Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The 81st Birthday of Micaëla, Dowager Countess of Paris

Henri and Micaëla

Today, HRH Princess Micaëla d'Orléans, Dowager Countess of Paris, marks her eighty-first birthday.

The Dowager Countess of Paris was born doña Micaëla Ana María Cousiño y Quiñones de León on 30 April 1938 at Vichy, France. Her parents were Luis Maximiliano Cousiño y Sébire (1895-1970) and his wife doña Antonia Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos (1895-1982), 4th Marquesa of San Carlos and Grandee of Spain; the couple had married at Paris on 9 June 1922. The Marquesa of San Carlos and her husband were divorced in the late 1940s after having had seven children. Nearly fifteen years separated their first child, don Juan Luis (1923-2017), from their last, doña Micaëla (b.1938).

doña Antonia Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos, IV marquesa de San Carlos, in 1929

Doña Micaëla Cousiño y Quiñones de León married firstly in a civil ceremony on 12 June 1961 at Saint-Cloud to Jean Marie Maurice Bœuf (b.1934). The couple had one son, Alexis Francis-Bœuf (b.1964). The marriage of Micaëla and Jean ended in divorce in 1966.

Alexis Francis-Bœf with his stepfather and mother, the Count and Countess of Paris, in 2017

Micaëla began her career on the radio in France. Her first husband Jean Bœuf was an employee of Télévision Française. Later, Micaëla worked for an advertising group both in Madrid and in Paris. From 1978 until May 1981, she was responsible for the communications of the minister and the senior directors at the cabinet of minister Raymond Barre.

The Count of Clermont and the Princess of Joinville

On 21 January 1973, Micaëla Cousiño met Prince Henri d'Orléans, Count of Clermont, the eldest son of the Count and Countess of Paris. Henri had been married since 1957 to Duchess Marie-Thérèse of Württemberg and they had five children; however, the couple's union had deteriorated over time. When Henri and Micaëla encountered one another, it was love at first sight. Their devotion to one another was to stand the test of adversity and time. 

Henri and Micaëla

In 1984, the Count of Clermont and his wife Marie-Thérèse, who was granted the title Duchess of Montpensier by her father-in-law, were civilly divorced. Prince Henri d'Orléans and doña Micaëla Cousiño y Quiñones de León contracted a civil marriage at Bordeaux on 31 October 1984; this action greatly displeased the groom's father, who sought to disinherit his son for a number of years. However, the Count of Paris and the Count of Clermont were reconciled in 1991; at this time, the Count of Paris granted his daughter-in-law Micaëla the title Princess of Joinville.  

The civil marriage of Prince Henri d'Orléans and doña Micaëla Cousiño in 1984

Point de Vue covers the reconciliation of father and son in 1991

In 1999, the Count of Paris died and was succeeded by his eldest son Henri as Head of House France. Henri assumed the title Count of Paris; however, Micaëla chose to remain titled as Princess of Joinville from 1999 until 2003, when her mother-in-law passed away. The "new" Count of Paris and his first wife the Duchess of Montpensier received a religious annulment in 2008 from the Vatican. In light of this, Henri and Micaëla, the Count and Countess of Paris, were joined in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 26 September 2009 at Biarritz.

The Count and Countess of Paris after their religious wedding in 2009
Photograph (c) Alamy

The Count and Countess of Paris with Empress Farah of Iran

After thirty-four years of marriage to his second wife, the Count of Paris died on 21 January 2019 in Paris. His death came exactly forty-six years after he crossed paths with the woman who was to be his partner for the rest of his life. The Countess of Paris was unable to attend the funeral of her husband due to poor health; however, Princess Micaëla did attend a recent requiem mass in memory of her spouse.

The Dowager Countess of Paris

A Look Back: Balkan Royals Interviewed When The Cambridges Wed in 2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 after their wedding

Yesterday, 29 April, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (née Catherine Middleton) celebrated eight years of marriage: The Queen made the Duchess of Cambridge a Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order on the occasion of the anniversary. The Duke and Duchess were married on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. Since then, they have become the parents of three children: Prince George (b.2013), Princess Charlotte (b.2015), and Prince Louis (b.2018).

When the Cambridges married eight years ago, a series of interviews were given by their relatives. Some of the most interesting of these were given by members of the Greek and Serbian royal families. The King and Queen of Greece, the Crown Prince of Serbia, and his cousin Princess Elizabeth (Elisaveta) were all guests at the Cambridge wedding.

One of the most fascinating interviews was granted by King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes. The couple recounted their close connections to the British royal family, as well as their hopes for the couple. The king is the godfather of the Duke of Cambridge, and the Duke of Cambridge is the godfather of Prince Constantine-Alexios, the royal couple's grandson. King Constantine and the Duke of Cambridge are second cousins once removed through their mutual descent from King George I of Greece and his wife Queen Olga (née Russia). Queen Anne-Marie and the Duke of Cambridge are third cousins once removed through their mutual descent from King Christian IX of Denmark and his wife Queen Louise (née Hesse-Kassel).

Another interview of note took place with Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia. The crown prince is the godson of The Queen. Crown Prince Alexander and the Duke of Cambridge are third cousins through their mutual descent from King George I of Greece and his wife Queen Olga (née Russia).

Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia also gave her insight into this happy event in the British royal family. The princess is a close friend of the Prince of Wales. Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Cambridge are second cousins once removed through their mutual descent from King George I of Greece and his wife Queen Olga (née Russia).

Eurohistory Royal Archive...Who am I?

Who am I?

I was born in what is now modern-day Poland...a land that had been taking by my country nearly 2 centuries before it was given independence after the Great War.

My maternal family suffered from early deaths, while some of my cousins were brutally murdered by revolutionary wretches.

My father's family were considered parvenus by some of the much older dynasties of our land. They were also down for their military obsession. My father's mother was a uniquely talented woman, a revolutionary for her times, who liked to live without convention. In fact, she even had an illegitimate child and had no issue with raising him openly at her home, a large riverside palace that my family owned for several generations. In a family that dreaded divorce, my grandparents were so unhappy with each other, that dissolving their marriage was their only option to seek happiness as far away from each other as possible.

Although I was the youngest son of my father, I was the only one who left dynastic descendants, yet before my death, I could not secure an heir for our dying branch. My wife, whose dynasty enjoyed birth equality with our dynasty, dod not belong to the same section of the Almanach de Gotha where you can find me. She, survived me for more than three decades and was tasked with raising our children in difficult circumstances, especially after 1945, when most of our Eastern properties were lost to a red wave. Of our children, only one married royalty, but this marriage did not last long as my child's spouse died during war.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Royals RSVP to the Funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg

The funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg will take place on this Saturday, 4 May, at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg.

Many royal houses have already announced that they will be present to pay tribute to the late grand duke, who was well-loved by his people and well-known for his bravery during World War II.

Below is a compilation of those foreign royals who have already established that they will be in attendance on Saturday for the funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.

TM The King and Queen
TM King Albert and Queen Paola
TI&RH Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz, Archduchess and Archduke of Austria
HRH Prince Laurent
HRH Princess Léa
HRH Princess Elisabeth, Duchess of Brabant

HRH Prince Rafael of Orléans-Bragança
HRH The Princess of Ligne

HM The Queen

HRH The Count of Paris

HM Queen Anne-Marie

HSH The Hereditary Prince and HRH The Hereditary Princess

HSH Prince Albert II

The Netherlands:
HRH Princess Beatrix

TM The King and Queen
HH Princess Astrid

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Parma and Piacenza

HRH The Duke of Bragança

TRH Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu

TM King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía

From Sweden:
TM The King and Queen

United Kingdom:
HRH The Princess Royal
TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester

don Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Prince Bertrand of Brazil Hospitalised, Now Recuperating At Home

Early this morning (27 April), HI&RH Prince Bertrand, Prince Imperial of Brazil, was admitted to hospital at São Paolo. This forced the prince to miss a meeting of monarchists that he was due to attend later in the day. The reasons for the prince's hospitalisation are unknown. Bertrand was encouraged by doctors to rest at home in order to avoid the necessity of surgery.

Prince Bertrand, Prince Imperial of Brazil

Aged seventy-eight, Prince Bertrand is the heir to his brother, Prince Luíz Gastão, Head of House Brazil. The Secretariat of the Imperial House has released a statement that Bertrand is now recuperating at the residence he shares with his elder brother and feeling much better.


On This Day In History: The Wedding of King Zog and Queen Geraldine of the Albanians

The Albanian Royal Wedding of 1938

On 27 April 1938, King Zog I of the Albanians (né Amet Bej Zogu) married Countess Geraldine Margit Virginia Olga Mária Apponyi de Nagy-Appony in a grand ceremony at Tirana. The forty-two year-old groom was born on 8 October 1895 at Burgajet as the son of Xhemal Pasha Zogu (~1860-1911) and his second wife Sadijé Toptani Khanum (1876-1934; titled "Queen Mother of the Albanians" during her son's reign). The twenty-two year-old bride was born at Budapest as the daughter of Count Gyula Apponyi de Nagy-Appony (1873-1924) and his wife Gladys Virginia Steuart (1891–1947; married secondly to Gontran Girault). The union of the Albanian king and Hungarian countess brought an infusion of blue blood into the nascent royal family: Albania had only become a kingdom on 1 September 1928 when the then-President Amet Bej Zogu was proclaimed monarch as Zog I.

Due to their religious faiths, Zog being Muslim and Geraldine being Roman Catholic, the couple settled on a civil marriage. The wedding of the king and queen was recounted in detail by Gwen Robyns, the author of Geraldine of the Albanians - The Authorised Biography:

On the morning of the wedding Princess Geraldine woke at six o'clock despite the fact that she had not gone to bed until late and been given a sedative to make her sleep. Soon everyone was awake at the villa and emotions ran high as - typically Hungarian - first the grandmother, and then her mother and aunts, began to cry. 
Geraldine was astonishingly calm as she put on the pearl and diamanté embroidered wedding dress from Worth that had been selected for her. Again she had not been consulted, but the King's taste was so sensitive that its elegant lines flowed over her willowy figure.  
It was Madame Girault's romantic wish that she place the wedding veil on her daughter's head and then from a hidden box she disclosed the white gold chain with diamond cross that Geraldine had admired with the King. It was another touch of finesse that made this man so different. At the time it was reported that the bride was taller than the King, but this was merely the height of her coronet of orange blossom, an insignificant fact that still piques her to this day. 
As the wedding was to be a civil one only, it was held in the flower-decked hall of the palace. Followed by her six bridesmaids, all in white, Princess Geraldine entered the room to join the King who looked most impressive in his white uniform, his rows of decorations and his sabre. As Princess Geraldine took his arm the King placed on the fourth finger of her right hand a huge blue fourteen carat solitaire diamond ring to match the blue white one he had given her as an engagement ring. 
The King's witnesses were Count Ciano and Zog's Turkish brother-in-law, Prince Abid, the Albanian Minister to France. Representing the Queen was Count Charles Apponyi, her guardian and uncle, and Baron Frederick Vilany, Hungarian Minister to Italy. Her train was carried by the King's nephew, Tati. Helqmet Delvina, the white-bearded president of the two Houses of Parliament united the couple by reading from the civil code... 
The service lasted three minutes. The king then placed her trembling hand on his arm and led his bride to the balcony to greet the thousands milling in Skanderbeg Square. Again and again they returned to wave to the people who were overjoyed to see their monarch so relaxed and fulfilled. It seemed that a while new era of prosperity was dawning for this nation which had known only turbulence in the past. After this the King led her into the wedding reception, followed by her line of fluttering bridesmaids, the close family and the Court behind. They moved from salon to salon shaking hands and greeting guests. All the Queen remembers today of this part of her wedding was a sea of faces, so many loving faces, and the strange dream-like feeling of receiving reverences from her family... 
Queen Geraldine cut the three metre wide wedding cake with the King's sabre and her beloved brother Gyula, just fourteen years of age, made a speech. With the permission of the King, the Apponyi family had arranged to bring to Tirana one of the most famous gypsy orchestras from Budapest to play at the reception. They played Geraldine's favourite tunes until, to the horror of the King, his bride began to cry.

Antoinette de Szinyei-Merse, Geraldine's eventual lady-in-waiting and childhood friend, recalled in her 1940 book Ten Years, Ten Months, Ten Days the various guests who came from abroad to witness the wedding of the King of the Albanians and the Countess Apponyi: "From Hungary, the Duke and Counts Esterházy and Festetich, the Apponyis, Károlyis, Szapárys, Berchtolds, and Edelsheim, the baronial Inkeys and Urbáns. From other countries the Princesses Borghese and Radziwill, the Counts Seeherr-Thoss and Trautenberg, and a great many representatives of Central European aristocracy." The Italian royal family was represented by the Duke of Bergamo.

King Zog and Queen Geraldine on their wedding day

The newlyweds received a treasure-trove of wedding gifts. Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary, sent Geraldine a set of china for forty-eight persons that was created by the Herend factory. Baron Villány, the Hungarian Ambassador to Rome, gave the couple a coach complete with Hungarian harness and two silver pure-bred horses from the Hungarian State stud - a coachman was also included: he was to remain on as a part of Geraldine's staff. The German Führer sent the couple a scarlet Mercedes-Benz 540K; ironically, this gift would come in handy when the king and queen and their newborn son had to flee Albania in the vehicle in 1939 after the Italian invasion. The Turkish government sent twenty-four Oriental carpets. President Lebrun of France contributed a white Sèvres porcelain table-piece. Prime Minister Mussolini of Italy promised the king and queen the extravagant gift of a yacht (which had not been constructed in time for the royal nuptials). Lastly, King Zog gave his wife a plethora of jewellery: bracelets, diadems, necklaces, pearls, and solitaire diamonds.

The King and Queen of the Albanians

On 5 April 1939, the King and Queen welcomed the birth of their only child Crown Prince Leka, who was born at the Royal Palace in Tirana. Two days later on Good Friday, 7 April, Italian troops invaded the Kingdom of Albania: Zog and Geraldine dashed into exile with their son. The family first relocated to France, then to England, and then to Egypt, and finally to France. [After King Zog's death, Queen Geraldine and her son Leka and his family moved to Spain, then to South Africa, and then returned to Albania in 2002.]

Statue of King Zog in Tirana

Aged sixty-five, King Zog died at Paris on 9 April 1961. Zog and Geraldine had been married for twenty-three years. After the royal family was able to return to Albania, Queen Geraldine died at Tirana at the great age of eighty-seven, having lived through an unspeakable amount of unfortunate events. The king and queen rest in repose at the Royal Mausoleum in Tirana. 

Geraldine of Albania at the 1975 marriage of her son King Leka I to Queen Susan (née Cullen-Ward)

Crown Prince Leka (II) of the Albanians, King Zog and Queen Geraldine's only grandchild, is the current Head of House Albania. Together with his wife, Crown Princess Elia, the couple are dedicated to promoting the welfare of the people of their country. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess reside in Tirana at the Royal Court. 

The wedding of Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of the Albanians
Photograph (c) Seth B. Leonard

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark is Thirty-Three

Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark

Today, HRH Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark celebrates his thirty-third birthday. Philippos is the third son and youngest child of HM King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes (née Denmark). The prince was born at London on 26 April 1986. Philippos joined four older siblings: Princess Alexia (b.1965), Crown Prince Pavlos (b.1967), Prince Nikolaos (b.1969), and Princess Theodora (b.1983).

Photograph taken on the occasion of the baptism of Prince Philippos

King Juan Carlos of Spain holds his nephew and godson Prince Philippos

The Princess of Wales with her godson Philippos

On 10 July 1986, Prince Philippos was baptised into the Greek Orthodox faith at St Sophia's Cathedral in London. Among his godparents were his uncle King Juan Carlos of Spain, his first cousin twice removed the Duke of Edinburgh, the Princess of Wales, his aunt Princess Benedikte of Denmark, and his first cousin Infanta Elena of Spain.

The King and Queen of the Hellenes with their children

Philippos of Greece was raised in London; he visited Greece for the first time in 1993. As part of his primary education, the prince attended the Hellenic School at London, which was founded by his parents. Philippos went on to study Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC; he graduated from Georgetown in 2008 with his bachelors. 

Philippos with his family after his graduation from Georgetown University

The Royal Greek Brothers (l to r): Nikolaos, Pavlos, and Philippos

The prince lives in New York City. Since 2014, Philippos has worked as an analyst for Ortelius Capital, "an alternative investment group specializing in hedge funds and private equity." Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark has been in a relationship with Nina Flohr, the only child of Swiss billionaire Thomas Flohr, founder of VistaJet, and his ex-wife Katharina Konecny. Philippos and Nina attended the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Mr Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

Prince Philippos and his partner Nina Flohr

Philippos and Nina at the wedding of Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank

Documentary: Grand Charlotte of Luxembourg - A Royal At War

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg on the day in April 1945 when she returned to her people

"Charlotte: A Royal At War is the remarkable story of Grand Duchess Charlotte, daughter of Guillaume IV, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. As the constitutional monarch of the small European country from 1919 to 1964, she faced daunting challenges during the chaotic and frightening years of World War II. Charlotte, however, found the courage to inspire her devastated nation through the power of radio, reaching her people in their darkest hour."

The release poster for the documentary on Grand Duchess Charlotte

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Obituary: Princess Gabriele of Bavaria, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ (1927-2019)

+ Princess Gabriele of Bavaria, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ

Princess Gabriele, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ, and her sister Princess Sophie, Dowager Duchess of Arenberg

HRH Princess Gabriele of Bavaria, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ, passed away on Friday, 19 April, at the age of ninety-one. She was the widow of Carl, Duke of Croÿ (1914-2011). The Dowager Duchess is survived by her three children and ten grandchildren. 

Death notice of Princess Gabriele of Bavaria, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ
Photograph (c) Frankfurter Allgemeine Lebenswege

Princess Gabriele of Bavaria was born at Berchtesgaden on 10 May 1927 as the fifth chid and fourth daughter of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (1869-1955) and his second wife Crown Princess Antonia of Bavaria (1899-1954; née Luxembourg). Overall, Gabriele was the fifth daughter and ninth child of Crown Prince Rupprecht when one counts the children from his first marriage to Duchess Marie Gabriele in Bavaria (1878-1912). Gabriele's half-siblings from her father's first union were Prince Luitpold (1901-1914), Princess Irmingard (1902-1903), Duke Albrecht of Bavaria (1905-1996), and Prince Rudolf (1909-1912). The princess had joined four older siblings and was followed by one younger sister: Prince Heinrich (1922-1958), Princess Irmingard (1923-2010), Princess Editha (1924-2013), Princess Hilda (1926-2002), and Princess Sophie (b.1935).

Crown Prince Rupprecht and Crown Princess Antonia with their five eldest children

As is well-known, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany mean that the Bavarian Royal Family eventually had to leave their country, owing to the Wittelsbachs' noted opposition to the policies of the National Socialists. This lead to Crown Prince Rupprecht, his wife Antonia, and his offspring from both marriages being scattered around Europe for the duration of the Nazi's time in power, especially during World War II. Gabriele and her sisters Hilda and Sophie first found themselves in Florence, where they began their education. As a result of her time there, Princess Gabriele became fluent in Italian. Thereafter, she moved to the South Tyrol with her mother Crown Princess Antonia. Now living at Brixen in South Tyrol, Gabriele continued her studies at the School of the Loreto Sisters. After two years in Brixen, Gabriele and her younger sister Sophie returned to Italy where they continued their education at Assisi under the supervision of Countess Paula Bellegarde, a friend of the family. At some point, Countess Paula and the Bavarian princess were discovered by the Gestapo and sent to Weimar: from there, they would endure a series of tribulations. 

Princesses Editha, Sophie, Gabriele, and Hilda at Florence in early 1944
Photograph (c) Noel McFerran 

By late 1944, Gabriele and many members of her immediate family found themselves in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. As the Russians advanced into Germany, the Bavarian royals were moved to the Flossenbürg concentration camp. Gabriele and her sisters were allowed to go for walks at Flossenbürg, where they witnessed the executions of prisoners who were forced to work in the labour camp but had collapsed along the way to fulfil their "duties." Gabriele later recalled the murders at the camp: "These pictures haunted us for years." After Flossenbürg, Gabriele and her family were transported to Dachau. It was from this concentration camp that the princess and the Bavarian royal family were liberated on 29 April 1945 by American forces. 

After the end of the war, Princess Gabriele was able to finish her education. She attended the Ecole des Arts et Métiers at Lausanne, where she studied photography. Again, she was under the watchful eye of Countess Paula Bellegarde. Gabriele graduated in 1949, after which time she traveled to Egypt and Peru to pursue her photographic passion. 

Crown Prince Rupprecht with his children (l to r): Heinrich, Editha, Sophie, Hilda, Gabriele, and Irmingard.
The family is pictured in the 1950s.

In 1950, Gabriele met her future husband Carl of Croÿ at the wedding of her sister Irmingard to their first cousin Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1913-2008). Gabriele and Carl became engaged in early 1953. They celebrated their religious marriage on 18 June 1953 at Nymphenburg; Cardinal Wendel, Archbishop of Munich, presided over the ceremony. Hereditary Prince Carl of Croÿ was the eldest child and first son of Duke Carl Rudolf of Croÿ (1889-1974) and his first wife Nancy Louise Leishman (1894-1983), the daughter of John George Alexander Leishman (1857-1924), onetime US ambassador to Turkey, Switzerland, and Germany, and his wife Julia Crawford (1862-1918). 

Duke Carl Rudolf and Duchess Helen of Croÿ

Carl succeeded as the Duke of Croÿ after his father's death in 1974. In the meantime, Carl and Gabriele became the parents of three children: Princess Marie-Thérèse (b.1954), Prince Rudolf (b.1955; the current Duke of Croÿ), and Prince Stefan (b.1959). In due time, all children married: Rudolf to Countess Alexandra Miloradovich (1960-2015) in 1987, Stefan to Countess Béatrice du Chastel de la Howarderie (b.1964) in 1990, and Marie-Thérèse to Count Stephan von Walderdorff (1963-2011) in 2002. 

Carl and Gabriele with their son Rudolf, daughter-in-law Alexandra, and grandchildren Carl Philipp and Xenia.
Photograph (c) Alamy

Carl, Duke of Croÿ died on 14 June 2011 at the age of ninety-six. After her husband's death, Princess Gabriele, Dowager Duchess of Croÿ, continued to reside at Schloß Merfeld. A memorial Mass for Gabriele will take place on 3 May at Klosterkirche St Jakobus at Dülmen. Gabriele's sister Princess Sophie, Dowager Duchess of Arenberg, is the only surviving child of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria.

Duke Carl and Duchess Gabriele of Croÿ in 1981
Photograph (c) Alamy

Carl and Gabriele, Duke and Duchess of Croÿ, in 1985
Photograph (c) Alamy

The Duke and Duchess of Croÿ in 1989.
Photograph (c) Alamy

May Her Royal Highness Rest in Peace.

Birthday of the Eventual Brazilian Heir: Prince Rafael Turns Thirty-Three

Today, Prince Rafael of Brazil, Prince of Orléans-Braganza, celebrates his 33rd birthday.

Prince Rafael of Brazil
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil

Rafael Antonio Maria José Francisco Miguel Gabriel Gonzaga de Orléans e Bragança e Ligne was born at Rio de Janiero on 24 April 1986. His parents, Prince Antônio of Brazil (b.1950) and Princess Christine of Ligne (b.1955), had married civilly on 25 September and religiously on 26 September 1981 at Belœil, Belgium. Prince Rafael's paternal grandparents are Prince Pedro Henrique of Brazil (1909-1981) and Princess Maria of Bavaria (1914-2011); his maternal grandparents are Antoine, Prince of Ligne (1925-2005), and Princess Alix of Luxembourg (1929-2019). Rafael grew up in Rio with his parents and three siblings: Prince Pedro Luíz (1983-2009), Princess Amélia (b.1984), and Princess Maria Gabriela (b.1989). Prince Pedro Luíz died aged twenty-six as a passenger aboard the crash of Air France Flight 447 on 1 June 2009. Princess Amélia married Alexander James Spearman (b.1984) in 2014.

Prince Rafael with his father Prince Antônio
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil

Prince Rafael attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, where he graduated with a degree in production engineering. As his elder sister Amélia resides in Spain and his younger sister Maria Gabriela lives in Belgium, while Rafael resides in London, none of the children of Prince Antônio and Princess Christine live in Brazil.

Rafael (left) with his siblings Maria Gabriela, Amélia, and Pedro Luíz

The Head of the Brazilian Imperial House is Prince Luíz Gastão (b.1938), Rafael's uncle. Prince Rafael is third in line to the Headship of House Brazil after his uncle Prince Bertrand (b.1941) and his father Prince Antônio. This is due to the fact that Rafael's two uncles (Luíz Gastão and Bertrand) and one aunt (Isabel [1944-2017]) never married, and that his father's three older brothers, Eudes, Pedro de Alcântara, and Fernando, all married morganatically. Prince Rafael is followed in the line of succession by his younger sister Maria Gabriella, and then by his aunt Princess Leonor (b.1953) and her son from her marriage to Michel, Prince of Ligne (b.1951): Prince Henri (b.1989). Leonor's daughter Princess Alix of Ligne (b.1984) lost her dynastic rights after her 2016 marriage to Count Guillaume de Dampierre. Prince Rafael and his siblings are double-first cousins to Prince Henri and Princess Alix of Ligne, as their Brazilian parents (Antônio and Leonor) married siblings (Christine and Michel). 

Prince Antônio and Princess Christine of Brazil
Photograph (c) Pró Monarquia

Currently, Prince Rafael of Brazil works for AmBev in São Paolo. For a time, Rafael was in a relationship with Talita Vaccaro; however, the couple are now just friends. Under the current rules of to the Imperial House, Prince Rafael will have to marry an equal spouse in order to retain his dynastic place. 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Obituary: Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921-2019)

+ HRH Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921-2019)
Photograph (c) Grand Ducal Court/Vic Fischbach

The Grand Ducal Court has announced that Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg passed away at 12:25am this morning (Tuesday, 23 April) following a recent illness. He was surrounded by his family. Grand Duke Jean celebrated his ninety-eighth birthday on 5 January of this year. A state funeral will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, 5 May, at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Luxembourg.

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg surrounded by family on his 98th birthday
Photograph (c) Grand Ducal Court/C.Piscitelli

On Saturday, 13 April, the Grand Ducal Court stated that Grand Duke Jean had been hospitalised with a pulmonary infection. Three days later, on Tuesday, 16 April, the court released a positive update: "The condition of the state of health of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean is favourable. His Royal Highness remains under observation at hospital." However, at 5:30pm on Easter Sunday, the court released a more somber statement: "The state of health of His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean has significantly deteriorated. The whole of the Grand Ducal Family is gathered at the bedside of Grand Duke Jean." At 6:00am this morning, Grand Duke Henri made the following announcement: "It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of my beloved father, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean, who has passed away in peace, surrounded by the affection of his family."

Communiqué from the Grand Ducal Court on Grand Duke Jean's health

Born on 5 January 1921 at Schloß Berg, Prince Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano was the eldest child of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg (1896-1985) and Prince Félix of Bourbon-Parma (1893-1970), who had married in 1919. Jean's godfather was Pope Benedict XI. He was followed by five siblings, four sisters and one brother: Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg (1922-2011), who married Duke Franz Ferdinand of Hohenberg (1927-1977) in 1956; Princess Marie Adelaide of Luxembourg (1924-2007), who wed Count Karl Josef Henckel von Donnersmarck (1928-2008); Princess Marie Gabrielle of Luxembourg (b.1925), who married Count Knud Johan Holstein til Ledreborg (1919-2001); Prince Charles of Luxembourg (1927-1977), who married Joan Douglas Dillon (b.1935) in 1967; and Princess Alix of Luxembourg (1929-2019), who married Antoine Prince of Ligne (1925-2005) in 1950.  

Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix of Luxembourg with their children

Most of Jean's childhood was spent at Schloß Berg. After receiving his primary and secondary education in Luxembourg, Jean studied at Ampleforth College, Yorkshire, from 1934-1938. Between 1938-1940, the hereditary grand duke was privately tutored at the Grand Ducal Palace.

When troops from Nazi Germany invaded the Grand Duchy on 10 May 1940, Grand Duchess Charlotte, her entire family, and her government left Luxembourg for France: they briefly stayed in Paris and then in the South of France. As the Third Reich's reach became more menacing, the Luxembourg family and government made their way to the United Kingdom by traveling through Spain and Portugal. Grand Duchess Charlotte and her government made their base in London; the rest of the Grand Ducal family, the children and Prince Félix, were sent to Canada. It was there that Hereditary Grand Duke Jean attended the Université Laval at Quebec, where he studied Law and Political Science. 

Exiled: Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Félix in London, 1941

On 29 November 1942, Prince Jean volunteered for service in the British Army. He initially trained with the Irish Guards at Coulsdon Common. Jean completed his officer's training at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst; by 1944, Prince Jean was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Irish Guards. On 10 September 1944, Jean arrived in Luxembourg City, which his father had already reached with the American 5th Armoured Division earlier that morning. On that day, the balcony appearance at the Grand Ducal Palace of the Hereditary Grand Duke and Prince Félix was greeted with immense enthusiasm by their countryman. On 14 April 1945, Grand Duchess Charlotte returned to her country. Prince Jean was released from the Irish Guards on 26 June 1947. His service was recognised by receipt of the 1939-1945 War Medal, the 1939-1945 Star, and the French Croix de guerre.

Prince Jean in his uniform as a 1st Lieutenant in the Irish Guards

At the Cathedral of Luxembourg, Hereditary Grand Duke Jean married Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (b.11 October 1927) on 9 April 1953. Joséphine-Charlotte was the only daughter of King Léopold III of the Belgians (1901-1983) and his first wife Queen Astrid (1905-1935; née Sweden). The couple were second cousins once removed, both being descendants of King Miguel I of Portugal (1802-1866) and his wife Princess Adelheid of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg (1831-1909). The godmother of the Belgian princess was her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte's union was not a love match at the start, but their marital bonds stood the test of time. Both of Joséphine-Charlotte's brothers, Baudouin (1930-1993) and Albert (b.1934), eventually reigned as King of the Belgians.

Jean of Luxembourg and Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium on the occasion of their wedding

On 28 April 1961, Grand Duchess Charlotte appointed her eldest son as her "Lieutenant-Representant." The Lieutenancy is an institution unique to Luxembourg, wherein the Grand Ducal powers are delegated to the Lieutenant. Hereditary Grand Duke Jean took his oath as Lieutenant-Representant on 4 May 1961. On 12 November 1964, Jean became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg when his mother Charlotte abdicated the throne after a reign of forty-five years. In their new roles as Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte visited the main towns of the districts of the Grand Duchy in 1965. 

After a reign of thirty-six years, Grand Duke Jean abdicated on 7 October 2000. He was succeeded by his eldest son and heir Henri as Grand Duke of Luxembourg. After the abdication, Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte made their home at Schloß Fischbach. 

In their nearly fifty-two years of marriage, Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg became the parents of five children. First came Princess Marie Astrid (b.1954), who wed Archduke Carl Christian of Austria (1954) in 1982. Then arrived the current Grand Duke Henri (b.1955), who married María Teresa Mestre y Batista (b.1956) in 1981. Twins Prince Jean and Princess Margaretha (b.1957) were the next to arrive. Jean firstly married Hélène Vestur (b.1958) in 1987, and after their divorce he remarried Diane de Guerre (b.1962) in 2009. Princess Margaretha wed Prince Nikolaus of Liechtenstein (b.1947) in 1982. The benjamin of the family, Prince Guillaume, was born in 1963; he married Sibilla Weiller (b.1968) in 1994.

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess with their children
Photograph (c) Granger.com

Having battled with lung cancer, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg passed away on 10 January 2005 at Fischbach. The grand duchess was seventy-seven years-old. Jean has been the centre of the Grand Ducal Family since then. The Grand Duke is now reunited with the Grand Duchess. 

Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
Photograph (c) Grand Ducal Court

Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte attending King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's 50th Birthday in 1996
Photograph (c) Raymond Reuter

Grand Duke Jean at the funeral of Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte on 15 January 2005

Eurohistory sends its condolences to the Grand Ducal Family and the people of Luxembourg. The Grand Duke is survived by his five children, twenty-one grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and his sister Marie Gabrielle. May His Royal Highness Rest In Peace.

Jean and Joséphine-Charlotte on the day of their son Prince Guillaume's wedding in 1994 to Sibilla Weiller