Friday, May 28, 2021

From Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits at the National Maritime Museum.

Henry VII @National Portrait Gallery

I received an invitation to the press opening for a new exhibit. From Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (as in London, not Connecticut), but, alas, I had to decline as the UK has not yet opened to overseas visitors, even fully vaccinated ones.

 The majority of the portraits are from London's National Portrait Gallery, which is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen in 2023.   It is a fabulous exhibit!  How do I know this, dear readers? 

 I saw the exhibit in November 2018 when I went to Texas to spend Thanksgiving week with a friend, who lives in Austin. She and I traveled to Houston to see  From Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, which was fabulous and well worth the trip.

The exhibit moved to the Bendigo Art Gallery in Bendigo, Victoria in Australia, and is now back in England at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

The official opening was today, May 28, and runs through October 31, 2021.   

From Holbein to Warhol, the depth of portraiture is outstanding.  I understand this exhibit had added portraits from the National Maritime Museum, which were not included in the Houston exhibit. 

This exhibit was produced in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.

Take the time to absorb each portrait, whether it be a painting or a photograph, you are in the presence of History. 

Anne Boleyn  @National Portrait Gallery

Charles II @National Portrait Gallery

Elizabeth I @National Portrait Gallery

Queen Elizabeth II @William Hustler and Georgina Hustler/ National Portrait Gallery 

@National Portrait Gallery

King George III  @National Portrait Gallery

Henry VII I @National Maritime Museum

Henry VIII  @National Portrait Gallery

James II  @National Maritime Museum

Queen Anne @National Portrait Gallery

Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth @Thomas Struth

Queen Victoria @National Portrait Gallery

The wedding of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth @National Portrait Gallery

William III  @National Maritime Museum

Tickets are available online.  Please pay attention to all the Covid-19 restrictions.  Masks are required for visiting the exhibit.,The%20exhibition%20is%20now%20open.

The companion book, Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, is available for sale at the National Maritime Museum's bookstore. 

You can also order this book from Amazon.

There is so much to see and do in Greenwich. There are several different transportation options including my favorite, the river bus.

And if you are in the mood for a good meal, I recommend the Admiral Hardy Pub, which is not too far from the Cutty Sark.  

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Margaret to be Duchess of Sussex

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 May 27, 1961

The Daily Sketch is reporting that Princess Margaret "will take the title Duchess of Sussex so that her forthcoming child -- fifth in line to the British throne -- will not be a commoner," reports Reuters.

The newspaper added that Margaret's husband, Antony Armstrong-Jones "will remain a commoner despite the title for Margaret."  She is expected to give birth to the couple's first child in November.

The Sketch's commented: "A DUCHY for Princess Margaret will give a more fitting status to her children.  Her eldest son will take her senior subsidiary title -- probably a Marquisate.  Younger sons and all daughters will bear the courtesy title of Lord and Lady."

This view was echoed by the Daily Herald, a pro-labor newspaper, which published today: "Princess Margaret's baby will be fifth in line to the throne and so, it is said, must have a title.  But in practice, No. 5 on the list is about as near as No. 100. There could always be a courtesy title of prince or princess."

Queen Helen accepts fate

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 May 27, 1931

Queen Helen of Romania, the divorced wife of King Carol II, has accepted "as certain that she must soon leave Roumania and become separated from her beloved little son, 9-year-old Crown Prince Michael," reports the Associated Press.

A British friend of the queen told the Associated Press of the "pathetic conversation she had in Bucharest a few days ago with Queen Helen," regarding Helen's place in Roumania.

Sources close to the Roumanian government confirm that Helen will be "removed from the list of the royal family and exiled from Roumania."

Helen told her friend: "No choice is left with me. As between humiliation and departure I have chosen the latter -- that is to say, I have resigned myself to what had to come sooner or later.  No promises have been to me. Only the statement that I could go away was reiterated.  I could do nothing.

"I have been kept at arm's length for the past year.  The date of my departure has not been fixed but it probably will be when the official formalities in connection with the assembly of the new parliament are ended.

"I have one friend left in the country.  I speak of Premier Jorga.  He has been my steadfast friend and has behaved correctly toward me.

"My life has been a sad one for years, and now I am going out into the dark.  My inquiries abroad have not yet enabled me to decide where I shall take up permanent residence after leaving Roumania for good. It probably will be either Italy or France.

"There is no key to my future/ I have lived in reinforced retirement for a full year now, and I shall live the life of a recluse henceforward.

"My dear boy Michael was inconsolable when I told him what my life is to be henceforth.  I never saw despair written more deeply on the face of a child before. I don't know how I shall be seeing him. That is my most profound sorrow."

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Leo's alphabet

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This was written by Lord Leopold Mounbatten, second son of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's youngest child, and Prince Henry of Battenberg.

A stands for Arthur a prince without grit.
Some say he is a hero. We know he is a shit.
(Prince Arthur of Connaught)

B stands for Beatrice the Queen of the Wight
Whose passion for church is the parson's delight.
(Princess Beatrice, youngest daughter of Victoria)

C stands for Christian, now departed from this life.
He was foul to his children & rude to his wife.
(Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, husband of Princess Helena)

D stands for Drino whose piles gave him hell.
He's now got a wife who has them as well.
(The Marquess of Carisbrooke)

E stands for Ena, the fair Queen of Spain.
Her offspring is legion. It's a wonder she's sane.

F stands for Family. The Royal one I mean
They can't be explained -- They've got to be seen.

G stands for George, a King without charm.
His manners offensive, but don't do much harm.
(King George V)

H stands for Helen, a Duchess of Rank.
Her shape is immense and resembles a tank.
(Duchess of Albany)

I stands for Irene of indefinite tact.
She gets on with her "in-laws" - strange -- but a fact.
(Marchioness of Carisbrooke)

J stands for Jealousy - mean petty trait.
which obscures the Royal Family's sense of fair play.

K stands for Knollys, an old sister and brother,
who for hundreds of years have been with the Queen Mother.
(Charlotte Knollys and her brother, close to Queen Alexandra)

L stands for Louie, and also Louise.
They're both mad and dirty, damned hard to please.
(Princess Marie Louise of Schleswig-Holstein and the Duchess of Argyll)

M stands for Mary, who's never been seen
to have any fun, except drive with the Queen.
(Princess Mary, daughter of King George V)

N stands for Nada, of Russian extraction.
She married Medina, to her great satisfaction.
(Countess Nada Torby married to the Earl of Medina, ne Prince George of Battenberg)

O stands for Osborne, a summer resort.
Where the family yacht-raced, learnt swimming and fought.

P stands for Patsy who's married at last,
and has shed the Royal Rank she had in the past.
(Princess Patricia of Connaught)

Q stands for the Queen, whose life is well known.
To consist of kind actions, and patience at home.
(Queen Mary)

R stands for Royal, the Princess of that name,
Who is yellow and thin, whose talk is insane.
(Princess Royal -- Princess Louise).

S stands for Schomberg, the house which conceals
a permanent grievance with dramas at meals.
(Residence of Princess Helena Victoria and Princess Marie Louise)

T stands for Thora, the only princess
Who is loved by us all and a downright success.
(Princess Helena Victoria)

U stands for Uncle and Arthur is his name,
He's now a bit gaga, but kind all the same.
(Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught)

V stands for Victoria - a cat beyond measure
To whom scandals and lies are a positive pleasure.
(Princess Victoria, sister of George V)

W stands for Windsor, the new Family name.
They think it sounds English, but they're Huns all the same.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Baby news


Beatrice’s baby will be 11th in line to the British throne. This will be the second grandchild for the Duke of York and Sarah Duchess of York and the 12th great grandchild for the Queen. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Nicholas Brandram to marry


@ Nicholas Brandram

Another QVD engagement,

Nicholas George Brandram, the second of three children of the late Paul Brandram and Jennifer Steele, has announced his engagement of Sophie Amelia Ferguson, daughter of Jakes David Ferguson and Mary Victoria Mann.   Miss Ferguson was born in Oxford on October 13, 1992.   She attended Downe House school before receiving a BA in Fashion Design and Development, Fashion/Apparel in 2015.

For the past five years, Sophie has worked for Smythsons of Bond Street, where she is currently employed as a Wholesale Account Manager.

Nicholas, who was born on April 23, 1982, works in the Global Private Banking division of HSBC.  He served in the Scots Guards with the rank of Captain from 2004 through 2011.

Nicholas' first marriage to Katrina Davis ended in divorce in 2014.

Victoria - Victoria - Sophie - Katherine - Paul - Nicholas.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Franz Ferdinand won't marry Princess

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 May 13, 1891

The Chicago Tribune is reporting there is "great annoyance at the Court of Vienna" Emperor Franz Josef has failed to arrange a marriage between his granddaughter, Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria, and his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who is the son of Archduke Carl Ludwig.

Franz Ferdinand is the eventual heir to the throne.  He made it clear that "he found it impossible to fall in love with the princess, and unless he can make a marriage of affection he will remain single."

The archduke is "enormously rich" as he inherited the late Duke of Modena's "vast fortune.

Princess Elisabeth, who celebrated her seventeenth birthday on January 8 is the eldest of four children of Archduchess Gisela of Austria and Prince Leopold of Bavaria.

Faberge wedding rings for Imperial wedding


Faberge will be designing the wedding rings for the wedding of HIH Grand Duke George and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini, which will take place in October.

Princess Laetitia defies Italian King


May 13, 1911

The Duchess of Aosta has "openly defied" King Victor Emanuele of Italy to arrest her son, Prince Umberto, Count of Salemi, who has been accused of "petty thefts at the navy academy" in Livorno, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The 21-year-old prince is the only child of the King's  late Prince Amadeo, Duke of Aosta, and Princess Maria Laetitia Bonaparte

For some time, the naval academy has been "disturbed by a series of pilferings belonging to cadets and professors."  A night porter was originally suspected of carrying out the thefts based on "purely presumptive evidence."

The thefts continued after the porter had been dismissed. The naval academy established a more "systematic inquiry" to catch the thief.   A watch was established, which is how Count Salemi was detained after he had been seen in a clockroom taking a purse with money that had been placed in that spot to trap the thief.

The academy tried to hush up the accusations against Prince Umberto but gradually word of his discomfiture reaches "the ears" of the king, who ordered that the prince "be treated as any ordinary cadet would be treated under similar circumstances."

This decision did not sit well with Umberto's mother who arrived at Livorno because the king's command could be implemented.  She had to use a combination of threats and persuasion to take custody of her son and drove him "with all possible speed to Turin." 

The Duchess continues to defy the king and the naval academy officials by refusing to bring her son back to Livorno, preferring to dole out her own punishment.

Princess Maria Laetitia Bonaparte was born in 1866, one of three children of Prince Napoleon and Princess Maria Clotilde of Savoy.   She nearly married her first cousin, Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, later the Duke of Aosta. The marriage never happened and Emanuele Filberto married Princess Helene of Orleans.  In September 1888, she married Emanuele Filiberto's father, Prince Amedo, the Duke of Aosta, who was also her maternal uncle.  The pope provided a papa dispensation on the grounds of consanguinity. 

The Duke of Aosta was 22 years older than his wife.   The couple settled in Turin, where Laetitia gave birth to her only child, Umberto, on June 22, 1889.    

The duke of Aosta died on January 18, 1890.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Earlier today, someone sent me a link to a new blog that apparently has been designed to publish nasty information about royal writers, including me.  

Nearly 37 years ago, in April 1984 I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Daily News apparently about an article on Hispanics.  I don't remember writing this because it was 37 years ago.  However, I will make no excuses for not remembering it.   It was wrong and I admit it.

I regret my comments including the statement "that Hispanics do not want to join the mainstream of American life."  It was wrong and I admit it, wholeheartedly.  The person I was 37 years ago is not who I am now.

My views have changed considerably.  How and why is easy to explain.  Like many Americans, I grew up in a bubble.  I voted Republican (which I regret deeply), but as I got older, worked for organizations with a diversified workforce, meeting people outside my bubble, traveling more, talking more, and learning and observing more about injustices in this country and abroad, my views greatly changed.

I deeply regret writing the letter. It happened, and I cannot wish it away.  It says more about the person who used a nom de plume to publish anonymously.

The post ends with  "It is not known if Marlene Eilers Koenig has ever made amends or apologised for her racist remarks!"

I have to say I apologized many times, not always in words, but in deeds and actions.  I must add that my faith guided me away from bigoted thinking to understanding and embracing differences, understanding that we are all one people.  

I wish I could sit down with those who responded to the letter with their thoughts, talk with them, and say I apologize.  

Now, of course, there will be people who say a leopard never changes its spots."  While that might be true for leopards, it is not true for people.  

Unfortunately, there are far too many people still in bubbles unwilling to learn or accept that we cannot all be the same, but in the end, we are all the same -- people created by God, we all have gifts to give and embrace the fact that it is important not to take away the chairs at a table but to build a bigger table.

I am deeply sorry and I regret my words.  The 29-year-old Marlene no longer exists.  This Marlene is nearly 67, a lot wiser, tolerant, and with a mind wide-open. 

Some of my readers may wonder why I chose to post this on Royal Musings.  I cannot respond to the post on the blog.  I expect it is being circulated.  I have no intention of covering it up or making excuses.  There can be no excuses for my comments. 

I hope people will forgive me for those comments.    

Thank you.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Archduke Otto weds in France

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 May 10, 1951

Archduke Otto of Austria, the titular Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire, married Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen today in Nancy, France.

The Associated Press reported that the ceremony was in the "lavish pomp of old."

The archduke, 38, is barred from returning to Austria.  He and 25-year-old Princess Regina were married in civil and religious ceremonies in Nancy, once the capital of Archduke Otto's  French ancestors, the Dukes of Lorraine.

The civil ceremony took place in the town's City Hall, where the Duchy of Lorraine's flag was flown from the balcony.  The Roman Catholic service took place in the Cathedral of the Ropemakers, where many of Otto's Lorraine ancestors are buried.

More than 400 guests attended the wedding, including David K.E. Bruce, the American ambassador to France, and Perle Mesta, the US Minister to Luxembourg.  Otto's brothers, Archduke Robert and Archduke Felix were the witnesses at the religious service.

Otto was accompanied by his mother, Empress Zita.   He succeeded his father, Emperor Karl, as the head of the House of Habsburg, in 1922, follow Karl's death from pneumonia.

Princess Regina wore a diamond tiara on her head.  Her gown was made from "oyster satin."  She was escorted down the aisle by her first cousin, Grand Duke Karl Augustus of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.   The new archduchess is the daughter of the late Prince Georg of Saxe-Meiningen, who died in 1946 in a Russian POW camp, and Countess Klara Marie von Korff genannt Schmissing-Kerssenbrock.

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The couple knelt on yellow cushions made by the women of Vienna and Linz for this wedding.  The cushions were sprinkled with dirt so it could be said that the marriage took place on Austrian soil. 

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Pope Pius XII's Apostolic Blessing to the newlyweds was read at the religious service.  "To our dear son, Prince Otto of Habsburg-Lorraine.  The awaited day will soon shine on the ceremony in which your Imperial and Royal Highness the Princess Regina of Saxony-Meiningen.  We do not wish this happy event to pass without giving to your souls the joy of our good wishes and our fatherly blessings."

Last 2 photos: Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

After the couple left for their honeymoon,  Mrs. Mesta told a reporter: "They are a charming couple.  Regina is a wonderful person  and I've known Otto for years."

No appearance for Helen at parade

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 May 11, 1931

Queen Helen of Romania was not present today for the "great military parade" in Bucharest, despite reports to the contrary.

An Associated Press dispatch states that King Carol II was alone when he took the salute.

Although Helen had returned to Bucharest in a "gay mood," her non-appearance at the parade has caused confusion and "great disappointment" as her brother-in-law, King Alexander of Serbia, had recently met with Carol with the hope of a reconciliation between the estranged couple.

Her ladies-in-waiting were waiting for Helen's return from Belgrade.  She told them that her position had not changed although she remained in a "gay and more animated" mood.

The parade commemorated Romania's 50th anniversary of independence.   Many had hoped that Helen's appearance at the parade with King Carol would have meant that they had achieved "some terms of peace" that would lead to a reconciliation.

Charles of Luxembourg celebrates his 1st birthday !

  HRH Prince Charles of Luxembourg celebrates his first birthday today.   He is the only child of TRH The Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.   All the photos are copyrighted  © Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

© Maison du Grand-Duc / Sophie Margue

HRH Helene Markgräfin Pallavicini (1929-2021)


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Grand Duke George & Victoria Romanovna celebrate Orthodox Easter

 Rebecca (Victoria Romanovna) Bettarini kindly shared these photos with me as she and Grand Duke George of Russia celebrated their first Easter together as an engaged couple

The Preparations

Easter Service

Enjoying an Easter dinner with traditional dishes, yummy looking cakes  and the perfect table decorations.