Monday, June 27, 2022

Father Florian: The Bavarian Prince who Became a Monk (1957-2022)

Father Florian.

On 22 June 2022, Father Florian died at Nairobi, Kenya. His death was the result of a brain tumor. Father Florian was sixty-four-years-old. 

Prince Franz-Josef Michael Maria Ignatius of Bavaria, the first son and second child of Prince Rasso of Bavaria and Princess Theresa (born Archduchess of Austria), was born at Schloss Leutstetten on 21 September 1957. The prince became a Benedictine monk, a member of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict. In 1982 after finishing his studies he joined the Benedictine monastery of St. Ottilien as a novice, choosing the name Florian, and 1983 he took his first vows. Until 1996, he lived under the name Pater [Father] Florian at St. Ottilien in Emming in southern Bavaria. The following was shared about the upbringing of the prince on his website:
His childhood and youth were spent on the family farm of Rieden, the former model farm of his great-grandfather King Ludwig III of Bavaria, which used to supply the Haunersche Kinderklinik, a children’s hospital in Munich, with fresh milk.

During Franz-Josef´s childhood on the farm mainly young cattle were raised but there were also horses, goats and sheep. It was a carefree childhood. After the first years of primary school in the one-class village school of Leutstetten, he went to school in the nearby town of Starnberg.

His upbringing in agricultural surroundings formed him as a person deeply connected to animals and nature. Dealing with agricultural machinery awoke his passion for mechanics and technology.

Since 1996, Prince Franz-Josef lived between the Peramiho Abbey in Tanzania and in Kenya he became prior administrator of the Prince of Peace Benedictine Monastery - Tigoni Limuru. He worked primarily in Illeret, St Peter the Fisherman parish, and a new Benedictine Monastery in the Diocese of Marsabit, northern part of Kenya.

May Pater Florian Rest in Peace. 


Benediktinerpater Florian Prinz von Bayern in Kenia gestorben

Sunday, June 26, 2022

The 60th Birthday of the Earl of St Andrews, Future Duke of Kent

Edward and Katharine with their son George, July 1962.

On 26 June 1962, George Philip Nicholas Windsor, Earl of St Andrews, was born at the family home of Coppins in Iver, Buckinghamshire. George was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who had married in 1961. At the time of his birth, the Earl of St Andrews was tenth in the line of succession to the British throne. He was also the first male-line member of the extended British royal house to not be born with a princely title; it was noted at the time of his birth that the Earl of St Andrews would become the first non-royal Duke of Kent whenever the time came for him to succeed to the title. The newest addition to the Kent branch of the Royal Family weighed 6 1/4 lbs. 

The statement released from Coppins following his arrival read: "Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent was safely delivered of a son at three o'clock this afternoon. Both the Duchess and her child are well. [signed] John H. Pell." Indeed, Sir John Pell, the gynaecologist of HM Queen Elizabeth II, led the team of doctors who attended the Duchess of Kent at the birth. 

The Earl of St Andrews was christened in the music room at Buckingham Palace on 14 September 1962. George received as godparents: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Princess Alexandra, Mrs Angus Ogilvy; Mr Oliver Worsley; and Lady Lily Serena Lumley. The christening of the Earl of St Andrews was officiated by Dr A M Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the little earl wore the christening robe of Honiton lace worn by Queen Victoria's children, as well as by the earl's late grandfather George and his father Edward. In addition to the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the attendees included The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Marina Duchess of Kent, Princess Mary the Princess Royal, Princess Alexandra, Prince Michael of Kent, Prince Paul and Princess Olga of Yugoslavia, Sir William Worsley and Lady Worsley, Mr and Mrs Marcus Worsley, and Mr Oliver Worsley. A reception was held afterward at Kensington Palace. 

Our best wishes to the Earl of St Andrews on his birthday!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Baptism of Prince Michael of Romania at the Coronation Cathedral!

Alina-Maria with Michael, Karina, and Nicholas with Maria Alexandra.

Last Saturday, 18 June, Prince Michael of Romania was baptised at the Coronation Cathedral (Catedrala Încoronării) in Alba Iulia. The cathedral was built between 1921-1922; it was the setting for the coronation of Michael's great-great-great grandparents King Ferdinand and Queen Maria of Romania as monarchs of Greater Romania on 22 October 1922. Michael's father Prince Nicholas noted: "It is a moment of great joy, it is a very important moment in our son's life. It is very important to keep in touch with history and of course with family. The name Mihai is a special name, of course in memory of my grandfather. It is also the name of a great saint, and that was important to us. I'm Mihai too, I have a cousin Mihai, it's a family name, so it's not only the king's name."

The happy parents with their little boy.

Michael's godparents are Liviu and Simona Popescu. The Popescus were the sponsors for Princess Alina-Maria of Romania during her and Nicholas's religious wedding in 2018. 

A united family: Mihai Binder, Rodica Binder holding Princess Maria Alexandra, Princess Alina-Maria holding Prince Michael, Prince Nicholas, Karina de Roumanie, and Heinz Binder.

Around 100 guests from Romania and Europe came to Alba Iulia for the baptism. The maternal grandparents of Prince Michael, Heinz and Rodica Binder, were there to celebrate this momentous occasion. Michael's maternal uncle, Mihai Binder, and his paternal aunt, Karina de Roumanie, were also on hand to take part in this special family event. Members of the Cantacuzino and Ghyka noble families were in attendance as well. 

The baptism of Nicholas of Romania
(left to right) King Michael, Crown Princess Margarita, Queen Anne, Princess Helen holding her son Prince Nicholas, and Dr. Robin Medforth-Mills

When Michael's father Nicholas was baptised on 8 June 1985 in Switzerland, Nicholas received as his godparents the following family and friends: King Michael of Romania; Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester; the Prince of Asturias (now King Felipe VI of Spain); Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark; Princess Sophie of Romania; Countess Charles de Breteuil (née Solange de Ganay); Dick Stern, Sophie Maris, Paul Contomichalos, Flora Deacon, and Mrs Jean Boissevian. The baptism of Michael's great-grandfather King (then Prince) Michael took place on 22 January 1922 at the Royal Palace in Bucharest.

Princess Alina-Maria holding Prince Michael and Prince Nicholas holding Princess Maria Alexandra.

May God Bless Michael! La multi ani!


One hundred years after the baptism of his great-grandfather, the son of Prince Nicolae was baptized in Alba Iulia

Former Prince Nicolae baptized his son at the Coronation Cathedral in Alba Iulia. The child is named after King Michael

Friday, June 24, 2022

Baron Jörg von Saalfeld (1937-2022), Scion of the Saxe-Meiningens

Earlier this week, Baron Jörg von Saalfeld (don Jörg Freiherr von Saalfeld Viererbe) died at San José, Costa Rica. He was eighty-five years-old. A funeral mass will be held on 28 June at the Iglesia San Rafael Arcángel in Escazú.

Born on 17 January 1937 at Munich, Baron Jörg von Saalfeld and his twin brother Baron Jens von Saalfeld were the eldest children of Baron Heinrich "Enzio" von Saalfeld (1908-killed in action 1941) and  Rut Martha Viererbe (1910-1974), who wed in 1936. Jörg and Jens (1937-2001; married Kathryn Kostka) were followed by two younger siblings: Baroness Jay (b.1938) and Baron Jan (b.1941; married Clara Bansbach). After the death of her husband, Baroness Rut von Saalfeld married Karlheinz Schnell in 1943. From his mother's second marriage, Jörg von Saalfeld had two half-sisters: Wiebke Schnell (b.1945; married Carlos Roberto Aubert Zeledon) and Frauke Schnell (b.~1948; married David Muñoz)

Prince Ernst of Saxe-Meiningen and Katharina von Saalfeld.
Baron Jörg von Saalfeld was a paternal grandson of Prince Ernst of Saxe-Meiningen (1859-1941) and Katharina Jensen (1874-1945; created Freifrau von Saalfeld), who married in 1892. The couple had six children; their youngest child was Enzio, Jörg's father. Prince Ernst was the Head of the Ducal House of Saxe-Meiningen from 1928 until his passing in 1941. Jörg's paternal great-grandparents were Duke Georg II of Saxe-Meiningen and his second wife Princess Feodore zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a niece of Queen Victoria.

On 13 August 1966 at San José, Costa Rica, Baron Jörg von Saalfeld married Heidi Schmidt-Steinvorth (b.1944). Earlier in 1966, Jörg's sister Baroness Jay had married Heidi's older brother Hans Hermann Schmidt-Steinworth (b.1942). Jörg and Heidi divorced in 1973; they did not have any children. 

In April 1976 at San José, Baron Jörg von Saalfeld married Hilda Steinvorth Steffen (b.1953). He is survived by his wife, his brother, and his three sisters as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

May Jörg Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Genevieve Arnault: The Last Queen of Iraq?

Genevieve Arnault in 1962.

On 22 June 1937, Genevieve Arnault was born at Paris as the only child of Henri Arnault (1902-?), a chemist, and his wife Leonie Ness (1915-1990), an actress turned businesswoman. The family did not fare particularly well during World War II. When the Germans overtook France, Mr Arnault was eventually arrested by the Nazis because he had a gun permit. After this, young Genevieve was imprisoned at Auschwitz for a period. Genevieve's mother joined the French Resistance. When the war ended, her parents (both of whom survived) sent their daughter to a Swiss educational institution whose aim was to help young persons who had experienced severe traumatised during the conflict. 

Genevieve and Faisal.
Photo from LIFE Magazine.

Based on news reports, Genevieve Arnault first met King Faisal II of Iraq (b.Baghdad 2 May 1935), two years her senior, in 1948 at Switzerland. By now living in Paris again, Genevieve was vacationing in the country. Faisal was enjoying a break from his studies at the Harrow School in London by taking advantage of the Swiss Alps to indulge in his fondness for skiing. The thirteen year-old Iraqi king and the ten year-old French girl met at a party. Whether it was love at first sight is impossible to know, but the bond between the two children lasted for the rest of their lives. 

King Faisal II of Iraq in 1944.

In 1948, Mr. and Mrs. Arnault were living at 1 rue Deleau, Neuilly-sur-Seine. Henry Arnault was a chemical engineer, and Lony Arnault worked as an administrator for the French Red Cross. Having attended the Louvre in 1937, Lony later became an architect and engineer who went on to forge a successful career in France, Iraq, and the United States.  The Arnaults frequently traveled to America for business purposes, and they often brought their daughter along for the journey. Records exist of Genevieve traveling from France to New York in both 1948 and 1949. In Autumn 1952, the seventeen year-old King Faisal II of Iraq made a trip to the United States, where he met with President Harry Truman and Hollywood actors. It was also during this voyage that the king became reacquainted with Mademoiselle Arnault at a garden party in Greenwich, Connecticut. Feelings of a more romantic nature were kindled between the pair during this encounter.

Mrs. Lony Arnault greeting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge with Iraqi diplomat Abdulkarim Al-Gailani in the background, 1957.

In 1956, Lony Arnault and Genevieve moved to Baghdad. They retained their residence on East 70th Street, New York City. Mrs. Arnault had been given permission by King Faisal II to direct the construction of a government housing project in his capital. During an interview in January 1957, Lony Arnault remarked: "It is natural that youth should prevail in a country that has a 21 year-old king." Questioned about an existing romance between her daughter and the Iraqi monarch, Mrs. Arnault stated: "The king and my daughter played tennis and rode horseback together before his coronation in 1953. Now, their meetings are rarer; he's pretty busy." Despite Mrs. Arnault's claims to the reporter, it is difficult to deny that there was in fact a close relationship blossoming between King Faisal and Genevieve Arnault.

King Faisal II of Iraq and Genevieve Arnault.

Per subsequent press reports, shortly before midnight on 22 June 1957, King Faisal II of Iraq and Mlle. Genevieve Arnault were married in a Muslim ceremony at Baghdad. The bride had turned twenty on the day of her wedding, which was not announced to the public. They honeymooned at a royal residence in Iraq. Genevieve would recall: "I liked best those private moments when he would forget he was the king." The couple were not to enjoy a fairy-tale ending. On 14 July 1958, Iraqi revolutionaries assassinated a fair number of the members of the country's royal family at the Rihab Palace: King Faisal II, his uncle Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah (1913-1958), his great-aunt Princess Nafeesa (1886-1958), his aunt Princess Abadiya (1907-1958), and several servants were among the individuals who were gunned down in the courtyard of the royal palace. On 15 April 1965, the United States District Court S. D. New York wrote the following in its ruling on the case Republic of Iraq v. First National City Bank
On April 23, 1964, the Surrogate's Court entered an intermediate decree on the final accounting of defendant as administrator. Citation in this proceeding had been served upon plaintiff, but plaintiff failed to appear or participate in it. This intermediate decree determined that Al Malika Genevieve Al Iraq (also known as Genevieve Arnault), was duly married to King Faisal II on June 22, 1957, and was his lawful surviving spouse, that Prince Zeid Ibn Hussein, the great-uncle of King Faisal II, was his nearest living male heir, and that pursuant to a certain stipulation of settlement, the net estate of King Faisal II should be distributed, two-thirds to Al Malika Genevieve Al Iraq, and one-third to Prince Zeid.

On December 14, 1964, the Surrogate's Court entered its final decree in the accounting proceeding. It charged defendant as administrator with $134,950.65 in the first instance, and credited it with the payment of administrative expenses and various miscellaneous items aggregating $18,249.08, leaving a balance on hand of $116,701.57. The decree settled and allowed the administrator's account and directed the administrator to pay various additional fees and commissions and to distribute the final net balance, amounting to $110,562.47 to Al Malika Genevieve Al Iraq and Prince Zeid Ibn Hussein, $73,708.31 to the former, and $36,854.16 to the latter. Defendant has not as yet made this distribution.

Genevieve al-Malika al-Iraq.

On 7 May 1971, Genevieve Arnault married Walter H. Jackson at Galveston, Texas. The couple had two sons and subsequently divorced.

Genevieve Arnault Al-Iraq Jackson (1937-2010)

In 1984, Genevieve moved to Port Jervis, New York. She taught herself how to paint and took classes at the Arts Student League in Manhattan. Two days before her seventy-third birthday, she died at Port Jervis on 20 June 2010 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Milford gathering recalls former queen of Iraq (briefly) who later graced the areaRepublic of Iraq v. First National City Bank

Friday, June 17, 2022

Remarriage for Archduke Karl of Austria

Christian and Karl attend the wedding of Fürst Alexander of Schaumburg-Lippe, 2021.

In the spring of 2022 in Portugal, Archduke Karl of Austria, Head of the Imperial House of Habsburg, married Christian Nicolau de Almeida Reid, a woman of British and Portuguese descent. When he first publicly spoke of Christian three years ago, the archduke said, "Christian is a cultured and sensitive woman with elegant decency. She is a loving counselor, sometimes a valuable critic and always available to me, a partner in the best sense of the word. In short, she is an incredible asset to my life and I am happy to have her by my side." Christian Reid is the daughter of the late Robin Reid, OBE, and his wife Elsa Andresen Nicolau de Almeida. Upon announcing his recent marriage, Archduke Karl stated: "I've always tried to keep my private life private, which is why we only married in the closest circle. She is a wonderful woman. Now she is my wonderful wife.

Our best wishes to Karl and Christian!


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Princess Elmira of Saxony (1930-2022)

The late Princess Elmira and Prince Albert of Saxony.

On 14 June, Princess Elmira of Saxony died in Munich. She was ninety-one years-old.

Born on 25 December 1930 at Lodz, Poland, Elmira Carlen Henke was the daughter of textile merchant Emil Henke (1886-1957) and Lydia Müller. 

On 12 April 1980 at the Theatinerkirche in Munich, Elmira wed Prince Albert of Saxony (1934-2012), the second son of Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony, Margrave of Meißen, and his wife Princess Elisabeth Therese of Thurn and Taxis. Their marriage was morganatic; Albert and Elmira did not have any children. Elmira was a stalwart supporter of her husband Prince Albert, an accomplish historian who wrote several books on the history of the Kingdom of Saxony and its royal house. Elmira will be buried beside her husband at the Alten Katholischen Friedhof in Dresden. 

May She Rest in Peace.

The 85th Birthday of King Simeon II of Bulgaria

The infant prince Simeon.

Today, King Simeon II of the Bulgarians celebrates his eighty-fifth birthday!

King Boris III and his son Crown Prince Simeon.

Born on 16 June 1937, Prince Simeon of Bulgaria (later King) was the second child and only son of King Boris III of Bulgaria and Queen Giovanna (born Princess of Savoy). Simeon joined an older sister, Princess Marie Louise (b.1933). In her memoirs, Queen Giovanna recalled: "The spring of 1937 was unusually mild. The birth of my son seemed to add something to the good weather. There was a lull in the unsettled and complex Bulgarian internal situation, like a kind of divine truce. All Bulgarians, even the enemies, were happy for a time, open to some unknown hope, to the anticipation of something new, lacking clear contours, but no less real. Simeon's birth came to break the chain of internal dramatic moments." Simeon's birth was announced to the population of Sofia by a 101 gun salute fired over the sky of the Bulgarian capital at 6:40am on the day of his birth. The park of the royal palace quickly filled with people. Queen Giovanna wrote: "In the meantime, the voice of the people had given my son a name. The streets were filled with shouts of 'Simeon! Simeon!' even before the palace had made an official announcement." The queen noted that she had initially planned to name her son Borislav, but that the acclamations of the Bulgarians celebrating his arrival settled his name.  

The mayor of Sofia, Ivan Ivanov, wrote to King Boris congratulating the royal family on this happy occasion: 
"Your Majesty,

Today's bright June day has brought the greatest joy to the Bulgarian people! Everywhere, in towns and villages, where a Bulgarian heart beats and Bulgarian speech is heard, joy and rapture fill us all. God has not forsaken Bulgaria after all, He loves her. The Bulgarian Kingdom today has its heir apparent! The Bulgarian state, besides its head of state, now also has its successor! The Bulgarian nation goes forward with new hopes and ideals, remembering the glorious times of Boris I and Simeon the Great. Long live Bulgaria! Long live King Boris III! Long live Queen Giovanna! Long live the Bulgarian successor to the throne Simeon, Crown Prince of Turnovo!"
The following official Act was drawn up by the government in accordance with the arrival of the heir to the King:
"This 16th Day of June in the year one thousand nine hundred and thirty seven, Wednesday, the undersigned Georgi Ivanov Kyoseivanov, Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Denominations and the official on the civil status of the members of the Royal Family, with the assistance of Alexander Petrov Ognyanov, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the State Seal of the Kingdom, by virtue of Article 138 of the Persons Act, in the presence of the witnesses Konstatin Georgiev Panov, head of the office of His Majesty the King, and Doctor Vladimir Penev Matev, administrator of the Princess Clementine hospital, drew up the present act concerning the following: at the Sofia Palace this morning at five o'clock, Her Majesty Queen Giovanna was examined by the private medical advisor Prof. Dr. Walter Stöckel, Director of the University Clinic of Obstetrics in Berlin, Doctor Dimiter Stamatov, Regular Professor, Director of the University Clinic of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Sofia, and Prof. Dr. Günther Schulze, Chief Physician at the University Clinic in Berlin, who established that the time had come for Her Majesty the Queen to give birth. 

For the purpose of greater hygienic safety, the professors Stöckel and Stamatov insisted that the expectant mother be taken to the Princess Clementine hospital where, accompanied by His Majesty the King and the above-mentioned persons, she arrived at five hours and thirty minutes.

At five hours and forty-five minutes we were told of the impending delivery of Her Majesty the Queen, immediately after which we proceeded to the above-mentioned hospital which we reached at six o'clock. There we were accommodated in the antechamber of the operating room in which Her Majesty the Queen was and remained waiting for the moment of the birth.

At six hours and forty minutes we were invited into the room where, besides Her Majesty the Queen, we also found His Majesty the King and the above-mentioned persons. As soon as we entered, Professor Stöckel showed us a living infant of the male sex, which he had just delivered and which was still tied with the umbilical cord (Funiculus umbillicalis) to the body of the royal mother. The cord was cut in our presence. The birth was normal, without any complications.

The newborn infant, which is the second child of His Majesty Boris III, King of Bulgarians, and of Her Majesty Giovanna, Queen of Bulgaria, Princess of Savoy, was given the name Simeon and the title Crown Prince of Turnovo.

At eight hours and thirty minutes Her Majesty the Queen and the newly born Prince were taken to the Sofia Palace, accompanied by His Majesty the King, and the professors Stöckel, Stamatov, and Schulze.

In confirmation of the above said, we sign the present act together with the above-mentioned witnesses and professors."
King Boris and Queen Giovanna with their children.

Crown Prince Simeon was christened into the Orthodox faith on 12 July in the Saints Peter and Paul palace chapel with water from the River Jordan. In addition to the King and Queen, the christening of the heir of the throne was attended by his sister Princess Marie Louise and by his uncle Prince Kyrill and his aunt Princess Eudoxie. To commemorate the Simeon's birth, an amnesty was granted to 4,000 prisoners, old taxes and fees and fines were cancelled, and the Minister of Education announced that the marks of students would be raised by one grade. Queen Giovanna remembered: "When my son started with his first school efforts, he smiled and said that he would never have this chance."

Our best wishes to His Majesty on his birthday!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Count of Paris Sends Condolences upon the Death of His Uncle Carl

Duchess Diane and Duke Carl of Württemberg attend the wedding of Prince Jean and Princess Philomena d'Orléans, 2009.
Photo (c) dpa picture alliance archive / Alamy Stock Photo.

Last week, Prince Jean d'Orléans, Count of Paris and Head of the Royal House of France, issued a statement to express his sadness at the passing of his uncle, Duke Carl of Württemberg:
Tuesday, June 7, 2022 

It is with great sadness that I learn of the death, in Germany, of my uncle His Royal Highness the Duke of Württemberg. 

Madame the Countess of Paris and my children join me in conveying our condolences to my aunt, Her Royal Highness Princess Diane, to my cousins ​​and their children, but also our loving thoughts at this difficult time. I pay tribute to the Prince for his many commitments to his family and his country during his long life. 

I assure, with my family, His Royal Highness Prince Wilhelm, who now succeeds his grandfather at the head of the House of Württemberg, of my support.

Jean, Count of Paris

Friday, June 10, 2022

Upcoming Baptism in Romania

Nicholas and Alina-Maria with Maria-Alexandra and Michael.

Michael of Romania, the only son of Nicholas and Alina-Maria of Romania, will be baptised at the Coronation Cathedral on 18 June at the Coronation Cathedral in Alba Iulia.

Announcement from Prince Nicholas of Romania.

Michael of Romania was born on 15 April 2022 at Bucharest. He is the only great-grandson of King Michael of Romania to have been born in the country over which his great-grandfather was the monarch. Michael was born 100 years after King Michael, who was born at Castle Peles on 25 October 1921. 

Nicholas and Alina-Maria with their children in front of a statue of King Michael.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Century Since the Birth of Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma

A young Prince Jacques.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Keystone-France.
Prince Jacques and his sister Princess Anne.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Keystone-France.
The family of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma: René, Jacques, André,
Margrethe, Michel, and Anne.

Born on 9 June 1922 at Longwy, France, Prince Jacques Maria Antoine Robert Waldemar Charles Felix Sixte Ansgar of Bourbon-Parma was the first child of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margrethe of Denmark, who had wed in 1921. Jacques was joined by three younger siblings: Princess Anne (1923-2016; married King Michael of Romania), Prince Michel (1926-2018), and Prince André (1928-2011).
The marriage of Prince René and Princess Margrethe, 1921.

The paternal grandparents of Prince Jacques were Duke Roberto of Parma and Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. The maternal grandparents of Prince Jacques were Prince Valdemar of Denmark (1858-1939) and his wife Princess Marie d'Orléans.

Princess Birgitte and Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma on their wedding day.
Photo (c) Getty Images / Keystone-France.

On 9 June 1947 at Ledreborg, Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma married Countess Birgitte af Holstein-Ledreborg (1922-2009), the daughter of Count Josef af Holstein-Ledreborg and Countess Christina Hamilton. Their engagement had been announced in January 1947. Jacques joined the Norwegian Air Force in Canada during World War II. During that same conflict, Birgitte participated in the Danish resistance movement against the Nazi occupation of her country; she and her sister Marie were jailed by the Gestapo for six weeks in Copenhagen when their involvement was discovered. Jacques went on to become a pilot for Danish Airlines. Jacques and Birgitte had three children: Prince Philipp (b.1949), Princess Lorraine (b.1951), and Prince Alain (b.1955).  

Prince Jacques of Bourbon-Parma died in a motor vehicle accident near Roskilde on 5 November 1964. He was forty-two years-old.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Le Grand Seigneur: Duke Carl of Württemberg, Head of the Royal House (1936-2022)

Duke of Württemberg
(1 August 1936 - 7 June 2022)

The image of Duke Carl and Duchess Diane from their 2021 Christmas card.

Yesterday (Tuesday), 7 June 2022, Duke Carl of Württemberg died at hospital in Ravensburg. He was eighty-five years-old. 

Duchess Rosa and Duke Philipp of Württemberg.
Duke Carl and his father Duke Philipp in the early 1970s.
The Württemberg siblings in 2006: (left to right) Marchesa Helene Pallavicini, Princess Marie Christine of Liechtenstein, Duke Carl of Württemberg, Princess Elisabeth of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, and Duke Ludwig of Württemberg.

Duke Carl Maria Peter Ferdinand Philipp Albrecht Joseph Michael Pius Konrad Robert Ulrich of Württemberg was born on 1 August 1936 at Friedrichshafen. He was the second son of Duke Philipp of Württemberg (1893-1975) and his second wife Duchess Rosa (1906-1983; née Austria/Tuscany). Carl had five full siblings: Duchess Helene (1929-2021; married Markgraf Federico Pallavicini), Duke Ludwig (1930-2019; married twice morganatically), Duchess Elisabeth (1933-2022; married Prince Antonio of Bourbon-Two Sicilies), Duchess Marie-Thérèse (b.1934; married Prince Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris), and Duchess Antoinette (1937-2004). From his father's first marriage to Archduchess Helena of Austria (1903-1924; sister of Duke Philipp's second wife Rosa), Carl had one older half-sister: Duchess Christine (b.1924; married Prince Georg of Liechtenstein). Carl studied at the University of Tübingen, from which he received a doctorate in law. Upon his older brother Ludwig's dynastic renunciation in 1959, Carl became the heir of his father Philipp. Carl was twenty-two years-old when he was faced with the reality that he, the second son, was to become the Head of House Württemberg.

Engaged: Duke Carl of Württemberg and Princess Diane d'Orléans.

Carl met his future wife, Princess Diane d'Orléans (b.1940), many times over the years before their union. In 1955, the Württembergs visited the Orléans at their Portuguese villa La Quinta. Diane remembered this visit in the her biography Diane de France, La princesse rebelle by Stéphane Bern: "When I first met Carl I was fifteen, he was eighteen. What struck me was his long emaciated figure, and his extreme thinness, despite a beautiful athletic build... He looked great with his angular face, and his blondness that brought out a clear and soft look. As for his long slender hands, they fascinated me. But from there to imagine anything, I did not think about it for a moment... I remember the day the Württemburgs had to pack up and leave. Carl, wanting to stay with us, went to find Papa: 'Uncle Henri, could you ask my father if I can stay a few more days?' Papa, who asked nothing more, suggested to the Duke of Württemberg to grant a grace period to his heir. But the Duchess did not hear it that way and got angry, believing that this attitude was unacceptable, irresponsible, and that Carl should immediately return to work in Germany. This saddened me. Before leaving, Carl gave me a present. A game of dice. As he had given me this present three days before his departure, I ran to buy him a little rubber monkey for him to hang on the rear-view mirror of his car. 'As they call me the monkey, you will think of me when you see it,' I told him, struck by the symbol of the dice he had given me. 'It is to see if you're lucky,' Carl quipped to me. Diane: "Me, I'm not lucky in gambling, so I should be lucky in love." Carl responded: 'We'll see.' The die was cast. Carl was always part of my familiar circle. From one year to the next he returned to the Quinta, even if the opportunities did not fail, over the months, to find us. In 1956, without there being any turning point in our relations, he began to see me more and more. That year, in addition to the silver wedding of the Count and Countess of Paris, we both took part in Queen Frederika's new Greek cruise on the Achileos. The opportunities to see one another then multiplied, especially from the engagement of his sister Ali (Marie-Thérèse) with my brother Henri. However, at their wedding in Dreux on 5 July 1957, we were still only good friends. At the wedding of his sister Lisa (Elisabeth) in 1958 with Prince Antoine of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, I had to see him by accompanying my brother François, but at the last moment, I left for Portugal where Carl came to join me after the ceremonies. In those years, the proliferation of princely weddings presented so many opportunities to meet and forge sweet ties between us. I seem to remember that it was in Altshausen, during this union, that Sophie of Greece and Juanito met. At the risk of twisting the necks of fairy tales, even in the Gotha, love is a mystery. How do we explain the changes in our feelings? How does one explain that they slowly turned into a romantic relationship? Imperceptibly, our ties indeed tightened. Carl was becoming more and more considerate, going out with me, inviting me to dances and seeming to seek my company. The summer of my eighteenth birthday, when I had just gotten my driving licence, he had to leave to see his father in Tenerife. Daring and attentive, he gave me the keys to his pretty car, a special-made Porsche that we called between us the 'thoroughbred.' 'Take that car, Diane, I'll leave it to you,' he told me with a charming smile. I was all the more intoxicated as I knew my brothers and sisters were green with envy. My brother Jacques immediately took the opportunity to encourage me to drive the car. In one week, we rode one thousand six hundred kilometres! Maman was also delighted because I drove her to the hairdresser with this racing car and that I served as a chauffeur for the whole family. The day Carl came back, I had polished his car so much it looked new. He was only surprised by the odometer...It was during a trip in this car, the following year, that our fate was sealed. We had realised, during the summer of 1959, that our feelings had changed and that our relationship was taking a different turn from the affectionate, almost familial friendship. At the end of the holidays, when I had to go back to Paris to resume my studies, Carl asked my father for permission to drive me back to Paris. And when we arrived, all tanned, in the courtyard of the Cœur-Volant, we had decided to get engaged! It was September 10: a few weeks later, Carl officially asked the Count of Paris for my hand. I was on a small cloud. I already admired in him the great lord, generous and solid. I also realised that he had the stature to support and direct a woman as volcanic and extravagant as me. With the benefit of time, I measure the rest that the strength of our union lies largely in the complementarity of our characters. Carl, who received a strict and rigid education, has always loved my originality, my fantasy. He always told me: 'You are like the bubbles of champagne, you make my life sparkle.' But, with him, life is really tasty like champagne!"

The marriage of Duke Carl of Württemberg and Princess Diane d'Orléans.

On 18 July 1960, Duke Carl of Württemberg and Princess Diane d'Orléans, daughter of the Count and Countess of Paris, were civilly married by the Mayor of Altshausen. Three days later, on 21 July, the couple celebrated their religious marriage in the chapel of Schloß Altshausen. Their union was presided over by Monsigneur Sedelmeier and Father Odo (the paternal uncle of the groom; Father Odo [1896-1964] was born Duke Carl of Württemberg and became a Roman Catholic priest in 1925).

Carl and Diane with their five eldest children.
Carl with his four sons: Philipp, Friedrich, Eberhard, and Michael.
Carl dancing with his daughter Mathilde at her wedding gala.
Carl escorts his youngest child Fleur on her wedding day.

The Duke and Duchess of Württemberg had six children: Duke Friedrich (1961-2018; married Princess Marie zu Wied), Duchess Mathilde (b.1962; married Fürst Erich von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg), Duke Eberhard (b.1963; married Desiree Copf), Duke Philipp (b.1964; married Duchess Marie Caroline in Bavaria), Duke Michael (b.1965; married Julia Storz), and Duchess Fleur (b.1977; married Count Moritz Louis von Goëß). 

The Royal Family of Württemberg gather in 1973 to celebrate the 80th birthday of Duke Philipp.
Photo (c) William Mead Lalor Collection.
Princess Elisabeth of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duke Carl of Württemberg, and Princess Marie-Thérèse d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier in 2000.
Photo (c) Seeger-Press.
Duke Carl succeeded as the Head of the Royal House of Württemberg upon the death of his father Duke Philipp on 15 April 1975. The duke was the head of his house for forty-seven years. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and uncle. Particularly noteworthy was Carl's support of his sister Princess Marie-Thérèse, Duchess of Montpensier, and her children. 

Carl and Diane in the 1970s.
In 2020, Duke Carl and Duchess Diane celebrated their Diamond Anniversary; they had been married for sixty years. The now widowed Duchess Diane of Württemberg revealed the source of her attraction to her husband in Diane de France, La princesse rebelle by Stéphane Bern. Diane told Monsieur Bern: "I am often asked if, thinking of Carl, I dreamed of Prince Charming. Certainly, I had promised myself to marry an original, an open mind who could understand me and accept me as I am; I could also have married an artist, provided he had stature and talent, but in truth, I would have united my destiny with Carl even if he had not been a prince. Birth does not matter, what counts is nobility of heart. And with Carl there is certainly no lack of that. Let's just say his family background and upbringing made it easier, because our families were thrilled." The duke and duchess were married for sixty-one years.

Duke Carl of Württemberg was a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Albert the Bear, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Hubert, Knight Grand Collar of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, and Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Among other institutions, the duke was a keen supporter of the German Red Cross, the Friends of Cancer Children, the Free School Foundation, the Art Foundation, and the Preventive Youth Welfare Foundation. In 2020, Carl withdrew from the management of his dynasty's business affairs. He made the announcement at a New Year's reception held at Schloß Altshausen and stated that his youngest son Duke Michael would take over the administration of the family's financial interests. "My health is no longer in a stable enough condition for me to devote myself to all the entrepreneurial aspects of the Hofkammer." For two years, Duke Michael of Württemberg has acted the head of the Hofkammer of the Royal House of Württemberg, which is based in Friedrichshafen, and manages the properties of the royal family: its forestry and wine-producing businesses, other agricultural holdings, and its financial assets.

Duke Friedrich of Württemberg and Princess Marie of Wied.
Duke Friedrich and Duchess Marie with their three children.

Duke Friedrich and Duchess Marie with their children.

In 2018, Carl's eldest son and heir Friedrich was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident. Therefore, Duke Carl is succeeded as Head of the Royal House of Württemberg by his grandson Duke Wilhelm (b.1994), the only son of Duke Friedrich and Duchess Marie. 

Duke Carl and Duchess Diane dancing at a local festival.

We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Duke Carl of Württemberg. 

May Carl Rest in Peace.