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Carmen Sylva: The Colorful Life of Queen Elisabeth of Romania

Probably no other 20th century royal could match the literary genius of Queen Elisabeth of Romania, best remembered, not only as Romania’s first queen consort, but as the acclaimed author Carmen Sylva. At the time of her death, she was a queen three times over: a royal queen, the queen of her people’s hearts, and queen of letters.
The Birth and Early Life of Queen Elisabeth of Romania
She was born Princess Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise of Wied on December 29, 1843 at the Schloss Monrepos in Neuweid, Germany, the only daughter and first child of Hermann, Prince of Wied, and his wife Princess Marie of Nassau.
Elisabeth was homeschooled by tutors including linguist Georg Sauerwein and pianist Clara Schumann, one of the most distinguished pianists and composers of the Romantic era. Initially wanted to become a teacher, though it was her passion for music and the arts that would prevail later in life.
The Marital Prospects of Queen Elisabeth of Romania


A 16-year-old Elisabeth was consid…
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Militza and Anastasia: Russia’s Most Colorful Grand Duchesses

Towards the twilight of the rule of the Romanovs in Russia, two Slavic princesses reigned supreme as the most colorful figures in the Czar’s court. Grand Duchess Militza and Grand Duchess Anastasia were Montegrin princesses who married two brothers from the Imperial Family. They were daughters of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro and his wife Milena Vukotić. Their tendencies towards the occult made them notorious as “The Black Peril”of the Russian Court.

Militza and Anastasia were praised for their elegance and intelligence, not to mention their exotic beauty, grace, honesty, pride and frankness that drawn them to the people of Saint Petersburg.

The Grand Duchess Militza was described as a “clever woman, with wide intellectual interests” and “real knowledge of the East and of Eastern things.” She spoke Persian and was well-versed in ancient Persian literature. She also studied Oriental philosophy and religion, particularly those of Persia, India and China. Above all, Militza …

Princess Elizabeth of York Away from her Parents

In January 1927, the Duke and Duchess of York embarked on an official tour of Australia and New Zealand, a trip that would take them six month. For the nine-month-old Princess Elizabeth of York, it meant being away from her parents for more than half of a young lifetime. The Duchess of York was so saddened by the thought of being away from her baby that long. “I felt very much leaving on Thursday,” the duchess wrote, “and the baby was so sweet and, playing with the buttons on Bertie’s uniform it quite broke me up.”
Weeks before her departure, the Duchess of York spent as many hours as she could with Princess Elizabeth. Before boarding the battleship Renown, she kissed her before placing her in the care of Clara Knight, the duchess’ own nanny when she was also a baby. 
Her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, also dotted on the young one. What the king and queen never did to their children they showered upon the young princess (King George V was short-tempered, Queen Mary seeme…

Highclere Castle—The Real-Life Downton Abbey

Highclere Castle is unforgettable as the location of the hit ITV period drama Downton Abbey. With its great hall, dining room, library, music room, drawing room, saloon and several of the bedrooms featured on the show and watched by millions of viewers, there’s no doubt Highclere Castle emerges as one of the most popular grand houses in the world. But beyond its popularity, the castle boasts of a rich history, priceless treasures, and unmatched beauty that continues to enthrall travelers into its grounds and hallways. Planning to visit Highclere Castle? Here are some interesting facts that you need to know…

It has a rich history
On the site of Highclere Castle once stood the medieval palace of the Bishops of Winchester, who took control of the land from 749 until the next 800 years. In 1551, however, King Edward VI seized the property from the church during the course of the Protestant Reformation.
The estate was purchased by politician, later attorney-general, Sir Robert Sawyerin 165…

The Christening of Princess Elizabeth of York

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926. She was christened on May 29 at the private chapel in Buckingham Palace. The chapel would be eventually destroyed by a bomb at the height of the Luftwaffe during World War II. Despite the joy brought about by her birth, the country was already embroiled in labor problems and just two weeks before her christening, the country was engulfed in the General Strike.
Queen Victoria, although long dead since 1901, had cast her shadow upon this family event. Princess Elizabeth wore the heavy satin and Honiton lace christening robe, first worn by Victoria, Princess Royal, and then by succeeding royal babies ever since. The gold, lily-shaped font was also brought from Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace for this special occasion.
The future queen’s godparents included Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, by then the only surviving son of Queen Victoria, King George V, Queen Mary, Viscountess Lascelles, Lady Elphinstone, and her materna…

A Royal Mistress: Lucy Walter, Charles II of England’s First Mistress

Born in 1630 at Roch Castle to a family of middling gentry,Lucy Walter was one of the many mistresses of King Charles II of England.

When she was 14, her family home, Roch Castle, was destroyed by the Parliamentarians (who battled against Charles I and the Cavaliers or Royalists), Walter fled to The Hague for safety after journeying to London. There, she met the Prince of Wales (future King Charles II) for the first time in the summer of 1648. The king was immediately captivated by the “private Welshwoman of no good fame but handsome,” as Lord Clarendon described her. Shortly afterwards, she gave birth on April 9, 1649, a son he named James. 
Whether or not Lucy and King Charles II were married is still being debated up to this day. The issue was infamously brought up during the Exclusion Crisis, when a Protestant group expressed their desire to make James the heir to the throne. Charles, however, denied that any union had ever happened.
Charles left Lucy at The Hague as he departed f…

Militza and Anastasia: Montenegrin Princesses, Russian Grand Duchesses

Towards the twilight of the rule of the Romanovs in Russia, two Slavic princesses reigned supreme as the most colorful figures in the Czar’s court. Grand Duchess Militza and Grand Duchess Anastasia were Montegrin princesses who married two brothers from the Imperial Family. They were daughters of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro and his wife Milena Vukotić. Their tendencies towards the occult and mysticism made them notorious as “The Black Peril”of the Russian Court.


Militza was the older sister and was born on July 14, 1866. Two years later, Anastasia was born , on June 4, 1868. Militza, Anastasia, and their younger sister, Elena, future Queen of Italy, were brought to St. Petersburg by Czar Alexander III as "hostages for Montenegro's political submission" where they were educated at Smolny Institute, a Russian school for "noble maids".Elena, described as "docile, sweet of nature, and pure in mind as well as lovely in person" was destined …
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