Tuesday, May 31, 2016

BULLETIN: Bomb thrown at Alfonso & Ena during wedding procession

May 31, 1906

The newly married King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain had "come from the altar and were receiving an ovation from their myriad of subjects," greater than this "proud capital" had ever seen, when, according to a special cable dispatch from the Washington Post, they "were brought face to face with the peril of assassination in its deadliest form."

The king and queen, in their carriage, were enjoying the roses, "flung from every side," falling in a "soft cascade," upon the carriage.  Queen Victoria Eugenia, showing "unfeigned delight," bowed right and left in "acknowledgment of the deafening, unending chorus of welcome and congratulations."

King Alfonso ignored the crowd and was "feasting his eyes upon the face of his bride," when a bunch f roses, "flung from a balcony," fell in front of the carriage.   There was a "terrible crash," and smoke and began to rise.

Within an instant "death and consternation" supplanted the "mirth and rejoicing."  Men and women were dead or injured.  Many "turned instinctively" toward the king and queen, and "saw their faces pale amid the ruins, gazing pitifully at the terrifying scene around them."

The Duke of Cornachuelos rushed toward the bridal carriage. He opened the door and "fairly dragged" the King and Queen to the ground, where they were surrounded by the royal escort and quickly led to another carriage.   King Alfonso "mastered his emotion," and turned his attention to his "terrified bride."

The procession was restarted and made its way to the palace, a mile away.

Neither the King and Queen were hurt, which was nothing short of a miracle.  The Queen showed great bravery as she tried to control her feelings, but the "fearful transition from joy to horror" was too much for her to endure and she burst into tears.  The King was also seen to be weeping in sympathy.

The day has started out with great promise as Madrid's citizens gathered on the streets to witness the celebration of the marriage of King Alfonso to Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg.

One of the most adorable sights was the "tiny" Infante Alfonso, heir presumptive to the throne, who accompanied his uncle, King Alfonso.  The four-year-old boy is the son of Alfonso's older sister, Mercedes, Princess of Asturias. who died after giving birth to a daughter in 1904.  The little boy was dressed in white silk knickerbockers.

King Alfonso reached the altar "long before" his bride, and there appeared to be a "lengthy wait," as the king gazed toward the cathedral's door.

The bride was up early.  She came early to the Pardo Palace, accompanied by her mother, Princess Henry of Battenberg, and her "ladies of honor, and escorted by a regiment of the Royal Guards.  They arrived at the ministry of marine, where the bride put on her wedding dress,  Queen Maria Cristina welcomed the bride, and the "ladies breakfasted together in the blue salon."

The wedding procession began at the royal palace at 9:30 a.m,, when the church bells began to ring.

The coaches included the Spanish Grandees, which were followed by the coaches carrying members of the foreign royal families including the Prince and Princess of Wales, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Grand Duke and Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, Prince Albrecht of Prussia, and Prince Albert of the Belgians.

The King's coach was greeted with a "great roar." Alfonso could be seen "smiling and bowing." He was accompanied by his brother in law, Infante Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the widower of the late Princess of Asturias and his young son, Infante Alfonso.

This procession was followed by the coaches carrying the Lords and Ladies in waiting and the Princes and Princesses of the House Battenberg.  The final coach in the procession was the "famed mahogany coach" with the "radiant bride," accompanied by her mother and Queen Maria Christina.

There were great cheers for the young woman who was about to become their Queen.  Within minutes those cheers would turn to screams as the joy of the day was marred when an anarchist throws a bomb at the bridal carriage.

Monday, May 30, 2016

An Engagement broken: Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duchess Elsa of Wurttemberg

Princess  Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and his then-fiancee, Duchess Elsa of Württemberg

It was seen as an attempt, a hope, when young  Hereditary Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's engagement was announced in the Court Circular on January 28, 1895. “We are informed that a marriage has been arranged between his Royal Highness Prince Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, only son of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and grandson of her Majesty, and Her Royal Highness the Duchess Elsa Matilda Marie, elder twin daughter of the late Duke William Eugene of Württemberg by his marriage with the Grand Duchess Vera of Russia.  The Duchess Elsa attains her 19th year on March 1 next, and Prince Alfred, who is a lieutenant à la suite in the German army, comes of age in October this year.”

Two days earlier, the New York Times reported from London that “the Central News learns that Prince Alfred, only son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, is betrothed to the Duchess Elsa of Württemberg.”

HRH Prince Alfred Alexander William Ernest Albert of Edinburgh was born on October 15, 1874, at Buckingham Palace, the first child and only son of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the fourth child of Queen Victoria, and Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.

The Duke of Edinburgh succeeded to the Coburg duchy in 1893 following the death of his uncle, Duke Ernst II. Young Affie was now the Hereditary Prince.  His young life was without proper guidance, and, when joining the military and moving in a fast circle certainly led to a dissipated life.  At some point, he acquired syphilis, which went untreated.

Unable to understand or treat the root causes of Affie's problems, his parents were at a loss as to what to do.   One solution for royal parents was to find a suitable bride for a wayward son, believing that a loyal, well-bred wife would make all the difference, and help guide young Affie toward the responsibilities of his position.

Duchess Elsa Mathilde Marie of Württemberg (1876-1936) was the elder twin daughter of Duke Eugen of Württemberg (1846-1877) and Grand Duchess Vera Constantinova of Russia (1854-1912.)  Elsa's younger twin sister was Duchess Olga Alexandrine Marie of Württemberg (1876-1932).

An older brother, Duke Karl-Eugen died at  seven months in November 1875.)    Duke Eugen was only 30 years old when he died on January 27, 1877, leaving behind a young widow and twin daughters.

Grand Duchess Vera was the daughter of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich of Russia and Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg.  As a child, she suffered from behavioral issues, and her father, then the Viceroy of Poland, decided to send the young grand duchess to her paternal aunt, Olga, the wife of King Karl of Württemberg.  The couple had no children.

She eventually thrived and outgrew the behavioral issues, and, in 1871, she was adopted by her aunt and uncle.  They arranged her marriage to Duke Eugen.

Vera was only 23 years old when she was widowed.  She never remarried.  A bit of an eccentric, Vera was close friends with her first cousin, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna.   Her ties to the Russian court were limited, and, by 1909, she converted to the Lutheran faith.    Vera's older sister, Olga, was the wife of King George I of the Hellenes.

In 1891, Vera inherited a large fortune from her uncle Karl, the King of Württemberg.    Arranging good marriages for both daughters was important, and she and her cousin, Marie Alexandrovna,  certainly championed and encouraged marriage between their children.   Elsa would become the wife of the future Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and the Duke of Edinburgh. She would be marrying the grandson of Queen Victoria.

On paper, the match was made in heaven.  The reality was another matter.

But by 1895,  young Affie's health was severely diminished, physically, and mentally. He was not a candidate for marriage, and both families soon realized this, and the engagement, made with little fanfare, was ended rather quietly, and without an official announcement.    There is no doubt that the engagement ended when Vera realized that Affie's condition was not conducive to marriage.

Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duchess Elsa of Württemberg and Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. (both images Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)

Another fiance was soon found for Duchess Elsa.  On May 6, 1897, at Stuttgart, she married Prince Albrecht of Schaumburg-Lippe.

Young Affie's health continued to deteriorate.  He would travel to Russia and at least twice to Romania to visit his sister, Crown Princess Marie,  to regain his health and live a more responsible life.  It didn't work.

New surprise additions to my collection

A friend sent me these two postcards of Prince Jiri and Princess Zdenka Lobkowicz and their first son, Prince Robert.  The couple married on June 16, 2012, at Castle Melnik, the family home.  The Castle is about an hour from Prague.

Prince Jiri is the heir to his twin brother, Anton, Prince Lobkowicz.  (There are four branches to the family, each with its own head.)  Another branch is headed by the American-born and Harvard-educated Prince William.

The princely family has its roots in Bohemia (Czech Republic).

Friday, May 27, 2016

Althorp was not Diana's childhood home

NBC and Cynthia McFadden are promoting her upcoming interview with the Earl and Countess Spencer, who are opening Althorp to overnight paying guests.  The event is for the Countess' charity, but the pre-interview press is giving a lot of wrong impressions.   NBC promotes the interview, stating that Althorp was Diana's childhood home.  This is incorrect.

Althorp was not Diana's childhood home.  She was born the Hon. Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, at Park House on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Her father, Johnnie, the Viscount Althorp, succeeded his father as Earl Spencer on June 9, 1975.  Diana was nearly 14 years old when her father became the earl, and her style changed from the Hon. Diana Spencer to the Lady Diana Spencer.

Diana's father and grandfather were not close.   As one of Diana's biographers, Sarah Bradford noted: "Diana rarely went there [Althorp]  as a child."  Her childhood roots were in Norfolk.   She did attend her grandparents' Golden Wedding anniversary celebration in 1969,  but the accompanying photo shows a very uncomfortable group of people.

In the 1930s,  King George V offered a lease to Park House to Maurice Burke Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy, and his wife, Ruth Gill.  Lord Fermoy, a MP for King's Lynn, had inherited (with his brother) a  $2.9 million (now about $30 million) fortune from their American grandfather.

Diana's mother, the Hon. Frances Burke Roche, was born at Park House on January 20, 1936, the same day King George V died at Sandringham House.

Lord Fermoy died in 1955, A year earlier, Frances married Lord Althorp, who took over the lease of Park House, which he retained until 1975.

Lord and Lady Althorp's marriage was over by 1966 when Frances fell in love with Peter Shand Kydd.  They separated a year later.  Frances took Diana and her younger brother, Charles, to London. The children would return to Park House at weekends to be with their father.   Lord Althorp decided to seek custody of his children (his two older daughters were at boarding school.)   He was supported by Frances' mother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy.

The two younger children moved back to Park House, and Diana was enrolled in a local school in King's Lynn.

Diana was 9 years old when she was sent to Riddlesworth Hall, a boarding school, 90 minutes from Sandringham.   She transferred to West Heath, another boarding school in 1974, when she was 13.

Diana was nearly 14 when her father succeeded and moved to Althorp.   Years later, she said it was a "terrible wrench" to leave Norfolk, "because that's where everybody who I'd grown up with lived."

 By this time,  Lord Spencer was involved with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, a relationship that did not endear her to Johnnie's children.  They married in July 1976.

Diana was never a full-time resident at Althorp.   In the mid-1970s, she spent most of each year at boarding school.  Holidays were divided between her parents' homes, and with friends in Norfolk.  After a brief stay at a finishing school in Switzerland, Diana and two girlfriends, moved into her mother's Cadogan Square flat.   She worked at several low-paying jobs as a part-time nanny and a part-time assistant at the Young England Kindergarten. (Diana's education was limited, and she left her finishing school before completing the program.  She was never expected to have a career, and her parents hoped for a good marriage.)

In July 1979, she moved into a flat at 60 Coleherne Court, which her mother purchased for her for £50,000.  (Frances bought each of her three daughters their first flats.)   Not long after her marriage, Diana sold the flat for £100,000.

Contrary to what was touted in the upcoming NBC piece, Althorp has been open to the public for several decades.  It was first opened in 1953 by the present Earl's grandfather, Albert, the 7th Earl,  for tax mitigation.   His heir, Johnnie, continued and expanded the opening of the estate.  During his tenure,  the 8th Earl sold off more than 20% of the furnishings and eleven Van Dyke paintings.  Another bone of contention between the children and their father was Raine's redecoration scheme.

Lord and Lady Spencer often welcomed the tourists, and sometimes even manned the cash register at the stately home's gift shop.

However, it is a stretch for a news network to push the "childhood home" story, when, in reality, the facts tell a different story.

Althorp is Diana's final resting place.

According to the Althorp website, tens of thousands visit the stately home every year.

Park House is now a hotel for the disabled run by the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity.  It was offered to the charity in 1983 by the Queen.

NBC: please note the statement about Park House on the Sandringham website.

"Park House was the childhood home of the late Diana, Princess of Wales."   


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ena capturing every Spanish heart

Embed from Getty Images 

May 26, 1906

Preparations for the wedding between King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg continue as a frenetic space.  "Princess Ena has captured every Spanish heart," according to the Washington Post.  She has already become their Queen.  Wherever she goes or appears, she is greeted with the cries of "Long live the beautiful Queen."

This morning the royal couple got into an "auto car" and drove over the "romantic route leading to the Pardo Palace."   They appeared briefly on the upper balcony to witness the "morning relief of the Royal Guard."  Princess Ena was "gowned in gray, with a broad-brimmed picture hat adorned with a red sweeping plume."

King and his fiancee were cheered by crowds outside the palace gate.  Afterward, the king drove the Princess and her family to Madrid through "lines of enthusiastic people."  The day was full of events from luncheon at the royal palace, a drive to Casa del Campo, and the dinner at the Pardo Palace at nightfall. 

  Embed from Getty Images 

 The Spanish nobility and aristocracy, traditionally conservative "toward foreign consorts" appear to have embraced the "popular feeling of admiration toward Princess Ena.  She has a "regal bearing and personal beauty" that makes her worthy of the Spanish crown.

After meeting the Princess,  Infanta Eulalia, one of Alfonso's aunts, turned to him and said "Whether Queen of Spain or not, she is by nature a queen."

The king's presents to his bride are on display.  The value of the gifts is said to exceed $1,000,000.  The gifts include an "exquisite crown for the Queen to wear on state occasions."  She has also received a "ring of gold set with brilliants, two collars,  pearls and the other of rubies and sapphires; a diadem; a pair of golden bracelets, a pair of magnificent pendants, and a large diamond brooch."

The El Pardo palace has been prepared to be Ena's temporary residence.  The reception room has been "daily smothered with fresh flowers brought from Seville.  The palace grounds remain in a "state of decay," as there was not enough time to remedy the situation.   But inside the palace "everything is beautiful."    For the first time, a bathroom has been installed in the palace.

Ena's mother, Princess Henry of Battenberg, is staying at the residence of the Ministry of Marine.  Princess Ena will "don her wedding attire" hereafter arriving by motor car from El Pardo.

Royal guests are en route to Madrid for the wedding.  The Prince and Princess of Wales began their journey from London earlier today and arrived in Paris. They were met at the train station by the British ambassador.  They will stay at the British Embassy until they leave for Madrid.

An anarchist was arrested in Cadiz after arriving there on a steamer from Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In defense of her husband, Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria

In a letter to the Duke of Castro, Princess Tana of Windisch-Graetz, the wife of Prince Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, offered with "great regret" her resignation from the Constantinian Order of Saint George  She has made it clear that she no agreed with ‘most of the ideals of your Order", having witnessed her husband’s  "sincerity  and the dedication he put in to the job that you have  entrusted to him as Grand Prefect.”  

Princess Tana noted that her husband devoted “a great deal of his time to deal with a lot of problems, neglecting his work and family by driving to talk to you.”  Prince Augusto, as the Order’s Grand Prefect, also served as the Order's primary problem solver.

  Prince Augusto paid all the expenses of\ his office and staff, and according to his wife, “convinced many of his friends and family to support the Order."  The prince, a devout Roman Catholic, wanted the Order to have an active role to “organize Pilgrimages not only with the Knights, but also with people in need.”

  According to his wife, Prince Augusto, was “abruptly” and “ungratefully” removed from his post.  Princess Tana told the Duke of Castro “deserved a better friend, especially as he only wanted for  the good of the Order and your respect as Grand Master? “

The Prince and Princess are both appalled by the Duke of Castro’s behavior, toward the Prince and other officials with the order.   Princess Tana was furious that the Duke of Castro, whose daughter is one of Prince Augusto’s godchildren, did not have the courtesy to telephone the Prince before dismissing him as Grand Prefect.

Princess Tana told the duke that she could not longer be a part of a Sacred Order with these  principles and do not believe in it anymore, I am sorry. But if one  day the Order's mission of dedicating itself to the poor and sick is  restored then call me and I shall be there always.”

Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria, Prince of Scilla, is the second son of the late Don Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau, Prince di Palazzo, Prince of Scilla, Marchese di Licodia, Duca di Guardia Lombarda.  His older brother, Don Fulco, is the present Prince Ruffo di Calabria.  He has been married twice, but has no children.  Prince Augusto, 60, is the heir presumptive to his brother’s title.  His paternal aunt, Paola, is the wife of King Albert II of the Belgians.

He married HSH Princess Irma (Tana) of Windisch-Graetz in 1980.  They have three children: Donna Fabrizia (1981) and the twins, Don Francesco and Donna Maria Scilla (1984.)   She was born in 1951, the eldest child of Maximilian, Prince of Windisch-Graetz, and Maria Luisa Serra di Gerra.  She has a younger sister, Maximliane, who is married to the Prince of Fürstenberg, and two younger brothers, Mariano-Hugo, Prince of Windisch-Graetz, and Prince Manfred.

The Prince and Princess are active in numerous Roman Catholic charities.  Both are devastated and saddened by the recent controversial actions  made by the Duke of Castro.  They are not the only former members of the Order who have expressed their views, privately and publicly.  Don Augusto has also made his views known in a letter made public.

I am grateful that I have been allowed to quote from the Princess Tana's letter in  order to highlight the increasing calls for concern in  the Italian Order of the Constantinian.  The concerns go  beyond the Duke's decision to name his elder daughter, Princess Maria Carolina, as his heir.  Several high officials, including Prince Augusto, have pointed out alleged financial irregularities with the Order.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More problems for the Duke of Castro.

This letter is in Italian. The writer of this letter is Claudio Limontini, former Grand Treasurer of the Constantinian Order, headed by the Duke of Castrol. He discusses why he resigned due to serious financial irregularities that he discovered during his tenure in his former position. He also returned the Collar from the Order. He expressed his unhappiness with how some of the Order's funds were being used. The funds were supposed to be used for the sick and the poor. When he made known his concerns, he was relieved of his position. In this letter, he also agrees with comments recently made by Princess Tana of Windsich-Graetz and her husband, Prince Augusto Ruffi di Calabria, who recently stepped down as Grand Prefect of the Order, headed by the Duke of Castro. Princess Tana (whose full name is Irma Christiane Leontine Maximiliane is the elder sister of Mariano Hugo, Prince of Windisch-Graetz, who is married to Archduchess Sophie of Austria. Her younger sister, Maximiliane is the wife of the Prince of Fürstenberg.

[On May 24, the Duke of Castro named his older sister, Princess Beatrice, as the Grand Prefect.  In 1978, Beatrice married Prince Charles Napoleon.  The couple were married in a civil ceremony, required by French law, eschewing a Roman Catholic wedding, which seems strange for two Roman Catholic families,  The couple had two children, Princess Caroline and Prince Jean-Christophe, who iss the present head of the House of Napoleon, before divorcing in 1989.  In other words, Beatrice has never married in the eyes of the Roman Catholic church, despite have two children who have been raised as Roman Catholics.]

Perhaps an engagement ....

I may be going out on a wiggly limb, but this is an interesting photo,  taken yesterday at the Chelsea Flower Show. A good royal turnout - from the Queen to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as the Princess Royal and Princess Beatrice and Eugenie of York. In this Getty image, you can see Beatrice walking in the background as her younger sister, Eugenie, walks with her longtime main squeeze, Jack Brooksbank.   As Jack accompanied Princess Eugenie to an event that included other members of the Royal Family,  one wonders if an engagement announcement will soon be made.   Jack's family tree is filled with English and Scottish noble lines, and a few European noble and royal branches.  He is a descendant of Edward III through John of Gaunt and Katherine Roet, just for starters.

Jack Christoper Stamp Brooksbank is the eldest son of George Edward Hugh Brooksbank and Nicola Newton. Jack's paternal grandmother, Celia Dorothy Coke, was the granddaughter of the 2nd Earl of Leicester, whose wife, the Hon. Georgina Cavendish was the daughter of William Cavendish, 2nd Baron Chesham, and Henrietta Frances Lascelles, a daughter of the Rt Hon. William Saunders Sebright Lascelles, who was the third son of the 2nd Earl of Harewood, and who married the Lady Caroline Howard, the daughter of George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle, and Lady Georgiana Cavendish, daughter of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire and Lady Georgiana Spencer, who was the daughter of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer and Margaret Georgiana Poyntz.

 The first Earl Spencer was the son of the Hon. John Spencer and Lady Georgiana Carteret, daughter of the Earl of Granville. John Spencer was the son of Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, and his second wife, Lady Anne Churchill, daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. John had two sisters, and the youngest was Lady Diana Spencer, who was once linked to Frederick, Prince of Wales (father of George III).

 The second Baron Chesham was the son of Charles Compton Cavendish and Lady Catherine Gordon, the daughter of George Gordon, 9th Earl of Huntly, and Catherine Cope. The 9th Earl's mother, Lady Margaret, was the daughter of Alexander Stewart, 6th Earl of Galloway, and Lady Catherine Cochrane, daughter of the 4th Earl of Dundonald and Lady Anne Murray (daughter of 1st Earl of Dunmore, the son of John Murray, 1st Marquess of Athole and Lady Amelia Stanley, daughter of the 1st Earl of Derby and Charlotte de la Trémoille.) Charlotte de la Trémoille was the daughter of Claude de la Trémoille, Duke of Thouars, and Charlotte of Nassau-Dillenberg, daughter of Willem I, 1st Count of Nassau-Dillenberg, Count of Vianden, 2nd Prince of Orange and Princess Charlotte of Bourbon-Vendome Hmm a Bourbon connection, as Princess

Charlotte was the daughter of Louis II de Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier. The Stewart connection - through Lady Margaret Stewart - brings us to her father, Alexander Stewart, 6th of Galloway, who was the son of James Stewart, the 5th Earl of Galloway, and Lady Catherine Montgomerie, daughter of the 9th Earl of Eglington. The 4th earl of Galloway, James Stewart, was the son of Alexander, the 3rd Earl and Lady Mary Douglas, daughter of James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Queensberry, and Lady Margaret Stewart. The ancestors of these lines include the historic noble families of Scotland. Among Jack's ancestors is Lady Joan Beaufort, daughter of John de Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, and Lady Margaret de Holand. Lady Joan was the granddaughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and his third wife, Katherine Roet. [John of Gaunt was a son of Edward III.] Jack also descends from Mary Stewart, Princess of Scotland, daughter of James II Stewart, King of Scotland, and Marie van Egmont-Gelre.

The descent is through her second marriage to James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. Their son, James, 1st Earl of Arran, had a daughter, Margaret, by Beatrix Drummond. Margaret married Andrew Stewart, 1st Lord Stewart of Ochiltree. Andrew's son, Andrew, married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Henry Stewart, 2nd Lord Methven. Their daughter, Margaret married John Stewart of Traquair. They had one son, James, 1st Earl of Traquair, who married Lady Catherine Carnegie, daughter of 1st Earl of Southesk. Their daughter, Lady Margaret, married James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Queensberry, and their daughter,

Lady Mary Douglas married Alexander Stewart, 3rd Earl of Galloway. The descent from the earls of Galloway is through the 6th Earl and his wife, Lady Catherine Cochrane's second daughter Lady Margaret, who married Charles Gordon, 4th Earl of Aboyne. Their son was Charles Gordon, 9th Marquess of Huntly.

 Jack Brooksbank was born on May 3, 1986.  He attended Stowe.   He met Princess Eugenie in early 2010 when he worked as a barman in a London restaurant.  He was introduced to her mother and older sister during a summer holiday in France.   Jack told the Daily Mail in August 2010 that they met "through friends," most likely in Verbier, Switzerland.  Eugenie was in Switzerland celebrating her father's 50th birthday, and Jack was on vacation with several friends.

Jack's grandfather, Stamp Godfrey Brooksbank, was the third son of Lt. Col. Edward York Brooksbank, the son of Sir. Edward Clitherow Brooksbank, 1st Baronet.  This family descends from Stamp Brooksbank, MP for Colchester and Saltash, and was Governor of the Bank of England.  The Brooksbanks were a Yorkshire family, with an estate, Healaugh Manor, where the family lived until the First World War.

His father, George, is a chartered accountant and company director.

 By coincidence, Jack was born on the same day as Poppy Delevigne, a British model, with impeccable social connections. Her mother, Pandora, is the daughter of Sir Jocelyn Stevens and Jane Sheffield, who served as Princess Margaret's lady-in-waiting for 23 years. Jack's parents were married on February 26, 1985, at the Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Discourse among the Bourbon-Two-Sicilies

It is not difficult to comprehend why the Duke of Castro would fiddle with the succession to the headship of the house of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and name his elder daughter,  Princess Maria Carolina, Duchess of Palermo,  as his heir, thus establishing a gender equal succession.   This would be all well and good if the Duke of Castro were the undisputed head of the house.  But he is not.  Many see the Duke of Calabria as the head of the house - and so it remains that there are two heads and two Grand Masters of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.



The Reconciliation document stated that Both sides trusting that Divine Providence will undertake to show the way to the dynastic unity of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies.”
“Both parties agree in the meantime to make their dynastic and family commitment to achieve a spirit of harmony and understanding not only between them but equally among their supporters, recognizing RESPECTIVELY AS COUSINS, THE TREATMENT AND TITLES ACTUALLY IN COMMON USE BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS, AND ACTING PUBLICLY TOGETHER AS ONE FAMILY.”

 The Duke of Castro, in his recent statement, spoke of the UN declaration of Rights, which calls for the equal rights of women.  Royal families, reigning or historical, are not governed by the a UN declaration.    < The Reconciliation agreement made no mention of the succession to the headship, but many came away with the impression that the two branches would and could work together to unite the Constantintian  Orders and, eventually move toward a full agreement on the succession restored to the Duke of Calabria's line. Perhaps the Duke of Castro was never fully committed to a reconciliation.

 On the evening of January 24, 2014,  the Duke and Duchess of Castro hosted a dinner, where Prince Jaime, then the Duke of Capua (now Duke of Noto) was asked to give a speech.  At the end of the evening, all the guests were given a gift bag which included a pamphlet that included a family tree.  Major faux pas (or intentional?)  as the family tree did not include Pedro's great-grandfather, Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1870-1949), who married Infanta Mercedes of Spain, elder sister of Alfonso XIII.  

A statement in the pamphlet declared that Prince Carlos' line had been excluded. The Duke of Noto and his family were said to be visibly upset by the statement, and he and his family were ready to walk out and return to Spain  A meeting was quickly arranged between the Duke of Noto and the Duke of Castro,  and they met for 90 minutes, where the Duke of Castro, apologized for the error.

The Duke of Castro's sister, Princess Beatrice, mother of Prince Jean Napoleon, supports her brother, but, so far there has been no statements from Princes Antonio and Francesco of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.  The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George is the only international Roman Catholic order that has a hereditary Grand Master.   Only men can inherit  can be a Grand Master, not a female, as the Order is "regulated by Canon law."

 In response to the Duke of Castro's statement, the Order's Grand Prefect, Prince Augusto Ruffi di Calabria, stepped down, as did several other senior officials.

One can only wonder about the possible influence of the Duchess of Castro on her husband's decision to change the succession in favor of his elder of two daughters.  I also now think that the Duke of Castro never acted in good faith when he signed the reconciliation agreement.

Official statement from HRH The Duke of Calabria



          Following the declaration that my cousin Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, made on the 12 May 2016 in relation to the succession of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies and the headship of the Dynastic Orders, I, Pedro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Orléans, Duke of Calabria, Count of Caserta, Head of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies and Grand Master of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, am obliged to state the following:

           Since the death of my father  H.R.H. Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Calabria, Count of Caserta, Infante of Spain, I am the Head of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria, Count of Caserta, and my son Jaime is the Duke of Noto.

          Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, does not have the power to make any decision regarding the succession of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies nor to assume any other competence of the Head of the said Royal House, of which I am the head as the heir of the last sovereign of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

          The decision taken by my cousin Charles is not within and contravenes the spirit of the agreement in the historic pact of family reconciliation signed in Naples on 25th January 2014 where it was decided to recognise the titles in use by both branches of the family, despite which I will consider my cousin to be Duke of Castro and his daughters to be Duchesses of Palermo and Capri.

     There is no means by which my cousin Charles is able to modify the rules of succession to the Grand Mastership of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, of which I am Grand Master as First Born Farnese Primogeniture heir. 

        Neither can my cousin Charles decide anything regarding the Dynastic Orders or the Orders of the Ancient Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, of which as Head of the Royal House I hold the Headship.

     I am saddened at the unilateral decision my cousin Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, has taken, contravening the spirit of the cited Naples agreement and imposing a serious obstacle that interferes with the family peace and harmony that we have always desired.

     Finally, the agreement reached in Naples in 2014 and which I have always honoured, does not concern either the Headship of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies of which I am Head, or the Grand Mastership of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George of which I am Grand Master.

Madrid, 21st May 2016

Pedro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A lovely family group

Duke Karl Theodor in Bavaria with his family, including two of his daughters, Queen Elisabeth of Belgium and Princess Rupprecht (Marie Gabrielle), and his wife, Maria Josefa, who is trying to get the attention of Crown Prince Leopold of Belgium (1901-1983).  Marie Gabrielle is holding her first born child, Prince Luitpold of Bavaria (1901-1914.)

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Count of Paris on the succession

Prince Henri, Count of Paris, the Orléans pretender to the French throne, has given an exclusive interview to Point de Vue, telling them that at his death, he will be succeeded by his first born son, Prince Francois, Count of Clerment, who is 55-years-old.

Francois' mother, Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg, suffered from toxoplasmosis during her pregnancy, which resulted in Prince Francois born with mental disabilities. This also happened during her pregnancy with Princess Blanche.

Prince Jean, Duke of Vendome,  51, will act as regent for his older brother.  He is already Prince Francois' legal guardian.

The Duke of Vendome's uncle, Prince Jacques, Duke of Orleans, and his elder son, Prince Charles Louis, Duke of Chartres will be the members of a regency council to assist the Duke of Vendome.

The Count of Paris will celebrate his 83rd birthday on June 14th.   He is largely estranged from his children, including the Duke of Vendome.

Amedeo and Elisabetta of Belgium leave hospital with newborn daughter.

Prince and Princess Amedeo of Belgium left the UMC Sint-Pieter hospital in Brussels earlier today with their two-day-old daughter, Anna Astrid.  Last November,  King Philippe issued a statement regarding the title Prince and Princess of Belgium, limiting the title to the children and grandchildren of the Sovereign and the Heir(ess) Apparent.

This means the grandchildren of Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent will not have a royal title.

Prince Amedeo is also an archduke of Austria as his father is Archduke Lorenz, but is styled in Belgium as HRH Prince Lorenz of Belgium, as he was created a Prince of Belgium by King Albert II on November 10, 1995.  

Astrid's children have the HRH and the title Prince or Princess of Belgium due to a decree on December 2, 1991.

Elisabetta, who is known as Lili, has not been created a Princess of Belgium in her own right.  Palace officials have never stated what her official title is, although the Palace's official announcement referred to Prince and Princess Amedeo of Belgium.

Anna Astrid will most likely be styled as HI & RH Archduchess Anna Astrid of Austria or perhaps  Anna Astrid de Belgique.   This also has not been announced.  While used socially and recognized among the European royal houses,  the archducal title has no legal status as Austria is a republic, and does not allow the use of titles, even as a part of one's surname.  She can also use the surname Habsburg-Lothringen.

Anna Astrid is the first grandchild for Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, and the first great-grandchild for King Albert II and Queen Paola.



Prince Alexander's funeral and burial

all photos courtesy of HRH Crown Prince Alexander

His Royal Highness Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic, the eldest son of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Paul and Princess Olga was buried today in the Saint George Church yard in Oplenac. Their Graces Bishop Jovan of Sumadija and Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand officiated the funeral service at 10:30 am.

The solemn funeral was attended by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine and Hereditary Prince Peter who was Prince Alexander’s Karadjordjevic’s godson and HE Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of Republic of Serbia.

Those were present HRH Princess Barbara, the widow of the late Prince, sons HRH Prince Michel, HRH Prince Serge and HRH Princess Eleonora and HRH Prince Dusan; sister HRH Princess Elizabeth,  Count Hans Veit Toerring-Jettenbach (the late Prince's first cousin, the son of Princess Elisabeth of Greece and Denmark)  HRH Princess Linda and HRH Prince George.

Also present were Mr Vladimir Bozovic, advisor to Prime Minister on behalf of Government of Serbia, General Ljubisa Dikovic, Chief of Staff of Army of Serbia, Mr. Dragan Zivanovic, Mayor of Topola, Mr. Dragan Jovanovic, president of Topola Municipal Assembly, and Mr. Dragan Reljic, director of King Peter I Foundation in Oplenac.

HRH Crown Prince Alexander ordered the removal of all state flags at the Royal Palace and the White Palace today in honour of the late Prince.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Alfonso and Ena's wedding will be a grand affair


May 19, 1906

Madrid is "rapidly putting on gala attire" as the city anticipates the upcoming marriage of King Alfonso XIII and Princess Ena of Battenberg, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The wedding will take place on May 31.  "Superb" street decorations are appearing throughout the city and "parks and other public places are being transformed into luxurious gardens," as thousands of "palm trees and rosebushes" are being planted.

Florists in the Canary Islands have been ordered to "supply 1200 tons of flowers for the Plaza de Toros" and other centers within the capital.

The Spanish government has "requisitioned the prominent hotels" for the visiting royalty and envoys.  Other hotels are charging $25.00 per day.  Princes for "everything: have become exorbitant.

The royal palace is the "scene of constant receptions" for the arriving delegations.  Three saloons in the palace are filled with the daily arrival of more wedding gifts.  Princess Ena's gift to her fiance is an "exquisite jeweled sword," designed in Toldeo.

The American minister,  Mr. Collier, will host several "brilliant" banquets.

Princess Ena will travel on May 24 to France onboard a British warship, and then travel "by special train to the Spanish frontier" where she will be greeted by King Alfonso, Premier Moret, and the Foreign Minister, the Duke of Almodovar.  The Princess will stay at the Pardo Palace.

On the wedding morning, Princess Ena will get into the "famous tortoise-shell coach drawn by eight white horses with gilded harnesses and white plumes."  The bride's party will meet the bridegroom's cortege at the Plaza Oriente, and they will "proceed together to the Church of San Geronimo."

The arrangements for the procession, the wedding, and the festivals are said to be on the "scale of the greatest splendor."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tsarevich to Marry Princess Elena

May 18, 1891

The Vienna correspondent for The Times states that "a marriage has been arranged" between the Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia and Princess Elena, the fourth daughter of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro, reports the Washington Post.

The correspondent commented: "Such a marriage would be of great political importance and could not fail to give the highest satisfaction to the Pan-Slavist world."

Nicholas, the heir apparent, to the Russian throne, is the eldest son of Alexander III and his Danish-born wife, Marie.   He is celebrating his 23rd birthday today.

Princess Elena is 18 years old.  Two of her older sisters are already living in Russia.  Princess Militza is married to Grand Duke Peter of Russia, and Princess Anastasia is the wife of Prince George, Duke of Leuchtenberg.

A king for Croatia

May 18, 1941

Croatia has a new King:  Prince Aimone, Duke of Spoleto, reports the New York Times. He is the younger son of the late Duke of Aosta and Princess Helene of France.  His older brother, Prince Amedeo, is the present Duke of Aosta.

The King of Croatia, who is 41 years old, was educated at Italy's Naval Academy.  H received the rank of ensign, and was "just old enough to serve in the Italian air corps in the latter months of the World War."

An accomplished motorboat racer, the Duke married Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark in July 1939.  The wedding guests included King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy and King George of Greece, who is the bride's brother; King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and King Alfonso XIII of Spain.  The Duchess of Kent, a cousin of the bride, flew to Florence, to attend the wedding.

Princess Irene, who is expected to become the Queen Consort of Croatia, is the second daughter of the late King Constantine and Queen Sophie of the Hellenes.  She has lived in Italy since her father's abdication in 1922.   Her older sister, Princess Helen, is the former wife of King Carol II of Romania.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Duke of Castro adopts gender equal succession

Duke of Castro abolishes Salic Law.

The Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies would like to make the following announcement:
His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, Head of the Royal House makes public his decision to change the rules of succession which have thus far been in force in the House of Bourbon Two Sicilies in order to make them compatible with international and European law which prohibits any discrimination between men and women, not only in the enjoyment of their rights and freedoms but also in the exercise of public office of any kind.
The rule of absolute primogeniture will henceforth apply to his direct descendants.
The official Act is as follows:
WE, Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, Head of the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Grand Master of the Dynastic Orders; Whereas the Royal Families of Europe currently ruling have finally abandoned, in order to comply with the principle of equality between men and women as part of the foundation of international and European law, the principle called the "Salic law", which excludes daughters from the order of succession, the majority of them have adopted the rule of succession of absolute primogeniture;
Whereas the Real House of Bourbon Two Sicilies must, if it aspires to be able to claim to recover its sovereignty and to exercise it in accordance with the law and the principles recognized by the International community, hereby adopts in turn a rule of succession which conforms to this law;
WE decide:
Article 1: The order of hereditary succession to the Royal House of Bourbon of Two Sicilies is amended with the aim of introducing a strict equality between men and women.
Article 2: The principle of absolute primogeniture is replaced in any rule of former succession.
Article 3: This new order of succession is applicable for the first time to our descendants.
Article 4: The rules and statutes of all dynastic orders referring to the Royal House of Bourbon Two Sicilies will be amended accordingly.

Rome, 12 May 2016

This sounds like the Duke of Castro has reneged on his agreement with the Duke of Calabria regarding the reconciliation of the two branches of the Bourbon-Two Sicilies family.

By making this declaration,  the Duke makes it clear that the Bourbon-Two Sicilies dynasty, which was established by the Treaty of Vienna (1737), the Treaty of Naples (1759) and the Pragmatic Decree of Carlos III (1759.)  The succession was also defined by the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which remained in force until 1861, following Two Sicilies joining the new Italian state.

There are also religious issues as the succession to Grand Mastership of the Constantinian Order has been governed by the Papal Brief Sincerare Fidei of 1699 and Roman Catholic canon law.   The Roman Catholic Church is unlikely to change its rules to allow women to become priests or bishops, which means that a woman cannot become the head of the Constantinian Order.

From what I understand, only the Pope can change the succession to the Grand Mastership of the Order.  This appears unlikely.

The Duke of Calabria remains bound to the agreement signed in Naples in January 2014, a story that I broke here on Royal Musings.


The announcement was made following the confirmation of the Duke of Castro's two daughters, Princess Maria Carolina, Duchess of Palermo, and Princess Maria Chiara, Duchess of Capri.    Maria Carolina will celebrate her 13th birthday in June.  Maria Chiara was 11 in January.