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Showing posts from March, 2019

Wawel Castle: Home to the Kings of Poland

Wawel Castle is a castle residency located in the historic district of Old Town in Kraków, Poland. People have lived on the site of the castle, the Wawel Hill, since the Paleolithic Age (some 50,000 years ago).  The settlement was then a flourishing venue for trade and local farming. The Wawel Hill was being utilized as a fortified castle before Mieszko I, the first ruler of Poland, made it as one of his official residences.

The first cathedral on the site, believed to be made of wood, was built in 1000 AD following the establishment of the Bishopric of Kraków. The structure is believed to have started Wawel’s renown as a center of political power. The structure was later destroyed by fire. It was replaced by another cathedral, which also suffered the same fiery fate as its predecessor.  The third and current cathedral (consecrated in 1364) was built on the orders of Władysław the Short, the first king of Poland. On January 20, 1319, he became the first Polish king to be crowned in W…

E.P. Ranch: The Duke of Windsor’s Ranch in Canada

During World War I, Edward, Prince of Wales served as a staff officer attached to the Canadian Corps Headquarters in Flanders. It was during this period that he developed a liking for the Canadian's good nature, frankness and fighting qualities. After the war, he embarked on three full-scale Canadian toursand two private visits as Prince of Wales, one historic encounter as king, and two private visits as Duke of Windsor. At the heart of these visits were a place close to the prince, later king, and duke’s heart: E.P. Ranch, one of the only two properties he would ever own in his lifetime—the other Le Moulin de la Tuilerie, his weekend retreat outside Paris.

1919 – First Visit  and Purchase of E.P. Ranch

On September 14, he reached Calgary and the lifestyle of the west immediately enamoured him that it was said that the "space and tranquility, the mystique, vigour, and apparent freedom captured his  imagination." On a letter to Queen Mary, he wrote "That's a real…

The Fortune of Robert, Duke of Parma and the Inheritance Issue that Split a Huge Family

Robert I, the last Duke of Parma, may have lost his little duchy  after his family were driven out by a revolution following the French and Sardinian victory in the war against Austria. But he had nothing to worry since he had a fabulously enormous fortune that he literally never had to work for a day! Unburdened by the constraints of running a realm, the duke, instead turned to running his family. With his first wife, Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Sicily, he fathered 12 children. After her death, he married Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal and with her, he fathered 12 more children.

From his grandfather, Charles II of Parma, he inherited considerable properties, including valuable religious books and the infamous Farnese blue diamond.  But the bulk of his fortune came from her mother, Louise Marie Therese d’Artois, and  his uncle, the Comte de Paris. On the Comte’s death in 1883, Robert became his principal heir and the most significant property he inherited was Chateau de Chambord.…

Robert I and his 24 Children: The Story of the Last Duke of Parma

Robert I could have gone down history as the last reigning Duke of Parma, but thanks to his prolific progeny, he is best remembered to this day as the royal who fathered 24 children.

Roberto I Carlo Luigi Maria di Borbone, Duca di Parma e Piacenza, was born on July 9, 1848 in Florence,Tuscany, Italy, the elder son of Charles III, Duke of Parma, and his wife, Louise Marie Thérèse d'Artois. Following his father’s assassination in 1854, Robert ascended to the ducal throne at six years old. His mother served as regent all throughout his minority. However, Robert was never to rule on his own since he was deposed at the age of 11 years old after Piedmontese troops annexed other Italian states, which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom of Italy.

Robert married his first wife, Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, on April 5, 1869 while in exile in Rome. The union produced 12 children: Princess Marie Louise (1870-1899), who married Ferdinand I, Prince and later Tsar of Bu…

Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier—Europe’s Richest Single Princess

In 17th century France, there were only three “grand” personalities in the family: Louis XIV, known as Louis le Grand; Louis, le Grand Conde, perhaps the greatest military leader of that period; and Anne Marie Louise d’Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, who would pass on in history as France’s Le Grande Mademoiselle. The leading figure during the Fronde rebellion, her grandness was made possible by the fact that she was then the richest princess in all of Europe.

La Grande Mademoiselle was born on May 29, 1627 at the Palais du Louvre in Paris, France, the only daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, and his first wife, Marie de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier. Her mother died five days after giving birth to her, leaving Anne Marie the sole heiress to Marie de Bourbon’s vast fortune, which included the Principality of Dombes, the Dauphinate of Auvergne, as well as five duchies. Instantly, she became one of the richest people in France.

Anne Marie Louise, being the eldest daughter of her fa…

The Legendary Princess Mathilde Bonaparte and the Case of the Stolen Jewels

From the mid-19th century and towards the 20th century, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte ruled French high society. In fact, so formidable was she that when the princes of the former ruling dynasties were expelled from France, she was the only member of the Bonaparte family to stay. Like her cousin, Princess George of Greece and Denmark, Mathilde held an eccentric personality, making her a favorite by the French literary circles.
Birth and Early Years

Mathilde Laetitia Wilhelmine Bonaparte was born in exile on May 27, 1820 in Trieste, Italy. She was the daughter of Napoléon Bonaparte’s brother, Jérôme Bonaparte, and his second wife, Catharina of Württemberg. Mathilde spent the first three years of her childhood in Trieste before her family relocated Rome, where his father bought a house despite being heavily indebted.
She was not close to her mother. Later in life, she would recall, “I never had very much love from my mother because I was a girl. She was rather quick with her hand.” Mathi…

Wentworth Woodhouse, the Largest Private Residence in Great Britain

Wentworth Woodhouse can be found in the village of Wentworth in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. This Grade I listed country house is considered to be the largest private residence in all of United Kingdom (Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, while larger that Wentworth Woodhouse, are not privately-owned).

History of Wentworth Woodhouse

The estate where Wentworth Woodhouse sits covers over 2.5 acres of land area, and the house itself is surrounded by 180 acres of park and 15,000 acres of estate. With over 300 rooms, the house’s floor space extends over an area of 250,000 square feet, 124,600 square feet of which is occupied by the living area. Meanwhile, its east front that stretches 606 feet, which is twice as long as that of the Buckingham Palace, is the longest country façade in Europe.

A Jacobean structure (currently the west front) once stood on the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse, which was built in the 1630s by Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stra…

Adélaïde of France, A Bitter Old Hag in the Court at Versailles

Marie Adélaïde de France was born on March 23, 1732 at the Palace of Versailles in France. Adélaïde was the fourth daughter and sixth child of King Louis XV of France and his wife, Marie Leszczyńska.

She was named after Marie Adelaide, Dauphine of France, her paternal grandmother. Being the fourth legitimate daughter of the king, Adélaïde was originally referred to as Madame Quatrième or “Madame the Fourth”. However, her position in the court advanced with the successive deaths of her elder sisters. From the time  her oldest sister, Louise Elisabeth, died in 1759, under her father’s own in 1770, Adélaïde was the most senior Daughter of France. And amongst all of her siblings, Adélaïde was closest to Louis, Dauphin of France.

She was supposed to be raised and educated at the Abbaye de Fontevraud together with her sisters, but was permitted to stay at Versailles after a tearful plea to her father. She was then put under the tutelage of Marie Isabelle de Rohan, Duchesse de Tallard.


Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough: Gilded Age’s Most Popular Dollar Princess

Consuelo Vanderbilt was born on March 2, 1877 in New York. She was the only child of American heir and railroad millionaire William Kissam Vanderbilt with his first wife, Southern belle Alva Erskine Smith, who later emerged as one of the country’s leading suffragette. Her Spanish name paid homage to her Cuban-American godmother, the socialite Consuelo Yznaga

Younger Years: A Secured Upbringing 

Alva, more than anything else, wanted her daughter to marry an aristocrat of a gentleman, so she had Consuelo educated entirely at home by governesses and tutors, and subjected her under stringent rules. At an early age, she had to learn foreign languages, as well as music and other disciplines that would make her a great European hostess. She was whipped with a riding crop whenever she disobeyed.

To improve her posture, Alva would make Consuelo wear a steel rod that ran down her spine and fastened over her shoulders and around her waist. Alva would even decide on what clothes Consuelo should w…

Righteous Among the Nations: 15 Facts About Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, Queen Mother of Romania

Helen of Greece and Denmark was born on May 2, 1896 in Athens, Greece. She was the eldest daughter and third of six children of Crown Prince Constantine of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. Married to Carol, Crown Prince and later King of Romania, she bore him their only child, Michael. Despite enduring a life of difficulty, Helen remained steadfast in her in her humanitarian efforts and was later honored as Righteous Among the Nations for her efforts to save the Jews at the height of World War II. Here are some facts about Helen, Queen Mother of Romania...

1. She was nicknamed Sitta

Helen was affectionately referred to as “Sitta” by her family, a nickname that originated from her brother Alexander’s difficulty in pronouncing the word “sister”.

2. She was pro-UK

The princess was raised in an extremely anglophile environment, educated by British governesses and tutors.

3. Her family lived an itinerant life

Helen’s father rose to the throne following King George I’s assass…
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