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Showing posts from January, 2019

Archduchess Isabella of Austria and the Love Story that she Tried to Break

The love story of Archduke Karl Ferdinand and his wife, Countess Sophie Chotek, was a real-life tale plucked straight from romance novels. Here you have a dashing prince who fell in love with a lowly noblewoman. Standing in their way was the imperious and proud Archduchess Isabella of Austria.

Isabella Hedwig Franziska Natalie was born born on February 27, 1856 in Dülmen, in the province of Westphalia in Prussia.She came from the mediatized House of Croÿ, which was ruled the sovereign prince of Dülmen until the demise of the Holy Roman Empire. Isabella’s father was Rudolf, 11th Duke of Croÿ, while her mother was Princess Natalie of Ligne.
She married Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen,on October 8, 1878 at the Château L'Hermitage in Belgium.Freidrich was the brother of Queen Maria Christina of Spain. He wasadopted by his uncle, Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen, whose only son died of smallpox in 1848. Aside from his title, Friedrich and his brothers each inherited the duke’s e…

Archduchess Mathilde of Austria: A Beautiful Princess and her Tragic Death

Mathilde Marie Adelgunde Alexandra was born on January 25, 1849 in Vienna, Austria, the second daughter and third child of Archduke Albert, Duke of Teschen, and his wife Princess Hildegard of Bavaria. Mathilde’s family was close to the Imperial family, her mother, Princess Hildegard of Bavaria, being Empress Elisabeth’s cousin. She also maintained a circle of close friends, which included Archduchess Marie Therese, who would later become Queen of Bavaria.
A distant cousin of the Italian Habsburg line, Archduke Ludwig Salvator, fell in love with Mathilde and wanted to marry her, but an engagement never materialized. Very little is known about the life of Archduchess Mathilde, but it seems she showed interest in both the arts and science. She visited the theatre, galleries and art exhibitions. It was before one such visit that tragedy struck.
Mathilde was on her way to become the wife of Umberto of Savoy and eventually become Queen of Italy, however an unfortunate event got in the way …

Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, the Sweet-Tempered and Fair-Headed

Alexandra Louise Olga Victoria was born at the Schloss Rosenau in Coburg, Bavaria, Germany on September 1, 1878, the third daughter and fourth child of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia. She was the granddaughter of Alexander II of Russia and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

Affectionately called “Sandra” by family and friends, Princess Alexandra was described by her sister Marie as “fat”, “harmless”, “sweet-tempered and fair headed”. She was not as brilliant as her other sisters, and was considered to be more restrained and less beautiful than they were.

Princess Alexandra, together with her sisters Marie (future Queen of Romania), Victoria Melita (later Grand Duchess of Hesse and, afterwards, Grand Duchess of Russia), and Beatrice (future Infanta of Spain and Duchess of Galliera) had a peripatetic life when she growing up, transferring from one place to other—Germany, United Kingdom, Malta, and Cyprus—due to her fath…

The Christening of Queen Victoria

The death of Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and future king George IV, plunged the House of Hanover in a succession crisis. The younger sons of King George III, eventually decided to marry acceptable royal brides. Edward Augustus Duke of Kent, the king’s fourth son, married the widowed Princess of Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and she gave him their only daughter and child.
Lytton Strachey later wrote that the baby’sbirth received “but scant attention.” The Duchess of Clarencegave birth two months before the Kent baby was born, and although the infant died, she was still young and healthy and, again, would become a mother. Victoria Duchess of Kent was also young and the Duke was strong so the likelihood that the couple would have a son to push the baby princess down the line of succession was highly probable.
The baby’s christening took place on June 24, 1819 at the Cupola Room of Kensington Palace. The Prince Regent, wanting to upset his brother, suddenl…

The Life of Prince Henri d’Orléans, Count of Paris, Pretender to the Throne of France

France has long abolished monarchy, but the claimants to the throne has since held on to their title—and their hopes—that one day monarchy would be restored that one of them would be recognized as the rightful heir to the throne. The House of Orleans, had for almost two decades until his death, Prince Henri, Comte de Paris, as the Orleanist pretender to the throne.

Born on June 14, 1933 in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, he was the first son of Henri, Comte de Paris, and his wife Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza. An 1886 law exiled the heirs of the former ruling houses of France, the reason why Prince Henri was born in Belgium. In 1950, however, the said law was abolished and Henri and his family were able to return to France and reclaim their properties.  That same year, his father conferred him the title Comte de Clermont.

Marriage and Personal Life 

Prince Henri studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, a prestigious and influential school in the social sciences …

Militza and Anastasia: The Black Peril in the Russian Court

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. 

Grand Duchesses Militza and Anastasia had been jointly nicknamed “The Black Peril” due to their penchant for everything mystical. The sisters developed an interest in spiritualism, occult sciences, and Eastern mystics from an early age.

 They were deeply passionate about mysticism that they even acquired a diploma in Paris as an honorary doctor of alchemy. Following their return to their birthplace, Cetinje, the two sisters joined an exclusive circle of sorcerers, mystics, and magicians. Also, instead of attending numerous …

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…

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 …

It’s a girl for the Duke and Duchess of York: Birth of Queen Elizabeth II

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926. The Duchess of York was expected to give birth at the end of the month, so the princess' arrival came a little early.1 Nevertheless, the new mother "has been in remarkably good-health" and the baby princess, “although a little under the average weight,” was “strong and healthy.” 2
The future queen was not born in a royal palace but the home of her Strathmore grandparents, 17 Bruton Street, then one of London’s most fashionable residential districts. It was alleged that the Duke and Duchess of York intended to rent a place on West End where she could give birth, "owing to the inconvenience of doctors and relatives journeying between London and White Lodge" in Richmonde Park. However, King George V would not hear of the idea that an heir to the throne would be born in "a hired house." 3
Royal biographer Sarah Bradford also wrote that the Yorks complained about the dilapidated and primitive c…

Marie Feodorovna and Her Electric Bills

The Romanovs of Russia were overthrown in 1917 and it was only in 1919 that Empress Maria Feodorovna finally decided to leave the Crimea on board HMS Marlborough. She briefly stayed in Malta before moving to England where she lived with her sister, Queen Alexandra. She later transferred totCopenhagen where she occupied a wing of the Amalienborg Palace. However, her stay in the Danish capital was only short-lived. King Christian X was not too welcoming of her aunt and a rift eventually occurred between the two.
While Maria Feodorovna was accustomed to her luxurious life in Russia, Christian X and his court were rather parsimonious. Many royal courts, particularly the Scandinavian houses, observed post-war austerity measures. Christian X was also not happy of the fact that the empress dowager kept her fabulous jewelry right under her bed. She refused to sell not one item no matter how straightened her circumstances have become.
King Christian X took every opportunity to humiliate the …

Schloss Herrenchiemsee, the Bavarian Versailles

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was a fervent follower of King Louis XIV. In his honor he built the Palace of Herrenchiemsee (New Palace) patterned from the Sun King’s Versailles. The king was later deposed and died without ever completing the construction of the palace.

A monastery once stood on the grounds of the Herrenchiemsee Castle—considered as the oldest in the whole Duchy of Bavaria—established between 620 and 629 by Saint Eustace of Luxeuil, a Burgundian missionary. In 1873, Ludwig II bought Herrenwörth, an island in Lake Chiemsee, to realize his dream of building his own version of Château de Versailles.

Construction began on May 21, 1878. Ludwig commissioned Georg Dollman to design the grand castle, and Dollman, Franz Von Seitz, and Christian Jank were the ones tasked to create Herrenchiemsee’s corps de logis or principal block.

The “Bavarian Versailles” was built in the Neo Baroque style, and the interior stuns with its elaborately extravagant French Rococo design—wall and ceili…

Elizabeth meets Uncle David: A Dying Duke Receives His Queen

The Duke of Windsor was diagnosed with cancer in November 1971. His condition worsened quickly and he died in May 1972. Shortly before his death, Queen Elizabeth II paid one last visit to the man who gave up the throne for the woman he loved.

The former King Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor since he abdicated in 1936, was diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the throat in November 1971. Any attempt to treat his condition proved in vain. He underwent cobalt therapy but the diseases worsened and it was evident that he would die no sooner than later. But the former king remained unperturbed. His doctor, John Thin, explained that he knew about his condition, but he did not let it affect his composure. “His courage and resignation compelled general administration,” Thin said.1 He also did not want his condition to cause serious upset to the Duchess of Windsor. Throughout his illness, he only remained in his house, Villa Windsor, together with their pugs.

On May 15, 1972, Queen Elizabeth II ar…
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