Monday, August 29, 2022

Custody of royal grandchildren

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This past weekend, I noticed a number of Twitter rumors about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex getting a divorce.  This rumor was being spread by accounts created by ignorant people whose sole goal is to make up hateful stories about Meghan and Harry.  These accounts were also spreading the rumor that they do not have custody of their children.  I first wrote this post in 2013, and now it has been updated.

Both statements are incorrect. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not getting a divorce and the Queen does not have custody of Archie and Lilibet.  

During one of the late Diana, Princess of Wales' fits of pique, she threatened to take her sons and move to Australia.   She was quickly reminded that she would need the Queen's permission to take Prince William and Prince Harry out of the country.   When William was an infant, Charles asked the Queen if he and Diana could take him to Balmoral, rather than have William travel separately with a nanny.  The Queen said yes.  It was only after Harry was born that William and Charles flew on different planes.

After Charles and Diana separated and divorced, each parent saw their child for 40 days a year.  This had nothing to do with the Queen.  The custody arrangements were made privately between the two parents.  Although the two princes' primary residence was with their mother, the divorce agreement did not give Diana "the care and control" of her two sons.

In an article in The Times (December 5, 1993), noted Constitutional expert Michael L. Nash, wrote that the "Queen has the last word in the custody upbringing, education and even the right of abode of the princes, even during the lifetime of their father, Prince Charles.  As for their mother, the Princess of Wales, her say is a matter of discretion and negotiation."

The confusion is due to The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family, which is perceived to be a law passed during the reign of George I. It is not a law. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a prerogative is "the special right or privilege exercised by a monarch over all other persons, and the royal prerogative is "the prerogative of the British monarch under common law."

 Several years ago, I contacted several newspapers stating they misquoted me regarding the status of great-grandchildren of the sovereign.  The articles were changed, thankfully.

In 1717, after King George I had a major disagreement (one of many disagreements) with his son, the Prince of Wales, over the latter's children, the king put the question of custody of the Prince of Wales' children, to his judges. Ten out of 12 judges ruled that the "king's right of supervision extended to his grandchildren and this right of right belongs to His Majesty, King of the Realm, even during their father's lifetime."

The Princess of Wales gave birth to a second son on November 13, 1717.   She and her husband, George, the Prince of Wales wanted to name their son Louis and have the Duke of York and Albany and the Queen of Prussia as the new prince's godparents.    

King George I insisted that his new grandson be named George Wilhelm and chose the Lord Chamberlain, the Duke of Newcastle, as one of the baby's godparents.

[The Duke of York and the Queen of Prussia were King George I's youngest brother, Prince Ernest Augustus, and only sister, Princess Sophia Dorothea.]

The Prince of Wales loathed the Duke of Newcastle and verbally vilified him during the baptismal service.  This led the Duke of Newcastle to challenge the heir to the throne to duel because he thought he heard the Prince of Wales say: "you are a rascal, but I shall fight you."  The Prince of Wales's actual quote was:  "You are a rascal, but I shall find you out."

George I banished his son from the court and took custody of the Prince and Princess of Wales's four younger children, Princess Anne, Princess Amelia, Princess Caroline, and the infant Prince George Wilhelm, who at the age of three months in February 1718. 

 The king's action was followed by the report from his judges in regard to the custody of his heir's children.

The Princess of Wales -- the former Caroline of Ansbach -- became physically ill when she tried to sneak in to see her children, which led to the King allowing her access.

The Prince of Wales's eldest son, Prince Frederick, was seven years old in 1714 when his grandfather, George, succeed his kinswoman, Queen Anne.  The King and the new Prince and Princess of Wales moved to London, leaving behind Frederick in the care of his great-uncle, Prince Ernest August, the Duke of York and Albany.

Prince Frederick did not see his parents for fourteen years, arriving in London in 1728. It was not until after his father succeeded to the throne that he was asked to come to England. It is not a surprise that the new Prince of Wales (1729) did not have a good relationship with either of his parents.  He informed his parents in June 1737 that his wife, Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha would give birth to their first child in October, which was a lie. She was due in July.

When Augusta went into labor, her husband made arrangements to take her from Hampton Court Palace to St. James's Palace, not an easy journey at the time, to make sure his parents were not present for the birth.  The king and queen were understandably furious.  The Queen arrived at St. James's Palace. shortly after the Princess of Wales had given birth to a daughter, Augusta Frederica.   

Frederick's decision led to a total estrangement between him and his mother.  When she became ill later that year, Frederick begged his father to allow him to see her before she died.  George II declined his request.

[A few family dynamics here:  Princess Augusta married Prince Karl, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, whose mother was the daughter of George I's sister, Queen Sophia Dorothea of Prussia,  Augusta's second daughter, Caroline, was married in 1795 to Augusta's nephew, George, the Prince of Wales, eldest son of King George III.]

George II was not pleased with his son's behavior and banished him from the court.   In the final years of his life, Frederick and his wife and their seven children lived at Cliveden.  He eventually was reconciled with his father before his death at the age of 44, most likely from a pulmonary embolism.

Unlike his father, George II did not use the Prerogative to take custody of Frederick's children. 

The Prerogative was upheld by the passage in 1772 of the Royal Marriages Act, which upheld the "opinion of ten judges in 1717, was a confirmation of the legality of this prerogative, which admitted the King's right "to the care of the marriage and education of the children of the royal family; and that the late opinion acknowledges, that the King had the care of the royal children and grandchildren, and the presumptive heir to the crown." [Annual Register 1772].    

According to the London law firm, OTS, which specializes in family law, it is possible that The Grand Opinion for the Prerogative Concerning the Royal Family could "trump" the 1989 Children Act which provides for " parental responsibility, custody and children law rights."  The London-based OTS law firm, a specialist in family law, noted several years ago that if the Prerogative did apply, it would affect only the children and grandchildren of the Sovereign.  Not great-grandchildren.

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It is far more customary for the heir to the throne to discuss travel and the education of his children with the sovereign.  I expect the same courtesies will exist between Charles and William and William and George.  Even if Harry had remained in England, he would unlikely be bound by the Prerogative as he would be the younger son of the sovereign and his children would not be direct heirs to the throne.


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Prince William of Gloucester killed in air race crash

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 August 28, 1972

Prince William of Gloucester was killed earlier today when "his light aircraft crashed in an air race," according to the New York Times, the prince, who was ninth in the line of succession, was 30 years old.  He was the elder of two sons of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

His plane, a Piper Cherokee Arrow, crashed on "takeoff from Halfpenny Green Airfield near Wolverhampton.  His co-pilot was also killed.   The plane had "banked sharply at the end of the runway" to avoid hitting a house, crashing into a "grassy bank and exploded." 

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 One witness said: "it ended up just a mangled burned-out wreck."

Prince William had more than 700 hours of flying experience.  He was competing in the Goodyear International Air Trophy race.   He was the second member of the British royal family to be killed in an air crash.  His uncle, the Duke of Kent, was killed while on active service, on August 25, 1942.

He took up flying when he was a student in the early 1960s.

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 Several weeks ago, he told a reporter: "Flying is my great relaxation.  I used my plane as far as possible as others use their motor cars.  It is a safer and a more relaxing way to travel."

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 Prince William Henry Andrew Frederick was born at Barnet on December 18, 1941, the first of two sons of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.  He and his younger brother, Prince Richard, spent most of their childhood at Barnwell in Northamptonshire.    

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 He attended Eton College and Cambridge University, where he received a degree in history in 1963.  He also spent a post-graduate year at Stanford University where he "studied economics and political science."

The prince spent several years in the British Diplomatic Service in Lagos, Nigeria, and Tokyo, Japan. In 1970, he resigned from his position to take over "the family's extensive farming interests in Barnwell."  This decision was largely based on his father's poor health.

In an interview last year, Prince William said: "When I started working as a diplomat, I really thought it was a situation where I would be judged for myself and not my family.  But then I found it wasn't possible, and nothing was ever going to change that."

He acknowledged that his title came in handy.  "It's easier to meet people, to get your views listened to, and it helps in booking tables and cashing checks."

Prince William was unmarried.  He is survived by his parents and his younger brother, Prince Richard.  Just last month, Prince William was the best man at Richard's wedding to Danish-born Birgitte van Deurs.

William's first cousin, Queen Elizabeth II, and her daughter, Princess Anne, canceled their trip to the Olympic Games in Munich.  The Queen ordered family mourning, "a more personal gesture," which will last until the funeral.  

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Duke of Kent killed on air crash

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August 25, 1942

The Duke of Kent was killed today "in the service of his country," reports the New York Times.  He was 39 years old.  He was the first member of the British Royal Family to die in active service in the war.

He was a "passenger aboard the Sunderland flying boat which crashed in Scotland,  killing all aboard."  The Duke was the youngest surviving brother of King George VI.  

The announcement of the Duke's death was made by the Air Ministry, shortly before midnight.  "The Air Ministry deeply regrets that Air Commodore His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent was killed on active service when a Sunderland flying boat crashed in North Scotland.  His Royal Highness, who was attached to the staff of the Inspector General of the Royal Air Force, was proceeding to Iceland on duty.  All of the crew of the flying boat also lost their lives."

Due to wartime restrictions, "movement of members of the royal family cannot be printed without special permission," so it is "impossible at this time" to know where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were when they received the "grim news."

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 HRH Prince George Edward Alexander Edmund was born on December 20, 1902, at York Cottage, Sandringham.  He was the fourth son and fifth child of King George V and Queen Mary.   He was created Duke of Kent, Earl of St. Andrews, and Baron Downpatrick on October 12, 1934, six weeks before his marriage to HRH Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. 

Their marriage at Westminster Abbey took place on November 29, 1934, and produced three children, HRH Prince Edward (1935), HRH Princess Alexandra (1936), and HRH Prince Michael (1942), whose baptism on August 4, 1942, in the private chapel at Windsor Castle, was one of the last family events attended by the Duke of Kent.  One of Prince Michael's godparents is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the little prince was born on July 4, American Independence Day.

The Duke of Kent believed strongly in the future of aviation.  He received his pilot's license in 1929.

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 Prince Edward, who will celebrate his seventh birthday in October, succeeds his father as Duke of Kent. Earl of St. Andrews and Baron Downpatrick.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

York Princesses could occupy the throne together

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August 23, 1930 

 The following is from the Associated Press and based on reports in several British newspapers. 

 The Sunday Express reports that the newborn daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York is a "twilight sleep" baby. She has "dark hair and dark blue eyes, and at birth weighed seven pounds and two ounces. Her stature "was an inch below the average, measuring eighteen and a quarter inches." Her characteristics are said to be more "of a Bowes-Lyon baby than a royal baby." 

The infant princess' name is still under discussion, and the choice is "believed at present to lie between Cecilia Victoria Margaret and Cecilia Victoria Anne." The Scots are said to be "clamoring for Margaret." The Daily Sketch points out that the birth of a daughter instead of a son "will necessitate passage of a special act of Parliament to put beyond a question the succession to the throne." 

 The newspaper contends that the British law of primogeniture "does not apply to sisters." If there is no male heir, "two or more heiresses become coheiresses unless Parliament regulates their positions." Conceivably, Princess Elizabeth and her infant sister "may someday become coheiresses to the throne." The paper noted that "this would create an impossible position, and the crown might even go into abeyance. The contingency is recognized as remote, but it is contended the provision against it is necessary." 

 The Daily Sketch was certainly wrong about the succession to the throne. Yes, it is based on primogeniture (sons before daughters, brothers before sisters), but primogeniture is based on tradition. Moreover, there are only a very small number of peerages that allow for female succession, and even fewer that provide for the co-heiresses (which would require Parliament to decide the succession.)

 These latter titles are largely among the oldest of the English peerages. Succession to the British throne is based on the Act of Settlement, which made no reference to primogeniture. The reporter for this article was grossly ill-informed.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Adelaide Cottage - the new home for the Cambridges

@Royal Collection

Kensington Palace confirmed today that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children (and dog) will be moving into Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Home Park.   It was also announced that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis will be attending Lambrook School.

The Cambridges are expected to move into their new home before their children start school.

The Duchess of Cambridge's parents, Mike and Carole Middleton, live at Bucklebury Manor in Bucklebury, 33 miles from Windsor Castle.

The Duke and Duchess's staff, include a housekeeper and a chief, and the children's nanny. Maria Borrallo will retain their jobs but will live in separate housing near the Cottage, which is within walking distance of Windsor Castle.

In 2018, British newspapers reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to move into the cottage after their wedding.  This proved to be incorrect as it became apparent that Adelaide Cottage was never an option as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into the recently renovated Frogmore Cottage.  

 The couple, who left England in March 2020, now call Montecito, California home, but the duke continues to hold the lease for Frogmore Cottage.   Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their young son, August, lived in the cottage until early this year.   The Brooksbanks are now dividing their time between Portugal and Ivy Cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds.   Jack is now working for Discovery Land Company, owned by Mike Meldman, the firm developing Costa Terra, where he is responsible for "marketing, sales, and promotion. 

It is understood that the Duke and Duchess may have considered several properties in Home Park, Windsor Great Park, and Berkshire.  One of the mooted future homes was Fort Belvedere in Windsor Great Park, which is seven miles from Windsor Castle.

Fort Belvedere ceased to be a grace and favor home in 1953 when the Queen returned to the Crown Estates.  Two years later. the Hon. Gerald Lascelles, the younger son of the Princess Royal, acquired a 90 year lease.  He and his wife, Angela, and their son Henry moved into the house eleven months later.  When his marriage ended in divorce, Gerald sold the lease to the son of the Emir of Dubai.  In the early 1980s, the late Canadian billionaire Galen Weston purchased the lease.  The lease included the Fort, three cottages, and a swimming pool. 

Mr. Weston, who died in April 2021, spent millions renovating the property, which is not far from the polo grounds at Coworth Park.

Fort Belvedere is best known as the home of the future Edward VIII, and it was the scene for his abdication on December 10, 1936.

The Weston family continues to hold the original lease, which expires in 2045.   

Adelaide Cottage, which is in the Home Park in Windsor, is within walking distance of Windsor Castle.
The Home Park is separate from Windsor Great Park.  Frogmore House, which is used for receptions, is open to the public in August, and Frogmore Cottage are both located in Home Park.

Frogmore House has several grace and favour apartments for former royal staff, including the Prince of Wales's former nanny Helen Lightbody.

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that Princess Eugenie "had been trying to secure Adelaide Cottage" as a future home," but this was never confirmed.   Her father has a 75-year lease for Royal Lodge, which can be assigned to his widow or his two daughters, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Eugenie if he dies or chooses to leave the property.

@ Royal Collections  circa 1900

Sir Jeffrey Wyatville (1766-1840) built the cottage in 1839 on the site of the Headkeeper's Lodge.  Material from the demolished Royal Lodge was used to build the new cottage, which was named in honor of Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV.   

In her book, Royal Landscape: The Gardens and Parks of Windsor, Jane Roberts writes "Adelaide Cottage occupies a small fenced-in end of the Northern Slopes, just to the north of Queen Elizabeth's Walk."   The cottage's entrance "bears the initials "AR" (Adelaide Regina) and the date 1831.

On the morning of March 12, 1831, King William IV "took an airing in Little Windsor Park in his pony phaeton, and inspected Adelaide Cottage," according to a report in the Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette.  The newspaper described the cottage as a "romantic building." that has "a delightful effect from the road leading through the park from Datchet."

It was originally a Keeper's Lodge, described as a "romantic habitation under a steep bank."   Before Frogmore House was acquired by Queen Charlotte, the Keeper's Lodge was often "engaged in a familiar quest for privacy at Windsor," according to Roberts.   Six months after the death of King George IV, a local newspaper reported that a new building would be constructed and replace the Keeper's Lodge, and the intention was to provide a "summer-box" for the new Queen Consort, where "visitors from the castle will occasionally take refreshment."

The new Cottage was "happily chosen by the Queen for an occasional summer retreat."   The original views of Adelaide Cottage "suggest that the house consisted solely of two large rooms overlooking the garden."   These rooms were "tacked on to a small square cottage which survived from the old Keeper's Lodge."   It was the old cottage that continues to provide the "domestic accommodation of the house."

The Cottage was ready for use in time for Queen Adelaide's birthday on August 13, 1831.  She hosted a petit dejeuner for the King and "royal guests staying at the Castle."

The Times noted on August 6, 1832, that there would be a "splendid morning fete at Adelaide Cottage," on the morning of the Queen's birthday.  The cottage's grounds "have been very tastefully laid out under her Majesty's inspection." 

Queen Adelaide was born Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen on August 13, 1792.   She married Prince William, Duke of Clarence at Kew Palace on July 11, 1818, in a double wedding with William's younger brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The King and Queen often spent time at the cottage, especially during the summers, when they could be driven there in a pony phaeton.  Queen Adelaide would, on occasion, with her ladies, walk to the cottage for tea or other refreshments and then walk back to Windsor Castle\, sometimes strolling through the town.

In April 1831, the Queen, "with her attendants, gratified a numerous assemblage of nobility and gentry, by walking through the Terrace on Sunday afternoon, during the grand promenade.  Her Majesty proceeded on foot through the slopes to Adelaide Cottage, and on her return attended the afternoon service at St. George's Chapel," according to the Windsor Herald.

During King William IV's reign, Adelaide Cottage had a "similar status to Frogmore House," then the home of her sister-in-law, Princess Augusta.  But Adelaide Cottage and the grounds were much smaller than Frogmore House and "has never provided a home for a member of the Royal Family."

After William IV's death in June 1837, Queen Adelaide retired to Bushey Heath, where she died in 1849.

William's successor was his 18-year-old niece, Victoria, who often visited the cottage after she became queen.  She enjoyed having breakfast or tea at Adelaide Cottage.

"Talked of my thinking of having a monkey at Adelaide Cottage, of it's being cold for them there. Lord M (Melbourne) said: 'I don't see why you shouldn't have what amuses you'; for, that what he disapproved, was people's having things, which they disliked; talked of George IV's animals, and he said, I might have some if I liked," the young Queen wrote in her diary on February 28, 1839.

Victoria's much-loved spaniel Dash died in 1840 and was buried at Adelaide Cottage.  

The marble effigy reads: "Here lies DASH, The favourite spaniel of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, In his 10th year, His attachment was without selfishness, His playfulness without malice, His fidelity without deceit, READER, If you would be beloved and die regretted, Profit by the example of DASH"

In March 1838, it was reported that the Board of Woods and Forests was "engaged in forming a private carriageway from the north door of the Terrace Conservatory through Little Park to Adelaide Cottage.  This drive will be enclosed within a Ha! Ha! fence, and screened with shrubberies, etc.; and it is intended to form an easier mode of access for her Majesty to visit this delightful retreat, the occasionally rapid ascents of the walk through the slopes have already been fatiguing."

During the first summer of their marriage, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would often walk from Windsor Castle to Adelaide Cottage and would return to the castle on a pony phaeton.   The Cottage offered the young couple the chance to relax away from the pressures of court life at the Castle.   In August 1841, Prince Albert celebrated his birthday at the cottage with a quiet lunch with his wife, where they were treated to a serenade.   The cottage was also a place where the Queen's children could enjoy free time with their parents.   The Queen herself would take "occasional refreshments at Adelaide Cottage, Frogmore or Shaw Farm in the Home Park", especially in the spring and early summer.

Early in Victoria's reign, "there was a broad belt of planting from below the Winchester Tower (in the Middle Ward of the castle) to the grounds of Adelaide Cottage.

The cottage was also a place where the Queen and Prince Albert could entertain with less formality, often inviting family members, including the Duchess of Kent, the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Victoria's older half-sister, Feodore), and Albert's brother, Ernst, and his wife.   In September 1846, the Queen and Prince Albert, the Princess of Prussia, "and all of her Majesty's visitors, except the Queen Dowager, walked to Adelaide Cottage" and after spending some time there, the royal party returned to Windsor Castle in pony carriages.

By the 1850s, Adelaide Cottage was used as staff housing. George Fleming, who began a career in Royal service at age 15, rose to become Victoria's Page of the Bedchamber, and his family lived in Adelaide Cottage for 35 years.   Victoria's children often spent time at the cottage with the Fleming children.

King George V and Queen Mary would also use the cottage for afternoon tea.  They were fond of the "rose pergola at Adelaide Cottage," describing the pergola as "one of the great features of the Home Park Private."

For more than one hundred years, the "domestic quarters" in the older part of the house, were "occupied by a resident housekeeper," according to Roberts.

Adelaide Cottage became a Grace and Favour home in 1941, providing accommodation for "members of the Royal Household.  The house required major work and maintenance.  When "the occupant in the mid-1940s requested central heating for the sake of his young family," he was told that "it was impossible to contemplate such work at present," due to the efforts to "repair bomb damage in London."

The occupant who made the request was Peter Townsend, who moved into Adelaide Cottage in 1944 with his wife, Rosemary, and their young son Giles.   Townsend, who served in the Royal Air Force during the second world war, was named as equerry to King George VI.  The couple's second son, Hugo, was born at Adelaide Cottage a year later.

The Townsends were divorced in 1952 due to Rosemary's adulterous relationship with John Laszlo, son of the famed portrait painter, Philip de Laszlo.    Townsend fell in love with Princess Margaret, and they made plans to marry.  Although he was not the guilty party in the divorce, Townsend was tainted by the stigma of the divorce and would not have been allowed to remarry in the Church of England.  This proved to be a major hurdle in the couple's relationship and in October 1955, Princess Margaret ended the relationship.

In the mid-1950s, the Ministry of Works discussed the fate of Adelaide Cottage having "rather gone to seed and is covered by dilapidated trellis work from which are hanging overgrown climbing shrubs."  
Adelaide Cottage was described as a building "of little merit, but in June 1955, Sir John Charlton, the Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments stated: "The house is of interest on both historical and architectural grounds," adding "We should do our best to preserve it."

A budget of £10,000 was approved for renovations in October 1955.  Adelaide Cottage was ready for occupation 13 months later.    According to Jane Roberts, the Cottage's two large rooms underwent major changes during the 1940s and 1950s, but these were "mostly reversed" when the Adelaide Cottage underwent major rehabilitation work in 1991-2.  

Further renovations were done in 2015.

For 22 years Adelaide Cottage was the home of Sir John Johnston and his wife, the Hon. Elizabeth "Libby" Hardinge, the younger daughter of the 2nd Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, who as Alec Hardinge, served as Private Secretary to King Edward VIII and King George VI.

Libby Johnston was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth.  A year younger than the future queen, Libby joined Princess Elizabeth in the classroom in the palace.

Her mother, Helen Cecil, was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who served as one of the bridesmaids at Helen's wedding.   The Queen Mother was one of Libby's godparents.

Sir Hugh Roberts, former Director of the Royal Collection, and his wife, Jane, the former Librarian at the Royal Archives, resided at Adelaide Cottage.

Simon Rhodes, the son of Queen Elizabeth's first cousin, Hon. Margaret Rhodes, and his family were the most recent tenants.

 Adelaide Cottage has a storied history, built for a much-loved Queen Consort, but is there a chance that the Cottage will finally become a full-time royal residence?    The Cottage has never been a royal residence and it does not have a large private garden. There is of course plenty of green space in Windsor Home Park.

This post was first written on July 23, 2018, after the Daily Mail reported that Queen Elizabeth II had offered Adelaide Cottage at Windsor to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  At the time, the report seemed credible -- unlike the report that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to move into York Cottage at Sandringham -- but Kensington Palace never confirmed the Mail's report.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Prince Wauthier de Ligne (1952-2022)


Prince Wauthier de Ligne died in a hospital in Tournai, Belgium on August 15.  He suffered from a "long and painful illness".   He was 70 years old.

Princess Anne and Prince Wauthier   all photos are from the Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

Wauthier, Michel, Princess Alix with Princess Sophie, Princess Christine & Princess Anne: 1957

Wauthier, Sophie, Michel and Anne 

HH Prince Wauthier Philippe Féliz Marie Lamoral of Ligne was born on July 10, 1952, at Schloss Beloeil, the second of seven children of the late HH  Antoine Marie Joachim Lamoral, 13th Prince of Ligne (1925-2005) and HRH Princess Alix Marie Anne Antoinette Charlotte Gabrielle;of Luxembourg (1929-2019).    His maternal grandparents were HRH Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg and HRH Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma.

His marriage to Marguerite Régine Marie Françoise Xavière de Renesse took place at Elderen on May 1, 1976.  

The Prince and his family lived in a house on the Schloss Beloeil estate.  He is survived by his widow, Princess Regine, and their three children, Prince Philippe (1977) and his wife, Laetitia,  Princess Melanie (1979) and her husband, Paul Weingarten, and Princess Elisabeth (1983) and her husband, Baron Baudouin Gillès de Pélichy and grandchildren, Prince Jean-Charles, Princess Aliénor, and  Princess Constance of Ligne, Felix, Leopold and Tassilo Weingarten,  Baron Antoine, Baron Charles,  Miss  Philippine, Miss  Marguerite, and Miss Marie Gillès de Pélichy.    

He is also survived by his siblings, Michel, 14th Prince of Ligne,  Princess Anne, Mrs. Charles de Fabribeckers de Cortils et Grâce; Princess Christine of Orleans-Braganza, Princess Sophie, Countess Nicolay,   Prince Antoine, and Princess Yolande, Mrs. Hugo Townsend, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Princess Yolande, Princess Sophie, and Count Philippe de Nicolay, Prince Michel.  Princess Christine and Prince Antonio of Orleans-Braganca, Princess Regine and Prince Wauthier, Princess Anne with her children Anne and Olivier Mortgat, the Princess de Ligne (in a wheelchair), Prince Lamoral de Ligne and Antoine, Prince of Ligne

Wauthier, Michel, Christine, Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, Princess Anne 

A family portrait

The Prince and Princess of Ligne and their seven children   

The funeral will take place on August 22 at 11 a.m. in the Saint-Pierre church in Beloeil.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Princess Maria Laura of Belgium to marry on September 10


@Andrew Ferrer

Princess Maria Laura of Belgium will marry William Isvy on September 10.  The Roman Catholic ceremony will take place in the Cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in Brussels.

The civil wedding will take at Brussel's City Hall at 11:00 a.m.   According to Belgian royal reporter, Wim Dehandschutter, the civil ceremony will be private.  Princesss Maria Laura's witnesses will be her two sisters, Princess Luisa Princess Laetitia.  William's brother and sister will be his witnesses.

The church wedding will start at 2:30 p.m.  There will be 500 guests, including the Belgian royal family, at the service, which include elements of the Jewish faith as Mr. Isvy is Jewish.

The 33-year-old Princess is the second of five children of Princess Astrid of Belgium and her husband, Archduke Lorenz of Austria.  Astrid's father, King Albert II issued a Royal Decree on November 10, 1995, creating Lorenz as Prince of Belgium.   

The Princess, who uses the name Laura, is the niece of King Philippe of the Belgians.

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 On January 31, the King approved the marriage, which allows the Princess, currently in 9th place in the line of succession, to remain in line to the throne.   Her children will also have succession rights, but they will not have any royal titles.

William and Princess Laura met in London where they live and work.  The Princess is not a working royal.   He is an analyst with Millenium Capital.  The princess works as a climate analyst with the Children's Investment Fund Foundation.

Another QVD engagement: Harry Sewall to Bobbie Garbutt

Henry  "Harry" Alexander Sewell is engaged to marry Roberta Lois Carla Garbutt, a 4th generation nutmeg farmer in Grenada.

@linked in

Henry is the elder son of Charles Percy Sewell and Alice Louise Esther Margot Huntington-Whiteley.  He was born on May 4, 1988, at Horton Maternity Hospital, Banbury, Oxfordshire.  He is known as Harry.

Louise is one of the three children of the late Sir John Miles Huntington-Whiteley VRD, 4th Baronet (1929–2019), and Countess Victoria Adelheid of Castell-Rüdenhausen.   She is also the granddaughter of Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, whose daughter, Lady Margaret Baldwin married Sir Hebert Maurice Huntington-Whiteley, 2nd Baronet.

Countess Victoria Adelheid lives for several years with her paternal aunt, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone at Kensington Palace.

@Sustenance Collective

Bobbie Garbutt has Grenada and Irish nationality.  She was born in Norwich in March 1993. She is the daughter of Leo Garbutt and Lilian Ramdhanny.  Her family lives in Grenada, where her father owns Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel.   In January 2021, Leo Garbutt, MBE was voted President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association.

Leo Garbutt and his family

Bobbie has two sisters.  She runs the Sustenance Collective.   According to the website, Bobbie is "a food activist, educator and advocate of good food from good places shared with good people.

She works to create sustainable supply chains within the food industry. Living on both sides of the Atlantic between London and Grenada, she is transforming her family’s 200-year-old organic cocoa and nutmeg plantation on the island.

Her mother's family owns L’Esterre, " a 200-year-old estate, consisting of a plantation house surrounded by 70 acres of lush, fertile agricultural land bounded by a peaceful river." 

Bobbie's great-grandfather, Lawrence “Ram” Ramdhanny, a pharmacist, bought the  L’Esterre Estate in 1949.  Ram was the son of East Indian immigrants.

Harry, who attended Harrow School and Oxford Brooke University, works as a Residential Sales at Strutt & Parker, Kensington.

Harry's line of descent from Queen Victoria:

Victoria - Leopold - Carl Eduard (Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha),  Caroline Mathilde - Victoria Adelheid - Louise - Harry.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Louis Cunningham -- all the right genes to play Louis XVI

@Tavistock Wood

One of the Daily Mail's diarist Richard Eden's most recent columns included a nugget about Louis Robert Dominic Marie Cunningham, an up-and-coming young actor. The latter appeared as Lord Corning in an episode of the popular Netflix series Bridgerton.   He has been cast as King Louis XVI of France in a new BBC series, Marie Antoinette.  

Eden noted that the 24-year-old actor is the grandson of Prince Charles of Luxembourg, who died of a heart attack in 1977 in Italy.   

The Ampleforth-educated (2016) actor has British and Luxembourg nationality.  He is the second of three sons of HRH Princess Charlotte Phyllis Anne Joelle Marie of Luxembourg and Mark Victor Cunningham.   He was born on March 9, 1998, at the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth in London.  He has an older brother, Charles Douglas Donall Marie Cunningham (1996), and a younger brother, Donall Mark Philippe Marie Cunningham (2002)

 Harrogate-born Mark Victor Cunningham met Princess Charlotte at Oxford University where they both were students.  The Princess, who prefers to be known as Charlotte Cunningham. received a degree in modern languages. Mr. Cunninngham has worked for 30 years in corporate finance and private wealth management.  In 2010, he co-founded Cunningham Loewenstein Asset Management with Dora Loewenstein  (HSH Princess Maria Theodora Marjorie of zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, whose late father, Prince Rupert was the financial manager for the Rolling Stones.

In 2013,  the firm name was changed to Holbein Partners LLP.  In the summer of 2021, the firm was acquired by Tiedemann Constantia.  Holbein Partners is described as "an independent investment manager and wealth advisor for high-net-worth individuals, family offices, trusts, foundations, and endowments."

Mark Cunningham is also the chairman of the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity. 

Princess Charlotte and Mark Cunningham were married in a civil ceremony in Mouchy, France on June 26, 1993.  Their religious wedding took place in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on  September 18, 1993.  Grand Duke Jean gave away the bride.

Charlotte is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Turtle Key Arts founded  "in 1989 as a unique and ground-breaking accessible space, and accessibility for all continues to be a key philosophy of the company."

The Cunninghams have homes in London and Yorkshire.  Charlotte and Mark purchased Potter Hill Farm,  near the village of Coulton, North Yorkshire in April 2020 for £9,900,000.    

They also spend summers at the Dillon family home on Isleboro Island in Maine.

HRH Prince Charles Frédéric Louis Guillaume Marie of Luxembourg, Prince of Bourbon-Parma, Prince of Nassau (1927-1967) was the fifth of six children and the second son of HRH  Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg (1896-1985) and HRH Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma (1893-1970).  He was the heir presumptive to the Grand Ducal throne until the birth of Grand Duke Jean's eldest son, Henri, now Grand Duke, in 1955.   The present Grand Duke and Princess Charlotte are first cousins.

There was a bit of controversy when Prince Charles fell in love with Joan Douglas Dillon (1935.)  She was an American commoner, but politically and socially well-connected.  Her family was also very rich.   This would be Joan's second marriage.

In 1953, at age 18, Joan married James Brady Moseley,  a nephew of Nicholas F. Brady, who served as Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan and Bush administrations.  Brady joined  Dillon. Read & Co in 1954, eventually rising to the position of chairman.  Joan was living in Paris where her father was the American Ambassador to France.  

She gave birth to a daughter Joan Dillon Moseley in 1954.  A year later the marriage was dissolved by divorce and in 1963, the marriage was annulled by the Roman Catholic church.   Moseley was Roman Catholic and Joan was Protestant. 

Joan's parents. Clarence and Phyllis Dillon announced her engagement to Prince Charles on February 10, 1967.   The wedding was scheduled to take place in early spring.   Six days after the engagement announcement, Grand Duke Jean issued a decree that gave dynastic status to Charles'  marriage.  His new wife would be styled as HRH Princess Joan of Luxembourg

The Roman Catholic wedding took place at the Church of St. Edward the Confessor in Guildford, England on March 1, 1967.  Grand Duke Jean and Clarence Dillon were witnesses to the ceremony, which was attended by close family relatives, including the bride's parents.  Grand Duchess Charlotte and Charles's four sisters. Elisabeth, Marie Adelaide, Marie Gabrielle and Alix.

Seven months after the wedding on September 15, 1967, Princess Joan gave birth to Charlotte in New York City.  The couple's second child, Prince Robert Louis François Marie was born on August 14, 1968, at Schloss Fischbach in Luxembourg.

Charlotte and her descendants are not in the line of succession to the Luxembourg throne as the succession law until 2011 limited succession to the male line descendants (approved marriages) of Grand Duke Wilhelm of Luxembourg's daughters.  He did not have any sons.  In 2011, a new gender equal succession law was passed, but the gender equal part applies only to Grand Duke Henri's descendants.  All other eligible male line descendants of Grand Duke Wilhelm remain in line.  This includes Henri's youngest brother, Prince Guillaume, and his sons, and his first cousin, Prince Robert, who is married to an American, Julie Ongaro, and they are the parents of three children, Charlotte, Alexandre, and Frederik.

A year after Prince Charles' death, Princess Joan married for the third time to Philippe François Armand Marie de Noailles, Duc de Mouchy (1922-2011).  Charlotte and Robert were sent to boarding school in England.

Joan, now 85, is styled as the Dowager Duchess de Mouchy. She has been described as "a larger-than-life lady, with an indefinable, cultured, mid-Atlantic accent."

  Embed from Getty Images

Charlotte is a first cousin of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.  She has a younger brother, Prince Robert (1968) who is the head of Domaine Clarence Dillon, which "has the unique privilege of producing five rare and exceptional estate wines: two red wines and two white wines from First Growth, Château Haut-Brion and its sibling Château La Mission Haut-Brion."   Prince Robert succeeded his mother as president in 2008. 

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Louis's royal ancestry has many interesting lines.  He is a descendant of King Louis XIV of France, and Queen Maria I of Portugal.  His paternal grandfather's family tree includes Bourbon Parmas, Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Loewenstein-Wertheim, Austria, and Spain  ---probably all the way back to Edward III.  

Louis' great-great grandfather Clarence Dillon (1882-1979) was a financier who, according to Forbes magazine, was one of America's richest men with a fortune between $150-200 million. He attended Harvard and became an investment banker.   In 1912, he began working for a Wall Street firm, William A Read & Compay in Chicago. He moved to the New York office in 1914.  Two years, after the death of William Read,  Clarence Dillon bought a major interest in the firm and became head of the company.

The firm's name was changed to Dillon, Reed & Company in 1931.   Dillon was a Francophile and an oenophile.  He bought an apartment in Paris in 1929, where he spent time every year.  Chateau Hau-Brion was his favorite wine so he decided to buy the company for 2,300,000 francs in 1935.

Clarence and his wife, Anne McEldin Douglas had a son and daughter.  Their son was C. (Clarence)  Douglas Dillon (1909-2003), an American diplomat who served as Ambassador of France (1953-1957), Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment (1958-1959), and Under Secretary of State (1959-1961), all during the Eisenhower Administration.   He was the Secretary of Treasury from 1961-1965, during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations.

C. Douglas Dillon married Phyllis Chess Ellsworth (1910-1982)  in 1931.  Joan was their younger daughter.

Embed from Getty Images 

 He attended Harvard University where he earned a degree in American history and literature.  Before seeing service in the Pacific in the second world war, Clarence was the Vice President and Director of Dillon, Read & Company.  He returned to the firm after the war where he was named Chairman, where he was able to double the firm's investments by 1952.   

Dillon, Read & Company was sold to Barings in 1991 for $122 million.   The former family-owned investment firm was sold several times after Barings went bankrupt and was closed in 2007.

Louis Cunningham's American roots can be traced back to the 1600s in Maryland and Virginia.  This connection comes through Clarence Dillon's wife, Anne McEldin Douglass.   Through his maternal grandmother, the young actor has French, Scottish, English, German and Polish ancestry.

Clarence Dillon was born in San Antonio to Clarence Lapowski, the son of Samuel Lapowski, a Polish Jew who had immigrated to Texas after the American Civil War, and Berta Stenbock, whose Swedish father, Gustav Stenbock, a prospector searching for lead and silver in Colorado.

The Lapowski family was naturalized in 1891.   A decade later, they changed their surname to Dillon.  This was the anglicized surname of Michele Dylion, a Frenchman, whose daughter, Paulina married  Joshua Lapowski, the parents of Samuel Lapowski.   

The family also converted to Christianity.

Joan Dillon's father dropped one S from his middle name Douglass, becoming Clarence Douglas Dillon, known as C. Clarence Dillon.

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

Friday, August 5, 2022

19 million and counting


At some point today, Royal Musings reached 19 million readers. I started this blog in July 2008, but I never expected that the blog would be read by so many people around the world.  

I love writing about royalty past and present.  I also enjoy sharing travel stories and news about the kitties and chatting with my readers.   

You can type and scratch my tummy at the same time, Mom.

Mom, are you almost finished writing?  I am hungry.

Thank you so much for enjoying Royal Musings and RBN Royal Book News.

Perhaps it is time for a glass of champagne

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Prince Ludwig of Bavaria engaged


Prince Ludwig in Bucharest in October 2011  @Marlene Eilers Koenig

Prince Ludwig Heinrich of Bavaria is engaged to Sophie-Alexandra  Evekink. He is the future head of the Royal House of Bavaria. 

The couple became engaged in Berchtesgaden.

He was born on June 14, 1982 in Landsberg am Lech, third child and eldest son of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and Beatrix Wiegand.   Prince Luitpold is the only child of the late Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Irmingard of Bavaria, who were first cousins.

Ludwig III - Rupprecht - Irmingard - Luitpold - Ludwig

Ludwig III - Franz - Ludwig - Luitpold - Ludwig.

Prince Ludwig is also a descendant of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg:

Adolphe - Wilhelm - Antonia - Irmingard - Luitpold - Ludwig

Miss Evekink was born in Singapore in 1989 and has dual Dutch-Canadian nationality. She studied political and criminal science in England and worked for WHO in Geneva.  Sophie is a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford University.   She is the daughter of Dorus Evekink, Program Manager of Strategic Leadership a the Maastricht School of Management.

She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and East European Studies from University College London (UCL) and a Masters in Science from the University of Oxford.   Miss Evekink speaks with a  North American accent.

 Prince Ludwig has taken on "representative and honorary duties for the family" at the request of Duke Franz, the current head of the house.    He studied law at Göttingen University, focusing on human rights.  He is committing to helping those in need in Africa, Romania, and Ukraine.

In May 2022, Prince Ludwig received the  Bavarian State Medal for Social Merit.  

Prince Ludwig's father, Prince Luitpold spoke to Bild about his son's engagement.  

"Ludwig made a good choice.  My future daughter-in-law is a very intelligent and well-educated woman."

He also looks forward to more grandchildren.  "I hope they start a family soon.  It is very gratifying that Ludwig is now more in Bavaria again.  He worked as a development worker in Africa for almost ten years."

Miss Evekink is currently writing her doctoral thesis on international law at Oxford.  

The date for the wedding has not been announced.  

"We don't know that yet.  What is clear, however, is that it will be a celebration of joy," Prince Luitpold told Bild.

Prince Luitpold is the owner of the Kaltenberg brewery.