Monday, March 30, 2020

Grand Duchess Kira of Russia

If the First World War had not swept away the thrones of Russia and Germany, the marriage between Grand Duchess Kira of Russia and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia would have been a grand dynastic alliance.  As war clouds gathered again over Europe, the marriage reminded many of a Europe when the Romanovs and the Hohenzollerns reigned supreme.   But in 1938, the Soviet Union was nearly two decades old, and the German Kaiser Wilhelm II lived in exile in the Netherlands.  In Wilhelm’s native Germany, Adolf Hitler was moving inexorably closer to establishing total hegemony over the European continent.

Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, 31,  was the second son of Crown Prince Wilhelm and Crown Princess Cecilie. As the second son, he did not have the burden of inheritance as his older brother, Wilhelm. This changed in 1933, when Prince Wilhelm, married Dorothea von Salviati.  Kaiser Wilhelm II did not approve Wilhelm's marriage.  

Wilhelm was obligated to renounce his rights to the throne, and, more important, his position as the future head of the House of Hohenzollern.  (In 1940, Prince Wilhelm was killed in action, leaving behind his widow, and two young daughters.)

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 Until his brother’s marriage, Louis Ferdinand had limited obligations.  His grandfather had encouraged Louis Ferdinand to see the world.  He received a Ph.D. in Argentina and had a rather public affair with the French-born film star, Lily Damita, whom he followed to Hollywood.  Louis Ferdinand learned about American productivity when he worked for Henry Ford in Detroit. 

Louis Ferdinand was smitten with Lily Damita.  He wanted to follow her to Mexico, where, he believed they would marry;  he came to his senses when he realized Damita was exploiting her relationship with him for publicity purposes.

He returned to Germany where he got a job with Lufthansa.  He was also conscripted into the Luftwaffe, although Prince Louis Ferdinand did not support National Socialism and Adolf Hitler.

Wilhelm’s renouncement emphasized Louis Ferdinand’s need to make an equal marriage.

Family connections played a role in the first meetings between Prince Louis Ferdinand and Grand Duchess Kira of Russia.   Kira’s mother, Victoria Melita, and Kaiser Wilhelm II were first cousins, as both were grandchildren of Britain’s Queen Victoria.

Louis Ferdinand and Kira were third cousins through Louis Ferdinand’s maternal grandmother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, whose first cousin was Kira’s paternal grandfather Grand Duke Wladimir Alexandrovitch.

Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia was born on May 9, 1909, at the family’s apartment on the Avenue Henri Martin in Paris. She was the second daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich of Russia and Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh.  Her birth coincided with her parents’ return to Russia after their marriage was finally acknowledged by their cousin, Emperor Nicholas II.

Nicholas did not originally give permission for the marriage as Victoria Melita and Kirill were first cousins.  There was no question about Victoria Melita’s suitability as the wife of a Russian Grand Duke.  Her father was the second son of Queen Victoria, and the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in his own right until he died in 1900.  Her mother, Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, was the daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia, whose brother, Wladimir, was Kirill’s father.  The Orthodox Church forbids the marriage between two first cousins (as well as second and third cousins), and, thus, Nicholas could sanction an otherwise equal marriage.  Victoria Melita was also divorced from her first husband, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and By Rhine, although none of the statutes in the Fundamental Laws refer to divorce.

Despite her royal connections, Victoria Melita’s divorce and affair with Grand Duke Kirill made her a social pariah.   The situation was worse for Ducky, the family nickname for the Malta-born Victoria Melita, because her former sister-in-law, Alix, married Nicholas II.  Alix and Ducky were also first cousins.   The Tsar was a first cousin to Kirill and to Victoria Melita.

It was a tense situation for all.  Kirill and Ducky were married by a Russian Orthodox priest in October 1905.  Shortly afterward, Kirill was stripped of his title, military ranks, and everything connected to his Imperial position. He was also cut off from his imperial appanage.  The newlyweds did not have to worry about money, as they received substantial support from Kirill’s parents and Victoria Melita’s mother.

Kirill and Ducky settled into an apartment on the Avenue Henri Martin in Paris, although winters were spent at the Chateau Fabron, owned by Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna.

The couple’s first child, Maria, known as Mashka, was born at the Edinburgh Palace in Coburg in January 1907.  A few weeks before Maria’s birth, Victoria Melita, baptized according to the rites of the Anglican church, and confirmed in the Lutheran church, was received into the Orthodox church.

This was a major decision for Victoria Melita, as she understood the importance of her act.  The following year, her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna, “at her own spiritual prompting,” also joined the Orthodox church.  When she married Grand Duke Vladimir in 1874, Marie Pavlovna chose to remain Lutheran.  Circumstances, however, would make the Grand Duchess change her mind. 

Empress Alexandra’s youngest child and only son, Alexis, suffered from hemophilia, and it seemed unlikely that Alexandra, already the mother of five children, would have another child.   The next in the line of succession was Nicholas’s younger brother, Michael, who was unmarried in 1908. (His proposed marriage with Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh, Ducky’s youngest sister, came to naught as he was not permitted to marry his first cousin).  Michael was followed in the succession by his uncle, Grand Duke Vladimir, and his three sons, the eldest of whom was Kirill.

Nicholas eventually came around to accepting the marriage.  On July 15, 1907, he issued a decree that conferred the title of Grand Duchess on Victoria Melita.  She would now be known as Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna of Russia.  Kirill’s privileges were also restored. 

At least for the question of succession, Kirill’s position at court was further enhanced when Grand Duke Michael married morganatically in 1911, a year after his future wife gave birth to a son.  Michael did not lose his right to succeed to the throne.  According to the Fundamental Laws, his marriage was unequal meaning his wife and child were not considered members of the Imperial Family.   At this time it did not seem conceivable that the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty would end in a cellar in Ekaterinburg only seven years later.  But Kirill’s ambitious mother, Marie Pavlovna, sensed the throne would eventually be inherited by her eldest son, Kirill, and his family.

Nicholas II,  Alexandra, their five children, and the servants who had remained with them were all shot to death in the early hours of July 17, 1918.   One month earlier, Nicholas’ brother, Grand Duke Michael, who had become the emperor after his brother’s abdication, was executed along with a manservant.

Michael’s son, George, was not eligible for the succession, the next in line to the vacant throne was Grand Duke Kirill, who with his wife, Victoria, and their three children, were living in Finland, in relative safety.  After Kirill had declared his allegiance to the Provisional Government, he and his family were given permission to leave Russia.  They were allowed to take only a few possessions with them.  Ducky sewed precious jewels into the family’s clothes.  Their departure had been “quietly arranged,” by Alexander Kerensky, the head of the Provisional Government.    Grand Duke Kirill and his two daughters left for the train in one car.  Victoria, seven months pregnant, followed in a second car, taking a different route to the train station.

The exit documents were presented, and the family got on the train with little fuss.    Princess Kira, who was eight years old at the time, remembers that their travel passes “were respected and we were not molested on the way.”

The little girl also noticed the lack of imperial trappings in the car – “red carpets, special comforts.” 

  The family stayed for two weeks at Haiko in Borgo (now Porvoo, Finland), at the villa of friends before moving into a rented house in town, where on August 30, 1917, Ducky gave birth to a son, Wladimir.

It was not an easy exile for the family, as the situation in Finland soon disintegrated into anarchy.  By the end of the year, civil war spread throughout the country.  Even the most basic food essentials, including milk and sugar, were difficult to obtain.   The country was in a state of collapse, but Kirill and Victoria refused to leave, as they still believed that Russia would emerge victoriously, and the monarchy would be restored.    The French government and the King of Sweden made overtures to the Grand Ducal couple to assist their departure.  But the family would not leave Finland.

  In March 1918, the Bolshevik government signed the Brest-Litvosk treaty that ended the war between Russia and Germany.  Finland’s civil war also ended, and the country was now, for the time being, in German hands.  Although they were largely safe from the Bolsheviks, life in Finland was difficult for Kirill,  Ducky, and their three children.

    Ducky was able to keep in contact with several relatives including her sister, Crown Princess Marie of Roumania, and her first cousin, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, who sent food and clothing parcels.

Kira described her family’s plight in a letter to her Aunt Marie:  “ We go for long walks and hunt for mushrooms in the woods.  There are many wildflowers in bloom.  Each Friday we go to the cinema.  On Saturday we have games.”

Kira could not hide her sadness from her aunt Missy, whom she barely knew.  “I often wonder if we will ever go away from here.  We are getting so dreadfully homesick but I suppose we are better off here. When there is no more sugar I think we will miss it very much.  Our lessons keep us occupied, otherwise, we are rather bored sometimes.”

The family lived in Finland until the summer of 1919.  Kirill had received permission to stay in Finland for another year, but he and Ducky decided it was time to move closer to family.  The couple was painfully aware that the Bolsheviks controlled Russia, and there would be no return to their previous, well-heeled life.  Most of their private fortune was gone, as the Soviet government had appropriated everything that had once belonged to the Imperial family.

  Once on German soil, the family stayed for two days with Ducky’s sister, Alexandra, the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg before traveling to  Munich for a reunion with Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, a still proud and haughty woman,  who lost almost everything, including her home and her Romanov wealth.  Until her death, however, she received her Civil List appanage, as the widow of the Duke of Edinburgh.

It was a brief reunion as Marie died in October 1920.  She left  Chateau Fabron and the Edinburgh Palace to Ducky and Kirill, where they decided to settle, although Germany was now a republic.

Thus, Coburg became the family home.   Money was always tight, although relatives, such as Aunt Missy (Queen Marie of Romania) provided financial assistance.   Ducky reestablished close relationships with her sisters, especially Marie, and Beatrice, who was married to King Alfonso XIII’s cousin, Infante Alfonso of Bourbon-Orleans.   Marie and Beatrice’s children were the same age as Maria and Kira.     Marie – now the Queen of Roumania – had once described her nieces as “two splendid children, well-grown, solid, with lovely hair, and perfect skin and as superlatively groomed as English ponies.”

Until her sister married and the death of her mother in 1936, Kira played the  Balalaika in the family’s orchestra.    She was also a competent pianist, preferring Chopin, and she had a “great devotion also for Beethoven and Wagner.”

Kira also enjoyed painting, a talent she inherited from her mother, who painted flowers and landscapes.   She had a great passion for reading, and described herself as a “voracious reader,” who preferred Tolstoy to all other writers, although she found Dostoevsky “unsurpassed as a writer of novels.”
She shared with her future husband a love of the outdoors and riding horses.  “The biggest compliment ever paid to me was when in America, during a tiring riding expedition, our host called me a ‘good sport’,” she said in a 1938 interview with the Associated Press.

As the great-granddaughter of a Russian emperor, Kira was born a princess of Russia with the qualification of Highness.  The circumstances of her elevation to the Grand Ducal rank and the qualification of Imperial Highness remain rooted in controversy.

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In 1922, Kira’s father, Grand Duke Kirill issued a manifesto, in which he declared himself `Curator of the Throne.’  Two years later, he assumed the title of Emperor and elevated his two daughters and son to the rank of Grand Duchesses and Grand Duke with the style of Imperial Highness.   On September 20, 1924, The New York Times was one of the first newspapers to report Kirill’s second proclamation. The paper reported a Berlin dispatch to the London Daily Mail stating that Kirill had signed a `proclamation declaring himself "Emperor of All the Russias.”'

"The Russian laws of Succession to the Throne," Kirill stated in the September manifesto, "do not permit the Imperial Throne to remain vacant after the death of the previous Emperor and His nearest Heirs has been established.  Also, in accordance with our laws, the new Emperor becomes such on the strength of the Law of Succession."

Succession to the Imperial throne was described in the Fundamental Laws, also known as the Pauline Laws.  Article 53 states that "on the demise of an emperor, his heir accedes to the Throne by the law of succession itself, which confers this right upon him.  The accession of an emperor to the Throne is counted from the day of the demise of his predecessor."  Kirill was the next male Romanov in line to the throne to become the new Emperor of all the Russias.

Although one may question the insensitivity of the timing of his announcement -- the Dowager Empress was still alive -- Kirill was the legitimate heir to the throne, and entitled to make such a pronouncement.
The Fundamental State Laws of the Russian Empire on the Succession to the Throne (the Pauline laws), codified by Paul I and revised by Alexander III in 1888, included detailed rules on marriage, titles, inheritance, and succession to the throne.

As Kirill was the de jure Emperor, his children were entitled to grand ducal rank. This is found in Article 146, which provided for "the title of Grand Duke, Grand Duchess (daughter) and Imperial Highness belongs to the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and, through the male issue, to all the grandchildren of an emperor."

While most members of the exiled Romanov family supported Kirill’s decision, despite their personal feelings toward him, some cousins continued to maintain Kirill had no right to be the Tsar, even in exile.

As Grand Duke Kirill’s political activity increased, it was apparent that he and his family longer could remain in Coburg.  His position was now precarious as Germany had established relations with the Soviet Government.   The Bavarian government refused to expel Kirill, they made it clear that he was no longer welcome in Coburg.    In the spring of 1926, the family moved to St. Briac in Brittany, where they purchased a small villa. The house was given a Breton name, Ker Argonid, which translates to Villa Victoria.

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Money remained a problem. and Victoria Melita kept "the household going, and to pay for the education of their children,” by selling her paintings of “exquisite watercolors from her beloved garden.”

 Kira’s elder sister, Maria did not join them in Paris.  In 1925, she married Hereditary Prince Friedrich Karl of Leiningen, the son and heir of the Prince of Leiningen, the head of a wealthy mediatized family.  Kirill and Ducky were disappointed in the marriage.   They did not consider Friedrich Karl, a mere serene highness suitable for a Russian Grand Duchess, even though Friedrich Karl’s father was a grandson of Queen Victoria’s older half-brother.  Nonetheless, Maria was happy in her marriage and was already the mother of an infant son.

   In 1927, Kira, a “raven-haired beauty,” turned eighteen.  It was time for the young Grand Duchess, educated by tutors and governesses, to move into the important social circles to find a suitable husband, preferably one with a grand title ... and money.

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European papers published stories that Kira would marry King Boris III of Bulgaria.  The rumors were inevitable as many believed Boris was seeking an Orthodox bride.  But he had his heart set on a Roman Catholic princess, Giovanna of Italy, although, in 1929, the marriage faced several obstacles due to the Princess’ faith.  The New York Times reported that “talk has now arisen here of a possible alliance between the King and the Grand Duchess Kira Vladimirovna, the 19-year-old daughter of Grand Duke Cyril, recently recognized as the head of the Romanoff family by a considerable section of Russian royalists.”

(King Boris and Giovanna married in 1930. )

This is the first part of the chapter, Grand Duchess Kira, that was published in 2004 in the book The Grand Duchesses.  The book is out of print.

If you liked this article, perhaps you can buy me a coffee

Saturday, March 28, 2020

HSH Prince Nicolaus zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg (1925-2020)

@Nikolaus zu Bentheim

HSH Prince Nicolaus Moritz Casimir zu Bentheim-Tecklenburg died on March 26 at his home in Herzebrock-Clarholz. He was 95 years old.

Prince Nicolaus was the second child of HSH Adolf Moritz Casimir Karl Adalbert Hugo Arthur, 5th Prince of Bentheim-Tecklenburg, and HSH Princess Amélie of Schönburg-Waldenburg.   He was born at Rheda on March 12, 1925.   He married Countess Franziska von Hoyos, Baroness von  Stichtenstein (1921-2009) on September 15, 1951 at Werenwag bei Hausen.   The marriage was childless.

He served in the German military and was taken prisoner by the Allies.  After his release, he studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy for two years, graduating in 1947.   His first job was as an assistant designer for the State Opera in Munich.

After a trip to Italy in 1949,  he returned to Germany to attend the Cologne School of Art.  He and his wife lived in Rome for more than 30 years where he painted and also worked as a graphic and trade fair designer.

The prince, who used the name Nicolaus zu Bentheim, was known for his surrealist paintings.

Prince Nicolaus is survived by his younger sister, Princess Gustava, Countess von Hothenthal and Prince Heinrich, and numerous nieces and nephews, including HSH Moritz, 7th Prince of Bentheim-Tecklenburg.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Trooping the Colour 2020 - won't be traditional

@Marlene A Eilers Koenig

“In line with Government advice, it has been agreed that The Queen’s Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, will not go ahead in its traditional form.”

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma (1933-2020)

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HRH Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma died today at the Hôpital Cochin Paris. She was 86 years old.   The cause of death was COVID-19. The announcement was made by her younger brother, HRH Prince Sixte Enrico of Bourbon-Parma.  The princess had become ill eight days earlier and was admitted to the hospital yesterday.  She was in excellent health only ten days earlier and had been caring for her two sisters with the help of a nurse.   Princess Maria Teresa remained in the apartment in quarantine for a week before being transferred to the hospital.  She was infected by the nurse who cared for her sisters.

Princess Maria Teresa (Marie Thérèse Cécile Zita Charlotte) was born on July 28, 1933, at Paris, the third of six children of HRH Prince Xavier, Duke of Parma and Piacenza and Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset.

The princess never married.  She is survived by four of her siblings:  HRH Princess Francoise (Princess Edouard Lobkowicz), TRH Princess Cecilie, Princess Marie des Neiges, and Prince Sixte Enrique of  Bourbon-Parma, and six nieces and nephews,  Prince Carlos Xavier, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, HRH Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Parma, HRH Princess Margarita of Bourbon-Parma, HRH Princess Maria-Carolina of Bourbon-Parma (the children of the late HRH Prince Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and Piacenza) and HRH Princess Irene of the Netherlands) and HSH Prince Charles-Henri Lobkowicz and HSH Princess Marie Gabrielle Lobkowicz, a nun with Little Sisters of the Poor in the United States.)
TRH Prince Sixte Enrico and Princess Maria Teresa,  courtesy of HRH Prince Sixte Enrico

The Princess lived in Madrid since she was 28 years old.  She was a passionate supporter of Carlism and was nicknamed the Red Princess because she espoused leftist causes.  Empress Zita of Austria (nee Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma) was her aunt and her godmother.

In 2014, she spoke with the French newspaper, Liberation. The Princess said her father never reigned in Spain, but "fought all of his life to put his dynasty back in the throne."  She shared with her late brother, Carlos Hugo and his wife, Princess Irene, in the "oppression of financial capitalism,"  and became an "effervescent activist of this leftist Carlism, which dreamed of an oxymoronic socialist monarchy."

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Princess Maria Teresa said: "For us, the socialist idea was not the class struggle but the permanent search for consensus."

Her passion for Carlism never came to fruition.  In the late 1970s, she pursued a decorate in Hispanic Studies at the Sorbonne, and then a doctorate in Sociology in Madrid.  One of her dissertation subjects was "Religious overdetermination in the political field in Ireland" and the only royal highness to subscribe to Liberation, a left-wing French newspaper.

She lived alone.  According to her sister, Cecile,  Marie Teresa enjoyed her independence.  No affairs.   Cecile responded: "She has a very high requirement. If an opportunity had arisen, she would have seized it. But nothing in line with her aspirations has distracted her from her independence cult. ”

In an interview with L'Eventail, also in 2014, to promote her book, Les Bourbon Parme, une famille engagée dans l'histoire,  the princess said of her support for Carlism.  "Through Carlism, I tried to evoke the problem of Spain and in the broader sense that of Europe. We have been very involved, my brother Charles-Hugues, my sisters Cécile and Marie-des-Neiges, in the rebirth of this movement which I hesitate to call "party" because it is a word that does not suit all-to -fact. If you call it that, it is very old because it dates back to 1833. Since its creation, it has consistently defended certain claims. The movement still exists as a party, but when my brother succeeded my father and was considered a legitimate king, we obviously had to leave him. Today, it is my nephew Charles-Xavier who embodies continuity. He also wrote a document when King Juan-Carlos abdicated, not a criticism but rather a proposal for a solution to the expectations of Spanish society."

Princess Maria Teresa wrote seven books, all on Carlism and her family. None have been translated into English.

The funeral will take place on Friday, March 27.  The official announcement was released by her nephew, the Duke of Parma and does not include her eldest sister, Francoise, and her children and her younger brother, Sixte Enrico.  This is due to several decades-long estrangement between the three princess and their late brother, Carlo Hugo, and Princess Francoise and Prince Sixte largely due to political issues.


Archduke Karl fully recovered from Covid-19

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From Archduke Karl:

"I have just received a notification that the quarantine has been lifted after a negative corona test. After being infected with the Covid 19 virus, I am officially healthy again after almost three weeks.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who sent me wishes for recovery through various channels. Even if this removes the domestic quarantine for me, it is not a return to normal life for me either. The location makes it necessary to stay at home. This is the best way to curb the spread of the virus.

In all organizations in Austria in which I hold a management function, the events have been canceled for the next two months. Including the VI. Otto von Habsburg symposium, which should be devoted to the topic of "freedom".

Now we have to take responsibility in freedom, take care of ourselves and thus our fellow human beings and stay at home."

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Breaking News Prince Albert of Monaco tests positive for COVID-19

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AP reporting that Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19.

The palace states that the 62-year-old sovereign is doing well and still working at his desk.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Three Brazilian Princes test positive for COVID-19

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Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza, Prince Imperial of Brazil, announced earlier today that three of his younger brothers,  Prince Antonio, 70,  Prince Francisco, 64,  and Prince Alberto, 62,  have all tested positive for COVID-19 and are all undergoing treatment, according to Pro Monarquia, the official organization for the Imperial house of Brazil.

" We are experiencing the outbreak of one of the biggest epidemics in our history. In Brazil, this epidemic is growing and tends to contaminate a very large number of Brazilian people. He even reached the Imperial family: my brother, Antonio, who follows me in the line of succession, my brothers Alberto and Francisco, have all been tested positive for the coronavirus," Dom Bertrand said in a statement. "Do not get obsessed with the coronavirus, on the contrary. With all prudence and tranquility. We have to act with prudence, know where to be, what to do, what are the remedies, when to see the doctor. Let us know how to trust, more than ever, in Divine Providence."

 Prince Antonio is in the hospital.  Prince Alberto's wife, Maritza, also as the virus.

The 79-year-old Prince Bertrand is the heir apparent to his older brother, 81-year-old Prince Luiz.  The elderly princes are the sons of the late Prince Pedro Henrique (1909-1981) and Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (1911-2011).  They married in 1937 and were the parents of thirteen children.

Prince Antonio is second in line to the Vassouras branch of the Imperial house.  He is married Princess Christine de Ligne, daughter of the late Antoine, 13th Prince of Ligne and the late Princess Alix of Luxembourg, youngest daughter of the late Grand Duchess Charlotte.   (Christine's brother, Michel, the 14th Prince of Ligne, is married to Antonio's sister, Princess Eleonora.)

Prince Antonio and Princess Christina had four children:  Prince Pedro, who died in the Air France crash in June 2009,  Princess Amelia, Prince Rafael, and Princess Maria Gabriela.

Princes Francisco and Alberto renounced their rights to the throne when he made non-dynastic marriages.   Prince Francisco and his wife, Claudia Regina Godinho, are the parents of three daughters.   Prince Alberto is married to Maritza Ribas Bockel and they have two sons and two daughters.

Princess Beatrice cancels wedding reception

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The Telegraph is reporting that that Princess Beatrice and Edo Mapelli Mozzi have canceled their Buckingham Palace wedding reception on May 29.  The garden reception was to have taken place after the private wedding at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace.

“Princess Beatrice and Mr Mapelli Mozzi are very much looking forward getting married but are equally aware of the need to avoid undertaking any unnecessary risks in the current circumstances.

“In line with government advice for the UK and beyond, the couple are reviewing their arrangements for 29th May.

“They are particularly conscious of government advice in relation to both the wellbeing of older family members and large gatherings of people.

“Therefore, the planned reception in the Buckingham Palace Gardens will not take place.

“The couple will carefully consider government advice before deciding whether a private marriage might take place amongst a small group of family and friends.”

Monday, March 16, 2020

My latest article for BBC History Extra

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Would like to share with you my most recent article for BBC History Extra -

Working royals.

The first article was on Charles & Camilla.  I have another commission, but won't say anything until it is published.

Archduke Karl tests positive for Covid-19

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Archduke Karl of Austria, the 59-year-old head of the House of Habsburg, has tested positive for the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

From his home in Lower Austria, the archduke told a reporter from the Austrian newspaper,  Krone, that he said felt weak, but was optimistic.   "Don't panic, the Austrian authorities are acting  excellently," he said.  "I am doing reasonably well.  You feel a little depressed like a fly, but the symptoms do not go away quickly."

He believes he caught the infection in Geneva, as many of the attendees were from Milan.

"I had cough and lung problems, which I reported to the local officials," Karl said.  "A team in protective suits  did the five minute test."

 The day after, a policeman gave the archduke the news that the test was positive."

Karl is at his home and offered his thanks to "everyone who looked after me very nicely and correctly."

The archduke travels the world as a cultural officer. He is quick to offer appreciation for Austria's professionalism in dealing with the coronavirus.  The reporter asked him if he was worried or fearful?

"I am in contact with the family, the three children and friends over the phone and the computer.  Business as usual, that is, a normal working day."  But for the archduke, noted:  "Not really, as I am usually not at home for so long."

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Two new QVDS in the Leiningen family.

Well, two new QVDs in the Leiningen family.

HSH The Hereditary Princess of Leiningen gave birth to a daughter, HSH Princess Alexandra Viktoria Luise Ehrengard, on February 28, 2020, at Frankfurt-am-Main,  the day before Leap Year.   The confirmation is from the mother.

The former Princess Viktoria Luise von Preussen, the daughter of the late HRH Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia and Ehrengard von Reden, married HSH Hereditary Prince Ferdinand of Leiningen.

Princess Alexandra is a four-time descendant of Queen Victoria.

HSH Princess Isabelle of Leiningen, the wife of HSH Prince Hermann zu Leiningen, gave birth to a son, Leopold Konstantin Rainer Andreas was born on October 16, 2019, at Coburg.

The infant prince was baptized on January 5, 2020, at Amorbach's Lutheran church.

The godparents were Leopold Ferch,  HSH Princess Cecilia of Leiningen, daughter of HSH Prince Karl-Emich of Leiningen and his first wife, the late HSH Princess Margarita of Hohenlohe-Ohringen, and Count Konstantin von Schönborn.

Leopold Ferch is the eldest child of Baroness Alexandra von Holzhausen (daughter of HI &RH Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria, Princess of Tuscany) and Christian Ferch.

Hereditary Prince Ferdinand and Prince Hermann are the sons of HSH Andreas, Prince of Leiningen, and his wife, HRH Princess Alexandra of Hanover.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Queen Margrethe II cancels 80th birthday celebrations

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A release from the Danish royal house regarding Queen Margrethe II's 80th birthday celebrations, which have been canceled.

The Queen's 70th birthday celebrations were also

"Her Majesty The Queen has returned this evening from her annual winter holiday in Norway. In light of the spread of COVID-19 and the consequences of this for the society, The Queen has decided to cancel all of the Royal Danish House’s planned activities and events in connection with the upcoming 80th birthday in April. The royal family’s participation in other items on the official program in the coming weeks is also cancelled.

About the current crisis, The Queen states:

“Denmark and the international community stand in a very difficult situation right now.  We all have a special responsibility to show consideration for each other and together contribute to helping Denmark successfully get through the very big challenges the country faces. I therefore appeal that we all follow the government’s and the authorities’ directions and take care of each other.

I would like to direct a heartfelt thank you to the Danish healthcare personnel and the authorities, institutions, businesses and individuals displaying great decisive action and care for the Danish people so that we, together, can get through this difficult time.”

Upon arriving home in Denmark, The Queen has, as planned, taken up residence at Fredensborg Palace, where The Queen will remain for the time being."

Ten years ago,  a number of Queen Margrethe II's invited guests for her 70th birthday celebrations were unable to fly in for the birthday celebrations due to the ash from a volcano in Iceland, which led to closed airspace throughout the world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Edward and Sophie in West Mersea

all photos @Ken Stone

Thank you to Ken Stone for allowing me to use his photos of TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex in West Mersea today.

It is the Earl of Wessex's 56th birthday.

The photos are the copyright of Ken Stone, and may not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Twins in the summer for Christian and Alessandra of Hanover

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HRH Princess Alessandra of Hanover is pregnant with twins,  according to reports Bunte.  The Peruvian-born designer lives in Madrid with her husband, HRH Prince Christian of Hanover, younger son of Prince Ernst August of Hanover and his first wife, Chantal Hochuli.

The babies are expected sometime this summer. 

The first pregnancy report came from the Spanish magazine, Hola.

Prince Max Emanuel of Thurn und Taxis (1935-2020)

HSH Price Max Emanuel Maria Albert Paul Isabella Klemens Lamoral of Thurn und Taxis was the eldest son of HSH Prince Raphael Rainer Karl Maria Joseph Antonius Ignatius Hubertus Lamoral (1906-1993) and HSH Princess Margarete  Charlotte Klementine Maria Alexandra Melanie of Thurn und Taxis (1913-1997).

Prince Max Emanuel was married twice.  Both marriages were considered non-dynastic.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Mail Call

Finally caught up on all the Christmas and post-Christmas cards .. and now I can put them away in albums!