out of the window to the street below.  The nurse "protested her ejection," to no avail.  She finally walked into town, found a locksmith, saying she had lost her key.   The locksmith "declined to help."   The nurse then went to see Dr. Koerner, the Dresden lawyer who had recently visited the countess to demand that the relinquish custody of Princess Anna.   Dr. Koerner, accompanied by the German consul and the nurse, went back to the villa, "where they found all the doors bolted and even the bell wires cut."    The lawyer contacted the police for assistance, but was told "they could not enter a private house without an order from the court."
The Countess' neighbors have declared that they will "personally oppose any attempt at violence" agaisnt the former Crown Princess.

Lord Spencer about to wed ... again

Four months ago,  Earl Spencer announced that his engagement to Bianca, Lady Eliot was over, and there would be no wedding.   One wonders if she gave back the £25,000 diamond engagement ring.   Well, that was September 2010.  It's now February 2011.
 It's time for a new fiancee.  
Lord Spencer has announced his engagement to Canadian-born Karen Gorden, a divorcee, who runs the Los Angeles-based charity, Who Children International.

The private wedding is set to take place at Althorp on June 18.  One can expect to see Karen accompanying Charles to his nephew's wedding. 
The former Karen Villenueve was born thirty nine years ago  in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.   She attended college briefly in Toronto, but decided she wanted to model.  She modeled for clothing catalogs, and supplemented her salary by working at the front desk of the Four Seasons hotel in Toronto.    It was while she was working at the posh hotel where met her future husband, Hollywood producer Mark Gordon, whose successes include Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot and the current hit TV series, Grey's Anatomy.
The couple married in 1997.   Karen gave birth to two daughters before separating from her husband in 2003.  She received a hefty divorce settlement, and use $1.3 million of the settlement to start her charity.

Mrs Gordon is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Global Initiative.  In 2010, she co-authored two articles in the peer-reviewed Infant Journal of Mental Health.

I hope they have his-and-hers pre-nups.

Lord Spencer's conquests:

 *  Victoria Lockwood.  Married September 16, 1989.  Divorced December 3, 1997.   Lord Spencer apparently cheated on Victoria during the marriage.  According to the divorce proceedings, Charles slept with 10-12 women while his wife was getting treatment for an eating disorder.  One of the former

 *  Chantal Collopy.    In 1997, Collopy told Sky News that Charles had ended their affair because he could not accept her two children.  They had made plans to marry but Chantal said he got "cold feet" after her own marriage had broken down.
"I was devastated by the fact that my family was now broken," she said. "I was now divorced with no one. I suddenly started feeling ... very insecure about the way I looked and started worrying about my weight because he had mentioned to me that I should not get fat ... I know what she has gone through
Chantal testified in Victoria's favor during the divorce trial.  During his first marriage, Charles tried to seduce Patricia Guppy, when her husband, Darius, was in jail for insurance fraud.  Charles had served as the best man at their wedding in 1991.   Patricia eventually told her husband about Charles' attempt, after hearing other women talk about how Charles tried to seduce them.  Darius called Charles to confront him with Patricia's statement. Charles offered vehement denials, but Darius did not believe him.  Charles went over to Guppy's home -- they were both living in South Africa at the time -- and got into a fight with Guppy.  The two men went at each, throwing blows and kicks. Charles emerged from Guppy's home with "a fractured cheekbone and injuries to his ribs and nose."  He said the injuries came while playing cricket. 

*   Caroline Hutton, divorced wife of Matthew Freud.  Married December 15, 2001. Separated in 2006, weeks after the birth of the couple's second child.

*   Coleen Sullivan, an American TV reporter, met Charles when she interviewed him in 2006.  She broke up with her fiance, left her home in California, and moved in with Charles at Althorp.  He dumped her in June 2008

*   Jane Yarrow.  Former wife of a City financier, David Yarrow.  First spotted holding Charles' hand in Chelsea in  July 2008.  Their relationship ended after only a few weeks, and it was reported that Jane did the dumping.  Jane was the public relations director who put Elizabeth Hurley in the Versace dress held together with safety pins.

*   Bianca, Lady Eliot.  Bianca, the widow of Lord Eliot, heir to the Earl of St. Germain, met Charles Spencer in a London Club in October 2008.  It was "love at first sight."  They became engaged in March 2010, and planned to get married in September 2010.   The wedding was called off in September "after a series of rows and heated exchanges."
Was Karen Gordon the reason for these rows and heated exchanges?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Interesting interview!

The following article was published in the Wall Street Journal in September 2010.   Slightly timely, but King Fuad II does not have a chance to be restored.  No one is clamoring for a monarchy in Egypt.  His father's reign was as corrupt as Nasser or Sadat or Mubarak ...

A final separation for Eulalia and her husband

February 14, 1899

Infanta Eulalia of Spain and her husband, Don Antonio de Orleans-Borbon have decided on a final separation, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy today.  Don Antonio has left his wife, and has "taken his children with him."

The final quarrel was "brought about by the extravagant flirtations of the Infanta" in England, where she is currently living.

Infanta Eulalia has always "been noted for her flightiness."  She has become "so extravagant in her conduct," which has brought the "strongest remonstrances from Madrid."  It has been said that Eulalia's recent behavior has resulted in a "complete rupture" between Eulalia and her sister-in-law, Queen Regent, Maria Cristina.
The Infanta grew up in a demoralized home, as her mother, Queen Isabel, was not known for high moral standings.   As a young woman, Eulalia was forced against her will into a loveless marriage. 
The marriage was arranged in "a hurry" by her brother, King Alfonso XII to put an "end to her infatuation for a young secretary at one of the foreign embassies in Madrid."  There was a fear that she might elope, following the example of two of her aunts, one with Count Gurowski, and the other with the Cuban poet Guele y Rente.

Don Antonio is said to be a "poor sort of creature, as insignificant mentally," a "colorless individual," who is constantly "henpecked, persecuted and betrayed."

Princess Xenia applies for a gun

February 14, 1931

Princess Xenia of Russia, the former wife of William B. Leeds, Jr., applied to the Nassau County (Long Island) police today "to carry a revolver," reports the New York Times.  She did not give a reason for the request on her application form.
According to application form, the Princess is 27 years old, born in Russia, but now an American citizen.  She is 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall, has brown hair and brown eyes.  She lives at Oyster Bay Road in Syosset.

Belgian king feeds the pigeons

February 14, 1927

King Albert of the Belgians "enjoyed himself" today wandering about London alone, "on a window shopping tour," reports the Associated Press.  He fed the pigeons at St. Paul's Cathedral, and when he was in Ludgate Circus. a "hurrying pedestrian" collided with him, said "sorry, and then "rushed on" without knowing that he had bumped into the Belgian king. 
While the King was on a walking tour of London,  his wife, Queen Elisabeth, did some shopping in Bond Street, where she purchased a few gowns and novelties.  She was dressed in a "light gray suit and a small hat," was recognized by only a few people.  She also paid "an informal visit to the Flemish art exhibit," and also went back for "another view of the pictures which she saw yesterday with King George and Queen Mary."
Tonight, the king and queen plan to see Sir Gerald du Maurier in "Interference."  They leave for Belgium tomorrow, returning by boat, as fog has prevented the King's plan to make the trip by airplane."

The marriage of the Princess of Asturias and Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

February 14, 1901

The Princess of Asturias and Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies were inited in marriage today in the chapel of the Royal Palace in Madrid.

The ceremony was conducted, according to the rites of the Roman Catholic church, a nuptial mass, followed by "the simple Catholic ritual of marriage."

William and Catherine's attendants

Clarence House today released the names of the Prince William and Cattherine Middleton's attendants.
Prince Harry will be Prince William's best man.   Catherine has chosen her sister, Philippa Middleton, as her maid of honor.  She will also be attended by four bridesmaids and two page boys.   The bridesmaids are Lady Louise Windsor, 7-year-old daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex,  the Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the 8 year-old daughter of  Viscount and Viscountess Linley,  three-year old Grace van Cutsem and three-year-old Eliza Lopes.   Grace is the daughter of Mr and Mrs. Hugh van Cutsem. She is Prince William's goddaughter.   Eliza Lopes is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lopes.  Mrs. Lopes is the former Laura Parker-Bowles, William's stepsister.   Little Eliza is the Duchess of Cornwall's granddaughter.
Two two pages are Master William Lower-Pinkerton, 10, the son of  Prince William and Prince Harry's private secretary, and Master Tom Pettifer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pettifer.  Mrs. Pettifer is the former Alexandra "Tiggy" Legge-Bourke, who worked briefly as William and Harry's nanny after the death of their mother.   Prince William is Tom's godfather.

Grace van Cutsem's uncle, Edward, served as a page at the wedding of Prince William's parents, the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.

Miss Middleton does not have any godchildren (yet), nieces or nephews or young cousins. None of the attendants come from William's maternal family. He did not include anyone from his mother's side of the family.  He has 12 first cousins on his mother's sister.  Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Lady Jane Fellows each have three children, all of whom were born in the 1980s.  The Earl Spencer has six children.  The first four of his children, Lady Kitty, Lady Eliza, Lady Amelia and Lord Althorp, were born in the early 1990s.  They live in South Africa with their mother, Victoria, although Lady Kitty has been dividing her time doing fashion shoots and attending parties in London and in Johannesburg. 
Lord Spencer also has two children, the Hon. Edmund Spencer, 7, and four-year-old Lady Lara Spencer, who live with their mother, Caroline, in London.
Lord Spencer's second marriage ended in acrimony.  It is unlikely that Prince William knows his youngest first cousins.  Although it is said that Prince William has a warm relationship with his two aunts, and their children, he is not as close to Uncle Charles and his family. 
It is expected that all three of Diana's sisters and their children (apart from the two youngest ones) will receive invitations to the wedding ceremony.

Kate Middleton attended the wedding of Laura Parker-Bowles and Harry Lopes in 2006.   Lopes is the son of the Hon. George Lopes and the Hon. Sarah Astor, and is, thus, the grandson of the 2nd baron Rosborough and the 2nd Baron Astor of Hever.   Sarah is a kinswoman of Rose Astor,  the mother of Grace van Cutsem.  Rose Nancy Langhorne Astor is the youngest of four children of David Waldorf Astor, eldest child of the Hon. Michael Langhorne Astor.  
The Hon. Michael Astor was the fourth children of the American-born William Waldorf Astor, 2nd Viscount Astor, and Nancy Witcher Langhorne, a native of Danville, Virginia.   Lady Astor was the first woman Member of Parliament to take her seat.
There are two separate Astor titles in the United Kingdom.  William Waldorf Astor, a member of a very prominent Astor family in the United States, was the richest man in America.  A lawyer by training, he served in the New York State Assembly, but after he was defeated in a re-election bid, Astor was named as ambassador to Italy by President Chester A. Arthur.
In 1890,  William began the building of the Waldorf Hotel.  His cousin, John Jacob Astor IV, building a competing hotel, known as the Astoria, in 1897.  The hotel then became known as the Waldorf - Astoria Hotel.
After a family feud with his aunt Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, William moved his family to England, where he purchased a home, Cliveden.  In 1899,  Astor became a British subject.  Four years later, he purchased Hever Castle, in Kent.  
In 1905, William gave Cliveden to his eldest son,Waldorf, and his wife, Nancy, as a wedding present.   William's wealth was much appreciated in England, and he donated to many charities.  In 1916, he was created Baron Astor of Hever Castle.  Six months later, he was created Viscount Astor.
Hever Castle was inherited by Lord Astor's fourth child, John Jacob Astor, who married Lady Violet Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, daughter of the 4th Earl of Minto.    In 1956, he was created Baron Astor of Hever Castle.  His eldest son, Gavin, who succeeded in 1971 as the second Baron Astor of Hever, married Lady Irene Haig, daughter of the 1st Earl of Haig,  The Hon. Sarah Astor is their third daughter.
Grace van Cutsem and Eliza Lopes are direct descendants of Johann Jakob Astor and Sarah Todd. Astor was born in 1763 in Walldorf, Germany.   He was only 16 when he moved to London to work for his brother, a flute maker.  After the end of the American revolution,  Johann Jakob emigrated to the United States, where he established a fur trading empire.  He created a diversified empire, and at the time of his death in 1848, he was the richest man in America.
In New York, the Astor family was at the center of the society.  The male line in the American branch is now extinct, but the family thrives in the United Kingdom.