Thursday, January 31, 2019

Archduke Rudolf - the latest news.

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 January 31, 1889

The Fremdenblatt, an Austrian newspaper, is reporting that "Crown Prince Rudolf left Vienna on Monday in a Court carriage for Breitenfurth, where a cab was waiting to convey him to Mayerling.  The Crown Prince, however, preferred to walk the distance and did not use the cab.  During the walk he conversed cheerfully with the guests who accompanied him."

The paper's dispatch, which was been published by the New York Times, adds that the Crown Prince and his friends went on a hunting expedition on Tuesday.  After returning to Mayerling,  the Crown Prince "complained of a headache and retired to his room."  He sent a telegram of the palace "stating that he would be unable to attend the imperial dinner which was to be given that evening."

On Wednesday morning, he was awoke before 7 a.m, and "summoned his old servant, Johann, " asking for breakfast to be served at 7:30.  The valet brought his breakfast at the "appointed time" and was "horrified to find the Crown Prince dead in his bed."

The valet rushed out the room to inform Count Hoyos and Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both of whom hurried to the Crown Prince's room.   Prince Philipp was "overpowered by grief," remained in the bedroom.  Count Hoyos immediately called for a carriage to return to Vienna to inform the Emperpr and Empress.
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 The Count arrived at the Hofburg at 11:30 a.m., and was immediately "ushered into the private study of the Emperor."  Count Hoyos remained with the Emperor for fifteen minutes before the Emperor "hastened to the Empress" to inform her about the death of their son.  She was "greatly shocked, but after a few minutes she was able to control her grief as she accompanied her husband to Crown Princess Stephanie's apartments where she was informed about her husband's death.   Franz Josef and Elisabeth had "great difficulty in dissuading" the Crown Princess from going to Mayerling.

Franz Josef retired to his private apartments until 3:00 p.m,, when he gave the order to bring Rudolf's body back to Vienna.  Rudolf's body was brought to Baden's train station for the final ride back to Vienna. The train left the station at 12:20 this morning.   Those already in the station were asked to quietly leave.

The Grand Master of the Imperial Household, Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst arrived at at 12:34. The funeral train arrived at the station fifteen minutes later.   The coffin, covered in a velvet pall, was placed in a carriage driven by six horses, for the procession to the Hofburg,, where a large crowd had already gathered.
The coffin was then taken to the late Crown Prince's apartments.

The Crown Princess was the first to place a wreath on her husband's coffin.  She was followed by her daughter, young Archduchess Elisabeth, who "brought a wreath of moss roses entwined with white ribbons."

The Emperor's elder daughter, Archduchess Gisela and her husband Prince Leopold of Bavaria,  arrived at the Hofburg earlier today.  They were met at the railroad station by a grieving Emperor.

An autopsy will take place tonight, after which the body will be embalmed.'

Franz Josef saw his son for the last time on Sunday night at the German Embassy in honor of German Emperor Wilhelm II.

All the members of the Imperial family are now in Vienna or are on their way.

The Neue Freie Press has been confiscated "for publishing a report that the Crown Prince had been shot at Mayerling."

In London, the Prince of Wales paid his respects at the Austrian Embassy.  He plans to go to the funeral, but will respect the Emperor's "desire for a private funeral."

It is being reported in Paris that Rudolf "was shot by the husband of a lady who was staying at Mayerling."

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Archduke Rudolf is dead

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 January 30, 1889

The New York Times and other newspapers are reporting the death of Archduke Rudolf of Austria, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian thrones.

The Archduke, according to the New York Times' London reporter, "was found dead in bed this morning and it is still a matter of uncertainty here  how he died."

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The first reports from Vienna hinted at a "fatal accident in the hunting field," but an Italian official in London has received "a telegram in cipher from Rome," that Rudolf "was shot by a forester whom he wrong."

Later dispatches from Vienna, differ to the locality where the Archduke died, but now all agree that he "was found dead in bed this morning by his valet."

The late archduke, who was the only son of Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth, was a close friend of the Prince of Wales.  Plans for a "long visit" next May were made by him during the Prince of Wales' most recent visit to Vienna.

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Archduke Rudolf was until recently "regarded as a Prince of exceeding promise."  He was described as a "great linguist, an excellent musician and wrote easily and well," and he was married to the one of the "prettiest and sweetest Princess in Europe." 

The couple were very popular and throughout the empire, Archduke Rudolf "shared to the full the great affection his father is held in."

More recently, however,  Austrians have noticed changes to Rudolf.  He "quarreled with his wife," and the public sided with Archduchess Stephanie.  The "tone of associations visibly sank and painful stories of his habits and doings began to be circulated.

It was also noticed by many that his health severely declined.  The Times' reporter noted that last March, the last time he had seen the archduke, Rudolf's face was pale and sallow, "a shrunken face shrouded in black side whiskers and a mustache."   He was also "prematurely bald."

There were also suggestions of poor health.  The reporter said he was told that Rudolf had suffered from epilepsy, the "hereditary curse of the Habsburgs.

Archduke Rudolf leaves behind his widow, Archduchess Stephanie, the daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, and a six-year-old daughter, Archduchess Elisabeth.  As the succession to the throne is semi-Salic, which means that all of the eligible male Habsburgs precede Elisabeth, the new heir to the throne is Archduke Karl Ludwig, who is not a "notable or popular man."

The Associated Press is reporting that the Crown Prince died at Mayerling and his death has been attributed to apoplexy.

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The Official Gazette states: "Fate has inflicted a crushing blow upon the imperial house and the people of Austria-Hungary.  Our universally esteemed Crown Prince is dead. This deeply-loved son of the Emperor and Empress, the life's happiness of his affectionate spouse, brother of the Archduchesses Gisela and Valerie, the pride of the entire imperial house and the hope of his faithful people in the flower of his youth and fullness of his strengths sinks into an early grave.  With deepest mourning, with hearts brimming with sorrow, the peoples of the empire turn their sorrowful glances toward the throne in hereditary love and fidelity, and join in an earnest prayer that God will granted the imperial family the consolation that mere human words, even when sounding from a million tongues, can scarcely bring."

The Gazette also reports that the Crown Prince went to Mayerling for a shooting excursion and was joined by Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Count Hoyos,  He "felt somewhat indisposed yesterday and excused himself from attending the family dinner party at Hofburg" last night.

His guests became alarmed when he did not join them for breakfast this morning.

Rudolf's valet went to check on him, and found him dead in his bed.  The "shock of the calamity struck the Hofburg like lightning at 6:45 a.m."

The announcement that the heir to the throne died from apoplexy "modified the alarm of the public arising from press rumors that the Prince had been killed while shooting."

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One Austrian newspaper is reporting that Rudolf "had suffered during the last few years of his life from rheumatism of the joints.  Last night he had a severe shivering hit."

Archduke Rudolf's body will be brought back to Vienna, a city now in mourning, tonight.

The Crown Princess was not informed of his death until 1 p.m.  She "showed the wildest grief, passionately clasping her child in her arms."   She wanted to go straight to Mayerling, but court officials "gently dissuaded" her from her wish.

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Archduke Rudolf Franz Karl Josef was the second child and only son.  He was born on August 21, 1858.   He married in Vienna on May 10, 1881 to Princess Stephanie Clotilde Louise Hermine Marie Charlotte of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II and Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria.

The marriage was not a happy one, as Stephanie had "complained of neglect."  She and her husband had been living apart for some time, but not too long ago, the Emperor succeeding in affecting a reconciliation between the couple.

Archduke Rudolf was 30 years old.

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Count Belevsky sues Grand Duke Wladimir for father's estate

January 30, 1909

The death of Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich in Paris two months ago has led to a "rather disagreeable complication" concerning the claim of Count Alexis Belevsky, who is the late Grand Duke's son.

The late Grand Duke had left instructions in writing that Count Belevsky be given the bulk of his estate.  His writings make it clear that the Count  was his son.

Count Belevsky has been forced to file suit to gain his inheritance, but the "prospect of success does not seem too great," reports the Los Angeles Times, as the late Grand Duke's family is resisting the action.

It was at the time of Grand Duke Alexis' death that the news of his natural son was made public.   His mother was  Countess Alexandra Vasilievna
 Zhukovskaya, who was a maid of honor at the Russian Court.   She died in 1899.

Alexis was born in Salzburg on November 26, 1871.  He was given his mother's surname until 1884, when Alexander III, who was Grand Duke Alexis' older brother, created him as Count Belevsky.

The young count was close to Grand Duke Serge, another uncle, as he married Princess  Maria  Troubetskaya at Serge's country home,  Ilyinskoye, in August 1894. 

The couple have four young children, Countesses Elisabeth, Alexandra, Maria and Count Serge.

Grand Duke Wladimir,  another of Grand Duke Alexis' older brothers, is the executor of his estate, and he refuses to "disgorge a solitary kopek" to Count Alexis has been forced to sue him.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Juan Carlos: Guilt over death of brother

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It was Holy Thursday, 1956, when then Infante Don Juan Carlos begged his mother to allow he and his brother to play with a gun that their father kept in his office.

It was a tragic mistake as Juan Carlos accidentally shot his younger brother, Infante Don Alfonso, who died as a result of the shooting.

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Juan Carlos' discussion of his brother's death is featured in a documentary of the former King's life, "Yo, Juan Carlos, King of Spain, that was made more than five years ago.  The film, which has already been seen in France, is based on an interview between Juan Carlos and French writer, Laurence Debray.

The film had been banned in Spain, but finally, Juan Carlos has agreed to its release.

Juan Carlos was very fond of Alfonsito, as he affectionately called his younger brother. "We were very close.  I loved him very much ... I still miss him very much."

The death of Alfonsito left Juan Carlos severely depressed that took many years to overcome, as the guilt he felt for causing his brother's death was intense.

As a child he was unable to put down roots.  "I was born in Rome and lived in Switzerland before settling in Portugal, there was no sense of nostalgia at home.  We did have many friends and cousins to play with, we loved each other very much and we were close to our parents,"  King Juan Carlos said.

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Juan Carlos had a "very special relationship" with both his parents,  Juan and Mercedes, the Count and Countess of Barcelona.   His father's death in 1993 was particularly painful.  "It was a really hard moment, he was my most faithful ally.  I buried him as a king, as he deserved it.  He dedicated his entire life to Spain.  He sacrificed himself for the good of the country, that is the greatness of the man and I was lucky he was my father."

He denies the reports that Francisco Franco was a mentor.   He was only ten years old when he moved to Spain for his education.   At ten he was "terrified" but "quite impressed" with the dictator.  He had no choice but to accept the move to Spain, leaving his parents behind in Portugal.

"Franco was not my mentor, it was my father, despite the distance."

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The marriage of a Prince and a Grand Duchess

January 23, 1874

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia, only daughter of Emperor Alexander II, were married today at noon in "the presence of a vast assemblage of guests in the Winter Palace," reports the New York Times.

The women were "sumptuously attired," with many of the female guests in Russian costume, "mainly velvet and diamonds."  The men were dressed in inform with the exception of the American ambassador.

The procession began with "grand equerries and Chamberlain's officers of the court," who were followed by Emperor Alexander II and Empress Marie, the Prince and Princess of Wales of Wales, Crown Princes of the German and Danish royal houses, Prince Arthur, the groom's younger brother and the bride and bridegroom.

The Duke of Edinburgh was dressed in a naval uniform.  The bride was "splendidly appareled in a long crimson velvet mantle, trimmed with ermine and wore a diamond coronet."   Her train was carried by four pages.

The Princess of Wales wore a gown of "dark crimson velvet with a diamond coronet and collar and pearl necklace.   The Crown Princess of Prussia was dressed in a similar style.

The Metropolitan head of the Russian church greeted the procession at the church door.  Alexander II escorted the bride and bridegroom to the middle of the church.  He was joined by the Empress as they stood behind the couple.

The wedding rings were carried on golden salvers and placed on the altar.  The "magnificent chapel was illuminated with innumerable wax candles, the floor covered with a velvet crimson and gold carpet, the pillars and altar covered with gold."

The Orthodox ceremony was devoid of music, replaced by "chants and intoned prayers."  Crowns were placed over the heads of the bridal couple. Prince Arthur held the crown over the Duke of Edinburgh.    Grand Duke Serge,  the bride's brother, held the crown over her head.

"Thou servant of God, Alfred Ernest Edward, are crowned for this handmaiden of God, Maria Alexandrovna, in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost."

Prince Arthur became tired from holding the Crown and looked relieved when he was able to put it down.  The married couple walked three times around the raised dais, "holding to the tip of the confessor's robe and a candle in the other."

At the end of the ceremony, the Sacramental Cup was brought to the couple, where both sipped the wine.  The cross was presented to them, which both kissed.

After the Orthodox service was ended,  a new procession slowly formed, proceeding to the Hall of Alexander for the Anglican service, Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey officiated at the ceremony.

Grand Duchess Marie stood between her father and the Duke of Edinburgh,  Prince Arthur stood behind them.

Empress Marie, a confirmed invalid, was feeling fatigued during the English service and had to sit down. She was "overcome with emotion, holding her handkerchief to her eyes, when the married couple came to salute her."

There was some criticism of the bridegroom's appearance as his "reserved and solemn manner created an unfavorable impression."  The Prince and Princess of Wales' "affability was cheered" when they arrived at the church.

The two services were followed by a banquet at the palace.  The opera singer, Mme Patti sang for the guests.  These evening a ball, which was attended by the Emperor, was held in St. George's Hall.

The New York Times's reporter noted that there was a "limited display of popular enthusiasm at the illuminations in the public squares."

The new Duchess of Edinburgh is the fifth of seven children.  She was born on October 17, 1853.    The Duke of Edinburgh, who was born on August 6, 1844, is the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria and the late Prince Albert.

[For more information on how this marriage was arranged, please see Merrett Abrash's "A Curious Royal Romance," which was published in 1969 in
The Slavonic and East European Review.

The article is available through JSTOR, which does allow free access to several articles per month.  You also can check to see if your university or public library has the JSTOR database.  The article is also available for purchase.]

Monday, January 21, 2019

Count of Paris (1933-2019)

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HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Vendome, released  the following statement this morning:

"I have the sadness to announce the death of my father, the count of Paris, this morning. I entrust him to your prayers."

HRH The Count of Paris was 85 years old.  He died at his Paris home.

Baptism of Prince Henri  1933

Isabelle, Henri and Helene  (all postcards  Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)

HRH Prince Henri Philippe Pierre Marie of Orléans was born at Wolwé-Saint Pierre in Belgium on June 14, 1933.  He was the second of eleven children of HRH Prince Henri Robert Ferdinand Marie Louis Philippe of Orléans, Count of Paris, and HRH Princess Isabelle Marie Amélie Louise Victoire Thérèse Jeanne of Orléans and Braganza.

Henri was the heir to the French throne.  The last King of France, Louis Philippe, abdicated in February 1848, in favor of his nine-year-old grandson, Prince Philippe, Count of Paris.   Although France's National Assembly wanted to accept Philippe as the new King,  the French people were against the establishment of a new king.    The Second Republic was proclaimed on February 26, 1848.  Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of the Republic in December 1848.  Three years later, he proclaimed himself as President for Life.  In 1852, Napoleon became Emperor as Napoleon  III.

[Napoleon III was forced into exile in 1870 after France's loss in the Franco-Prussian war.]

The Count of Paris was the great-great-great-grandson of King Louise Philippe.

Members of the former French royal house had lived in exile since 1886 when the then French government passed a law that forbade members of the royal houses to live or even visit France.  This law was abrogated in 1950.

Henri's father, Prince Henri, succeeded his father, HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Guise in August 1940, as head of the royal house.   Prince Henri became dauphin, as the heir apparent.  In 1957, his father gave him the title Count of Clermont.

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The young prince lived a peripatetic early as he spent his early years in several countries.  His early childhood was spent in Belgium but after the outbreak of the second world war,  Henri and his family moved to Rabat, Morocco.  In 1946, the settled briefly in Pamplona, Spain, before moving to Sintra, Portugal, where the Count of Paris bought a farm, where his wife and daughters milked the cows and he and his sons tended sheep.  After the Law of Exile was overturned, the Count of Paris and his family moved to France.

It has been suggested that Henri's father and President Charles de Gaulle helped to arrange Henri's marriage to  HRH Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg in order to "help salve the bitterness" between Germany and France.

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De Gaulle described the wedding as "a great national event."  He was a "royalist at heart," and he told the late Count of Paris that he supported the restoration of the monarchy.  "You have three years to get ready: I will not run for a second term."  But De Gaulle dashed the Count's hopes and dreams a decade later when he informed the Count that "France is not ready for royalty."

The marriage took place on July 5, 1957.  They would have five children before getting a divorce in 1984.  The couple had long been estranged.

In 1979,  Henri's father gave an interview to the French magazine, Paris Match. He claimed that his five sons were "indifferent to their heritage and had no royal ambitions."

The late Count of Paris said:  "My eldest son lives in a way which I regret and which is perfectly idle.  He has a charming wife and five children, two of whom are handicapped.  I don't criticize him for living with someone else, but one does not abandon one's family, especially sick children."

Henri's eldest son, Prince Francois, and second daughter, Princess Blanche, were born mentally handicapped as the Countess of Clermont had contracted toxoplasmosis during both pregnancies.

The Count of Clermont was already involved with a Spanish aristocrat Micaela Cousiño y Quinones de Léon before his marriage was ended.  When the Count of Clermont chose to marry Micaela in a civil marriage in October 1984 without his father's consent,  Count of Paris, who had lived apart from his wife for many years due to his infidelities, issued a statement about his son's status due to his second marriage.

The Count of Paris stripped his son of the title of Count of Clermont, stating that he would now be styled as Count of Mortain, a non-royal title.  The younger Henri also lost his position as Dauphin.

Family tensions continued.   Henri learned of his eldest daughter, Marie's engagement to Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein when he received a hand-delivered letter from his former wife, Princess Marie Therese, Duchess of Montpensier.   Marie Therese had been given the ducal title by her father-in-law at time of her divorce.

Marie, who had not seen her father in more than three years, also wrote to him with the news that he would be invited to the wedding.

This marriage would cause further estrangement within the family.  The Duchess of Montpensier sent out the invitations in her name only,  openly choosing to exclude her former husband and her former father-in-law, who had given permission for the marriage.   Shortly before the civil and religious weddings were to take place,  Henri learned that he would not be giving his daughter away.   This led to a joint statement from the Count of Paris and his son as both were angered by Marie's decision to marry at Friedrichshafen Castle, the home of her maternal grandparents, and not a Dreux. where French royal wedding usually -- but not always -- take place.

Princess Marie told reporters: "It's the castle that I have been happiest and only there will I be married."

The Count of Paris and Henri (who had never used the title Count of Mortain) decided to boycott the wedding celebrations.  They were joined by all but one of Henri's siblings.  Princess Diane, who was married to the Duchess of Montpensier's brother, the Duke of Württemberg, attended the wedding with her mother the Countess of Paris.

It was not until March 1991 when the Count of Paris restored Henri's title, Count of Clermont, and his position as heir apparent.  Micaela was given the title Princess of Joinville.

The Count of Paris died on June 19, 1999.  Henri succeeded as head of the family and assumed the title Count of Paris and Duke of France.  His wife, Micaela, was styled as Duchess of France until after the death of Henri's mother, Isabelle, in July 2003.

Before his death, the late Count of Paris told his children: "I will leave you nothing but hate."

The Telegraph reported that the late Count "died in almost ostentatious poverty, at home in the poky suburban house he shared with his mistress, a former nurse."

Henri inherited very little money from his father who had depleted the family fortune.  In 1993,  seven of the late Count of Paris' surviving nine children had taken him to court to prevent him from selling the family's silver.  They also sought a court order to stop him from selling furniture and jewels, worth more than $3.6 million, at a Sotheby's auction.

The new head of the house "swallowed his pride" by allowing his name to be used for commercial purposes, including the sale of several lines of perfume.

"What did I inherit from my father?  The memory of a few smiles," he told a reporter not long after the Count of Paris' death.

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The new Count of Paris, in an interview with the European Royal History Journal in 2001, discussed the legitimacy of his claim as head of the House of France.

"We are the legitimate House of France, of that there is no doubt.  I hold the moral power as head of my family and the representative of the monarchist tradition in France.  The law of exile, for example, did not apply to our Spanish cousins, it was directed against us, the family which the French nation and political establishment accepted as the House of France. There are those who would like to manipulate this moral power for their own gain.  Young Luis Alfonso has fallen victim to these people who are more interested in achieving political and financial power, than in the restoration of monarchy.  These unscrupulous groups know they cannot manipulate me, hence they found another person to control."

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By 2003,  the Count of Paris and his wife were living in a three-room apartment in Paris, surviving on a "meagre income, stemming mostly from his sponsorship of an aftershave and the sale of his watercolours."

"At the dawn of the 21st century, although I am the eldest prince of the Orléans family, one of the richest families in Europe 40 years ago, and the heir to the dynasty of French kings, including the Sun King himself, I can hang my hat in none of the palaces or chateaux which belonged to my ancestors," he said in an interview, listing the Palais-Royal, the Hotel Matignon and the chateaux at Chantilly and Saint-Cloud as the former residences.

"This list of our former possessions is now of no more than anecdotal interest.  I live free of nostalgia in an ordinary little flat in a modern building in Paris, " Said in a 2003 interview.

At age 70, he "developed belated political ambitions," and wanted to use his "hereditary role as a national leader."

"It's my turn.  The stage is lit for a shy man's one-man show.  The tortoise may not catch the hare which has run off with the crown.  Too about the gold and the jewels.  But I will say what I have to say in my own way.  What I see and understand from my unique position."

That same year, France's high court banned Henri and his family from using the same Bourbon because "it had been abandoned by his family in the 17th century."  The Court of Cessation confirmed a lower court ruling in 1999.   Henri had "no proven legitimate interest in reclaiming possession of the name Bourbon."  The court rulings noted that Henri's ancestor,  Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans (1640-1701), had dropped the Bourbon name.

Henri's first marriage was annulled in 2009, which allowed he and Micaela to be married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in September 2009.

The Count of Paris' daughter-in-law, Princess Philomena, Duchess of Vendome, said  "He had a very beautiful death, a very dignified death. He was dressed to go to a mass in memory of King Louis XVI. He felt weak, sent a text of apology to the organizers of the ceremony."

He is survived by his wife, Micaela, and four of his five children,  HRH Princess Marie (Princess Gundakar of Liechtenstein),  HRH Princess Blanche, HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Vendome,  and HRH Prince Eudes, Duke of Angouleme and twelve grandchildren.

Henri's eldest son, Prince Francois, died in December in 2017.

 He is also survived by seven of his siblings:  HRH Princess Isabelle, Countess of Schönborn-Buchheim,  HRH Princess Helene, Countess of Limburg-Stirum, HRH Princess Anne, Dowager Duchess of Calabria, HRH Princess Diane, Duchess of Württemberg, HRH Prince Michael, Count of Everux,  HRH Prince Jacques, Duke of Orléans, HRH Princess Claude,  and HRH Princess Chantal, Baroness de Sambucy-Sorgue.

The Duke of Vendome succeeds as head of the family.   His eldest son, Prince Gaston, becomes the Dauphin, but the Duke of Vendome is not expected to adopt the Count of Paris title for several months.

Funeral details have not been announced but it is expected that the late Count of Paris' funeral will take place in Dreux.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Prince John (1905-1919)

One hundred years ago today -- January 18, 1919 -- HRH Prince John of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, died at Wood Farm, near Sandringham.  Prince John, the youngest child of King George V and Queen Mary, suffered from epilepsy.  He was thirteen years old when he died.

Prine John was never hidden away. He did spend the last two years of his life with his nurse, Lalla, at Wood Farm.  Queen Mary arranged for local children to visit him and Prince George, the brother closest in age, often came down from York Cottage to visit him. 

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BREAKING Prince Philip unharmed in car crash

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Buckingham Palace released a statement about the Duke of Edinburgh who was involved in a road accident around 4 p.m.  A local radio station noticed that a car "had been left on its side following a crash on the A149."   The accident took place near Sandringham.

The car was a Range Rover and had been driven by 97-year-old Prince Philip.

Buckingham Palace said that the Duke was pulling out of a driveway and onto the A149 road,  when the accident took place.

The crash caused the Range Rover to turn over.   Eyewitnesses were able to help the Duke of Edinburgh out of the car.  He was, according to the BBC's Nicholas Witchell, "conscious but very shocked and shaken."

The Duke of Edinburgh is now back at Sandringham House and has been treated by a doctor.   He passed a breathalyzer test as did the driver of the other car.

Two other people in the crash were not seriously injured.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The funeral of Count Philippe de Lannoy

The funeral of the late Count Philippe de Lannoy, the father of Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, took place today at Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing in Belgium. Count Philippe died on January 11 at the age of ninety six. He married in 1965 to Alix della Faille de Leverghem, who died on August 27, 2012, at the age of 70. The Count is survived by eight children and 22 grandchildren. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie is the youngest of the eight children. She married the Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume in November 2012. Mourners at the funeral included Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria, Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg, Prince Louis of Luxembourg, as well as members of the Count's family including his children and grandchildren.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Prince Philip moving closer to longest living QVD

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 Prince Philip will soon become the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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 The current titleholder is HRH Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline of Albany, who was born at Windsor Castle on February 25, 1883, the first of two children of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, eighth of nine children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Princess Helene of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

The Duke of Albany, a hemophiliac,  died at Cannes on March 28, 1884, following a fall.    The Duchess of Albany was expecting a second child at the time.  She gave birth posthumously to a son, Charles, Edward, on July 19, 1884.  The infant prince succeeded immediately to his father's peerages.

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Princess Alice married HSH Prince Alexander of Teck, her second cousin once removed,  at St. George's Chapel on February 10, 1904. Following her marriage, the princess was styled as HRH Prince Alexander of Teck.

The second cousin once removed relationship is due to their descent from George III's granddaughters,   Queen Victoria (daughter of the Duke of Kent) and Mary Adelaide (daughter of the Duke of Cambridge), who were first cousins.   Prince Leopold and Prince Alexander were second cousins, thus making Alice and Alexander second cousins once removed.

Alexander's older sister, Mary, was married to Alice's first cousin, King George V.  This meant that Alice and George were in-laws as well as first cousins.

In 1917,  Alexander, with other collateral members of the British royal family, who had German titles (and who were not affected by the George V's July 17, 1917 declaration establishing the House of Windsor and the renouncement of all German titles) .  He and his family relinquished the Teck princely title and the style of Serene Highness.  George V created Alexander as Earl of Athlone and Viscount Trematon.   (His older brother, Adolphus, relinquished his titles, too, and was created Marquess of Cambridge.)

As a Princess of Blood Royal, Alice resume the use of her own as part of her title, HRH Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone.

The family name for Adolphus and Alexander became Cambridge,  as their mother was born a Princess of Cambridge.

Alice and Alexander had three children:  HSH Princess May (Lady May Cambridge (January 26, 1906- May 29, 1994) who married Sir Henry Abel Smith),  HSH Prince Rupert (Viscount Trematon (August 24, 1907-April 15,1928)) and HSH Prince Maurice of Teck  (March 29, 1910- September 14, 1910.)

Princess Augusta

The Earl of Athlone died at Kensington Palace in 1957.   Princess Alice died at Kensington Palace on January 3, 1981 at the age of 97 (and 313 days.)  She was the oldest living blood member of the British Royal Family, having surpassed the record held by her husband's aunt, Princess Augusta of Cambridge, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822-1916).  Augusta lived for 94 years, 4 months and 16 days.

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 Princess Alice broke the British  record on July 15, 1977.   Although Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother lived longer than Princess Alice, she remains the longest living blood member of the British royal family, as well as the longest living descendant of Queen Victoria.

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HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (now HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) will tie the  the record on  April 18, 53 days before his own birthday.  The record will be broken on the following day, April 19.

35,741 for Alice and Philip will achieve 35,742 days on April 19, 2019.

Philip will celebrate his his 98th birthday on June 10.

This is a interesting achievement as May 24th will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.
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Thursday, January 10, 2019

New patronages for the Duchess of Sussex

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Kensington Palace announced this morning the first four patronages for the newest member of the British royal family, the Duchess of Sussex.

Two of the patronages, the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities were passed to the Duchess by Queen Elizabeth, who has been the patron for the past 45 and 33 years, respectively.  The other two charities are the Mayhew Trust, an animal welfare charity, and Smart Works, which helps " long term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives."

Mayhew released a statement this morning after Kensington Palace's announcement.
"We are honoured to reveal that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex has become Patron of Mayhew, as announced by Kensington Palace earlier this morning.
Her Royal Highness’ Patronages reflect the causes and issues she has spent decades championing, including female empowerment, the arts, access to education and animal welfare.
We are incredibly proud to reflect the values that The Duchess supports, and are delighted that HRH has selected Mayhew as one of her four newly announced Patronages.  We very much look forward to working closely with HRH to focus even more public attention on animal welfare, and the ground-breaking work Mayhew does in the local community and overseas."

Some months ago I had tweeted and/or wrote that I thought at least one of her first patronages would be arts related.  I didn't consider that the Queen would suggest one of her own patronages, the National Theatre, which started in 1963, but I think that the Queen knew what she was doing when she decided to pass on this stellar and prestigious patronage. 

The four patronages are focused on the arts, community, empowerment and animal welfare.  Sienna and Harper hope that the Duchess will adopt a cat from the Mayhew Trust, when she visits them later this week.

Four excellent patronages to begin a royal career.  Of course, there will be more patronages added in the months and years to come, perhaps a regiment or two, as well. 

It is apparent that Her Majesty the Queen has great faith in the Duchess of Sussex's ability to communicate effectively as a patron.  In case you do not realize it,  passing on the patronage of the National Theatre is a VERY BIG DEAL.  

The National Theatre is one of the two premiere theater companies in the United Kingdom.  The Royal Shakespeare Company is the other.  The Queen is also the patron of the RSC and the Prince of Wales is its president.

I am envious of the Duchess' National Theatre patronage.  Yea, she gets to support British theater and she will get to see any play she wants to for free!!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Paula Dowager Princess of Fürstenberg (1926-2019)

HSH Paula, Dowager Princess of Fürstenberg died peacefully today surrounded by members of her family at her home, Salzmannhaus, in Donaueschingen.   She was 92 years old.

Countess Paula Maria Eusebia Julia zu Königsegg-Aulendorf was born at Aulendorf on May 22, 1926.  She was the third of five children of Maria Joseph Erwin Leo Franz Maximilian Karl Borromäus Aloys Johannes d. Ev. Georg Benedikt EusebiusAlfred, Count zu Königsegg-Aulendorf and Countess Lucia von Wilzek.

Her marriage to the HSH Hereditary Prince Joachim Egon Maximilian Friedrich Leo Joseph Maria Hubertus zu Fürstenberg (1923-2002) took place at Königseggwald on June 25, 1947.   Prince Joachim Egon succeeded his uncle, Karl Egon as Prince zu Fürstenberg,  in 1973.

The Dowager Princess is survived by five of her six children: Princess Marie Antoinette, Frau Bagusat;  Heinrich, Prince of Fürstenberg, Prince Karl-Egon,  Prince Johannes and Princess Anna Lucia, Frau Giraldo,  and grandchildren, Franziskus, Katharina and Ferdinand Bagusut, Hereditary Prince Christian and Prince Antonius,  Prince Vincenz, Prince Ludwig and Prince Johann-Christian zu Fürstenberg,  Santiago, Simeon and Joaquin Giraldo and great-grandchildren including Prince Tassilo, Princess Maria Cecilia, Prince Tristan, Prince Carl and Prince Alexander zu Fürstenberg, Friedrich Stocks, and Antonius Bagusat.;art372512,10010923

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Grand Duke Jean celebrates his 98th birthday

1st row Comtes Constantin et Léopold, enfants du Comte Rodolphe et de S.A.I.R. la Comtesse Marie-Christine de Limburg-Stirum

3e rangée : S.A.R. le Prince Louis, S.A.I.R la Comtesse Marie-Christine de Limburg-Stirum et le Comte Rodolphe de Limbourg-Stirum avec leur fils le Comte Gabriel, la Comtesse Diane de Nassau et S.A.R. le Prince Jean, S.A.R. la Princesse Sibilla, S.A.I.R. l’Archiduchesse Gabriella d’Autriche avec sa fille Victoria, S.A.I.R. l’Archiduc Alexander d’Autriche, S.A.R. la Princesse Charlotte de Nassau, S.A.R. la Princesse Alexandra. Copyright : Cour grand-ducale/Claude Piscitelli

A superb family photo of Grand Duke Jean, with Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa and children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, Frau Sandhofer (1942-2019)

TR & IH Archduchess Elisabeth, Frau Sandhofer,  Archduchess Maria Magdalena, Baroness von Holzhausen and Archduke Dominic, owners of Bran Castle.  @BranCastle.

The death of HI & RH Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, Frau Sandhofer, was announced earlier today by Bran Castle's  Administration.

The Archduchess died Tuesday night (January 1) at 8:30 p.m., at Salzburg, Austria, after a long illness.  She was 76 years old.

The funeral is scheduled to take place on January 11.

"We at Bran Castle regret to announce the passing of Her Imperial Royal Highness, Archduchess Elisabeth Sandhofer, after long and hard suffering. Following the long Communist period, the Castle was brought back to life and was graced with her warm, humorous and discreet presence. She will always be in our thoughts and prayers, along with her grandmother, Queen Marie, and her mother, Princess Ileana."

@Bran Castle

May God rest her soul in eternal peace!

Bogdana Balmuş, the spokesman for Bran Castle, said that a special place for those who want to light a candle and a condolence card was set up in the inner yard of the castle.

The Archduchess was one of the three co-owners of Bran Castle, with her sister, Archduchess Maria Magdalena, and her brother, Archduke Dominic.  The late Princess Ileana had left the castle to her children, and in 2009, the family was able to regain possession from the Romanian government.

Mother Alexandra's 80th birthday (Jan 7, 1989)  Archduchess Elisabeth, Archduchess Alexandra, Mother Alexandra,  Archduke Stefan, and Archduchess Maria Magdalena (Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection)

Elisabeth was born at Sonnberg on January 15, 1942, the youngest of six children of the late Princess Ileana of Romania and Archduke Anton of Austria.   She married at Mondsee on August 3, 1964, to Dr. Friedrich Sandhofer.

She is survived by her husband and her four children,  Anton, Margareta, Andrea, and Elisabeth, and their families, and her siblings, Archduchess Alexandra, Baroness von Baillou, Archduke Dominic and Archduchess Maria Magdalene, Baroness von Holzhausen.

Archduchess Elisabeth and Dr. Sandhofer at the wedding of their daughter, Andrea, in 1997.  (Marlene A Eilers Koenig collection)

Sale of Schloss Marienburg put on hold

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 When Hereditary Prince Ernst August of Hanover appeared at Schloss Marienburg on December 12, he looked relieved as he joined others in front of the castle's Christmas tree.

The 35-year-old prince was about to make his last appearance as the owner of Schloss Marienburg, once the summer home of his ancestors.  The castle was for Ernst August's great-great-great-grandmother, Queen Marie, the consort of King Georg V, the last king of Hanover.

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Schloss Marienburg has been a cultural albatross around Ernst August's neck.  He and his wife, Ekaterina and their daughter Elisabeth, do not have live at the castle and live in Hanover.   The Hereditary Princess expects a second child in the spring.

In the front of the Christmas tree in the Knights' Hall,  Prince Ernst August told his guests "Today is very important for my family.  We have found a good solution to keep the castle and its inventory permanently for the public --that has always been a matter of the heart."

The prince had agreed to see Schloss Marienburg to the State Ministry of Science and Culture for Lower Saxony for the nominal sum of one Euro.

The agreement would also allow the state museum in Hannover to purchase furniture and artwork for two million euros, allowing for the art and furniture to remain at the schloss.

Prince Ernst August said he would set up a charitable foundation that would include furniture and artwork worth 6 million euros.

The cost of maintaining the castle has been a financial burden for Prince Ernst August, as the castle suffers from dry rot.  The State Ministry announced it  would invest more than 27 million euros in rehabilitation and maintenance.

Prince Ernst August's grandfather, Prince Ernst August, the eldest son of Prince Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, and Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, only daughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II, opened Schloss Marienburg to the public.   Ernst August's father, Ernst August, inherited the schloss and other family properties following his father's death in 1987.

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These properties were passed to the young prince in 2004 largely due to tax and financial reasons.

Although there were questions about the financial investment from the political opposition, the sale of the castle and the other financial obligations from the state government appeared to be final, a deal that pleased both sides.

Only a few days after the announcement, a patrimonial spanner was thrown into the deal.  Papa decided that the deal was not legitimate and claimed that his elder son had acted with "gross indignation" in his negotiations with the Kosterklammer.   He declared the deal invalid, claiming that his son had negotiated without his knowledge.

The decision in 2004 to turn over the family properties to his then 22-year-old son led to the young Ernst August taking on a large debt.  He made the decision to sell off 44 million euros worth of family treasures to pay off the debts and restore Schloss Marienburg.

Unfortunately for the younger Ernst August, the Schloss has continued to lose money as the revenue is disproportionate to the maintenance costs.

Although Papa tried to withdraw his gift to his son in 2017,  the younger Prince is the listed in the land register as the official owner of the properties.

The day after the announcement of the sale,  Papa sent a letter to Lower Saxony, which decided to put the sale on hold.

Prince Ernst August, jr., believes that he will win this battle.  He told one newspaper that a "comprehensive inheritance review came to a clear conclusion.  There is no doubt that I am in every way entitled to conclude the proposed contracts in all matters relating to the real estate and its inventory. There is no reason for speculation to the contrary.  Only I am listed in the land register.  There have been no changes.  The legal situation is crystal clear.  I am allowed to sell the Schloss.  The deadlines for my father to recover the property have long since expired."

The putative sale remains on hold for now.

"I am happy to dispel any misunderstandings and unreasonable concerns.  I am in direct contact with the state government."

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