Friday, January 31, 2020

Romanian government contemplates gift for Princess

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 January 31, 1930

The New York Times is reporting that Princess Ileana of Romania and Count Alexander of Hochberg will probably marry on April 27.   Queen Marie will "entertain the diplomatic corps at Cotroceni" during the next few days and it is expected that she will officially announced the wedding date during one of the receptions.

The Queen and Princess Ileana are expected to visit Cairo on February 20 to meet with Count Alexander, who is known as Lexel.   In the meantime,  the count will spend time in England with his family.

Princess Ileana has already received several wedding gifts, including the  "beautiful diamond ring" from her fiance and the "deed to a country house in Cotroceni," a present from her older brother, Prince Nicholas.

Prime Minister Maniu is expected to confer with Queen Marie on the government's wedding gift.  It is expected that the this gift will be financial: $240,000 to "make the Princess' fortune total $500,000."

Mrs. Leeds marries Prince Christopher

January 31, 1920

Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark and Mrs. William B. Leeds were married today in a civil ceremony at 11:00 am in the Geneva Town Hall, reports the New York Times.

The Greek Orthodox service will take place tomorrow at Vevey, near Montreux.

The bride's witness was A.W.S. Piccard, a New Orleans lawyer and Captain Stocker, Prince Christopher's aide-de-camp, "acted in the same capacity" for the prince. 

The only two "onlookers" were the American Consul and an Associated Press reporter.

Mrs. Leeds was dressed in a "dark, tailor-made suit, black furs, and a toque."

After the brief ceremony, the newlyweds had lunch in Geneva, and then left for Montreux.  The religious wedding will take place in the Russian Church.

The wedding service took less than 15 minutes.  Prince Christopher and Mrs. Leeds arrived at the Town Hall by motor car at exactly 11:00 a.m., and left the building at 11:15.

Mrs. Leeds is the widow of William Bateman Leeds, the "Tinplate king" of America.  She brings into the royal family an "amassed fortune estimate at $14,000,000, a wonderful collection of jewels, one string of pearls alone being valued at $340,000 when it was bought in Paris by Mr. Leeds."  She owns considerable property in London, Paris and in the United States.

Her son, William Bateman Leeds, Jr., is a student at Eton,

The new Princess Christopher has had a "remarkable and successful social career.  This is her third marriage.  Her first marriage to George H. Worthington ended in divorce in 1898.  She married William Leeds in August 1900 home at the Cleveland, Ohio, home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Stewart.

Since the death of her husband in 1908,  the princess has spent most of her time in London and in Paris, which increased her "connections in English and Continental society."

a QVD engagement

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Congratulations to Vera Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga and Briano dei Conti Martinoni Caleppio on the announcement of their engagement earlier today on Instagram.

Vera is the second of five children of HRH Princess Bianca of Savoy-Aosta and Giberto, Count Arrivabene-Valenti-Gonzaga.  She was born at Samedan in Switzerland on August 18, 1993, and is a granddaughter of the HRH Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, and his first wife, HRH Princess Claude of France.

Briano is the son of Paolo de Conti Martinoni Caleppio and his second wife, Barbara Parodi Delfino who also has noble ancestry as she is the daughter of Riccardo Parodi Delfino and Donna Vivide dei Visconti Di Modrone.

Riccardo Parodi Delfino is the son of Paolo Parodi Delfino and  Bonaccorsa Aliotti and the grandson of Leopoldo Girolamo Parodi Delfino and Lucie Henny.

Paolo's sister Carla was married in 1937 to Don Alvaro Antonio Fernando Carlos Felipe de Orléans-Borbón y Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha, 6th Duke of Galliera, the eldest of three sons of HRH Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and  HRH Infante Don Alfonso Maria Francisco Diego de Orléans y de Borbón, 5th Duke of Galleria.

With her older sister Viola, Vera is the co-founder of ViBiVenezia, specializing in Furlane shoes, worn by Venetian gondoliers.

Briano is the CEO of   This is a women's design firm founded by Vittoria Bottasini.

Vera and Briano are second cousins once removed.  They also share maternal great-grandparents: Giberto Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga and Vera Papadopoli Aldobrandini.

Briano is the grandson of Giberto's daughter, Nicoletta, who married Edoardo Visconti di Modrone, while Vera is the granddaughter of Nicoletta's brother, Leonardo Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga.

Queen Victoria - Victoria - Sophie - Irene - Amedeo - Bianca - Vera

Thursday, January 30, 2020

a Boy for Count and Countess Folke

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January 30, 1930

Countess Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg has given birth to a son, reports the NewYork Times.  The baby was born earlier today in Stockholm.

The Countess is the former Miss Estelle Romaine Manville.  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. Edward Manville are now in Stockholm and they cabled the offices of the Johns Manville Company with the news of the birth.

The marriage between Miss Manville and Count Folke Bernadotte, a nephew of King Gustav V, took place on December 1, 1928 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville, New York.

Count Folk is the son of Prince Oscar Bernadotte, who was formerly Prince Oscar of Sweden, Duke of of Gotland, the second son of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia.   He fell in love with Ebba Munck af Fukilia, a lady-in-waiting to then Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, the wife of Oscar's older brother, Gustaf.   As he married without the king's consent, Oscar lost his right of succession and his royal titles.   They married in Bournemouth on March 15, 1888.   Four years later, Oscar's uncle, Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg bestowed the titles Prince and Princess Bernadotte and Count and Countess of Wisborg.

The infant has been named Gustav Edward and will be styled as Count Gustav Edward of Wisborg.

I am marrying for love: Ileana

January 30, 1930

Princess Ileana beamed as she spoke with a reporter at a dinner given in her honor at Predeal by the the Romanian Gymnastics institute.  The princess is the patron of the organization.

"I am marrying for love only," she said with joy, as her fiance, Count Alexander von Hochberg, stood beside her.   She described their relationship as a "happy love match."

The New York Times reports that after the princess' adjutant Colonel Manolescu formally announced her engagement of Count Alexander, there was "loud and prolonged cheering."

The president of the Gymnastic institute "expressed hope" that Ileana would not desert her country.  The Princess, showing signs of being "visibly touched" by the support for her engagement.

Count Alexander said he had promised to spend "the greater part of the year" in Romania and he and his wife would be "abroad for only a few months."

The princess, who was dressed in a Romanian national costume, and her fiance stayed until the end of the dinner.  Afterward she changed into an evening dress and she and her fiance left a night out at the Sinaia casino, where they "danced until 4 o'clock in the morning."

The Romanian court officially announced Princess Ileana's engagement this morning.   The formal betrothal, which is popular throughout the country, took place earlier today at Cotrocenci Palace.  The entire royal family was present including the three regents for the young King Michael and military and government officials, as well as the Prime Minister Julius Maniu.

The wedding will take place at Sinaia on April 27.   Count Alexander will return to London to visit his family.  His mother, Princess Daisy, is one of Queen Marie's closest friends.

The Queen and her daughter are planning to travel to Syria, Palestine and Egypt during February and will return to Romania together. 

Count Alexander, who is 25 years old, is the second son of the Prince of Pless.  He and Ileana have been together for several months.   

Monday, January 27, 2020

DNA and Albert II

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 King Albert II has been notified that he is the biological father of Delphine Boel.   He accepts that he is the biological father of Miss Boel.

In a statement, King Albert said he " wishes to point out that, since the birth of Mrs. Delphine Boël, he was not involved in any family, social or educational decision whatsoever relating to Mrs. Delphine Boël and that he always respected the link that existed between Mrs. Delphine Boël and her legal father."

Delphine Boel was born at Uccle, Belgium, on February 22, 1968 as the daughter of Baroness Sybille by Sélys Longchamps  and her husband Jacques Boël,  In 2018, a Belgian court ruled that Boel was not Delphine's biological father.  This was based on DNA tests.

King Albert, as Prince of Liege, had a long term relationship with Delphine's mother.

King Albert, whose legal battle had hit numerous roadblocks, chose to make the results public.  This acknowledgement does not affect succession to the Belgian throne as Delphine was born out of wedlock.  She will not an official role, but she does become an heir to King Albert's personal fortune.

Ms Boel's lawyer said that she was "relieved" to be "considered as a legitimate child," because it will bring an "end to the social seclusion that she was subjected to and will prevent her children from having to bear this burden."

Delphine did not file the suit for financial recompense but for "emotional reasons."  Her legal father, Jacques Boel was a wealthy man.

"Her motives were therefor in no way profit-seeking --quite the opposite."

Delphine has two children, Josephine and Oscar O'Hare with her American partner, James O'Hara.   

These two young children are grandchildren of King Albert II and first cousins of the Duchess of Brabant, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore, Prince Amadeo, Princess Maria Laura, Prince Joachim, Princess Maria Luisa and Princess Laetitia and Princess Louise and Prince Nicolas and Prince Aymeric.

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Albert has been married to Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria for nearly 61 years.  They have three children, King Philippe,  Princess Astrid and Prince Laurent.

He abdicated in favor of his elder son in July 2013.

The statement was released to the media by Albert's lawyer.

A message from the Grand Duke of Luxembourg

© Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

Message from HRH the Grand Duke :

"I am writing to you from my brother-in-law’s bedside in an intensive care unit in Geneva.

Out of a desire for openness, transparency and modernity, I agreed that the internal analysis proposed by the Prime Minister should go ahead.

As we await publication of the report, and indeed throughout this process, articles have appeared in the media making unfair accusations against my wife, the mother of our five children and a devoted grandmother. This is taking its toll on my whole family.

Why attack a woman?
A woman who speaks up for other women?
A woman who is not even being given the right to defend herself?

Since I came to the throne, it has been our shared desire to help modernise our constitutional monarchy, and we wish to continue to contribute to this process.

© Cour grand-ducale / Marion Dessard

The causes my wife has fought for, which I have always supported and which we will continue to fight for, are vitally important. This work includes campaigning against dyslexia, fighting sexual violence, improving the status of imprisoned children in Africa, helping to develop microfinance and promoting education for young girls and women. I am proud of the commitment, intelligence and energy my wife brings to bear in all this work. The devotion she has shown over the past 39 years to serving our country by my side is exemplary and is of essential importance to me.

We will continue to serve you; to be there for you and for Luxembourg. Especially at this crucial time when our children are setting out on a family life of their own, we feel bound as parents to ensure that they can make the most of these precious years as our heirs.

Grand Duke of Luxembourg

Geneva, 26 January 2020"

Friday, January 24, 2020

A QVD engagement

Benjamin Leopold Sewell is the younger of two sons of Percy Sewell (1958) and Alice Louise Esther Margot Huntington-Whiteley (1961), the eldest of three children of the late Sir Miles Huntington-Whiteley, Bt, and H I ll H Countess Victoria Adelheid of Castell-Rüdenhausen.    Countess Victoria was the third and youngest child of Princess Caroline Mathilde (Calma)  of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1912-1983) and her first  husband, H I ll H Count Friedrich of Castell-Rüdenhausen (1906-1940).   Friedrich was killed in action two years after his marriage to Calma had ended in divorce.

Lady Huntington-Whiteley is a first cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Princess Caroline Mathilde was the fourth child of HRH Prince Charles Edward (Carl Eduard) of Albany, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and HH Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.   Duke Carl Eduard was the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, youngest son of Queen Victoria, and Princess Helena of Waldeck und Pyrmont.

Louise and Percy were married on February 1, 1985 at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.

Benjamin, who is known as Benjy, is also the great-great-grandson of the late Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin,1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley.

He was born July 15, 1990 at Horton Maternity Hospital, Banbury, Oxfordshire. Benjy attended Harrow School and the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he received a BA in History in 2012.  Benjy is a Trainee Investment Manager at Quilter Cheviot Ltd

Alice Sarah Hobden is the daughter of Michael Charles Hobden and Deborah Gillian Blakeney.  She was born in October 1989 in London..

 Alice and Lady Olivia Marquis celebrated their 18th birthdays with a joint party at Chloe's.

Mr. Hobden and Alexander von Solodkoff, the husband of HH Duchess Donata zu Mecklenburg, are former directors of 67 Ongar Road Ltd, a London property management company.  Hobden, who lives in Chelsea with his wife, Deborah, is a director of at least 18 different firms.

In 1978, Michael founded Poundminster, a Chelsea-based property management company, which is now run by his son, David.

Queen Victoria - Prince Leopold - Carl Eduard  - Caroline Mathilde - Victoria Adelheid - Louise - Benjamin

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A full day of events in Bucharest

Saturday January 18.

The guests gathered in the lobby of the Radisson Blu hotel to wait for the bus to take us to the National Theatre for a celebration of 30 years of Margarita of Romania Royal Foundation.   This was followed by a superb lunch at the Carul cu Bere, a 19th century pub in Bucharest's Old Town.  We ate well.  I sat with Princess Helen and her husband, Alex Nixon, and others.  Connivial conversation and lots of laughs.  Helen was happy to share photos of her daughter Karina, who lives in northern England.

Alex recommended the Romanian beer so I ordered a glass ... and the food was fabulous, an enticing array of Romanian cheeses, ham, sausages, vegetables and bread  ... oh, and the desserts.  Several of us decided to skip the bus and walk back to the hotel ... burn a few calories.

After getting back to the hotel, I decided to relax with a visit to the pool and the hot tub ... no, not the inside hot tub, but the one outside with the massaging fountains.

Then it was back to the hotel for the change to Black tie/Cocktail dress.    The first event was a concert at the Romanian Athenaeum, which was televised live on Romanian TV, followed by a  buffet dinner at the State Dining Room in the Royal Palace.

I was last in Bucharest in October 2011 when I attended King Michael's 90th birthday celebrations.  Great progress in redeveloping historic and spectacularly architectural buildings.  The Old Town area has more stores, restaurants and apartments and far less abandoned buildings than 2011.    Bucharest has a lively cafe scene to rival Paris .. well perhaps not mid-January.

I thank Her Majesty and HRH Prince Radu for their kind invitation.  It is a delight and an honor to see the soft power of the Royal Family.  The Romanian government recognizes their titles and position in Romanian history.  Her Majesty is one of the most popular people in Romania.

Not only was the concert carried live,  it was repeated a few hours after the original transmission.

The music selections were wonderful.    After the concert, we walked to the Palace -- Swedish royal journalist Roger Lundgren and I walked with Stéphane Bern , having a lively chat.

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban and his wife attended the gala concert and were also present at the buffet dinner at the Royal Palace.

The Royal Palace is now an art museum.   The buffet dinner was held in the State Dining room.  A military band played a variety of American tunes and an Orthodox choir wowed us with their performance. 

The throne room was also open so I got to see it for the first time.  The throne is gone, but still ... all that history!

Then it was back to the hotel for a night cap, as I joined other guests including Crown Prince Leka  and Nelly Miriciou, the great Romanian opera singer.  We all walked back to the hotel (a few minutes walk), and the first thing all the women did as we walked in was to kick off our shoes.

On Sunday, up early for breakfast and was joined by two other guests,  historian David Horbury and Canon Peter Galloway, before heading back to the room to close the bags and check out.  Stéphane Bern and I were on the same flight to Paris. He lives in Paris.  I had one connection to make to Washington, D.C.

Valentina Nafornita, a Moldovan opera singer, who performed at the concert the night before, joined Stéphane Bern and I in the Royal Household's car for the ride to the airport.  Many thanks to Stéphane who helped me with my bags!


Crown Prince Leka and Roger Lundgren

Princess Sophie gave a speech at the start of the concert

in the throne room