Monday, July 9, 2018

+ HRH Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma (1926-2018)

Michel of Bourbon-Parma: Last of the Royal Swashbucklers

By Charles Stewart 8 July 2018

The death of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma (1926-2018) on 7 July severs the last link binding several of Europe's royal families in history and kinship. 

The late Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma.

He led a fascinating life, straddling Europe's major Catholic and Protestant royal dynasties. He belonged to the Danish branch of the House of Bourbon-Parma, but grew up mostly in Paris and retired there and to Palm Beach, Florida. His grandfather was Roberto I de Bourbon (1848-1907), the last ruling Duke of Parma who fathered 24 children in exile. His father was the Duke's 19th child, Prince René (1894-1962), who married Princess Margrethe of Denmark (1895-1992), whose mother Marie was an Orléans exile, and whose father was Christian IX's youngest son Prince Valdemar (1858-1939) – he whose lifelong liaison with his nephew, Prince George of Greece (1869-1957), was respected by their wives and families because of the pair's discreet but steadfast mutual devotion. 

Michel's sister, Anne (1923-2016) was a classmate of Philip of Greece at The Elms, an American school in Paris, and later married Philip's playmate/cousin, King Michael of Romania. Michel attended The Elms later too, and his mother is the "Meg Bourbon" mentioned in Battenberg correspondence who was one of the relatives/neighbors concerned when Philip's mother Alice began to lose her sanity in the late 1920s. 

The family of Prince René of Bourbon-Parma: René, Jacques, André,
Margrethe, Michel, and Anne.

Michel twice became a hero in the 1940s, secretly parachuting with US troops into Nazi-occupied France during WWII. In 1945 the communist Viet Minh in French Indochina interned him as a prisoner of war, after parachuting in. Captured, half-starved and marched from one prison camp to another, always trying to escape yet always re-captured, watching most of his compatriots die from the rigors of nearly a year in captivity, he was finally freed by Geneva Convention negotiations, about which he would write a book. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre, as well as the British Military Cross. 

From the left: André, Jacques, Prince George of Denmark, Michael, Prince Flemming
of Denmark, and Princess Anne.

Later he took up the modern profession of idle royalty (replacing Crusades to the Holy Land, expeditions to colonies, and military commands in Europe): sports car racing. 

Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma with his mother and Princess Isabelle of France.

He married, separated from and then reunited with two princesses: 1. Princess Yolande de Broglie-Revel (1928-2014), whom he finally divorced in 1999. They had five children. 2. HRH Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (born 1934), daughter of ex-King Umberto II of Italy, whom Michel finally married in 2003. Her second pair of twins, Prince Serge and Princess Helena, born before her 1967 divorce from their legal father, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (1924-2016), continue to bear the name and titles of their mother’s first husband.

Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and his first wife, Princess Yolanda de Broglie-Revel.

Michel's eldest son by his first marriage, Prince Erik (born 1953) took up residence in Denmark, where in 19980 he married (later divorcing) his second cousin Countess Lydia af Holstein-Ledreborg (born 1955), daughter of Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Luxembourg, herself the daughter of Michel's uncle, Felix of Bourbon-Parma, Prince Consort of Luxembourg. By Erik's son, Prince Henri of Bourbon-Parma (born 1991), Michel lived to see the birth of his great-granddaughter in October 2017, Victoria de Bourbon de Parme, whose mother is Henri's fiancée (and 2nd cousin), Archduchess Marie-Gabrielle of Austria (born 1994, daughter of Archduke Carl Christian of Austria and Princess Marie-Astrid of Luxembourg). 

HRH Princess Maria Pia of Savoy.

Michel's younger son by Yolande is Prince Charles-Emanuel (born 1961), a leader in the French Legitimist movement. Two of Michel's five daughters pre-deceased him, leaving non-dynastic children. Another is Amélie de Bourbon de Parme (born 1977 of Michel's affair with Laure LeBourgeois), who has two children by her 2009 marriage to Igor Bogdanoff (born 1949), one of the French twin TV stars famous for their scientific theories and bizarre lifestyles who were raised in a Gascon château by their Bohemian grandmother, Her Illustrious Highness Countess Bertha of Coloredo-Mansfeld (1890-1982, née Countess Kolowrat-Krakowsky). From her frustrated affair with the African American opera tenor, Roland Hayes (1887-1977), a daughter (Maya) was born. Bertha's husband, Count Hyeronimus, refused to recognize the child and the couple divorced quietly. Although Hayes offered to adopt the live child, Bertha declined that option. 

The late Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Michel was the son-in-law of King Umberto II of Italy, brother-in-law of King Michael of Romania, and first cousin of Archduke Otto (Head of the Imperial House of Habsburg), Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, Carlos-Hugo Duke of Parma, and Prince Axel of Denmark (husband of Anne, Viscountess Anson, née Bowes-Lyon, a first cousin of HM The Queen). Michel was also the last surviving of his parents' children. His eldest brother, Prince Jacques died in 1964 in an automobile accident; Queen Anne died of old age in 2016; and Prince André died in 2011. 

The late Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Princess Maria Pia and the late Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and
Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

The late Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Beatrice of Bourbon-Two Sicilies,
with Prince Michel of France, Count d'Evreux.

UK: Baptism of HRH Prince Louis of Cambridge

The Christening of Prince Louis: guests and godparents

The following guests will today attend the christening of Prince Louis at The Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace:
-    The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
-    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
-    Mr. and Mrs. Michael Middleton, Mr. and Mrs. James Matthews, and Mr. James Middleton
-    The godparents of Prince Louis and their spouses

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked the following people to be godparents to Prince Louis, all of whom are friends or family of Their Royal Highnesses: 

-    Mr. Nicholas van Cutsem
-    Mr. Guy Pelly
-    Mr. Harry Aubrey-Fletcher
-    The Lady Laura Meade
-    Mrs. Robert Carter
-    Miss Lucy Middleton

Prince Louis will wear the handmade replica of the Royal Christening Robe, made by Angela Kelly, Dressmaker to The Queen.

The Lily Font and water from the River Jordan will be used during the baptism. 

Following the service, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will give a private tea at Clarence House. Guests will be served slices of christening cake, which is a tier taken from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake. 

The Royal Christening Robe

The Royal Christening Robe, of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal.

The original gown was subsequently worn for all Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren, until the youngest of The Queen's eight grandchildren, James, Viscount Severn.

The Queen commissioned Angela Kelly to make a hand-made replica of the Royal Christening Robe in order to preserve the original. James, Viscount Severn, was the first member of the Royal Family to wear this replica gown at his christening at the private chapel at Windsor Castle on 19th April 2008. 

The Lily Font

The Lily Font is a silver baptismal font which was commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 after the birth of their first child, Victoria, Princess Royal. It was first used at The Princess Royal’s christening in 1841 and has been a feature of Royal christenings since then. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Cake

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake, designed by Fiona Cairns, was made from 17 individual fruit cakes and had eight tiers. The cake was decorated with cream and white icing using the Joseph Lambeth technique. There were up to 900 individually iced flowers and leaves of 17 different varieties decorated on the cake. A garland design around the middle of the cake matched the architectural garlands decorated around the top of the Picture Gallery in Buckingham Palace, the room in which the cake was displayed during the wedding.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Royal Wedding: Prince Dushan of Yugoslavia weds in NYC

Prince Dushan of Yugoslavia, only son of the late Prince Alexander and of his wife Barbara (née Liechtenstein) married civilly Ms. Valerie Demuzio. She works in marketing and advertising in NY.

Although currently residing in New York, Prince Dushan's career obligations bring him to Europe frequently. His mother, a longtime resident of Paris, relocated to Liechtenstein recently. Convalescing from a fracture, Princess Barbara was unable to be present at her son's civil wedding. Prince Dushan, however, was supported by his brother Prince Dimitri, a recognized jewelry designer based in NYC.

In 2015, Prince Dushan was transferred to NYC by the agency he worked at in Paris, He was tasked with expanding the business' presence in New York. It was while there that he met Valerie, as mentioned before, another marketing and advertising executive.

The couple, who have been together for three years, traveled to Europe last Christmas so Prince Dushan could introduce Valerie to his mother Princess Barbara, who now resides in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

Above and below: Prince and Princess Dushan. 

Prince Dimitri with his brother Dushan and sister-in-law Valerie

Princess Valerie of Yugoslavia.

Photos Courtesy of Prince Dushan.
©Terry Tsiolis

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Gotha: Civil Wedding of HH Princess Stephanie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Hr. Jan Stahl

Today, 5 July 2018, the eldest child of TH Prince Andreas and Princess Carin of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married civilly in the Throne room of Gotha's Schloß Friedenstein.

Princess Stephanie and Hr. Jan Stahl.

Born in Hamburg in January 1972, Stephanie was raised in Coburg, from where her father diligently worked to rebuild the family's once vast legacy, which had been decimated by heavy losses caused by the aftermath of the Second World War, as well as lackluster management. Prince Andreas led a monumental effort to rebuild, expand, and hand over to his eldest son a legacy that today closely mirrors that which his grandfather Duke Carl Eduard had once inherited.

Stephanie attended schools in Coburg, and then was enrolled at the State Professional School for Home Economics for several years. In 1992, she began a three-year apprenticeship to further her business administration training. Once this was completed, she went to work for the Coburg Family Foundation.

From the left: Prince Andreas, Hereditary Princess Kelly, Hereditary Prince Hubertus, Princess Carin, Princess Stephanie, Hr. Jan Stahl, and Prince Alexander. ©Eurohistory

Stephanie, who for many years worked alongside her father, now dedicates her time to causes of interest to her, among them the equine world. She is a fantastic rider and loves spending time with her horse. Stephanie acquired her first horse in 1983. She is also very fond of her canine companion. She has always had a keen interest in the well-being of her animals and uses a technique called "Bowtech," a gentle, non-intrusive hands-on therapy that stimulates the muscles in the body to aid in healing. She has been certified  in this therapeutic practice since 2013. More can be found at her website:

She met Jan Stahl at a gathering of friends in common several years ago.

Schloß Friedenstein.

Schloß Friedenstein was the seat of the Dukes of Sase-Gotha-Altenburg until their extinction in the mid-1820s. Upon the male line's disappearance, the remaining Ernestine Duchies reshuffled their territories. Coburg being the duchy last allied matrimonially to Gotha, Duke Ernst I received the bulk of Gotha as his two sons were the only legitimate grandchildren of the next-to-las Duke of Sase-Gotha-Altenburg. Ernst I had married Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (1800-1831), only daughter of Duke August (1772-1822) and his first wife Duchess Louise Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Duke August was known as a talented artist and art collector, while holding an aversion for hunting or riding. He is rumored to have been gay. A well-known visitor to the ducal court recalled that he was "one of the greatest originals of his time" ... "his appearance had an air of lady-like, and he also preferred dancing, wearing silk socks and feminine clothes." Among his friends, Duke August liked to be called "Emilie," and many of his literary writings have references to homosexuality. He also happened to be a close friend of Emperor Napoleon, who always referred to August as "mon cousin."

Duchess Louise Charlotte died as a consequence of giving birth to the couple's only child. This was a common occurrence in those unsanitary times. The following year, August remarried to Princess Karoline Amalie of Hesse-Kassel (1771-1848), but the marriage was most unhappy. Unsurprisingly, the ducal couple had no children. They became estranged, because "their mutual points of view about life are completely different."

Duke August died in 1822 run unclear circumstances. He was succeeded by his unmarried brother Duke Friedrich IV (1774-1825). The ensuing division of the Saxon duchies gave Gotha to Coburg, which ceded Saalfeld to Meiningen. Altenburg went to Hiuldburghausen. Gotha and Coburg were not unified, but were ruled in personal union by the same duke. Hence, three new duchies came out of the reshuffling: Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe-Altenburg, and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Sadly, Saxe-Altenburg became extinct in 1991 with the death Hereditary Prince Georg Moritz (1900-1991). Saxe-Meiningen is facing dynastic extinction as the current Head of House, Prince Konrad, is unmarried and he refuses to extend recognition of equality to his nephew Prince Constantin (son of Konrad's half-brother the late Prince Friedrich [whose parents were married morganatically] and of his widow Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a half-sister of Prince Andreas). Madness...

In a sad note for the Ernestine Wettins, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach will most likely also become extinct in the male since the the recent death of Prince Constantin, left his cousin Prince Michael without a male heir.

During her long widowhood, Duchess Karoline Amalie remained in Gotha, where she died in 1848.

The wedding calèche. ©Eurohistory

Let us return, hence, to happier times. Following are the particulars of today's events in Gotha:

1. 1200-1245 – Civil ceremony at Schloß Friedenstein, followed by a toast in the "antechamber of the Duchess."

2. 1245-1315 – A small parade in historical uniforms will pass review by the wedding couple.

3. 1315-1400 – The wedding couple will ride a carriage through the schloßpark and some Gotha streets. Planting of a commemorative tree.

4. 1400-1530 – Lunch to celebrate the wedding couple.

5. 1530-1630 – Press conference at the Ducal Museum, Gotha.

6. 1830-2200 – Dinner at the Pagenhaus.

A religious ceremony is scheduled to be celebrated in Coburg for a later date

Congratulations to Stephanie and Jan...much happiness!

Princess Stephanie and Hr. Jan Stahl.
©Marianne van Dam for Eurohistory

Monday, July 2, 2018


Prof. Roberto Gonzalez has posted an insightful and thoroughly well-written review of Eurohistory's latest contribution to the study of the Romanov Dynasty: Terry Boland and Arturo Beéche's DEATH OF A ROMANOV PRINCE.

Death of a Romanov Prince - Prince Oleg Konstantinovich’s Promising Life and Early Death “The coffin was lowered into the grave...... Soon there was a burial mound above. It was quickly covered with wreaths, flowers and crowned with a plain wooden cross. Prince Oleg’s promising life was finished.” Death of a Romanov Prince follows the brief life-journey of Prince Oleg Konstantinovich, one of the lesser-known members of the powerful and privileged Russian Imperial family. He was a talented young man of intellectual and artistic genius. Oleg was the gifted son of the talented Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, who wrote under the pseudonym of KR. The Grand Duke was a friend of Tchaikovsky, who set his numerous poems to music, and who established literary circles for his troops, translated Hamlet into Russian, and wrote The King of the Jews, an original play that he and his sons performed. The reader will follow Prince Oleg Konstantinovich, his family, and Imperial cousins, as his life takes him via the luxuries of the family’s four magnificent palaces of Pavlovsk, in Tsarskoye Selo, the Marble Palace in St Petersburg, the Konstantine Palace at Strelna; and the Ostashevo Estate near Moscow; as well as numerous holidays in the Crimea. The young prince enjoyed the most liberal program in literary, scientific, and artistic education. He was the first Romanov to be enrolled in a civilian school and graduated from the Imperial Lyceum in St Petersburg, where in 1913 he won the Pushkin Medal for his academic achievements. At the age of 21, Prince Oleg Konstantinovich was on the crest of a brilliant career and personal greatness when World War I began. Then tragedy struck ... Death of a Romanov Prince brings the reader into the battlefields of World War I’s Eastern Front. Bloody battles fought in northern Poland and Lithuania’s Masurian Lakes. It was while fighting there that Prince Oleg led his troops into heroic cavalry charges against the Germans.

The book can be purchased on AMAZON at:

Review by Prof. Gonzalez...

I became more familiar with personal character and domestic world of Prince Oleg Konstantinovich of Russia, especially in relation to his large immediate and extended families.

The beginning chapters increased my comprehension of the extent of the Konstantinovichi branch of Romanov wealth and lifestyle.

My appreciation and liking of the Konstantinovichi branch grew as it became apparent that they were not indiscrete contributors to the short-sighted, dynasty-destroying sniping of Nicholas II and Alexandra and the concomitant competition from within the mainline Alexandrovichi, the Vladimirovichi and some members of the Mikhailovichi and Nikhailovichi branches of the Romanov Imperial Family.

Numerous photographs throughout the book enhanced my learning.

Boland's explanation of those early weeks of the Russian Empire's entry into the Great War, especially the insufficient training of calvary regiments on flat fields which singularly failed to prepare horse and rider to navigate the terrain they actually encountered in battle on the Eastern Front, was the first time that civilian me understood this flawed planning.

The differences between German and Russian standards of battle field medical facilities and transports was clarified for me more than ever before in this work.

I was highly conscious of my stunned, then startled reaction by the nature of Prince Oleg's war wound.

Surely, I've read and own "Gilded Prism," "Memories of the Marble Palace," and the diary entries of Oleg's father K.R., but I had not grasped until reading this book the hideousness of Oleg's fatal injury.

Which is just as well, because I am inclined to immerse myself in reading again relevant parts of those other works. Just as I "follow-up" by reading for myself some of the references cited in every book I read.

But I was left wondering if better battle field medical facilities located nearer to the Eastern Front could have saved Prince Oleg's life.

As a retired Latino counseling psychologist (culturally imbued with the Sorrowful Mother at the Foot of The Cross, which I find similar to the devotion to the Mother of God Orthodox iconography), the worst human suffering I ever saw in my clinical practice were bereaved parents.

Bereaved parents' anguish is most often physically manifested in excruciatingly painful, violent abdominal diaphragm spasms that leads the sufferer to feel like they are being ripped in half.

So, both personally and professionally, I came away with much more compassion for Prince Oleg's father K.R. and, more than ever, for the Prince's mother "Mavra."

Given my own educational background and decades of field-based live-supervision of graduate level individual and family therapists, I found "Death of a Romanov Prince" to be a humanizing case study of one of the lesser known Romanovs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The New Yorker: What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus Runs an Empire?

A very interesting article comparing Mr. Trump and Kaiser Wilhelm II...

What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus Runs an Empire?

+Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1977-2018)

 HH Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

The email was ominous..."Dear Arturo, I have just received a telephone call from Germany asking me something concerning an accident a prince had in London. Do you know anything about this?"

The writer of this note was none other than HRH The Margrave of Meißen, Head of the Royal House of Saxony.

I was busy with meetings at the institution where I teach, and it was not until later last night that I was able to look into this worrisome inquiry. A few hours later, I discovered in the German news a report on the passing of HH Prince Georg-Gonstantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, last male heir to his family's ancient legacy. He suffered an accident on 9 June, near Apethorpe Palace, Northamptonshire, where he was participating in a riding contest. ( ) A report of the tragic accident mentioned that the Prince had died at the scene.

Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was created as a duchy in 1809 when the Ernestine duchies of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Eisenach where merged into a single political union. Since 1741, both duchies had been impersonal union in the senior male prince of the Ernestine branch of the Wetting Dynasty. Six years after the merger, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach was raised to a Grand Duchy at the Congress of Vienna. It helped that Tsar Alexander I's sister, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, had married Hereditary prince Carl Friedrich (1783-1853). Among the former remaining Ernestine duchies, only Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach received this elevation.

Carl Friedrich and Maria Pavlovna are best known for their efforts to make Weimar, the grand duchy's capital, a major cultural center in Central Europe. The couple were patrons of such luminaries as: Goethe, Hummel, Lizst, and Wagner.

Grand Duke Carl Alexander (1818-1901), Karl Friedrich and Maria Pavlovna's youngest son, succeeded his father in 1853 and reigned until his death in 1901. He was the brother of Empress Augusta, consort of German Emperor Wilhelm I. In 1842, Carl Alexander married his first cousin Princess Sophie of the Netherland, by whom he had four children: Hereditary Grand Duke Carl August, Princess Marie Reuß, Princess Anna Sophia, and Elisabeth, Duchess Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

His  only son having predeceased him in 1894, Carl Alexander was succeeded by his grandson  Wilhelm Ernst, who was reputed among Gotha circles to have been a rather difficult man. In fact, the german press at one point described him as, "the most unpopular prince in all Germany." In 1903 he married Princess Caroline Reuß-Greiz, but she died in mysterious circumstances (suicide has been alleged) two years later. In 1910, Wilhelm Ernst, in desperate need of an heir, married Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen. They had four children: Sophia (briefly married to Fürst Friedrich-Günther of Schwarzburg (last of his line), Carl August (who married Baroness Elisabeth von Wangenheim); Bernhard (who married Princess Felizitas of Salm-Horstmar); and Georg, who in 1953 renounced his rights and adopted the name Georg Brenna.

While Hereditary Grand Duke Carl August became the father of the present Head of House Saxe-Weimar-Eisenahc, Michael Benedict, his brother Bernhard became the father of, among others, Prince Wilhelm Ernst (b. 1946), who in 1973 married Eva Kovarcz (whom he divorced in 1985). This now heartbroken couple are the parents of Prince Georg-Constantin, who was born in Munich, and of his elder sister Princess Désirée, married since 2000 to Count Florian v.u.z. Hoensbroech. The former Princess Eva remarried the Fürst of Wrede.

Princess Désirée and Prince Georg-Constantin of Sazxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Prince Georg-Constantin with his sister and her husband, Count Florian v.u.z. Hoensbroech.

After completing high school, Georg-Constantin enrolled at St. Andrews University, from where he graduated in 2000 with a Master's Degree in Business & Managerial Economics.

After graduating, Georg-Constantin embarked in a long and successful business career. He worked for Merrill Lynch, and then went to work in business development for H2O Capital Ltd. In 2010, he founded Belvedere Energy Group, "a renewable energy developer and advisory business. Belvedere worked across all renewable energy aspects with a global reach but had a particular focus on solar." Three years ago, Georg-Constantin became a founding partner of Sustainability Factory, "an independent incubator of sustainable technology projects and other such activities which are involved in sustainable food, water, and energy supplies."

Georg-Constantin was the designated heir to the Grand Ducal Family as his cousin Prince Michael Benedict only has a daughter, Leonie, and she cannot succeed to Headship of House Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

In 2015, Prince Georg-Constantin married Ms. Olivia Rachelle Page, whom he had met four years prior. Their wedding was celebrated in Weimar, a city for which the prince held a special tenderness and interest. In fact, it was there that I met Georg-Constantin and Olivia on 4/26/2016 while we attended the opening ceremonies for the exhibition: Die Ernestiner – Eine Dynasytie Prägt Europa. I had traveled to Coburg just a few days earlier as Prince Andreas had requested that I accompany him and his children to the opening ceremonies in Weimar and Gotha. Georg Constantin was approachable, kind, and interested in his family's historical role in developing Weimar's cultural legacy. His untimely death is a great tragedy, not just for his wife and parents, but also for the future of his dynasty. The two remaining male Saxe-Weimar-Eisenachs are both in  their seventies.

Prince Georg-Constantin is survived by his widow, Princess Olivia, his parents, sister and her family.

May He Rest in Peace...