Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Saxe-Coburg Double Suicide that Rocked the Gotha

Ernst-Leopold and Sabine.

On 27 June 1996, Ernst-Leopold Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha and his wife Sabine died by suicide at Bad Wiessee, a resort town in Bavaria. Ernst-Leopold was sixty-one; Sabine was fifty-five, having celebrated her birthday only two days before her untimely death. The bodies of the couple were discovered by a local farmer who came across their white Mercedes Benz outside of a pub; the car had been parked when the farmer entered the pub and was still there when he left the pub. Peering inside, the farmer discovered the horrific sight of the deceased couple, who each had hunting rifles in their laps. One of the detectives involved in the case stated: "It couldn't have been a murder then suicide. All the circumstances and all the evidence from the discovery of the bodies to the post mortem confirm the joint suicide thesis." Upon learning of the death of the couple, an unnamed relative of Ernst-Leopold told The Guardian, "Oh God, I bet the British royal family is getting anxious. It's those Coburgs again.

Born on 14 January 1935, Ernst-Leopold Eduard Wilhelm Josias Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha was the eldest son and second child of Hereditary Prince Johann Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife Baroness Feodore von der Horst, who wed in 1932. Johann Leopold and Feodore's marriage was morganatic; the result of this was that Johann Leopold gave up his rights of succession to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as well as the ability to pass on his princely titles to his children. Ernst-Leopold had one older sister, Marianne, and one younger brother, Peter.

Ernst-Leopold.

In 1961, Ernst-Leopold Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha married Ingeborg Henig. Ernst-Leopold and Ingeborg had one son, Hubertus, before divorcing in 1963. In 1963, Ernst-Leopold married Gertraude Monika Pfeiffer. Ernst-Leopold and Gertraude had five children: Viktoria, Ernst-Josias, Carl-Eduard, Friedrich, and Alice. Ernst-Leopold and Gertraude divorced in 1985. Finally, in 1986, Ernst-Leopold married Sabine-Margarethe Henning. 

Ernst-Leopold found it difficult to accept his position as a morganatic member of the extended family of the Ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. When he visited the United Kingdom, Ernst-Leopold would introduce himself as the Duke of Albany, a title that was stripped from his grandfather Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1919. After the unification of West Germany and East Germany, Ernst-Leopold relocated to Limbach-Oberfrohna; there he established a property development and consulting company. A German baron, who was a friend of the family, recalled: "He tried to build up that business in Saxony, got taken for a ride by the sharks out there and got trapped in a hopeless financial situation. He was living beyond his means." Ernst-Leopold was hopeful that he could gain restitution of properties that had been seized by the Soviets. However, as the elderly baron remembered, "He got nothing, because the government has recognised the Soviet robbery and, anyway, he is well out of the line of succession. That's because under the law he and his children are allowed to call themselves princes and princess but they have no inheritance rights where the dukedom is concerned because his father [Johann Leopold] married wrong. She [Feodore] was an excellent woman but she wasn't a princess. Ernst Leopold made a mess of most things. His suicide was the only way out of desperation, out of a hopeless financial, economic and personal situation.

After learning of the tragic death of his first cousin, Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha stated: "He had a complex about this for years. He always had problems. His last known residence was near Chemnitz. He bought up some property that wasn't very successful. So I imagine he had some problems. Some people say he got into a lot of debt. It's hard to say. He had a lot of ups and downs in his life.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Demonisation of Queen Mother Frederica of Greece During the 1974 Greek Referendum

"COMING!!!"
Poster from the anti-monarchy campaign in the 1974 Greek referendum.

In the chapter on King Constantine II of Greece in Royalty in Exile by Charles Fenyvesi, the author notes on page 181 that "the most effective weapon in the antimonarchist campaign was a poster with Frederika's picture captioned, 'I am coming!'"

For almost a decade, I was curious as to whether such a piece of propaganda actually existed. I searched for it, but was never successful in finding anything. A couple of months ago, my dear friend Justin Vovk, an academic and royal historian, was able to locate an image of the poster. It has always intrigued me as to how the Greek republican movement managed to weaponise Queen Frederica of Greece to galvanise their turnout in the 1974 referendum on whether Greece should retain the monarchy or become a republic. 

The poster shows a photo of Queen Mother Frederica. The text reads: "ΕΡΧΕΤΑΙ!!! - Η "ΠΟΛΥΑΓΑΠΗΜΕΝΗ" ΤΟΥ ΛΑΟΥ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΑ-ΜΗΤΕΡΑ Φρειδερίκη" ("COMING - THE "MOST FAVOURITE" OF THE PEOPLE  QUEEN MOTHER FREDERIKA"). 

An article from the Associated Press in December 1974 recalls the way in which the monarchist and republican sides carried out their campaigns ahead of the referendum. "Campaigning has been fierce in the past week. Royalists and opponents have clashed in fistfights, police and civilians have been injured, monarchist headquarters have been stoned. The government consequently banned outdoor rallies. Pictures of the royal family have been plastered with yoghurt and fruit, and caricatures of Queen-Mother Frederika - nicknamed 'Friki' or 'Horror' - have been circulated with blackened eyes and Dracula fangs. The press for the most part has also carried articles critical of the monarchy's role in Greece's turbulent history. For their part, monarchists have undertaken an orderly but expensive campaign, presenting Constantine as a symbol of national unity and tranquility."

Queen Frederica in Rome on a visit to her son King Constantine II of Greece, 1973.
Photograph (c) Associated Press.

By the beginning of her son King Constantine II's reign, it was no secret that Queen Mother Frederica had become unpopular in Greece. There were a number of reasons for this: her strong personality, her intervention in politics during the time of her husband King Paul, and her patronage of the Queen's Camps during the Greek Civil War. However, it is worth noting that by the early 1970s, Queen Mother Frederica of Greece had set on a path that would have made it extremely unlikely for her to ever be a public figure again, owing to her own wishes, even in the event that King Constantine II returned to his country as constitutional monarch following the referendum. 

Queen Frederica in Madras, mid-1970s.
Princess Irene in Madras, mid-1970s.

In the 1960s, Queen Frederica had increasingly become drawn towards Hindu philosophy. This was quite evident in the only public volume of the queen's memoirs, A Measure of Understanding, published in 1971. Together with her youngest daughter Princess Irene, in August 1973 the queen mother began studying at the Center of Advanced Philosophy in Madras. In November 1973, Queen Frederica gave an interview to the Hindustan Standard which gave much insight into the queen mother's interests and future plans. Frederica let it be known that she had become an adherent of the Advaita Vedanta ideology, a philosophical doctrine of oneness; indeed, Frederica and her daughter Irene had been following this philosophy for some years by then. The queen mother stated that she now owned few material possessions and that she was "convinced that the world and all humanity are indivisibly one." Frederica said: "I don't want to merely learn it but to live it. I am willing to be the medium to spread the message of the Shankara, the greatest philosopher that ever lived in the world, to the West... Our happiness is measured by motor cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, and the like. We have absolutely nothing to show the world of lasting value. I would have been here even as a reigning queen. I am on a voyage of discovery, and this voyage does not depend on what a person is or is not." It was noted in the article that the queen mother was receiving instruction in the Advaita doctrine from Dr. Telliyavaram Mahadevan Ponnambalam Mahadevan,  the head of the Madras philosophy center. Queen Frederica and Princess Irene had first met T.M.P. Mahadevan in 1966. The queen, who had once resided in the Royal Palace in Athens, was then living in one room in the guest-home of a Madras businessman. 

Queen Frederica of Greece on the cover of Time magazine, 1953.

Whatever her faults, it was rather below-the-belt that the republican campaign in the Greek referendum chose to focus its ire on Queen Frederica. By 1974, the queen mother was no longer a public person. Furthermore, her desire to seek a certain way of living made it extremely unlikely that Frederica would ever want to resume duties as the mother of a reigning monarch. Yet, the queen mother was turned into one of the biggest liabilities vis-a-vis a return of the Greek royal family by the republican campaign, and, as we know, their campaign succeeded. As Kingsbury Smith, a European correspondent for Heart Newspapers, wrote in December 1974 in an article entitled "Greek democracy about to dethrone king who risked his life": "Unless Athens reports and western diplomatic opinion prove way out of line with reality, the 34-year-old Constantine of Greece will be defeated when the Greek people vote next Sunday on whether to recall him as king or maintain the republic established by the military junta that ruled Greece until last summer. A majority of the Greek people, according to the Athens reports, are believed to be opposed to the restoration of a monarchy whose young king lacks Greek blood in his veins and who, along with his strong-willed mother, former Queen Frederica - granddaughter of the Kaiser - were accused of meddling in Greek politics. Nevertheless, it will be ironic if the recently restored democratic system in Greece rejects Constantine who, at the risk of his life, attempted to restore democracy in his country in 1967 by a counter coup against the military junta that seized power in April of that year. When his attempt failed, he fled into exile and refused offers to return if he would accept the military dictatorship led by Col. George Papadopoulos. Constantine said he would never return until parliamentary democracy was restored."

To learn more about Queen Mother Frederica of Greece and her study of Advaita Vedata, please see the following sources:

Meeting with Perfection by Dr. T.M.P. Mahadevan
A Spanish prince in Madras

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Marriage of French Designer the Marquis de Castelbajac

The Marquis and Marquise de Castelbajac, 2017.
Photograph (c) Patrick Kovarik.

On 17 July 2021, Marquis Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Pauline de Drouas were religiously married at the Chapelle Saint-Roch de Vidaillan, Loubersan, Gers. The Marquis and Marquise de Castelbajac civilly married in September 2019. Born in 1949, Jean-Charles is the son of Marquis Jean-Louis de Castelbajac and Jeanne Blanche Empereur-Bissonnet. Born in 1985, Pauline is the daughter of Henry de Drouas and Delphine Motte. The Marquis and Marquise de Castelbajac have one child, Eugénie de Castelbajac (b.2020). 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Habsburg Descendant Engaged to Great-Nephew of Dowager Countess of Paris

Sebastián Prieto and Constanza Riesle, 2019.
Photo (c) El Mercurio.

On 4 July, the engagement of Sebastián Prieto Donoso and Constanza Riesle de Habsbourg-Lorraine was announced. 

Sebastián Prieto Donoso.

Sebastián Prieto Donoso is the son of Daniel Prieto Cornejo (b.1961) and Antonia Donoso Cousiño (b.1963). Sebastián's paternal grandparents are Cristián Prieto Díaz (b.1933) and Dora Cornejo Juárez (b.1936). Sebastián's maternal grandparents are Javier Donoso Phillips and Maribel Cousiño y Quiñones de León (1931-2007), who is a sister of Princess Micaela d'Orléans, Dowager Countess of Paris.

Constanza Riesle with her father Héctor Riesle, 2017.
Photo Source: Vitacura Cultura.

Constanza Riesle de Habsbourg-Lorraine is the daughter of Héctor Riesle Contreras (b.1943), the former Chilean Ambassador to the Holy See, and Archduchess Alexandra of Austria (b.1952). Constanza's paternal grandparents are Oscar Riesle Barrón and Ventura Contreras Meyer. Constanza's maternal grandparents are Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria (1918-2007) and Princess Yolande de Ligne (b.1923). 

Our congratulations to Sebastián and Constanza on their engagement!

Note: Thank you to my dear friend Hein Bruins of Hein's Royal Genealogy Page for providing this information!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The 70th Birthday of Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Meiningen

Princess Beatrice.
Photograph (c) the Ducal House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Today, Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Meiningen celebrates her seventieth birthday. 

Prince Friedrich Josias and Princess Denys of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Born on 15 July 1951 at Bern, Princess Beatrice Charlotte of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was the second child of Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1918-1998) and his second wife Denyse Henriette de Muralt (1923-2005). Beatrice had three siblings: Prince Andreas (b.1943), Princess Claudia (1949-2016), and Prince Adrian (1955-2011). 

Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Prince Friedrich Ernst of Saxe-Meiningen with the latter's parents Bernhard and Margot.
PHOTOGRAPH (C) EUROHISTORY
IMAGE MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED

In 1977, Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married Prince Friedrich of Saxe-Meiningen (1935-2004). The couple had two children: Princess Maria Alexandra (b.1978) and Prince Friedrich Constantin (b.1980). 

Our best wishes to Princess Beatrice on her birthday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Serbian Royals Remember Prince Tomislav on Anniversary of His Death

Members of the Serbian royal family at Oplenac.
Photo (c) Prince Mihailo Karađorđević.

On Monday, 12 July, several members of the royal family of Serbia gathered at the Church of Saint George at Oplenac to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Prince Tomislav of Yugoslavia. Born in 1928, Prince Tomislav was the second son of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia and Princess Marie of Romania. The prince died at Oplenac on 12 July 2000. The memorial service was attended by Princess Linda (Tomislav's widow), Prince Mihailo (Tomislav's son) and his wife Princess Ljubica, as well as their young daughter Princess Natalija.

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Short-Lived Union of Pierre d'Arenberg and Marie Christine Kraff de Laubarède

Pierre and Marie-Christine in London, 1990.
Photograph (c) Fergus Greer/Tatler.

In 1995, Prince Pierre d'Arenberg, Duke of Arenberg, married Marie Christine Kraff de Laubarède. It is alleged that the couple underwent a civil marriage ceremony in the Philippines; however, it it thought that the marriage was not registered with the French Embassy, for whatever reason. The couple had been together for several years. Pierre was the only child of Prince Charles d'Arenberg, Duke of Arenberg, and Margaret Bedford. Marie Christine was the only child of Leonce Kraffe de Laubarède and Elizabeth Anne Christie-Miller. 

The Arenberg Sisters: Alienor, Lydia, and Dorothée.
Photograph (c) Getty Images/Bertrand Rindoff Petroff.

On 19 August 1995 at London, Princess and Duchess Aliénor Margaretha Elisabeth Louise Marie of Arenberg was born as the only child of Prince Pierre d'Arenburg and Marie Christine Kraff de Laubarède. Pierre and Marie Christine either subsequently divorced or realised that their marriage had not been legally recorded, and the pair parted ways. In 1997, Prince Pierre d'Arenberg married Sylvia de Castellane. Pierre and Sylvia have two daughters: Princess Lydia and Princess Dorothée. 

Friday, July 9, 2021

Join Historian Rick Hutto for a Talk on the Great-Grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales!


On Wednesday, 14 July, historian and author Richard Jay Hutto (who is also a dear friend) will be giving a webinar about Frances Ellen Work (1857-1947), an American socialite who became the maternal great-grandmother of Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997). The webinar is titled "Frances Ellen Work: Uncovering Princess Diana’s American Roots." Please see below for more information about what will surely be a fun and informative talk!
Contrary to popular belief, Meghan Markle was not the first American woman to join the lineage of Britain’s royal family — that distinction goes to Frances Ellen Work (1857-1947), the beautiful and tempestuous American heiress who was the great-great-grandmother of Princess Diana. But who was this early American socialite, and what earned her a spot in "The 400," Caroline Schermerhorn Astor's elite social circle? From family inheritance drama, to a manipulative father, to a highly-public divorce, this is the tumultuous story of one of the most prominent women of the American Gilded Age and Royal Society.

Join New York Adventure Club as we explore the life and legacy of Frances Ellen Work, Princess Diana’s beautiful and wealthy American great-great grandmother.

Led by author and Gilded Age historian Richard Jay Hutto, our experience surrounding Princess Diana's royal lineage will include:

- A look at how Frances Work’s father leveraged the family fortune to bend the will of his daughters and grandchildren, including 15 codicils specifying what they must do in order to inherit it
- The story of how Frances, in a desperate attempt to escape her father’s domination, was tricked into marrying her horse trainer who falsely claimed to be a Hungarian count
- Why Frances’s former husband sued her for bigamy and used British law to shield himself while serving as an elected Member of Parliament
- A discussion of the interconnecting lives of her twin sonswho were High Society favorites
- Hear how Frances’ sister — the “good daughter” — volunteered in France to escape the scandal of her husband’s misdeeds

Afterward, we'll have a Q&A with Rick — any and all questions about Princess Diana's American Family are welcomed and encouraged!

To register for "Frances Ellen Work: Uncovering Princess Diana’s American Roots," please visit this link:  New York Adventure Club

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Marriage for the Duc d'Ayen, Heir of the Duc de Noailles

Emmanuel and Letizia in 2019.
Photograph (c) Getty Images/Henri Tullio.

Emmanuel de Noailles, Duc d'Ayen, and Letizia Bemberg recently married in France. The couple have two sons, Raphaël and Felix. 

Emmanuel de Noailles.

Born in Washington, DC, on 14 February 1983, Emmanuel Paul Louis Marie de Noailles, Duc d’Ayen, is the only son of Hélie de Noailles, 10th Duc de Noailles, and Nadèje Gonin. Emmanuel's paternal grandparents are François de Noailles, 9th Duc de Noailles, and Charlotte de Caumont La Force. Emmanuel's maternal grandparents are Louis Gonin and Blandine de la Forest de Divonne. 

Letizia Bemberg.

Letizia Bemberg is the daughter of Peter Bemberg and Gwendoline Levié-Ffoulke. Letizia's paternal grandparents are Eduardo Pedro Federico Bemberg and Georgia Betty Hatch. Letizia's maternal grandparents are Jean Jérôme Levié-Ffoulke and Etheldreda Buhan.

Our congratulations to the Duc and Duchesse d'Ayen on their marriage!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Princess Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma Engaged to Guatemalan Diplomat


Recently, Princess Charlotte of Bourbon-Parma became engaged to Javier Valladares Urruela. 

Charlotte at the Bal des débutantes, 2011.

Princess Charlotte is the daughter of Prince Charles Emmanuel of Bourbon-Parma (b.1961) and his wife Constance de Ravinel (b.1970). Charlotte's paternal grandparents are Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma (1926-2018) and Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel (1928-2014). Charlotte's maternal grandparents are Baron Yves de Ravinel and his wife Countess Alexe de Castellane.

Javier Valladares Urruela with his father Acisclo Valladares Molina.

Javier Valladares Urruela is the son of Acisclo Valladares Molina (b.1946), Guatemalan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and his wife Marina Raquel Urruela Prado. Javier's paternal grandparents are Luis Valladares Aycinena (1904-1983), Guatemalan Ambassador to the Holy See, and María Molina Rubio (1910-2012). Javier's maternal grandparents are Federico Adolfo Urruela Vásquez (1918-1957) and Julia Marina Prado Rossbach (1922-2015). Javier Valladares Urruela has served as the Third Secretary at the Guatemalan Embassy to France.

Our congratulations to Javier and Charlotte on their engagement!


Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Right Royal Quiz: Who Am I?


A Gotha Quiz: Who Am I?

By Darren Shelton for the European Royal History Journal.


My maternal grandfather at one time was mooted as heir to a throne he did not inherit, although in time he was to become a reigning sovereign on his brother's death. I was born to a well-known mother who was a considerable heiress, and whose inheritance was hard won over cousins with a greater claim. My father was plucked from obscurity. With my siblings, we ruled in the major capitals of the world. Married twice, I was unlucky in love. My first wife, the treasure of my heart, loved another and despised my presence. My second wife, a political match, loved me to distraction, while I could not stand her. Deprived of children who lived, I spent my life being a progressive free thinker. Who am I, and who were my wives?

The answer will be revealed on Thursday.

_______

I am Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II and my wives, Princess Isabella of Parma and Princess Maria Josepha of Bavaria. 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

A Marriage in the Imperial Family of Brazil

The newlyweds.

On Saturday, 3 July 2021, Prince D. Pedro Alberto de Orleans e Bragança (b.1988) married Alessandra Haegler Fragoso Pires (b.1994) at the Imperial Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro in Rio de Janeiro. The presiding priest was Prince Alessandro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the son of Prince Casimiro and Princess Maria Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The couple's wedding had originally been scheduled for last year; however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it had to be postponed. Sadly, at an engagement party for Pedro Alberto and Alessandra in 2020, several members of the couples' families contracted the novel coronavirus.

Prince Alberto and Princess Maritza with their children Prince Pedro Alberto and Princess Maria Beatriz in 1999.
Photograph (c) Getty Images / Yann Gamblin.
Prince D. Alberto and Princess D. Maritza de Orleans e Bragança.
Photograph (c) LUCIANA MONTEIRO FOTOGRAFIA.

Pedro Alberto is the son of Prince D. Alberto de Orleans e Bragança (b.1957) and Princess D. Maritza de Orleans e Bragança (b.1961; née Ribas Bokel). Pedro Alberto is a grandson of Prince D. Pedro Henrique of Brazil (1909-1981) and Princess Maria Elisabeth of Bavaria (1914-2011).

Prince D. Pedro Alberto and Princess D. Alessandra in 2018.
Photograph (c) Denise Andrade.

Alessandra is the daughter of Rafael Fragoso Pires and Bettina Alessandra Haegler.

Our congratulations to Prince Pedro Alberto and Princess Alessandra on their marriage!

Note: Many thanks to our dear friend Hein Bruins, royal genealogist and researcher, for the information about this wedding.

Friday, July 2, 2021

A Further Look Into This Year's Russian Imperial Wedding!

The wedding invitation to the first imperial marriage in Russia in over a century.
Photograph (c) Russian Imperial Chancellery.

Invitations have been sent out to the one thousand guests for the wedding of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini. The couple will celebrate their religious marriage on Friday, 1 October 2021, in Saint Petersburg. Their engagement was announced in January of this year.

The invitations to the imperial wedding.

The invitations to the imperial wedding were made in Moscow. They were created using old printing machines and techniques. An imperial coat of arms that survived the 1917 Revolution was used to emboss the invitations.  

The engaged couple.
Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia is the only child of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, Head of the Imperial House, and Prince Franz Wilhelm of Prussia. Victoria Romanovna (Rebecca Virginia) Bettarini is the only child of Ambassador Roberto Bettarini and Carla Virginia Cacciatore. 

The Embassy of Italy in Moscow.
It is possible that Grand Duke George Mikhailovich and Victoria Romanovna will celebrate their civil wedding at the Italian embassy in Moscow. This would be most fitting, as Victoria's father Roberto Bettinari was an Italian ambassador to several countries over many years. In 2009, Prince Aimone of Savoy and Princess Olga of Greece, both cousins of Grand Duke George, held their civil marriage at the embassy.

Saint Isaac's Cathedral.

On Friday, 1 October, Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia and Princess Victoria Romanovna Romanoff will celebrate their religious wedding at Saint Isaac's Cathedral. The ceremony will begin at noon. Princess Victoria will be wearing a Chaumet diadem; Grand Duke George and Princess Victoria will exchange Fabergé wedding bands. The cathedral is a state museum; however, special dispensation has been given by the government for Saint Isaac's Cathedral to be used in a religious capacity for this special event. There is a possibility that the imperial wedding will be televised live in Russia.

The Trans-Siberian Railway.
For their honeymoon, the couple are interested in a wide-ranging trip around Russia. This could be done via train, specifically the Trans-Siberian railway. The couple would very much like to visit Mongolia as well. However, the plans for the honeymoon will likely not be finalised until September.

Saint Basil's Cathedral.
Grand Duke George of Russia and Princess Victoria Romanoff will likely take up residence at their home in Moscow. The couple moved to the Russian capital in 2020.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

On This Day: The Marriage of Prince Aimone of Savoy and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark

Aimone and Irene.

On 1 July 1939 at Florence, Prince Aimone of Savoy, Duke of Spoleto, married Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark. The groom was thirty-nine years-old; the bride was thirty-four. Their wedding took place at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Among the guests were King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy and his wife Queen Elena, King George II of Greece, Queen Helen of Romania, the Prince and Princess of Piedmont, the Dowager Duchess of Aosta, and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. 

The Duke of Aosta Buried at the Basilica of Superga Today

The late Prince Amedeo of Savoy, 5th Duke of Aosta, was  buried today at the Royal Basilica of Superga in Turin. He joins his parents, Prince Aimone of Savoy and Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, as well as the ancestors of the prince who are all buried in the Basilica. The ceremony took place at 11:30am in accordance with Covid-19 restrictions in Italy. Leading the mourners were Princess Silvia, Dowager Duchess of Aosta; Prince Aimone, 6th Duke of Aosta, and his wife Princess Olga; Princess Bianca; and Princess Mafalda. The children of Aimone, Bianca, and Mafalda were also present. Prince Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta, died on 1 June. 

Photograph (c) Alessandro Sala.

Photograph (c) Alessandro Sala.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Archduke Leopold Franz of Austria (1942-2021), Former Head of the Grand Ducal Tuscan Habsburgs

A portrait of Archduke Leopold Franz.

According to his son Archduke Sigismund, Archduke Leopold Franz of Austria, former titular Grand Duke of Tuscany, died in June 2021. Leopold Franz was seventy-eight years-old. He is survived by his two sons, Sigismund and Guntram, as well as by five grandchildren.

Archduchess Dorothea and Archduke Gottfried of Austria,
Titular Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Tuscany.

Archduke Leopold Franz Peter Ferdinand Maria Joseph Gottfried Georg Karl Otto Rudolf Michael of Austria, titular Hereditary Grand Duke of Tuscany was born on 25 October 1942 at Leutstetten, Bavaria. He was the only son of Archduke Gottfried of Austria (1902-1984) and Princess Dorothea of Bavaria (1920-2015), who married in 1938. Leopold Franz had three sisters: Archduchess Elisabeth (b.1939), Archduchess Alice (b.1941), and Archduchess Antoinette (b.1950). The paternal grandparents of Leopold Franz were Archduke Peter Ferdinand of Austria and Princess Maria Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The maternal grandparents of Leopold Franz were Prince Franz of Bavaria and Princess Isabella of Croÿ.

Archduke Leopold Franz and Archduchess Laetitia of Austria, titular Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess of Tuscany, with their sons Archduke Sigismund and Archduke Guntram.

In 1965, Leopold Franz married Laetitia de Belzunce d'Arenberg (b.1941), eldest child and only daughter of Marquis Henri de Belzunce (1909-1944) and his wife Marie-Thérèse de la Poëze d'Harambure (1911-2005). Through her mother, Archduchess Laetitia was a first cousin of Count Romée de La Poëze d’Harambure, who was the first husband of Princess Anita of Hohenburg, the daughter of Duke Franz Ferdinand of Hohenberg and Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg, who was herself the niece of Crown Princess Antonia of Bavaria. Leopold Franz and Laetitia had two children together: Archduke Sigismund of Austria, Prince of Tuscany (b.1966) and Archduke Guntram of Austria, Prince of Tuscany (b.1967). Leopold Franz and Laetitia divorced in 1981. He married for a second time on 18 June 1993 to Marta Perez Valverde, a Salvadoran-born Viennese psychoanalyst; the couple divorced in 1998. Upon his second marriage, Leopold renounced his rights as titular Grand Ducal throne of Tuscany in favour of his elder son Sigismund, the current head of the House of Tuscany. 

May Leopold Franz Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The 60th Birthday of Fürstin Nadejda von Starhemberg

Nadejda.

Today, Fürstin Nadejda von Starhemberg celebrates her sixtieth birthday! Born on 29 Jun 1961 at Köln-Lindenthal, Countess Nadejda von Abensperg und Traun was born as the daughter of Count Ernst Ferdinand von Abensperg und Traun and Felicia Guepin. In September 1988, Nadejda married Fürst Georg Adam von Starhemberg (b.1961). The couple have four children, two sons and two daughters.

Our best wishes to Fürstin Nadejda on her birthday!

Monday, June 28, 2021

45 Years of Marriage for Archduke Rudolf and Archduchess Marie Hélène of Austria

Rudolf and Marie Hélène on the day of their religious wedding.

Today, Archduke Rudolf and Archduchess Marie Hélène of Austria celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary. The couple were civilly married on 28 Jun 1976 at Overijse, Belgium. Their religious wedding took place on 3 July 1976 at Brussels. Archduke Rudolf of Austria (b.1950) was the son of Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria (1918-2007) and Princess Yolande de Ligne (b.1923). Baroness Marie Hélène de Villenfagne de Vogelsanck (b.1954) was the daughter of Baron Guy de Villenfagne de Vogelsanck (1927-2018) and Baroness Marina de Crombrugghe de Looringhe (b.1933). Archduke Rudolf and Archduchess Marie Hélène of Austria have eight children, six sons and two daughters.

Our congratulations to Archduke Rudolf and Archduchess Marie Hélène on their anniversary!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Wedding Date Fixed for the Duke of Noto and Lady Charlotte Lindesay-Bethune!

The engaged couple.

Prince Jaime of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Noto, and Lady Charlotte Diana Lindesay-Bethune will marry in Palermo on 25 September 2021. Their union will take place ninety years after the 1931 nuptials of the Count and Countess of Paris, the groom's great-grandparents, and in the same location. Jaime and Charlotte's engagement was announced in May 2020. 



Don Jaime de Borbón y Landaluce was born at Madrid on 26 June 1992 as the first child of Prince Pedro of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (b.1968) and Doña Sofía Landaluce y Melgarejo (b.1973). Jaime's parents married on 30 March 2001 at the Club de Hierro, Madrid, in an intimate ceremony attended by their family and close friends. In due time, Jaime was joined by six younger siblings: Juan (b.2003), Pablo (b.2004), Pedro (b.2007), Sofía (b.2008), Blanca (b.2011), and Maria (b.2015).

Anne and Carlos


The paternal grandparents of Prince Jaime, Duke of Noto, are the Infante Don Carlos of Spain, Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria (1938-2015), and Princess Anne d'Orléans (b.1938). The maternal grandparents of Prince Jaime are Don José Manuel Landaluce y Dominguez (b.1944) and Doña Blanca Melgarejo y Gonzales (1946-2009). Jaime is a great-grandson of the late Count and Countess of Paris.

Anne and Carlos


The paternal grandparents of Prince Jaime, Duke of Noto, are the Infante Don Carlos of Spain, Prince of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Calabria (1938-2015), and Princess Anne d'Orléans (b.1938). The maternal grandparents of Prince Jaime are Don José Manuel Landaluce y Dominguez (b.1944) and Doña Blanca Melgarejo y Gonzales (1946-2009). Jaime is a great-grandson of the late Count and Countess of Paris. Jaime's grandfather the Infante Don Carlos, Duke of Calabria, did not recognise the marriage of Pedro and Sofía as equal. In May 2002, a delegate of the Spanish branch of the Constantinian Order of Saint George wrote the following regarding the couple's union: "The marriage of the Duke of Noto was not authorised in accordance with the requirements of the Law on marriages of the Two Sicilies of 1829. No formal authorisation was given, the marriage did not conform to past precedents in the House, and the invitations were issued in the name of the bride and groom rather than jointly with the groom's parents. The descendants of this marriage will not therefore be Two Sicilies dynasts." Two years later, on June 2004, the same representative of the order, who was also a friend of the late Infante D. Carlos, stated: "D. Sofia is accorded the title of 'Duchess of Noto', but the children are not T-S dynasts; they are however Spanish dynasts. In the view of the Infante D. Carlos, they are Excelentisimo Senores." However, at some unknown date, presumably in or after 2004, the Infante D. Carlos decided to recognise the marriage of his son and daughter-in-law as dynastic. This change of heart was influenced by the Infante's first cousin and dear friend King Juan Carlos of Spain granting approval for the 2004 marriage of the Prince of Asturias, now King Felipe VI of Spain, to Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano, now Queen Letizia of Spain. Since this retroactive demorganatisation, the children of the Duke and Duchess of Noto (titled Duke and Duchess of Calabria since 2015) bear the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince(ss) of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

The 16th Earl of Lindsay

Lady Charlotte Diana Lindesay-Bethune was born on 12 May 1993 as the youngest child of the 16th Earl of Lindsay (James Randolph Lindesay-Bethune; b.1955) and the Countess of Lindsay (née Diana Mary Chamberlayne-Macdonald; b.1961). Lady Charlotte's parents' married on 2 March 1982. The couple have four other children: Lady Frances Lindesay-Bethune(b.1986); Lady Alexandra Lindesay-Bethune (b.1988); the Honourable William Lindesay-Bethune, Viscount Garnock (b.1990); and the Honourable David Lindesay-Bethune (b.1993; twin brother of Lady Charlotte).

David, 15th Earl of Lindsay
The Douglas-Scott-Montagu family by Bassano Ltd in 1934.
Photograph (c) National Portrait Gallery.
The paternal grandparents of Lady Charlotte Lindesay-Bethune are David Lindesay-Bethune, 15th Earl of Lindsay (1926-1989) and the Honourable Mary-Clare Douglas-Scott-Montagu (1928-2016). The maternal grandparents of Lady Charlotte are Major Nigel Chamberlayne-Macdonald (1927-2013) and Penelope Chamberlayne (b.1932).