Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another veiled warning to king by politicians

November 30, 1936

A "thinly veiled warning" to King Edward VIII -- the third within the week - was published in The Times today "tucked at the end of an other innocuous leading editorial."

The editorial was titled "A Council of State," and praised the House of Commons for the spirit of unity" for the "great issues of recent weeks," reports the New York Times.

The House of Commons has "every right to feel proud of the example it is setting to a querulous and distracted world."

But it was the last sentence, a "flash of an editorial rapier," that caught attention.  "The Commons may well prove itself to be what the country has often required in similar times during its long history but seldom has been given,  namely,  a council of state which is able to demonstrate its solid strength in any crisis that may arise, whether foreign or domestic."

The use of the words domestic and council of state by the editorial writer cannot be seen as accidental.  "Council of State" is recognized as a "constitutional method for carrying on the king's duties," if he himself is unable to fulfill those duties.  It was used in 1911, when King George V was in India, and again in 1928, when the king was "desperately ill and unstable."

But why did the Times' editor resurrect the term "Council of State." when King Edward VIII is in good health.   The answer came this afternoon when the British government and the opposition in the Commons "agreed to stand together" in case of a struggle between the king and the Cabinet "should come to a head."

Clement R. Atlee, leader of the Labour Party, has assured Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that the opposition will not take advantage of the situation if Edward should decide to marry Mrs. Simpson, and force the government to resign.

This remains merely an understanding between Atlee and the Prime Minister, ans a constitutional crisis  remains a fairly remote contingency."

It is understood that Labour Party members in Parliament, as well as members of the trade union, are fond of the king, and are not concerned about his friendship with Mrs. Simpson.

But there are other Labour supporters in England and especially in Scotland -- in the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian chapels -- where there is concern about the "spectacle" of a twice divorced queen.

Labour party leaders know that a "constitutional king" cannot do anything unless he has the support of his ministers.  Thus it is important to note why Atlee gave such a momentous promise" to Prime Minister Baldwin, and why The Times' editorial described the House of Commons as a "council of state."

Carol opposed by father

Embed from Getty Images 

 November 30, 1926

King Ferdinand of Romania has made it clear that he is strongly opposed to the "return of former Crown Prince Carol," or a change to the law of succession, reports the Associated Press.

The king has made this declaration in a letter sent to Premier Averesch, and was published in the Official Gazette.

"I have been greatly moved by the sympathy and affection shown me on all sides regarding my health , but at the same time I see with real grief that some persons have taken advantage of the circumstances to bring into the discussion the principles which form the dynastic basis of the constitutional monarchy and which do not permit the fate of the crown to be left to the changeable will of any persons."

King Ferdinand also referenced his predecessor, King Carol, and the love "he himself has for his country."    He also hoped that his subjects know that he knows how to sacrifice "his personal relations in the interest of the country.   As King, Ferdinand has put "an end to the unfortunate waywardness and weakness of a beloved child."

The king ended his letter stating that he will be aided by "good Roumanians and his regular counselors, who know how to bind together the national strength to fortify the throne and impose respect for the decisions and acts accomplished in accord with the laws and supreme interests of the monarchy and state."

Queen Marie arrived earlier today in Cherbourg, "anxious over the king and doubtless concerned over the dynastic problem, but happy in the results of her American trip."  She and her two children, Princess Ileana and Prince Nicholas, traveled on the Berengaria.  Due to stormy weather, the ship was delayed several hours.

The king is said to be in a "serious condition," but not in "immediate danger of death.   Queen Marie will remain in Paris for several days, and has plans to see her eldest son. She is expected to convey to her son that there will be no turning back in Carol's "reported aspirations to withdraw his renunciation of the throne."

Marie is also resolved to use all her "great influence" in regards to the present succession arrangement for her grandson, Prince Michael's succession with a regency.

India Hicks on The Crown

Here is a link to an interview with India Hicks about her mother watching Netflix's The Crown.

I may be the only royal historian who has not viewed the program.  My TV does not get Netflix.  I don't have data on my cell.   My 2007 Sony Bravia has two HDML ports (used by cable and DVR) so no way to use a Fire Stick or Roku.  I hope Netflix doesn't wait too long to release on a DVD.

Zara and Mike Tindall: second baby due in 2017

It was announced today that Zara Phillips, 35, and her husband, Mike Tindall, are expecting a second child in the spring of 2017.   The couple's daughter, Mia Grace, will celebrate her third birthday on January 17, 2017.

Zara, an Olympic Silver Medalist (London 2012) is the second of two children of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her first husband, Mark Phillips.   Tindall, 38, is a former professional rugby player.

The couple married at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 30, 2011.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A birthday thank you

A few images from today's Memorial Service for the 6th Duke of Westminster

HRH Princess Eugenie of York, representing her father, HRH The Duke of York

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester and Lady Rose Gilman

Thank you to Paul Ratcliffe for allowing me to use a few of his photos from today's memorial service for the 6th Duke of Westminster.

Time to tell your subjects about Wallis, Edward is told

November 28, 1936

King Edward VIII has been "formally requested" to inform the British public, "by word or deed," about his relationship with Mrs. Simpson, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

This demand for an "immediate end to the semi-secrecy" surrounding the romance was told to the monarch in conversations with peers and the British cabinet.

Information received in Washington, D.C., from official and semi-official sources in London today have "failed to indicate" what Edward's answer will be.

Reports "trickling" into London are now strongly indicating that a "decisive crisis" has developed.

Two scenarios, neither confirmed, have been suggested to the king from those who are said to be in the know.  One is for Mrs. Simpson to leave England and travel to the United States or to Rome for a vacation - and her departure would be for a "decorous but nevertheless publicized 'farewell' by his majesty."    This would give the impression that there was a close friendship between the American divorcee and the king, but nothing more.

But if the king is determined to "continue the affair with matrimonial intentions," he should make "this fact evident by his public conduct," which would allow the  British public to "express its approbation or disapproval" of such a marriage.

The response of his subjects would also depend on whether or not his wife would have the title queen or another title, or whether the king would abdicate in favor of his brother, the Duke of York, which would allow him to be free to marry Mrs. Simpson.

The king, according to "important" Britons in Washington, has been reminded of the "obligations of the hereditary ruling class."

He was also told that if he "chooses to act as if such traditions and obligations do not exist," he should be willing to give up his throne and all "the royal riches with the exception of his personal fortune."

The public cannot be expected to "express an opinion" about the king's romance, if they are kept in the dark.

Princess being prepared to succeed uncle

November 28, 1936

A "fair-haired, rather plain little girl," just ten years old, is being "trained to be Queen Elizabeth II," reports United Press.   The little girl in question is Princess Elizabeth of York, niece of King Edward VIII, and second in line to the British throne.

When Edward is crowned in Westminster Abbey on May 12, 1937,  Princess Elizabeth will be present.  One day, she may have the leading role.

She will wear a "short crimson robe," over her "knee-length frock, but as she is a minor, she will not wear a coronet.   Her six-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, will be too young to attend the ceremony.

If King Edward does not marry or marries and does not have children, his brother the Duke of York, will succeed him,  and Elizabeth will succeed her father, unless, of course, the Duchess of York gives birth to a son, who will take precedence over his older sisters, and become second in line to the throne.

The King is unlikely to marry, and the Duchess of York is unlikely to have another child, as Princess Margaret Rose was born by Caesarean section.

The young Princess Elizabeth is said to be aware of "this probability," and is being "carefully trained" by her mother, and her grandmother, Queen Mary.

Her lessons are "comparatively light," but in due course, there will be "many things she must learn.  The young princess is "just an ordinary girl, who enjoys skipping rope, playing hopscotch or climbing trees.

HRH Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born April 26, 1926 at her mother's parents' London home.  She was soon the "the Empire's sweetheart."

But if her uncle marries, and has a child,  Elizabeth's position as a heiress presumptive will cease, and she will be able to have a more private life as she grows up.

A boy for Claire and Felix of Luxembourg

Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg are the parents of a son.  The yet-to-named prince was born earlier today (November 28) in Geneva, Switzerland.   The baby was born at 3:59 a.m., at the Clinique génerale Beaulieu.

Mother and baby are doing well.

This is the second child for Prince Felix, 32, and Princess Claire, 31.   Their daughter, Princess Amalia, was born in June 2014.

Prince Felix is the second child of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Marie Teresa of Luxembourg.  He is second in line to the throne after his brother,  Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, the heir apparent, who married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy.  After four years of marriage, the couple remain childless.

The current line of succession:  HRH Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume,  HRH Prince Felix,  HRH Princess Amalia of Nassau,  HRH Prince no name of Nassau, Princess Alexandra, Prince Sebastien,  Prince Guillaume (brother of Grand Duke Henri), Prince Paul-Louis of Nassau, Prince Léopold of Nassau and Prince Jean of Nassau.

The succession law changed to gender equal in 2011, but it applies to Grand Duke Henri and his descendants.  The previous succession law (Salic law) applies to other dynasts (his youngest brother and his sons.) Prince Guillaume's daughter, Princess Charlotte is not a dynast.

Grand Duke Henri's third son, Prince Louis, and his second brother, Prince Jean, renounced their rights to the throne, and their descendants are excluded from the succession,  as well.

Children of the sovereign and the heir apparent have the title Prince or Princess of Luxembourg.  Collateral lines have the title Prince or Princess of Nassau, both with the style of Royal Highness.

Duke of Westminster's Memorial Service

The 6th Duke of Westminster was remembered today in a memorial service at Chester Cathedral.   Members of the British Royal Family were in attendance, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall,  the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,  Princess Eugenie of York,  Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra,  the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and their daughter, Lady Rose Gilman.   Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece also attended, representing his father, King Constantine.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sophie de Roumanie's photographs on view: A royal art show in Dubai

@Christophe Forest

Sheik Rashid Bin Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's royal family,  and Baron Henri Estramant  are the co-organizers of Convergence, an exhibition of artworks by royals.

Convergence, according to the official press release, is an "exhibition that brings together for the first time in the history of art, an exceptional mix of royal and princely artists from around the world celebrating contemporary art in the City of Dubai.

Featuring a plethora of paintings, sculptures, jewellery designs and musical performances, Convergence considers global interchange in modern and contemporary art by providing a firsthand view at the work of twenty-first century royal and princely artists’ across disciplines who have proven professional record and international recognition.

This exceptional exhibition amongst these artists whose own histories are deeply intertwined with rich stories are the product of their unique personalities and circumstances, serving as examples of the magic that befalls when individuals put their passions and ideals into practice. It shall demonstrate how their work is the product of multi-directional global dialogues between their cosmopolitan cultural heritages as well as their colloquy with major art movements of their time and countries of origin.
@Sophie de Roumanie

@Sophie de Roumanie

Convergence demonstrates the passion and vision, that continuously illuminate the possibilities that these artists have to offer not simply as patrons of the arts but as actors themselves: thereby enhancing the viewer’s understanding of modern-day royalty, in exhibition form – a topic that has been underrepresented in the artistic historical discourse."

The exhibition features the work (photography, painting, fashion design) of more than 20 European, Asian and Middle east royals.  "Royal Bridges showcases the world," says Baron Estramant.

One of the artists whose work will be on display at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai is HRH Princess Sophie of Romania, a professional photographer known as Sophie de Roumanie.

Sophie "picked up her camera again in 2000. Her first trip to Brittany, France, amazed her with its photographic possibilities. This area, on the European side of the North Atlantic, became her photographic playground. By 2007, Princess Sophie and her daughter were living there permanently.

The guidance of mentor Terence O’Donnell, a British artist and retired professional photographer specialized in war reportage settled in France, encouraged her to make photography her profession. She has since won recognition internationally as a photographic artist.

Princess Sophie uses her camera as a way to express herself, as a means to translate and convey the emotions she feels from any given scene. How various slants of light interact with the ocean, the coastal cliffs and rocks, the built environment of centuries- old churches, stone buildings, lighthouses — these particularly move the artist in her, as do the lush, ancient forests in which Brittany abounds.

Her fervent defense of the natural and man-made environment has led her to become Honorary President, Ambassador, and an active member of “Phare en Cap,” which promotes and safeguards the Breton maritime heritage of the Cap Sizun, denominated a “Grand Site de France”, and the Pointe Du Millier in particular.

The exhibition will take place on November 29.  On the following evening, there will be a gala event and an auction of the works of art.  The auction is being run by Christie's.

Other royals whose art will be on display include HRH The Duchess of Württemberg,  Count Bertram zu Castell-Rüdenhausen (a descendant of Queen Victoria),   Dowager Princess of Tirnovo,  Princess Lelli of Orleans and Braganza.

HRH Princess Sophie, the fourth of five daughters of King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, lives in France with her daughter, Elisabeta.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cornelia Scott marries Belgian prince

November 26, 1936

Mrs. Cornelia Evelyn Paumier Scott of Philadelphia and Prince Henri de Ligne, were married today at St. Mary's Church in London, reports the New York Times.

A papal blessing was "bestowed" on the newlyweds.    Prince Henri of Croy is a retired Belgian Army officer.

Baron Emil de Cartier de Marchienne, Belgium's ambassador to the Court of St. James, was a witness to the ceremony, and afterward, hosted a wedding breakfast for the couple at the embassy.

The new Princess Henri of Croy is the widow of W. Carpenter Scott, an American businessman.   Ambassador de Marchienne was a close friend of her late husband and Prince Henri, who lived for some time in Washington, D.C.

The bride wore a "brown and gold costume with a collar of antique Flemish lace."

The wedding was officiated by Dr. William J. Anderson, the senior priest at St. Mary's.  Rev. Father Thurston, head of the Jesuit Order in England, gave the bride away.

The nuptial mass took place earlier today at Farm Street Church.

This is the first marriage for the 76 year old Prince Henri, who is the third of seven child of the late Prince Juste of Croy and Countess Marie d'Ursel.

Cornelia Paumier was born on October 4, 1877 at Jersey City, New Jersey.

Grand Duke Nicholas marries divorced woman

November 26, 1906

Although no one will confirm nor deny the report from St. Petersburg, it is understood that Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievitch of Russia has married Anastasia, Duchess of Leuchtenberg.

The marriage between Grand Duke Nicholas, a cousin of Nicholas II, and the former wife of  Prince George Romanovsky, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, took place yesterday. according to the New York Times.  

The Duke and Duchess of Leuchtenberg's separation has been "common knowledge," but there has been no official announcement of their divorce.  The Duke is now living abroad, and has made a morganatic marriage.

Grand Duke Nicholas celebrated his 50th birthday on November 18.  He is the eldest son of the late Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, sixth child of Emperor Nicholas I and his wife, Duchess Alexandra of Oldenburg.

The new Grand Duchess was born Princess Anastasia of Montenegro on June 4, 1868,  third child of Prince Nikola of Montenegro.   On August 28, 1889,  Princess Anastasia married Prince George Maximilianovich of Leuchtenberg, the youngest son of Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaievna of Russia, daughter of Nicholas I.   The marriage between the Duke of Leuchtenberg and Grand Duchess Maria was deemed as equal, and their children were members of the Russian Imperial family.

Anastasia was the Duke's second wife.  His first wife, Duchess Theresa of Oldenburg, a granddaughter of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, died in 1883.   The new Duchess of Leuchtenberg became the stepmother to George's son, Prince Alexander, eight years old at the time of his father's second marriage.   The couple had two children of their own: Prince Sergei, 16, and fourteen-year-old Princess Elena.   

The new Grand Duchess Anastasia's older sister,  Militza, is married to Grand Duke Nicholas' younger brother, Grand Duke Peter.

Only a few months ago it was reported that Grand Duke Nicholas would marry, Grand Duchess Elisabeth, the widow of Grand Duke Sergei.

[Note:  this report was premature.  Anastasia's divorce from the duke of Leuchtenberg took place on November 16, 1906), but her second marriage was celebrated in April 1907.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Edward quarrels with Duchess of York

November 22, 1936

There is a growing rift between King Edward VIII and his sister-in-law, the Duchess of York over his insistence that his "family accept his friendship for Mrs. Wallis Simpson," reports the Los Angeles Times.

In an exclusive dispatch, the Times reports that a "close friend disclosed" tonight that the Duchess -- who would become Queen if Edward abdicates '' "tried to snub Edward's vivacious American friend."  In turn, the King snubbed the Duchess.

The Duke and Duchess of York were giving a "dinner party for a small circle of friends," and they asked the King to join them.  He telephone and asked if he could bring Mrs. Simpson with him.  The Duchess refused his request, "firmly declaring that she could not possibly manage another guest."

She said that it would "disrupt all her arrangements," and she would not "oblige Mrs. Simpson."  The King replied that he would not attend the dinner, either.  Instead, the king and Mrs. Simpson with to a "motion-picture theater," paying $2.00 a piece for the seats.

The situation between the King and his family is seen as unpleasant, and members of the royal family are concerned about Mrs. Simpson's influence over the King.  Edward has decided to host a separate Christmas party at Fort Belvedere, and has not invited his family.

Now that the British newspapers are free to report about the romance,  the papers are "getting bolder in their campaign to boos Edward and his possible marriage to Mrs. Simpson."

The Sunday Referee's front page stated that the King can "marry any commoner, thereby raising her to royal status."   The Sunday Graphic devoted three columns to "emphasize" that Edward is "the right man for the job because he knows how to meet common people."

In his column in the Sunday Dispatch,  Lord Donegal is convinced that the King has "every young Briton 100 percent behind him in whatever he does."

President Wilson sends condolences to new Emperor

November 22, 1916

President Woodrow Wilson today received a "personal message" from the new Karl, the new Austrian emperor, "giving notification of the death of the venerable Emperor Francis Joseph," reports the New York Times.

A reply was sent tonight.

"Washington, November 22, 1916.  His Majesty, Karl Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria, King of Bohemia and Apostolic King of Hungary,  Vienna:  I beg your Majesty to accept the sincerest sympathy of Mrs. Wilson and myself in the great loss which you have sustained in the death of your illustrious uncle, for whom I entertained sentiments of highest esteem and regard.  I also extend to your Majesty the condolence of the Government and people of the United States, and convey to you my best wishes for your personal well being and prosperity. WOODROW WILSON."

Duke Peter of Oldenburg (1926-2016)

Duke Peter of Oldenburg died on November 18th.  He was 90 years old.

He was the third of nine children of Nikolaus, Hereditary Grand Duke of Oldenburg (1897-1970) and his first wife, Princess Helene of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

Peter was predeceased by his wife,  Princess Gertrud of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, who died in February 2011.  He is survived by at least three of his four children:  Duke Friedrich August (1952), Duchess Margarete, Princess Philip of Croy (1954), and  Duke Nikolaus (1955).  A fourth son, Duke Georg-Moritz (1957)  is not mentioned in this death notice, nor in the official notice for the death of Duchess Gertud.  One assumes that Prince Georg-Moritz died before both his parents.

Other things one can glean from the death announcement.  Two of his sons,  Duke Friedrich August and Duke Nikolaus are divorced as their former wives are listed separately.  Nikolaus is listed with Brigit Gerda Kaufer and Emmy Helene (possibly a fourth child for Nikolaus, who has three sons by his former wife, Anna).  Or Nikolaus and Anna may be separated, and Nikolaus is not yet able marry Birgit and give Emmy the surname Herzogin von Oldenburg.

Duke Friedrich August's eldest daughter, Anastasia, may have had a relationship with a Briton named Mark Low, and they have two children, Anton and Hector.  

Belinda von Oldenburg and her three daughters are based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Count and Countess Jametel

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

A happy family - probably not.   This photo was taken in early 1906, most likely in France - and shows  Count Georges Jametel (1859-1944) and his wife, Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Streliltz (1878-1948) and their two children, Count Georges (1904-1982) and Countess Marie-Auguste (1905-1906).

This was a morganatic marriage, hastily arranged (not long after they met in France), less than a year after Duchess Marie gave birth to a daughter, who had been fathered by a servant.   Marie's parents were aghast, and kicked their daughter out of the palace (although it must be said that she knew nothing about sexual relations and had been compromised by the palace servant, whose name was Hecht,)

Marie's paternal grandmother,  Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a British princess by birth, came to her rescue, and made arrangements for Marie's daughter to be adopted.

The couple were married in two ceremonies: a Roman Catholic wedding at the Catholic Chapel of St. Elizabeth in Richmond Park, followed by an Anglican ceremony at the Kew Parish church.  Marie's great-uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, hosted the wedding breakfast at his home, Cambridge Cottage at Kew.

Marie's father, the Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, settled $200,000 on his daughter.   The newly weds settled into a house in the Faubourg St. Germain area of of Paris.

Jametel had no intention of remaining faithful to his wife.  He had several affairs, including one with Infanta Eulalia of Spain. He also acknowledged marrying Marie for her money.   She filed for divorce in January 1908.  That August, her brother, Duke Karl Borwin, wanting to defend her honor, challenged Jametel to a duel.  Karl Borwin was killed.

A divorce was granted in August 1908.  Marie resumed her title, and moved with her two young children to Dresden.  In August 1914, she married Prince Julius Ernst of Lippe (1873-1952).  They had two children:  Princess Elisabeth (1916-2013) and Prince Ernst August (1917-1990)

A random selection of photos from my collection

Prince & Princess Sigismund of Prussia in Costa Rica, early 1930s

A signed photo of the Duchess of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Viktoria Luise of Prussia)

The Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Princess Leopoldine of Baden)

A rather dreamy portrait of Queen Marie of Romania and her children

Queen Marie of Romania, portrait by Kaulbach.  I took this photo in 1984, Painting is owned by her granddaughter, Archduchess Alexandra 

Princess Marie of Greece, the wife of Grand Duke George of Russia

Grand Duchess Maria and her son Grand Duke George of Russia (1997)

Infantas Elena and Cristina of Spain have a place of honor at wedding of Princess Astrid of Belgium to Archduke Lorenz of Austria

Protection from the rain: Princess Margaretha of Sweden and John Ambler

Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia

Princess Maria Pia with her son, Prince Dimitri

Queen Mother Helen of Romania

Crown Princess Cecilie of Prussia, Princess Olga of Hannover,  Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (nee Hannover)  early 1950s.  

Prince Ernst August of Hannover and Prince Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Duchess Thyra of Mecklenburg,  Prince Friedrich-Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein, Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg

Nicholas II and his son Alexis
A few of my photo albums were on the floor and needed to be put back in the cupboard ... so selected a few photos to share here before finishing the project.

Remembering Princess Birgitta of Prussia (1939-2016)

Civil wedding of TRH Prince and Princess Michael of Prussia.   (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection)
Princess Birgitta of Prussia (nee Dallwitz-Wegner) never got over the death of her husband, Prince Michael, who died on April 3, 2014 following a long illness.

The couple married in a civil ceremony at Baden Soden on June 23, 1982, soon after Michael's divorce from his first wife, Jutta Jörn.

Michael was the second son of the late Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Grand Duchess Kira of Russia.  He lost his dynastic rights in 1966 when he married Jutta, a commoner.  The couple had two daughters,   Micaela and Nataly.

Although Birgitta (known as Gitta) had a wide circle of friends, she felt alone, unable to cope without her beloved husband.  Sometime in late October or early November,  she was found dead in her home in Thanheim, Baden-Württemberg.  She had been dead for a least a week, if not longer.  The cause of death was suicide: an overdose of pills.  

In December,  Princess Birgitta will be laid to rest in the family crypt, next to her husband, at Burg Hohenzollern in Hechingen.

Princess Birgitta was 77 years old.

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Emperor is popular

November 21, 1916

Archduke Karl of Austria has succeeded as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, following the death of his great-uncle Franz Josef, who died tonight at the age of 86.   The new emperor is 29 years old.

Karl is the son of Archduke Otto, and a grandson of Archduke Carl Ludwig, a younger brother of Franz Josef.   He was born on August 17, 1887 at Schloss Persenbeug in Lower Austria as the elder son of Archduke Otto and Princess Maria Josefa of Saxony.  His brother, Archduke Maximilian, is 21 years old.

On October 21, 1911,  Archduke Karl, then second in line to the throne, married  Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, a daughter of Duke Roberto I of Parma, who was deposed in 1859, and his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal, a daughter of King Miguel of Portugal and Princess Adelheid of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.

Karl became the heir to the Dual Monarchy on June 28, 1914, when his uncl, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Prinzip.  Franz Ferdinand's morganatic wife, Sophie, the Duchess of Hohenberg, was also killed by Prinzip.  The couple's three children did not have dynastic rights to the throne.

The new emperor and empress lived a simple life, reports the New York Times.  Zita has nursed all of her children, and the "parents have often taken democratic excursion in public parks, the father wheeling a baby carriage like any Vienna clerk."

He was educated in Vienna's public schools.   After the death of his uncle, Franz Ferdinand,  Karl became entitled to the income from the Este estate.  The last Duke of Modena left his estate with an "extraordinary clause."  The income of the Este estates provide an income to the heir of the Austrian, but when he succeeds to the throne, the income passes to the new heir.  The estate provided Karl with an annual income of $16 million.

The new Emperor speaks English like a native, according to the American ambassador Frederic C. Penfield.   He told Ambassador Penfield: "You want to know how I learned my English.  When I was courting my wife -- she was still in school at a convent -- I spent a long time on the Isle of Wight, so that I could see her every day.  That is where I learned English."

The couple have four young children:  Archduke Otto, who celebrated his 4th birthday yesterday, is now the Crown Prince;  Archduchess Adelheid, 2;  21-month old, Archduke Robert; and an infant, Archduke Felix, who was born last May 31.

Marlene A, Eilers Koenig collection

Franz Joseph dead at 86

the woman in white is HRH Princess Thyra of Denmark, the wife of the Duke of Cumberland.

November 21, 1916

Emperor Franz Josef of Austria died tonight at 9:00 p.m., at Schloss Schönbrunn, according to a Reuters dispatch sent from Vienna by way of Amsterdam.  He was 86 years old.

Earlier today, dispatches from Vienna, passed by the Austrian censor, acknowledged the "seriousness of the aged monarch's illness."  His heart was said to be normal.  A dispatch received tonight in Berlin described Franz Josef's condition as "becoming worse," and he had a fever.

Franz Josef was born  at Schloss Schönbrunn on August 18, 1930, the eldest on of Archduke Franz Karl, younger son of Emperor Franz II and his wife, Princess Sophie of Bavaria.  Emperor Franz  died in 1835, and was succeeded by his elder son, Archduke Ferdinand, who suffered from numerous medical illnesses, including neurological problems, epilepsy and hydrocephalus, and  was seen as feeble-minded.  This was not completely true, as he maintained a diary every day.  Ferdinand was married to Princess Maria Anna of Sardinia, but it is unlikely that the marriage was consummated.  

all images: Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection.
Archduke Franz Karl was also seen as ineffectual, and his wife, Archduchess Sophie groomed their eldest son as the future Emperor.    The 1848 Revolution led to Ferdinand abdicating in favor of his nephew, Archduke Franz Joseph.   Archduke Franz Karl was persuaded to renounce his rights in favor of his eldest son.

In 1854,  Franz Josef married his first cousin, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, whose mother, Ludovika, was a sister of Archduchess Sophie.   The Emperor suffered numerous tragedies in his life.  His brother, Maximilian, named as Emperor of Mexico, was executed in 1867.  Twenty two years later, his only son, Crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide at Mayerlin, and in 1898,  Empress Elisabeth was assassinated by anarchist.  

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise (1867) led to the creation of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and more autonomy for Hungary.  The new empire was followed by 45 years of peace, until June 28, 1914, when Franz Josef's nephew and heir to the Dual Monarchy, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated while on an official visit to Sarajevo.  By September 1,  Europe was in the throes of a full fledged great war.

Emperor Franz Josef is succeeded by his great-nephew,  Archduke Karl, the son of the late Archduke Otto Franz of Austria (younger brother of Archduke Franz Ferdinand) and Princess Maria Josefa of Saxony.   He is 29 years old and married to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma.

The late Emperor is survived by his two youngest daughters,  Archduchess Gisela, who is married to Prince Leopold of Bavaria and Archduchess Marie Valerie, the wife of Archduke Franz Salvator, Prince of Tuscany, as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.