Dec 8, 2016

Watch—Queen Elizabeth II: In their Own Words

In September 2015, Queen Elizabeth II reached another milestone in her life and reign: she surpassed Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

On September 1, 2015, PBS premiered “In their Own Words: Queen Elizabeth II,” a film following the colorful and profound life of Queen, from the childhood—a time when nobody else was expecting her to become Queen someday—to her uncle King Edward VIII’s shocking abdication, her father’s coronation as King George VI, the troubles and fear of World War Two, her own sudden ascension to the throne, and her eventful reign of that spanned over six decades and counting.

Dec 7, 2016

Princess Feodora of Leiningen: Queen Victoria’s Half-Sister

While the young Princess Victoria was not allowed to play with other children her age, she was blessed enough to have with her the care and affection of her older, half-sister, Princess Feodora of Leiningen. She was born on December 7, 1807 and was baptized Anna Feodora Auguste Charlotte Wilhelmine. Her father, Emich Carl, was Hereditary Prince of Leiningen, while her mother was Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfed.

Dec 6, 2016

1992—the British Royal Family’s Annus Horribilis

The year 1992 could have been a happy year for Queen Elizabeth II. After all, that marked her 40th year on the throne. But it will always be remembered as an “annus horribilis” in the annals of the British Family. Three events happened that placed the monarchy at its most troublesome year: the Charles-Camilla affair that led to the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the scandal involving the Duke and Duchess of York, and the fire at Windsor Castle.

Dec 5, 2016

Meet Great Britain’s Georgian Kings

King George I

The reign of George I ushered in the Georgian years in the history of Great Britain. The reign of four Georges would begin in 1714 and end in the death of King George IV in 1830.

George I (born 1660, ruled 1714-1727). George Louis succeeded his father as elector of Hanover, a north German state, in 1698. His mother, Sophia, was a granddaughter of James I if the English Stuart line. The English act6 the settlement (1701) had barred Catholics from the throne and exiled the Catholics heirs of the Stuarts. When Queen Anne died, in 1714, George succeeded to the British throne as the nearest Protestant heir. In 1715 a rebellion in Scotland in favor of the Stuart “pretender” was easily put down.

Dec 4, 2016

Watch: The Wedding of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium

The wedding of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde on December 4, 1999, was hailed as Belgium’s wedding of the decade.

The King, then Duke of Brabant, is the eldest son of King Albert II and Queen Paola. Mathilde, meanwhile, is the daughter of Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz, a Belgian nobleman. Her mother, Anna Maria Komorowska, traces her lineage to the Princes Sapieha and Counts Komorowski of Poland.
It is not known how the two met and little is also known of the prince’s relationship with Mathilde, a speech therapist, until their engagement was announced in September 1999. She easily won the hearts of millions of adoring Belgians, thanks to her “youth, charisma, and beauty.” Interestingly, upon their accession to the throne in July 2013, Mathilde became the first-ever Belgian queen to be born in the country.

Dec 2, 2016

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Europe’s Most Dangerous Woman

Queen Elizabeth with U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

It was 1941, the height of World War II and London was facing the toughest days in her history. The Blitz pounded the British Empire’s capital. While thousands of Londoners fled for their safety to the countryside, Great Britain’s King and Queen, George VI and his consort, Elizabeth, were adamant. They would never leave London.  Instead, they became lasting symbols of the country’s fight against Nazism and all the horrors it brought. They already sent their two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, to Windsor Castle. Despite the urging of the Cabinet to evacuate to Canada, she declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave."

Dec 1, 2016

The Strength of Maria Theresa’s Fighting Spirit

Maria Theresa’s reign as ruler of the Hapsburg dominions started out as a tumultuous one. October of 1740 saw a bitter winter. By December, Frederick II of Prussia, who like herself took the crown of Prussia that year, marched to the mineral-rich Austrian province of Silesia to occupy it. The following year, Charles Albert of Bavaria occupied Bohemia and proclaimed himself its King. Worst, he was elected Holy Roman Emperor, a title held by the Hapsburgs since the 1500s. For a lady without experience left to inherit an empire nearly bankrupted, the darkest days of her life has arrived.
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