Saturday, December 31, 2022

Countess Sophie von Rechberg u.Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg to marry

 H Ill H Countess Sophie von Rechberg u.Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg and Dr. Phillipp Kurtz became engaged shortly before Christmas.  Dr. Kurtz is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO der Famedly GmbH.

Sophie is the youngest child and only daughter of H I LL Count Max-Emanuel Carl-Anton Wolfgang Laurentius Maria von Rechberg u.Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg and H Ill H Countess Maria Adelheid Walburga Rufina von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg.

Sophie Marie Caroline Martha was born in Munich on April 17, 1994.  Her mother, Maria Adelheid is the 5th of 6t children of the late Maria Georg Konstantin Ignatius Antonius Felix Augustinus Wunibald Kilian Bonifacius Prince von Waldburg zu Zeil undTrauchburg (1928-2015) and HRH Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria.   Maria Adeheid's brother, Erich, is the present Prince of von Waldburg zu Zeil undTrauchburg.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Science in Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture from Humboldt University in Berlin.  For the past two years, Sophie has been working part-time as a production assistant at Frau Tonis Perfum in Berlin.


Dr. Kurtz completed his medical studies at Goethe University in Frankfurt. He also has a Master of Science in Medical Informatics from the Institute of Distance Learning - Berlin University of Applied Sciences and Technology.   As a part of his medical training, he spent his Practical year in Berlin, Moscow and Argentina. 

He decided to start his own business "instead of a secure, well-paid job in a hospital" because he believes it is important for the healthcare industry to change.   In August 2018, with a former schoolmate, Dr. Kurz co-founded, which is a decentralized, fully encrypted data infrastructure for the healthcare industry."

His family owns Kurtz Ersa, a global technology group based in Kreuzwertheim.   Dr. Kurtz is a shareholder in his family's global firm.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

HRH The Margrave of Baden (1933-2022)

@Markgrave of Baden

 HRH Prince Maximilian, the Margrave died today, December 29, 2022, at Schloss Salem.  He was 89 years old and was the second of three children of the late HRH Berthold, Margrave of Baden, and HRH Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark.

HRH Prince Maximilian Andreas Friedrich Gustav Ernst August Bernhard was born on July 3, 1933, at Schloss Salem.  He had one older sister, Princess Margarita (1932-2013), and one younger brother, Prince Ludwig (1937).

The family lived primarily at Schloss Salem, in Baden-Württemberg.  Part of the Schloss was used for the Schule Schloss Salem, which was founded in 1920 by HRH Prince Max of Baden (1867-1929) the last Chancellor of Imperial Germany, and educators Kurt Hahn and Karl Reinhardt.  Prince Max was the heir presumptive to Duke Friedrich II of Baden, who died in 1929.  Max was married to HRH Princess Marie Louise of Cumberland, Princess of Hannover, one of six children of HRH Prince Ernst August, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, and HRH Princess Thyra of Denmark.   

When Prince Max succeeded his cousin Duke Friedrich II in 1928, he assumed the ancestral title of the Baden family, Margrave of Baden, which was first used in 1112 by Hermann II.   Following his death, his son Berthold also chose to be styled as Margrave of Baden, as the Grand Duchy of Baden ceased to exist after Friedrich II's abdication in 1918.  

Following the death of his father, Berthold, the new Margrave of Baden, continued to support the school.  In August 1931, he married his second cousin, Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark, the second of five children of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg. 

 Their first son's name honored Berthold's father who was named for his maternal grandfather, Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg, the husband of Grand Duchess Maria Nicolaievna of Russia, the daughter of Emperor Nicholas II. 

For two terms, Theodora's younger brother, Prince Philip (1921-2021) attended Schloss Salem school but returned to Britain in 1933, following Kurt Hahn to Gordonstoun School in Scotland.  After being arrested in early 1933 for speaking out against Hitler.  Hahn, a Jew, spent nearly a week in jail before being freed with the assistance of British Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald.   Hahn was forced to leave Germany.  He settled in Scotland where he founded Gordonstoun School, based on the principles taught at Schule Schloss Salem.

 Although Berthold joined the Wehrmacht, neither he nor his wife supported the Nazi party.  He left the Wehrmacht in 1940 after suffering an injury in France.   After the end of the second world war, Prince Max was sent to Gordonstoun.   Following the premature death of his father, at the age of 57 in 1963, Prince Max became the Margrave of Baden.  A businessman, Prince Max focused on the family winery and other enterprises.  The Markgraf von Baden wines are produced at Salem Castle on Lake Constance and at Staufenberg Castle in Ortenau, both of which are family properties.

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

In an interview with VDP, the Margrave's eldest son, the then Hereditary Prince said: "I come from a family that has always cultivated and developed wine. It gives us great pleasure to produce Baden wines of the best possible quality.  And that remains our task for the future."

In 1961, Prince Max became engaged to his first cousin, Princess Beatrix of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.  Their mothers were sisters.   Beatrix's brother, Kraft, the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg announced that the engagement was broken off "by mutual consent" and "ended for personal reasons."

During their State visit to Germany in 1965, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, were able to spend a quiet weekend at Schloss Salem.  The dinner was hosted by Philip's widowed sister, Theodora, Margravine of Baden, and the guests included his other two surviving sisters, Margarita, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Princess Georg Wilhelm of Hanover, and their families.     Five years earlier, in November 1960, Prince Philip drove from the Netherlands to Zwingenberg, Germany, where he picked up his cousin, Prince Ludwig of Baden. They drove to Schloss Wolfsgarten near Darmstadt, to see Prince and Princess Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, and then it was on to Schloss Salem to spend the weekend with Philip's sister and brother-in-law.   

The Margravine and Margrave of Baden with Prince Max, Prince Ludwig and Princess Margarita @Margrave of Baden

Berthold was only 57 years old when he died when he suffered a heart attack while driving a car with his younger son Prince Ludwig in October 1963.  Prince Max succeeded as Margrave and head of the house of Baden.  

In 1966, the Margrave announced his engagement to HI & RH Archduchess Valerie Isabelle Marie Anna Alfonsa Desideria Brigitte Sophia Thomasia Huberta Josepha Ignatia of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, (1941), the 9th of 13th children of HI &RH Archduke Hubert of Austria, Prince of Tuscany, and HSH Princess Rosemary of Salm-Salm.  The couple was wed in a civil ceremony at Schloss Salem on September 23, 1966.  A week later, on September 30, a Roman Catholic wedding took place at the bride's home, Schloss Persenbeug in Austria.  The new Margravine agreed to raise their children Lutheran.

@Maximilian Margrave of Baden

In 1995, the Margrave had a "king-size yard sale" that sold more than 6000 lots (25,000 objects) of "furniture, crockery, paintings and even hunting trophies to pay off debts," according to the New York Times.   The family was in debt for $184 million due to the recession "compounded by mismanagement of its agricultural, and industrial holdings."  One of the Margrave's five Schlosser,  Neues Schloss, had become a warehouse of family possessions, following the loss of 15 other castles in 1918.   Sotheby's experts carefully assessed the treasure trove and found "it contained important collections of 17th and 18th-century German furniture, Flemish tapestries, Meissen porcelain, and myriad art objects."

The Sotheby's 15-day auction realized $21.2 million toward the Margrave's debts.   The Margrave also arranged a deal with the regional government, which agreed to pay $31.6 million "for the pick of the collection.  The then Hereditary Prince Bernhard told the New York Times that Neues Schloss would also be sold. "It's on the market, but we have no idea of the price. It will depend on who wants it, what restoration has to be done. Perhaps in the medium term, the Government will buy it. Not yet of course. It's a problem we'll worry about after the auction."

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 [In 2003, the Kuwaiti Al-Hassawi Group bought the Neues Schloss to convert into a luxury hotel, but the plans eventually fell through. In 2010, the Baden-Baden city government approved new building permits and two years later, the American hotel chain, Hyatt, was brought in to assist with the development.  The opening date was scheduled for 2018 but changed again with the proposed sale of 16 condominiums which would finance the conversion.  This deal also fell through. In February 2022, the Baden-Baden city government rescinded its approval of the building plans.  The schloss is still owned by Fawzia Al-Hassawi.]]

In May 2006, the Margrave of Baden represented the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the memorial service for Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover at Schloss Salem.  Prince Georg Wilhelm, a former headmaster at Schule Schloss Salem, was Prince Philip's brother-in-law.

The Margrave and Margravine of Baden at the State Funeral for King Peter II, Queen Alexandra, Queen Marie and Prince Andrej of Yugoslavia, May 2013  @Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

When the Margrave turned 65 in 1998, he turned over the "economic responsibility" of the Baden estates to his eldest son Bernhard.

Margrave Max of Baden was in poor health for some time.  In September, Margravine Valerie represented her husband at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.  She was accompanied by her eldest son and daughter-in-law, Hereditary Prince Bernhard and Hereditary Princess Stephanie. 

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Hereditary Prince Bernhard was one of the 30 mourners at the funeral of his great-uncle Prince Philip in April 2021.

The Margrave of Baden is survived by his wife, Archduchess Valerie of Austria, four children, HGDH Princess Marie Louise, HRH Prince Bernhard, HGDH Prince Leopold, and HGDH Prince Michael, and four grandchildren, Sophia Baker, HRH Hereditary Prince Leopold of Baden, HGDH Prince Friedrich, and HGDH Prince Karl of Baden.  He is also survived by his younger brother, HGDH Prince Ludwig of Baden.

Bernhard and Stephanie, Margrave & Margravine of Baden  @NettyLeistra

Prince Bernhard succeeded his father as the Margrave of Baden.   Prince Michael is the General Manager of the winery of Schloss Staufenberg.  Princess Marie Louise lived for many years in Crestone, Colorado, where her former husband, Richard Dudley Baker, who is three years younger than her father and is known as Richard Baker Roshi, an American Zen Master.  She was the Director of the Crestone Charter School from 2016 until 2021.  She is a naturalized American citizen and is known as Marie Louise Baker.

The late Margrave was a descendant of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX of Denmark.

Victoria - Alice - Victoria - Alice - Theodora - Maximilian

Christian - Thyra - Marie Louise -Berthold -Maximilian

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Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas Day at Sandringham

 Two dear friends of mine,  Karen Anvil, and Ken Stone were at Sandringham yesterday morning to see members of the Royal family attend the Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene, which is on the Sandringham estate.

This photo and the photos above are the copyright of Karen Anvil.  

and from Ken Stone

This photo and all that follow are the copyright of Ken Stone.

My thanks to Karen Anvil and Ken Stone for allowing me to use their photos.

They are the copyright holders.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Two royal engagements in Holstein and Prussia

 A bit of royal "yes" before Christmas. 

Prince Constantin of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg is engaged to marry Countess Sophia von der Schulenburg.

Constantin is the third child and second son of Prince Christoph of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Princess Elisabeth of Lippe-Weissenfeld.  He was born July 14, 1986, in Eckernförde.  

Countess Sophia is the second of four children of Count Friedrich "Fritz" von der Schulenburg and Baroness Franziska von Knigge.  She was born on April 17, 1990, in Valencia, Spain.   Her father is the CEO & Managing Partner of Jebsen & Jessen, a Hamburg-based manufacturing firm.

Christoph is the titular Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

Prince Oskar of Prussia will marry Johanna von Jenisch.   

Oskar is the eldest of three children of Prince Oskar of Prussia and Auguste Zimmerman von Siefart.  He was born on October 29, 1993, in Hannover.   Johanna is the daughter of Martin von Jenisch and his wife Birgitte.

Constantin and Oskar are descendants of Queen Victoria.

Victoria - Alfred - Alexandra - Marie Melita - Peter - Christoph -Constantin

Victoria - Victoria - Wilhelm II --Oskar -- Wilhelm Karl -- Oskar

This post will be updated with further information.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Vrana Palace is returned to King Simeon and Princess Marie Louise


The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cessation issued a final statement on the ownership of the Vrana Palace estate.  The court's ruling, which cannot be appealed, is in favor of former King Simeon of Bulgaria and his older sister, Princess Marie Louise.  

The Vrana Palace was the summer residence of the Bulgarian royal family until 1946.  Simeon's grandfather King Ferdinand bought the land in 1898.  A two-story hunting lodge and a palace were built on the land, which is surrounded by a park that includes a lake and several gardens.  The park has been opened to the public since 2013.

Simeon was only six years old when he succeeded his father King Boris III, who died on August 28, 1943, following a trip to Germany. 

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A year later in September 1944,  Red Army troops moved into Bulgaria after the Soviet Union declared war on the small Balkan nation.   The following day on September 9, the three regents, which included the young king's uncle, Prince Kyril were arrested.   They were executed by the Communists in February 1945.

The young king with his mother, Queen Giovanna, and his sister, Princess Marie Louise remained at Varna Palace, near Sofia, until September 1945.   A Soviet-controlled referendum on the monarchy was held in September where 95.6 voted to abolish the monarchy.  The presence of Soviet troops helped to secure the rigged vote.   

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 The royal family went into exile shortly after the referendum, joining Queen Giovanna's parents, King Vittorio Emanuele and Queen Elena in Alexandria, Egypt.  In 1951, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco gave asylum to the exiled Bulgarian royal family.

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 In 1962, King Simeon married a Spanish aristocrat, Margarita Gómez-Acebo y Cejuela.  They had four sons,  Crown Prince Kardam,  Prince Kyril, Prince Kubrat, Prince Konstantin-Assen, and one daughter, Princess Kalina.

In Spain, the family uses the surname Sajonia-Coburgo-Gotha.   

In 1996, Simeon, who had received a Bulgarian passport in 1990, returned to the county 50 years after he and his family had been sent into exile.   He was elected Prime Minister in 2001 and served until 2005.

Today, the 85-year-old king and his wife divided their time between Bulgaria, at Vrana Palace, and Spain.   His heir apparent is his grandson, Prince Boris, the elder of two sons of the late Crown Prince Kardam who died in 2015 as the result of injuries suffered in a car accident in August 2008. 

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A review of King Simeon's autobiography, A Unique Destiny is reviewed here.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Princess of Wales hosts Christmas Concert

Nearly all the UK-based members of the Royal Family were present at Westminster Abbey this evening for the Together at Christmas Carol Service which was hosted by the Princess of Wales.

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The Princess was accompanied by the Prince of Wales and their two older children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte of Wales, the King and Queen, the Countess of Wessex, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and their husbands, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor, Lady Ella Kingston, Mike and Zara Tindall and Daniel and Lady Sarah Chatto. 

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A royal engagement: Infanta Maria Francisca to marry lawyer


Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Bragança are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, HH Infanta D. Maria Francisca of Bragança, Duchess of Coimbra, and Duarte de Sousa Araújo Martins.

Her Highness and Duarte de Sousa Araújo Martins became engaged in Timor, earlier this month. The Infanta D. Maria Francisca informed Their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Bragança and other close family members.

More details regarding the wedding day will be announced in due course.

Duarte Maria de Sousa Araújo was born in Lisbon on May 14, 1992, the son of Pedro Martins and Mary de Carmo de Sousa. He has three brothers and is the maternal grandson of the famous architect and sacred art painter João de Sousa Araújo.

Mr. de Sousa Araújo Martins has a degree in law from the Portuguese Catholic University and holds a Master of Law (Banking and Finance Law) from Queen Mary University in London.

He is a lawyer, currently a Senior Associate at the Uria Menéndez Law Society - Proença de Carvalho, specializing in capital markets and mergers and acquisitions.

He developed voluntary work throughout his life as Chief General of Missions at the Catholic University School of Law.

Sintra 15 December 2022

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

HM Margareta speaks at Diplomatic Corps event at Royal Palace.


Romania is a monarchy within a republic.  Her Majesty Margareta Custodian of the Crown has official recognition within the Romanian Government.   The speech took place on December 6 in the Throne Hall in the Royal Palace on Calei Victorei.

Her Majesty was accompanied by her husband HRH Prince Radu.  The throne in the background was used by the late King Michael before he was forced to abdicate in December 1947. 

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am grateful to you for attending this evening’s gathering, which continues the tradition of the yearly reception of the Diplomatic Corps in our capital city going back to the days of Carol I in the 19th century. This was one of the first traditions my father revived after the fall of the communist dictatorship. 

I would also like to reiterate my admiration to all of you for your dedication to promoting and consolidating the relations between Romania and the countries you represent. 

And, in a year during which my husband and I undertook a significant number of foreign visits and missions, I would especially like to mention our visit to the Holy See and our audience with Pope Francis last month. This was an occasion to confirm once again our dedication to protecting all faiths in our country. I would like to extend my thanks to the Apostolic Nuncio, the Dean of our Diplomatic Corps, for his commitment to the success of the visit.

Your Excellencies,

I know that some of you representing nations outside the European continent are preoccupied with many challenges, such as tackling the economic consequences of the pandemic or combatting the effects of climate crisis and soaring food and energy prices. I do not wish to give the impression that these challenges are in any way less significant than those in Europe. Nevertheless, I hope you will understand if I concentrate this evening on the war, and the catastrophic humanitarian situation on our doorstep. 

You hardly need a reminder from me about the exceptional gravity of our current security situation. For all the optimistic assumptions we made are now called into question. Far from being eliminated, war has returned to Europe. Yet again, we are facing mass murder. Yet again, a ruler denies the principle of other nations’ equal rights, and even questions whether certain states should continue to exist. And yet again, some are attempting to recreate empires and spheres of influence. 

This is known to you. So, I would like to highlight certain aspects of the Ukraine crisis that deserve greater attention this evening.

First, is the fact that the community of Western and like-minded nations, which extends well beyond Europe, has risen magnificently to the challenge and has proven its resilience. Ukraine has succeeded in defending her independence because her courageous soldiers and citizens were sustained by support from many other nations worldwide. Millions of Ukrainian refugees were offered temporary homes throughout Europe without the requirements of immigration controls or other formalities. 

Romanians and other Europeans bordering Ukraine can now go about their daily lives freely because of the protection offered by the North Atlantic Alliance. One of the most powerful messages the Alliance ever adopted is the slogan “We Are NATO”. Indeed, we ALL are NATO, for the Alliance safeguards our independence and peaceful existence. And where would we be without the European Union? It is the institution coordinating efforts to keep the war-torn Ukrainian economy afloat and the only body capable of managing the vast task of Ukraine’s economic reconstruction when this war is over.

Those who started this war believed that we were divided. We have proven them to be wrong, and that is a momentous achievement.

My second observation is that, as we stand up to aggression, the key institutions safeguarding our security and prosperity are also changing. Although most of the countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain have been members of the EU and NATO for almost two decades, for largely historical reasons, the centres of gravity of both institutions, their decision-making and preoccupations remained concentrated on the Western part of the continent. 

The Ukraine war has now irrevocably shifted attention towards central and eastern Europe, partly because this is where the needs are greatest, and our continent’s future will be decided. This gravity shift is of historic proportions and significance, and one which we should welcome, because it is an absolutely necessary adjustment, for both NATO and the European Union, an accommodation ensuring that these institutions represent a truly united continent.

For Romania and other key regional players, such as Poland, this transformation means that our voices will be better heard, but it also entails greater responsibilities in shaping and upholding a European consensus and contributing even more to continental security and stability. I am proud of the role played by Romania in this process, including the recent hosting of the NATO ministerial meeting in Bucharest. And I am sure that you will see the central and eastern Europeans expecting and exercising a much stronger voice when the debate about Ukraine’s reconstruction begins in earnest.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

My last point concerns the serious commitment we must all make to our eastern neighbourhood. I salute the decision to grant EU membership candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. I know that this was not easy, that membership will not come soon, and that much, very much, is expected from these two nations. Still, the acceptance of the principle that one day, these two countries will join the EU is vital, not only for their security, but also for ours. 

Our eastern borders will not be peaceful unless these two nations are allowed to live in peace. And, as we have all discovered from our own experience, these nations will not find peace unless they are part of our family; it’s as simple as that.

We, in Romania, take a particular interest in the Republic of Moldova, not only due to obvious historical and human connections but also because Moldova’s considerable vulnerabilities can easily be exploited to undermine both Ukraine and Romania, in the future. 

Recently, my husband and I visited the Republic of Moldova, and I can tell you without any reservation that the leaders in Chisinau are genuinely committed to European integration. However, they are battling daily against destabilisation efforts and sheer poverty. We can be sure that, even if the Ukraine war ends soon, attempts to destabilise Moldova will, paradoxically, only increase. Ensuring that the Republic of Moldova remains firmly committed to her European integration policy is an inseparable part of ensuring that Ukraine prevails in its defences; the two are sides of the same coin. 

Just as King Michael embarked decades ago on a campaign to persuade our partners that Romania’s natural place was in NATO and the EU, I am pledging myself today to do whatever is in my power to ensure that the Republic of Moldova succeeds in following the same integration path. I will also promote broader efforts to enhance Black Sea regional security by encouraging Georgia’s integration efforts in the coming year.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Your Excellencies,

I wish to repeat my personal appreciation to you all for your friendship and solidarity. I do believe that our continent will emerge from this war united and perhaps even strengthened in its determination to rebuff those who still think in terms of empires, client-states, and spheres of influence.

And I am convinced that we will take even greater comfort from our unity of purpose when we meet again a year from now.

I wish you all the very best for the New Year!

all photos  Daniel Angelescu