Monday, January 30, 2023

Dr. Nelly Auersperg (1928-2023), Cancer Researcher and Grandniece of "The Woman in Gold"


At the age of ninety-four, Dr. Nelly Auersperg passed away on 15 January.

Nelly's father Viktor.

Born on 13 December 1928 at Vienna, Baroness Nelly Gutmann was the only daughter of Baron Viktor Gutmann von Gelse und Belišće (1891-1946) and Luise Bloch-Bauer (1907-1998), who wed in 1927. Nelly was later joined by a younger brother, Baron Francis Gutmann (1934-2014). Their father Viktor was an industrialist. 

Nelly's great-aunt Adele, circa 1920.

Nelly's paternal grandparents were Baron Alfred Gutmann von Gelse und Belišće (1857-1919) and Ottilie Pollak von Rudin (1864-1921). Her maternal grandparents were Gustav Bloch (1862–1938) and Marie Therese Bauer (1874–1961). Nelly's great-aunt was Adele Bloch-Bauer, who was painted by Gustav Klimt and whose story was told in the 2015 film The Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren, who portrayed Nelly's cousin Maria Altmann.

On 30 May 1955 at Vancouver, Baroness Nelly von Gutmann married Prince Johannes "John" von Auersperg (1930-2017), a son of Prince Eduard von Auersperg (1893-1948) and Countess Sofie von Clam und Gallas (1900-1980). The couple were married for sixty-two years. John and Nelly had two children: Princess Maria Elisabeth (b.1956; married David Harris) and Prince Eduard "Edward" Viktor (b.1958; married Nancy Andrews). 

Here is the obituary of Dr. Nelly Auersperg from the Vancouver Sun:

December 13, 1928 (Vienna) - January 15, 2023

Last Sunday, after a lengthy illness, our much beloved Nelly Auersperg slipped peacefully from this life. She and her family were grateful for the opportunity to enjoy their final time together.

Nelly was predeceased by her father Viktor (Gutmann), her mother Luise (nee Bloch Bauer), her brother Francis, and her husband John. She leaves behind and will be remembered by her daughter Maria (David), son Edward (Nancy), and her six grandchildren Anthony, James, Elizabeth, John, Steven and Natalie, and many others whom she touched during her incredible life. She was hugely grateful for the opportunity to hold two great-grandchildren, Ada and Henrik, and happy in the knowledge of more to come.

Nelly enjoyed a privileged childhood, but also experienced the horrors of war, revolution and loss. After eventually making her way to Vancouver, she obtained her MD degree (U of Washington) and PhD (UBC). She spent six decades in cervical and ovarian cancer research; a pioneer in her field, publishing over 200 research papers, and mentoring over 60 students, post-doctoral fellows and lab technicians, all of whom she lovingly and proudly referred to as her children. She was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from SFU, UBC Lifetime Achievement Award, AMS of UBC Great Trekker Award, and had an OVCARE symposium and an award in Women's Health Research named in her honour. She was a trustee of the BC Foundation for Non-animal Research.

In 2016, she travelled to Croatia, and successfully honoured her late father's final request to have his unjust death sentence imposed in 1945 overturned.

Nelly continuously displayed her gratitude for the life she was able to live in Canada. She set up three charitable foundations, providing respite for families affected by autism, housing for people suffering from homelessness and mental illness in Vancouver, and cervical cancer care in Uganda. In her nineties, she still found energy to contribute to and help translate into English a Croatian economics textbook about her childhood hometown of Belisce, and also helped spearhead the campaign to acquire a Shakespeare first folio for the UBC Special Collections library.

She did not live for work alone, enjoying the outdoors, skiing, sailing, gardening and reading. She also found time for family and was always there when needed, caring for her children and introducing her grandchildren to culture and the arts, Disneyland and the opportunity to travel. She and they especially treasured visits to the town she lived in Croatia, where she showed each of them something of their roots and the place where so much happened during and after the war to shape her life and their heritage.

She passed away at age 94, remaining inquisitive, feisty and alive until her final hours. She even relished watching the Canucks finally win a game just hours before she left us.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Mercy Tenerio and Dr. Geoffrey Edwards for so many years of kindness, dedication and patience, to staff and friends at Tapestry, to Dr. Jason Park, and to the many staff at Vancouver General Hospital for their kind and tender care.

Funeral mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (2465 Crown Street, Vancouver) on Tuesday, January 24 at 12 p.m., with a reception to follow at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club from 3:30 p.m.
May Dr. Nelly Auersperg Rest In Peace.

The University of British Columbia - Dr. Nelly Auersperg Announcement

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Alice Javal Weiller, Victim of Holocaust & Great-Grandmother of Luxembourg Princess

Alice Javal Weiller.
The birth record of Alice Anna Laval, 1869.

NOTE: My sincere gratitude to my dear friend Jakob Regnér, who discovered much of the information about the life story and tragic fate of Alice Javal Weiller.

On 10 October 1869 at Paris, Alice Anna Javal was born as the eldest child of Louis Émile Javal (1839-1907) and Maria-Anna Ellissen (1847-1933). Alice was followed by four younger siblings, the twins Jeanne Félicie Javal (1871–1956; married Paul Louis Weiss) and Jean Félix Javal (1871-killed in action 1915), Louis Adolphe Javal (1873-murdered at Auschwitz 1944) and Mathilde Julie Javal (1876–murdered at Auschwitz 1944). 

Alice's father Émile Javal.

Alice's father Émile Javal was a French doctor, ophthalmologist and politician. Alice was the paternal granddaughter of Léopold Javal (1804-1872) and Augusta de Laemel (1817-1893). Léopold Javal was the founder of an influent family of Alsatian industrialists of Jewish origin. Alice's maternal grandparents were Édouard David Ellissen (1808-1857) and Theodora Ladenburg (1819-1911).

The wedding banns of Alice Javal and Lazare Weiller, 1889.
Alice Javal's husband Lazare Weiller.

On 12 August 1889 in Paris, Alice Anna Javal married Jean Lazare Weiller (1858-1928), the son of an Alsatian Jewish couple Léopold Weiller and Reine Ducasse. The witnesses at the wedding were the politician and writer Eugène Spuller, the poet Sully Prudhomme, and Adolphe Carnot, brother of the President of France. In 1882, Lazare had converted to Roman Catholicism; that same year he married his cousin Marie-Marguerite Jeanne Weiller, who died in 1883 while giving birth to the couple's only child, a son named Jean, who died at the age of two. Alice and Lazare Weiller had four children: the twins Léopold Jean-Pierre Weiller (1890-1970) and Jeanne Marie-Thérèse Weiller (1890-1992; married Marcel Brulé), Georges-André Weiller (1892-1973), and Paul-Louis Weiller (1893-1993; married Alíki Diplarákou). 

Wilbur Wright, Lazare Weiller, and Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, 1908.
Source: Gallica.
Alice Javal Weiller, 1908.
Source: Gallica.
In 1908, Alice's husband Lazare had established an 100,000 gold franc award for whoever might complete a one-hour closed circuit flight. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, traveled to France, where they ended up winning the prize. Like her husband, Alice Weiller had begun to take an interest in the nascent aviation sector, and she met the Wright brothers. On 9 October 1908 at Auvours, Alice Weiller made her first flight in the Wright Model A biplane, which was piloted by Wilbur Wright. 
Lazare Weiller, 1920.
On 12 August 1928 at Vaud, Switzerland, Lazare Weiller died followed a heart attack brought on the by complications from diabetes. In 1920, Weiller had been elected as Senator from the Bas-Rhin, and he was reelected in 1927. Weiller had campaigned for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See, and he was interested in furthering France's ties with Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Alice Javal Weiller is granted the Legion of Honour.

In 1932, Alice Weiller became vice-chairman of a committee of the Alsace-Lorraine Society promoting holiday camps for the working classes. Madame Weiller was appointed a chevalier of the Legion of Honour on 23 July 1932 by President Albert Lebrun.
Drancy Interment Camp.
When World War II broke out, members of the Javal family eventually became targets of Nazi officials after the German armed forces occupied France. Alice Javal Weiller, along with her brother Adolphe Javal and his family, were interred in the Drancy Interment Camp near Paris. On 2 September 1943, Alice Javal Weiller was was put Transport 59, destined for the Auschwitz Birkenau Extermination Camp in Poland. When Alice arrived at Auschwitz on 4 September, she was immediately murdered in the gas chambers. According to Yad Vashem: "On September 2, 1943, a train with 1,000 Jews on board, over a half of whom were French citzens, departed from the Bobigny station to Auschwitz at 10:00. Leutnant Wannenmacher was tasked with supervising the train. Based on the schedule of a transport out of Bobigny in November 1943, the train probably took the following route: Bobigny, Noisy-le-Sec, Epernay, Chalons-sur-Marne, Revigny, Bar-le-Duc, Noveant-sur Moselle (Neuburg), Metz, Saarbruecken, Frankfurt on Main, Dresden, Goerlitz, Liegnitz (Legnica), Neisse (Nysa), Cosel, Katowice (Kattowitz), Auschwitz. Librati further describes the journey: 'On the way four prisoners attempted to escape […] The escapees were promptly captured and killed immediately. As a punishment, the SS took all the other passengers out of the car, ordered them to strip, leave their luggage behind, and board the car again, completely naked with nothing but a blanket to cover them.' When the transport reached Auschwitz on September 4, 232 men and 106 women were selected for labour; the men were tattooed with numbers ranging from 145796–146027 and the women received the numbers 58300–58405. The other 662 deportees were murdered in the gas chambers as soon as they reached the camp."
Yad Vashem's Page of Testimony regarding Alice Javal Weiller.
Source: Yad Vashem.
Alice Javal Weiller was seventy-three years-old when she was killed in the Holocaust, solely she was Jewish. The next year, on 7 March 1944, Alice's sister Mathilde Javal, her sister-in-law Mathilde Helbronner Javal, and her niece Isabelle Javal (1919-1944), were moved from the Drancy Internment Camp via Transport 69 and taken to Auschwitz. According to Yad Vashen: "The transport departed from the Paris-Bobigny station on March 7, 1944, with a total of 1,501 deportees, according to the list prepared in the Drancy internment camp." When they were taken to the concentration camp, the three women were murdered. Two months later, on 20 May 1944, Alice's brother Adolphe Javal, who had also been held at Drancy, was put on Transport 74 to Auschwitz. According to Yad Vashem: "The 74th transport left Paris-Bobigny on May 20, 1944. The deportation list, compiled at Drancy, comprises 1,200 names." Transport 74 arrived at the concentration camp on 23 May, and Adolphe Javal was also murdered at Auschwitz. 
Alice Weiller remembered on the Shoah Memorial in Paris.


May the memory of Alice Anna Javal Weiller and her family be eternal.
Alice Javal Weiller is the great-grandmother of Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg.
Alice Anna Javal (Paris 10 October 1869 – Auschwitz 4 September 1943); married Paris 12 August 1889 Jean Lazare Weiller (Sélestat, France 20 July 1858 – Territet, Switzerland 12 August 1928)
Paul Louis Weiller (Paris  29 September 1893 – Geneva 6 December 1993); married 2ndly (divorced) 31 October 1932 Aliki Diplarakou (Athens 28 August 1912 – 30 October 2002)
Paul-Annick Weiller (Paris 28 July 1933 – Geneva 2 November 1998); married Rome 26 June 1965 Donna Olimpia Emmanuela Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi (b.Lausanne 27 December 1943)
Sibilla Sandra Weiller y Torlonia (b.Neuilly-sur-Seine 12 June 1968); married September 1994 Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg (b.Betzdorf, Luxembourg 1 May 1963)

Friday, January 20, 2023

Fürst Ernst von Hohenberg (1944-2023), Grandson of Archduke Franz Ferdinand


Fürst Ernst Georg von Hohenberg passed away on 12 January 2023. He was seventy-eight years-old. Ernst was the last surviving grandson of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg. Now, the only surviving grandchild of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Duchess Sophie is Fürst Ernst's first cousin, Baroness Sophie von Gudenus (b.1929; née Countess von Nostitz-Rieneck)

Fürst Ernst and Fürstin Marie-Thérèse.

Born on 1 March 1944 at Vienna, Fürst Ernst Georg Elemer Albert Josef Antonius Peregrinus Rupertus Maria von Hohenberg was the second son and child of Fürst Ernst von Hohenberg (1904-1954) and Fürstin Marie-Thérèse (1910-1985; née Wood). Ernst joined an older brother, Fürst Franz Ferdinand (1937-1978; married Heide Zechling). 

Franz Ferdinand and Sophie with their three children: Sophie, Maximilian, and Ernst.

The paternal grandparents of Ernst were Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria (1863-1914) and Duchess Sophie von Hohenberg (1868-1914; née Countess Chotek von Chotkow und Wognin). As is well known, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, then heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Sophie on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo was the catalyst that led to World War I. The maternal grandparents of Ernst were Captain George Jervis Wood (1887-1958) and Baroness Rosa Lónyay de Nagy-Lónya et Vásáros-Namény (1888-1971).

On 31 August 1973 at Radmer, Fürst Ernst von Hohenberg married Patricia Annette Caesar (b.1950), the daughter of Arthur M. Caesar and Selma Anne Maguire. Ernst and Patricia celebrated their religious marriage on 2 September 1973. The next year, the couple welcome the birth of their only child, Fürstin Eva Anne Marie von Hohenberg, on 1 December 1974 at Graz. Fürst Ernst and Fürstin Patricia divorced in 1999. Their daughter Furstin Eva married Alessandro Geromella in 2005; the pair divorced in 2008. Eva is now happily engaged to Peter Eduard Meier. In 2007, Fürst Ernst remarried to Margareta Anna Ndisi (b.1959). 

Since 1976 until his passing, Fürst Ernst resided in the hunting castle at Radmer in Styria, Austria.

On 28 January 2023, a Requiem Mass for Fürst Ernst von Hohenberg will be held at the Pfarrkirche Artstetten. His burial will be in the vault of Schloss Artstetten on 28 January 2023.

May He Rest In Peace.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The 90th Birthday of Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria


Tsar Simeon and Princess Marie Louise.
Photo (c) Paraskeva Georgieva.

Last Friday, on 13 January, Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria celebrated her ninetieth birthday in the capital of her homeland, Sofia. She arrived for the event together with her sons Prince Karl-Boris and Prince Hermann zu Leiningen, her daughter Princess Alexandra von Kohary with her husband Jorge Champalimaud Raposo de Magalhães and their children, as well as her son Pawel Chrobok, Prince von Kohary. On the occasion of Princess Marie Louise’s birthday, a thanksgiving prayer service was held in the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral., which she personally attended, accompanied by King Simeon II. In addition to her children, the Royal Family included Princess Kalina, her husband Kitin-Muñoz and Prince Simeon-Hasan. Unfortunately, Queen Margarita was unable to return from Madrid, where she is recovering from hip joint surgery.

Princess Marie Louise.
Photo (c) Paraskeva Georgieva.

During the duration of the service, Plovdiv Metropolitan Nikolai addressed the following remarks to the princess and those present in the church:

Your Royal Highness,

On the day of your birth, 21 cannon salutes were fired over the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, and a thousand people gathered to express the joy of the entire nation that God has blessed the Royal Family, and thus our country, with a child. Two days later, you received Holy Baptism and were accepted into the fold of the Holy Orthodox Church. The blessed Metropolitan Stefan and later Bulgarian Exarch baptized you, and your Godfather is the chair of the National Assembly Alexander Malinov. Let me say one more time, in order to understand the significance of the state act – the head of the church baptized you and you were accepted from the holy font by the entire Bulgarian people in the person of the highest representative of the legislative body. From the moment of your birth and your baptism, you have been in the embrace of the Bulgarian Church and the Bulgarian people, and I assure you that this is still the case to this day.

I will not dwell on the difficulties you have gone through in your life. The fact that you lost your father so young, together with your brother, His Majesty Simeon II, is sad and should not happen to any child. The fact that soon after you and your family were expelled from your homeland is a consequence of the historical vicissitudes to which our entire people fell victim. We regret and suffer with you, but unfortunately, history is what it is. We cannot change it, but we must remember it.

I, for example, remember how you were welcomed in Sofia in 1991, when you, as the first member of the Royal Family, set foot on your Motherland again. In Plovdiv, they still have an unforgettable memory of your visit with your blessed mother, Her Majesty Queen Mother Giovanna. These thousands of rallies, these ovations and tears in the eyes especially of the older Bulgarians, your peers, may have redeemed even a little of the bitterness you suffered. Surely the people’s love for you and your family, which was shown then and was shown many times later, convinced you that Bulgaria considers you its daughter, flesh of the flesh and blood of the blood of the people.

You certainly have many merits and achievements in your life, first of all your children and family. From the point of view of the Bulgarian statehood, a huge merit of yours is that during all these years, in exile and in our country, you have steadfastly stood by your brother, His Majesty the King of the Bulgarians and modestly, quietly, sometimes imperceptibly to the general public, but you firmly and steadfastly support it. We know very well what His Majesty did for the Bulgarian state and for the Bulgarian people, about the extent to which his personal authority and efforts made it possible for Bulgaria to once again be an integral part of the family of European nations. We will never forget what His Majesty did for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church by helping to overcome the unfortunate schism. Every person, and especially the statesman, when he has to make difficult and responsible decisions, needs to ask his close people, his family and his brothers or sisters, from whom he can seek support and advice. His Majesty has mentioned more than once how close you are to his heart. We are sure that just as in decisive moments he relied on the advice of his wife, Her Majesty Queen Margarita and his family, so he also turned to you for advice. Moreover, you have always given him good advice and sincere support as a loving sister. I am sure he has thanked you for your devotion not once. We also thank you, because your love and your devotion to your royal brother is an expression of your love for the Bulgarians and for Bulgaria, of which your family, in two historical periods, was the personification, and for the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, because of the Divine character of royal power, for which will always be God’s mercy and blessing.

In conclusion, I want to share a small but very important detail of your personal history, which, when I learned it, moved me greatly. Your aunt Princess Eudoxia, sister of O’Bose, the late King Boris III, bequeathed you her personal prayer book, on the first page of which was written “To Marie-Louise, who speaks to God in Bulgarian.” You lived in a foreign language environment. You spoke to God in Bulgarian! This is not just beautiful, in these gestures lies the true dignity of people of royal blood. Those who, even in exile, far from the Motherland, if they feel the need to turn to God, turn to him only and only in their native language. Because God wanted their personal destiny to be woven into the destiny of their Motherland, which is actually the Divine meaning of history.

My request to you is – as, of course, I wish you many more years of health and life – that you also give your children and nephews, not as a bequest, but from now on, a Bulgarian prayer book and write on it the words of Your aunt: “… talk to God in Bulgarian”. Invite them to pray together every day with one humble prayer for the Bulgarian people and for Bulgaria, as we are sure that you say it. For that Bulgaria, which has loved you since the day you were born and which is in such great need of this prayer today.

Your Royal Highness!

It was God’s will that you welcome and celebrate your blessed 90th anniversary in the Motherland! Allow me, on behalf of His Holiness the Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte and my Most Eminent fellow synodal metropolitans, the most consecrated bishops and clergy, to wish you many more years blessed with health, strength and spiritual joys!

May God help you, may God protect you, Your Royal Highness, and grant you, your children and loved ones many and happy years.

King Boris with his two children, Princess Maria Luisa and Crown Prince Simeon.
Photo (c) Bulgarian Royal House.

Born on 13 January 1933 at Sofia, Princess Maria Luisa of Bulgaria was the first child of King Boris III of Bulgaria (1894-1943) and his wife Queen Ioanna (1907-2000; née Princess Giovanna of Savoy), who had married in 1930. The princess was joined by a brother, Crown Prince (and later King) Simeon, in 1937.

Prince Karl zu Leiningen and Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria, 1957.

Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria married Prince Karl Vladimir Ernst Heinrich zu Leiningen in a civil ceremony on 14 February 1957 in Amorbach; this was followed by a religious ceremony on 20 February 1957 at the Russian Orthodox Church in Nice. Prince Karl zu Leiningen (1928-1990) was the son of Fürst Karl zu Leiningen and Grand Duchess Maria Kirillovna of Russia, the daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Victoria Feodorovna. Karl and Marie Louise had two sons: Prince Boris (b.1960) and Prince Herman (b.1963). The couple divorced on 4 December 1968.

Princess Marie Louise of Bulgaria and Bronislaw Chrobok, 1969.

On 16 November 1969 at Toronto, Canada, Princess Maria Luisa married Bronislaw Chrobok (b.1933). The son of a Polish officer, at the outset of the Second World War, his family settled in London, where Bronislaw graduated from college. The marriage ceremony was conducted by the prominent professor of Theology, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann. The couple’s best man at the marriage was Stefan Grouef, the son of the Royal Chancellory Office head Pavel Grouev. Marie Louise and Bronislaw had two children, Alexandra (b.1970) and Pawel-Alistair (b.1972).

Our belated best wishes to the Princess on her birthday!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Princess Rohays Galitzine (1952-2023), Great-Granddaughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia

The death notice of Rohays Galitzine.
From The Times of 17 January.


Aged seventy, Princess Rohays Galitzine died on 7 January 2023. Rohays is survived by her husband Prince Alexander Galitzine and their two daughters, Princess Sasha and Princess Nadezhda. 

The wedding of Sir David Butter and Myra Wernher.

Born on 9 April 1952 at London, Rohays Georgina Butter was the third daughter and child of Major David Henry Butter (1920-2010) and Myra Alice Wernher (1925-2022), who wed in 1946. Rohays joined two older sisters, Sandra Butter (b.1948; married William Morrison) and Marilyn Butter (b.1950; married James Ramsay, 17th Earl of Dalhousie). She was followed by a younger sister and brother, Georgina Butter (b.1956; married Count Peter Pejačević de Veröcze), and Charles Butter (b.1960; married Agnieszka Szeluk). 

Rohays's great-grandparents: Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich and Countess Sophie de Torby. 

Rohays Butter's paternal grandparents were Colonel Charles Adrian James Butter (1876-1949) and Agnes Marguerite "Madge" Clark (1885-1972). Her maternal grandparents were Sir Harold Wernher, Baronet (1893-1973) and Countess Anastasia "Zia" de Torby (1892-1977), the daughter of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia (1861-1929) and Countess Sophie Nikolaievna of Merenberg (1868-1927).

On 18 March 1988, the engagement between Rohays Butter and Prince Alexander Galitzine was announced in The Daily Telegraph. On 7 May 1988, Rohays Georgina Butter married Prince Alexander Peter Galitzine at Dunkeld Cathedral. The Reverend T. Dick officiated. Rohays was walked down the aisle by her father. Her attendants were the Honourable Alice Ramsay, Alexandra Munemann, Molly Seymour, Georgia Jacob, Lady Edwina Grosvenor, Charles Morrison, Edward Phillips, Victor Burnett, Aidan Crawley, and Lord Eskdaill. Count Paul Raben was Prince Alexander's best man. The wedding reception was held at the home of the bride, and the couple honeymooned abroad. Prince Alexander and Princess Rohays had two daughters: Princess Sasha Alice Natalia Galitzine (b.1989) and Princess Nadezhda "Nadia" Georgina Galitzine (b.1990). 

Princess Anne Marie with her daughter Princess Caroline and her son Prince Alexander, ~1947.
Photo (c) National Portrait Gallery, London / Francis Goodman.

Born on 6 September 1945 at Marlow, Bucks, Prince Alexander Peter Galitzine was the first son and second child of Prince George Galitzine (1916-1992) and Baroness Anne Marie von Slatin (1916-2007), who wed in 1943 and divorced in 1954. Alexander joined an older sister, Princess Caroline Galitzine (b.1944; married [and divorced] Jonathan Hazell). Caroline and Alexander were followed by a younger brother, Prince George Galitzine (b.1946; married Emma de Bendern). After his father's remarriage in 1963 to Jean Dawnay, the three older Galitzine siblings were joined by a younger sister, Princess Catherine Galitzine (b.1964; married Nicholas Laing). Alexander's mother Anne-Marie married Arthur Ponsonby in 1956; the couple divorced in 1963 and Arthur went on to become the 11th Earl of Bessborough. 

Prince Alexander's great-grandparents: Duke Georg Alexander of Mecklenburg-Strelitzand Natalia Vanljarskaya, Countess von Carlow, with their four children. Alexander's grandmother Catherine is standing next to her father.

Prince Alexander Galitzine's paternal grandparents were Prince Vladimir Galitzine (1884-1954) and Countess Catherine von Carlow (1891-1940), the daughter of Duke Georg Alexander of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1859-1909) and Natalia Vanljarskaya (1858-1921). His maternal grandparents were Major-General Baron Rudolf Carl von Slatin (1857-1932) and Baroness Alice von Ramberg (1873-1921). 

Emperor Paul.

Through their mutual descent from Emperor Paul I of Russia, Rohays Butter and Alexander Galitzine were fifth cousins. 

May Rohays Rest In Peace.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

The Eulogy of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece for His Father The King


Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

During today's funeral service for King Constantine II of the Hellenes, his eldest son and heir Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece delivered a very moving eulogy to his father. The crown prince spoke first in Greek and then in English for the international guests in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens. The following is a transcript of his English-language remarks:

Dear Papa, Constantine, Your Majesty, Grandfather, Olympic Champion,

For your dear Queen, our Mother, for us the children, your grandchildren, and for all those come who together on this day to say farewell to you for the last time, and for all those who honor your memory, and for all those [for whom] it is not possible to be here today. 

My father, this is not the end. You shall always live in our minds and hearts, as it happens in every Greek family when they lose the dearest and most precious figure in their life. 

At a very young age, you lost your father, King Pavlos, my grandfather; however, you always remained loyal to the legacy that he conveyed to you. When at the age of eighteen, you became Crown Prince of Greece and received your commission as an officer in glorified Greek armed forces. His advice to you, and this was very dear to you, and I quote: 'Devote your life to the happiness of the Motherland for it is the most noble, remarkable mission. Always remember that it is better for the king to suffer and not for the people or the country. You are the guardian and protector of your Church.' This is the legacy my grandfather left to you. That [legacy] has now passed to myself, my brothers, your grandchildren, and we will protect it and honour it for the rest of our lives. 

As an Olympian, you honoured your country by winning the gold medal for the 1960 Olympic Games, you brought honour to the blue and white flag of Greece and to our homeland. Your victory was a feat of tactical and physical endurance on the sea that you navigated and your close dedicated crew towards an ultimate victory.

It was a truly challenging era when you ascended the throne, dear Father. Hard conflicts, opposite passions, and the results that no one wished for. From the very first moment, you tried to overthrow the coup, your efforts did not come to a successful result. Yet you did not wish that your presence in Greece would provoke a bloodshed. Always loyal to the legacy your father had given to you and respectfully accepted this decision of the Greek people. 

Your love for youth, education, and international sport has been constant. You formed the Hellenic College of London, the international school organisation of Round Square, as well as active participation in the International Olympic Committee and the World Sailing Federation. Your relationship with the International Olympic Committee led to our 2004 Olympics held here in Greece which was one of your greatest feats.

Family was a core value to you and our mother. It has always been your strong belief that it is the foundation of society. Together, you created a large family, inseparably united by love for each other and a sense of duty for the country. By the grace of God, you drew your last breath in our country, which you always loved above all else throughout your life. 

On this day, we, your children, your grandchildren, we are the future of your family here in our land and around the world, are ready, as you have always been, to offer to Greece whatever the country asks of us.

My strength is in the love of the people. This has always been the motto and guiding principle of our family. For us, and for all Greeks, the strength of the country lies in the love of the Greek people for their homeland. We, as you dear Papa, always love Hellas and its people.

Safe journey!

The Greek Royal Family as well as their family and friends then traveled to Tatoi, where the King was laid to rest, with a view of the sea, as he had wished. 

May God comfort the members of the Royal Family of Greece in their grief.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Princess Seble Desta (1931-2023), the Granddaughter of the Last Ethiopian Emperor


Princess Seble.

Princess Seble (Sybil) Desta died on 3 January 2023 in Virginia. She was ninety-one years-old.

Princess Tenagnework.
Princess Tenagnework and Princess Seble.

The princess was born in Addis Ababa on 1 September 1931 as the fourth child and third daughter of Princess Tenagnework Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (1912-2003) and her first husband Ras Desta Damtew (~1892-1937). 

Princess Aida Desta, Lij Amaha Desta, Princess Ruth Desta, Rear Admiral Iskinder Desta, Prince Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie and Princess Seble Desta.

Princess Seble joined three older siblings: Princess Aida Desta (1927-2013), Amha Desta (1928-1944), and Princess Hirut "Ruth" Desta (1930-2014). Princess Seble was followed by two younger siblings: Princess Sofia "Sophia" Desta (1934-2021) and Prince Iskander Desta (1934-1974). During the Italian occupation of Ethiopia from 1936 to 1941, Princess Seble lived in exile in the United Kingdom with the rest of the Imperial family. Princess Seble completed her education in Britain, initially at Clarendon School, Abergale, and attended Lady Margaret Hall College of Oxford University.

Empress Menen and Emperor Haile Selassie.

Princess Seble's maternal grandparents were Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (1892-1975) and Empress Menen Asfaw (1882-1962). 

Princess Seble Desta and Kassa Wolde-Miriam on their wedding day.

On 31 January 1959 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, Princess Seble Desta married Kassa Wolde Mariam (1932-1979), an academic and the descendant of an Ethiopian noble family. Seble and her husband were wed in a joint ceremony with Seble's sister Sofia, who married Captain Dereje Haile Mariam. Kassa and Selbe had five children, one son and four daughters: Jote Kassa (b.1960), Yashimmabet "Yeshi" Kassa (b.1962), Debritu Laly Kassa (b.1963), Kokeb Kassa (b.1967), Amha Kassa (b.1973).

The Ethiopian Royals meet President Eisenhower.
Left to right: President Dwight Eisenhower, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, Princess Seble Desta, Prince Sahle, and the Emperor, 1954.
Marlon Brando, Princess Selbe, and the Emperor during a visit to the United States.
Princess Seble Desta greets King Hussein of Jordan while her imperial grandfather looks on.
Emperor Haile Selassie and Princess Seble.
Princess Seble accompanied her grandfather Emperor Haile Selassie on many state visits, including to the United States, Canada, Greece, Mexico, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. During these trips, the princess met with many heads of state, royalty, members of the public and celebrities. Like her mother Princess Tenagnework and grandmother Empress Menen, Princess Seble was the President of the Ethiopian Women's Welfare Association which, during her tenure, built a state of the art high-rise building in Addis Ababa to provide safe housing for young women and to generate income for the Association. In August 1966, Princess Seble was among the members of the Imperial Family to welcome General de Gaulle and his wife during their visit to Ethiopia; she rode in a carriage alongside Madame de Gaulle when the de Gaulles arrived in Addis Ababa. In February 1973, Princess Seble was part of the delegation that met Princess Anne at the beginning of her visit to Ethiopia. 

The Emperor of Ethiopia is escorted from the Jubilee Palace to a prison.

In September 1974, a military junta overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie and imprisoned the Imperial Family, including Princess Tenagnework and her three daughters. Princess Seble had recently given birth to her son and was allowed to remain temporarily free. Until her imprisonment, she unsuccessfully sought help for the Emperor and the imprisoned family members from various foreign embassies. Princess Seble spent fourteen years in jail, initially under house arrest in the former palace of her uncle the late Duke of Harrar, and then in fifteen-foot cell in Alem Bekagn (The End of the World) prison along with the other women of the Imperial family. The horrors that Princess Seble and her family experienced during their imprisonment were documented in a 1977 hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa of the Committee on International Relations in the US House of Representatives:
Several female relatives of former Emperior Haile Selassie and his government ministers were arrested in 1974, at first under house arrest. In September 1975, they were suddenly taken away to Akaki prison in Addis Ababa, where they have been since without trial or charge. On 1 March 1976, Dr. Meyer-Lie visited Akaki prison where the women prisoners were held. This was with the written permission of the Derg and after discussions with the Director of The Ethiopian Prisons Authority and his four branch heads, and the Minister of the Interior. His visit was sponsored by a Swedish humanitarian organization concerned about political prisoners in Ethiopia.

The women detainees were held in a former clinic, a white stone house with cement floor and bars on the windows, the total area being 5 X 10 metres. The building had two rooms, the larger 5 X 6 metres containing 30 to 35women, the other room, about 5 X 4 metres, with about 15 members of the former royal family. Neither room had beds, only mattresses spread out on the floor, and no other furniture or heating arrangements. Each room had a primitive toilet and shower. Dr. Meyer-Lie was only permitted to ask a few questions in the presence of a prison official, and could not carry out any medical examinations. One women told him that before he came people had cleaned and disinfected the room, which had taken away the terrible stench. She said the worst problem was that they were forbidden to communicate with their relatives outside the prison. (Criminal prisoners, it should be noted, are allowed a weekly visit from their relatives.) The women received food each day from their relatives outside, who were paid 120 Ethiopian dollars per month (US $60) supposedly in compensation for the confiscation of their property to provide them with food, brought once a day by a relative who was not allowed to see the prisoner. A few books, magazines, and materials for needlework and knitting were also permitted. Visits from priests were not allowed.

When Dr. Meyer-Lie visited visited Ethiopia again in November 1976, he was not permitted to visit the prisoners. By then prison conditions had deteriorated and during 1976 no visits from relatives were allowed, though after Dr. Meyer-Lie's first visit, the women detainees were allowed to write a short note on a tiny slip of paper to their relatives once a week . From other sources Dr. Meyer-Lie learned that the rooms in which they were held were infested with rats, lice and cockroaches, and the overcrowding in the larger room had increased with a total of almost 100 women held there. Under those conditions sanitation and hygiene also sharply deteriorated, and their personal morale too. More girls had been detained and a shed of wood with a zinc roof had been constructed to hold 25 girls aged between 12 and 19, arrested when their menfolk were not found by the soldiers searching for them. None of the women has had a full medical examination during detention, though there is a prison doctor and medical orderly. It is reported that there are delays in obtaining a doctor's visit and in getting medication prescribed. The women request drugs from their relatives outside the prison, such as tranquilizers, painkillers and sleeping tablets, which they administer without medical supervision. Their general condition of health and morale deteriorated seriously in 1976, and many suffer from nervous tension, high blood pressure and other complaints from before the time when they were detained. Yeshashe-Worg Yilma, who is 83 and a diabetic, was taken to the hospital in 1976 reportedly suffering from nervous exhaustion, and Ijegayehu Asfe-Wessen, 42 year-old grand-daughter of former Emperor Haile Selassie, died in the police hospital on 31 January 1977. She was reportedly suffering from extreme dehydration and was in a poor condition for intestinal section surgery. She died a few days later, and it appears that her poor conditions of detention contributed to her illness and subsequent death. Seble Desta, and Aida Desta were both very thin when they were seen by their children in January 1977, Yeshashe-Worq looked very feeble and had to use a stick to walk, and Tenagne Worq had developed a shaking in her hands and body. Sophia Desta and Mimi Asrate (arrested at the age of 17) both suffer severely from psychological troubles, exacerbated by their conditions of detention. In this state of physical deprivation and very low morale, it is feared that many of the older and weaker women will eventually succumb to fatal illness. It is generally thought that the Derg will not release them, that they could be executed at any time (indeed there have been several rumours that the Derg was considering executing them, e.g.,. in September 1975, February and March 1977) but that the Derg may prefer to let them die by neglect. They are in a very poor state to survive their difficult conditions of detention.
Princess Tenagnework, including her four daughters, and her sister-in-law Princess Sara, 1988.

On 21 May 1988, Princess Seble Desta was finally released from prison. A statement from the government-owned Ethiopia News Agency announced: "The State Council of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia today granted amnesty to seven members of the former royal family of the defunct feudal regime." In addition to Princess Seble, her mother Princess Tenagnework and her three sisters (Princess Aida, Princess Hirut, and Princess Sofia) were freed in addition to Seble's aunt Princess Sara, Duchess of Harar. The release of the royal princesses was in part aided by lobbying on the part of British schools that Princess Seble and her sisters had attended in their younger years. 

Princess Seble eventually relocated to the United States, where she was able to be near to her children. Yeshi Kassa, her daughter, was recently involved in the production of a documentary entitled "Grandpa Was An Emperor," which investigates what happened to her father Kassa after the 1974 coup.

Princess Seble.

The children of the princess released an addendum to a biographical communiqué that was published after her death:
The biography above tells you the facts of Princess Seble’s life. But it does not tell you who Mammy, as we knew her, or Emama Seble, as many knew her, was as a person.

Mammy was an exemplary and devoted granddaughter, daughter, and sister, remaining exceptionally close to her mother and sisters throughout her life and always putting the needs of others before her own.

When the murderous Derg regime imprisoned her husband and entire family but allowed her a few months of freedom with her newborn son, she spent that time, at tremendous risk to her own life, calling on embassies and human rights organizations, pleading for the release of her elderly grandfather and family.

Mammy was a mother to not only her biological children but to countless children whom she and Dejazmatch Kassa, or Kassilu as his children knew him, raised as their own. As Kassilu was posted to different parts of Ethiopa, they brought the entire large clan along with them, much to our collective delight.

While Princess Seble grew up in the formal atmosphere of the Imperial Palace and state visits, she had a very different side as a fun and loving mother, grandmother, and auntie who doted on children especially. The house that she and Kassilu built together is warmly remembered as a place where

children would gather to enjoy the trampoline, swimming lessons, and festive birthday parties. She and Kassilu would lead children’s camping trips where kids were actively encouraged to make themselves seen and heard. Often, she would advocate on behalf of younger family members with their parents and grandparents, gently arguing for strict rules to be tempered with leniency and high expectations to be balanced with freedom to learn and explore.

Over the years she kept up with a network of hundreds of relatives and friends, including Kassilu’s large family after his death, and had an extraordinary memory for the life stories, birthdays, and milestones of her loved ones. She could constantly be found on the phone, checking in on cousins, siblings, aunties, and uncles and all of those that she and Kassilu had turned into family, or at the kitchen table, writing letters and notes. Her home was always a gathering place, especially for holidays and life celebrations. Her thick address books—one for Ethiopia, one for the England, and one for America and the rest of the world—were a testament to her belief that no one should be left behind. She refused to let any member of her clan drift away, constantly reaching out and pulling them back into the family fold.

Her love of her country and all Ethiopians was endless. Although naturally very shy, she nurtured many connections and a strong network, which she used for extensive informal social work, helping others find jobs, advance their education, and connect to community, always helping those in need and promoting Ethiopia. From the cashier at her supermarket to her fellow volunteer librarians in Annandale to the bus driver in Nazret, she took time to get to know people, identifying their joys and troubles and getting involved.

She had a way of making anyone feel at ease. From the old to the young, from European royalty to farmers from the Ethiopian countryside, everyone responded to her kindness, respect for all regardless of station, and genuine interest in the lives of others. Even the hardened guards and fellow prisoners at Alem Bekagn spoke warmly of L’ilt Seble years later.

To her grandchildren, she was “Nana,” who took them swimming, taught them bike riding, and chauffeured them to their various ballet, gym and football games. She was an avid “tifozo” of football and spectator. But Nana also firmly reminded her grandkids about the importance of care for family, faith in God, and kindness. It is a testament to who Nana was that every one of her grandkids adored her and found her fascinating.

But Mammy’s unshakeable foundation, and how we will remember her most, was her deep Christian faith and profound trust in God. Her faith comforted her through unimaginable hardships, and Mammy credited God’s mercy for allowing her family and her to survive the darkest years in Alem Bekagn. During her 14 years in prison and the decades after, she faithfully thanked God for each day that she enjoyed with her loved ones. She found daily joy in God’s creation, and daily gratitude for every gift of sunshine, flowers and birds. Her life of quiet faith was a shining testament to the power of forgiveness and leaving all in God’s hands. We commend her eternal soul to her Creator, in faith that He will welcome home His faithful servant.
The coffin of the princess enters the cathedral.

The funeral and burial of Princess Seble Desta took place on Thursday, 12 January, at Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. Services were presided over by His Holiness Patriarch Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum and Echege of the See of St. Tekle Haimanot. Also attending were His Eminence Archbishop Abune Abraham, Administrator General of Patriarchate and Archbishop of Bahr Dar, several other Archbishops of the Orthodox Church and Church officials, as well as members of the Imperial family and their friends. The Patriarch spoke of the contributions of Princess Seble to Ethiopian society and praised her for her tireless work. Princess Seble’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Cathedral.

May the Princess Rest In Peace. 

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