Tuesday, February 26, 2019

HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught (1891-1959)

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Buckingham Palace, Feb. 26

"The Queen has received with great sorrow the news of the death of Her Royal Highness Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife, Her Majesty's cousin."

The Lord Chamberlain announced that the Queen "is observing family mourning for one week."   She will "carry out as arranged official engagements during this period."

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It was reported in The Times on February 24, 1959, that Princess Arthur of Connaught "has developed pneumonia and her condition gives rise to anxiety," at her home in Regent's Park

The 67-year-old princess was a granddaughter of King Edward VII, the widow of HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught, a grandson of Queen Victoria, and a first cousin of Alix's mother, Princess Louise.

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Another bulletin was issued the following day.  The Princess' condition was said to be unchanged -- "continuing grave."   In a third bulletin, she was described as a "little weaker," but her condition "remained unchanged and she was still gravely ill."

Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife in her own right, died at her home 64 Avenue Road, London.  She was no longer seen in public after March 1946.  She had suffered from chronic rheumatoid arthritis since the 1940s.

"Arthritis had attacked every joint in my body, from head to toes, and the pain was indescribable. I was quite helpless and had to be fed, unable to raise my head from the pillow or to move at all...  When I was in bed for three years there was a slight improvement," Alix wrote in the privately printed A Nurse's Story (London:1956).

The Duke of Windsor was able to send her new drugs from the United States to help alleviate the pain from arthritis.

The Princess was born on May 17, 1891, at East Sheen Lodge in Richmond.  She was the elder of two daughters of HRH Princess Louise, Princess Royal, and Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife.  In 1913, she married her mother's first cousin, HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught, the only son of Queen's Victoria's third son, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

Princess Alexandra is predeceased by her husband (1938) and son, Alistair, Duke of Connaught (1943).

1936 Lord Macduff  Princess Arthur and Prince Arthur of Connaught

All images Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection 

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Monday, February 25, 2019

Princess Patricia of Connaught

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From my book, Queen Victoria's Descendants.

Although Princess Margaret of Connaught died before her husband became King of Sweden, her only daughter would wear a crown, as have two of her granddaughters.  Margaret's success in Sweden convinced a lot of people that Patricia also would marry a scion of a European royal house.  At various times, she was linked with the Kings of Portugal and Spain, the Count of Turin, Lord Anglesey and Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia.  But Britain's `Fairy Princess' eventually married one of her cousin's subjects -- a marriage that proved to be a popular choice.

Appointed Governor-General of Canada in 1911, the Duke of Connaught was accompanied to Ottawa by his wife and younger daughter, Princess Patricia. As the Duchess of Connaught was in ill-health, Patricia acted as hostess for her father.

The Canadians adored her. During the first world war, she was persuaded to sign hundreds of portraits of herself to be sold in aid of the Red Cross.  She embroidered the original color of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - and thrilled and proud when she named their Colonel-in-Chief.  Even after she retired from public duties, Patsy continued to visit her regiment every few years.  Patricia's namesake, the Countess Mountbatten, the late Lord Mountbatten's daughter, is the Infantry's current Colonel-in-Chief.

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Widely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, Patsy fell in love with one of her father's ADC, the Hon. Alexander Ramsay, third son of the Earl of Dalhousie.  Although the Duchess of Connaught was sympathetic to the romance (knowing all too well the bitterness arranged marriages could produce), the Duke was adamantly opposed to the marriage and withheld his permission.

The Princess, however, "a handsome young woman with a great spirit and a keen sense of humor" as the New York Times reported, did not give up hope. In 1916, the Duke's term in Canada was terminated, particularly on account of his wife's failing health, which was little improved by the long, harsh Canadian winters.  The Duchess's health continued to decline, and she died in 1917, but not before extracting from her husband a promise to allow the marriage to take place once the war ended.

Though this romantic story may not be entirely true, Patsy and Alexander Ramsay were married in February 1919 at Westminster Abbey, the first royal marriage to be celebrated there since 1394 when King Richard II Prince Edmund wed Anne of Bohemia.

"No doubt a popular marriage,"  George V wrote his diary. And he was right. The marriage of a British princess and a naval officer caught the imagination of the British public. Princess Patricia of Connaught was not the first British princess to marry a commoner and she would not be the last, but her wedding, just two months after the end of World War I, brought light and magic back to Britain.

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When she married, she chose to relinquish her royal titles, receiving in exchange the title of Lady Patricia Ramsay, with precedence before the Marchionesses of England.  Lady Patricia remained an active member in the Royal Family and was often seen with her husband on state occasions, a tall distinguished, always elegant figure. She was also an accomplished artist, specializing in watercolors of a sufficiently high standard to merit exhibition.  Her cousin, Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein, with a hint of disdain, called her work "modern, very modern."

The themes for Patricia's paintings were largely derived from her travel in tropical countries. She had her own studio at her parents' London residence, Clarence House. She studied under A.S. Hartrick, who had known Gauguin and Van Gogh, and their works definitely influenced her style. In later years, she turned to abstracts. An honorary member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Lady Patricia enjoyed visiting art galleries and encouraging contemporary British artists.

The peaceful, uneventful life she led at her Surrey home was the antithesis of the turbulent existence she would have experienced had she accepted King Alfonso XIII of Spain's proposal of marriage in 1906.  Fortunately, Princess Patricia was blessed with a quiet good sense rather than a desire for position and wealth.

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From time to time she emerged from her private life to attend various royal occasions; although she had renounced her royal titles and rank in 1919 when she married, she remained a member of the Royal Family, and was accorded official status at weddings, coronations, dinners, and funerals, where she was always a tall, elegant figure.

She would also attend exhibitions of her own work, but she refused to submit her work to the Royal Academy.  Lady Patricia's 600 paintings remain in the possession of her son, Captain Alexander Ramsay of Mar.

Although she was already thirty-two when she married, Princess Pat and her husband lived long enough to celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary.

Her only child, Alexander Ramsay of Mar, who served in World War II and lost a leg in North Africa, lives at Cairnbulg Castle in Aberdeenshire with his wife, Flora, who in her own right is Lady Saltoun.  They have three daughters, Katharine, who is heir to her mother's title; Alice, and Elizabeth, and five grandchildren. 

Alexander was an ADC to the late Duke of Gloucester and a page of honour at George VI's coronation.  His relations with the Royal Family have always been close, though unobtrusive.  He and his wife are often guests at major royal occasions, including the wedding of his cousin King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and more recently at the weddings of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York.  Along with his cousin, the Duke of Fife, Captain Ramsay is a Vice-Patron of the Braemar Royal Highland Society.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Denial of Prince of Wales engagement

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February 18, 1919

Reports of an "impending announcement" of the engagement of Princess Jolanda , eldest daughter of the King of Italy, and the Prince of Wales are "unfounded," reports the New York Times.

French newspapers have been "discussing the simultaneous presence in the French capital" of Queen Elena and Princess Jolanda and the Prince of Wales.   The newspapers are reporting that the reason for the Queen's visit to set a date for the announcement of the engagement between the Princess and the Prince of Wales. 

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The newspapers alleged that the engagement "may be expected immediately after the signing of the peace treaty," with a wedding to take place in the spring of 1920.

The Prince of Wales is 24 years old.   Princess Jolanda is 18.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Death notice for the Dowager Princess de Ligne

Welcome to the world Horatio Hicks - the newest QVD

Kata Hicks: Instagram.  I believe the illustration was done by Donald Robertson

Welcome to the world Horatio Valentine Christopher Alessandro Hicks, the second child for Ashley Hicks, only son of the late David Hicks and the Lady Pamela Mountbatten, and his estranged wife, Kata.

The newest descendant of Queen Victoria was born today, February 12, 2019, at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

Kata announced the birth on her Instagram account.

Ashley and Kata Hicks's first child, Caspian, was born on January 21, 2018.




HRH The Dowager Princess de Ligne

HRH Princess Alix Marie Anne Antonia Charlotte Gabrielle of Luxembourg was born at Schloss Berg on August 8, 1929.  She was the sixth and youngest child of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

The princess spent her early years with her parents and older siblings at Schloss Berg.  But the onset of World War II and the German invasion of Luxembourg on May 10, 1940,  led to the family fleeing the country three hours before the Germans marched in.  They were able to find refuge in the United States.  Prince Felix and his six children, arrived in Annapolis on July 25, 1940, on the United States cruiser, Trenton.  They were driven to Washington, D.C., where they were guests of President Roosevelt at the White House.

Grand Duchess Charlotte had remained in Portugal when the Trenton sailed for the United States.  She traveled to London to join the government-in-exile.

After lunch, Prince Felix and the children traveled by train to New York City, as they would spend their first days in the United States at the Long Island estate of Joseph E. Davies, the former minister to Luxembourg.

All of the six children were dressed in gray.  Princesses Elisabeth,18, Princess Marie Adelaide, 16, Marie Gabrielle, 15 and Alix, 11, were all dressed in "light gray flannel coats, cotton blouses, blue pleated skirts and berets, and gray cotton hose."  Their brothers,  Princes Jean, 19, and Charles, 13, wore "gray jackets and shorts."

Alix attended Catholic schools in New York, Montreal, and London before Luxembourg was liberated in 1945 and the Grand Ducal family returned home on April 14, 1945.

It was at the wedding of Alix's first cousin, Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria to Princess Yolande de Ligne in January 1950,  where she was first introduced to Yolande's brother, Prince Antoine de Ligne.  During the war,  Prince Antoine fled Belgium and joined the Royal Air Force in 1943.  He later joined the Belgian Air Force in exile.

Antoine was the younger son of Eugene, 11th Prince of Ligne.  He succeeded as 13th Prince of Ligne in 1985, following the death of his brother, Baudouin, who was unmarried.

Their engagement was announced on April 18, 1950, and the wedding took place on August 17, 1950, Alix was the first of Charlotte's children to marry.

Princess Alix, who was given away by her father, wore a "white satin dress and a white satin train"  Her bridal veil was made of Brussels lace, which was held in place by a "bejeweled diadem, a family heirloom."   Antoine was dress in the uniform as a captain in the Belgian Air Force.

The civil wedding took place in the Grand Ducal Palace and was performed by the Mayor of Luxembourg, who was assisted by four aldermen.  The Roman Catholic service was celebrated in Luxembourg's cathedral.

It was the first time that cameras were allowed into the Cathedral, where the guests included King Leopold III of the Belgiums and his son, Crown Prince Baudouin, as well as the American Ambassador, Mrs. Perle Mesta, who gave the couple "a Steuben crystal case on which was embossed pictures of Paul Revere's ride."

Street parties were held throughout the tiny Grand Duchy.

After their honeymoon, the newlyweds lived at Schloss Beloeil, the de Ligne's family residence.

The couple had seven children:  Michel, 14th, Prince of Ligne (1951), Prince Wauthier (1952), Princess Anne (1954), Princess Christine (1955), Princess Sophie (1957), Prince Antoine (1959) and Princess Yolande (1964). 

Prince Antoine died in 2005.

Princess Alix is survived by her seven children, 19 of her 20 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by two of her siblings.  Grand Duke Jean and Princess Marie-Gabrielle, Dowager Countess of Holstein-Ledreborg.

all images from the Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

Monday, February 11, 2019

HRH The Dowager Princess de Ligne (1929-2019)


 de la Cour grand-ducale communique :

It is with great sadness that Their Royal Highnesses Grand Duke Jean, the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess announce the death, today, of Her Royal Highness Princess Alix, Princess de Ligne,  Princess of Luxembourg.

Born August 24, 1929 at the Castle of Berg, Princess Alix was the youngest daughter of Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg.


The Princess had married Prince Antoine de Ligne on August 17, 1950. Seven children are from their union.

The funeral of Grand Duke Jean's sister will take place at Château de Beloeil in Belgium.

A mass will be celebrated in the Saint Michel church in Luxembourg. The date of the religious service will be communicated later.

1938  Alix is the youngest @Kutter

1990 Inauguration of the Grand Duchess Charlotte Memorial @Maisongrand-ducal 

The wedding of Princess Alix de Ligne (granddaughter) with Guillaume de Dampierre (2016)@maisongrand-ducal

Royal Musings will have more photos and a profile of the late HRH Dowager Princess of Ligne later today.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Has Prince Albert found his princess?

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The German magazine Bunte is reporting that the Prince of Thurn und Taxis may have found his ever after partner.

Prince Albert, 35, is the head of the Princely House of Thurn und Taxis.  He is worth about 1.5 billion euros and owns a number of palaces including the 500 room Schloss Emmeran in Regensburg.   His wealth and title certainly make him one of the most eligible of bachelors.

Albert has been linked to several women in the past decade or so, but no one has truly won his heart, until now.

Pia d'Iribarne is a London-based 32-year-old "intellectual high-flyer, who was introduced to Albert at a society wedding in Rome.

In January she joined Stride VC as a third partner.  Pia was a Vice President at Accel Partners before joining Stride VC.

Pia is a native of Paris.  According to Forbes, she is an "expert in consumer brands, SaaS, and marketplaces."  She is the daughter of  Benoît Marie Bernard d’Iribarne,  Vice-President of Technology and Industrial Performance of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, and Marie Anne Sybesma



Emergency surgery for Prince Ernst August

  Prince Ernst August of Hannover is recovering from emergency pancreatic surgery at a clinic in Feldkirch, Austria.

His doctors diagnosed a life-threatening pancreatic inflammation, which was leading to organ failure.  He underwent emergency surgery.   His friends are concerned about his "unsteady lifestyle" and his excessive use of alcohol.

Last month the 64-year-old prince threw a spanner into the sale of Schloss Marienburg by his son, Prince Ernst August, to the German state of Saxony for one Euro.  The sale is now on hold, although the younger Ernst August has proved the at he is the sole owner of Schloss Marienburg as his is the only name on the land register.

 "The preservation of such cultural assets has never been easy, yet I and the other family members currently see no understandable reason to impose these costs without necessity to the citizens of Lower Saxony," Ernst August senior told a newspaper last month.

His son responded:  "Contractually it was always clear from the beginning that I may dispose of real estate like a liberated forerunner - contrary statements are false and do not correspond to the contractually recorded facts."

In 2004, Papa turned over the family properties over to his elder son, but more recently has accused Ernst August junior of "gross ingratitude" and has demanded the properties back.  He did not attend his son's wedding in 2017.

The younger Ernst August chose to sell the castle to the state government because he could not afford to finance the massive work that the castle needs.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The latest rumors from Vienna

February 4, 1889

Another "sensational story" concerned the death of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria has been published in Brussels, reports the New York Times.   This report asserts that the Crown Prince "became entangled in an affair of honor with a high Austrian family and that it was decided that the Prince and the son of the family in question should fight a duel on the so-called American plan."

This involves throwing dice to see which of the duelists will commit suicide.  Rudolf lost the toss.  The loser has three months to take his own life.  It was at the expiration of this time period that the Crown Prince killed himself.

This report is just one of several accounts of the Crown Prince's death that are being reported outside Austria, as Viennese correspondents are finding their reports censored. A letter from one Viennese reporter to a British newspaper alleges that the door to the Crown Prince's room had to be forced open, where the Crown Prince's valet found the "body of a beautiful Bohemian lady."  This reporter asserts the Crown Prince first killed her and then "shot himself."  The body of the young woman was "conveyed secretly" to her family in Bohemia.

There are said to be two similar versions of this account that have been cabled abroad, which is giving further credence to the truth of how the Crown Prince died.

The Crown Prince's body is on view and "enormous crowds " are waiting their turn to pay their respects.

For more information about the Mayerling tragedy,  Greg King's book,  Twilight of Empire, is excellent.