Monday, May 31, 2021

Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg: The Until Now Unknown Member of the Mecklenburg-Schwerins

Siegfried zu Mecklenburg.

Born in 1914 at Lomé, Togo, Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg was the son of Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1873-1969) and Ayikutu Honsoussi. Siegfried was commonly known in Togo as Herzog Koffi; this way of identification did not betray who exactly his father was, even though it did give a hint that Koffi's father was a German duke. Siegfried zu Mecklenburg's paternal grandparents were Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1823-1883) and his third wife Princess Marie von Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt (1850-1922). Siegfried could count among his aunts and uncles Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1851-1897), Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (1854-1920; wife of Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich), Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Oldenburg (1869-1955; wife of Grand Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg), and Prince Hendrik of the Netherlands (1876-1934; husband of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands).

Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Siegfried's father Adolf Friedrich served as Governor of Togoland (in German West Africa) between 19 June 1912 and 31 August 1914. In December 1913, the Marquise de Fontenoy (Marguerite Cunliffe-Owen, who was not always a reliable correspondent) wrote: "Duke Adolf of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who enjoys the distinction of being the only consul-general who is a prince of the blood, has just produced in English a very remarkable book of African exploration, entitled 'From the Congo to the Nile.' The duke is an uncle of the present sovereign of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and of the German crown princess, and is a brother of the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, of the Prince Consort of the Netherlands, and of the late Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He has already achieved much distinction as an African explorer, has ideas of his own on the subject of the development of Germany's African colonies, and with the object of putting them into practice, induced Emperor William a year ago to appoint him to the governorship of Togoland, and at the same time to the office of German consul-general for the French colony of Dahomey, and for the British dependencies of the Gold Coast, Nigeria, and other British possessions on the west coast of Africa. He holds these consul-generalships in order to enable him to deal directly with the authorities of these French and English dependencies, instead of having to refer the matters at issue to Berlin... Duke Adolf Friedrich is probably the most popular prince of his house, devoted to sport of every kind, has broken his collar-bone in steeplechases, his arms and legs in motoring accidents, is the finest four-in-hand whip in Germany, and has made a record long-distance ride on horseback, from Constantinople to Berlin. He is secretly and morganatically married to a woman of bourgeois birth, of great refinement, and irreproachable antecedents, who has born him a couple of children." It is likely that his son Siegfried was born during his tenure as governor, as Adolf Friedrich did not have to leave his post until British and French troops took Togo from Germany in late 1914. Adolf Friedrich was invited to the independence celebrations of Togo in 1960, as recounted in this news report: "The dean of the guests is 86-year-old Duke Adolf von Mecklenburg, who was Governor of the German Colony of Togo when it surrendered to British and French troops in 1914." Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin married twice. In 1917, the duke wed Princess Viktoria Reuß (1889-1918). Adolf Friedrich and Viktoria had one child, Duchess Woizlawa-Feodora (1918-2019). Woizlawa-Feodora married Prince Heinrich I Reuß (1910-1982). Adolf Friedrich married for a second time in 1924 to Princess Elisabeth zu Stolberg-Rossla (1885-1969). Elisabeth was the second wife and eventual widow of the duke's elder brother Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1857-1920).

Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Siegfried Koffi zu Mecklenburg married Angela Imelda Dèdè Ekue (b.1933). The couple had one daughter: Frieda Fafavi Sika Akuavi zu Mecklenburg (b.Lomé, Togo 5 January 1955). His daughter Frieda went on to marry Paul Agbobli, with whom she had four children. Frieda zu Mecklenburg studied at the Collége Protestant Lomé in the early 1970s. In the 1980s, she attended the Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Bordeaux. Frieda zu Mecklenburg is an honorary member of the Société Allemande-Togolaise (SAT). At the age of forty-five, Siegfried zu Mecklenburg died in 1959 at Douala, Cameroon.

Princess Woizlawa-Feodora Reuß and her niece Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Eventually, Frieda zu Mecklenburg and her family moved to France. Duchess Woizlawa-Feodora of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Reuß, Siegfried's younger half-sister, established a relationship with her niece Frieda. Among the guests at Woizlawa-Feodora's funeral were Frieda and one of her children. 

Frieda zu Mecklenburg.

Frieda zu Mecklenburg is a second cousin once-removed of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, and Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands. Frieda zu Mecklenburg is also a second cousin twice removed of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, the grandson of Frieda's second cousin Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, who married Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia, the aunt of Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna.

Note: The author of this post wishes to acknowledge Bearn Bilker, Paul Theroff (see here for his website), and Hein Bruins (see here for his website) for their research on this topic.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The 90th Birthday of Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria, Dowager Fürstin von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg

Fürstin Marie Gabrielle and Fürst Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, 2008.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.

Today, Dowager Fürstin Marie Gabrielle von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg celebrates her ninetieth birthday!

Countess Maria Draskovich von Trakostjan and Duke Albrecht of Bavaria.

Born on 30 May 1931 at Munich, Princess Marie Gabrielle Antonia José of Bavaria was a twin daughter of Duke Albrecht of Bavaria (1905-1996) and his first wife Countess Marita Draskovich von Trakostjan (1904-1969), who wed in 1930. Marie Gabrielle had three siblings: her twin sister Princess Marie Charlotte (1931-2018; married Fürst Paul von Quadt zu Wykradt und Isny), her brother Duke Franz (b.1933), and her youngest brother Duke Max (b.1937; married Countess Elizabeth Douglas). 

The Bavarian twins: Princess Marie Charlotte and Princess Marie Gabrielle.

In 1957, Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria married Fürst Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg (1928-2015). The couple had six children: Countess Maria Walburga (b.1958; married Baron Carl von Lerchenfeld), Countess Maria Gabriele (b.1959; married Count Bernard de Monseignat), Countess Maria Monika (b.1961; married Count Christoph Schenk von Stauffenberg), Fürst Erich (b.1962; married Duchess Mathilde of Württemberg), Countess Maria Adelheid (b.1964; married Count Max Emanuel von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen zu Hohenrechberg), and Countess Maria Elisabeth (b.1966; married Prince Engelbert von Croÿ).

Georg and Marie Gabrielle at the wedding of their daughter Maria Gabriele, 2004.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.

Princess Marie Gabrielle of Bavaria was widowed in 2015 when her husband Georg died at the age of eighty-seven. 

Princess Marie Gabrielle, Fürst Georg, Duchess Mathilde, and Hereditary Count Erich, 1997.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.

Many happy returns of the day to Princess Marie Gabrielle!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

A Baby on the Way for the Murats!

Prince Joachim and Princess Yasmine at Les Invalides, 5 May.
Photograph (c) Frederic de Natal.

This week, Prince Joachim Murat (b.1973) and Princess Yasmine (b.1982; née Briki) announced that they are expecting their first child. The couple civilly married in Paris on 5 March; their child is due to be born at the end of the summer. A religious wedding is planned for 2022. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

The Death of the Duchessa di Serracapriola (1939-2021)

Nicoletta, Duchess di Serracapriola, 2014.

On Friday, 21 May, Donna Nicoletta Maresca Baldasano Montanari Bianchini, Duchessa di Serracapriola, died at eighty-two years-old.

Born at Bologna on 28 March 1939, Nicoletta was the daughter of Marchese Riccardo Baldasano Montanari Bianchini (b.1914) and Lydia Maccaferri (1915-1993), who married in 1938.

Nicoletta and Antonino, Rome, 1989.
Photograph (c) Marcellino Radogna.
On 24 February 1966, Nicoletta dei Marchesi Baldasano Montanari Bianchini married Neapolitan noble Marchese Don Antonino Maresca Donnorso Correale Revertera (Naples 3 November 1924-Bologna 24 October 2007), 11th Duca di Salandra, 6th Duca di Serracapriola, 8th Conte di Tricarico, and 5th Conte di Tronco. Nicoletta's father-in-law was Marchese Don Giovanni Maresca Donnorso Correale Revertera (1893-1971), an Italian soldier, politician, entrepreneur, and athlete. Antonino and Nicoletta did not have children, and, upon Antonino's death in 2007, the family titles passed to his first cousin Nicola.
Prince Ferdinando of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro, and Nicolleta, Duchessa di Sarracapriola, Rome, 1995.
Photograph (c) Marcellino Radogna.
The Duchessa di Serracapriola was Dame Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George. Her funeral will take place on 25 May at the Chiesa dei Padre Filippini in Bologna. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

The American Ancestry of Princess Geraldine of Albania

Princess Geraldine of Albania, held by her father Crown Prince Leka, in front of a picture of her great-grandmother Queen Geraldine of Albania.
Photograph (c) Alamy/David Niviere.

Crown Prince Leka of Albania and his wife Crown Princess Elia welcomed the birth of their first child Princess Geraldine on 22 October 2020. The infant princess is the great-granddaughter of Queen Geraldine of Albania, who was born Countess Géraldine Margit Virginia Olga Mária Apponyi de Nagy-Appony on 6 August 1915, and who passed away on 22 October 2002 at Tirana.

Gladys Virginia Stewart.

It is through Princess Geraldine's great-grandmother and namesake that American blood courses through the veins of the newest member of the Albanian royal family. Queen Geraldine of Albania was the daughter of Count Gyula Apponyi de Nagy-Appony (1873–1924) and his wife Gladys Virginia Stewart (1891–1947), who married on 29 July 1914. The count and countess had three children: Countess Geraldine (later Queen of Albania), Countess Virginia (1916-2002; married in 1937 to András Baghy; married in 1947 to Joseph Blackburn; married in 1971 to József Máriássy), and Count Gyula (1923-1946). Following the death of her first husband in 1924, his widow Gladys married French soldier Gontran Girault (1882-1964) on 14 May 1926. The couple had three children: Sylviane Girault (b.Mehun-sur-Yèvre, Centre-Val de Loire, France 3 August 1927; married in 1955 to Maurice Muselier [1907-1989]), Guy Girault (b.1930), and Patricia Girault (b.1932). Aged fifty-six, Gladys Stewart Girault died on 19 November 1947 at Aix-en-Provence.

Mary Virginia Ramsay Harding and her granddaughter Geraldine, the future Albanian queen.

Gladys Virginia Stewart, Princess Geraldine of Albania's great-great grandmother, had been born on 18 July 1891 as the only child of John Henry Stewart (1831-1892), the son of David Stewart and Margaret Heighe, and his wife Mary Virginia Ramsay Harding (1871-1946). John Stewart and Mary Virginia Harding were married on 29 June 1890 at New York. In 1889, at the age of eighteen, Mary Virginia Harding authored a novel, The Soul of Lady Agnes. At the time of his marriage, John H. Stewart was the United States Consul to Antwerp, Belgium. After the death of Mr. Stewart, in July 1893 his widow became the guardian of their daughter Gladys. On 10 July 1902, Mary Virginia Ramsay Harding (widow Stewart) married Gustaf Victor Theodor Stråle af Ekna (1864-1935) at St. Helier's, Isle of Jersey. Gustaf/Gustave de Straele (Stråle af Ekna) was reportedly a chamberlain to the King of Sweden. Mary Virginia Harding Stråle af Ekna died before 1955, when she was buried in New York. 

The wedding notice of Edward Learned Harding and Lucy Booker Ramsey.
From the Spirit of the Age of Raleigh, NC (30 July 1856).

The obituary of Lucy Ramsey Harding.
From The News and Observer of Raleigh, NC (26 December 1906).

Mary Virginia Harding, the great-great-great grandmother of Princess Geraldine, was the daughter of Edward Learned Harding (1822-1885) and Lucy Booker Ramsey (1839-1906), the daughter of Walter J. Ramsey (d.1856). Edward L. Harding, a clothing merchant, and Lucy B. Ramsey were married on 22 July 1856 at Raleigh, North Carolina, by the Reverend N. F. Reid. After the death of her husband, Lucy Ramsey Harding moved to France, where she died in 1906. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The 80th Birthday of Margravine Valerie of Baden

Max and Valerie of Baden at the memorial service of Kraft of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 2004.

Today, Margravine Valerie of Baden celebrates her eightieth birthday!

Princess Rosemary zu Salm-Salm and Archduke Hubert Salvator of Austria.

Born on 23 May 1941 at Vienna, Archduchess Valerie Isabelle Marie Anna Alfonsa Desideria Brigitte Sophia Thomasia Huberta Josepha Ignatia of Austria was the ninth child and seventh daughter of Archduke Hubert Salvator of Austria (1894-1971) and his wife Princess Rosemary zu Salm-Salm (1904-2001), who married in 1926. Valerie had twelve siblings: Archduke Friedrich (1927-1999; married Countess Margarete Kálnoky von Köröspatak), Archduchess Agnes (1928-2007; married Prince Karl Alfred of Liechtenstein), Archduchess Maria Margaretha (b.1930), Archduchess Maria Roland (1931-1999), Archduchess Elisabeth (1935-1998; married Prince Heinrich von Auersperg), Archduke Andreas Salvator (b.1936; married and divorced Maria Espinosa de los Monteros y Rosillo; married Countess Valerie Podstatzky-Lichtenstein), Archduchess Josepha (b.1937; married Count Clemens von Waldstein), Archduchess Maria Alberta (b.1944; married Baron Alexander von Kottwitz-Erdödy), Archduke Markus (b.1946; married Hildegard Jungmayr), Archduke Johann (b.1947; married Annemarie Stummer), and Archduke Michael (b.1949; married Eva-Antonia von Hofmann). 

Archduchess Valerie of Austria and Margrave Max of Baden, 1966.
On 23 September 1966 at Salem, Archduchess Valerie of Austria civilly married Margrave Maximilian "Max" of Baden (b.Salem 3 July 1933). The couple celebrated their religious wedding on 30 September 1966 at Schloß Salem. Max was the second child and eldest son of Margrave Berthold of Baden (1903-1963) and Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (1906-1969). Margrave Max of Baden is a nephew of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Margrave Max and Margravine Valerie of Baden, 1987.
Photograph (c) Getty Images / Slim Aarons.

Margrave Max and Margravine Valerie of Baden have four children: Princess Marie Louise (b.1969; married Richard Baker), Hereditary Prince Bernhard (b.1970; married Stephanie Anne Kaul), Prince Leopold (b.1971), and Prince Michael (b.1976; married Christina Höhne). Max and Valerie of Baden have four grandchildren. 

Valerie and Max of Baden at the wedding of Hereditary Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 2003.

Many happy returns of the day to Margravine Valerie of Baden!

Valerie and Max of Baden in the 1960s.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.

The Margrave and Margravine of Baden with Duchess Donata of Oldenburg at the wedding of Duke Paul of Oldenburg in 2001.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.
Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg, Queen Sofía of Spain, and Margravine Valerie of Baden at the wedding of Hereditary Prince Bernhard of Baden, 2001.
Photograph (c) Seeger-Presse.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Noble Weddings Today in Spain and France

Belén and Carlos.
In Spain, Don Carlos Fitzjames-Stuart y de Solis, Conde de Osorno, married Belén Corsini y Lacalle at the Liria Palace in Madrid. Born on 30 November 1991 at Madrid, Carlos is the second son of Don Carlos Fitzjames-Stuart y Martinez de Irujo, Duque de Huescar, Duque de Alba (b.1949) and Doña Matilda de Solis y Martinez de Campos (b.1963), who married in 1988 and divorced in 1999. Carlos has an older brother, Don Fernando Fitzjames-Stuart y de Solis, Duque de Huescar (b.1990; married Sofia Palazuelo Barroso). Carlos is the grandson of the late Cayetana, Duchess of Alba. Born in 1988, Belén is the daughter of Juan Carlos Corsini Muñoz de Rivera and Mónica de Lacalle Rubio. 

Délia and Marc.
In France, Prince Marc of Croÿ and Délia de Cossé-Brissac celebrated their religious marriage at Église Saint-Vincent de Brissac in Maine-et-Loire. Prince Marc of Croÿ (b.1992) is the third child of Rudolf, Duke von Croÿ (b.1955), and his late wife Countess Alexandra Miloradovich (1960-2015), who wed in 1987. Délia de Cossé-Brissac (b.1998) is the third child of Charles-André, Duc de Brissac (b.1962) and his wife Countess Larissa Széchényi de Sárvár-Felsövidek (b.1967), who wed in 1993. Prince Marc and Princess Délia of Croÿ were civilly married on 19 December 2020 at Dülmen.

Princess Délia of Croÿ (née de Cossé-Brissac) and Don Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y de Solis, Conde de Osorno, are fifth cousins. They are descendants of Count Pál Széchényi de Sárvár-Felsövidék (1789-1871) and Countess Emilie Zichy-Ferraris de Zich et Vásonkeö (1803-1866).

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Six Siblings of Queen Paola of Belgium

Surrounded by her six elder children, Donna Luisa Ruffo di Calabria is pictured holding her seventh child and fourth daughter Paola.

The future Queen Paola of Belgium was born as Donna Paola Margherita Maria Antonia Consiglia Ruffo di Calabria on 11 September 1937 as the seventh and last child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria (1884-1946) and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana (1896-1989), who married in 1919. Paola was not yet nine years old when her father Fulco died on 23 August 1946. In 1959, Donna Paola Ruffo di Calabria married Prince Albert of Belgium. After the death of her brother-in-law King Baudouin, Paola became Queen of Belgium when her husband Albert succeeded to the throne as King Albert II. Albert abdicated in 2013, after a reign of twenty years. 

Donna Maria Cristina Ruffo di Calabria (1920-2003)

Princess Alix Napoléon, Prince Louis Napoléon, Princess Catherine Napoléon, Nicolò San Martino d'Aglie, Donna Maria Cristina Ruffo di Calabria, Casimiro San Martino d'Agliè, Prangins, 1974. 
Donna Maria Cristina Laura Ruffo di Calabria was born on 25 May 1920 at Rome. She was the first child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 10 June 1940 at Rome, Maria Cristina married Casimiro San Martino d'Agliè Marchese di Fontanetto con San Germano (1903-1988). The couple had five children: Antonella (b.1943; married Ippolito Calvi, dei Conti di Bergolo), Emanuella (b.1944; married Conte Ernesto Rossi di Montelera), Giovanna (b.1945; married and divorced Principe Don Alvaro-Jaime de Orléans y Parodi Delfino), Nicolò (b.1948; married and divorced Princess Catherine Napoléon; married Nobile Anna Maria Gazzana Priaroggia), and Filippo (b.1953; married Cristina Flesia). Aged eighty-three, Donna Maria Cristina Laura Ruffo di Calabria died on 11 September 2003 at the Castello di San Martino near Alfieri. 

Donna Laura Ruffo di Calabria (1921-1972)

Laura Ruffo di Calabria with her sister Paola and her brother Antonello, Milan, 1941.
Photograph (c) Rue des Archives/Granger.
Donn Laura Maria Rufina Ruffo di Calabria was born on 31 May 1921 at Rome. She was the second daughter and second child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 20 May 1946 at Rome, Laura married Barone Bettino Ricasoli Firidolfi Zanchini Marsuppini Acciauoli Salviati (1922-2009). The couple had four children: Andrea (1948-1982), Luisa (b.1950; married Carlo Lodovico Bicocchi), Maria Teresa (b.1954; married Roberto Giunta), and Giovanni (b.1956; married Eva Holmstrom). Aged fifty-one, Donna Laura Ruffo di Calabria died at Florence on 24 September 1972.

Principe Don Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria (1922-2005)

Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria and his second wife Luisa Cristina Carbajo, Rome, 1990.
Photograph (c) Marcellino Fernando Radogna.
Don Fabrizio Beniamino Ruffo di Calabria was born on 6 December 1922 at Rome. He was the first son and third child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. On 5 October 1953 at Turin, Fabrizio married Maria Elisabetta Vaciago (b.1933), the daughter of Giovanni Vaciago and Adelaide Seymandi. The couple had five children: Don Fulco (b.1954; married and divorced Melba Vincens Bello; married Luisa Tricarico), Don Augusto (b.1955; married Princess Christiana zu Windisch-Graetz), Donna Imara (b.1958; married and divorced Uberto Gasche; married Marco dei Conti Tonci Ottieri della Ciaja), Don Umberto (b.1960; married Leontina Pallavicino), and Don Alessandro (b.1964; married and divorced Princess Mafalda of Savoy-Aosta; married Marzia Palau). Fabrizio and Maria Elisabetta divorced in 1988. In 1991, Fabrizio remarried Luisa "Liesel" Cristina Carbajo (b.1942). Aged eighty-two, Principe Don Fabrizio Ruffo di Calabria died on 11 October 2005 at Rome. 

Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria (1925-1943)

Don Augusto Ruffo di Calabria was born on 28 August 1925 at Rome. He was the second son and fourth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. Aged eighteen, Augusto was killed in action during World War II on 2 November 1943 at Mare di Pescara. Augusto died during a naval battle, and his body was never recovered.

Donna Giovannella Ruffo di Calabria (1927-1941)

Donna Giovannella Ruffo di Calabria was born on 16 April 1927 at Rome. She was the third son and fifth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. Aged fourteen, Giovannella died from food poisoning on 15 May 1941 at Rome. 

Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria (1930-2017)
Antonello Ruffo di Calabria and Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca, 1961.

Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria was born on 31 May 1930 at Rome. He was the third son and sixth child of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria and Donna Luisa Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana. When he turned eighteen, Antonello decided against military service, and, instead, set off to travel the world - he remained a passionate traveler and lover of nature. On 4 January 1961, Antonello married Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca (b.1943), the daughter of Giuseppe Mastrogiovanni Tasca, Conte d'Almerita, and Francesca Paola Cammarata de Seta. The couple had four children: Donna Covella (b.1962), Don Lucio (b.1964), Donna Domitilla (b.1965; married Don Giovanni dei Baroni Porcari Li Destri), and Donna Claudia (b.1969; married Marcello Salom). After his divorce from Rosa in 1978, Antonello remarried to Sylviane Sapir. The couple had one child, a daughter: Donna Valentina (b.1994). Aged eighty-seven, Don Antonello Ruffo di Calabria died at Rome on 24 August 2017. He was the last surviving sibling of Queen Paola.

To learn more about Don Antonello, you can read this article from Vanity Fair Spain: ANTONELLO RUFFO DI CALABRIA, ADIÓS AL PRÍNCIPE IRREVERENTE

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Lovely Photo of Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria and Son Archduke Josef

Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria has shared a picture of herself with her young son Archduke Josef. 

Archduke Christoph and Archduchess Adélaïde of Austria on their wedding day.

Adélaïde Drapé-Frisch married Archduke Christoph of Austria in December 2012. The couple have three children: Archduchess Katarina (b.2014), Archduchess Sophie (b.2017), and Archduke Josef (b.2020).

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Relatives Remember Markgräfin Helene Pallavicini (née Württemberg)

Duchess Helene with three of her Brazilian cousins, 1950s.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

Today, 18 May, Markgräfin Helene Pallavicini will be buried at Altshausen, where she passed away on 22 April at the age of ninety-one. Helene, known as "Mausi" in her family, was born a Duchess of Württemberg and was the older sister of Duke Carl of Württemberg, Head of the Royal House. 

Helene of Württemberg getting ready to take a picture of her Brazilian cousins, the children of Prince Pedro Henrique of Brazil and Princess Maria of Bavaria.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

In the 1950s, Helene lived with her cousins Prince Pedro Henrique of Brazil and his wife Princess Maria at their home in Fazenda Santa Maria, in Jacarezinho, in the north of the State of Paraná. Duchess Helene of Württemberg helped her cousins with their children, and she was chosen as godmother for their son Prince Francisco of Orleans-Bragança (b.1955).

The Brazilian imperial family sent a letter to Duke Carl of Württemberg expressing their condolences on the death of his sister Markgräfin Helene Pallavicini. It reads as follows:
Dear Carl,

We will join in the prayers on the occasion of the Requiem for the soul of your sister Hélène, the late Mausi - of whom we always retain fond memories of the years she spent with us at the farm in Paraná -, to be celebrated tomorrow.



Bertrand, Antonio and Christine

Monday, May 17, 2021

An Adorable Photo of Princess Geraldine of Albania with Her Grandmother

Photograph (c) HRH The Crown Princess of Albania.
Last week, Crown Princess Elia of Albania shared a lovely image of her daughter and her mother on Instagram. 

Yllka Mujo, a well-known actress, is pictured with her granddaughter (and only grandchild) Princess Geraldine of Albania - who is growing up very quickly! Princess Geraldine, who was born on 22 October 2020 at Tirana, is the only child of Crown Prince Leka of Albania and Crown Princess Elia (née Zaharia). Gjergj Zaharia and Yllka Mujo, the parents of the Crown Princess, are the only living grandparents of Princess Geraldine. Geraldine's paternal grandfather King Leka of the Albanians died in 2011, and her paternal grandmother Queen Susan died in 2004. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Fabergé Wedding Rings for the Russian Imperial Marriage in October!

Yesterday, it was officially announced that Fabergé will be creating the wedding bands for the union of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich of Russia and his fiancée Victoria Romanovna Bettarini. The couple will marry on 1 October 2021 in Saint Petersburg. 

Sarah Fabergé, Fabergé’s Director of Special Projects and a great-granddaughter of Carl Peter Fabergé, sent her best wishes to George and Victoria: "On behalf of Fabergé, we send HIH Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini our warmest congratulations on their engagement. We are delighted that, in true Romanov tradition, the happy couple have appointed Fabergé to create their wedding bands. I am honoured to be overseeing this commission, working closely with an acclaimed Russian jeweller and work master, to bring the symbols of this marriage to life. History has truly come full circle."

Photo (c) Lodovico Colli di Felizzano.


Fabergé played a large part in the weddings of Russian Grand Dukes and Grand Duchesses. Both sisters of Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Xenia and Grand Duchess Olga received gifts of large silver table services created by Fabergé as part of their dowry when they married.

Fabergé scholar Valentin Skurlov notes that on the 27th July 1901, the records of the Imperial Cabinet state that the jeweller Fabergé was paid 60 rubles for “a pair of wedding rings in pure gold” for the upcoming marriage of the Emperor’s sister, Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna.

By commissioning their wedding bands from Fabergé, the Grand Duke George and his fiancée Victoria Romanovna Bettarini are reviving an old family tradition by reestablishing a relationship between Fabergé and the House of Romanov.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

On This Day in 2011: The Passing of the Princess Mother of Brazil

A decade ago, on 13 May 2011, Princess Maria of Bavaria, Princess Mother of Brazil, died at her home in Rio de Janeiro. She was ninety-six years-old. The princess passed away on the 123rd anniversary of the 1888 signing of the Lei Áurea (Golden Law) by Princess Imperial Isabel of Brazil, the grandmother of Princess Maria's husband Prince Pedro Henrique.

Princess Maria of Bavaria.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

Princess Maria Elisabeth Franziska Theresia Josepha of Bavaria was born on 9 September 1914 at Schloß Nymphenburg in Munich. Maria was the second of the six children of Prince Franz of Bavaria and his wife Princess Isabelle von Croÿ. Maria's paternal grandfather was King Ludwig III of Bavaria, the last Wittelsbach monarch, during whose reign she was born.

Princess Maria, Princess Adelgunde, Princess Eleonore, and Princess Dorothea of Bavaria.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

After the fall of the Bavarian monarchy in 1918 following World War II, Maria's family went into exile in Hungary. They resided there until the 1930s when they returned to Bavaria, where they remained popular with the Bavarian people. Princess Maria received a thorough education; in addition to German, she became fluent in English and French. She also was trained in the art of porcelain painting. 

Princess Maria and Prince Pedro Henrique on their wedding day.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

On 19 August 1937, Princess Maria of Bavaria married Prince Pedro Henrique of Orleans and Bragança, Head of the Imperial House of Brazil. The wedding took place at in the chapel of Schloß Nymphenburg. Among the guests were King Alfonso XIII of Spain, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, and the Count and Countess of Paris. 

Princess Maria and Prince Pedro Henrique with their children.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.
Princess Maria with her four daughters.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

Between 1938 and 1959, Princess Maria and Prince Pedro Henrique had twelve children who survived into adulthood. Their thirteenth child, a daughter, died shortly after birth in 1946.

Prince Pedro Henrique and Princess Maria at Vassouras.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

In 1957, Prince Pedro Henrique and Princess Maria and their family moved to the Fazenda Santa Maria in Jundiaí do Sul, Paraná. In 1965, the couple relocated to Vassouras, where they resided at the Sítio Santa Maria.  

Princess Maria and Prince Pedro Henrique.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

Princess Maria became a widow when her husband Prince Pedro Henrique of Orleans and Bragança died on 5 July 1981. The prince was seventy-one years-old. He was succeeded as the Head of the Imperial House of Brazil by his eldest son Prince Luiz.

The Princess Mother of Brazil.
Photograph (c) Casa Imperial do Brasil.

In her later years, Princess Maria lived between Vassouras and an apartment in Rio de Janeiro.