Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today, January 31, is the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She was born in 1938, the eldest daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. However, the Queen's official birthday is celebrated on April 30, known as Queen's Day (Dutch: Koninginnedag) which was her mother's birthday. April 30 of this year will mark the thirtieth anniversary of Beatrix's ascension to the Dutch throne.

Last year's Queen's Day made headlines around the world when a man plowed his car through a crowd of spectators who had gathered to see the Queen and other members of the royal family at a parade in Apeldoorn. The crash was captured by numerous news cameras and showed members of the royal family, who were riding on an open-top bus, looking on and visibly shocked. Eight people were killed in the attack, including the driver, and ten others were injured.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kissing cousins, part 2

In our previous segment on "Kissing cousins...", we described the numerous royal ancestries that trace back to King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark. Now we'll tackle an even more complex family tree...one with a hell of a lot more people...that of Queen Victoria.

*DEEP BREATH*


Right. In 1840, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, then aged 20, married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, also age 20. He was the son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, whose sister, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was Victoria's mother.

The marriage was a happy, passionate one. The queen and her prince consort had nine children together, and when Albert died of typhus in 1861, Victoria was inconsolable and spent the rest of her long life in mourning.


Children of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert -

1. Princess Victoria, The Princess Royal: Victoria and Albert's eldest child, "Vicky" was precocious, highly intelligent, and constantly outshone her younger brother, Bertie. She fulfilled her father's dreams of uniting Britain with Germany when she married Prince Frederick of Prussia, who would later become German Emperor and King of Prussia. Little could she have known in her early days the dramatic, tragic impact her eldest son, Wilhelm II, would have upon modern world history.

















2. Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII: Known as "Bertie" in his family, he lingered in the shadows of his sis
ter Vicky, who was constantly praised by their parents while Bertie was regarded as a disappointment. Preferring leisure to academics, Bertie's wayward love life infuriated Victoria and Albert. He married the beautiful Princess Alexandra of Denmark and ascended the throne as King of the United Kingdom and Emperor of India in 1901.


















3. Princess Alice: Sensitive, somber Alice was especially close to her brother Bertie, and proved herself to be the family caretaker when she dutifully comforted Queen Victoria upon her mother's death, and nursing her father with painstaking care through his final illness. She married the handsome Prince Louis of Hesse, who became Grand Duke of Hesse in 1877. Her liberal-mindedness caused a stir both with her mother and within Hesse, though she earned respect for her constant devotion to nursing and charities. Alice died in 1878 from an outbreak of diphteria that had also killed her youngest daughter. Alice's youngest surviving daughter, Alix, would grow up to become the ill-fated Empress Alexandra of Russia.




















4. Prince Alfre
d, Duke of Edinburgh and Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha: Prince Alfred began his studies at naval college at the age of 12. When King Otho was deposed as King of Greece in 1862, the Greeks enthusiastically clamored for Alfred to become their next king, but Victoria disliked the notion and the Great Powers had decided that no one from their countries would take the Greek crown. He was created Duke of Edinburgh, and later married Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, daughter of Tsar Alexander II. Though the marriage was unhappy, they had five children; one of them would grow up to become the legendary Queen Marie of Romania. Alfred succeeded his childless uncle, Prince Albert's brother Ernst II, as Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893.




















5. Princess
Helena: Regarded as the most shy and plain of Victoria's daughters, Helena grew up as something of a tomboy and in the shadows of her elder sisters. She married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, an impoverished German prince with whom she had six children. Helena and her husband lived a quiet and comfortable, if not remarkable, life in the vicinity of her mother.


















6. Princess Louise: The most beautiful, artistic and vivacious of Victoria's daughters, Louise would certainly have become a renowned sculptor were it not for her royal birth. She has the dual distinction of being the first child of a British monarch to marry a subject of non-royal blood since 1515, and of also being the only child of Queen Victoria to not have children of her own.





















7. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: Arthur enjoyed a long, successful career in the army, lasting 40 years and seeing him advance to the rank of general. Arthur also served as Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916. He married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia and became the grandfather of a Danish queen and great-grandfather of the present Swedish king.
















8. Prince L
eopold, Duke of Albany: Leopold suffered the unfortunate distinction of being the only of her children afflicted with the disease hemophilia, though two of Victoria's daughters would pass the disease onto their own sons and grandsons. Though his fragile condition caused Victoria to keep him as close to home as possible, Leopold lived long enough to marry and produce children of his own- very rare among hemophiliacs of the time. His daughter, Alice, would pass the disease to her own son.














9. Princes
Beatrice: From childhood, Victoria was determined to follow the common Victorian era practice where widowed mothers would keep their youngest daughters as their personal companions. Beatrice grew up shy and resigned herself to never marrying so that she could remain at her mother's side. However, she fell in love with Prince Henry of Battenberg and, despite her mother's initial protests, married him in 1885. In exchange for allowing Beatrice to marry, Victoria forced the couple to live by her side at her numerous residences, and their four children allowed Victoria in her twilight years to become an indulgent grandmother. Beatrice's daughter, Victoria Eugenie, later became the queen of Spain.







So now that we've completed the arduous task of chronicling Victoria and Albert's children, it's time to weave our way through the tangled web of their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.


Queen Victoria's grandchildren who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs were:

Wilhelm II (son of Victoria, Princess Royal), Emperor of Germany
George V (son of Edward VII), King of the United Kingdom
Princess Marie of Edinburgh (daughter of Prince Alfred), Queen of Romania
Princess Sophie of Prussia (daughter of Victoria, Princess Royal), Queen of Greece
Princess Maud of Wales (daughter of Edward VII), Queen of Norway
Princess Alix of Hesse (daughter of Princess Alice), Empress of Russia
Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (daughter of Princess Beatrice), Queen of Spain


Queen Victoria's great-grandchildren who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs:

Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom (son of King George V of Britain)
George VI, King of the United Kingdom (son of King George V of Britain)
George II, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Alexander, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Paul, King of Greece (son of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Olav V, King of Norway (son of Princess Maud of Wales)
Carol II, King of Romania (son of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Louise Mountbatten, Queen of Sweden (granddaughter of Princess Alice)
Princess Ingrid of Sweden, Queen of Denmark (granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, Queen of Romania (daughter of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Princess Marie of Romania, Queen of Yugoslavia (daughter of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Princess Elisabeth of Romania, Queen of Greece (daughter of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)


Great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria who became monarchs or consorts to monarchs:

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom (granddaughter of King George V of Britain)
Prince Philip of Greece, Duke of Edinburgh (consort to Elizabeth II) (great-grandson of Princess Alice)
Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark (great-granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Harald V, King of Norway (grandson of Princess Maud of Wales)
Constantine II, King of Greece (grandson of Princess Sophie of Prussia, also great-grandson of Wilhelm II, German Emperor)
Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark, Queen of Greece (great-granddaughter of Prince Alfred)
Juan Carlos, King of Spain (grandson of Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg)
Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark, Queen of Spain (granddaughter of Princess Sophie of Prussia)
Michael, King of Romania (grandson of Princess Marie of Edinburgh)
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden (great-grandson of Prince Alfred)
Princess Frederica of Hanover, Queen of Greece (granddaughter of Wilhelm II of Germany)


And there we have it.

Something to check out.

This is The Royal House of Greece, an interesting documentary done by the History Channel that provides a condensed but nonetheless fascinating look at the history of the Greek royal family. It chronicles the dynasty's auspicious beginnings, from how Prince Vilhelm of Denmark became King George I of Greece, through Greece's turbulent 1920s and 1930s, the multiple exiles and reinstatements of both King Constantine I and King George II, to Constantine II's flight from Greece in 1967 and the end of the Greek monarchy. It also shows some rare photographs and film, and exclusive commentary from members of both the Danish and Greek royal families.



In this documentary you'll see interviews with Queen Margrethe II and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, former King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Prince Michael of Kent (whose mother, Princess Marina, was a granddaughter of King George I of Greece), Amadeo, Duke of Aosta (whose mother, Princess Irene, was a daughter of King Constantine I of Greece), Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia (whose mother, Alexandra, was the only daughter of King Alexander I of Greece) and Prince Michael of Greece (whose father, Prince Christopher, was the youngest son of King George I).



Again, it does pack everything into one rather quick package, but it is nonetheless fascinating to watch and will delight anyone with an interest in royalty.



Courtesy of Andreasmegos for posting this on YouTube.

Part 1:

Part 2:


Part 3:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reign over subjects who don't share your blood.

One of the curious things about today's European royals is how they have very little, if any at all, of the ethnicity of their respective countries in their blood.



This will be an ongoing series here at About Royalty where we'll analyze the ancestry of various European royals to see what comprises their ethnic backgrounds.





Our first contender will be HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.





His is an especially interesting case. The Duke of Edinburgh was born as Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. He married the heiress presumptive to the British throne, and is the father of the man expected to become the next King of the United Kingdom.










Prince Philip:

(note: these are rough, broad estimations)

75% German

6.25% Polish

6.25% English

6.25% Danish

3.125% Dutch

3.125% Russian



How did we calculate these numbers, you ask? Let's take a look.



Prince Philip's father, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, was the son of King George I and Queen Olga of Greece. George I was the son of King Christian IX of Denmark, and Olga was born a grand duchess of Russia, being a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. However, the Danish royal family and the Russian imperial family were heavily German. Since the 17th century, the majority of the brides chosen by Russian tsars and grand dukes were extracted from German noble houses. The particular branch of the Danish royal family sired from Christian IX hailed from the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, again, predominantly German. Prince Andrew of Greece was roughly 75% German, 12% Danish, 6.25% Russian, and a sliver of Dutch through Queen Olga's maternal grandmother's line tracing back to the House of Orange-Nassau.



Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, was the daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg (later Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford-Haven) and Princess Victoria of Hesse. Louis of Battenberg was descended from a morganatic branch of the German ducal house of Hesse: his father, Prince Alexander of Hesse, contracted a non-royal marriage with Countess Julia Hauke, (later created Princess of Battenberg), who was of German-Polish extraction. Princess Victoria of Hesse was the daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, Queen Victoria's second daughter. Despite the British connection, Queen Victoria was almost wholly German through her father's lineage in the House of Hanover and her mother's bloodlines through the House of Saxe-Coburg.



Thus, from his parents' respective ancestries, we can conclude that Philip is predominantly German from both sides of his family, with a sprinkling of Danish and Russian blood (and a small sliver of Dutch) from his father, and a slice of Polish and English blood from his mother.



(PS- did you notice a distinct lack of Greek blood in Prince Philip?)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark is engaged.

According to the website of the Greek Royal Family, HRH Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark, age 40, the second son of former King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, became engaged to Tatiana Blatnik on December 28, 2009. Blatnik is an event planner for fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg.

Prince Nikolaos was born in Rome in 1969, two years after the Greek royal
family fled into exile following the colonels' coup of April 1967. Nikolaos has an elder sister, Princess Alexia, and an elder brother, Crown Prince Pavlos, both of whom are married with children. Nikolaos' younger siblings, Princess Theodora and Prince Philippos, are both students attending university in the United States and Britain. No further details have been announced concerning the wedding date.

Here are Prince Nikolaos and Tatiana Blatnik attending the 2008 wedding of Nikolaos' first cousin, Prince Joachim of Denmark, in Copenhagen.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kissing cousins doesn't even begin to describe it...part 1

Trying to trace the genealogical ties between Europe's royal houses can leave one feeling something like this...














Nonetheless, an important part of understanding moder
n royalty is understanding the very complex ancestral ties they have to one another. Luckily, there are two marriages in particular that serve as easy starting points for tracing these warped and frankly incestuous family trees. To start your journey on the European Royal Genealogy Tour, you must begin with these people...











King Christian IX of Denmark



















and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom



















Very good. We've got our starting points. Pencils ready, everyone...



Let's begin with Christian IX. Christian IX married Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel in 1842.


Though Christian was a descendant of Danish kings, Louise was the one closer to the throne. Due to a series of royal squabbling and other pish posh, it was
decided in 1847 that since Louise was the closest eligible heir to the Danish throne but unable to inherit the crown due to Salic law, her husband instead would become king. Sure enough, in 1863 Christian and Louise became King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark.


Christian and Louise had six children- Frederick, Alexandra, Vilhelm, Dagmar, Thyra and Valdemar, each of whom would make important and successful dynastic marriages with the other ruling houses of Europe. Though Christian IX would go down in history as "the Father-in-Law of Europe", historians have asserted that it was Queen Louise who was the real Yenta in these twisted royal alliances.


Here is where the confusion begins...pay close attention...


Child #1- Frederick. He succeeded his father to become King Frederick VIII of Denmark. He married Princess Lovisa of Sweden, thereby establishing the Danish royal family's connections with the Swedish royals.



















Child #2- Alexandra. At this time, Great Bri
tain was the mightiest empire on Earth, and Alexandra achieved the ultimate coup when she married Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, in 1863. When Albert Edward became King Edward VII upon the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901, Alexandra became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India.



















Child #3- Vilhelm. This son found himself in one of history's most peculiar situations when he was selected by a council of the Great Powers (consisting of France, Britain and Russia) to become the new King of Greece. Nowadays it seems bizarre, choosing a rather obscure Danish prince to become a Greek king, but this was at a time when mo
narchy was the accepted form of government, and the Greeks themselves expressed no interest in selecting any of their own countrymen to take the crown. When Vilhelm came to Athens in 1863, he changed his name to George I and married Grand Duchess Olga of Russia.



















Child #4- Dagmar. Renowned
for her beauty, like her sister Alexandra, Dagmar found herself engaged to Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia, eldest son of Tsar Alexander II. Tragically, Nicholas died not long after proposing, temporarily derailing the hope that Dagmar would become a Russian empress. Instead, Dagmar found solace in the arms of Nicholas' brother, the new heir Alexander, and they were married in 1866. She converted to the Russian Orthodox Church and gave herself a new Russian name, Maria Feodorovna. She became Empress of All the Russias when her husband ascended the throne in 1881, and her eldest son would grow up to be the ill-fated Tsar Nicholas II.



















Child #5- Thyra. It's safe to say that Thyra was mostly
overshadowed by her glamorous elder sisters. Face it, when one sister is the Queen of England and another is the Empress of Russia, there's a lot to live up to. She wound up engaged to Ernest Augustus, the Crown Prince of Hanover, but unlike her sisters she would not end up sitting pretty on a throne. Thyra's father-in-law, King George V of Hanover, made the unfortunate choice of going up against the mighty Prussians during the 1866 Austro-Prussian war. After the war, when the victorious Bismarck created the German Empire under Wilhelm I, Hanover was absorbed into the empire and George V found he sat on a nonexistent throne. As such, Thyra and her husband were no longer crown prince and princess of Hanover, but later on would wind up as the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland, a less exalted if still impressive station.














Child #6- Valdemar. If Thyra was daunted by the achievements of her sisters, then it was no
easier for Valdemar, with one brother the King of Denmark and another the King of Greece. Valdemar lived a quiet life with a career in the navy, but was reportedly offered and rejected the thrones of Bulgaria and Norway. Valdemar married Princess Marie d'Orléans, great-granddaughter of King Louis-Philippe I of France.



















Now, we'll see how today's royals are related to each other through King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark.



King Harald V of Norway is a great-great-grandson of Christian IX and Louise of Denmark.


King Juan Carlos of Spain is not a descendant of Christian IX, but his wife, Queen Sofia, is one of their great-great-granddaughters.


Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is another great-great-granddaughter of Christian IX and Louise of Denmark. Her husband, Prince Philip, is one of their great-grandsons.


King Albert II of Belgium is a great-great-grandson.


Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is their great-great-granddaughter.


Let's also consider Christian IX's descendants who are members of royal houses that are no longer reigning.


Former King Constantine II of Greece is a great-great-grandson of Christian IX and Louise of Denmark.


Former King Michael of Romania is also a great-great-grandson of Christian IX.


The current claimants to the former imperial house of Russia are not descended from Christian IX, but the last tsar, Nicholas II, was a grandson of Christian IX, his mother being the king's second daughter, Dagmar.


Finally, let's analyze how the present-day royals are related to one another through this common ancestry in Christian IX and Louise of Denmark.


Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh are second cousins once-removed through King Christian IX.


Through their common ancestry in King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark, Queen Elizabeth II is a third cousin to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Albert II of Belgium, King Harald V of Norway and Queen Sofia of Spain.


There is a famous anecdote concerning the impressive marital alliances of Christian IX's children. Each summer, the royal families of Denmark, Greece, Russia and Britain would gather in Copenhagen for a relaxing family reunion. One day, a man found himself lost within the Royal Park, and he stumbled upon an aristocratic-looking group who offered to help him find his way. During their walk they enjoyed a pleasant conversation, and when they found their way out of the park, the man asked who he had the pleasure of speaking with. The eldest of the men in the group said, "Well, I am the King of Denmark, these are my two sons, the Crown Prince of Denmark and the King of Greece. Then these are my daughters, the Princess of Wales, the Empress of Russia, and the Crown Princess of Hanover. My two sons-in-law, the Prince of Wales and the Emperor of Russia, and my grandson the Crown Prince of Greece."

The man, astonished, gave them all a look, tipped his hat and said "Thank you sir, and I am Jesus Christ", and made a quick dash from this group of people who were surely all mad.


It's all relative, isn't it?



Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Things First...Who Still Wears Crowns?

One question that no doubt pops into most peoples' minds when thinking about modern royalty - are there any kings and queens still left in the world (besides Great Britain, of course), and who the hell are they? To begin your introduction to About Royalty, let's discuss the currently reigning monarchs of Europe.

Belgium:
King Albert II (official title, His Majesty The King of the Belgians)
Albert Félix Humbert Théo
dore Christian Eugène Marie, King of the Belgians since 1993, was born in Brussels in 1934, the third child and second son of King Leopold III and his wife, Queen Astrid, born a princess of Sweden. Albert's mother died in a car accident when he was only fourteen months old. Albert became king in 1993 upon the death of his elder brother, Baudouin, who did not have any children. King Albert has been married to Queen Paola, born Paola, Princess Ruffo di Calabria, since 1959. They have three children- Prince Philippe, Princess Astrid, and Prince Laurent.



















Denmark:

Qu
een Margrethe II (official title: Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark)
Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid, Queen of Denmark since 1972, was born in Copenhagen in 1940, the eldest of three daughters born to Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Ingrid (formerly Princess Ingrid of Sweden) of Denmark. Her father ascended the throne as King Frederick IX in 1947, and Margrethe was named heiress presumptive in 1953 following a revision of the Act of Succession. Margrethe became Queen of Denmark upon her father's death in 1972. She is married to Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, who is styled His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark, with whom she has two sons- Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.



















Liechtenstein:

Prin
ce Hans-Adam II (official title: His Serene Highness The Prince of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau, Count of Rietberg)
Johannes (Hans) Adam Ferdinand Alois Josef Maria Marko d'Aviano Pius von und zu Liechtenstein, Prince of Lichtenstein since 1989, is the son of Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein and Countess Georgina von Wilczek. He has ruled the tiny principality for over twenty years and is also one of the world's wealthiest heads of state, with a fortune estimated at £2 billion. He married Marie Aglaë in 1967 and has four children- Prince Alois, Prince Maximilian, Prince Constantin and Princess Tatjana. In 2004, Hans-Adam II appointed his eldest son, Alois, as regent of Liechtenstein, leaving him in charge of the day-to-day affairs of government.


















Luxembourg:

Grand Duke Henri
(official title: His Royal Highness The Grand Duke of Luxembourg)
Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume, Grand Duke of Luxembourg since 2000, was born in Betzdorf, Luxembourg in 1955, the eldest son of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg. His mother was born a princess of Belgium, the elder sister of the present Belgian king, Albert II. He married Cuban-born Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla (now Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg) in 1981, and they have five children- Prince Guillaume, Prince Felix, Prince Louis, Princess Alexandra and Prince Sebastien. Henri became Grand Duke in 2000 after his father's abdication.



















Monaco:

Prince
Albert II (official title: His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux)
Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi, Sovereign Prince of Monaco since 2005, was born in the Prince's Palace in 1958, the second child and only son of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American film actress Grace Kelly. His parents' marriage in 1956 had captured worldwide attention; Grace was a glam
orous, Oscar-winning movie star marrying into one of Europe's oldest dynasties. Princess Grace was killed in a car crash in 1982, and Prince Rainier himself died in 2005, leaving Albert to ascend the Monegasque throne. Albert has never married but has acknowledged that he has fathered both a son and daughter out of wedlock.



















Netherlands:

Queen B
eatrix (official title: Her Majesty The Queen of the Netherlands)
Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard, Queen of the Netherlands since 1980, was born in Baarn, Netherlands in 1938, the daughter of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. When Beatrix was still an infant, the Dutch royal family fled to Canada as Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands. They returned in 1945, and Beatrix married the late Claus von Amsberg in 1966. The marriage produced three sons- Prince Willem-Alexander, Prince Friso and Prince Constantijn. Beatrix ascended the Dutch throne in 1980 when her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated, as had Juliana's own mother, Queen Wilhelmina.


















Norway:
King Harald V
(official title: His Majesty The King of Norway)
Harald V, King of Norway since 1991, was born in 1937 at Skaugum, near Oslo. He is the third child and youngest son of King Olav V and Crown Princess M
ärtha of Norway. When Harald was three, the royal family fled Oslo as the Nazis marched into Norway. Harald and his sisters spent five years living in exile in Washington, DC until peace was declared in 1945. He married Sonja Haraldsen, a commoner, in 1968, and has two children with her- Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon. King Olav V died in 1991, and Harald succeeded him as the third modern king of Norway.



















Spain:

King Juan Carlos
(official title: His Majesty The King of Spain)
Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias, King of Spain since 1975, was born in Rome in 1938. At the time of his birth, the monarchy had been abolished and his grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, driven from this throne. The second of four children born to Infante Juan, Count of Barcelona and Princess Maria Mercedes of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Juan Carlos became king under unusual circumstances, chosen by the military dictator Francisco Franco to rule a revived Spanish monarchy upon Franco's death. Juan Carlos married Princess Sophie of Greece in 1962, and has three children with her- the Infantas Elena and Cristina, and Felipe, Prince of Asturias.



















Sweden:

King Carl XVI Gustaf (official title: His Majesty The King of Sweden)
Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, King of Sweden since 1973, was born in Stockholm in 1946. When Carl Gustaf was just nine months old, his father Prince Gustaf Adolf was killed in a plane crash. Carl Gustaf found himself the crown prince of Sweden at the age of nine when his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf, became king. Carl Gustaf ascended the throne upon his grandfather's death in 1973. He discontinued the use of the ancient titles "By the Grace of God King of the Swedes, the Goths and the Wends" and instead chose to simply be known as "King of Sweden". He married Silvia Sommerlath, a German-Brazilian language interpreter, in 1976, and they have three children- Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Phillip, and Princess Madeleine.



















United Kingdom:

Queen Eliz
abeth II (official title: Her Majesty The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the British Dominions Beyond the Seas)
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, Queen of the United Kingdom, was born in London in 1926. She is the eldest child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Elizabeth unexpectedly became heiress-presumptive to the throne in 1936 when her father ascended the throne after the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25 in 1952 following her father's death, and is presently the third longest-reigning monarch in British history. She married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece) in 1947 and has four children with him- Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Andrew, Duke of York; and Edward, Earl of Wessex.


















And there you have it.

Welcome to About Royalty

Thank you for visiting About Royalty, where the world's royals, both past and present, are blogged about.

With this blog, I will be taking my extensive knowledge and interest in the world's various royal families and putting it to use into what I hope will be an interesting and entertaining blog.

Since most of my research has been on European royals, I will primarily keep my focus there. I will be discussing members of the presently reigning houses, living members of formerly reigning houses, and deceased royal persons from various periods of time.

Please feel free to reply with any comments, suggestions, corrections, critiques, compliments, etc. Thank you for checking out About Royalty!