Thursday, January 27, 2022

Princess Mafalda of Bulgaria to marry longtime boyfriend

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Princess Mafalda of Bulgaria will marry her longtime boyfriend,  British financier Marc Abousleiman in May, reports the Spanish weekly magazine, Hola.   The couple will wed in a civil ceremony in Mallorca, where Mafalda's mother, Rosario Nadal was born.  

Marc Camille Abousleiman was born in Lebanon, although raised in the United Kingdom,  He is the son of Camille Abousleimanm, who served as Lebanon's Minister of Labor in 2019-2020, and Marie-Christine Riachi.  Camille is now a corporate finance lawyer with Dechert LLP in London.  

Several sources state that Marc was born in London in June 1994, but this has not been confirmed.  He has a younger brother, Pierre-Chaker.

HRH Princess Mafalda-Cecilia of Bulgaria is the eldest of three children of Kyril, Prince of Preslav, and his wife, Rosario Nadal.  She was born on July 27, 1994, in London and she has two younger siblings, Princess Olimpia and Prince Tassilo.

Prince Kyril, the second son of King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria married María del Rosario Nadal y Fuster de Puigdórfila on September 15, 1989, at the Almudaina Palace, Palma de Mallorca, a former model and muse for the Italian fashion designer, Valentino.

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 They lived in London, where Kyril, a Princeton graduate, worked as a financial analyst.  They separated in October 2009 but stated they had no plans for divorce.   Since 2017, Prince Kyril has been involved with British businesswoman Katharine Butler.

Mafalda and Marc first met as children, when both attended the center,  but they went their separate ways until 2014 when the princess was accepted at the Berklee of College of Music in Boston where she studied vocal music.   It was in Boston where Mafalda and Marc's paths crossed once again, and this time they fell in love.  Marc was studying at  Harvard where he received a BA in Computer Science and a background in Economics.  

Marc is now a Vice  President at Further Global, "an employee-owned private equity firm that makes investments in businesses within the financial services industry," based in New York City and Toronto.  He is also completing his MBA at Harvard Business School.

In early 2021, the couple, who have been together for nearly eight years, decided to leave New York City and move to Madrid, where, according to Vanity Fair, they have "embarked on a new course."   They both "feel comfortable" in Spain, and often visit Kyril's house in Porreras in Mallorca.

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Princess Mafalda recently said: "For me, Spain is Mallorca.  Despite being born in London, if you ask me about my origins, I feel Majorcan.  I've been going to the island all of my life at Easter and in the summer, and I wrote one of my first songs there when I was 14 years old."

The couple has not said why they have decided to eschew a church wedding.  The princess was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church and Marc was raised in the Maronite church, which is in full communion with the Roman Catholic church.

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 Last July,  Marc joined Mafalda's family including her siblings, her mother and father, and his companion, Katharine Butler, who attended her concert in Palma.

Princess Mafalda is the first of King Simeon's grandchildren to marry.

Monday, January 24, 2022

It's Official Cristina and Iñaki announce separaration

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 HRH Infanta Cristina of Spain and her husband, former handball player, Iñaki Urgangarin have announced they have separated "by mutual agreement."

Their commitment to their four children "remains intact."  

"Since this is a private decision, we ask for the utmost respect from all those around us."   

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 The statement was released by Cristina and Iñaki and not from the press office at the Royal Palace in Madrid, as Cristina is no longer a member of the Royal House, but she and her children remain members of King Felipe VI's family. 

Cristina lives in Geneva, Switzerland, and works for the Caixa Foundation 

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The couple was married in Barcelona on October 4, 1997.

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It is understood that this announcement was prompted by photographs of Iñaki and Ainhoa Armentia, a co-worker at the Imaz & Ascocidos law firm in Vitoria.

Infanta Cristina's older sister, Infanta Elena, and her husband, Don Jaime de Marichilar were divorced in December 2009.

Friday, January 21, 2022

HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway reaches her majority

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HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, the elder of two children of TRH Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, celebrates her 18th birthday.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra gets to try the King's Chair at the office of Supreme Court Justice Toril Marie Øie during a visit on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday.  Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court

Her grandfather, King Harald V,  has appointed the Princess as Grand Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. The king also awarded Ingrid Alexandra the King's House Order.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra in the Bernadotte Salon at the Royal Palace. Handout picture from the Royal Court published 21.01.2022 on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday.  Photo: Ida Bjørvik, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra was presented with these decorations at a private ceremony earlier today at the Royal Palace.

Storting President Masud Gharahkhani shows Princess Ingrid Alexandra the Storting during a visit on the occasion of her 18th birthday. Handout picture from the Royal Court published 21.01.2022. Photo: Simen Løvberg Sund, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra in The White Salon at The Royal Palace. Handout picture from the Royal Court published 21.01.2022 on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday.  Photo: Ida Bjørvik, The Royal Court

Three generations: His Majesty the King, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince and Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra. Handout picture from the Royal Court published 21.01.2022. Photo: Kimm Saatvedt, The Royal Court

The family gathered on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday: Sitting in front of left: HM the Queen, HM the King, HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra and Marit Tjessem. Standing left: Prince Sverre Magnus, HRH the Crown Princess, HRH the Crown Prince and Marius Borg Høiby. Handout picture from the Royal Court published 21.01.2022.  Photo: Kimm Saatvedt, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra signs the Storting's guest book during a visit on the occasion of her 18th birthday. Handout picture from the Royal Court. Photo: Simen Løvberg Sund, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra is briefed on the court's activities by Supreme Court Justice Toril Marie Øie during a visit on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday. Handout picture from the Royal Court.  Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra gets to try the King's Chair at the office of Supreme Court Justice Toril Marie Øie during a visit on the occasion of the Princess' 18th birthday. Handout picture from the Royal Court.  Photo: Liv Anette Luane, The Royal Court

Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the first eldest child, regardless of sex, to be the heir to the throne.  Until 1990, only males could succeed to the throne.  The present King Harald V is the youngest of three children, but the only son.  His two elder sisters, Princess Ragnhild Alexandra, and Princess Astrid never had succession rights.  King Harald and Queen Sonja have two children, Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon.

Martha Louise did not have succession rights when she was born in 1971.  A new succession law was promulgated in 1990, changing Article 6 in Norway's Constitution.  Salic Law gave way to absolute primogeniture, but this change did not allow Martha Louise to jump ahead of her younger brother.  She (and her descendants) were inserted into the succession after Crown Prince Haakon.

The change would take place with the next generation: Crown Prince Haakon's children.  Ingrid Alexandra was born on January 18, 2004.  She became second in line to the throne because she is the first born child.

Ingrid Alexandra is a descendant of Queen Victoria and also is in line to the British throne (approximately 90th)

Victoria - Edward VII - Maud - Olav - Harald - Haakon - Ingrid Alexandra

She is also a descendant of King Christian IX of Denmark

Christian - Alexandra - Maud - Olav - Harald - Haakon - Ingrid Alexandra

Christian -Frederik VIII - Ingeborg - Martha - Harald - Haakon - Ingrid Alexandra

The Crown Prince and Princess released a selection of family photos as well.

Oh to have been at this dinner

Times  7/13/1933


the Hon. Mrs. Margaret Greville @V&A

Oh to have been at this dinner!    King George II of the Hellenes had wanted to marry the then Countess Zia Torby, but instead married Princess Elisabeta of Romania, a truly unhappy marriage. 

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Lady Zia and King George II remained life-long friends.  She was one of three children of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia and his morganatic wife, Countess Sophie von Merenberg.   Lady Zia's sister, Nada, married Prince George of Battenberg, later 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Iñaki admits affair

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 Earlier today,  Iñaki Urdangarin, the disgraced brother-in-law of King Felipe VI, admitted to an affair with Ainhoa Armentia, 43, an accounting specialist at Imaz & Acociados in Vitoria, Spain.   

He was met by the press when he arrived at the office, where he doing a community service project as a part of his sentence for embezzling and money laundering.

"These things happen," he told reporters.  "It is a difficulty that we will manage with the utmost tranquility and together as we have always done."

It is understood that Infanta Cristina has known about her husband's latest affair.  She and her older sister, Infanta Elena, ceased to be members of the Spanish Royal Family when their brother, King Felipe VI succeeded to the throne after their father, King  Juan Carlos' abdication.  

The two sisters retain their right of succession, but no longer carry out official engagements on behalf of the Royal House.  Their profiles were removed from the official Casa Real website soon after Felipe's accession. 

Soon after her husband was investigated for corruption in Barcelona, Cristina and her four children moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where she got a job with Caixa Foundation.   She is the Director of the International Department of the Fundación ''la Caixa''.

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 Armenia arrived at the office shortly after Iñaki but declined to comment.  According to several reports, she is said to be separating from her husband.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Princess Birgitta of Sweden turns 85

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A Forty-two cannon salute in Stockholm heralded the birth of the second daughter of  Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf and his wife, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was born at the Haga Palace on January 19, 1937.   The new princess was named Birgitta Ingeborg Alice.  

all of these images  Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf was second in line to the Swedish throne.  As the succession law was based on Salic law, only males could inherit the throne, which meant that Birgitta and her three sisters and their descendants did not have dynastic rights.

Princess Birgitta attended a French school in Stockholm before receiving a university qualification to teach in public school, where she was addressed as Instructor and not Princess.

Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf was killed in a plane crash in Copenhagen in 1947, leaving Sibylla to raise their five children.  Their only son, Carl Gustaf, was nearly nine months old when his father was killed.

In the fall of 1960, Princess Birgitta and her younger sister, Princess Desiree visited Chicago and New York City, where they represented their grandfather for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.  Chicago Mayor Richard Daley gave a ball in honor of the two princesses

[It was not until 1980 when the new gender-equal succession law went into effect, making King Carl XVI Gustaf's daughter, Victoria, as Crown Princess.  The law was not retroactive, and the king's four older sisters remained excluded from the succession.

all of these images: Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Birgitta and her two sisters, Margaretha and Desiree, were among  Europe's most eligible princesses.  British newspapers reported in May 1957 that Birgitta was involved in a romance with a Swedish hockey player Sven "Tumba" Johansson.  The Swedish Lord  High Chamberlain called the report "Preposterous, completely unfounded." This was echoed by Sven's fiancee, Britta Strahle who said the report was "monumental trash."

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 Although his granddaughters could not succeed to the throne, their grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf had hoped that they would make grand marriages.  On March 12, 1960, the King hosted a ball for his three eldest granddaughters,  Princess Margaretha, 25, Princess Birgitta, 23, and 21-year-old Princess Desiree.

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The guest list included Europe's most eligible young royals including  Crown Prince Constantine of the Hellenes, 19, Crown Prince Harald of Norway, 23, former King Simeon of Bulgaria, 22,  Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, 24 and several German princes, Prince Ludwig of Baden, Duke Max in Bavaria, Prince Moritz and Prince Kark of Hesse, Count Hans-Veit of Toerring-Jettenbach and Kraft, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, who ranged in age from 23 to 34.

Queen Frederika of the Hellenes was invited to the ball along with her two eligible daughters, Princess Sophie, 21, and Princess Irene, 17.  They were joined by 19-year-old Princess Margrethe, 19 and 22-year-old Princess Beatrix, the heirs to the Danish and Dutch thrones,  Beatrix was accompanied by her younger sister,  Princess Irene.  The other three princesses were Astrid of Norway, 28, Princess Alexandra of Kent, 25, and Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 23. 

Princess Birgitta met her future husband, HSH Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern (1932-2016) at a cocktail party in Germany where she was visiting family.   Their engagement was announced on December 15, 1960.  

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The prince was a younger son of Friedrich, Prince of Hohenzollern and Princess Margarete of Saxony.

At the time of her engagement, the princess was a gymnastic teacher and fencer.  Only a few days before the engagement was announced Birgitta was a member of the team that won the Swedish women's foil championship.

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

The couple was married first in a civil ceremony, which took place on May 25, 1961, in the Royal Palace's Hall of State.  Stockholm's mayor officiated at the ceremony.  750 guests attended the ceremony. 

Princess Birgitta, then 24, looked  "radiant in a dress of ivory-colored duchess and a veil of tulle."

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 The gown had a thirteen-foot train and she wore a "cameo and diamond" tiara, once worn by Queen Josephine.

 Prince Johann Georg was nearing the completion of a Ph.D. in art history and archeology in Munich, where the couple lived after their marriage.   One of the two groomsmen was the bride's 15-year-old brother, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf.

Lady Patricia Ramsay and her husband, Admiral Sir Alexander were the only British guests at the wedding.  Lady Lady was the younger sister of Birgitta's paternal grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, who died in 1920.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom got into a carriage and were driven through central Stockholm "in brilliant sunshine and were greeted by large and enthusiastic crowds."

King Gustaf VI Adolf, the bride's grandfather, and his wife, Queen Louise hosted a luncheon in the palace for 270 guests.

The wedding festivities moved to Sigmaringen, Germany where on the evening of May 29, a gala ball was held in honor of Princess Birgitta and Prince Johann Georg. The religious wedding took place at the Church of St John in Sigmaringen on May 30.  Prince Johann Georg was Roman Catholic so the religious wedding took place in a Roman Catholic church.  Birgitta, a Lutheran, agreed to raise their children in the Catholic faith.   She applied to convert but her application was rejected because officials were not convinced of her spiritual commitment to joining the Church.

The bride was given away by her uncle, Prince Bertil, who represented King Gustaf VI Adolf.  She wore a Swedish-made white gown and the veil was held in place by a diamond tiara belonging to the princely family.

The couple settled into a home in the Grünewald section of Munich, where they raised three children, Carl (1962), Désirée (1963), and Hubertus (1966).  

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

  Princess Birgitta and her husband separated in 1990, although they never divorced. She moved to Majorca where she indulged in her favorite hobby, golf.  She has her own course and competition, the Princess Birgitta Trophy.   

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you can buy me a latte:

Is Infanta Cristina's marriage over?


Her name is Ainhoa Armentia. She is a 43-year-old lawyer, employed by the Imaz&Asociados law firm in Vitoria and she appears to be involved in a romance with 54-year-old Iñaki Urdangarin, the husband of Infanta Cristina of Spain.

The couple was photographed walking on a small beach in Bidart, France which is nearly two hours drive from Vitoria.  The photos were taken on January 11.

The story of Iñaki's new romance was broken by Lecturas, a weekly Spanish glossy magazine.  It is the cover story.

Iñaki has been working as a consultant at the law firm since the spring of 2020. He lives in Vitoria with his mother Clare Liebaert

Infanta Christina, 56, resides in Switzerland.  She knew about her husband's affair as she had told close friends about it.  Her son Pablo told Lecturas  "these are things that happen."  He added: "the subject will be discussed within the family."

Pablo's measured response was very different from his cousin, Victoria Federica, the daughter of Infanta Elena, who lost her temper when approached by a Lecturas reporter.

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Infanta Cristina, the second child of former King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia married Iñaki Urdangarin, a former handball player in 1997. They have four children, Juan, Pablo, Miguel, and Irene.

In 2011, Iñaki was accused of diverting public money for his own profit through the Noos Institute.   Shortly before Christmas, the Royal Palace announced that he would no longer participate in official engagements for "the foreseeable future."   

Two years later, his profile was removed from the royal family's website.

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 In 2018, Iñaki was convicted of embezzling 6 million Euros and money laundering through the Noos Institute, a non-profit organization that he and his wife founded.   He was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison.  Last spring, he was moved to a Grade 3 Prison, where he had to report only once a week.  He chose to stay in Vitoria to care for his mother, and he was given a position at Imaz&Asociados.

This is not the first time there have been reports of marital discord.  During Iñaki's trial, his partner at Noos leaked emails that alluded to a relationship between Iñaki and another woman.

Cristina has remained supportive of her husband even after her ducal title, Duchess of Palma was removed in 2015, and her husband's behavior was described as "not very exemplary."

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The couple and their four children did spend Christmas together at Baqueira Beret.

It is unlikely there will be an official statement from the Spanish royal house as Infanta Cristina ceased to be a member of the Royal Family since the accession of her brother King Felipe VI in June 2014.   She and her older sister, Infanta Elena, and their Aunt Infanta Margarita (and their children) are members of the King's family.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Princess Ingrid Alexandra: new office and new portraits


Ida Bjørvik, The Royal Court

HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway will reach her majority on January 21st when she celebrates her 18th birthday.  In anticipation of this event, the Princess, who is second in line to the throne, has already received her own office.

Ida Bjørvik, The Royal Court

Two new portraits of Princess Ingrid Alexandra were released by the Norwegian court earlier today.

HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra is the elder of two children of TRH Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway.  She has a younger brother, Prince Sverre Magnus, who is not styled as HRH.

The Norwegian Royal House consists of HM King Harold V, HM Queen Sonja, HRH Crown Prince Haakon, HRH Crown Princess Mette Marit, and HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra.

The king's family includes Prince Sverre Magnus, Princess Martha Louise, Maud Angelica Behn, Leah Isadora Behn, Emma Tallulah Behn, and Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Duke of York gives up military affiliations and royal patronages


 Andrew will also not use HRH in any official capacity, according to the Palace.

Queen Sophie is dead

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January 13, 1932

By special cable to the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune Press Service

Former Queen Sophie of the Hellenes died earlier tonight at the age of 61 at Professor Noorden's clinic in Frankfurt-am-Main.   She died after a "lingering illness from cancer."   Queen Sophie underwent an operation on November 21.

Her daughters and her younger son, Paul, were at her bedside when she died.

Princess Sophie Dorothea Ulrika Alice of Prussia was born on June 14, 1870, at Potsdam, the second youngest child of Friedrich III and his British wife, Victoria, eldest child of Queen Victoria.

Emperor Friedrich succumbed to throat cancer only 88 days after succeeding his father in 1888.   A year later, Sophie was married to then Crown Prince Constantine of the Hellenes.  They had met when Constantine was attending a German military school.    She was seen to have "good prospects for a brilliant royal career, as she was the most masterful of the former Kaiser's four sisters."

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Two years after her marriage, she aroused Kaiser Wilhelm's displeasure when she converted from Lutheranism to the Greek Orthodox church.  Sophie and Constantine had six children: George, Alexander, Paul, Irene, Katherine, and Helen, the estranged wife of King Carol II of Romania.  Helen "was her favorite daughter."

Sophie was the queen of the Hellenes on two occasions.  Constantine's first reign lasted from 1913 until 1917 when the king "was excluded from the throne by the allied powers."   Sophie's second son, Alexander, was named as king, and he reigned until his death on October 25, 1920.

Constantine returned to the throne shortly afterward.  He reigned until September 27, 1922, when he abdicated and was succeeded by his eldest son, George II,  who "was forced to leave Greece," on December 18, 1923.

unrequited love for a future Empress

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January 13, 1890

"A member of the suite of one of the best known of our Princes tells a romantic story" about the late Empress Augusta, widow of Wilhelm I, according to a report in the Chicago Daily Tribune. The report was based on a letter that was first published in Berlin.

Augusta, who was born a Princess of Saxe-Weimar, where she was "hedged about with all the straightlaced etiquette the small German principality affected." At age seventeen, the princess was very much into romance and had "learned by heart the stories" of the glittering and romantic court of Louis XIV of France. She was so well-read that "she was prepared to fall in love" with the first man who would "appeal to her sense of beauty." But the "rigid surveillance" of her parents made the meeting of young men nearly impossible.

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 Before this "romantic spirit had lived long enough to die," Princess Augusta fell in love with a French nobleman of "long lineage" who had stopped in Weimar "in the progress of a long jaunt from Auvergne."

The nobleman stayed at Weimar for several weeks and became a "favorite of the Grand Duke." The Frenchman was "accomplished, handsome, and a daredevil." It was at a court ball where the nobleman was permitted to partner with the princess, and they "indulged in love at first sight."

Their love soon developed into "indiscretion, which took the form of secret meetings in the palace grounds." The princess's maid and her lover's valet served as the conduits who passed on the correspondence and arranged the meetings. The maid, "whether through carelessness or spite, lost one of the nobleman's letters. The letter was found by Augusta's mother before the maid "could recover it."

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 The letter was full of passion and eloquence, "burning with the love song of the smitten Parisian and filled with all those pretty words that came with the Grand Monarch."

The letter also includes words referring to elopement and "pictured the ideal life of love on the pastoral lands of the new America."
Augusta's parents were "consumed with rage," and their indignation in "unstinted volume."

The Ducal Chamberlain challenged the young Frenchman to a duel, and "the lover fell, mortally wounded." As he fell to the ground, the nobleman tore open his tunic, and "there, pressed against his heart, was a handkerchief" belonging to Augusta.

 The Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar was so "affected by this incident" that she "silently placed the handkerchief on the breast of the young man" in his coffin, and the handkerchief was buried with him. His body "was covered with roses, strewn upon him by the devoted Augusta, and she, from swoons and sobs, became hysterical and almost crazed."

For weeks, Augusta cried and moped around the palace. Her parents became concerned about her health, and were "convinced that her sorrow must have relief or she would have become insane." The solution, they thought, was a marriage, and the groom would be Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. Augusta gave "her indifferent consent, to the marriage. Wilhelm also saw the marriage with "equal unimportance," as he too was heartbroken over a lost love.

Augusta and Wilhelm accepted that this marriage was arranged by their parents. It was not a marriage based on love or affection. The couple was always polite to each other, they respected each other, but there was no love between them. Empress Augusta "preferred French books, ideas, dress, and sentiment." She considered French to be her favorite language.

In a letter to his sister, Charlotte (Empress Alexandra), the wife of Nicholas I of Russia, Wilhelm said of Augusta: "the Princess is nice and clever, but she leaves me cold."

It was not a surprise that Carl Friedrich and his wife, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna of Russia would consider Wilhelm as a husband for Augusta. The marriage was also encouraged by Wilhelm's father.

Wilhelm's brother, Karl, was married to Augusta's older sister, Marie.
The marriage took place in the chapel at Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin on June 11, 1829.

Augusta was never comfortable at the Prussian court. In October 1831, she gave birth to a son, the future Friedrich III. A second child, a daughter, Luise, was born seven years later. Augusta suffered several miscarriages but by the mid-1840s, the prince and princess were living largely separate lives. The princess was a manic depressive, an illness her husband could not understand, and he sought comfort from mistresses. Augusta was well-educated and instilled in her son the need for a liberal Germany. She and Queen Victoria corresponded often, and it is no surprise that Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, married Augusta's son, Friedrich, in 1858.

Prince Wilhelm was the second son of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. It was only due to the childless marriage of his brother, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, that Wilhelm succeeded in 1861 as King of Prussia. It was during the Franco-Prussian war in January 1871, when Wilhelm was proclaimed as German Emperor.

Empress Augusta died on January 7th in Berlin.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume has COVID-19

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 From the Grand Ducal Press office:

Following a positive self-test, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has placed himself in self-isolation.

A subsequent PCR test confirmed the positive result and His Royal Highness remains in segregation, in accordance with the provisions of the law amended of July 17, 2020, on measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

His Royal Highness is presently symptom-free and is in good health. He will resume his duties after the period of solitary confinement.

 I used Google Translate as the original release was in French.

Other European royals who have recently tested positive include Guillaume's father, HRH The Grand Duke of Luxembourg, King Carl XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria, and her husband, Prince Daniel of Sweden, and King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

All are vaccinated and their cases are mild.

Monday, January 10, 2022

HI & RH Archduchess Margherita of Austria, Princess of Savoy-Aosta (1930-2022)

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HI & RH Archduchess Margherita of Austria died today in Basel, Switzerland.  She was 91 years.  She was the mother of Archduke Lorenz, who is married to Princess Astrid of Belgium, the only daughter of King Albert II and Queen Paola.

Margherita was born HRH Princess Margherita Isabella Maria Vittoria Emanuella Elena Gennara of Savoy Aosta in Royal Palace at Capodimonte, Italy on April 7, 1930.   She was the elder of two daughters of HRH Prince Amedeo Umberto Isabella Luigi Filippo Giuseppe, Duke of Aosta (1898-1942) and HRH Princess Anne d'Orleans (1906-1986).  

The infant princess's names were entered into the special register for "princes of the blood royal" on April 8 in the presence of the Duchess of Guise and former Queen Amelie of Portugal.  Her baptism took place in Capodimonte's chapel on May 28.   Princess Helene, Duchess of Aosta, the baby's paternal grandmother, held Margherita as Cardinal Acalesi performed the baptismal rite.  The Duchess of Aosta stood in as the proxy for her sister, the Duchess of Guise.  King Vittorio Emanuele was the godfather and he attended the ceremony with his wife, Queen Elena,  and their daughter Princess Mafalda and her husband, Prince Philipp of Hesse.

The Duke and Duchess of Aosta  Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Amedeo and Anne were first cousins, as Amedeo's mother, HRH Princess Helene of Orleans, and Anne's father, Prince Jean, Duke of Guise were siblings. 

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

In September 1937, the Duke of Aosta and his mother paid a private visit to England, where the duke, as commander of the Aquila Air Force, visited several RAF bases.  Helene visited Queen Mary at Marlborough House, once the home of her "dear friend," Queen Alexandra,  the mother of the Duke of Clarence, who was in love with Helene and wanted to marry her.    After her son left London, Helene remained at Almond's Hotel with seven-year-old Margherita.  The Dowager Duchess and her granddaughter spent three weeks together in London before returning to Naples on board the Orcades.

She and her younger sister, Princess Maria Cristina spent their childhood at Miramar Castle and at Caserta.  In 1937, the Duke of Aosta was appointed Viceroy of Ethiopia and he and Anne spent three years there until the Duke was taken as a prisoner of war by the British and taken to Nairobi.

Margherita and Cristina remained in Italy with their grandmother.  Their favorite moments with Helene were at the seaside, especially in warm weather.   Christmas 1939 was spent at Capodimonte.   The two young princesses stayed in Queen Amelie's apartment.  Helene also made sure that Margherita and Cristina wrote letters to their parents.

The Duchess of Aosta was back in Italy with her two daughters, when her husband, was arrested by the British and sent to a Nairobi prison, where died on March 3, 1942.  Italy's capitulation in September 1943 to the Allies set in motion a German plan to "order the arrest and deportation" of members of the Italian royal family.  The king's youngest daughter, Princess Maria, and her husband, Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma were arrested and with their young children were taken to Oldenburg.  One week after Maria's arrest,  her older sister, Princess Mafalda returned home for the funeral of her brother-in-law, King Boris III of Bulgaria who had died under mysterious circumstances on August 28.  She and her children took refuge in the Vatican, but the Princess left the safety of the Vatican after receiving a message that her husband wanted to meet her at the German embassy. It was a ruse  Mafalda was arrested and sent to Buchenwald.  

Other members of the Italian royal family gathered in Brindisi.  Margherita's aunt, HRH Princess Irene of Greece, who married Prince Aimone of Savoy-Aosta in 1939, was living in Turin and expecting her first child.  Aimone had succeeded as the Duke of Aosta after Amedeo's death.   Turin was being bombed by the Allies.  The 39-year-old Duchess of Aosta gave birth three weeks early on September 27, 1943, to a son, who was named Amedeo after his late uncle.

Helene had remained in Naples when the Allies landed, but the Germans still controlled half of Italy.  After the Allies had liberated Rome,  the two Duchesses of Aosta (Anne and Irene) and their children fled to Pavia, where the SS wanted to arrest Irene and send her and her infant son to Germany as hostages.  Anne, who was trying to care for two frightened young girls, managed to persuade the Nazis to let them stay together. On July 26, 1944,  two SS men arrived with orders for the two women and their children to be ready an hour.  With great courage, Anne pressed the men to produce a warrant, which they did not have, and which allowed the women several hours to prepare for the journey to the Hotel Regina in Milan, "a waiting station for those destined for Nazi prisons or concentration camps."

    From Milan they were driven to Innsbruck, Austria, and placed under arrest at a hotel near the train station, often bombed by the Allies.  Several days later,  as "diplomatic internees," the two women and the three children were taken to the Hotel Ifen in Hirschberg, Austria, about 50 miles from Lake Constance.  

    Margherita arrived at the hotel without shoes or socks.  A priest gave her a pair of his shoes and a pair of stockings was loaned by André Francois--Poncet, the former French ambassador to Germany, who was also an internee.

    A few weeks later, a truck arrived with drunks and suitcases filled with clothes and other items that the Germans had packed after the two duchesses had been taken to Milan.  The truck also included flour and oil, and "soaps, chocolates, and handkerchiefs" which Anne gave as gifts to other prisoners.  The prisoners were finally liberated in early May 1945.   Anne and Irene and the children arrived in Switzerland on May 6 and stayed with their uncle, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Count of Turin, the only member of the Italian royal family who had not embraced fascism. 

Finally, on July 7, the family was able to return to Italy. They drove to Milan and then were flown by an American plane to Naples where Helene and the Duke of Aosta were waiting.  The family stayed in Naples for the rest of the summer, and in October, Anne and her two daughters returned to their apartment in the Pitti Palace in Florence.

They remained in Italy for less than a year.  On May 9, 1946, King Vittorio Emanuele abdicated and he and Queen Elena went into exile.  Their only son, Umberto succeeded to the throne, but his reign was brief as Italian citizens voted on June 2 to abolish the monarchy and the rest of the Royal family, with the exception of the Dowager Duchess of Aosta, also went into exile.

Anne and her daughters and the Count of Turin flew to Belgium, where the count died a few months later.   The duchess and the two princesses, now in their late teens, lived in Belgium for more than a year before moving to Switzerland.

                                                    Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

In 1952, the Princess was reported to be on the verge of an engagement with King Baudouin of the Belgians.  The Associated Press reported on May 29 that members of both families were already in Rome for a "preliminary 'get-acquainted' gathering."  An engagement announcement was expected to follow.

The king was expected to meet Princess Margherita at the "walled-secluded Villa Sparta," outside Florence, the home of the former Queen Helen of Romania.    He left in "semi-secret" by train.  Although his destination was said to be Rome, the Belgian Embassy stated: "He is definitely not coming to Rome," but acknowledged "somewhere else in Italy.

The embassy spokesman would not confirm if the king's destination was Florence.

Princess Margherita and her younger sister, Princess Maria Cristina arrived in Rome the night before.

It only took 24 hours for the engagement reports to be denied.  It was on May 30, 1953, that the Belgian ambassador to Italy, Baron Joseph von der Elst "declared that the King was too young to think about marriage yet."

The Grand Marshal of the Belgian court released a statement that the King was not engaged to Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta.

A  family friend, who spoke with the princess before she left Rome today,  "After all this public attention, of course, there won't be any announcement.  Just the same the King did not come to Italy sightseeing," the friend told the Associated Press.

Princess Margherita would soon meet her future husband, HI & RH Archduke Robert Karl Ludwig Maximilian Michael Maria Anton  Franz Ferdinand Joseph Otto Hubert Georg Pius Johannes of Austria (1915-1996) third child and second son of Emperor Karl I of Austria and HRH Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma.

Their civil marriage in Bourg-en-Bresse, France on December 28, 1953, was followed a day later by the Roman Catholic wedding at Brou, France.  

The civil marriage, required by French law, took place at City Hall. The bride and groom and their witnesses sat in a "semi-circle on Louis XV chairs" before the mayor.   Archduke Robert's witnesses were his two brothers, Archduke Karl Ludwig and Archduke Rudolf, both of whom traveled from the United States where they work.   

The princess's two witnesses were her cousins,. HRH Prince Filiberto, Duke of Genoa, and HRH Prince Adalberto, Duke of Bergamo.

No reigning royal families were present for the religious service although "many of Europe's displaced royalty attended the wedding, including the groom's mother, former Empress Zita and the bride's cousin, former King Umberto and his wife, Queen Marie-José of Italy.   

The Italian queen was born a princess of Belgium and was the aunt of King Baudouin, Margherita's putative suitor.

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 The couple had five children: Archduchess Maria Beatrix, Countess von Arco-Zinneberg (1954),  Archduke Lorenz (HRH Prince Lorenz of Belgium (1955),  Archduke Gerhard (1957),  Archduke Martin (1959) and Archduchess Isabella (1960).

Archduchess Margherita with her son, Archduke Martin, and 2 of her Arco-Zinneberg granddaughters at the wedding of Prince Jean, now the Count of Paris, and Philomena de Tornos y Steinhart in 2009  @Ulrike Bartsch

The Archduchess is survived by her five children, nineteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by her sister, HRH Princess Maria Cristina (Princess Casimir of Bourbon-Two Sicilies), and two nephews and nieces 

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