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Showing posts from February, 2019

Princess Maria Antonia Koháry, Europe’s Wealthiest Heiress

At the turn of the 19th century, one woman, albeit not a full-fledged royal herself, stood out as the wealthiest of them. So wealthy was she that emperor elevated her family into princely status right before her marriage to a relatively unknown prince. Princess Maria Antonia of Kohary eventually raised children who would occupy the thrones of many European kingdoms.

Early Years

Countess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág et Szitnya was born on July 2, 1797 in Buda, the ancient capital of Hungary, the second child of Franz Josef, Count Koháry, and his wife, Countess Maria Antoinetta Josefa von Waldstein-Wartenburg. Maria Antonia’s older brother, Franz, died on April 19, 1795 at the age of two, making her the only heir to the House of Koháry. The House of Koháry owned 150,000 hectares of land located in present-day Lower Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, making them one of the wealthiest families in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Marriage and Family

Maria Antonia married Prince Ferdinand of Sax…

Princess Grace of Monaco: Movie Queen, Royalty, Fashion Icon

Grace Patricia Kelly was born to a rich and influential family on November 12, 1929 in Pennsylvania, USA. Her father John B. Kelly, Sr. was an owner of a flourishing brickwork contracting company and a three-time Olympic gold medalist in sculling/rowing who also dipped his toe into politics. Her mother, former model Margaret Katherine Majer, was a physical education professor at the University of Pennsylvania and was the first woman to coach women’s athletics in the said institution.

Early Career

The young Grace Kelly was not considered beautiful. When she started appearing on the big screen and magazines, family and friends almost could not believe their eyes! In 1947, she was rejected by Bennington College in 1947 due to her low mathematics scores. Thereafter, Grace pursued her dreams of being an actress, despite the opposition of her parents, especially her father who viewed her chosen career as a “slim cut above streetwalker”. She entered the American Academy of Dramatic Arts thro…

The Life of Princess Pauline von Metternich, Europe’s Grand Dame, Party-Loving Royal Dueler

Princess Pauline Clémentine Marie Walburga von Metternich-Winneburg zu Beilstein was born into the Hungarian noble family of Sándor de Slavnicza on February 25, 1836 in Vienna, Austria. Her father was the passionate horseman Count Móric Sándor—known to many as “a furious rider.” Her mother, Princess Leontine von Metternich-Winneburg, was the daughter of Prince Clemens von Metternich, Austria’s state chancellor and dubbed as the architect of the Concert of Europe. Pauline married her uncle and her mother’s half-brother, Prince Richard von Metternich, in 1856. In spite of Prince Richard’s philandering spree with opera prima donnas and actresses, he and Pauline had a relatively happy conjugal life. They went on to have three children: Princess Sophie von Metternich (1857–1941), Countess Pascalina Antoinette von Metternich-Sandor Winneburg (1862–1890) and Countess Klementina Marie von Metternich-Sandor Winneburg (1870-1963).
Princess Pauline accompanied her husband, who was an Austrian d…

Princess Clémentine of Orléans, Europe’s Cleverest Princess, Bulgaria’s Kingmaker

Marie Clémentine Léopoldine Caroline Clotilde was born at the Château de Neuilly, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France on March 6, 1817, the sixth child and the youngest daughter of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French, and his wife Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies. Styled Mademoiselle de Beaujolais after her birth, she acquired the title Princess of Orléans following her father’s ascension to the French throne in 1830.

Early Life 

Princess Clémentine possessed “great beauty and accomplishments” as a young woman. One of her teachers was radical French historian Jules Michelet, who would unremittingly venerate French Revolution in front of his students.

Considering her looks and wealth, it was believed that Clémentine would marry her cousin, Ferdinand II of Bourbon-Sicily, when the period of his widowhood expired. However, the marriage did not materialize. King Leopold I of Belgium later arranged for his nephew, Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, to marry the princess. While the groom-to-be …

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, The Smiling Queen

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands’ warm personality endeared her not only to her subjects but also to the press and the people who came to admire. As queen, her reign saw significant changes in the government of the Netherlands’ colonies: in 1986, Aruba seceded and became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and in 2010, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, while Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries. She abdicated in 2013 to "place the responsibility for the country in the hands of a new generation," following the footsteps of her mother, Queen Juliana, and grandmother, Queen Wilhelmina.

Birth, Early Years  and World War II

Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard was born on January 31, 1938 at the Soestdijk Palace in Baarn, Netherlands, the first child of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and her husband, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The Second World War forced the Dutch Royal Family to evacuate to London, United Kingdom on May 13, 19…

King George VI Dead at 56

On February 6, 1952, King George VI died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham. He was 56 years old. His death was caused by coronary thrombosis. His older brother, the former King Edward VIII, abdicated on December 11, 1936 to "marry the woman I love," the two-time American divorcee Wallis Simpson. The throne fell on the lap of the reluctant king who steered Britain through World War II and the country’s impending decline as a colonial power.
The exact time of the king’s death was not announced, although a bulletin was issued shortly before 11 in the morning at Buckingham Palace.  The official news of the King's death shocked the nation who had been deeply concerned about his health. Some courts abruptly adjourned their hearings.
News of His Majesty’s death was immediately telephoned from Sandringham to Buckingham Palace, whose officials then told the prime minister and the Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Pyfe. Queen Mary was at Marlborough House when she was inform…

Sophie of Bavaria: the Secret Empress of Austria, the Only Man in the Habsburg Court

In assessing the life of Archduchess Sophie of Austria, one would easily detest the image projected by pop history and media: a controlling mother, over-bearing mother-in-law, the villain in the romantic love story of Sisi and Franz Josef. Looking at the events that transpired in 1840s Austria, we can have a clearer picture of why Sophie has to toughen up. With revolutionaries threatening the demise of the House of Habsburg, a handicapped Emperor, and a disinterested husband, Sophie had to gather her wits and do something to preserve the Habsburg monarchy.
Princess Sophie Friederike Dorothea Wilhelmine of Bavaria was born on January 27, 1805 in Munich, the capital of the then-electorate of Bavaria. She was the daughter of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria with his second wife, Caroline of Baden. Sophie was born alongside her twin sister, Princess Maria Anna, later Queen of Saxony.They pair was one of the two set of twins born in her family.
King Maximilian’s titles as elector of …

Frogmore Cottage, a Dream Home for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Before the end of 2018, news broke that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would permanently move to Frogmore Cottage, a small manor house close to bigger Frogmore House in Windsor Great Park. The couple would be the first members of the Royal Family to reside in this cozy home since, in the past, it was used only as a retreat .

The cottage, originally called Double Garden Cottage, was leased to Queen Charlotte in 1790 to serve as a retreat for her and her unmarried daughters. In her 1801 accounts, she wrote that the cottage was built by a certain Mr. Bowen for £450. Two years after acquiring the cottage, the queen bought the Frogmore Estate and focused her attention on the expansion of the nearby Frogmore House. After Charlotte’s death in 1818,  the estate was inherited by her daughter, Princess Augusta. It was later purchased by the Crown following her death and an Act of Parliament declared the estate as part of the royal domain.

In 1841, the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother, …
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