Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Dowager Duchess of Oldenburg has died

HSH Princess Ameli Gertrud Pauline Madeleine Wanda Elisabeth of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg was the eldest of four children of Prince Udo of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg and Countess Margarete of Castell-Castell.   She married at Kreuzwertheim on August 7, 1951 to Anton Gunther, the Duke of Oldenburg (1923-2014.)   It was a double wedding as her younger sister, Princess Gertrude (1926-2011) married Anton Gunther's younger brother, Duke Peter (1926).  She is survived by her two children, Duchess Helene (1953) and Christian, the Duke of Oldenburg (1955), and four grandchildren: Hereditary Duke Alexander (1990), Duke Philipp (1991), Duke Anton (1993) and Duchess Katharina (1997),1,1683407749.html

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

No official announcement expected for Umberto's engagement


March 29, 1926

Do not expect an official announcement of Crown Prince Umberto of Italy's engagement to Princess Marie José of Belgium any time soon,  says the Italian newspaper, La Tribuna, and reported by the Associated Press.

The Italian court remains in mourning for the late Queen Mother Margherita.  No announcement will be made until after the Crown Prince visits Brussels.  News of the "impending linking" of the houses of Savoy and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is "greeted by long and enthusiastic articles" in many Italian newspapers.

Princess Marie-José is the third and youngest child of King Albert and Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians.  She is 20 years old.

Crown Prince Umberto is 22 years old, and, like the Prince of Wales, is "much sought after by royal match-making mothers."  Queen Marie of Romania considered Umberto as a possible husband for her youngest daughter, Princess Ileana.

The two daughters of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Infantas Beatriz and Maria Cristina, were also reported, on several occasions, to become engaged to the heir to the Italian throne.

Rumors about Umberto's marriage to Princess Marie-José were first published in 1922, and since then there have been "intermittent reports of her impending engagement."

Monday, March 28, 2016

Mechanic's son engaged to Princess

March 28, 1956

Josef Christoforetti, 36, the son of an Austrian mechanic, confirmed tonight that he is engaged to Princess Stefanie of Windisch-Graetz, according to the Associated Press.   The 23 -year-old princess is a great-granddaughter of the late Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, who died in 1916.

He denied reports that the princess' parents are "displeased" with their romance.

Pneumonia fells Duke of Orleans

March 28, 1926

Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans, pretender to the French throne, died today at 2:05 p.m., of pneumonia at his villa in Palermo, Sicily.  According to the New York Times,  the duke had contracted the illness only five days ago.   At his bedside was his sister, Queen Amelie of Portugal, a few intimate friends, and a priest who gave him the last rites.   He was 56 years old.

Another sister, the Duchess of Aosta is expected to arrive tomorrow, and a third sister, Princess Isabelle is expected to "follow shortly."

Prince Jean, the Duke of Guise, is now on a train heading to "his dead cousin's side."  He is now the head of the House of France.  He has one son, Prince Henri, who is 18 years old, and three daughters, Isabelle, the wife of Count Bruno d'Harcourt, Francoise, and Anne.  The Duke and his family will now have to leave their French residences,  due to the French law of 1888, which forbids members of the former ruling family to live in France.

The late Duke of Orléans visited France only once, "when men of his age were conscripted."  He was sentenced to two years in prison, but after a brief sentence, he was pardoned and escorted to the border.    His cousin, the Duke of Guise, was allowed to live in France, but could not serve in the army.  He went to Denmark for his military training as his sister, Princess Marie, was married to Prince Waldemar of Denmark.

In 1914, he tried to enlist in the French army but was rebuffed.  He was sent on a special mission to the Court of Bulgaria, where his cousin was the King.  Jean did return to France where he managed a soldier's canteen "under fire for a year and a half."

The Duke of Guise has "abstained from all politics," but French royalists are now looking toward him as an "energetic and promising candidate for the throne."  He has a son, and that "makes him particularly desirable" for France's monarchist parties.

The Duke of Guise, like the Duke of Orléans, is a great-grandson of King Louis Philippe I.

Prince Louis Philippe Robert was born on February 6, 1889, at York House,  Twickenham, in England, the son of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, and his wife, Princess Isabelle of Orléans.  His parents were first cousins.

In 1896, he married Archduchess Maria Dorothea of Austria.  The marriage proved unhappy, and by 1914,  Maria Dorothea was able to obtain a legal separation.  He was ordered to pay her $11,000 a year, and to return "certain moneys she had entrusted to him."  They had no children.

Friday, March 25, 2016

More from Nicholas' interview

More from Ion Cristoiu's interview with Nicholas Medforth-Mills, published today.  I used Google translate from Romanian to English.

Mr. Cristoiu asked Nicholas about the Romanian media, especially the tabloid press, and the Royal Family.  He wanted to know if the media was too reverent toward the Royal Family or if the family avoid scandal.

"I think it is a combination of these two aspects.  Many people do show respect for the Royal Family as it is one of the institutions with a positive and clean image due to it activity in Romania and abroad through scholarship, diplomacy, etc."

He added that "fame is a relative notion.  You can be famous just because you are visible, just because you want to be visible.  But you can also do remarkable things without the media seeing you as a celebrity.  When I came to the country, I became visible, and I did things of interest to me: concretely and constructively in the cultural and educational environment of Romania."

Although Nicholas, as a Prince of Romania - and recognized as such within the country -- he accepted that a part of his life would be in the public arena.  But he was also determined to "keep a part of me" private with his family and friends.

Cristoiu's mentioned that when Nicholas' discomfiture was made public, there were references to his great-grandfather, Carol II.   Did King Michael ever talk to Nicholas about Carol II

"Grandfather spoke to me about King Carol II, focusing on the good decisions that he made for the country and the people.  The decisions that Carol II made in his private life were less important in my discussions with Grandpa."

Members of the Romanian royal family live in England, France and the United States as well as in Romania.  Cristoiu asked if the different members of the family keep in touch.

Nicholas' response was diplomatic.  "I can tell you about my relatives and events when I have met them, but to meet them all would be a full time job as they have chosen to build their lives in different parts of the world.  Before August, there would good communication between myself and the immediate family, but then, they built a wall between me and them.  The first and only time the whole family was together was in Bucharest at Christmas 2007."

Cristoiu also broached the sensitive topic of  Paul Lambrino (aka "Prince Paul of Romania", who is facing a myriad of legal issues, and is currently under house arrest in Bucharest.  Paul is the elder son of the late Mircea Lambrino,  King Michael's older half brother.  

Nicholas' response:  "I never never met him and never intend to do so.  I do not want to comment on his actions."

Nicholas was also asked if he thought that his style and way of life corresponded to the image of a modern monarchy.  "I am a person who values passion, yet I also treat the workload very seriously.  I believe there must be a balance between what we must do and what we love to do.  I believe in authenticity more than the label."

He also spoke out in defense of volunteerism, an idea not yet fully supported or understood in Romania.

"Volunteering is something that I have done for a very long time, long before I came to Romania.  It has been a part of my activities, and not a PR strategy.  The most important thing is that I have a passion and I am happy when I get to work with others who feel the same.  You can also learn a lot where you volunteer.  For example, having traveled throughout Romania, I discovered that people with disabilities are neglected by society, which hinders their situation for themselves and their family.  I chose to go to Targu Mures, where I volunteered for Alpha Transylvania.  Here I learned a lot about the difficulties and obstacles encountered by people with disabilities and their families, in the little things in their every day routines.  I realized then that they are worthy of admiration, and they deserve as much attention as every one else."

He added: "Volunteering is way of relating to others, and should be a part of our daily life, regardless of our age.  It is the way we can show that we care for those around us. It also gives an unmatched satisfaction.  The reasons why I volunteer are many: I can meet new people, to learn about the life and hardships they face, and with other volunteers, we can make a difference in the lives of the people.  Also through volunteering, we can develop a special relationship with the environment.  I realized how important it is to relate to nature.  It also helps me develop as a person."

Nicholas is 31 years old, and has not yet settled down with a wife and family.

"I think to start a family it is first necessary to meet the right person, and that has not happened so far as I was more focused on the obligations of my position, and the burden that would be placed on the woman.  On the other hand, there was pressure from the family about who would be chosen.  But now, I will have more options, and I can freely love the person next to me without external influences."

He said that his personal belief is to "know the surrounding world and how people live in other parts of the world.  Education is an essential part of each of us."

He also dismissed the reports that he moved out of the Elisabetha Palace because of an order of pizza.

"I don't deny that I love pizza, but the story is not true.  I could only laugh about it when I read it in the papers, and I have no idea how the media came to this conclusion.  It is indeed untrue.  I moved out the palace as needed personal space and the ability to work away from the office."

After he lost his title, he ceased to be the patron of the Children's Books Association.  He said the charity continues in a "good direction even without my direct partition.   His favorite children's book is Peter Pan.  Nicholas noted that Peter had many adventures which he faced with courage.

He was also asked about Romania and the country's politicians, officials, business people.  Cristoiu wondered if Nicholas had any views on this topic.

"I have met people from all parts of Romanian society.  The biggest personal change that must occur is that those who make decisions on behalf of the Romanian people must listen to the communities.  There has to be an honest exchange between the country and its people, and this involves giving and receiving.  These actions will help Romania to keep people who are tempted to leave the country.  The economy will be able to develop, tourism will increase and Romania's reputation internationally will be enhanced due to new investments in education and culture."  He also said the country needed to invest in its infrastructure for roads, for example.

Last November, there were political demonstrations, where people were demanding to find new solutions to the country's problems.  Could monarchy be the answer, Cristoiu asked Nicholas.

"The monarchy is a very strong competitor, and could be an alternative form of government, having provided continuity, stability and a single interest: Romania and its people."

Nicholas added that Romania lacks a "central government that is accountable for ecology and heritage.  Investments in these areas will have a huge impact on education, tourism, pride for our country, agriculture and wildlife.  At the same time, Romania could establish a European ecological center in the Danube Delta, where researchers from around the world could study and learn about global warning and the human impact on nature.  We must remember that we have the ability to protect nature rather than protect peoples' material or financial interests.  This is just one of many examples, but others I could mention include the levels of bureaucracy and infrastructure."

Nicholas was also asked what he learned from his grandfather.  "The most important lesson that I received from him was fairness, altruism, accompanied by diplomacy, and, not least, the advice to always keep my word and promises.  He, in turn, was taught by his mother, Queen Helena,  however difficult the situations that we find ourselves in, only those decisions are right and fair.  I firmly believe that through these values and rules of conduct can provide the best examples in life. King Michael gave these examples throughout his life, and I see him as a role model for his actions and decisions, as a true leader."

He has no desire to enter Romanian politics.  "Up to this moment I have not taken it into account.  Politics is not an environment that attracts me.  If I had to choose a position where I think I could make a difference in society it would most likely be a symbolic view."

In a February 2008 interview with another journalist, Nicholas was asked if Romania's political leaders chose to restore the monarchy, would he accept the position as king.  He responded at the time: "If Romania calls me, I am ready to answer their call.  I chose to come to Romania.  I am ready to take this step, even if it's hard to say what the strategy would be to restore the monarchy.  It would involve the reconstruction of the country to make Romania stronger, and more respected internationally."

Fast forward eight years and Nicholas' change in status. How will he respond to the same question.

Instead of answering the questions, I would like to invite all Romanians to turn their thoughts and pray for the health of King Michael in these difficult times.  I hope that together, with the same thoughts in mind, we will overcome these difficult moments for the Romanian monarchy. I would like to assure everyone that no matter where I am, my soul will be with Romania and the Romanian peope and I will try to do everything in my power to honor everything that is in human nature, respect, commitment  values that I learned from my grandparents."

Part I:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nicholas Medforth-Mills talks to the press

It can be only assumed that Nicholas Medforth-Mills agreed to the interview with EVZ.Ro without the acknowledgment or advice of his Aunt, Crown Princess Margarita.  Ion Cristoiu conducted the interview with Nicholas.

Nicholas, who was second in line to the defunct Romanian throne until last August, decided to sit down with the journalist to set the record straight,  "For some time, rumors in the media have been circulating about me, and I also noticed that there were multiple accounts with my name on social media platforms (Facebook, for example.)  They have made assumptions about what happened to me in the past year, and my relationship with the King after I lost my title.  What I can say, exactly, is that I did not meet my grandfather when I traveled to Switzerland last August."

According to the Communique released by the Royal House on August 10, 2015,  Nicholas was stripped of his title, Prince of Romania, the style of His Royal Highness, and his place in the succession.

The reporter asked how Nicholas was addressed by friends before he became a prince (at age 25) and after the loss of his position.  Nicholas responded:  "I was and I remain Nicholas."   His position did not matter to his friends.  "I do not understand why my friends should call me otherwise."

He was also asked about the lack of transparency regarding the announcement in August..  "I cannot speak on behalf on the Royal House because it was their decision and strategy. I can say that the revoking of the title was as much a surprise to me as it was for the public.  There was never a discussion between the King and I before I was excluded from the succession and my title revoked.

I was asked to come back from vacation, and on the morning of August 10, I learned what was discussed and decided during the ten days of my absence,  As I said the decision to revoke my title and exclude me from the succession had already been made,  It did not matter if I agreed with the decision or not."

Nicholas aid he was "lucky to have friends who were with me, continue to be with me, and offered me help at the time when my life changed completely.  The changes involved making decision about a job, a place to live, where I could work, and where I could have a normal social life, naturally.  I',m not ashamed to admit that events have had an emotional impact on me and my health, because everything   I've done or created as a prince was very dedicated, and very involved."

The last time Nicholas saw his grandparents was in September 2015 for Queen Anne's birthday.  It was a particularly moving time as his grandfather talked about life, history, cars, as we always did. But at some point, the king broached the subject of what happened in August, but he was very vague and brief. "

Relations between Nicholas and the royal family, including his mother, Princess Helen, are said to be "currently very cold."

Earlier this year, Nicholas tried to visit his grandparents during a visit to Switzerland, but was rebuffed.

Cristoiu asked about the statement in the communique regarding the need for a "government marked by modesty, well-balanced, with morals, respect and always thinking of others."  Cristoiu wanted to know if this meant there was no possibility that Nicholas could be named as Margarita's heir..

"Indeed this is the message that emerges from the document.  The King dismissed me, and pulled me out of the line of succession and removed me from the succession, and the decision was announced in this matter."

Cristoiu also broached that the "main cause" for Nicholas' exclusion was due to his relationship with a Romanian woman.

Nicholas is not as open with his response to this question.  "Much has been written in the press about me, but that does not mean it is true.  I believe that everything I did these past few years [as heir] was good enough for people to form a realistic opinion about me.  I never liked to expose my personal life because I do not believe that these issues are important for my work then as Prince or for my work from now on.

"Please allow me not to comment on aspects of my private life."

He also spoke about the largely sympathetic coverage he received after the August announcement.

Nicholas said he was surprised by the coverage.  It was "particularly pleasing" and "I would like to thank all the people who sent me me messages of encouragement, sympathy and support."

He was also asked if he could be reinstated as a member of the Romanian Royal House, following King Michael's death.  "As I said, anything is possible!  Of Course, I cannot decide on future decisions that may be taken by the Royal House."

Nicholas was only seven years old when he first visited Romania in 1992.   "I was at an age where I was not table to understand the responsibility carried by my family and the importance of the event..  It was not long before I realized the significance, and the importance of what happened.  When I went out on to the balcony of the Hotel Continental in front of a million people, it was an awesome historical moment and every emotional for Romania. That night, I was a little mischievous.  After dinner I went to my room to rest. I lay on the bed for awhile, but the noise outside made me curious, so I went to the window to see what was happening.  I saw a sea of people, so I stuck my head out of the window to see better.  I leaned very hard over the sill.  The crowd began to stir, and I had an idea.  I had tulips in my room, so I leaned further out the window, and threw the tulips, one by one, to the crowd."

The crowd's noise apparently grew louder with each toss of a tulip.  Nicholas mother and stepfather were in the next room. "At one point,  my stepfather came in to check on me.  My heart stood still.  I was screwed."

This was my first trip to Romania, and it was a long one..  As I recall, I think I came by car from Switzerland to Bucharest.  I did not know what to expect.  Romania had heard many stories about my grandparents, and most were about our family.  I knew the stories of the kings and queens and what I heard from them seemed unreal.  I knew my grandfather was king and that my grandmother was queen, but it was the reality that I found difficult to understand at the time."

He added that he was "fascinated" by his "extraordinary grandparents."

Only later, when I grew up I came to a better understanding of the history and the impact of that moment, putting together my reality around like pieces of a puzzle."

The moment that Nicholas referred to was in 1992 when King Michael stepped out on the hotel's balcony with his young grandson.  Was this a gesture made by a loving grandfather or a king?  Was Michael already considering Nicholas as his successor?

Lastly, a link to a 2010 English-language interview with Nicholas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Princess Letizia to marry Prince Roland

March 23, 1891

The Gaulois, a Paris-based newspaper has announced the betrothal of Prince Roland Bonaparte to Princess Laetitia, only daughter of the late Prince Napoleon.
The wedding is expected to take place "immediately upon the expiration of the period of mourning" for the Princess' father, who died on March 17th.  Prince Napoleon gave his consent to the engagement "a short time prior to his death."

Princess Laetitia is 24-years-old.  She married on September 11, 1888 to her uncle, Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, former King of Spain.  He died on January 18, 1890.  The couple had no children.

Prince Roland is 32 years old and the son of Prince Pierre Bonaparte.  He is the grandson of Prince Lucien, who was Napoleon I's brother.

The Princess's mother was born Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy, daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy.

Lady Charlotte to marry Alejandro Santo Domingo in Spain

Spanish media reporting that Lady Charlotte Wellesley, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Wellington, will marry her billionaire fiance, Alejandro Santo Domingo at the Iglesia de la Encarnación (Church of the Incarnation) in Illora, Spain.  The wedding will take place on May 28th at 6 p.m.

The reception is scheduled to take place at the Duke of Wellington's Spanish residence, La Finca, in Granada.   This will be an ecumenical wedding as the bride is Anglican the groom, the second richest man in Colombia, is Roman Catholic.

Alejandro's niece, Tatiana, is the wife of Andrea Casiraghi, eldest son of Princess Caroline of Monaco.

The bride, a graduate of Oxford University, works for photographer, Mario Testino.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Upcoming royal weddings in Denmark and Coburg

March 21, 1896

Princess Louise of Denmark will marry Prince Friedrich of Schaumburg-Lippe in the second week of April, according to the Chicago Daily Telegraph.  The Princess of Wales, along with three of her children, Princesses Victoria and Maud and the Duke of York, will accompany her.

The British royal family is also preparing for the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the third of four daughters of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Saxe Coburg, and Gotha, and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.  The princess, known as Sandra to her family, has "inherited from her mother the charm of manner and exquisite taste in dress peculiar to Russian women."  She is also said to be one of the "most accomplished" of Queen Victoria's granddaughters.

She is a youthful bride, "small and fair," and her "face is pure oval, her complexion resembling eggshell china in its transparency and delicate coloring."  The princess is actively involved in the supervision of her wedding trousseau."  Her first cousin, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, has already sent her "some very fine furs, consisting mainly of Russian sables."

Queen Victoria may be present for her granddaughter's wedding.  She has already given the bride "some splendid gifts of British manufacture and a complete set of Sheffield cutlery."

Princess Alexandra's future husband is Hereditary Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the grandson of Queen Victoria's older half-sister, Princess Feodora of Leiningen.  He is said to speak English without the trace of an accent, as he has spent some time in England.  He served for a time as the third attache at the German Embassy and spent a lot of time with his English cousins.

This marriage is not as "brilliant a match" as Sandra's two elder sisters,  but the young couple "will be enormously wealthy" as Prince Ernst's father is giving him a "fine estate in Württemberg."

Princess Marie is the wife of Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania, heir to the Romanian throne, and Victoria Melita is married to Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and By Rhine.

Infanta Beatriz to wed cousin

March 21 1931

It is being reported in Spain that Infanta Beatriz, the 21-year-old daughter of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, will soon announce her engagement to Prince Alvaro de Orléans-Borbon, the eldest of three sons of Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera, and Infanta Beatrice, formerly Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.   Prince Alvaro will celebrate his 21st birthday in April.

The couple are double second cousins, as King Alfonso and Prince Alfonso are first cousins, as are Queen Ena and Infanta Beatriz.

According to press reports, the couple have been "seen together frequently," and friends have declared that this is a "real love match."

Princess Sophie is now in Switzerland

@Daniel Angelescu

Princess Sophie of Romania arrived in Switzerland on Sunday and is expected to spend a few days with her parents, King Michael and Queen Anne.  The 58-year-old Princess traveled from her home in France.

The princess' older sister, Princess Helen, recently spent a few days with the king and queen, and has now returned to her home in England.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Duchess of Cornwall at University of Montenegro's Music Academy

Music Academy, which is in a building that was once the British Legation in Cetinje.  In two of the photos, you will notice biographer, Penny Junor, who is writing a new biography of the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in Montenegro

As a part of their visit to the Balkans, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are now in Montenegro.  They arrived at the capital, Podgorica, and then traveled to the former royal capital, Cetinje -- the drive must have been breathtaking (and a little scary as Montenegrin roads are not in the best condition - and the two towns are in the mountains.)  Montenegro means Black Mountain.

I had the pleasure to visit Montenegro in May 2013.  I want to go back.  So much to see - and view from the plane of the coast as I flew into Tivat .. superb.

Cetinje was where the Montenegrin royal family lived before going to exile after the country became a part of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1918).  In 2006, Montenegro declared its independence from Serbia, following a referendum.

The presidential palace - the Blue Palace - was once the home of Crown Prince Danilo of Montenegro, son of King Nikola (1841-1921) and Milena Vukotic, and his wife, Duchess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1880-1946)

Duchess Jutta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Jutta was the younger daughter (and one of four children) of Duke Adolf Friedrich V of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt.  She was introduced to the Montenegrin Crown Prince during a visit to Russia, where she stayed with her cousin. Duchess Helene of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the daughter of Grand Duke Georg August and his wife, Grand Duchess Catherine Mikhailovna of Russia.

Two of Danilo's sisters, Princesses Militza and Anastasia, were married to two members of the Russian Imperial Family:  Grand Duke Peter and George, Duke of Leuchtenberg.

Jutta and Danilo were married on July 27, 1899, at  Cetinje.  They had no children.

Jutta's paternal grandmother,  Grand Duchess Augusta, was born Princess Augusta of Cambridge, the second of three children of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge and Princess Augusta of Hesse-Cassel.   Augusta was a first cousin of Queen Victoria.   Her younger sister, Princess Mary Adelaide, was the mother of Queen Mary.   Grand Duchess Augusta and her niece were close and maintained a long correspondence.

When Augusta married her first cousin, Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz at Buckingham Palace in1843,  her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge gave her the Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara, which the duchess had been given as a wedding gift when she married Prince Adolphus in 1818.  Augusta gave Jutta the tiara as a wedding gift.  At some point, when Jutta was in exile, she sold the tiara.  It was sold again in May 1981 and was purchased by the Georg, Count of Waldburg zu Zeil.  His wife, Princess Marie Gabriele of Bavaria has worn it several times.

Finally - a wedding date

Prince Leka II and Miss Elia Zaharia have finally set the date.  They announced today that they will marry in Tirana on October 8,  They became engaged in May 2010.

Miss Zaharia is an Albanian actress and singer.

Prince Leka, who has worked in several Albanian government offices, is the only child of the late Crown Prince Leka (1939-2011) and Australian-born Susan Cullen-Ward (1941-2004).   He is also the grandson of the late King Zog and his Hungarian-American wife, Countess Geraldine Apponyi de Nagy-Apponyi.  Geraldine's mother was Gladys Virgina Steuart.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Royal Ladies and Shamrocks

Several British journalists got it wrong when they wrote that a female royals and shamrock presentations.

  Yes, Queen Alexandra was the first member of the Royal Family to present Shamrocks to the Irish Guards, but no, a thousand times no,  the shamrocks have not been presented annually by a female member of the Royal family since 1901.

In 1902,  Queen Alexandra did present the shamrocks, according to the Devon and Exeter Gazette.

In 1904, from the Manchester Courier:

© IWM (Q 67391)

In 1904-1905, the Earl Roberts of Kandahar and Pretoria presented the shamrocks, [Lord Roberts died in 1914 and was succeeded by his elder daughter, Aileen (1870-1944), as a special remainder had been created for his viscountcy and earldom, allowing for female succession, as his only son was killed in action in 1899 in the Boer War,  The titles became extinct in 1955 following the death of the third countess, Edwina, Aileen's younger sister.]

In March 1905, the Sphere published "Lord Roberts presented the Queen's shamrock to the Irish Guards on St. Patrick's Day."   He repeated this in 1907, as reported by The Bystander.

Lord Roberts was the first Colonel of the Irish Guards.

In 1906, the shamrocks were presented by Colonel Cooper.

Queen Alexandra attended the 1908 presentation.

In 1911, Colonel Nugent presented the shamrock on behalf of Queen Alexandra.

Using The Times database and Nexis, as well as several other reference sources, I learned that the female royals who have presented the Shamrocks included Queen Alexandra, Princess Mary (Princess Royal from 1931), Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother,  Princess Anne (Princess Royal) and the Duchess of Cambridge.  A careful examination showed that the tradition has not been attended annually by a member of the Royal Family.  There were breaks during the first and second world Wars when a royal presentation was impossible.

From the Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette (March 18, 1909).  Queen Alexandra was not present.

Queen Alexandra "sent down shamrock to the Irish Guard at Aldershot," in March 1910, according to press reports.  In other words, she was not present.

In 1912:  Alexandra provided the shamrock but was not present.  She also sent the shamrock in 1914 but did not attend.

Queen Mary made the presentation in 1916.  She was accompanied by King George V and Princess Mary.

Nottingham Evening Post, March 17, 1916

In 1917, it was Lord French who did the presentation.

Queen Mary also presented the Shamrock in 1918, "the gift of Queen Alexandra."   It appears that Lord Cavan did the presentation in 1919.

It appears that Princess Mary, Princess Royal  (1897-1965) succeeded her grandmother as the presenter.  But her record is neither straightforward nor consistent.  In 1928, the Duchess of York carried out the presentation.  A year later, the Court Circular noted that Princess Royal was unable to make the presentation so she sent Countess Roberts to represent her.  Lady Roberts, a peeress in her own right, also represented the Princess at the presentation on St. Patrick's Day in 1933.

In 1926, the Shamrock was presented by the Countess of Cavan.

Citizen, March 17, 1926
The Princess Royal also did not attend in 1927.

Evening Telegraph and Post, March 17, 1927

The Princess Royal was back in action in 1930.

Citizen, March 17, 1930

The Earl of Cavan, who became Colonel of the Irish Guards in 1925,  presented the shamrocks in 1931, 1932, 1936, and 1940.   In 1941 and 1942, the Times noted, that the Princess Royal arranged for the shamrocks to be presented.

Lord Cavan represented the Princess Royal.  From the Courier and Advertiser (Dundee, Scotland) on March 18, 1931.

Quoting the Irish Guards Quarterly:  "1949 March 17 ST. PATRICK’s DAY.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place in Barracks at 0930 hours. The BRIGADE Commander, Brigadier G.F. JOHNSON, DSO, presented the Battalion with the Shamrock. After the parade, the Battalion marched to the Cathedral for the St. Patrick’s Day Service."

In 1950, King George VI presented the shamrocks.  He was accompanied by his wife, Queen Elizabeth, and their eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth.  This was the 50th anniversary of the Irish Guards, which made sense for the King to take care of the presentation.

Earl Alexander of Tunis, the 5th Colonel of the Irish Guards, handled the presentation on several occasions.  In 1944, he presented the shamrocks to the 1st Battalion, then serving in Cassino, Italy.

In 1953, the 1st Battalion was in Dusseldorf, Germany.  The Princess Royal did not attend the ceremony.  Lord Alexander of Tunis, then Britain's Defense Minister, handled the presentation.

He also carried out the presentations in 1960 and 1966.

In 1953, Countess Roberts presented the Shamrock.  She was the late Lord Robert's younger daughter, Edwina.

In 1955, the Princess Royal did the presentation in Caterham
In 1957: the Princess Royal did present the shamrock.
In 1959. the Countess Alexander of Tunis had the honor to present the shamrock, representing the Princess Royal.
In 1961, the Princess Royal resumed her presentation.
In 1964, the Princess Royal traveled to Hubbelrath, Germany, where the 1st Battalion was based, for the presentation of the shamrock.

Some sources say that the Queen Mother took over the presentation in 1965 following the death of the Princess Royal.  This is incorrect, as the Princess Royal died on March 28, 1965.  Earlier in the month, she had represented the Queen at the funeral of Queen Louise of Sweden.

The Court Circular did not include information about the shamrock presentation in 1965.    On March 17th, the Princess Royal visited the Duke and Duchess of Windsor at the London Clinic, where the former king was recovering from eye surgery.  She also had one official engagement on that day.

The Queen Mother did not have an engagement on St. Patrick's Day in 1965.

The Court Circular did not mention the Queen Mother doing the presentation in 1966. She was preparing for a trip to Australia and New Zealand.  Or 1967.
The first Court Circular reference was in 1968.

She carried out the duty for the rest of her life, with two exceptions.  In 1989, the Irish Guards were in Belize, so the Queen Mother asked the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who served with the Irish Guards during World War II if he could present the shamrocks.  One could forgive the queen mother for asking the Grand Duke, 20 years her junior, to undertake the engagement.  The Queen Mother was 88 years old at the time.

The Queen Mother's final shamrock presentation was on March 17, 2001.  A year later, she was too ill to carry out the much-loved engagement, and her grandson, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, stepped in for her.

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, did the presentations from 2003-to 2011 and was succeeded by the Duchess of  Cambridge in 2012.

I do think the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge need to take on more royal engagements and patronages.  Although the Duke is second in line to the throne and has no constitutional role, he and his wife represent the future of the monarchy.  Most of Britain's working royals are senior citizens.

I expect most of the people who were disappointed by the announcement that the Duchess was not going to appear this year are the people who are interested in what Catherine would be wearing.

According to the Daily Express' Royal Correspondent, Richard Palmer, "aides said that the Duchess had enjoyed the duty in previous years and would undoubtedly do it again in future but did not want the public to think that she was taking on the responsibility annually."

I am not sure that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aides helped the situation with their statement to the press.

The Duchess of Cambridge certainly showed enthusiasm during her presentations, and she could have taken a few hours out of her day tomorrow to continue what many saw as a permanent royal engagement.   At least, we won't have to worry about what she is wearing.

It should be noted that the Duke of Cambridge is the first Royal Colonel of the Irish Guards, and it is rare for more than one member of the Royal Family to attend the ceremony.

Far too many articles were plonked out with incorrect information that distaff members of the British Royal Family have been doing the shamrock presentations annually since 1901.  I have provided examples and citations to show that this statement is far from true.   It was not until the late 1960s when the Queen Mother succeeded the Princess Royal that the presentation became a true annual royal engagement.   She made it her own, and she was loved and respected by members of the Irish Guard.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Official release from Crown Prince Alexander's office

all photos: courtesy of HRH Crown Prince Alexander

The Prince of Wales guest of Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine at the Royal Palace

Belgrade, 16 March 2016 – His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was hosted at the Royal Palace for tea by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine, Prince Peter, David Andrews and Alison Andrews.

The Prince and the Royal Family met in the Blue Salon of the Royal Palace, after which Their Royal Highnesses continued their conversation in a family atmosphere. This meeting is very important for Crown Prince Alexander and the Prince of Wales, whose ancestors in the last century on several occasions visited the Royal Palace. The Crown Prince gave Prince Charles an icon of Saint George, the patron saint of England, and the best wines from the Royal Vineyards in Oplenac. Crown Princess Katherine prepared a handmade Serbian shawl and handbag for the Duchess of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales took a short tour of the Royal and the White Palace, where he had the opportunity to see the exhibition “Two Royal Families - Historical Ties” about the relations between the British Royal Family and the Serbian Royal Family.

In the past at the request of Crown Princess Katherine the Prince of Wales gave to the Princess Katherine Foundation an autoclave steriliser for the Gynaecological Clinic within the Clinical Centre of Serbia. This valuable donation was delivered by Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, in the presence of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Serbia.

The Royal Family Karadjordjevic has multiple family ties with the British Royal House of Windsor. These family ties are on the side of the Windsors, the family of Queen Elizabeth II and on the side of her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The kinship between the Serbian and the British Royal Family began with the marriage of King Alexander I and Romanian Princess Maria after the First World War. The future Queen Maria was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Crown Prince Alexander is also related to the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, through his mother, Queen Alexandra, who was the daughter of the Greek King Alexander, the uncle of Prince Philip.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (the mother of the Prince of Wales) is the godmother of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander, together with her father, the British King George VI. The godfather at the baptism of the Crown Prince’s father, His Majesty King Peter II, was the British King George V and the King’s Envoy to the baptism in Belgrade was the future British King George VI (the father of Queen Elizabeth and the grandfather of the Prince of Wales). Crown Prince Alexander’s grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Maria was the great-granddaughter of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and the Prince Charles were also together at Gordonstoun School in Scotland.

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine will attend tonight the State Dinner at the Home of the Guard, in honour of Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Their Royal Highnesses were invited to the reception Thursday 17 March at the Parliament given by the Speaker of the House Mrs Maja Gojkovic and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, but regret they cannot attend since they will be flying that night to Cape Town South Africa. They will be guests of former President F.W. de Klerk of South Africa for his 80th birthday Friday 18 March. They were guests ten years ago for the President’s 70th birthday party when Nelson Mandela was present.

The Prince of Wales meets Crown Prince Alexander in Serbia

I am thrilled to bits for Crown Prince Alexander who has welcomed the Prince of Wales to his home in Belgrade.

The Crown Prince is one of my favorite people, ever since we first met in the mid-1980s, when he was working as an insurance executive in Rosslyn, Virginia.

On three occasions - Alexander's 60th birthday, 25th wedding anniversary and the state funeral for King Peter II -- I have had the privilege and honor to be a guest at these events.

The Crown Prince is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.  He and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine, are devoted to serving Serbia and the Serbian people.

It is also nice to see the Prince of Wales visit the Royal Compound ... and I have been in those rooms, too ...

Crown Prince Alexander was born on July 17, 1945 at Claridge's Hotel, in London.  He is the only son of the late King Peter II of Yugoslavia and Princess Alexandra of Greece.   Alexander is the godson of Queen Elizabeth II, whose father, King George VI, was the godfather of Alexander's father, Peter.

It seems that the Duchess of Cornwall was carrying out another engagement in Belgrade, and did not accompany Charles for this event ... perhaps the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall can have a private dinner tonight ... lots of nice restaurants in the Skadarlija area of Belgrade.