Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sweden's Princess Ends Engagement

Princess Madeleine of Sweden, youngest daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, has broken off her engagement with Jonas Bergström. The palace has not commented on the reason for the split, but sources are claiming that Bergström had been unfaithful to his fiancee.

Madeleine's elder sister, Crown Princess Victoria, is still due to marry her fiancee, Daniel Westerling, this summer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen

Today marks the 84th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born April 21, 1926, the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth)

Elizabeth II is currently the longest-lived British monarch. The second longest-lived monarch, Queen Victoria, died at the age of 81. Elizabeth II is presently the third longest reigning British monarch, behind her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned 63 years, and her great-great-great-great-grandfather, King George III, who reigned 59 years. Elizabeth II will become the second longest-reigning monarch in 2011.

Buckingham Palace stated that the Queen will spend her birthday quietly at home in Windsor Castle with her husband, Prince Philip. Official celebrations for her birthday are traditionally held on the first or second Saturday in June, a celebration known as the official birthday of the Sovereign.

Friday, April 16, 2010

70th Birthday of Queen Margrethe

Friday, April 16 marks the 70th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark, Margethe II. A multitude of Europe's royalty- most of whom are related to the Queen- gathered in Copenhagen on Friday to join in the birthday celebrations. Along with the Queen's immediate family- her husband, Prince Henrik; their eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Mary; their second son, Prince Joachim and his wife, Marie- the Queen's other notable relatives were among the guests.

The Queen's two sisters - Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece - were present, as were Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and his wife, Princess Maxima, King Carl Gustav XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Crown Princess of Sweden, and the Crown Prince and Princess of Norway. The previous evening there was a dazzling gala at the Royal Theatre where all the royals turned up in their gowns, tiaras and uniforms. Friday afternoon saw the royals venture out in the streets to see the cheering crowds. It was a lively event that served to display the Queen's incredible popularity among the Danish people. Copenhagen police were called in to briefly disband a small group of anti-monarchist protestors, but aside from that and an unforeseen natural disaster, the celebrations went smoothly.

A number of other European royals had to cancel their trips to Denmark due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland that disrupted air travel all across Europe. The Duke of Edinburgh was unable to leave London, and the King of the Belgians and the King and Queen of Spain were all unable to fly out of their respective countries. (Ironically, Margethe's grandfather, King Christian X, was also King of Iceland until 1944, when Iceland officially broke from its union with the Kingdom of Denmark.)

Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was born April 16, 1940 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, the first child of Crown Prince and Princess Frederick of Denmark. Like most of the present European royals, Margrethe is a descendant of both Queen Victoria of Great Britain and King Christian IX of Denmark. At the time of her birth, Margethe's uncle, Prince Knud, was second-in-line to the throne behind Crown Prince Frederick, who succeeded his father as King Frederick IX in 1947. Following Frederick's accession, there was debate over whether his successor should be his brother or one of his three daughters. On March 27, 1953, a referendum was held that resulted in the granting of cognatic primogeniture, which meant that a daughter of the sovereign would inherit the throne if she had no brothers. Thus, Knud place in the succession was usurped, and Margethe found herself the heiress presumptive.

She married French-born Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in 1967, with whom she has two sons- Frederik, born 1968, and Joachim, born 1969. Following their marriage, Henri became known as His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark.

Frederick IX died in 1972, and Margethe became queen at the age of 32. Within Denmark, she is a highly respected and extremely popular figure, praised for her polite frankness, her interests in music, art and literature, and is also praised for a family that has avoided the scandal that has plagued a number of her fellow monarchs' children.

Queen Margethe and Prince Henrik wave to the crowds during the Queen's birthday celebrations.

Left to right: Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit.

Anne-Marie, the former Queen of Greece and youngest sister of Queen Margrethe, arrives at the Royal Theatre for the Queen's birthday gala.

Princess Benedikte, sister of Queen Margrethe II, arrives for the Queen's birthday gala.

Prince Carl-Philip of Sweden, his sister Crown Princess Victoria, and her fiance Daniel Westerling arrive for Queen Margrethe's birthday celebration.

The Danish royal family wave to the crowds following Queen Margrethe II's 70th birthday celebrations.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Anniversary of Maximilian of Austria's proclamation as Mexican emperor

On April 10, 1864, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, brother of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico. Following the French intervention in Mexico led by Emperor Napoleon III, a delegation of Mexican monarchists approached Maximilian with the offer of ascending the throne of a second Mexican empire (the first Mexican empire, under Emperor Agustin de Iturbide, had collapsed in 1823 after less than a year), which would be supported by France's military presence in Mexico. Maximilian accepted, and together with his wife, Charlotte (daughter of King Leopold I of the Belgians), they were proclaimed Their Imperial Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

Maximilian and Charlotte sailed from Europe on an Austrian navy ship and docked at Veracruz on May 21. From the start, Maximilian found great resistance to his rule from the Mexican people. Backed by French troops, he was able to establish his capital in Mexico City, and he and Charlotte chose the famed Chapultepec Castle as their official residence. Maximilian constructed a pathway leading from Chapultepec through the center of Mexico City, and named this Paseo de la Empeatriz (The Empress' Promenade). Today, it is known as the Paseo de la Reforma (Reform Promenade), Mexico City's most famous and fashionable boulevard.

With his country constantly in conflict between the remaining French presence and the republican forces who wanted to do away with the new foreign monarchy, Maximilian took a liberal approach and supported a number of the policies implemented by Benito Juarez, Mexican president before the French occupation. Maximilian even offered amnesty to Juarez if he would swear allegiance to the empire, but Juarez refused. In response to the republican tactic of executing anyone who professed support for the empire, Maximilian ordered that anyone supporting Juarez should also be shot, which furthered his unpopularity among the Mexicans.

Following the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865, the United States, agitated by a monarchy so close to their borders and by the French presence, began supplying arms to Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz. Maximilian also invited ex-Confederates to live in Mexico, further annoying the US government.

In 1866, faced with a losing battle against Mexico's republican forces and domestic trouble at home, Napoleon III withdrew French troops from Mexico, effectively ending any legitimate military support for the Mexican empire. All across Europe, Maximilian was being called "the Archdupe", portraying him as a puppet in Napoleon III's botched scheme.

Refusing to desert his followers, Maximilian resisted suggestions to abdicate, but in May 1867 he was captured, court-martialed and sentenced to death.

Several of Europe's crowned heads appealed to save Maximilian's life. Although they had been in conflict before, Benito Juarez (who had been reinstated to power in Mexico) admired Maximilian on a personal level, but nonetheless agreed that in order to demonstrate Mexico's intolerance for future foreign invasions, Maximilian's death sentence should be carried out. The deposed emperor was executed by firing squad on June 19, 1867.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New member of the Romanian Royal Family

On April 1, 2010, Nicholas de Roumanie Medforth-Mills, eldest grandson of former King Michael of Romania, was created His Royal Highness Prince Nicholas of Romania and is now officially a member of the Romanian Royal Family. Prior to his creation as a royal prince, he was regarded as a member of the Royal Household, but not a member of the Royal Family.

His grandfather, Michael, former king of Romania, amended the Fundamental Laws of the Royal House of Romania, which declared that upon Nicholas Medforth-Mills' 25th birthday or the death of King Michael- whichever happened first- he would be created a Romanian prince with the style of Royal Highness.

So with his 25th birthday on April 1, 2010, he has now become a Royal Highness and is 3rd in line to the headship of the Royal House of Romania, as well as 3rd in line to the defunct Romanian throne. His mother, Princess Elena of Romania, is 2nd in line to the headship of the Royal House, behind her sister, Princess Margarita, who does not have any children of her own.

King Michael was overthrown by a Communist coup in 1947. He married Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma the year after his abdication, with whom he has five daughters.

Prince Nicholas is the only son of King Michael and Queen Anne's second daughter, Princess Elena. She married Dr. Leslie Medforth-Mills, Nicholas' father, and they divorced in 1991. Dr. Medforth-Mills died in 2002, and Princess Elena has since remarried.

Nicholas Michael de Roumanie Medforth-Mills was born in 1985 near Geneva. He was brought up in Newcastle, England and attended Shiplake College. Since 2008, Prince Nicholas has become publicly active in Romania, which he first visited in 1992 when his grandfather was allowed to return to Romania for the first time since 1948.