Thursday, September 26, 2019

Princess Beatrice of York Engaged to Count Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi

Princess Beatrice of York and Edoardo Mapelli-Mozzi
Photograph (c) Princess Eugenie of York
The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, have announced the engagement of their eldest daughter Beatrice (b.8 August 1988) to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (b.19 November 1983), son of Count Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi (b.1951) and Nicola Burrows (b.1956). The engagement took place earlier this month in Italy. The pair have been together since late 2018; their wedding will occur in 2020. Princess Beatrice's sister Eugenie shared photos of the happy couple on her Instagram account.

The following statement was released from Buckingham Palace:

The Duke and Duchess of York are delighted to announce the engagement of Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of York to Mr. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. 
Her Royal Highness and Mr. Mapelli Mozzi became engaged while away for the weekend in Italy earlier this month. 
The wedding will take place in 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.
Princess Beatrice and Mr. Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi said, “We are extremely happy to be able to share the news of our recent engagement. We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to be married. We share so many similar interests and values and we know this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness.” 
The Duke and Duchess of York said, “We are thrilled that Beatrice and Edoardo have got engaged, having watched their relationship develop with pride. We are the lucky parents of a wonderful daughter who has found her love and companion in a completely devoted friend and loyal young man. We send them every good wish for a wonderful family future.” 
Mrs. Nikki Williams-Ellis and Mr. Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi said, “We are truly delighted about Edoardo and Beatrice’s engagement. Our family has known Beatrice for most of her life. Edo and Beatrice are made for each other, and their happiness and love for each other is there for all to see. They share an incredibly strong and united bond, their marriage will only strengthen what is already a wonderful relationship.”

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Sussexes with Son Archie Visit Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Today the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met with Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Capetown. The royals brought along their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. The trio are currently on a tour of South Africa.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Luis Alfonso de Borbon and His Father-in-Law Embroiled in Financial Scandal

Luis Alfonso de BorbĂłn MartĂ­nez BordiĂş and his father-in-law Victor Vargas Irausquin have in the past several weeks been caught up in an increasingly damaging scandal relating to the Vargas family's financial dealings. Specifically, the Venezuelan Banco Occidental de Descuento, of which Victor Vargas is the president, has seen its Panamanian branch, the AllBank Corp, have all its operations in Panama shut down by the government of the country. 

Victor Vargas
AllBank Corp was closed on 10 September by the Superintendency of Banks of Panama (SBP) to protect and safeguard the interests of customers. According to the Panam Post: "The Panamanian financial authorities explained that the shareholder group did not meet the corrective action requirements demanded by SBP to 'diversify the high degree of exposure of its liquid assets and custody services of its investments in securities in related parties.'"

Further, the Panam Post reports: 

Banker Victor Vargas, who has a holiday home in Cadiz, Spain, is a polo player with almost 50 horses. He currently lives in the Dominican Republic, a tax haven that two years ago served as the location for an unsuccessful dialogue between Chavismo and the opposition. 
According to Razon, the Venezuelan banker has a mansion in Palm Beach, United States called “Lechuza Caracas” just like his polo team. When Vargas bought it, he broke the price record in the area where the house is located. 
In an interview for The Wall Street Journal, the banker pointed out: “People write stories about me saying I have a Ferrari, a plane, and a yacht, but it’s not true. I have three planes, two yachts, and six houses. I’ve been rich all my life.” 
Although Vargas’ statement is true, the fact is that his wealth multiplied when Hugo Chavez took power in Venezuela. In an interview, he defined himself as “a socialist in the real sense of the term.” 
According to the Spanish daily ABC, his friendship with the Chavez regime began when he opposed the general strike of workers and businessmen in 2002. Consequently, Chavismo awarded him most of the oil contracts (he controls 90 percent of the contractors in this industry), and he is now one of the wealthiest men in Venezuela.
This development is sure to have significant consequences on the Vargas family fortune, of which Luis Alfonso de BorbĂłn benefits through his marriage to MarĂ­a Margarita Vargas Santaella, one of the two children of Victor Vargas from his first wife.

Count and Countess of Paris to Attend Wedding of Prince Napoléon and Countess Olympia Arco-Zinneberg

Per French journalist Frédéric de Natal, Prince Jean and Princess Philomena d'Orléans, Count and Countess of Paris, will be among the guests at the October wedding of Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon and Countess Olympia Arco-Zinneberg.

Other attendees will include members of the imperial family of Austria, royal family of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, ducal family of Parma, and princely family of Murat.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Biographical Sketch of the Last Princess of Russia: Catherine Ivanovna Romanova

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna with her grandchildren Catherine and Vsevolod
King Nikola I of Montenegro with his great-grandchildren Catherine and Vsevolod
On 25 July 1915 at Pavlovsk Palace in St. Petersburg, Her Serene Highness Princess Ekaterina (Catherine) Ivanovna of Russia entered the twilight world of the Russian Imperial Family.

Prince Ivan Konstantinovich and Princess Elena Petrovna of Russia
Catherine was the only daughter and second child of Prince Ivan Konstantinovich of Russia (1886-1918), the eldest son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858-1915) and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mavrikievna (née Princess Elisabeth of Saxe-Altenburg; 1865-1927), and of Princess Elena Petrovna of Serbia (1884-1962), the eldest daughter of King Peter I of Serbia (1844-1921) and Princess Zorka of Montenegro (1864-1890). Prince Ivan of Russia and Princess Elena of Serbia had married in 1911. Their daughter Catherine joined an elder brother Prince Vsevolod (1914-1973).

Prince Vsevolod and Princess Catherine of Russia
During the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Catherine's father Ivan was assassinated by the Bolsheviks in July 1918, together with Ivan's brother's Konstantin (1891-1918) and Igor (1894-1918) - Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorvna and Prince Vladimir Paley were also thrown down the same mine shaft. A few months after her father's murder, Catherine and her brother Vsevolod along with their grandmother Elisabeth Mavrikievna, uncle Prince George Konstantinovich, and aunt Princess Vera Konstantinova, were given refuge in Stockholm, at the invitation of Queen Victoria of Sweden (née Baden; 1862-1930). Catherine's mother Elena had followed Catherine's father Ivan to his imprisonment in the Urals; rather amazingly, Princess Elena Petrovna was able to escape from the slaughter of the Romanovs and was reunited with her children.

In exile, Princess Catherine and her family first went to Serbia and then to the United Kingdom. Catherine's eldest daughter Nicoletta recently stated in an interview with Sputnik that "my mother recalled that she often changed schools under different names, for fear of reprisals." In England, Catherine attended Heathfield. Catherine's maternal uncle King Alexander I of Yugoslavia eventually purchased a villa on the French Riviera for his sister Elena so that she and her children might have a proper home.

Between 1937 and 1945, Princess Catherine of Russia resided in Italy. There she met her future husband. On 15 September 1937, Catherine Ivanovna Romanova married Marchese Ruggero Farace di Villaforesta (1909-1970), at the Church of Saint Andrea al Quirinale in Rome. Among the guests were Crown Prince Umberto of Italy (later King Umberto II) and Count Ciano, son-in-law of Benito Mussolini. A month before her wedding, on 4 August 1937, Princess Catherine signed a formal renunciation of her rights to the succession to the Russian throne.

Princess Catherine Ivanovna of Russia with her two eldest children
Catherine and Ruggero had three children during the course of their marriage: Nobile Nicoletta Farace (b.1938), Nobile Fiammetta Farace (b.1942), and Marchese Giovanni Farace di Villaforesta (b.1943). Princess Catherine and her husband separated in 1945, but they never divorced, and they appear to have maintained an amicable relationship. In 1963, Ruggero was appointed as the Italian ambassador to Uruguay, the nation in which his wife Catherine eventually settled.

In 1982 Princess Catherine Ivanovna permanently relocated to Uruguay. She made her residence in the country's capital, Montevideo. It was there that she died on 13 March 2007 at the age of ninety-one. The princess was buried at the Cementerio Los Fresnos de Carrasco. On 21 April 2007, a Russian Orthodox memorial service was held at Moscow. She was survived by her three children: Nicoletta, Fiammetta, and Giovanni. The Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria, sent a letter to her Farace cousins following the death of their mother. The contents of the letter were as follows:
Dear Marchese Giovanni di Villaforesta! 
I want to express to you, to your sisters, and to all your family my deepest sympathy on the death of your August Mother, Our beloved aunt, Her Serene Highness, Princess of the Imperial Blood Ekaterina Ivanovna. 
I am filled with grief and pray for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed princess, believing fervently that the Lord will give rest to her soul in the heavenly abodes of the righteous. 
With deepest love and condolences,
Madrid, 15 March 2007

Nobile Nicoletta Farace and her daughter Alexandra Grundland
Princess Catherine's first daughter Nobile Nicoletta Farace (b.1938) worked for the United Nations in Montevideo, Uruguay, for several years. In 1966, Nicoletta married Alberto Grundland (1931-1984). The couple had a son and a daughter: Eduardo (b.1967) and Alexandra (b.1971).

Nobile Fiammetta Farace
Princess Catherine's second daughter Nobile Fiammetta "Fiamma" Farace (b.1942) is a photographer who resides in the United States. In 1969, Fiammetta married Victor Carlos Arcelus (b.1937); the couple had two sons, Victor John Arcelus (b.1973) and Sebastian Carlos Arcelus (b.1976), before divorcing in 1980. In 1981, Fiammetta Farace married Nelson Zanelli (b.1947); the couple have one son, Alessandro Ideal Zanelli (b.1984).

Princess Catherine's only son Marchese Ivan Farace di Villaforesta (b.1943) lives in France. In 1968, Giovanni married Marie-Claude Tillier-Debesse (b.1944). Giovanni and Marie-Claude have two sons, Nobile Alessandro Farace (b.1971) and Nobile Yann Farace (b.1973).

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Sunday, September 8, 2019

In Profile: The Swiss-Born American Heiress (And Romanov Step-Daughter) Who Forged Her Own Path

Sumner Moore Kirby
On 6 November 1934, one of the heirs to the F. W. Woolworth and Co. fortune, Sumner Moore Kirby (1895-1945), married for the third time. The bride was Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Moukhranskaya (1914-2010), the daughter of Prince Giorgi Bagration-Moukhransky and Elena Sigismundovna Zlotnitzkaya. 

Report of Helen's birth by the American Consular Service.

Sumner and Leonida's only child, Hélène Louise Kirby, variously known as Helen/Helena/Elena, was born at Geneva on 26 January 1935.

Wedding announcement of Sumner M. Kirby and Princess Leonida Bagration (1934)
Sumner and Leonida divorced on 18 November 1937. HĂ©lène's father died on 7 April 1945 in hospital at Leau, near the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where he had been deported from France after being arrested along with other U.S. and British civilians by the Vichy regime in 1944. Sumner Moore Kirby was the son of Fred Morgan Kirby (1861-1940) and Jessie Amelia Owen (1861-1933).

Wedding announcement of Sumner M. Kirby and Doris L. Wayland (1925)
Sumner M. Kirby had been firstly married from April 1925 to October 1931 with Doris Landy Wayland (1901-1969). Doris Wayland was the daughter of Samuel Ewing Wayland (1858-1928) and his wife Blandina (b.1866; née Landy). Sumner and Doris had one daughter: Gloria Price Kirby (1928-2017; married to Robert St Clair Conahay III). In January 1932, Sumner took as his second wife Valentine Wagner; the pair divorced in July 1934; they did not have issue. Several months later Kirby married Leonida, who was to be his final wife. Leonida received custody of their daughter Hélène following the Kirby/Bagration divorce.

Princess Leonida and her daughter Hélène
In 1960, HĂ©lène Louise Kirby became engaged to a Spanish lawyer, don Antonio BermĂşdez de Castro y de Collantes. Antonio was a son of don Arturo BermĂşdez de Castro y Blanco (killed at Madrid on 22 August 1936 during Spanish Civil War) and doña Dolores de Collantes y MenĂ©ndez de Luarca (died at Madrid on 15 December 1980). Antonio had three sisters (Maria de los Dolores, Cristina, and Maria Josefa [d.2014]) and one brother (Luis). The eldest sister, Maria de los Dolores, was married in 1949 to Juan Bautista de Castillejo y Carvajal, XI Conde de Villa Amena de CozbĂ­jar - she is currently the Dowager Duquesa de Montealegre.

Death announcement for don Antonio BermĂşdez de Castro y de Collantes (1960)
Sadly, Antonio died on 10 October 1960. Among others, his obituary mentioned that he is survived by "su prometida [his fiancée], señorita Helene Kirby Bagration."

(left to right) señora del Arenal, condesa de Albercón, duquesa de Franco, señora Mariam Martín-Barbadillo, duquesa de Montealegre, and Hélène Kirby (2014)
Three years later in 1963, HĂ©lène became the godmother of her late fiancĂ©'s newborn niece, Elena BermĂşdez de Castro (third daughter of Luis BermĂşdez de Castro y de Collantes [d.2015] and MarĂ­a de la ConsolaciĂłn "Cocolo" Fernández-Santa Eulalia y Palicio [d.2015]). HĂ©lène remained close with the family of her late fiancĂ©e, particularly with Antonio's sister Maria de los Dolores (duquesa de Montealegre) and the parents of Antonio's niece/HĂ©lène's goddaughter Elena, Luis and Cocolo.

(Left to right) Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, Hélène Kirby, Mr and Mrs William Rahn, Grand Duchess Leonida and Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia (1965)
In 1965, HĂ©lène Kirby and Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, the nephew of Helene's stepfather Grand Duke Vladimir, began a relationship. The couple apparently met in Paris. On 25 August 1965 the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner carried a photo of Friedrich Wilhelm, HĂ©lène, Grand Duke Wladimir, Grand Duchess Leonida, and Mr and Mrs William Rahn (an American couple from Madrid) during a brief visit to Alaska. The relationship between the HĂ©lène Kirby and Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia had already ended by 1966.

Engagement of HĂ©lène Kirby and Juan PĂ©rez de Guzmán y Castillejo, II conde de Hoochstrate (1966)
On 30 October 1966, the Imperial Chancellery of the Russian Imperial House announced the engagement of HĂ©lène Kirby and Juan PĂ©rez de Guzmán y Castillejo, II conde de Hoochstrate. Juan was the son of JosĂ© MarĂ­a PĂ©rez de Guzmán y Sanjuan (1895-1943), I conde de Hoochstrate, and MarĂ­a de la ConcepciĂłn Castillejo y Wall (1899-1986), V condesa de Torreblanca. Juan's maternal aunt doña Dolores Castillejo y Wall (d.1983), Dowager Duquesa de Almenera Alta y de Escolano, was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain. The wedding between HĂ©lène Kirby and the Conde de Hoochstrate was scheduled to take place on 19 January 1967 at Madrid. 

Hélène's second fiancé: Juan Pérez de Guzmán y Castillejo, conde de Hoochstrate (1976)
For whatever reason, the union never materialised. Juan Pérez de Guzmán y Castillejo (d.2015), conde de Hoochstrate, later married María Cristina de Armiñán Jordán. Hélène Kirby has never married.

Hélène Kirby, Countess Dvinskaya, at the wedding of her half-sister Grand Duchess Maria (1976)
HĂ©lène Kirby was granted the title Countess Dvinskaya with the style of Illustrious Highness in 1976 by her stepfather, Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia. This was the same year that HĂ©lène's younger half-sister Grand Duchess Maria of Russia married Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Prussia. HĂ©lène became the godmother of her nephew, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, in May 1981. 

Pictured: Hélène Kirby holding her godson, one of the Princes of Bulgaria, and King Simeon II of the Bulgarians. Shown behind Hélène is Queen Mother Geraldine of the Albanians. In the background are several Bagration relatives.

Hélène Kirby photographed behind the Countess of Barcelona (1960s)

Embed from Getty Images

HĂ©lène Kirby has remained close to the Bulgarian, Georgian, and Spanish royal families over the decades. She served as godmother to one of King Simeon and Queen Margarita's sons. In 2002, HĂ©lène attended the wedding of the king's only daughter Princess Kalina, together with her friend the Duchess of Franco. HĂ©lène is a friend of Infanta Pilar of Spain, with whom she has collaborated in promoting the fundraising events for the charity Rastrillo Nuevo Futuro for many years. In 2009, HĂ©lène was present at the wedding of her first cousin once removed, Prince David Bagration-Moukhransky, and Princess Anna Bagration-Gruzinskaya - the wedding of the century in Georgia which united two branches of the Bagrationi family.  

Hélène Kirby, Countess Dvinskaya, attends the memorial service for her mother Grand Duchess Leonida (2010)
Gloria Price Kirby on the occasion of her marriage to Robert St Clair Conahay III (1948)
In May 2010, HĂ©lène's mother Grand Duchess Leonida died at Madrid, aged ninety-five. HĂ©lène had long supported her mother, stepfather Grand Duke Vladimir, and younger maternal half-sister Grand Duchess Maria. In 2017, HĂ©lène's older paternal half-sister Gloria Price Kirby passed away at Tangiers. HĂ©lène maintained strong ties with Gloria and with Gloria's children, HĂ©lène's niece and nephews. 

Hélène Kirby and Alfonso, Duke of Cádiz
An agent of discretion and dignity, Hélène Kirby continues to make her home in the Spanish capital.

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Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Son For Amedeo and Elisabetta of Belgium: Maximilian

Prince Amedeo and Princess Elisabetta of Belgium, Archduke and Archduchess of Austria-Este, have welcomed their second child, a son named Maximilian, born in Brussels on Friday, 6 September.

The couple’s first child, Archduchess Anna Astrid, was born in 2016.

Amedeo and Elisabetta married in 2014.

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Monday, September 2, 2019

Queen Mother Helen To Be Reburied In Romania Next Month

Queen Mother Helen of Romania will be reburied in Romania next month.

It has been announced by the Romanian Royal Family that Queen Helen, the mother of King Michael, will leave her current resting place at the Bois-de-Vaux Cemetery in Lausanne. A national funeral is planned for the Queen Mother's reburial on 19 October 2019 at the Royal Cathedral of Curtea de ArgeČ™ Monastery.

Aged eighty-six, Queen Mother Helen of Romania died at Lausanne on 28 November 1982. Helen is the only queen of Romania to currently be buried outside of the country.

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