Thursday, April 22, 2021

HRH Duchess Helene of Württemberg (1929-2021)

 HRH Duchess Helene Christina Rosa Margareta Albertine Philippine Amélie Therese Josephine Antonia Alix Patrine Paula Pia of Württemberg died on April 22, 2021 at Altshausen.  She was 91 years old.

The Duchess was the eldest of six children of the late HRH Philipp Duke of Württemberg (1893-1975) and his second wife, Archduchess Rosa of Austria (1906-1985).  Her first name honored her father's first wife and her mother's sister, Archduchess Helene (1903-1924), who died a week after giving birth to a daughter, Duchess Marie Christine.

Helene married Marchese Federico Palavicini on August 23, 1961, at Friedrichshafen,  The civil wedding took place a day earlier in Altshausen.

She is survived by her four children: Maria Cristina Pallavicini Bartram (1963), Antonietta Pallavicini (1964), Gabriella Pallavicini Walter (1965), and Giancarlo Pallavicini, Marchese Pallavicini (1967) and her estranged husband.

She is also survived by her siblings  HRH Princess Marie Christine of Liechtenstein, HRH Princess Elisabeth of Bourbon-Two Sicilies,  HRH Princess Marie Therese, Duchess of Montpensier and HRH Carl, Duke of Württemberg.

Monday, April 19, 2021

When Queen Sonja met Walter Mondale

All photos by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

 Former Vice President Walter Mondale died today at the age of 93.   On October 9, 1991, he was one of the guests at the welcome of three Viking Ships at the Washington D.C., Harbor.

The three ships were recreating Leif Erickson Day .. the Icelandic-Norwegian explorer who "discovered" America nearly 500 years before King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel sponsored Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World.   

Queen Sonja of Norway and then Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir were the guests of honor.   I was covering the event for a Britsh magazine.  Much to the amusement of the press, the Secret Service tried to deny entry to one of the VIPs.  

Walter Mondale, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir & Queen Sonja

We kept telling the agents, all of whom appeared very young, that the man they were questioning was a prominent Norwegian American Walter Mondale.  I recognized him as did other members of the press.

One of the agents turned to me afterward and said thank you.   I responded with something like: you should be able to identify the former Vice President.

It was not until 2008 when Congress passed legislation that extended Secret Service protection for former Vice Presidents for six months after leaving office.

Mondale served as Jimmy Carter's Vice President (1977-1981).  He lost the 1980 Presidential election to Ronald Reagan.  

Walter Mondale was 93.

Price Philip's parents: Alice and Andrew

In her journal, for February 25, 1885, Queen Victoria described the birth of her fourth great-grandchild, a daughter. 

"Woke before 7. Hearing that Victoria had had a bad night, I got up & went over to see her.  She was very suffering. I had some breakfast, & then went back remaining with dear Victoria on & off, till at length, at 20 m to 5 in the afternoon, the child, a little girl, was born. The relief was great for poor Victoria had had such a long hard time, which always makes me anxious. How strange & indeed affecting, it was, to see her lying in the same room & in the same bed, in which she herself was born.  Good Ludwig was most helpful & attentive, hardly leaving Victoria for a moment. The Baby is very small, thin & dark. I held it for a few moments in my arms.  It is curious that it should be born on dear Alice's 2nd birthday, which Helen specially came to spend here. As all was going well with dear Victoria, & the evening very fine, I took a short drive with Ly Southampton & Horatia S.  On coming in, went again to Victoria, who had rested & was quite composed & happy.  Ludwig was radiant..."

Ludwig was of course Prince Louis.  The little Princess celebrating her 2nd birthday was Princess Alice of Albany,  the daughter of the late Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, and his wife,  Princess Helen of Waldeck und Pyrmont.   Alice and Princess Victoria were first cousins, both granddaughters of Queen Victoria.

Princess Alice 

Princess Alice died on December 14, 1878, the same day as her father, Prince Albert.   The Prince Consort's death in 1861 was attributed to typhoid fever.  Alice succumbed to diphtheria, a month after the disease also took the life of her youngest daughter, Marie.

Princess Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria's third child, Princess Alice, and Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine, had married her father's first cousin, Prince Louis of Battenberg.  This was not a dynastic marriage but a love match.   Prince Louis' father, Prince Alexander of Hesse and By Rhine's marriage to a Polish Countess Julie von Hauke was a morganatic marriage.  This meant Alexander's rank and titles could not be shared with his wife or children.

Julie was given the title Princess of Battenberg with the style of Serene Highness, a rank shared by her children.  Victoria was a Grand Ducal Highness.  

Louis and Victoria knew each other since childhood.  The Queen had invited Victoria and her sister, Ella, to join her at Balmoral in the spring of 1883.  Ella told her father: "If Victoria does not go to Scotland she will become engaged to Louis Battenberg."

Prince Louis declined an invitation to attend his first cousin, Emperor Alexander II's Coronation, which took place in May 1883.   Alexander's mother,  Marie Alexandrovna, was the sister of Grand Duke Ludwig IV and Prince Alexander. 

The engagement between Victoria and Louis was announced that June.   Louis, already a naturalized British subject and an officer in the Royal Navy, and Victoria were married in Darmstadt on April 30, 1884.

The birth took place in the Tapestry Room in Windsor Castle, the same room where the infant princess' mother, Victoria, was born in 1863.    The new parents and their infant daughter returned to Darmstadt at the end of March.

Queen Victoria arrived in Darmstadt on April 23.  She would be present for the Confirmation of her grandson, Hereditary Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig. This ceremony was  held in the early afternoon.  After a lunch held in the Neues Palais Dining room, the Queen rested until shortly before 4 p.m., when the family again gathered in the Dining room for the baptism of Prince and Princess Louis's first child.   The infant princess was given the names Victoria Alice Elisabeth Julia Marie.

Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice,  Princess Victoria, and Princess Alice

The godparents included Queen Victoria, Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine, Prince Alexander of Hesse and By Rhine, Princess Julie of Battenberg, Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia, and Countess Marie of Erbach-Schönburg.   In other words, little Alice's great-grandmother, her three surviving grandparents, and her maternal and paternal aunts, respectively.

Alice's early years were spent in Darmstadt, Schloss Heiligenberg, London and Malta. as her father moved up the ladder in the Royal Navy.   She was four years old when Victoria gave birth to a second daughter, Louise (1889-1965).   Another four-year interval followed when George was born (1892-1937).  A fourth child, Louis, known as Dickie, was born in June 1900.

It was her paternal grandmother Princess Julie who noticed that Alice was having problems hearing and took her to a specialist who diagnosed congenital deafness.   Alice did learn to speak and lipread in English, German, and Greek.

In July 1893, she was one of Princess May of Teck's bridesmaids at her wedding to the future King George V, the son of King Edward VII, who succeeded his mother, Queen Victoria, in January 1901.

Edward's Coronation was scheduled to take in June 1902.  Among the royal guests were Crown Prince Constantine and Crown Princess Sophie of Greece,  accompanied by two of Constantine's brothers,  Prince George and Prince Andrew, then only 20.   Sophie was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, while Constantine and his brothers were the nephews of Queen Alexandra.  Her younger brother, Wilhelm, had been elected King of the Hellenes in 1863 and had taken the name George.

It was during this family gathering that Princess Alice met and fell in love with Prince Andrew.

King Edward was ill with peritonitis and underwent emergency surgery, thus postponing the Coronation until August.   Alice and her mother returned to Darmstadt in early July, awaiting word of the new Coronation date.   It was also apparent that Alice was 'much in love' with Andrew.   Victoria acknowledged that Andrew would be her son-in-law.

Alice and Victoria returned to London in August for the rescheduled Coronation, which took place on August 9.   In the carriage procession to Abbey,  Princess Victoria and Princess Alice were in the same carriage as Prince Andrew and his brother George.


Andrew and Alice had a few days in London to get to know each other before Alice and her mother returned to Germany.   The couple would not see each other for ten months due to Andrew's military service in Greece and the Battenbergs moved to London in January 1903 as Prince Louis had been appointed Director of Naval Intelligence.

Their engagement was announced on May 10, 1903, two days after Andrew arrived in London.  The wedding date was set for October 7 in Darmstadt.   The Princess of Wales' formidable Aunt Augusta was not impressed when she learned that Queen Alexandra would be attending the wedding.

"Why?" she wondered in a letter to May. "There is surely no reason for it, a Battenberg, daughter of an illegitimate father, he the fourth son of a newly baked King!

Oh, the irony of Augusta's words especially to May, whose father, Duke Franz, was the scion of a morganatic as well.

The couple was married in a civil ceremony on October 6.  Two religious ceremonies, Lutheran and Orthodox, took place the next day.  The Protestant service took place in the chapel in the Alte Schloss.  The Russian Orthodox wedding was celebrated at the Russian chapel on Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt.

Hugo Vickers notes in his excellent biography, Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece,  King Edward VII wanted the couple to have a fourth ceremony at the British Legation as Alice was a British subject, but "the young couple demurred."

Alice and Andrew were the parents of four daughters:  Margarita (1905-1981), Theodora  (1906-1969), Cecile (1911-1937) and Sophie (1914-2001), and one son, Philip (1921-2021).

Prince Andrew (1882-1944) was estranged from his wife and family when he died in Monaco. 

All images Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Princess Alice died on December 5, 1969, at Buckingham Palace.  She was originally interred in the Royal Crypt at St. George's Chapel until her wish to be buried at Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem could be fulfilled until August 3, 1988, when Alice's remains were brought to the church and buried in a crypt under the church.

In October 1994,  Alice's two surviving children, Princess Sophie and Prince Philip traveled to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem as Alice had been named as Righteous Among Nations as she hid the Cohen family, who were Jewish,  in her Athens home during the German occupation.

Prince Philip told the New York Times at the time:   "I suspect that it never occurred to her that her action was in any way special. She was a person with a deep religious faith, and she would have considered it to be a perfectly natural human reaction to fellow beings in distress."

During this next week, I will post on Philip's four sisters.  I have selected photos from my collection to use in the posts.

If you liked this post ... I would love a latte


the Queen and Philip at Mount Vernon

@Marlene A Eilers Koenig

I took this photo on May 16, 1991, when HM the Queen and HRH The Prince Philip. Duke of Edinburgh visited Mount Vernon,  George Washington's home.  I was a member of the British press for the Queen's visit, but I slipped away from the group to head straight to Washington's tomb, where the Queen was scheduled to lay a wreath. 

I was already at the front of the roped-off area for the press when the other reporters and photographers.  One of the British photographers asked me how I got here so fast.  I smiled and said, I know a short cut and explained that I lived literally up the street from Mount Vernon (8.5 miles to be exact and often rode my bike on the trail to Mount Vernon.

The royal visit ended with the Queen unveiling a plaque commemorating her visit to Mount Vernon's new wharf where she and Prince Philip boarded a barge, which took the royal couple back to Washington, D.C.   

I said goodbye to the other reporters and got into my car and drove home.   A few minutes ride.  At the time, I lived in an apartment complex on the Potomac River so I had a great view on our back lawn to watch and wave as the barge headed up the river toward Georgetown.   

@Marlene A Eilers Koenig  - taken in July 2020

Friday, April 16, 2021

Another Lovely photo


@HRH The Duchess of Cambridge

Mike Tindall, the husband of Zara Phillips, is sharing this photo of the late Duke of Edinburgh with one of his great-grandchildren, Mia Tindall on his Instagram account.  

The photo was taken by the Duchess of Cambridge.

An Imperial Monogram


Grand Duke George of Russia and his fiancee, Rebecca Bettarini have released their monogram.

Courtesy of Rebecca Bettarini

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Guest list

Embed from Getty Images


Buckingham Palace has released the guestlist for HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's funeral

The Queen

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall

Princess Anne and Sir Tim Laurence

Prince Andrew

Prince Edward, the Countess of Wessex, Lady Louise, and Viscount Severn

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry

Peter Phillips

Zara and Mike Tindall

Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank

The 2nd Earl of Snowdon

Lady Sarah Chatto and Daniel Chatto

The Duke of Gloucester

The Duke of Kent

Princess Alexandra

The Hereditary Prince of Baden

The Landgrave of Hesse

The Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

The Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Embed from Getty Images

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Three German relatives will be at Philip's funeral

Embed from Getty Images

Three  German relatives of Prince Philip will be present for his funeral on Saturday at St. George's Chapel, according to a report by Daily Mail reporter, Robert Hardman.

All three men are descendants of Queen Victoria and two are descendants of Philip's sisters, Princess Margarita and Princess Theodora.

Philipp, the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Hereditary Prince Bernhard of Baden, and Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse arrived in England last weekend and are staying in a house near Ascot.


Prince Philipp Gottfried Alexander, 51, is the second of three children and only son of the late Kraft, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, and his first wife, HSH Princess Charlotte of Croy.  He has two sisters, Princess Cecile and Princess Xenia.   In 2003, he married Saskia Binder.  They have three children: Hereditary Prince Max, Prince Gustav, and Princess Marita.

He is the grandson of Prince Philip's eldest sister, Princess Margarita, who in 1931, married HSH Gottfried, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, whose mother, Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Anne is Prince Philip's godmother.   The late Princess Margarita was one of Anne's godparents.

The family live at Schloss Langenburg in Württemberg.

Victoria - Alfred - Alexandra - Gottfried - Kraft - Philipp

Victoria -Alice -Victoria - Alice - Margarita - Kraft - Philipp

Embed from Getty Images 

Hereditary Prince Bernhard Max Friedrich August Gustav Ludwig of Baden, 50, is the son of Max, Margrave of Baden, and his wife, Archduchess Valerie of Austria.  He is married to Stephanie Kaul and they have three sons,  Prince Leopold, Prince Friedrich, and Prince Karl-Wilhelm.  They live in Linzgau, near Schloss Salem.

Bernhard's paternal grandmother was Princess Theodora of Greece, Prince Philip's second sister, who is in 1931 married HRH Berthold, Margrave of Baden.

Victoria - Alice - Victoria - Alice - Theodora - Max - Bernhard

Embed from Getty Images 

 Heinrich Donatus Philipp Umberto, Landgrave of Hesse, 54, is the eldest son of the late HRH Moritz, Landgrave of Hesse and HSH Princess Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. His paternal grandfather, Philipp, Landgrave of Hesse, was the third of six sons of Friedrich Wilhelm, Landgrave of Hesse, and Princess Margarete of Prussia, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.   

Philipp became the heir after his two older brothers were killed in the first world war.   His support for Hitler did not help to save his wife, Princess Mafalda of Italy, whose father was King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, who in 1943 was arrested by the Gestapo, and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where she died of injuries suffered during an Allied bombing of a munitions factory inside the camp in August 1944.

Donatus' father, Moritz, was the heir of Prince Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, the younger brother of Hereditary Prince Georg Donatus of Hesse and by Rhine and Princess Cecilie of Greece,  Prince Philip's third sister.  The couple and two of their three children were killed in a plane crash in Ostend, Belgium, in November 1937 as they were en route to London to attend Prince Ludwig's wedding to the Hon. Margaret Geddes. 

  Embed from Getty Images   

Victoria - Victoria - Margarete - Philipp -Moritz - Donatus

Prince Ludwig, whose primary home was Schloss Wolfsgarten, died in 1968.

He is married to Countess Flora von Faber-Castell.  They have three children:   Princess Paulina, Hereditary Prince Moritz, and Prince August.

Prince Moritz's younger brother, Prince Christoph, married 16-year-old Princess Sophie of Greece in 1930.  She was the youngest of the four sisters of Prince Philip.  Christoph was killed in an air crash in 1943.  Three years later, Sophie married HRH Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover.  Georg Wilhelm's father, Prince Ernst August, wrote to King George VI, seeking approval under the provisions of the Royal Marriages Act for his son.  As the second world war had ended only a year before, the King was advised to not give his consent to the marriage.

Donatus owns Schloss Kronberg, formerly known as Schloss Friedrichshof, the castle built by Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, after the death of her husband, Emperor Friedrich III of Germany.   The castle, which was used as an officers' club by the American military after the second world war, was also the scene of the theft of Hesse jewels and other items that had been buried by family during the war.

Schloss Kronberg has become an exclusive hotel.  Donatus's other properties include Schloss Fasaneri, where the family archives are kept, Schloss Panker, and Schloss Wolfsgarten, once the home of Philip's sister, Cecile, and her husband, Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus.  

In the late summer of 1937,  Philip was at Wolfsgarten Cecilie and Georg Donatus and their three children.  His grandmother Victoria was also there, as she was caring for her critically ill brother, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig.  He died at Wolfsgarten on November 9.

In September  Philip, then age 16, returned to Gordonstoun in Scotland,  It was the last time he would see his sister and her family.

Schloss Langenburg guidebook

Lovely photos


Balmoral 2015: the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge.

@The Duchess of Cambridge  The great-grandchildren  This photo was taken in 2018 at Balmoral.  HRH Prince George of Cambridge, HM the Queen holding HRH Prince Louis of Cambridge, HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, HRH The Prince Philip , Isla Phillips holding Lena Tindall & Mia Tindall.  In the back, Savannah Phillips 

Latter two photos released by HRH The Prince of Wales

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The statements from the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex

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HRH Prince George of Cambridge and his great-grandpa.  The photo was taken by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge released this statement about his grandfather.

"My grandfather’s century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days. I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her. I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!

My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

This was followed by the HRH The Duke of Sussex's statement:

“My grandfather was a man of service, honour and great humour. He was authentically himself, with a seriously sharp wit, and could hold the attention of any room due to his charm—and also because you never knew what he might say next.

He will be remembered as the longest-reigning consort to the Monarch, a decorated serviceman, a Prince and a Duke. But to me, like many of you who have lost a loved one or grandparent over the pain of this past year, he was my grandpa: master of the barbecue, legend of banter, and cheeky right ‘til the end.

He has been a rock for Her Majesty The Queen with unparalleled devotion, by her side for 73 years of marriage, and while I could go on, I know that right now he would say to all of us, beer in hand, ‘Oh do get on with it!’

So, on that note, Grandpa, thank you for your service, your dedication to Granny, and for always being yourself. You will be sorely missed, but always remembered—by the nation and the world. Meghan, Archie, and I (as well as your future great-granddaughter) will always hold a special place for you in our hearts.

‘Per Mare, Per Terram.’”

Friday, April 9, 2021

Prince Philip: An Appreciation


all photos  Marlene A Eilers Koenig

There will be many articles in the days to come examining the life of the late HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  He was the longest ever consort of an English or British sovereign.  He was a descendant of Queen Victoria as is his widow -- I hate writing this word -- Queen Elizabeth II.   They were married for 73 years.

In the 1980s and 1990s, I covered royal visits to the US for a British magazine, Berkswell's The Royal Year.  Prince Philip visited the US on numerous occasions and it was a delight to write about his visits -- and to take photos as well, although I did not have a fancy camera at that time.

My mom thought he was so handsome when he was young.  She was right.  He was dishy.

The late Duke of Edinburgh was aware of my research into the descendants of Queen Victoria, which led to three books, all titled Queen Victoria's Descendants.    His Private Secretary at the time was always able to get the answers to questions that I posed to the Prince. 

The London bookstore Hatchards is one of my favorite places to visit in London.  The store manager spotted me during one visit.  He walked over to tell me that Prince Philip had recently ordered several copies of my book to give as gifts.

Well, that made my day.

In May 1991, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  I was at the White House for their arrival -- and yes this was the event of the Talking Hat.   I am short so I managed to get a photo of the Queen's face, and not merely her hat.

An off-the-record press reception was held at a local hotel in Washington, D.C., hotel.  No photos, but one hoped one would get presented.  

I was presented to the Queen first.  It's true. you do not remember what the conversation was about.  I did curtsey and she shook my hand.

Several deep breaths followed. I turned my attention to finding Prince Philip.  My eyes scanned the room. It took only a few seconds to spot him   I made my way to where the Prince was chatting.  I was in the line - and then, there he was standing in front of me.  

One of the British Embassy officials introduced me to HRH.  I curtseyed.  We chatted a bit and I said rather casually: "I correspond with your sister, Princess Sophie."

Prince Philip responded:  "Yes, she warned me about you."  It was said with humor as he was familiar with my work.  He shook my hand before turning to the next person in line.

A day or two later,  I received a letter from Princess Sophie, which was written on Windsor Castle stationary.  I had written to her some weeks earlier with a few questions and the news that I would be covering the state visit and received invitations to the press reception and the Garden Party at the British Embassy (where I ran into a friend, Crown Prince Alexander, and his wife, Crown Princess Katherine.  I was standing next to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess when the Queen walked by. She stopped immediately to greet her godson (they kissed each other on the cheek) and, much to my delight, the Crown Prince called the Queen  'Lilibet'.

Princess Sophie answered my questions and added that she had told the Queen and Prince Philip that I would be at the reception.

So Philip did know who I was.  Nearly 30 years later,  the meeting between HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh still brings a smile to my face.

Washington, DC Congressional Award  1996

Washington National Cathedral

Conserving our Heritage seminar at National Cathedral, May 1990

Planting a tree at the National Cathedral in May 1990. Spade was first used in 1919 by the Prince of Wales (Duke of Windsor)

State visit May 1991

NYC 1980s

June 1991

Diamond Jubilee  Flotilla  2012

St Paul's  2016

Garden Party at British Ambassador's residence  1991

Garden Party

Congress  1991