28 December 2017

More on Meghan Markle's ancestry and other genealogical connections

In my blog article of 30 November this year titled NEHGS: Royal Roots Run Deep for Meghan Markle, I mentioned Christopher C. Child's article The Wentworth Connection in NEHGS' blog Vita Brevis.

Since then several articles about Meghan Markle's ancestry have appeared at Vita Brevis:
I am sure there will be more articles – and maybe also a book? – covering Meghan Markle's ancestry and other genealogical connections as we get closer to the wedding. The engagement of Prince Henry («Harry») of Wales, youngest son of the Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the American-born actress Meghan Markle, was announced on 27 November 2017. The wedding will take place at St. George's Chapel at Windsor on 19 May 2018, Kensington Palace announced on 15 December. Six days later three official photographs to mark their engagement were released. The photos can be viewed here, here as well as here!

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2017

The fourth and last issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly this year arrived just in time for Christmas, and I had the pleasure of reading it on the train on my way back to Oslo last night. There is nothing like having five hours for yourself on the train where you can do nothing but to read and relax ...

While the editorial is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip of the United Kingdom, who celebrated their platinum wedding earlier this year, the front page is dedicated to Denmark and Queen Alexandrine, here sitting together with her grandchildren (from left to right)  Princesses Benedikte, Margrethe, Anne-Marie and Elizabeth and Princes Christian and Ingolf. The cover photo tells that inside the magazine the readers are treated with the third and last part of Charlotte Zeepwat's The Royal House of Denmark – A Family Album. Besides the introduction the article offers as many as 92 illustrations as well as two pages with genealogical tables. And if this is not enough, there is yet another Danish-connected article further back in the issue, as Princess Thyra (1880–1945), the younger sister of King Christian X of Denmark and King Haakon VII of Norway, appears in the series Little-Known Royals, with Coryne Hall as the author.

My favourite article of this issue, however, is written by Joseph van Loon and Oliver Defrance and titled The Last Kohary. The life of  Prince Phillipp Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. I learnt a lot about the Coburg-Kohary Trust and the prince in particular. More of this, please!

The documents the late John Wimbles collected from the Romanian National Archives and other sources seem to have no end, fortunately, and in the latest issue of RDQ the readers can enjoy the 6th part of the series Half a Century of Royal Letters; 1899–1947.

Susan Symons has now written four books on German palaces – Schloss: The Fascinating Royal History of 25 German Castles (2014), Schloss II: More Fascinating Royal History of German Castles (2015), Schloss III: The Fascinating Royal History of 25 Castles in Central Germany (2016) and finally Schloss in Bavaria: The Fascinating Royal History of German Castles (2017). I own the two first volumes, so not only do I need to get hold of the last two books, but I realize that there are so many interesting palaces in Germany I need to visit! In the article My favourite 'Schlösser', Symons lists her top ten facourites. I have only been to two of her favourites – Hohenschwangau and Berchtesgaden. I don't think I was ever inside the palace in Berchtesgaden, so I guess it shouldn't been counted. Symons is, by the way, also the author of three books on the life of Queen Victoria: Young Victoria (2016), Victoria & Albert (2016) and Victoria the Widowed Queen (2017). Quite a production during such a short period of time!

After the German palaces, Charlotte Zeepvat returns with her second article, this time a review of Edward Hansons book The Wandering Princess. Princess Hélène of France, Duchess of Aosta (1871–1951), Stroud: Fonthill Media, 2017. ISBN 978-1781555927.

In the final column The World Wide Web of Royalty, the readers can find genealogical news from the Imperial, Royal and/or Princely houses of Bourbon-Orléans, Brazil, Erbach-Fürstenau, Hannover, Leiningen/Prussia, Liechtenstein, Romania and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Concerning Romania, we learn that the editior will return with the obituary of King Michael in the next issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly. Trond Norén Isaksen has also written an obituary which was printed in the January 2018 issue of Majesty, which now should be available both in print and in electronic form.

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentation of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.  

Royal December Summary

This December month has been rather busy due to Christmas preparations and work load, and I have not been able to write about the various events as I had wanted to. Here is a summary of the events I wish to write about.
  • 1 December 2017: The christening of Prince Gabriel, second son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, took place in the Royal Chapel at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm. The christening was officiated by Archbishop emeritus Anders Wejryd, assisted by Bishop and Chief Court Chaplain Johan Dalman and Court Chaplain and Rector of the Royal Court Parish Michael Bjerkhagen. Normally the christening would have been officiated by Archbishop Antje Jackelén, but she had obligations abroad. Prince Gabriel's sponsors were Princess Madeleine, Sara Hellqvist (one of Princess Sofia's sisters), Oscar Kylberg (friend and business partner of Prince Carl Philip), Carolina Pihl (friend and business partner of Princess Sofia) and Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath (cousin of Prince Carl Philip). Guests attending the christening ceremony and the reception can be viewed here.
  • 5 December 2017: In the case between Prince Louis of Luxembourg, Princess Tessy of Luxembourg and The Telegraph Media Group Ltd., the England and Wales High Court ruled that details of the former royal couple's financial matters as well as details of their divorce settlement were not allowed to be published. The explanatory note to the court decision said:  «1. The Applicant Husband and the Respondent wife are engaged in financial remedy proceedings before the High Court of England and Wales. Those proceedings are ongoing. 2. The purpose of this order is to seek to protect the confidentiality of the parties' financial arrangements and their negotiations within the context of their financial remedy proceedings, pending resolution of the same by agreement or determination of the court. 3. In the circumstances, the court has ordered that the matters set out at Paragraph 6 of this order shall not be published pending the conclusion of the financial remedy proceedings between the parties.» Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, who were married in 2006 and have two sons together, broke up in the summer of 2016 and a decree nisi was granted om 17 February 2017.
  • 5 December 2017: King Michael died in his residence in Arbonne, Switzerland, 96 years old. King Michael was King of Romania twice, from 1927 to 1930 and again from 1940 until his abdication was forced upon him by the communist regime in late 1947 and he was forced into exile. He earned his people's respect and popularity especially for, when he felt his position was strong enough, launched a coup d'etat against the fascist dictator Ion Antonescu and brought Romania over to the allied countries. Then king was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1946. The citation can be read here. After the communist regime fell in 1989, the was on several occasions refused entry to his homeland, but in 1997 his citizenship was restored and he was allowed to visit Romania again. King Michael was married to Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parme (1923–2016) in Athens, Greece and had 5 daughters. I had the pleasure of meeting both King Michael and Queen Anne as well as their daughter Princess Margarita and her husband Radu Duda during their visit to Oslo in 1997. A man of principles, King Michael for a long time felt loyal to the last monarchist constitition of 1923, which stipulated agnatic succession and in case of the lack of a male heir, the succession would revert to the House of Hohenzollern. However, in 2007 King Michael changed his mind and signed a document named the Fundamental Rules of the Royal Family of Romania, by which he designated his eldest daughter Princess Margareta as his heir. No-one would doubt that Princess Margarita would be his heir if Romania had restored the monarchical form of government. The question many monarchists and royal watchers ask is if the king should personally decide on the order of succession and include and exclude members as he saw fit. Normally succession questions are a state affair, not the king's personal toy. The last ten years of his life was partly shadowed by scandals within his family, and his own handling of the succession question and treatment of his grandson Nicholas de Roumanie-Medforth-Mills has received critical comments. Concerning the fundamental rules, The Telegraph in its obituary wrote that «As Romania is now a republic with a president, the document has no legal standing.» That is of course correct as of now. However, the Parliament of Romania is currently considering to pass a law giving the royal family a special status and by which the fundamental rules would be acknowledged. In her declaration to the Romanian people Princess Margarita referred to herself as «Custodian of the Crown of Romania».
  • 15 December 2017: The remains of Queen Elena of Italy (1873–1952) were brought from Montpellier, France to the family mausoleum at the Sanctuary of Vicoforte in northern Italy. Two days later the remains of her husband King Vittorio Emanuele III (b1869–r1900–1946–d1947) were transferred from Egypt. Parts of the royal family had wanted the former king to be buried in the Pantheon in Rome, but this was refused by the authorities.
  • 16 December 2017: The funeral service for King Michael took place in Romania. The program can be read at the official website of the royal family. The list of representatives of reigning and former reigning royal families can be read here. The courts of Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark and Monaco did not send any representatives. Concerning Norway, the main reason for the absence of representation, other than that there has – as far as I understand it  – been little contact between the two families over the years, was that the king was to attend the consecration of Kari Veiteberg, the new Bishop of the bishopric of Oslo at 11 a.m. on Sunday 17 December, and he would not have made it back in time for that event if he had gone to Romania. The Crown Prince could of course have attended.
  • 18 December 2017: According to the newspaper Romania Insider, «Romania’s governing parties ponder referendum on constitutional monarchy».
  • 24 December 2017: The King and Queen of Norway celebrated Christmas at Kongsseteren («the Royal Lodge») in Oslo together with Princess Märtha Louise, Ari Behn and their daughters, while the Crown Prince family spent Christmas at Skaugum in Asker. Ari Behn, who is on good terms with his former in-laws after his marriage to Princess Märtha Louise broke down in 2016, commented in an interview earlier this month: «I am still part of the family». In an interview with TV2, Behn said: «This will be Christmas no. 2 in my new situation. Last year the children were with me, so this will be the first Christmas with the royal family after the divorce». On 5 August 2016 the Norwegian Royal Court announced that Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn were going to divorce. The court did not reveal when the formal separation took place. According to the Norwegian marriage act section 21, «Each of the spouses may demand a divorce when they have been separated for at least one year.» This would mean that the divorce was granted some time in 2017, but the royal court has not stated exactly when the royal marriage was finally dissolved.
  • 25 December 2017: King Harald, Queen Sonja, Princess Märtha Louise and her two youngest daughters attended church service at Holmenkollen Chapel. The Crown Prince family attended the Christmas service in Asker Church the day before.
Updated on Thursday 28 December 2017 at 07.50 had for some reason forgotten to write King Vittorio Emanuele's numeral!).