Monday, May 21, 2018

The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The most anticipated royal event of 2018 took place on Saturday, as His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales tied the knot with Miss Rachel Meghan Markle at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in a ceremony watched by a television audience of over 18 million in the UK, 29 million in the bride's homeland of the United States, and a global audience estimated in the hundreds of millions. Over 100,000 people jammed the streets of the small town of Windsor, dominated by the ancient 1000-year-old Windsor Castle, to catch a glimpse of the bridal couple. It was a ceremony lauded by the press as "modern" and "groundbreaking", with nods to both the "old world" traditions of Harry's background and the "new world", multicultural, and Hollywood side brought by Meghan. 

Drama unfolded in the days before the ceremony concerning Meghan's father, who eventually decided not to attend, but this did not place a damper on the overall events. It was a spectacularly sunny day as the 36-year-old bride, renowned for her acting career on the TV legal drama Suits, rode by car alongside her mother, Doria Ragland, from Cliveden House to Windsor Castle. The groom and his brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, entered St. George's Chapel after the arrivals of the extended members of the Royal Family. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at 11:52 AM, while the Duchess of Cambridge arrived by car with the pages and bridesmaids; chief among them being her children Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Miss Markle arrived at St. George's Chapel and made her way up the steps on her own. She was greeted by her future father-in-law, the Prince of Wales, who offered to walk her down the aisle after her father announced he would not be attending. Presiding over the ceremony was David Conner, Dean of Windsor, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, performing the marriage ceremony. Harry's maternal aunt, Jane Fellowes, one of the sisters of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, gave a reading, while the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the primate of the Episcopal Church in the United States (the American branch of the Anglican Church), delivered a rousing fourteen-minute sermon. In a break with royal tradition, both the bride and groom exchanged rings, rather than just the bride receiving a ring as has been customary. Following the signing of the wedding registry, the newlyweds made their way back down the aisle and emerged at the steps of St. George's to rapturous applause. They boarded a landau and treated the spectators lining the streets of Windsor to a carriage procession, which culminated with a gorgeous ride down the famous "long walk" leading up to the George IV gateway of Windsor Castle. A luncheon was given at the castle by Her Majesty the Queen, while the Prince of Wales hosted a reception for close friends and family later that evening at Frogmore House on the Windsor estate.

Earlier that day, the Queen announced that Prince Harry was being created Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton, and Baron Kilkeel, titles that Meghan also holds since becoming his wife. The newlyweds are now officially known as Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The Duchess of Sussex wore a gown from the designer house of Givenchy, with a sixteen-foot veil trailing her, embroidered with floral emblems of all fifty-three countries of the Commonwealth, and anchored by Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara. The tiara was made in 1932, with its centerpiece being a spectacular brooch dating back to 1893 when it was presented as a wedding gift to the Duke of Sussex's great-great-grandmother, Princess Mary of Teck, for her marriage to the Duke of York (later King George V).

Being sixth in line to the throne, the wedding of the Duke of Sussex did not hold as much significance for the state and the dynasty as the 2011 nuptials of his brother, the Duke of Cambridge. For these reasons, foreign leaders were not invited, and neither did any members of European royal families attend. Nevertheless, the prince's popularity and his role as a senior member of the Royal Family, being that he is a son of the future king, meant that public interest would be high. It must be said that of all the guests at the wedding, the one who put on the most admirable displays of gallantry was the groom's father, the Prince of Wales. His decision to escort the bride down the aisle in the absence of her father was gentlemanly all on its own, and this was emphasized to an even greater extent with the way he treated Meghan's mother. When he and Miss Ragland accompanied the bridal couple to sign the wedding registry, the Prince gallantly held out his hand and escorted her out of her seat, and then offered his arm to Miss Ragland as the congregation made their way out on the steps of St. George's following the conclusion of the ceremony. If there has ever been any doubt about the manners and kindness of the Prince of Wales, then the behavior of His Royal Highness towards his new in-laws on Saturday should dispel any such notions. He deserves widespread admiration for the manner in which he conducted himself on his son's special day.

We here at About Royalty wish the Duke and Duchess of Sussex many years of happiness and the hopes that they will create a happy and healthy family together.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cinco de Mayo - Reflecting on Mexico's Ill-fated Experiments with Monarchy

Today, May 5th, a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo, is renowned in parts of Mexico, and especially in the United States, as a celebration of Mexican culture, Mexican food, and, perhaps most notably, Mexican liquor. The fascinating story behind the historic events of Cinco de Mayo correlates with one of the two attempts at monarchy that Mexico experimented with in the 19th century. 
Archduke Maximilian of Austria, later Emperor of Mexico

Cinco de Mayo became a holiday to commemorate the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862. This marked a surprise victory for Mexico against the invading army of France sent by Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, in what turned out to be a cynical and disastrous attempt to extend French imperialism. The whole skirmish began in 1861, when Benito Juarez, President of Mexico, defaulted on his country's massive foreign debts to various European powers. Incensed by Mexico's failure to pay, Emperor Napoleon III sent a task force along with troops from Great Britain and Spain to land at Veracruz, Mexico, to force the Mexican government into honoring its debts. While the British and Spanish drew up an agreement with Juarez and subsequently left the country alone, Napoleon III decided to further his involvement in Mexico as an opportunity to expand French imperial influence. More French troops arrived in Mexico and began pushing inland. 

On May 5, 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza led his troops into battle near the town of Puebla de Los Angeles and scored a surprise victory against a larger, better-trained French battalion. While the Battle of Puebla was not a decisive one, news of the Mexican victory spread across the country and rallied feelings of patriotism against the foreign invaders. Four days later, President Juarez declared that May 5 would be celebrated as a holiday to commemorate the victory achieved by Mexico on that day. The commemoration continues to this day, despite it being admittedly more popular in the United States than in Mexico itself. 

Maximilian and Charlotte depart from Europe for Mexico.
Yet there is more to the story beyond Cinco de Mayo. In fact, the success of May 5, 1862 proved to be a short-lived one. The French ultimately succeeded in overrunning Mexico and the following year Napoleon's scheme went into effect. The Archduke Maximilian of Austria was approached with an offer to become Emperor of Mexico. A small faction of wealthy, conservative, and landowning Mexican elites presented the offer to the archduke, believing that the creation of a monarchy would lend support to an aristocratic class which they would make up. Maximilian, the brother of Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, was encouraged by Napoleon III to accept the crown with French military support to help secure his newly-minted throne. 

Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte, daughter of King Leopold I of Belgium, made their way from Europe to Veracruz, arriving with great pomp as well as French troops guarding them on the way to the capital. The new Emperor and Empress installed themselves at Chapultepec Castle, atop a hill overlooking Mexico City. While the imperial couple were sincere in their desire to serve the Mexican people, their subjects were deeply unhappy with the foreign monarchy that had been imposed upon them. The presence of French troops was the only element preserving Maximilian's shaky throne, as uprisings and Franco-Mexican clashes frequently erupted all across the country. 

Mexico's northern neighbor, the United States, had been too distracted by its own bloody civil war to get involved. Once the war ended, however, the American government made clear to Napoleon III their strong opposition to a monarchy imposed by foreign powers so close to their shores. In 1866, responding to American pressure as well as the cost of maintaining a military presence there, Napoleon III withdrew French troops from Mexico. Emperor Maximilian now stood as a vulnerable figure, with defeat inevitable. The French emperor advised him to flee back to Europe, but Maximilian refused, delusional in his belief that he owed his life to the service of Mexico. Empress Charlotte raced across the Atlantic to appeal directly to Napoleon, begging him not to withdraw military support for her husband's throne. Charlotte's requests were refused, and at an audience with the Pope she went hysterical and slipped towards a nervous collapse. Sadly for the empress, all of her efforts to save her husband failed, and she would never see her beloved Maximilian again. On May 16, 1867, Maximilian was captured by Mexican forces and sentenced to death. President Juarez had admired Maximilian as a person, but denounced his involvement in the foreign invasion of his country and refused appeals from European heads of state to spare the emperor's life. On June 19, 1867, Maximilian von Habsburg, Emperor of Mexico was executed by firing squad in the town of Queretaro, thus ending the short-lived Second Mexican Empire. 
Execution of Emperor Maximilian

This bizarre and disastrous affair was not the first time that Mexico tried its hand at monarchy, however. The First Mexican Empire had briefly existed some forty years before. 

Augustin de Iturbide
After Mexico broke free from the Spanish crown in 1821, the country declared itself to be the independent Mexican Empire. King Ferdinand VII of Span was actually invited through this initial declaration to resume his position as monarch of Mexico albeit ruling it as a separate nation entirely independent of his throne in Spain. If he did not want the crown, he could offer it to a member of the Spanish royal family of his choosing, but Spain's refusal to recognize Mexico's independence at all led to a full severance of any ties with the former motherland. Instead, the Mexican Empire would be ruled over by General Augustin de Iturbide, who had been instrumental in leading Mexico's final push towards victory against the Spanish army during the wars of independence. He was proclaimed Emperor Augustin I on May 19, 1822, and crowned on July 21 at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City. Augustin's wife, Ana Maria de Huarte, was likewise crowned as his empress consort. 

The reign of Augustin I proved short and unstable. Severe economic strain, the withholding of political recognition from a number of foreign powers, and competing factions within the country made life difficult for the emperor. After less than a year on the throne, Emperor Augustin decided to abdicate on March 19, 1823. The imperial family went into exile, but the following year Augustin returned and unsuccessfully attempted to retake control of Mexico. He was captured and executed on July 19, 1824. 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Britain Welcomes a New Prince

The British royal family is getting two new Royal Highnesses in 2018, and the first of them made his arrival this week - a second son for Prince William and his wife Catherine. The other Royal Highness joining the ranks of the House of Windsor will be Meghan Markle once she marries the newborn prince's uncle, Prince Harry, in just a few weeks.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their son, Prince Louis.

On Monday 23 April, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her third child, a son. The little prince was born at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, and his father, the Duke of Cambridge, was present at the birth. Four days after his birth, Kensington Palace announced the infant's name and title - His Royal Highness Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge. As is tradition following the birth of a member of the royal family, Louis received 21-gun salutes fired off from Hyde Park and the Tower of London. 

Prince Louis is fifth in line to the British throne, and his birth made history as it marked the first time that a British prince did not supersede an elder sister in the line of succession. This stems from the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, where inheritance of the British crown abides by the principle of absolute primogeniture to allow firstborn children to take precedence in the line of succession regardless of their gender. This new law applies to any legitimate dynast in line for the British throne who is born after October 2011. In the case of newborn Prince Louis, he does not replace his elder sister, Princess Charlotte, in the line of succession. Under the previous order, Louis would have replaced Charlotte as fourth in line and she would have been fifth. This was the case with their grand-aunt, Princess Anne, the sister of their grandfather, Prince Charles. Anne is the second-born child of Queen Elizabeth II, but the births of her younger brothers, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964, meant that she was pushed down behind them in the line of succession even though she was already fourteen years old by the time of Edward's birth. 

Prince Louis of Battenberg, grandfather of
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The announcement of Louis's name generated a considerable amount of surprise from the public, as public polls had strongly favored either Arthur, James or Albert. Louis is not a common name for the British royals, although it does have significant family connections. The little prince Louis is the namesake of his great-great-great-grandfather, Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was the maternal grandfather of little Louis's great-grandfather, Prince Philip. Louis of Battenberg was a German prince who married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and rose through the ranks of the British Royal Navy to become First Sea Lord. However, the onset of World War I and a rise in anti-German tensions throughout Britain made Louis's position within the navy highly unpopular, and he reluctantly stepped down from his prestigious role. Further insult was added to injury in July 1917, when Louis's cousin, King George V, undertook a complete wipe-out of the British royal family's German connections. In addition to changing the name of his own dynasty from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, King George also asked his German relatives who were living in Britain to give up any Germanic titles of their own. Prince Louis of Battenberg thus renounced the Battenberg title for himself and his children, and translated their name into the more English-sounding Mountbatten. King George compensated Louis with the noble title Marquess (Marquis) of Milford-Haven, but the loss of his princely rank stung Louis for some time. 

Lord Louis Mountbatten with his grandnephew, Prince Charles
The name Louis also honors the newborn Prince Louis of Cambridge's great-great-grand-uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was the youngest son of the aforementioned Prince Louis of Battenberg and uncle to Prince Philip. Incensed when his father was hounded out of office as First Sea Lord as well as having to give up their princely rank, the young Louis Mountbatten vowed to avenge his family's humiliation. He did so in spectacular fashion, becoming First Sea Lord himself many years later as well as the last Viceroy of India before it gained independence from the British Empire. Lord Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA in 1979, an event which devastated his grandnephew, Prince Charles, who had looked to Louis as something of a surrogate father. In addition to his own name being one of his newborn grandson's middle names, Prince Charles will no doubt be pleased to have this grandchild's first name pay tribute to his beloved late uncle.  

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Yugoslav Princess Attempts to Save Granddaughter from Accused Sex Trafficking Group

Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and her daughter, actress Catherine Oxenberg
HRH Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia has been called upon by her daughter, actress Catherine Oxenberg, to help save her granddaughter from the influence of accused sex cult NXIVM. NXIVM's leader, Keith Raniere, was recently arrested in Mexico and extradited by US authorities on sex trafficking charges, and one of Raniere's protogees, Smallville actress Allison Mack, also faces criminal charges for helping Raniere operate a "sex cult" within NXIVM. Oxenberg's eldest daughter, 26-year-old India Oxenberg, began her involvement with NXIVM seven years ago and has reportedly severed contact with her mother following multiple attempts to convince her to end her relationship with Raniere's group. Oxenberg has gone public about her daughter's situation and believes NXIVM is a cult which brainwashes its followers. NXIVM garnered attention after former members revealed that they had been branded with cauterized pens and forced to have sexual relations with Raniere. Oxenberg says her attempts to stage an intervention with India have proved unsuccessful, and that she called on Princess Elizabeth as a last-ditch effort to save her daughter from the group's influence. The recent arrests of Keith Raniere and Allison Mack could lead to India Oxenberg facing legal troubles of her own if it is discovered that she has somehow been involved in the alleged sex trafficking. 

Catherine Oxenberg and her daughter, India.
Catherine Oxenberg is best known to audiences for her role as Amanda Carrington on the hit 1980s television series Dynasty. Oxenberg also portrayed the late Princess Diana in the 1982 CBS TV movie The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana; Diana's former husband, Prince Charles, is Oxenberg's second cousin in real life. She was married to actor Casper van Diem (known for his role in the 1997 film Starship Troopers), and has two daughters with him in addition to India from a previous relationship. Oxenberg appeared with Van Diem and her children in the short-lived Lifetime reality series So I Married a Princess (despite her mother's royal title, Oxenberg herself is not actually a princess). 

Jelisaveta Karađorđević, a.k.a.
Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia 
Oxenberg's mother, Princess Elizabeth (Serbian: Jelisaveta), is the only daughter of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia, who ruled the country as regent on behalf of the underage King Peter II from 1934 to 1941. Oxenberg's maternal grandmother, Princess Olga of Greece, was a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Princess Elizabeth was the first member of the deposed Karađorđević dynasty to return to Yugoslavia (which no longer exists and has since been broken up into the countries of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina) after the Communist government of Josep Tito abolished the monarchy in 1945. Elizabeth's second cousin once removed, Crown Prince Alexander, is the pretender to the Serbian throne and head of the House of Karađorđević. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

200th Birthday Anniversary of the Father-in-Law of Europe

King Christian IX of Denmark
8 April 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of King Christian IX of Denmark, known to history as "the father-in-law of Europe". Born into an obscure German family and with seemingly little prospects in store for him, it is impressive that Christian not only stumbled upon a lucky hand in life with his appointment as heir to the Danish crown, but the marriages of his children and grandchildren allowed his previously insignificant house to conquer almost every European throne by the start of the twentieth century. Today, every reigning king or queen in Europe except for those of Sweden and the Netherlands is a descendant of King Christian IX. 

The matchmaking powers of Christian's family, though historians have agreed his wife, Louise, actually held the steering wheel in that department, have only been rivaled by the "grandmother of Europe", Queen Victoria. Interestingly enough, Christian at one point attempted to put himself forward as a possible candidate for the young queen's husband. Instead of joining themselves together in matrimony, Christian and Victoria allowed their progeny to populate the thrones of Europe, and indeed many of their descendants intermarried with one another, beginning with the marriage of Christian's eldest daughter, Alexandra, to Victoria's eldest son, the future King Edward VII. 

Members of Christian IX's family at one of their annual summer reunions.
Among the attendees pictured are Christian's grandson
 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (standing fourth from
left in white uniform), with King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway to his
right, and King George I of Greece standing on far right. Second row: Nicholas
II's wife, Empress Alexandra of Russia, with Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia
next to her, and Alexandra,  Princess of Wales seated to the right. To
Alexandra's right is her father,  King Christian IX, with Dowager Empress
Marie of Russia beside him. 
The man born at Gottorp Castle in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 8 April 1818 as His Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, later Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, was only the fourth son of the Duke of Glücksburg. The Glücksburgs were a family of little importance and Christian, as a fourth son, possessed even less importance in the web of Europe's royal hierarchy. His attempt to win the hand of the young Queen Victoria proved unsuccessful, and instead he married Louise, a princess of the German house of Hesse-Kassel. His bride proved to be slightly more clever than he and also better connected from a dynastic standpoint to the Danish royal family, as she was a first cousin of the reigning king, Frederick VII. It was her bloodline that helped sway the childless King Frederick VII to nominate Christian, by virtue of his wife's ancestral connections, as heir to the Danish throne. 

Christian and Louise raised six children - Frederick, Alexandra, William, Dagmar, Thyra, and Valdemar - in the Yellow Palace, a deceptively-named manor adjacent to the Danish king's palace in Copenhagen. Living off of Christian's meager pay as an army officer, the family would not receive any significant boost in their financial standing until Christian became king with Frederick VII's death in 1863. 

That year of 1863 proved a landmark one for Christian and his family. In March, the eldest daughter, Alexandra, married Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Victoria and heir to the British throne. At the end of that same month, Christian and Louise's second son, William, was officially bestowed with the vacant throne of Greece, adopting the name George and becoming King George I of the Hellenes. Christian himself became King Christian IX of Denmark in November of that year. 
Four generations of Danish kings. Center: Christian IX, with his great-
grandson, the future King Frederick IX, standing in front of him. To
the left is Christian IX's son, King Frederick VIII, and to the right is
Frederick VIII's son, King Christian X.

King Christian IX and Queen Louise
with their daughter, Alexandra, Princess
of Wales (later Queen Alexandra), Alexandra's
daughter, Princess Louise, and
Louise's child, Alexandra.
The family's impressive dynastic links diversified over the years, with their second daughter, Dagmar, marrying Tsarevich Alexander, heir to the Russian throne, in 1866. She changed her name to Marie Feodorovna upon converting to the Russian Orthodox Church and became Empress of Russia when her husband ascended the throne as Tsar Alexander III in 1881. Christian IX's third daughter, Thyra, married the dispossessed Crown Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, whose father had been deprived of his throne after Otto von Bismarck's leadership over Prussia forced Hanover's annexation into the German Empire. The youngest of Christian and Louise's children, Valedmar, married Princess Marie of Orleans but, unlike his elder siblings, rejected offers of vacant European thrones. Upon the death of Christian IX in 1906, the eldest son succeeded to the Danish throne as King Frederick VIII.

Among Christian IX's grandchildren who reigned as monarchs were King Christian X of Denmark, King Haakon VII of Norway (he was the second son of King Frederick VIII and was chosen by the Norwegian parliament to found a new dynasty there when the country declared its independence from Sweden in 1905), King George V of Great Britain, King Constantine I of Greece, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick. 

The present European monarchs descended from Christian IX are Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; King Harald V of Norway; King Philippe of Belgium; King Felipe VI of Spain; and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. King Albert II of Belgium, who abdicated in 2013, is also his descendant; Queen Sofia of Spain, the wife of the abdicated King Juan Carlos, is descended from Christian as well, and the former King Constantine II of Greece and his wife, Queen Anne-Marie, are both his descendants. 
Members of the Danish and Greek royal families gather in Copenhagen for
Christmas. The current Danish royal family descends from Christian IX's eldest
son, Frederick VIII of Denmark, while the Greek royal family descends from Christian
IX's second son, King George I of Greece.
King Frederick IX, the great-grandson of King Christian IX, had three daughters, and
their children and grandchildren are pictured here.
Seated in the middle from left are Queen Anne-Marie of Greece 

(Frederick IX's youngest daughter), with her husband, King Constantine II of Greece.
Next is Frederick IX's eldest daughter, Queen Margrethe II, with her husband, Prince

Henrik, followed by Frederick IX's middle daughter, Princess Benedikte. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Yikes...royal drama...

A tense moment between Spain’s two queens has garnered widespread attention in the media and even led a member of the Greek royal family to weigh in on social media. 

On Easter Sunday, the Spanish royal family attended their traditional mass in Palma de Mallorca. As usual, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia appeared with their two daughters, Leonor, Princess of Asturias and Infanta Sofía, and were accompanied by Felipe’s mother, Queen Sofía. Felipe’s father, the abdicated King Juan Carlos, surprised everyone by also attending, marking the first time in a number of years that he appeared with his family at Easter Mass. Everything seemed to be business as usual- the family posed for photographs outside of the church and all appeared to be well. 

A video that has just gone viral as of yesterday, however, paints a different picture. 

Thanks to an amateur video, Queen Sofía can be seen attempting to pose for a photo with her two granddaughters. The girls’ mother, Queen Letizia, then steps in and after a moment or two it becomes blatantly apparent that she is attempting to block the photo from being taken. A look of bemusement appears on Queen Sofía’s face, and her granddaughter Leonor even appears to be brushing aside her grandmother’s hand as well as her own mother’s hand when the Queen tried to usher her daughters out of the photo. Their grandfather, King Juan Carlos, also appears confused by the scuttle, and King Felipe steps in to apparently diffuse the situation beteeen his mother and wife. 

The release of the video triggered a flurry of reactions from the Spanish media, many of whom are criticizing Queen Letizia for her behavior towards her mother-in-law. It has been an undisguised secret over the years that not many within the Spanish royal family are fans of Letizia, but of all the Spanish royals it does appear that Queen Sofía has made the most effort to put up a good front with her daughter-in-law, and indeed in recent years, as the monarchy has faced public scrutiny which eventually led to the abdication of King Juan Carlos, it seemed as though Sofía and Letizia were strong allies with one another. This recent incident appears to show that perhaps that might not be the case anymore.

Obviously there has been no word from the Spanish royal household on this incident, but it became a full-blown inter-royal drama when a member of the Spanish royal family’s extended clan decided to weigh in on social media.

Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece expressed her opinions on her Twitter account. She is the wife of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, who is the nephew of Queen Sofía (Pavlos’s father, the former King Constantine II, is Sofía’s brother). This makes Marie-Chantal and Letizia’s husbands first cousins; they were even roommates in college at Georgetown University. The crown princess tweeted the following: 

It is also no secret among European royalty that Marie-Chantal herself is less than universally adored by her husband's blue-blooded relations. Despite this, Marie-Chantal has always expressed her admiration publicly for her husband's aunt, and it is understandable that she felt a natural inclination to defend the queen mother. Still, this author cannot help but feel that perhaps she overextended her hand by getting involved. Even though the Greek royal family are no longer a reigning house and therefore are not necessarily subjected to the same standards of publicity as other reigning families, they nevertheless carry on with the same sort of quiet dignity that is expected of royalty. I have no doubt that Marie-Chantal's in-laws, King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie, will not be in favor of their daughter-in-law's very public response to this incident. No matter how much they may agree with her, given that Queen Sofia is Constantine's own sister and has always supported her fully, they come from the older generation which believes that royalty never reacts and never responds. 

It will be very interesting to see how this further plays out, and whether Marie-Chantal will be pressured to remove this.  

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Royal news flash: weddings and births

Some royal news updates over the last few weeks:

Sweden’s Newborn Princess
On 9 March 2018, Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland and her husband, Herr Christopher O’Neill, welcomed their third child, a daughter named Adrienne Josephine Alice. The girl was born at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd, Sweden, and is currently tenth and last in the line of succession to the throne of Sweden. As with the other children of Princess Madeleine, Adrienne holds the rank of a Swedish royal princess along with a ducal title. She is officially Her Royal Highness Princess Adrienne of Sweden, Duchess of Blekinge. A council of state presided over by the infant’s grandfather, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf, confirmed her title and dukedom. Members of Adrienne’s family – her father, her grandparents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and her uncles and aunts Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Sofia – then attended a service of thanksgiving in her honor at the chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

In this author’s opinion, the name Adrienne is certainly keeping in line with what is becoming a tradition of giving less traditional names to females in the younger generation of the Swedish royal family. I can’t say I am particularly enraptured by the name, just as I am not terribly keen on the names Leonore or Estelle, but then these aren’t my children and my opinion is irrelevant anyway. Congratulations nevertheless to the parents and her siblings. 

Queen’s Approval for Upcoming Nuptials
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has granted her formal consent for the impending marriage of her grandson, His Royal Highness Prince Henry (Harry) of Wales, and Miss Meghan Markle. The couple will walk down the aisle at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 19 May.

According to the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which repealed the previous Royal Marriages Act 1772, the first six dynasts in the line of succession to the throne require the formal consent of the sovereign in order to marry. As Prince Harry is currently fifth in line to the throne (though he will move down to sixth in line next month with the birth of his brother’s third child), his grandmother’s consent was necessary to retain his rights of succession as well as the rights of his descendants.

The formal announcement stated that the Queen gave her consent to a “Contract of Matrimony” between her “Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle”.

Despite a flurry of speculation, there is currently no confirmation on whether Prince Harry is receiving a ducal title, like his brother, on his wedding day, and such an announcement will not be made until that very morning. For years the rumor has floated around that he has been earmarked for the Duke of Sussex, one of the last vacant royal dukedoms. If this proves prescient, then Meghan will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex upon marriage. Otherwise, if no additional title is granted to Harry or his bride, the newlyweds will be formally known as Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Henry of Wales.

Hanoverian Royal Wedding
South America seems an unlikely locale these days for a royal wedding, but the Peruvian capital of Lima played host to one yesterday, 16 March, bringing together a glamorous Peruvian former model and a prince of a deposed German royal house. His Royal Highness Prince Christian of Hanover, the second son of Ernest Augustus IV, the Prince of Hanover, celebrated his religious wedding to Alessandra de Osma in Lima. The couple already held their civil wedding in London back in November. This is the second wedding for the House of Hanover in less than a year. In July 2017, Christian’s elder brother, Ernest Augustus, Hereditary Prince of Hanover, married Ekaterina Malysheva in Hanover, Germany. Reports of a family rift between the elder Prince Ernest Augustus and his namesake son overshadowed the celebrations, prompting the Prince of Hanover to absent himself from his son’s nuptials. However, Ernest Augustus Sr. made the trek to Peru for his younger son’s wedding, and the younger Ernest Augustus’s attendance no doubt made for an interesting family reunion.

Prince Christian and his brother are the two sons of Prince Ernest Augustus IV’s first marriage to Chantal Hochuli. They divorced in 1997, and the Prince remarried in 1999 to Princess Caroline of Monaco, eldest daughter of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and American actress Grace Kelly. The German House of Hanover was the reigning dynasty of Great Britain from 1714, following the death of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne, until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. They also reigned over the Kingdom of Hanover in Germany, which was dissolved following its annexation by Prussia into the German Empire in 1866. If Queen Victoria had never inherited the British throne, and the crown had instead passed to her cousin, Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (who was crowned King Ernest Augustus I of Hanover in 1837), then yesterday’s groom, Prince Christian, would be the son of the reigning British monarch.  

The wedding brought forth a number of European royals and high society figures. Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie of York both attended (Eugenie will be celebrating her own wedding later this year), along with Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his daughter, Princess Maria Olympia (Pavlos is a second cousin of Prince Christian – Christian’s grandfather, another Ernest Augustus, was the brother of Pavlos’s grandmother, Queen Frederica of Greece). Prince Christian’s half-sister, Princess Alexandra of Hanover (the daughter of his father’s marriage to Princess Caroline of Monaco) was on hand to help her new sister-in-law with her train, and Christian’s stepsiblings through Princess Caroline – Andrea Casiraghi, Charlotte Casiraghi, and Pierre Casiraghi – all attended as well. Princess Caroline, who is officially Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover, has been separated from her husband for over a decade and did not attend.