Friday, October 31, 2014

Ferdinand in Paris for years with ambition to be king

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October 31, 1908

Ferdinand of Bulgaria planned to be king for "a long time," reports the New York Times.  He visited Paris often, making sure he visited French officials.

"Bulgarians are friends, admirers, and pupils of France," he once said.  "They owe their civilization and their liberty to France."

He was "tireless" in his pursuit, and French diplomats would try to avoid him so they would not have to talk with him.  

During his final years as the French president,  Loubet "received many visits" from Prince Ferdinand, who "attempted to talk to him in his usual matter."  President Loubet was very clever, and "always managed to change the subject.  

On one occasion, Prince Ferdinand was en route to a hunt at Rambouillet, and was on the same train, with the French president.  As usual, Ferdinand tried to dominate the conversation.  "The Bulgarians are the friends ...." Ferdinand said, but Loubet quickly interrupted, by saying "Your Highness shall I tell you the story of my first election?  It is a curious story."

President Loubet rambled on until the train reached Rambouillet.

Prince Ferdinand was "something of a fop" before he became Prince of Bulgaria.  He used to visit Chantilly as a "perfumed dandy," but is now "completely changed."

He has four children with his late first wife, Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma.   After the birth of the fourth child,  Prince Ferdinand, then experiencing serious political difficulties, and to resolve the situation, he announced that his eldest son, Boris, would convert to the Orthodox faith.

Marie Louise, a devout Roman Catholic, would not agree to Ferdinand's decision.  He had to "employ a ruse," and Marie Louise was only "informed of Boris' abjuration of Catholicism after the deed was accomplished."

The news hastened the Princess' death, and had the "effect of loosening the ties" between Ferdinand and his Orleans cousins.  They stopped going to Bulgaria, although would "receive him in Paris.

Best ever photograph of the Prince of Wales

This has to be the best ever photograph of the Prince of Wales, who is currently on a tour of Colombia with the Duchess of Cornwall.    Such joy in his face.

Only one British reporter, Rebecca English, and several photographers accompanied the royal couple.  Due to illness Rebecca will be returning to the UK early, but kudos to her for going to Colombia in the first place to cover the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. 

Nor is the Prince of Wales afraid to show affection for his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The British royal beat writers would have fallen over themselves to accompany the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge if they were the ones making the tour, and we would have read numerous articles about what the Duchess wore to a particular engagement.

The Prince of Wales is the heir apparent, first in line to the throne.  He is the next sovereign.  His son, William, is the second in line, and does not a  constitutional role. 

William has yet to embrace the full mantle of royal duties.  Lots of criticism about this, but if the Queen wanted the Duke take on more engagements, he would be doing more. 
There have been many discussions on why the Duke of Cambridge was not present at the recent state dinner.  The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are not dissing the Queen by not attending.  At some point, the Queen will request the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a state dinner, but this has not yet happened.  When this does happen, we will know if the Duchess has received the Queen's Family Order.  I expect she has received it, but an official announcement of the order being bestowed on a distaff member of the Royal Family is never made by the Court.

If the Queen wanted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to be full time royals, she would command it, and they would do it.   There is a lot of criticism for perceived slacking off, but the Queen does not seemed to be concerned.  At some point, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be asked to do more, and the request will come from their Sovereign.  Perhaps they should do more, but, in the end, it is up to one person, and only one person, to make the decision.  When she does, we will know.  How will we know.  More engagements, more charities, more appearances at official events, including state dinners, will be announced for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

So right now enjoy the good work that the Prince of Wales does. He has admirable support from his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.   He's the heir apparent. He's the real star!  And his star is shining bright ... his face is so full of joy and happiness. 

It is sad ... and wrong ... that the Prince of Wales is getting far less press for this arduous tour.  Four full days in Colombia, followed by four more days in Mexico.  The Duchess of Cornwall is doing her fair share, too, with her own schedule of engagements.

The Prince of Wales' star is shining brightly.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Alexander near death

October 30, 1894

A new bulletin regarding the condition of Alexander III of Russia was issued at 10 p.m. from Livadia:

"During the day the spitting of blood continued, and the Emperor was seized at times with shivering fits.  His temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and his pulse was 90 and weak.  His breathing was difficult. He can take little nourishment and has become very weak. The edema has increased materially."

Another dispatch from Livadia states that the Emperor's "malady has attacked his left lung" and his condition is described as "most serious."

There is a marked change for the worse in Alexander III's condition.  He is suffering congestion in "the lobe of his left lung," which has increased the "coughing and raising of blood."

A dispatch from Yalta states that his condition is "much worse."  All of "immediate relatives" of the imperial family have already arrived, including  Queen Olga of Greece and her children and the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Constantine, an uncle of Emperor.

Alexander III did receive holy communion today.

Grand Duke Alexis Mikhailovich, youngest brother of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna's husband, Grand Duke Alexander, is said to be "seriously ill."  He left Yalta earlier today "to hasten southward for the winter."

Another dispatch from St. Petersburg was published in Vienna.  "The Czar was delirious last night and did not recognize his family.  He grew calmer this morning. Upon learning that death was near, he asked that several friends who had not been summoned be called at once to his bedside."

The Russian Minister to the United States, Prince Cantacuzene received an "alarming dispatch this morning from St. Petersburg: "The condition of the Emperor is considerably worse since yesterday.  The expectoration of blood is increased by a strong cough.  In the night  symptoms of partial inflammation on the left lung. Condition dangerous."

Sisi's remains interred

October 30, 1898

The remains of Empress Elisabeth of Austria were transferred today to "their final resting place" in the vaults of Vienna's Capuchin Church.  The remains were placed next to the remains of Crown Prince Rudolf, who died in 1889.

The consort of Emperor Franz Josef,  Empress Elisabeth was assassinated on September 10,  while boarding a steamer in Geneva, Switzerland

A girl for the Hereditary Prince and Princess of Sweden

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 October 30, 1934

Hereditary Princess Sibylla of Sweden gave birth to a daughter this morning in Stockholm, reports the New York Times.  Mother and daughter are said to be "doing well.

The Princess is the wife of Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf, son of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, and the late Princess Margaret of Connaught.  

This is the first child for the Hereditary Prince and Princess who married two years ago in Coburg, Germany.  The princess was born Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The infant princess's birth was "announced to the public" by a forty-two gun salute.  The birth of a prince would have been "marked by  a salute of eighty-four guns."

A Thanksgiving Service will be held later today in the palace's chapel in honor of the new princess, whose birth makes King Gustaf V the only "great-grandfather among the reigning Kings of Europe."

Princess Sibylla's mother, Duchess Viktoria Adelheid arrived from Coburg several days ago and was one of the first people to visit "her after the birth of the baby girl."

Succession to the Swedish throne is based on Salic law, which means the infant princess does not have dynastic rights.

Francoise's engagement confirmed

October 30, 1928

The Duke of Guise's office has confirmed the betrothal of the Duke's daughter, Princess Francoise, to Prince Christopher of Greece, widower of Princess Anastaisa, the former Mrs. William B. Leeds.

The Duke of Guise is the pretender to the French throne.

The date of the marriage is expected to be announced next month.  According to the Associated Press, the wedding will probably take place in Italy.

Kaiser & Franz Josef lose British ranks

October 31, 1914

The German and Austrian Emperors have been "removed from the list of British Field Marshals in the Army list, just published, according to the New York Times.  Wilhelm II and Franz Josef have also been removed from the list of officers of the Royal Dragoons and King's Dragoon Guards.  Both were "respective Colonels in Chief" of the two regiments.

The Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Goth no longer appears on the list as Colonel in chief of the Seaforth Highlanders.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Modification to the succession of the Romanian throne

The succession to the Romanian throne has been changed.  The new list has been published on the Royal Family's website.

King Michael has stripped his third daughter, Irina, of her title Princess of Romania and her HRH. She and her descendants are no longer in line to the throne.  Irina is now styled as Irina Walker.

Will the Monarchy return to Romania?

Victor Ponta, Romania's Prime Minister, told a local TV reporter on Sunday that he would hold a referendum on a form of government if he wins the election for President.

"I believe that, in the coming years, in Romania, we should have not only a public date, but we should also make a decision, through a referendum, on the form of government."

Although recent polls show Romanians favoring a republic,  nearly 45% of Romanians have a "good and very good opinion" about Romania's royal house.  This survey was taken in early May and shows an increase of 5 points from a previous poll in 2013.

Ponta, who appears to have a good relationship with Crown Princess Margarita (and has been a guest at official dinners held at the Elisabetha Palace), said he would step down as President if Romanians vote for a monarchy.

We should have such a referendum on the government form sometime during my mandate, maybe even by 2016,” Ponta said.

Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1839-1914) was elected as Prince of Romania on April 20, 1866, after a palace coup overthrow Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza.  It was not until 1878 after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Russo-Turkish war that Prince Carol was able to declare Romania as an independent, sovereign state.   He was proclaimed as King of Romania on March 26, 1881.

Prince Karl was the second son of Karl Anton, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and Princess Josephine of Baden.  He was closely related to the Bonaparte family as one of his maternal grandmother, Stephanie de Beauharnais, was the niece-in-law of Empress Josephine, first wife of Emperor Napoleon.  The princely family of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen maintained good relations with Napoleon III, who recommended Prince Karl to Romanian politicians.  It was Ion Bratianu who made the offer and invited Prince Karl to Romania.   When Karl crossed the border, he was met by Bratianu, who welcomed him and invited him to join him in his carriage for the ride to Bucharest.

The 1866 Romanian Constitution established a hereditary monarchy with male line succession only.  The king's heirs would be raised according to the Eastern Orthodox faith, although the king and queen were not required to convert.   On November 15, 1869,  Carol married Princess Elisabeth of Wied.  It was not a happy marriage.  He was straitlaced and formidable. She was emotional, a dreamer,  eccentric -- and better known as the writer Carmen Sylva.

In 1871, Elisabeth gave birth to the couple's only child, Marie, who died three years later.  Elisabeth never truly got over the death of her daughter, which lead to a further estrangement between the couple.  It was only in the final years of Carol's life that there was a rapprochement between them due to their shared belief in German militarism.

Carol's elder brother, Leopold, and his eldest son, Wilhelm, renounced their rights to the Romanian throne in favor of Leopold's second son, Ferdinand.

Ferdinand (1865-1927) was the second son of Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmarginen, and Infanta Antonia of Portugal.  He was recognized as Prince of Romania in 1889.  He nearly caused a dynastic mishap when he fell in love with Elena Vacarescu, Queen Elisabeth's lady-in-waiting.  Queen Elisabeth, a hopeless romantic herself who was trapped in a loveless marriage, encouraged the relationship even though the Romanian Constitution forbids marriage between the heir and a Romanian.

The crisis ended in 1891 when Elena was packed off to Paris and Queen Elisabeth exiled to her childhood home at Neuwied.  Crown Prince Ferdinand, still pining for his lost love, was sent by King Carol (Der Onkel) to find a nice, eligible princess. 

On January 10, 1893, in Sigmaringen,  Crown Prince Ferdinand married Princess Marie of Edinburgh, eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.   The new Crown Princess of Romania, who remained an Anglican, was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Alexander III of Russia.

The couple had six children: Carol II, Elisabetha, Marie, Nicholas, Ileana, and Mircea.  The youngest child was most likely fathered by Marie's lover Barbu Stirbey.

The children were all baptized according to the rites of the Romanian Orthodox Church

King Carol, I died on October 10, 1914, and was succeeded by his nephew, King Ferdinand.  It was Ferdinand's pro-British wife Marie who played a successful role in moving Romania away from the Triple Alliance and onto the side of the Triple Entente during the first world war.

Unfortunately, for Romania, the young Crown Prince Carol (1893-1953) was more interested in social life than preparing for his future role as King Carol II.  Much to his parents' dismay, Carol fell in love with a Romanian commoner, Zizi Lambrino, and ran off and married her in Odessa in August 1918.  The marriage was annulled a year later, but Carol remained with Zizi for a few more months because she became pregnant and gave birth to their son, Mircea Gregor Carol Lambrino.    The joy of fatherhood did not last long, and Carol dumped his former wife and son and agreed to return home and find a more respectable bride.

Queen Marie played matchmaker and effectively arranged the marriages between Carol and his sister, Elisabeta, to Princess Helen of Greece and her brother, the future King George II.  The Greeks were the children of Marie's first cousin, Queen Sophie of the Hellenes.   (Both marriages were abysmal failures.)

Carol and Helen were married on March 10, 1921.  Seven months later, on October 25th,  she gave birth to their only child, Michael.    Carol was already having an affair with Elena Lupescu, the divorced wife of an Army officer.  He was so enamored with Elena that he abandoned Helen and Michael to live with Elena in France.  He also renounced his right to the throne in favor of his son, Michael.   He and Helen were divorced in 1928.

The renouncement took place on December 31, 1925.  Less than two years later, on July 20, 1927,  King Ferdinand died after a long battle with cancer.   He was succeeded by his 5-year-old grandson, Michael.  A regency included Ferdinand's younger son, Prince Nicholas.

By early 1930, there was discontent in the country and in Parliament.   Carol II was invited back to Romania.  The regency was disbanded, and Carol proclaimed as King.  Michael was named as Crown Prince.  The country moved toward a fascist dictatorship, which was established by Carol II on February 10, 1938.  Two years later, he transferred his powers to the Prime Minister, Ion Antonescu.    In September 1940, Carol was forced to abdicate in favor of Michael.   Carol would never see his son again.  He wanted to go to the United States, which denied him entry and stayed for a time in Mexico and Brazil before finding a home in Portugal.  He married Elena Lupescu in 1947.

Michael never trusted the pro-German Antonescu.  It was on August 23, 1944, when Michael, aided by like-minded politicians, led a coup against Antonescu.  The pro-German government was overthrown, and Romania was now able to join the Allies.  Unfortunately for Romania and its neighbors, the alliance meant that Soviet, and not American, troops were about to invade and occupy the country.

By the early spring of 1945, King Michael was forced to name a pro-Soviet Government.   He tried to oppose the government by refusing to sign their laws, and, in effect, went on strike for five months until January 1946, when the Allied nations asked him to cooperate with the government.  He had tried to demand the government to resign, but the Soviets were increasing their control in the Balkans.

In November 1947,  Michael and his mother, Helen, flew to London to attend the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Philip of Greece.  It was in London where Michael was introduced to Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma (whose parents were guests at the wedding).  It was love at first sight.    

Much to the dismay of the Romanian government,  Michael returned to the country and discussed the plans for his marriage.  Petru Groza and the other Romanian communist officials had other ideas, long-planned and now about to be carried out with the full support of the Soviet Union.  Michael was a very popular monarch.  A marriage to Princess Anne would have further endeared him to the people.  The government knew this.  But for Romania to be fully brought into the Soviet orbit, Michael would have to go.

King Michael was at Peles Castle in Sinaia, on December 30, 1947, preparing to host a New Year's Party, when he received a phone call from Groza.  He was told to return to Bucharest.   He arrived at the Elisabeta Palace to find it surrounded by Communist troops.  Grozu and Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej were already at the palace, waiting for Michael's return.

It was all planned in advance. The phone lines were cut.  One of the men placed a gun at Michael's head and handed him the act of abdication.  Michael had no choice but to sign it.  Later that day, Romania was proclaimed a People's Republic.

Michael and Anne were married in Athens on June 10, 1948.   Queen Anne has remained a Roman Catholic but agreed to raise her children as in the Orthodox faith.

The couple has 5 daughters (Crown Princess Margarita, Princess Helen, Princess Irina, Princess Sophie, and Princess Marie.)

Michael's first trip to Romania since his exile was on Christmas Day 1990.  He and several members of his family were given a 24-hour visa.  His plan was to visit the Curtea de Arges cathedral where members of his family are buried, but en route to the cathedral, Michael's car was stopped by the police and he and his family were forced to leave the country.

Two years later,  Michael was permitted to return to the country to for Easter, but after more than one million people showed up to see him in Bucharest,  President Ion Iliescu would not allow the former king to return for another five years.

But after Iliescu was defeated by Emil Constantinescu,  the new government restored Michael's citizenship, which had been taken away in 1948.

Michael changed the succession law on December 30, 2007, naming his eldest daughter as Crown Princess.   As Crown Princess Margarita and her husband, Radu Duda, have no children,  the next in line is Prince Nicholas, the only son of Margarita's sister, Helen.

King Michael, 93, and Queen Anne live in Switzerland, but spend holidays at their home Savarsin in Arad (which was restored to him.)  The Romanian government has also returned Peles and Pelisor, in Sinaia, as these were private properties bought and built by Carol I.  King Ferdinand left Sinaia and other properties to Michael in his will.

The family also maintains a residence in Bucharest at the Elisabeta Palace, once owned by Michael's aunt, Elisabeta.  The palace remains owned by the government and is placed at the disposal of the former head of state, due to a law passed by the Romanian Parliament.

I was in Romania in October 2011 to attend the 90th birthday celebrations for the King, who is popular and loved.  Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu are also respected and do a lot for Romanian charities.  Official dinners and other events take place at the Elisabeta Palace, where the royals mix with Romanian citizens and government officials.

Romania is a country with serious economic problems, and corruption is rife at all political levels.  I certainly believe that Crown Princess Margarita has what it takes to be a constitutional monarch.  The view of the monarchy's history is far more positive now.  When I toured Cotrocenci Palace, I burst into tears because the tour guide spoke only in positive terms about Ferdinand and especially Queen Marie. 


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

New statement from Livadia on Emperor's condition

Embed from Getty Images
October 28, 1894

An official bulletin from Livadia was issued shortly after noon today, reports the New York Times.

"The Emperor slept well and his appetite is good. Otherwise, his condition has not changed."

A second bulletin was released at 7:00 p.m and was the same as the first.  Another report in the London Daily News, from its St. Petersburg correspondent, states: "The Czar's bettering is a surprise to everyone."  Emperor Alexander III's doctor remarked to a friend "that medical science was unable to explain this turn in the case.  Such a rally contradicts all presumptions and impossible things now seem possible."

Alexander III is expected to take part in the wedding ceremony to "the extent of blessing the couple."  The weather in Livadia is said to be "charming."  The windows in Alexander's room are kept open, and the temperature remains at 78 F.

In a dispatch from Yalta, the Daily Telegraph reports that the Tsarevitch's marriage "is not impending, as the religious preliminaries have not been arranged.  Since Wednesday the Czar has risen between 7:30 and 8 a.m and has dressed unassisted. He remains all day in an arm-chair and opens and reads all letters. He takes too little care of his health, and attaches too little importance to his physicians' counsels and orders."

In Washington, D.C., Prince Cantacuzene, the Russian Minister to the United States, received a "satisfactory bulletin" on Alexander's condition.

"The Emperor slept well on Friday night. Yesterday his appetite was good and the function of the heart more satisfactory. General condition better. Edema has not increased."  The bulletin had been sent to Washington by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Prince Cantacuzene is "greatly encouraged" by the news.  He believes that the marriage between the heir and Princess Alix will not take place immediately because this is "additional proof" that the Emperor's condition is not as serious as previously reported."   The postponement of the wedding "justifies the belief that the Emperor is improving," and maybe well enough to be present for the ceremony.

Royal family learns of Prince Maurice's death

October 28, 1914

Princess Henry of Battenberg was informed today of the death of her youngest son, Prince Maurice, an officer of the King's Royal Rifles Corp, who was killed yesterday in action.

King George and Queen Mary visited Kensington Palace this afternoon to "console" Princess Henry, reports the New York Times.

The Princess was born Princess Beatrice, and is the youngest child of the late Queen Victoria.  She is the widow of Prince Henry of Battenberg, who died after contracting malaria in January 1896, having sailed to Africa to serve in the Ashanti campaign.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Princess Amelie of Fürstenberg

Princess Amelie of Furstenberg, the eldest daughter of the late Joachim, Prince of Fürstenberg and his wife, died on October 26 following surgery at a hospital in Villingen, Germany.  She was 66 years old.

The princess's brother, Heinrich, Prince of Furstenberg, released a statement to the media. "The death of my oldest sister has met with great sadness and deep sorrow."

The private family funeral will take place at Neudlingen.

HSH Princess Amelie-Egona Maria Huberta Maximiliane Georgine Ricard Joachima Pauline Eusebia of Fürstenberg was born on April 3, 1948 at Donaueschingen, nearly 10 months after her father, Joachim, married Countess Paula zu Königsegg-Aulendorf.

She suffered from ill health and for many years had lived in Switzerland.  Since 2001, she had been a resident of Haus Wartenberg, a nursing home in Geisingen, in Germany's Black Forest.

 Princess Amelie was the eldest of six children.   She is survived by mother, Paula, Princess of Fürstenberg, and her five siblings: Princess Marie-Antoinette, Heinrich, Prince of Fürstenberg, Prince Karl-Egon, Prince Johannes and Princess Anna Lucia, along with many nieces and nephews and their families.;art372512,7357244

Prince Maurice of Battenberg - killed 100 years ago today

Prince Maurice of Battenberg, youngest son of Princess Beatrice and the late Prince Henry of Battenberg, was killed today "while serving with the British Army in France," reports the New York Times.

[The death was announced on October 28.]

Prince Maurice was an officer in the King's Royal Rifles Corps.   He is the first member of the British royal family to be killed in the war since fighting broke out in August.

According to one report, Prince Maurice was not killed in battle, but "died from wounds received in an engagement."

The prince's two older brothers are also serving in the front.  Prince Alexander is a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards and Prince Leopold is a Lieutenant in the King's Royal Rifle Guards.  Prince Leopold was "invalided home recently," having suffered an injury to his knee, following a fall.  [Prince Leopold was a hemophiliac, so he was unlikely to see action.]

Prince Maurice was 23 years old and served as a second lieutenant.   Sir John French, the commander-in-chief of the British expeditionary force in France, recently mentioned Prince Maurice "for meritorious service in the field" in his report to the Minister of War Kitchener.

It would be reported in late October 1914 that Princess Beatrice received the details of her son's death.  The Times reported that he was "leading his company in an attack when he was struck by a shrapnel bullet from a bursting shell and died almost immediately."

Princess Beatrice gave birth to a "Prince at quarter to 7 yesterday morning, and both are going on admirably," reported the Court Circular.  The new prince was born on October 3, 1891, at Balmoral.  The Court Circular noted that the new infant was "Her Majesty's 34th grandchild and 12th grandson."   In the evening, a "bonfire was lighted at Craigown; a torchlight procession was formed on the hill, and proceeded to the Castle in honour of the birth, in the morning of the infant son of Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg."

The day before the Princess gave birth to her fourth child, she and her husband and their two eldest children, Prince Alexander and Princess Victoria Eugenie went out for a carriage drive.

The infant Prince was baptized on October 31, 1891, at Balmoral Castle.  The ceremony took place shortly after 1 p.m. when Queen Victoria entered the drawing room with Prince and Princess Henry of Battenberg, their two eldest children, Prince Alexander Albert and Princess Victoria Eugenie, and Princess Helena Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.

They were followed by Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, who represented one of the Godparents, the Princess of Leiningen.  The other godparents were the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (represented by Sir Henry Ponsonby), and Prince Franz Josef of Teck, represented by Sir Fleetwood Edwards.

The service was performed by the Very Rev. James Cameron Lees, DD, Dean of the Thistle and of the Chapel Royal of Scotland, and Chaplain to Queen Victoria.

During the singing of one hymn, the Acting Master of the Household, Major General T Dennehy "conducted the infant Prince, who was carried by his nurse," and attended by Miss Minnie Cochrane, who was Princess Beatrice's lady-in-waiting, to the "places assigned to them.

The infant, who was given the names Maurice Victor Donald, was handed to Queen Victoria, representing another godparent, the Duchess of Connaught, by Miss Cochrane.  The Queen held her grandson at the font, where the Holy Sacrament of Baptism was administered.

A royal Luncheon followed the baptism in the Dining Room.  The Queen's servants and tenants, who were invited to the christening, had lunch in the castle's Ballroom.

The infant prince was named for his paternal great-grandfather, Count Maurice von Hauke, Queen Victoria, and Donald, a Scots name in honor of his place of birth.

In November 1911, the young Prince was appointed "from the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, to a Second Lieutenancy in the King's Royal Rifle Corps."  This was the same branch that his cousin, the late Prince Christian Victor served in until his death from malaria in 1900.

Prince Maurice was survived by his mother, Princess Beatrice, his two brothers, Princes Alexander and Leopold, his sister, Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, and numerous first cousins, including King George V, for whom he fought, and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, whose armies he fought against.

The prince was buried in a military cemetery in Ypres.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The death of Alexis, Vicomte de Noailles

Presenting the new Prince of Wales (1911)

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The investiture of HRH The Prince Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on July 13, 1911.  He is walking out of Caernarfon Castle in Wales with his parents, King George V and Queen Mary.  Just added this photograph to my collection.

Princess Beatrice dead at 87

October 26, 1944

Princess Beatrice, the last surviving child of Queen Victoria, died today at her home at Brantridge Park in Sussex.  She was 87 years old.

All four images: Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pamela Anderson gives blondes a bad name

I don't make this stuff up.

Pamela Anderson, who starred in that "classic" drama, Baywatch, is giving blondes a bad name.  The Canadian-born-naturalized American citizen recently accepted the this " prestigious title of Grand Dame of Montenegro" from His Imperial and Royal Highness, Stephan Tchernetich, Hereditary Prince of Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania, Voivodina, Hereditary Titular Emperor of Constantinople, Romania and Greece.

This "honor" was given to the 47-year-old former Playboy Playmate received the "award" for "recognition of my activism in defense of animals and especially of marine
life in our Ocean." 

Is Pamela Anderson so vain or gullible or ignorant or desperate .... fill in the blank ... that she would accept an award without bothering to check if the person calling himself Prince Stefan was actually a real prince.

He's not. He's fraud.   He claims to live maintain a court in Belgrade, which is new to me, as I have been to Belgrade three times as the guest of Crown Prince Alexander, whose father was the last king of Yugoslavia.  Not once did I bump into this "Prince,"  certainly not at the Royal Palace compound or at the State Funeral, or even at the wonderful ice cream shop, Ice Box, at Knez Mihailova 52, in Belgrade.

It's one thing to claim one throne (Serbia), but he adds Montenegro, Roumania, Greece and Albania to his conquests.  He's definitely not the Hereditary Prince of Montenegro.  Nor is he an heir to Roumania, Greece or Albania (the Prince of Albania is a Moslem.)

I have been to Montenegro, a lovely little country.  The real head of the former ruling house, Prince Nikola,  represents the country at official events.  Albania's Prince Leka II lives in Tirana.    I have also been to Bucharest, and I can say I know members of the Roumanian Royal Family, including His Majesty King Michael.   I have corresponded with and have met several times King Constantine II and Queen Anne Marie.

Pamela Anderson's "acting" career is long over (although her sex tapes may still be popular), but she does need to smarten up and verify the credentials of someone wanting to give her an honor.  (I would not be surprised if there was a donation to the Prince's er um  charity.)

After reading her acceptance speech, I realized Anderson may be a few fries short of a Happy Meal these days.    Sorry to say this:  Pamela Anderson is a dumb blonde.  Embarrassing, to say the least.

"Prince Stefan's" office is in Monte Carlo.  Doubt he pals around with the Prince and Princess of Monaco.

[received a comment, which I deleted, from one of Stefan's minions, who claims that the Vatican has all the documents proving his case.  Sure.  Absolutely.  Right ...NOT.]

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Princess Alix has arrived at Livadia

October 23, 1894

Princess Alix of Hesse and By Rhine has arrived in Livadia reports the New York Times.  Upon her arrival, she received a telegram of welcome from the municipality of Moscow.  She sent a response by wire:

"I am deeply touched that the municipality of Moscow thought of me the moment I set foot upon the soil of my new home, so dear to me.  I have no doubt of the fervor of Moscow's prayers for the health of our beloved Czar.  May God help us."

The New York Times reports on the rumor that Princess Alix with marry the Tsarevitch tomorrow.

The Princess was accompanied by her older sister, Grand Duchess Serge, by train from Simferopol, and then traveled by carriage to Altushta, where she was met by her fiancé.  They stopped for lunch, and then resumed their journey through Yalta. 

The Tsarevitch and Princess Alix sat "side by side in the carriage," and as they passed through Yalta they were "enthusiastically cheered by the crowds which had gathered to greet them."

They arrived at Livadia at dusk.    Princess Alix made her way at once to the apartments of the Emperor and Empress. After spending some time with them, the Princess, accompanied by Empress Marie, and other members of the imperial family, proceeded to the palace's church to attend a service.

Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Wladimir have also arrived at Livadia.

Confirmed: Prince Maximilian dead

October 23, 1914

Prince Maximilian of Hesse, second eldest son of Princess Friedrich Karl of Hesse, youngest sister of the German Emperor, was "mortally wounded" on October 12 "in the hard fighting" near Mont Descats, according to the New York Times.

The dispatch from London was based on a report issued today by the Official Information Bureau.   

The 20-year-old Prince was buried on the "grounds of the monastery crowning" Mont Descats with three British officers and several German soldiers.

Carl Philip to marry Sofia on June 13, 2015

Photo: Erika Gerdemark,
The Swedish court has released the date of the wedding of HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden.
The wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist will take place on Saturday 13 June 2015. The couple have chosen the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace of Stockholm as the venue for their wedding. 
"We are looking forward to a summer wedding in the middle of June, when Sweden is extremely beautiful," said Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist. "This will be a big day for us, and we are absolutely delighted."
The engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist was announced on 27 June 2014.
This will be the last royal wedding in Sweden for many years.   Thinking about going to Stockholm for this event (for all sorts of reasons). My 61st birthday is the following day.
Have never been to Stockholm, but it has been on my list of places to see.  Will what airfares are like after January 1 before making a decision.   It will be interesting to see who is invited (this is not state occasion, as Carl Philip is third in line to the throne), and if there will be crowds to cheer the newlyweds.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Alexander takes a stroll

October 22, 1894

Emperor Alexander III took a brief stroll today in the park at Livadia, reports the New York Times.

One dispatch states:  "The Czar walked half an hour in the park today.  The doctors keep him out of bed as much as possible, so to maintain his moral energy and counteract the weakness of the heart, which is increased by lying in bed."

Rumors remain rife that the Emperor is dead and "his death is kept secret owing" to his son's "refusal to succeed."

Empress Marie is said to be doing better, "although her condition is precarious and pitiable."

Grand Duke Wladimir and Princess Alix of Hesse and By Rhine, the Tsarevitch's fiancée, are en route to Livadia and will arrive after midnight.

The King of Greece will leave for Corfu tomorrow. He has purchased new furniture for Mon Repos, "which is nearly ready for the occupancy of the Czar."

Another dispatch states that Alexander has "passed a good night and feels stronger today."

One German newspaper, the Lokal Anzeiger. is reporting that Princess Alix will be received into the Russian Orthodox Church tomorrow, and will be married on Wednesday in the present of Alexander III and the imperial family.

Prince Viggo and bride arrive in Copenhagen

October 22, 1924

Prince Viggo of Denmark and his American bride, the former Miss Eleanor Green, arrived in Copenhagen today, reports the Associated Press.

They were welcomed at the train station by King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine, Prince Waldemar, father of Prince Viggo; Prince Knud, Prince Axel, Prince Gustav and Prince Harold and Princesses Thyra, Helena and Margaretha.

Prince Waldemar kissed his daughter-in-law as she "alighted from the train.  Prince Viggo then introduced his wife to the King and Queen, who "affectionately kissed the bride.

Friends and officers of Prince Viggo "presented the Princess with a bouquet of flowers."  Thousands of people came out to cheer the couple as they drove through Copenhagen to have lunch at the palace with the king and queen and other members of the family.

In the afternoon, Prince and Princess Viggo  paid "official visits" and had tea with former Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia.   A gala dinner in honor of the couple was planned for tonight, but due to the "serious illness" of Queen Dowager Louise, a more intimate dinner for the bride and groom and close family was held.

Prince and Princess Viggo will live for the time being with Prince Waldemar at Bernstorff,  which was "previously occupied" by Prince and Princess Axel.

Conflicting reports on Prince Maximilian of Hesse

October 22, 1914

There are conflicting reports to the fate of Prince Maximilian of Hesse, whose body was reported to have been found in northern France by French troops, reports the New York Times.   Another report from Berlin states that the Prince was only wounded in battle.

Prince Maximilian was born October 20, 1894, the second of six sons of Prince Friedrich Karl of Hesse and Princess Margarete of Hesse, youngest sister of Kaiser Wilhelm II. 

New heir to Spanish throne

October 22, 1904

The new heir presumptive to the Spanish throne is Don Alfonso of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the three-year-old son of the late Infanta Maria del las Mercedes, who died on  following the birth of a daughter.

Infanta Mercedes's official title was Princess of Asturias, as she was the heiress presumptive to the Spanish throne. It was a title she held from birth.  Now succeeding her as heir presumptive to the 18-year-old King Alfonso XIII is Mercedes' eldest son.

It is not known if the little boy will be officially styled as the Prince of Asturias, which is Spain's only princely title.  Royal children are styled as Infants of Spain.  Infanta Mercedes's husband,  Prince Don Carlos of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies was styled as Prince of the Asturias.  He "bore the title by virtue of his consort's position" as heiress presumptive.  He will no longer be styled as Prince of the Asturias, and will be probably be known as Infante Carlos of Spain.

The Chicago Tribune notes that Spain has sustained a great loss by the death of the young Infanta, who would have succeeded to the throne as Queen if her mother's third child, the posthumously born Alfonso XIII, was born a girl.   King Alfonso XII died in October 1885, leaving  behind a pregnant widow, Queen Maria Cristina, and two young daughters, Mercedes, and Maria Teresa.

Should King Alfonso XIII die before marrying and having children of his own, his nephew would reign as Alfonso XIV with "another long regency" until the new king reached his majority at age 18.

Under the terms of the constitution, the late Princess of Asturias' sisters, Infanta Maria Teresa would be the regent for her minor nephew, and not his father, Don Carlos.   Infanta Maria Teresa, 22, is rumored to be engaged to her cousin, Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria.   Maria Teresa, of course, has "no experience whatsoever pertaining to the position," and might be subject to the political influence of her husband, which could create an intolerable position for young Alfonso's father.

Thus, King Alfonso's life has become "doubly precious" to his subjects.  At the moment, he enjoys a "greater degree of popularity than any of his predecessors on the throne."  At no time in Spain's history has the "throne been more securely established than at the present moment, occupied by Alfonso XIII."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Alexander III doing better

October 21, 1894

An official statement regarding the health of Alexander III was sent from Livadia at 8:00, according to the New York Times.

"During the last twenty-four hours the Czar has had rather more sleep than on his preceding days. He rose to-day with his usual appetite, is somewhat better generally, and is more composed than yesterday.  Otherwise his condition is unchanged."

Other dispatches say that Emperor of Russia has "rallied slightly," but residents of St. Petersburg have no confidence in the "official announcements.

The meagerness of the news bulletins has "left room for the craziest rumors, which multiply on every street corner and in every café."

The latest rumors include the Tsarevitch renouncing the succession, the Emperor is dead "and the fact is suppressed," and that the Grand Duke George "died two days ago."

Official bulletins have not dispelled the rumors.  The latest story is that Empress Marie Feodorovna's "mind has broken down under her many afflictions."

Restaurants and theaters remain open and crowded, as usual.  There are prayers throughout Russia in churches for the Czar.   In Moscow, the mood is similar.  The city is "grief-stricken," but nothing has closed.   

Grand Duchess freed by Germans

October 21, 1914

Grand Duchess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg has been freed by the Germans, according to a letter sent by a Luxembourg citizen to the Excelsior news service, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The letter also states that Kaiser Wilhelm II visited Luxembourg from September 2 through September 27th.  His suite included the Chancellor, Dr. von Bethmann-Hollwegg and Herr von Jagow, the minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as 400 officers.

Has the Duke of Brunswick been taken prisoner?

October 21, 1914

The New York Times is reporting that the Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, son-in-law of the German Emperor, may have been taken prisoner.  There is a definite "anxiety" felt in Brunswick on the Duke's whereabouts.

The Duke was leading a "squadron of hussars on the French front, when he was reported to have been "cut off from the German line."  It is "feared" that he may be a prisoner.

Prince Ernst Augustus of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg is married to Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia. Their wedding, at Berlin on May 24, 1913, was last grand affair before the start of the world war.  He succeeded to the Brunswick duchy on his marriage, after "promising loyalty to the German Empire."  This promise ended a feud that had lasted for many years between his father, the Duke of Cumberland, only son of the late King Georg V of Hanover, and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Alexander III dying

October 20, 1894

There are "conflicting rumors" regarding the condition of Alexander III of Russia, reports the New York Times.   Official circles "profess to have no information or positively refuse to furnish any," and several Russian journals are sending reporters to Livadia.

Adding to the burden of confusion,  there are also reports that that the condition of the Emperor's second son, Grand Duke George, who suffers from consumption, is "very serious."  Some quarters say he "is dying."

A "special dispatch" from St. Petersburg to the Neue Freie Press in Vienna states that Empress Marie Feodorovna, who has spent every day at her husband's bedside, has suffered "a stroke of apoplexy."  Her elder daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia, has "broken down under the nervous strain," and is now confined to her bed.

Another report from St. Petersburg notes that "early in his illness," the Emperor had a long talk with the Tsarevitch, in which he "outlined the policies that should be pursued in foreign and domestic affairs."  He also told his son that he approves of his marriage to Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, and the "marriage might take place without delay, in order that he might give his blessing to the couple before his death."

However, it is unlikely that Princess Alix will reach Livadia in time to be married before the Emperor dies.

The latest dispatch from St. Petersburg (1:30 p.m.) states that the Emperor's condition is "so grave," and there is little "ground for hope" that he will survive the next few days.

There are also reports that Alexander III died "last night," but there have been no official confirmation of this dispatch.

British royals to see baseball game

October 20, 1924

King George V, Queen Mary, the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry will attend the third of a series of baseball games between the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox, reports the New York Times.

The games will be played at Stamford Bridge.

The first game will take place on October 24, which will be witnesses by the Duke and Duchess of York.  The proceeds for this game will be given to the King Edward VII Hospital fund.  The American Ambassador will be present to
"receive the royal guests."

Giovanna to wed Crown Prince Leopold


October 20, 1924

It will be Princess Giovanna, third daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy, and not her older sister, Princess Mafalda, who will marry the Duke of Brabant, heir to the Belgian throne, reports the New York Times.

The newspaper's article is based on an Italian newspaper, Il Mondo, which states that the engagement will be soon, "simultaneously with the announcement" of Crown Prince Umberto's engagement to Princess Marie-José, only daughter of the King and Queen of the Belgians. Princess Giovanna will celebrate her 17th birthday next month.  The Duke of Brabant, the eldest son of the Belgian king and queen, will turn 23 on November 3.

Prince Wolrad killed while on patrol

October 20, 1914

Prince Wolrad  of Waldeck und Pyrmont has been killed in "the western theater of the war while engaged in patrolling," reports the Chicago Tribune, which based on a dispatch from Dutch newspaper, the Handelsblad.

Prince Wolrad  was a half-brother of the Dowager Queen Emma of the Netherlands. 

The 22-year-old prince, whose full name was Viktor Wolrad Friedrich Adolf Wilhelm Albert, was the son of Georg Viktor, Prince of Waldeck und Pyrmont and his second wife, Princess Luise of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

He died in action at Moorslede, Belgium, on October 17.

Prince Wolrad was the eighth child and youngest son of Prince Georg Viktor, but the only child by Georg Viktor's second marriage.  He was born at Arolsen on June 26, 1892.  His father died on May 12, 1893, leaving Princess Luise to raise her son alone.

The prince was unmarried.  He is survived by his mother, the Dowager Princess of Waldeck und Pyrmont, and five half-siblings: Princess Pauline (Princess of Bentheim and Steinfurt); Dowager Queen Emma of the Netherlands;  Princess Helen, Duchess of Albany; Prince Friedrich (who succeeded his father as the Prince of Waldeck und Pyrmont) and Princess Elisabeth (Princes of Erbach-Schonberg)

Margherita gives consent to marriage

October 20, 1908

The Rome correspondent for the Central News Service is reporting that Dowager Queen Margherita of Italy has "given her consent" to the marriage of the Duke of the Abruzzi to American Katherine Elkins.

The dispatch further states that King Vittorio Emanuele's wedding gift to Miss Elkins will be a diamond tiara worth $120,000.

Another report states that the two Italian cruisers have been "ordered to be in readiness to escort the cruiser, Europea, bearing the duke and his bride to Italy after their marriage."

The Duke "has disappeared from Turin," and it is believed that he is now en route to America, "sailing under an assumed name."

Reports of an engagement between the Duke and Miss Elkins is a surprise to Senator Elkins, who said today: "The information is news to my family and myself. We cannot say anything because we don't know anything about it."

Senator Elkins is the father of Katherine Elkins.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A lovely day for a picnic

private collection

A friend sent me this lovely image from his collection.  Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia with her daughters, Marie and Kira, at a picnic.  The woman sitting behind her resembles Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia.

Alexander's condition has worsened

Embed from Getty Images 
 October 17, 1894

The Lokal Anzeiger, a Berlin newspaper, is "directly informed" by one of the assistants of Alexander III's physicians that the Russian emperor's condition has "grown much worse," reports the New York Times.

It is understood that the "entire Greek court" will receive the Russian Emperor when he arrives in Athens en route to Corfu.  But he will not leave the Crimea until his Grand Marshal, Count Bendendorff, completes the preparations at Corfu.

The ailing Russian emperor is expected to stay at Chateau Mon Repos, which King George of the Hellenes has placed at the Emperor's disposal.  He will have a "delightful view of the sea and mountains."   

Mon Repos is rather small, and most of the Emperor's suite "will be obliged to lodge elsewhere."

Bulletin: Princess of Asturias dead

October 17, 1904

The Princess of Asturias died today in Madrid, a day after giving birth to a daughter.   The Princess, the eldest sister of King Alfonso XIII, was born Infanta
María de las Mercedes Isabel Teresa Cristina Alfonsa of Spain on September 11, 1880. She was 24 years old.

She married Don Prince Carlos of Borbon-Two Sicilies on Valentine's Day in 1901.

The Princess was heiress presumptive to the Spanish throne.  She is survived by her husband, Don Carlos, her two sons, Infante Alfonso, who will celebrate his third birthday next month, 20-month old Infante Fernando, and the newborn Infanta.

Her elder son, Infante Alfonso, is now the heir presumptive to the Spanish throne, as King Alfonso XIII is unmarried.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The death of the 11th Duke of Marlborough

The 11th Duke of Marlborough's heir apparent is his eldest son,  Charles James"Jamie", the Marquess of Blandford.  It is not customary to refer to the new peer by his title until after the funeral of his predecessor.  

His Grace was 88 years old.

Less than a month His Grace hosted the wedding of his younger brother, Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill and Sarah Goodbody.

The Duke was a grandson of the American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt.

The King and Queen of Spain visit the King and Queen of the Netherlands

All photos are the copyright of Arjan Brower.  Thanks Arjan for letting me use the photos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Czar has cancer

October 15, 1894

There are conflicting reports concerning the health of Emperor Alexander III of Russia.  One doctor has "admitted" that the Czar is "afflicted with cancer is correct," according to a New York Times dispatch from St. Petersburg.

But another dispatch from St. Petersburg to The Times (London) states that Alexander is "better."  Yet another report, from the Vienna correspondent of The Times hears that his "condition is extremely unfavorable."

Infanta Pilar makes her debut

October 15, 1954

Infanta Pilar of Spain made her debut tonight at the Parque Hotel in Estoril, Portugal, reports the New York Times.

The eighteen-year-old infanta is the eldest child of the Count of Barcelona, pretender to the Spanish throne.  The Don Juan and his family entered the "thronged ballroom,"  hundreds of "discreetly jeweled women swept deep curtseys."

There were about 1600 Spaniards, including a third of the grandees and their families, who "mingled with more humble monarchists."

All contributed $8.00 each to the event and traveled to Portugal to attend the gala event.  Many of the guests believed that this would be one of the last social appearances by Don Juan before his "expected abdication" in favor of his elder son, Infante Don Juan Carlos.

The gala also included 350 Portuguese and foreign "socialists, including thirty members of European royal families.  Former King Umberto of Italy was one of the guests.

Alexander's sister is unwell

October 15, 1934

Princess Helen of Russia, sister of the late King Alexander of Yugoslavia, is said to be "seriously ill" in Paris, reports the New York Times.

The widow of Prince Ioann of Russia, who was killed by the Bolsheviks in 1918, came to France to attend the "welcoming ceremonies" for her brother.

King Alexander was assassinated in Marseille last week.