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Showing posts from March, 2017

Maria Feodorovna: Russia’s Mother of Tears

Marie Sophia Frederika Dagmar was born on November 26, at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen. She was the second daughter and fourth child of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sondenburg-Glucksburg, a minor German prince, and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. The Glucksburgs, as they were commonly known, lacked either the territory or the fortune to raise their children in a regal manner. While the family lived a rather unostentatious and pious life, Dagmar and her siblings enjoyed the carefree environment upon which they were brought up. At the time of her childhood, little did Europe know that Prince Christian and his children would populate the thrones of Denmark, Norway, Greece, Russia, Great Britain, Hannover, Romania and Spain.

Alexander II: Russia's Czar Liberator

Alexander II (1818-1881) ruled Russia as its Czar from 1855 to 1881. He was born in Moscow on April 17, 1818, the eldest son of Emperor Nicholas I. He received the traditional education for an heir apparent, which included studies in the humanities, history, statecraft, and military science. In 1841 he married the German princess, Princess Marie of Hesse-Darmstadt, who became known as Empress Maria Alexandrovna. She bore him six sons and two daughters. Alexander was gentle, humane and sentimental. But because he lacked deep convictions or determination, all his official acts were characterized by hesitation and vacillation.

Watch: Queen Juliana Abdicates

Addressing the thousands of her beloved Dutch countrymen who turned out as she bid adieu to a meaningful reign, Queen Juliana admitted that the years of hard work and dedication had their catch--it made her power fade with age. After 31 years on the throne, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands announced her abdication in favor of her daughter, Crown Princess Beatrix.

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands: The People's Queen

Juliana Louise Emma Marie Wilhelmina was born at The Hague on April 30, 1909, the only child of Queen Wilhelmina and  Prince Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  As the only heir to the house of Orange, Juliana was brought up in a privileged but constricted environment. She was privately tutored in a class with several other girls.  Queen Wilhelmina herself, according to Dan van der Vat, was “a fierce autocrat who made the princess sit on a gilt chair as invited children, ordered to address her only as ‘Mevrouw’ (Madame), played on the floor round her feet.” But Juliana grew tired of the ceremonies at court. As an adult Juliana, she surprised the governor-general of Canada by sitting on the floor whenever she could.

12 Lovely Paintings of Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is every artist’s delight. No wonder this storied royal abode, considered the oldest and the largest inhabited castle in the world, has been featured in so many paintings of the great masters of centuries ago up to present-day budding artists. Windsor Castle is simply an inspiration, a sight of behold. Check out these lovely paintings about Windsor Castle and you might be enticed to pay a visit to this millennium year-old structure.

American Royalty: New York's First Four Hundred

“In my opinion, four generations of gentlemen make as good and true a gentleman as forty,” said Ward McCallister, New York City society’s self-appointed arbiter from the 1860s until his death in 1895. After the Civil War, the American economy boomed. The number of millionaires more than doubled than the belle epoch era while European migrants swarmed to New York for opportunities. Thus, the once genteel society dominated by the old moneyed class, most of which are descendants of merchant colonists and Revolutionary heroes, came under the threat of the much wealthier nouveau riche. Ward McCallister worked together with the indomitable society queen of New York, Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, notoriously known as ­theMrs. Astor, to ensure shield New York society from the new money, which they calledarrivistes.

Louis XIV: a Peek into His Life and Court

Louis XIV was every bit the grand king he was. He was a handsome man, of elegant and courtly bearing and renowned for his perfection of manners and decorum. Moreover, Louis complemented his graceful physique with his sound judgement and quick apprehension. He neither said too much nor too little. For a king, he worked hard enough, spending the better part of his days attending to government affairs.
Being the Sun King, in fact, demanded time and energy. For him to understand and decide on problems that lingered during his reign, he had to rise and toil. While he had ministers around to ably advise him, he always retained for himself the role of the first minister. He never consented to let any adviser dominate him or influence him, like Richelieu did to his father or like his mother had been by Fleury. “The profession of the kind,” he proclaimed, “is great and noble, and delightful it one but feels equal to performing the duties which it involves,”—and he never harbored doubt that h…

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

On February 6, 2017, Queen Elizabeth II marked her 65th year on the throne. Already the longest-reigning sovereign in the history of the British isles, this achievement is an even rarer feat that no other British sovereign has ever obtained. It is even doubtful if any future king or queen would out-reign her. But there is an implication: the longer Her Majesty reigns, the less time her son and heir, Charles, Prince of Wales, has to prove himself a capable king. This casts the question: will he even ever reign? But it is not difficult to assess how it would be to have a King Charles on the throne. Many foresee him to be the biased, meddling king, who would always want to have his way in the government—a stark contrast to Queen Elizabeth II’s neutral, above-politics persona.

Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught: From Prussian Princess to Canadian Vicereine

Princess Louise Margaret Alexandra Victoria Agnes of Prussia was born on July 25, 1860. She was the third daughter of Prince Friedrich Carl of Prussia and Princess Marianne of Anhalt.  Prince Friedrich Carl was known as the "Red Prince" of Prussia, notorious as a military man after he captured Marshal Bazaine at Metz during the Franco-Prussian War.  The marriage between Friedrich and Marianne was an unhappy one. After Louise Margaret's birth, the prince was so disappointed of his wife's failure to give him a son that he allegedly boxed Marianne, leaving her deaf for the rest of her life. The couple would have separated had not King Wilhelm I of Prussia and future German Emperor intervened to reconcile the two.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and the Castle of Mey

When King George VI was alive, he used to say that he and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, were both “much attached” to the fireside. Many times during their marriage, he gave her a fire surround or chimney pieces as an anniversary gift.

The Palaces of the Prussian Hohenzollerns

The Prussian House of Hohenzollern was one of Europe’s most illustrious and powerful dynasties. Originally margraves of Brandenburg and dukes of Prussia, they were elevated to become Kings of Prussia in 1701, and later on, Emperor of the German Empire in 1871. However, the Hohenzollern’s grip on power ended after Germany's disastrous defeat in World War I in 1918 and the German Revolution.  Nevertheless, their legacy remains to this day with the grand residences and palaces they built, all of them now considered historical and heritage treasures.

1888—The Year of Three German Emperors

The year 1888 is known to this day in Germany as the Year of Three Emperors. It saw the end of the reign of Wilhelm I, the first Kaiser of a unified Germany and the brief reign of his son, Friedrich III, who was already terminally ill with throat cancer. Friedrich reigned for only three months and when he died, his son, Wilhelm II succeeded to the throne. He would be the last Hohenzollern to rule Prussia and preside over Germany, abdicating in 1918 following the Axis power’s disastrous defeat during World War I.

Queen Louise of Sweden: Sweden’s Democratic Queen

Queen Louise of Sweden was born on July 13, 1889,the second daughter and child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse-Darmstadt . Her older sister, Alice, married Prince Andrew of Greece, whose only son, Philip, married the future Queen Elizabeth II. Her younger siblings included Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
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