Friday, May 24, 2019

Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia Remarries

Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia (b.1943) has married for a second time. The prince recently wed his long-time partner Nadia Nour. The information was made public on the Instagram account of Franz Wilhelm's son, Grand Duke George of Russia.

Franz Wilhelm is the eldest son of the late Prince Karl Franz Josef of Prussia (1916-1975) and Princess Henriette of Schönaich-Carolath (1918-1972). Franz Wilhelm was married from 1976-1985 to Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia (b.1953), with whom he has one son, Grand Duke George (b.1981). 

View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Dr. Karim Gaafar Talkhan (@otros_tiempos) on

Thursday, May 23, 2019

On This Day In History: The Death of Grand Duchess Leonida of Russia

On 23 May 2010, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna died at La Paz Hospital in Madrid. The grand duchess was ninety-five years-old. She was the last surviving member of the Imperial House of Romanov to have been born in the Russian Empire before its fall in 1917.

The website of the Russian Imperial House offered a detailed account of the last few days in the extraordinary life of Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna:

On 21 May 2010, the grand duchess’s health began to deteriorate sharply. Doctors were summoned and were able to stop the heart attack; and on the following day, Her Imperial Highness was feeling somewhat better. But by evening, the pain and labored breathing had returned. 
On 10/23 May, on the Feast Day of the Holy Trinity, Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna informed Fr. Andrei Kordochkin, the rector of the Church of the Nativity of Christ, a parish of the Moscow Patriarchate, of her most august mother’s illness. Fr. Andrei immediately arrived at the Imperial Family’s apartment and gave the grand duchess the Most Holy Mysteries of Christ, and read the Canon for the Departure of the Soul. In the evening, Her Imperial Highness was taken to “La Paz” hospital. At her side the entire time was Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna. At 11:55pm local time, the Dowager Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna departed this life in the Lord. 
News of the death of the senior member of the Russian Imperial House brought sorrow and expressions of sympathy from people all over the world. The first condolences received were from His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: 


It was with enormous sorrow that I learned of the death in the Lord of Her Imperial Highness, Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna. She lived a full, long, and complex life. She confronted suffering in her life many times, and time has taken its toll, but through it all, she maintained a passionate love for Russia and for the traditions of Holy Orthodoxy.
We are grateful for her involvement in the life of the Church, both at home and abroad, and for her significant contributions to the reestablishment of the unity in the Church. Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna maintained an active interest in affairs in Russia, and sincerely empathized with our sorrows and rejoiced in our successes.

I will always remember the times I met her, especially the first meeting, which took place in 1992 during the historic visit of the grand-ducal couple to St. Petersburg. I well remember also my last meeting with her, in Smolensk. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on this loss that has befallen you and your family.

May the Lord grant rest to his servant in the abodes of the righteous, and grant us all His all-mighty help in the service of the fatherland and its people. With respect,

In the days after the death of the dowager grand duchess, condolences were received also from the Chair of the Office of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk; the First Hierarch of the Russia Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York; Metropolitan Kornilii of Talliinn and All Estonia; Archbishop Vikentii of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturia; Archbishop Aleksei of Kostroma and Galitsa, Archbishop Kirill of San Francisco and Western America; Archbishop Ionafan of Tulchyn and Bratslav; Archbishop Innokentii of Korsun; Metropolitan Polikarp of Spain and Portugal and Exarch of the Mediterranean; from King Juan-Carlos I of Spain and Queen Sofia; Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and North Ireland; King Albert II of the Belgians and Queen Paola; King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden and Queen Silvia; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria and Tsaritsa Margarita; King Constantine II of Greece and Queen Anna-Maria; King Leka of Albania; the Head of the Yugoslavian Royal House Crown Prince Alexander Karageorgievich and Princess Catherine; the Head of the Austrian Imperial House, Archduke Otto; the Head of the German Imperial and Prussian Royal House, Prince Georg-Freidrich; the Head of the Bavarian Royal House, Duke Franz; the Head of the Portuguese Royal House, Dom Duarte, Duke of Braganza; the Head of the Georgian Royal House, Tsarevich David Georgievich; the Head of the Italian Royal House, Prince Victor-Emmanuel of Savoy; from the vice-chair of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, L. K. Sliska; the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, V. D. Zor’kin; the Chair of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, V. M Lebedev; the Chairman of the Central Elections Commission, V. E. Churov; the governor of Tula District, V. D. Dudkin; the governor of Kemerovo District, A. I. Tuleev; the general director of the judicial department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, A. V. Gusev; the vice-chair of the State Duma Committee for Transport, S. A. Gavrilov; from the President of the Transdnistria Moldovan Republic, I. N. Smirnov; the Minister of Culture of France, F. Mitterrand; from the great-great-grandson of Emperor Alexander III, P. E. Kulikovskii and his wife; from government and civic figures; representatives of the clergy; academic and cultural groups; from members of the Russian and European nobility; and from many countrymen, who have expressed their sincere feelings of support for the Imperial family at this difficult time of sorrow and loss.
Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhransky

Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Mukhransky was born on 6 October 1914 at Tbilisi, Georgia. She descended from the oldest Christian royal family in the world: the Bagrationi of Georgia. Leonida's parents were Prince George Alexandrovich (1884-1957) and Princess Elena Sigismundovna (1886–1979; née Złotnicka-Nowina).

Sumner Moore Kirby

After the Russian Revolution, the family eventually made its way to France. It was there that Leonida met her first husband, American Woolsworth heir Sumner Moore Kirby (1895–1945). The couple were married at Nice on 6 November 1934. Leonida and Sumner had one daughter, Hélène Louise Kirby (b.Geneva 26 January 1935); the pair's union ended in divorce on 18 November 1937.

Grand Duke Vladimir and Grand Duchess Leonida of Russia

During World War II, Leonida met Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia in France at a café. The couple would not see each other again for a few years: their next meeting would take place in Spain during the late 1940s. The relationship between the two parties blossomed into love. On 13 August 1948, Grand Duke Vladimir and Princess Leonida were married at Lausanne. By virtue of her marriage, the bride was henceforth titled as Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna of Russia. 

Grand Duke Vladimir, Grand Duchess Leonida, and their daughter Grand Duchess Maria

After several years of marriage, the grand duke and grand duchess welcomed the arrival of their only child. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia was born at Madrid on 23 December 1953. Her godparents were Queen Mother Giovanna of Bulgaria (née Savoy) and her granduncle Grand Duke Andrei Vladimirovich of Russia. 

For the rest of her long life, Grand Duchess Leonida dedicated herself wholeheartedly to her roles as a wife, mother, and grandmother. An iron fist in a velvet glove, the grand duchess did everything in her power to support her husband, Grand Duke Vladimir (1917-1992), her daughter and current Head of the Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna (b.1953), and her only grandchild, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (b.1981). Her passing was immensely mourned by her family and by all supporters of the Imperial House of Romanov who understood the pivotal part that Grand Duchess Leonida Georgievna had played in securing the dynasty's future. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain Celebrate Their Fifteenth Anniversary

Embed from Getty Images

Today, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain celebrate fifteen years of marriage.

King Juan Carlos celebrates the engagement of his son Felipe with his fiancée Letizia in 2003.

On 1 November 2003, the Spanish Royal House announced that then Infante Felipe, Prince of Asturias, was engaged to Ms Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano. Felipe (b.1968) is the only son of King Juan Carlos of Spain (b.1938) and Queen Sofía (b.1938; née Greece). Letizia (b.1972) is the eldest daughter of Jesús José Ortiz Álvarez and his first wife María de la Paloma Rocasolano Rodríguez. The announcement was met with some consternation from certain circles due to the fact that Letizia was a divorcée, having been civilly married from 1998-1999 to Alonso Guerrero Pérez (b.1962).

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The wedding of Felipe and Letizia was held on 22 May 2004 in Almudena Cathedral at the Royal Palace of Madrid. Felipe was at that time the heir to the Spanish throne. Letizia had worked as a journalist. The Roman Catholic wedding was presided over by the Archbishop of Madrid, Antonio María Rouco Varela. It was considered a state wedding, the first in Spain for more than fifty years, and it was also the first wedding to be held in the cathedral of Madrid, which had been consecrated in 1993.

Five hours of the coverage of the royal couple's wedding can be viewed at the link:

To view the guest list and to see where attendees were seated during the ceremony, please visit this link from the Royal House: Marriage of His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias with Doña Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Royal Mail from the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Albania via Sweden

Many thanks to my dear friend Roger Lundgren, Founder of Kungliga Magasinet, for sending me this signed photograph of Crown Prince Leka II of the Albanians and Crown Princess Elia (née Zaharia) on their wedding day. Roger was recently in Tirana to celebrate a personal occasion with the couple and their family. I was delighted to receive this picture in the mail today.

The Crown Prince and Crown Princess were wed on 8 October 2016 at Tirana, in an ceremony that was celebrated by members of royal families around the world, and planned by the Albanian Royal House with the assistance of Mr Lundgren. The date chosen for their wedding was no coincidence: it marked the 121st birthday of King Zog, Leka's grandfather, who was born at Burgajet on 8 October 1895. Happily, it also marked the sixtieth birthday of my mother, Sally, who helped me cover the nuptials for the European Royal History Journal. Our report of the Albanian royal wedding appeared in Issue CVI, Volume 19.3 (Fall 2016). 

For more photographs of the wedding that were taken by my mother and me, please visit this link: Scenes from the Royal Wedding 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Albanian, Belgian, French, and Russian Royals at La Nuit des Etoiles 2019

This weekend, members of several European royal and imperial families attended La Nuit des Etoiles ball at Brussels. Amongst their number were Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of the Albanians, Princess Léa of Belgium, Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orléans, and Grand Duke George of Russia with Rebecca Bettarini. As well as Princess Léa, George of Russia and Rebecca Bettarini also reside in the Belgian capital.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein Turns Fifty!

Today HSH Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein celebrates his fiftieth birthday. The prince was born on 16 May 1969 at St Gallen, Switzerland, and named Maximilian Nikolaus Maria; he is the second son of Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein (b.1945) and Countess Marie Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau (b.1940), who married in 1967. Maximilian followed elder brother Hereditary Prince Alois (b.1968) and was joined by two younger siblings, Prince Constantin (b.1972) and Princess Tatjana (b.1973).

Princes Constantin, Alois, and Maximilian of Liechtenstein in 1979
Prince Hans-Adam, Princess Marie, and their four children.

Maximilian attended the Gymnasium Grammar School at Vaduz. Afterwards, the prince studied at the European Business School in Oestrich-Winkel, Germany, and graduated from this institution in 1993. In 1998 Maximilian received an MBA from the Harvard Business School at Boston, Massachusetts.

In December 1999, the Princely Family announced the engagement between Prince Maximilian and Miss Angela Gisela Davis (b.Bocas del Toro, Panama 3 February 1958), the daughter of Javier Francisco Brown and Silvia Maritza Burke. At the time, Maximilian was working between London and Hamburg for a venture capital firm. A fashion designer, Angela studied at the Parsons School of Design, where she received the Oscar de la Renta Prize. For a time, she created her own line of clothes under the label "A. Davis"; she then went on to work as the design director for the Adrienne Vittadini fashion firm. 

Prince Maximilian of Liechtenstein marries Angela Gisela Brown

(l to r) Hereditary Princess Sophie, Prince Constantin, Princess Angela and Prince Maximilian, Princess Tatjana, and Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein.
The couple were civilly married at Vaduz on 21 January 2000. This was followed by their religious wedding, which took place on 29 January in New York City at the Church of St. Vicente Ferrer: the bride designed the wedding gown herself. Princess Angela wore the Kinsky Honeysuckle Tiara. The marriage was historic in the sense that it brought the first person of Afro-Panamanian ancestry into one of the European reigning families. 

Prince Maximilian and Princess Angela with their son Prince Alfonso

On 18 May 2001, Maximilian and Angela welcomed the arrival of their only child, Prince Alfons Constantin Maria, born at London. Alfons is currently sixth in the line of succession to the Liechtensteiner throne, after his father. Prince Alfons attended the Munich International School and is to graduate from Wellington College this year. 

Since 2006, Prince Maximilian has worked as the CEO of the LGT Group (the Liechtenstein Global Trust). The LGT Group has over 2,000 employees around the world and locations on five continents. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Jean-Christophe and Olympia Grant Interview to Point de Vue

Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon and Countess Olympia of Arco-Zinneberg recently gave an interview to journalist Vincent Meylan of Point de Vue. The article is accompanied by several lovely photos of the happy couple which were taken by Julie Piatti.

Prince Félix of Luxembourg in 2006 at the wedding of his brother Louis

We learn that the prince and countess first met in Luxembourg at the eighteenth birthday celebrations of their cousin Prince Félix back in 2002. Jean-Christophe was fifteen, Olympia was fourteen. Over time, the couple developed a close relationship.

Embed from Getty Images

The news of Jean-Christophe and Olympia's engagement was made public in March of this year by royal historian Marlene Eilers Koenig. Jean-Christophe elaborates that he proposed to Olympia in January at Prangins, the residence of his grandmother Princess Alix Napoléon in Switzerland on Lake Geneva; the couple were walking in the forest near the lake as snow began to fall when Jean-Christophe popped the question. From a photograph in Point de Vue, we catch a glimpse of the stunning diamond engagement ring.

Speaking of the ring, it was the subject of quite an affair when it was stolen on 1 April in Paris from the prince's locked Mercedes. Jean-Christophe and Olympia were in the French capital with their parents: they were likely doing a bit of wedding planning. Princess Béatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the mother of the groom-to-be, is the author of Votre Mariage Royal (Your Royal Marriage), published in 2006.  Fortunately, the police recovered the ring a few days later when they arrested the culprit of the theft.

Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides

The future Prince and Princess Napoléon confirmed that they will be married on 19 October at Les Invalides. Olympia has already selected her wedding gown. The union of the Head of House Bonaparte and the Bavarian countess, whose mother is Archduchess Maria Beatrix of Austria, will surely be the wedding of the year in French society and royal circles.