Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Ninetieth Birthday of Countess Beatrix von Schönburg-Glauchau, A Doyenne of the German Gotha

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Today, Countess Beatrix of Schönburg-Glauchau celebrates her 90th birthday.

Count Bálint Széchényi and Princess Maria Pavlovna Galitzine
Beatrix's mum: Princess Maria Pavlovna Galitzine
On 30 January 1930, Countess Beatrix Maria Valeria Therese Emerica Széchényi de Sárvár-Felsövidék was born at Hegyko, Hungary. Beatrix was the fourth daughter and last child of Count Bálint Széchényi de Sárvár-Felsövidék (1893 - 1954) and his wife Princess Maria Pavlovna Galitzine (1895 - 1976), who had married in 1921. Beatrix joined three older sisters: Marianne (1923 - 1999; married in 1952 to Olivér de Harisi), Alexandra (1926 - 2018; married in 1958 to Baron Dietrich-Eberhard von Wrede), and Eva (1928 - 1997). Beatrix's parents Bálint and Maria divorced in 1931.

Newlyweds: Count Joachim and Countess Beatrix von Schönburg-Glauchau
In October 1957, Beatrix married Count Joachim von Schönburg-Glauchau (1929 - 1998). The couple had four children during the course of their union: Countess Maya (1958 - 2019), Countess Gloria (b.1960), Count Carl-Alban (b.1966), and Count Alexander (b.1969). Beatrix and Joachim divorced in 1986. Beatrix never married; Joachim wed the mother of his youngest child the same year that his divorce from Beatrix was finalised.

Beatrix with her daughter Fürstin Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and her grandson Fürst Albert in 2003.
Photograph (c) Presse-Foto-Seeger
Countess Beatrix with her elder sister Countess Alexandra in 2003.
Photograph (c) Presse-Foto-Seeger 
Beatrix with her late daughter Maya in 2003.
Photograph (c) Presse-Foto-Seeger
Over the years, all of Beatrix's children married, and she now has numerous grandchildren. Her eldest daughter, Countess Maya von Schönburg-Glauchau, married German industrial heir Friedrich Christian "Mick" Flick (b.1944) in 1985. Maya and Mick had three children: Alexander, Maria-Pilar, and Ernst-Moritz. The couple divorced in 1993. Maya went on to have another daughter by her partner Stefan Hipp: Carlotta. After some years of illness, Countess Maya died of breast cancer in 2019 at the home of her mother.

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In 1980, Beatrix's youngest daughter, Mariae Gloria, married eventual Fürst Johannes von Thurn und Taxis (1926 - 1990). Gloria and Johannes had three children: Princess Maria Theresia (b.1980), Princess Elisabeth (b.1982), and current Fürst Albert (b.1983). Maria Theresia married British artist Hugo Wilson in 2014; the pair have two daughters, Mafalda (b.2015) and Maya (b.2017).

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Count Carl-Alban, Countess Juliet, and their sons Counts Hubertus (the taller) and Benedikt (the smaller) in 2012.
Photograph (c) ALAMY / Ursula Dueren
Beatrix's eldest son Carl-Alban married Juliet Beechy-Fowler (b.1966) in 1995. At the time of his marriage, Carl-Alban gave up his rights to the Schönburg-Glauchau title; these passed to his younger brother Alexander. Carl-Alban and his wife Juliet have two sons: Hubertus (b.1996) and Benedikt (b.1999).

Count Alexander von Schönburg-Glauchau and Princess Irina of Hesse on their wedding day
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The benjamin of the family, Count Alexander, married Princess Irina of Hesse (b.1971) in 1999. Irina is the daughter of Prince Karl of Hesse and his wife Princess Yvonne. Irina's grandparents were Prince Christoph of Hesse and Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark, a sister of the Duke of Edinburgh. Alexander and Irina of Schönburg-Glauchau have three children: Countess Maria-Letitia (b.2001), Count Maximus (b.2003), and Count Valentin (b.2005). Alexander has worked as a columnist for Vanity Fair.

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Countess Beatrix von Schönburg-Glauchau, born a Countess Széchényi de Sárvár-Felsövidék, makes her home in Munich. We hope that her family and friends celebrate with her today, especially.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Funeral Mass for Infanta Pilar of Spain, Duchess of Badajoz

Today, 29 January 2020, a funeral mass was held at The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo of El Escorial for Infanta Pilar of Spain, who died on 8 January at the age of eighty-three. The service was attended by the infanta's children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. In addition, many other family and friends were present to pay tribute to Doña Pilar.

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A (By No Means Complete) Guestlist
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The King and Queen of Spain
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain
Infanta Elena of Spain, Duchess of Lugo
Infanta Cristina of Spain
Infanta Margarita of Spain, Duchess of Soria and Hernani

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Archduchess Francesa of Austria
Archduchess Gloria of Austria
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Archduke Georg of Austria
Archduchess Sofia of Austria
Archduke Christian and Archduchess Marie-Astrid of Austria
Archduke Martin of Austria

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Queen Margarita of Bulgaria
Prince Kubrat of Bulgaria and Princess Carla of Bulgaria
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Prince Mirko of Bulgaria 
Princess María of Bulgaria
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Princess Kalina of Bulgaria and Kitín Muñoz

The Duke of Braganza

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The Dowager Duchess of Calabria
The Duke and Duchess of Calabria
Princess Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Pedro Lopez-Quesada y Fernandez-Urrutia

Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark
Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark

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Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands

The Countess of Paris
Prince Michel, Count of Évreux
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Princess Beatrice d’Orléans
Princess Clothilde d’Orléans, Madame Crépy
Princess Adélaïde d'Orléans, Madame Dailly
Prince François and Princess Theresa, Count and Countess of Dreux

Duke Eberhard of Wurttemberg

Other noble guests:

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The Duke of Alba
Prince David Bagration-Mukhransky
Doña Tessa de Baviera
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Don Luis Alfonso de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú and Doña María Margarita Vargas Santaella
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Hélène Kirby, Countess Dvinskaya
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The Duchess of Montoro
Prince Álvaro and Princess Antonella d'Orléans-Bourbon
Princess Tatiana Radziwill and Dr. Jean Fruchaud 
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The Marquis of San Vicente del Barco
Baroness Hertha von Stengel 
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Baroness Carmen Thyssen

Monday, January 27, 2020

It's A Girl: King Albert II Finally Acknowledges That Delphine Boël Is His Daughter

Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps, Delphine Boël, and the Prince of Liege (later King Albert II of the Belgians)
After years of legal battles on the matter, King Albert II of Belgium, who abdicated in 2013, has today acknowledged that he is the biological father of Delphine Boel. A communiqué from the king was issued via his attorney, Alain Berenboom, this evening. The statement reads as follows:
His Majesty King Albert II has taken note of the results of the DNA test in which he cooperated at the request of the Brussels court of appeal. The scientific conclusions show that he is the biological father of Madame Delphine Boël. 
Even though there are arguments and legal objections to justify that legal paternity does not necessarily mean biological paternity, and that the procedure used seems to him disputable, King Albert has decided not to use those arguments and to end with honour and dignity this painful procedure. 
King Albert insists that since the birth of Madame Delphine Boël he was not involved in any family, social or educational decision regarding Madame Delphine Boël, and that he has always respected the bond that existed between Madame Delphine Boël and her legal father.
Alain De Jonge, Delphine Boël's lawyer, gave a brief comment after learning of the king's unexpected admission of paternity: "We will refrain from commenting for the time being."

Since the late 1990s, through both private and public channels, Delphine Boël has sought to gain recognition from King Albert II that he is her biological father. For almost twenty years, the king stubbornly refused to take any responsibility for his actions. It is not clear why the eighty-five year-old former sovereign has taken this step today. However, in an interview that the king's lawyer Monsieur Berenboom gave today, he said: "The king will no longer legally contest that he is her legal father. We have noted the results of the DNA test. It shows that through DNA King Albert is 99.99% likely the biological father of Delphine Boël. The king will treat his children equally. He will include Boël in his will at the same level as his other children. King Albert therefore now has four children."

Sybille de Selys Longchamps with her daughter Delphine.
Jonkvrouw Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine Boël was born on 22 February 1968 at Brussels. Her parents are Albert (b.1934), then Prince of Liège and later King of Belgium, and Baroness Sybille de Selys Longchamps (b.1941). At the time of Delphine's birth, both of her parents were married to other people. Albert of Belgium had married Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria (b.1937) in 1959; Sybille de Selys Longchamps had married Jonkheer Jacques Boël in 1962. At the time of Delphine's birth, her father already had three children with his wife, but her mother had no children with her husband.

Albert, Sybille, and Delphine on holiday in Corsica (1974).
Photograph (c) VIER
Albert and Sybille began their relationship in the Summer of 1966: they met in Greece, where her father was the Belgian ambassador. By this point, both parties were in marriages that had soured. In the 2013 documentary Our Daughter Is Called Delphine, Sybille stated: "From the start I felt that we were not indifferent to each other. Months later I was invited to a dinner. I was seated next to Albert. I immediately realised this was done on purpose. Paola was furious. She butted him with her elbow once or twice. At that point I realised he had feelings for me." A romance developed, and Albert's brother King Baudouin pressured Sybille's father to get the couple to end their relationship. However, Sybille was already pregnant with Albert's child: "I thought I could not have children because I had had an infection. We had not taken any precautions." Albert sent Sybille flowers when he learned that she had given birth to their daughter. 

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Sybille and Delphine
In the early 1980s, Albert and Sybille ended their relationship. Albert, who became King of the Belgians in 1993, and Paola healed the issues in their marriage. Sybille divorced Jacques Boël in 1978, and remarried in 1982 to the Honourable Michael Anthony Rathborne Cayzer, a son of the 1st Baron Rotherwick. Sybille became a widow when Anthony died in 1990.

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For many years, Delphine Boël has been in a relationship with James O'Hare. The couple have two children: Joséphine (b.2003) and Oscar (b.2008). One might surmise that Delphine named her children after her paternal great-great-great-grandparents, King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway and his wife Joséphine (née Duchess von Leuchtenberg).

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Through her father Albert, Delphine's ancestry is Gotha through and through. Through her mother Sybille, Delphine's roots are heavily grounded in the Belgian aristocracy. However, her maternal family offers a surprising American connection: Delphine's great-great-great-grandfather was James McMillan (Hamilton, Ontario 12 May 1838 - Manchester, Massachusetts 10 August 1902), who served as a United States Senator from the State of Michigan from 1889 until 1902.

U.S. Senator James McMillan of Michigan


The Ancestry of Delphine Boël

1. Jonkvrouw Delphine Michèle Anne Marie Ghislaine Boël (b.Brussels 22 February 1968)
who is partnered with James O'Hare and has issue:
- Joséphine O'Hare (b.Uccle, Brussels 17 October 2003)
- Oscar O'Hare (b.28 April 2008)


2. King Albert II of the Belgians (b.Stuyvenberg Castle, Brussels 6 June 1934; he married at Brussels on 2 July 1959 Donna Paola Margherita Maria Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria [b.Forte dei Marmi 11 Sep 1937])
who was in a relationship between 1967 and 1984 with
3. Baroness Sybille Michèle Emilie Marie Ghislaine de Selys Longchamps (b.Uccle, Brussels 28 August 1941; she 1stly married at Ways, Belgium on 11 September 1962 [divorced 1978] Jonkheer Jacques Pol Pascal Marie Ghislain Boël [b.Brussels 31 March 1929]; she 2ndly married on 14 May 1982 the Hon. Michael Anthony Rathborne Cayzer [28 May 1920 - London March 1990])


4. King Léopold III of the Belgians (Brussels 3 November 1901 - Brussels 25 September 1983)
who wed in a civil ceremony at Stockholm on 4 November 1926 and then married in a religious ceremony at Brussels on 10 November 1926
5. Princess Astrid Sofia Lovisa Thyra of Sweden (Arvfurstens Palace, Stockholm, Sweden 17 November 1905 - Küssnacht am Rigi, Schwyz, Switzerland 29 August 1935
6. Count Michel François Raphaël Marie Ghislain de Selys de Longchamps (Waremme 2 April 1910 - Villers-la-Ville 23 October 1982)
who married at Brussels on 25 November 1937
7. Countess Pauline Julie Caroline Cornet de Ways-Ruart (Brussels 23 December 1914 - Brussels 19 October 1953)


8. King Albert I of the Belgians (Brussels 8 April 1875 - Marche-les-Dames 17 February 1934)
who married at Munich on 2 October 1900
9. Duchess Elisabeth Gabriele Valerie Maria in Bavaria (Possenhofen 25 July 1876 - Brussels 23 November 1965)
10. Prince Oscar Carl Vilhelm of Sweden (Stockholm 27 February 1861 - Stockholm 24 October 1951)
who married at Copenhagen on 27 August 1897
11. Princess Ingeborg Charlotta Carolina Frederikke Louise of Denmark (Charlottenlund 2 August 1878 - Stockholm 11 March 1958)
12. Raymond Charles Michel Ghislain de Sélys Longchamps (Liège 25 February 1880 - Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, Brussels 23 October 1966)
who married 
13. Emilie Caroline de Theux de Meylandt et Montjardin (Aywaille 4 June 1880 - Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, Brussels 2 October 1972)
14. Count Paul Martin Félix Cornet de Ways-Ruart (Brussels 16 August 1866 - Brussels 27 January 1951)
who married
15. Gladys "Jewel" McMillan (Detroit, Michigan, United States of America 10 May 1891 - Brussels 30 April 1967)


16. Prince Philippe Eugène Ferdinand Marie Clément Baudouin Léopold Georges of Belgium, Count of Flanders (Laeken 24 March 1837-Brussels 17 November 1905)
who married at Berlin on 25 April 1867
17. Princess Marie Luise Alexandra Karoline of Hohenzollern (Sigmaringen 17 November 1845 - Brussels 26 November 1912)
18. Duke Karl Theodor in Bavaria (Possenhofen 9 August 1839 - Kreuth 29 November 1909)
who married at Kleinheubach on 29 April 1874 
19. Infanta Maria José "Maria Josefa" Beatriz Joana Eulália Leopoldina Adelaide Isabel Carolina Micaela Rafaela Gabriela Francisca de Assis e de Paula Inès Sofia Joaquina Teresa Benedita Bernardina of Portugal (Bronnbach 19 Mar 1857 - Vienna 11 Mar 1943)
20. King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway (Stockholm 21 January 1829 - Stockholm 8 December 1907)
who married at Biebrich on 6 June 1857 
21. Princess Sophie Wilhelmine Marianne Henriette of Nassau (Biebrich 9 July 1836 - Stockholm 30 December 1913)
22. King Frederik VIII of Denmark (Copenhagen 3 June 1843 - Hamburg 14 May 1912)
who married at Stockholm on 28 July 1869 
23. Princess Louise Josephine Eugenie of Sweden and Norway (Stockholm 31 October 1851- Copenhagen 20 March 1926)
24. Michel Ferdinand Raphaël de Sélys Longchamps (Liège 20 November 1841 - Waremme 11 January 1911)
who married
25. Eusébie de Brigode de Kemlandt (Liège 10 June 1850 - Liège 5 March 1935)
26. Marie Georges Theodore Xavier de Theux de Meylandt et Montjardin (Saint-Trond, Limbourg 23 September 1838 - Brussels 13 December 1896)
who married at Namur on 10 May 1865
27. Eugénie Louise Philippine Ghislaine de Thysebaert (Namur 25 October 1844 - Brussels 6 July 1902)
28. Count Arthur Marie Antoine Ghislain Félix Cornet de Ways-Ruart (Brussels 27 September 1838 - Vonêche 28 January 1890)
who married at Warnant on 12 October 1865
29. Marie Josèphe Ghislaine Caroline de Jacquier de Rosée (Warnant 2 July 1839 - Etterbeek 30 December 1927)
30. James Howard McMillan (Detroit, Michigan 17 September 1866 - Colorado Springs, Colorado 9 May 1902)
who married in June 1890 
31. Julia Villiers Lewis (Detroit, Michigan 12 August 1870 - 23 January 1956)


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Royal Gatherings in London 2020: April 18-19!

Dear All,
This year’s Royal Gatherings in London will take place on 18th & 19th April 2020. Please put the dates in your diary.
As usual it will take place in the auction room of Spink at 67-69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London, WC1B 4ET.
I have been busy putting together a list of speakers for this year’s Royal Gatherings in London & more details will follow in due course. 
To book your place please e mail me at 

The cost in Sterling is £140 to include lectures plus tea & coffee.
Best wishes for 2020.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Most Recent QVD Engagement: Benjamin Sewell, Descendant of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, Is Affianced To Alice Hobden

[NOTE: A massive thank you to Michael Rhodes of Peerage News for posting this news originally.]

On Friday, 24 January 2020, the engagement was announced between Benjamin Leopold Sewell (b.1990) a descendant of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Alice S. Hobden.

Benjamin Sewell is the son of Charles Percy Sewell (b.1958) and his wife Alice Louise Huntington-Whiteley (b.1961). Alice Hobden is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Hobden.

The following is the descent of Benjamin Sewell (b.1990) from his ancestress Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901):

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (1819 - 1901); 
married in 1840 to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 - 1861)
Prince Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany, with Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Prince Leopold, 1st Duke of Albany (1853 - 1884); 
married in 1882 to Princess Helen of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1861 - 1922)
Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha with Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg  
Prince Charles Edward, 2nd Duke of Albany, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884 - 1954); 
married in 1905 to Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1885 - 1970)
Princess Caroline Mathilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha with Count Friedrich-Wolfgang zu Castell-Rudenhausen
Princess Caroline Mathilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1912 - 1983); 
married in 1931 (divorced in 1938) Count Friedrich-Wolfgang zu Castell-Rudenhausen (1906 - 1940)
Countess Viktoria Adelheid zu Castell-Rudenhausen (b.1935); 
married in 1960 to Sir John Miles Huntington-Whiteley, 4th Baronet (1929 - 2019)
Alice Louise Huntington-Whiteley (b.1961); 
married in 1985 to Charles Percy Sewell (b.1958)
Benjamin Sewell (b.1990); 
engaged in 2020 to Alice Hobden 

Thank you again to Michael Rhodes of the Peerage News for this information.

Source: Sewell/Hobden engagement

Duke Carl of Württemberg, Citing Poor Health, Appoints His Son To Run The Family's Business Affairs

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Duke Carl of Württemberg, Head of the Royal House, has withdrawn from the management of his dynasty's business affairs. The duke, who is eighty-three years-old, made the announcement at a New Year's reception held at Schloß Altshausen. As of this year, Carl stated that his youngest son Michael will take over the administration of the family's financial interests.

Duke Michael and Duchess Julia of Württemberg in 2011.
Photograph (c) Presse-Foto-Seeger
"My health is no longer in a stable enough condition for me to devote myself to all the entrepreneurial aspects of the Hofkammer." Therefore, from now on, Duke Michael of Württemberg will be the head of the Hofkammer, which is the private administration of the House of Württemberg. Michael will work together with the Hofkammer's president Henrik Lingenhölin. Duke Michael (b.1965) has been married since 2006 to Duchess Julia (b.1965; née Storz).

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Duke Carl will remain as the Head of the Royal House of Württemberg. His successor will be his grandson, Duke Wilhelm, who is twenty-five. Wilhelm is the eldest son of Duke Friedrich of Württemberg, who died in a car accident in 2018. Friedrich was the eldest child of Duke Carl of Württemberg and his wife Duchess Diane (née Princess d'Orléans). Duke Wilhelm is completing his studies in the United Kingdom.

The Hofkammer of the Royal House of Württemberg, based in Friedrichshafen, manages the properties of the royal family: its forestry and wine-producing businesses, other agricultural holdings, and its financial assets.

Prince Jean, Count of Paris, Asks King Louis XVI for Forgiveness for the Sins of Philippe Égalité

On Tuesday, 21 January, the Count of Paris attended mass at the Royal Chapel of Dreux in memory of King Louis XVI of France and all of the victims of the French Revolution. Prince Jean was accompanied by his wife Princess Philomena, Countess of Paris, and by two of their young children. The service was conducted by Monseignor Philippe Brizard and by Father Jaroslav Lobkowicz (né Prince Jaroslav Lobkowicz).

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The Count of Paris fell to his knees and asked forgiveness from King Louis XVI for the faults of the Duke d'Orléans, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, known as Philippe Égalité. The Count of Paris offered the following prayer:
"Lord,I, Jean, Count of Paris,
Like all the faithful at this mass, I recognise myself as a sinner before You.

The Royal House of France, of which by Your grace I have become the head, we ask Your forgiveness, especially from the victims of the faults of our ancestors, and, in particular, from the sins of Louis-Philippe-Joseph d'Orléans with regard to his cousin King Louis XVI of France, the father of his people.
We implore Your mercy on us, our family and our country. You know that, like Joshua, we and our house, we chose to serve You."
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After the service, the Countess of Paris stated: "This tribute is a way of acknowledging that the vote for the king's death was a mistake. A fault that it is not for us to judge because we do not know what we would have done in his place. A fault that led France into the Terror. It is a way of acknowledging the historical fault and to turn the page and focus on the future."

For more on this service and for photographs, please visit these links:
Une cérémonie en hommage à Louis XVI en la chapelle royale de Dreux
Mgr le Comte de Paris rend hommage à Louis XVI, en la chapelle royale de Dreux

OTD in 1939: Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma Marries Princess Maria of Savoy

On This Day In History: 
The Marriage of Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma 
& Princess Maria of Savoy

On 23 January 1939, Prince Louis (Luigi) of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Maria of Savoy were married at the Pauline Chapel at Quirinale Palace in Rome. The royal Court Chaplain Monsignore Giuseppe Beccaria celebrated the nuptial mass. After their marriage, Loius and Maria went to the Vatican where they were blessed by Pope Pius XII. School children throughout the Kingdom of Italy were given the date of Princess Maria's wedding off from their studies as a holiday.

Prince Louis of Bourbon-Parma
Born on 4 December 1899 at Schwarzau, Prince Louis was the tenth son and twenty-second child of Duke Roberto I of Parma (1848 - 1907). Louis' mother was Roberto's second wife Infanta Maria Antónia of Portugal (1862 - 1959), whom the duke had married in 1884. Empress Zita of Austria-Hungary was among twenty-three Louis' siblings.

Princess Maria of Savoy
Fifteen years her groom's junior, Princess Maria was born at Rome on 26 December 1914 as the fourth daughter and fifth (and youngest) child of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy (1869 - 1947) and his wife Queen Elena (1873 - 1952; née Princess of Montenegro). Maria's older siblings included King Umberto II of Italy and Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria.

The happy newlyweds!
After their wedding, Louis and Maria of Bourbon-Parma set off for a honeymoon that began in Belgium and ended in Mozambique, where Louis' family had a plantation. The couple settled at Cannes when they returned to Europe. Their life together was just beginning, and World War II brought many trials to the couple and their immediate family. More on that later...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Princess Marie of Romania Is M.I.A.: King Michael's Youngest Daughter Reportedly Steps Back From Royal Role

Princess Marie of Romania in Bucharest on 21 March 2019.
Princess Marie of Romania appears to be taking a step back from her role as a public representative of the royal house. Marie is the youngest of the five daughters of the late King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania. Formerly a very active member of the royal family, Marie has not carried out a public engagement in three months, which is *rather* unusual for a Romanian royal living in the country. Currently, nothing has been announced by the Royal Household as to why Mia, as the princess is known en famille, has ceased to carry out duties on behalf of Casa Regala. It is possible that the Custodian of the Crown, Mia's godmother, has decided that the princess should no longer have a public profile. If this is the case, then there are shades of botched and unfortunate removals of other members of the Romanian royal family in recent history.

Princess Marie, Princess Sophie, Prince Radu, and Custodian of the Crown Margarita await the return of the remains of Queen Mother Helen at Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport.
(18 October 2019)
Princess Marie pays tribute to Queen Mother Helen at Curtea de Arges; her nephew Prince Nicholas stands behind her. 
(18 October 2019)
Princess Marie attends the religious service for the reburial of Queen Mother Helen at Curtea de Arges.
(19 October 2019)
Princess Marie attends the religious service for the reburial of Queen Mother Helen at Curtea de Arges.
(19 October 2019)
The last public event that Princess Marie attended were commemorations held on 25 October to mark the anniversary of the birth of her father, King Michael. Before that, the princess had attended the reburial of her grandmother Queen Mother Helen of Romania. The reburial of the Queen Mother took place between 18-19 October 2019. The reburial of Queen Mother Helen was attended by Custodian of the Crown Margarita, Prince Radu, Princess Sophie, Princess Marie, Prince Nicholas, and Princess Alina-Maria. Mia has not been since in public since then. Marie missed the thirtieth anniversary celebrations of the return of the Royal Family in January 2020. She was also absent from the Christmas celebrations at Săvârșin, which Mia has always attended since she moved to Romania several years ago.

Prince Nicholas, Crown Princess Margarita, Prince Radu, and Princess Marie on the balcony of Elisabeta Palace.
(10 May 2015)
Marie of Romania attends a concert in memory of 100 years since the death of Queen Elisabeth of Romania.
(20 February 2016)
The princess takes part in the funeral of her father King Michael (Mihai) of Romania.
(16 December 2017)
The Garden Party at Elisabeta Palace.
Left to right: Alexander Nixon, Princess Helen, Custodian of the Crown Margarita, Prince Radu, and Princess Marie.
(10 May 2018)
In 2015, Princess Marie moved from the United States, where she had lived for some decades, to live in Romania full-time. This transition was done at the request of her sister Margarita, who desired that Marie became an active member of the royal family in the country. Over the past four years since then, Princess Marie has carried out a large number of engagements on behalf of the royal house.

Princess Marie with former Romanian President Emil Constantinescu at a function in Bucharest.
(2 October 2018)
One wonders if this will be a permanent farewell to yet another high profile member of the Romanian Royal House. Only time will tell...

97th Birthday of Tsar Nicholas II's Last Surviving Grand-Nephew: The Artist Andrew Andreevich Romanov

Andrew Andreevich Romanov
Today, Andrew Andreevich Romanov celebrates his ninety-seventh birthday. Andrew is the longest-living male descendant of the Romanovs in the history of the family. He is the last surviving great-nephew of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II.

Prince Andrei Alexandrovich of Russia
Born on 21 January 1923 at London, Andrew was the youngest of the three children of Prince Andrei Alexandrovich of Russia (1897 - 1981) and his first wife Donna Elisabetta "Elsa" Sasso-Ruffo (1886 - killed in London during the Blitz in 1940). Andrew followed two older siblings: Xenia Andreevna Romanov (1919 - 2000) and Michael Andreevich Romanov (1920 - 2008). Since their parents' marriage was morganatic, none of the children of Prince Andrei Alexandrovich bear any styles or titles.

Andrew's paternal grandmother: Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia
Andrew's paternal grandfather: Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia.
Andrew grew up near his grandmother Grand Duchess Xenia (1875 - 1960), who lived in a grace and favour cottage at Windsor. He did not have as much contact with his grandfather, Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, as Xenia and Alexander lived separately in exile. Andrew Andreevich received his education at the Imperial Service College. He joined the British Navy in 1942, and served until the end of World War II.

Andrew and Kathleen Romanov after their civil wedding in 1961.
The obituary of Kathleen Romanoff (1967).
This appeared in The San Francisco Examiner on 10 December 1967.
In 1949, Andrew moved to the United States. He studied criminology and sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1951, Andrew married Elena Konstantinovna Dourneva (1927 - 1992); the couple had one son, Alexis Andreevich Romanov (b.1953). Andrew and Elena divorced in 1959. Andrew remarried in 1961 to San Francisco native Kathleen Norris Roberts (1935 - 1967). Andrew and Kathleen had two sons, Peter (b.1961) and Andrew (b.1963), before Kathleen died of pneumonia at the age of thirty-two. Finally and thirdly, Andrew married artist Inez Storer (b.1933; née Bachelin) in 1987. Andrew and Inez reside in the idyllic town of Inverness, California.

Andrew Romanov and his wife Inez Storer in 2015.
Photograph (c) Todd Pickering
Like his wife Inez, Andrew Romanov is an artist, and his works have been displayed in numerous exhibitions. He must have inherited the artistic streak that his grandmother, Xenia, and his grand-aunt, Olga, also possessed. A book entitled The Boy Who Would Be Tsar appeared in 2007 and documented Andrew's life. We wish him many happy returns of the day!

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Fifty-Fifth Birthday of HRH The Countess of Wessex: The Queen's Devoted Daughter-In-Law

The Countess of Wessex in 2018.

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Today, HRH The Countess of Wessex celebrates her fifty-fifth birthday.

Sophie's parents: Christopher and Mary Rhys-Jones
The Countess of Wessex with her father Christopher at the memorial service for her mother Mary (2005).
Sophie Helen Rhys-Jones was born on 20 January 1965 at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, United Kingdom. Sophie is the only daughter of Christopher Rhys-Jones (b.1931) and his late wife Mary (1933 - 2005; née O'Sullivan). Sophie's middle name was in honour of her paternal aunt Helen, who died in a horse riding accident in 1960. Sophie joined an older brother, David, who was born in 1963.

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Sophie Rhys-Jones grew up in a seventeenth century farmhouse in Brenchley, Kent. She was a pupil at Dulwich Preparatory School, and then went on to Kent College, where she was friends with Sarah Sienesi, with later became her lady-in-waiting. Sophie then trained as a secretary at West Kent College.

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After finishing her education, Sophie began a career in public relations. She worked for four years at Capital Radio, a regional radio station based in London. In 1996, Sophie Rhys-Jones founded her own PR agency, RJH Public Relations. During her time at Capital Radio, in 1987, Sophie met Prince Edward (b.1964), the youngest child of HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Over the years, the two crossed paths over and over. A relationship eventually developed, and a romance blossomed. The couple's engagement was announced in January 1999.

On 19 June 1999, Prince Edward of the United Kingdom and Sophie Rhys-Jones were married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor. On the occasion of the marriage, The Queen bestowed upon her son the title of Earl of Wessex (a peerage in the United Kingdom) with the subsidiary title Viscount Severn (a peerage in the United Kingdom). Twenty years later, in 2019, the Queen granted her son the title of Earl of Forfar in the peerage of Scotland. Therefore, Sophie is normally styled and titled as HRH The Countess of Wessex; however, when in Scotland, she is styled and titled as HRH The Countess of Forfar. Notably, the Earl of Wessex is the only one of the Sovereign's children whose marriage has stood the test of time.

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex have two children: Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (b.8 November 2003) and James Mountbatten-Windsor, Viscount Severn (b.17 December 2007). James is the youngest of the eight grandchildren of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. The Countess of Wessex suffered an ectopic pregnancy in December 2001.

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The Countess of Wessex is the Patron of over seventy charities and organisations. She is a hardworking, dedicated, and discreet member of the British Royal Family. The Earl and Countess of Wessex often represent The Queen at royal events on the Continent.

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We wish Her Royal Highness many happy returns of the day!