Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday of Princess Margarita

HRH Princess Margarita of Romania, eldest daughter and heiress of King Michael, celebrates her 62nd birthday tomorrow, March 26.

Named for her maternal grandmother, Princess Margrethe of Denmark (styled Princess Rene of Bourbon-Parma after her marriage), Margarita of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was born in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 26, 1949. Margarita was born fifteen months after her father's abdication and flight from Romania. He had married her mother, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, the previous year in Athens. Margarita's paternal grandparents are King Carol II of Romania and Princess Helen of Greece and Denmark, and her maternal grandparents are Prince Rene of Bourbon-Parma and Princess Margrethe of Denmark. Through her father, Princess Margarita is a great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and through both her parents is a great-great-great-granddaughter of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Margarita and her four sisters - Helen, Irene, Sophia and Marie - were reared in Switzerland. Margarita attended the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where she was romantically involved with Gordon Brown, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 2007. According to Margarita, the romance fizzled out due to Brown's devotion to his rising political career.

Margarita married the Romanian charity developer Radu Duda in 1996, who was named prince of Hohenzollern by the head of the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen branch in 1999. In 2007, King Michael created Radu a royal prince of Romania in accordance with the private laws of the royal family, which do not hold official legal standing in Romania.

In 1990, King Michael returned to Romania for the first time in 40 years. Margarita had arrived there earlier as part of a humanitarian effort to aid orphanages and various charities in Romania. The government of the day claimed that King Michael and his family entered the country illegally and barred them from returning. Subsequent governments have rescinded the banishment, and since 1997 Princess Margarita, her husband and her parents have established permanent residences in Bucharest.

Princess Margarita has been designated by her father as heir to the headship of the royal house of Romania, and should the Romanian monarchy ever be restored she would be the likely successor to the crown. However, the previous monarchical constitution legally ratified in Romania banned women from inheriting the throne. King Michael has stated that the Salic law be removed should Romania ever choose to restore its monarchy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Anniversary of King George I's Assassination

Today, March 18, marks the 98th anniversary of the assassination of King George I of Greece.

In March 1913, the King was in Thessaloniki in northern Greece, where troops under the command of his eldest son Crown Prince Constantine had recently taken control of the region from the Turks during the First Balkan War. The King's arrival in Thessaloniki had tactfully settled what could have been a disastrous dispute between the Greek and Bulgarian armies over who should oversee the city's occupation. King Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was insistent that the Bulgarians should claim victory over Thessaloniki, but the Greek monarch calmly disagreed and stated that in the rules of warfare, the conquering army assumes control, which rightfully belonged to Crown Prince Constantine's forces.

On the afternoon of March 18, 1913, King George insisted on taking his daily stroll unaccompanied by bodyguards. He was advised that due to the uneasy state of the recently liberated city, he should not go unprotected in the streets, but the King would not be deterred. While passing a cafe, a man later identified as Alexandros Schinas emerged from the cafe and shot the King in the back. The 67-year-old monarch collapsed in the street and died almost instantly. A messenger ran and informed the King's third-eldest son, Prince Nikolaos, who had the unfortunate task of telling his elder brother Constantine that he was now the new King.

King George's assassination came just weeks prior to the 50th anniversary of his accession to the Greek throne. He had informed his sons months before that after celebrating his Golden Jubilee later in the year, he hoped to abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Constantine and enjoy his twilight years in peace. Not only did the bullet of Alexandros Schinos rob King George I of that chance, but that bullet also robbed the Greek royal family of any stability it had previously known. None of George's predecessors on the Greek throne would enjoy a reign as continuous and stable as his own.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Who will attend Prince William's wedding?

With a little over a month until the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, speculation over who will be attending has been growing.

The Prince of Wales' office confirmed, without offering specific names, that 50 members of the British royal family, 40 members of foreign royal families, 200 members of government, parliament and diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of Prince William's various charities and friends of both William and Catherine will be guests at the wedding.

Various news sources have reported that among the foreign royalty invited to the wedding include royals from the Middle East and Asia.

Out of European royalty, most of whom are distant relatives of Prince William and his family, we believe the following will most certainly warrant an invitation --

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark - the Danish queen is a third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and reports have poured in that she and her husband will be attending in place of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, who just gave birth to twins in January.

King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania - the deposed Romanian king is a cousin of Prince Philip and, being just a few months apart in age, were rather close as children. However, King Michael's advanced age (he, along with Prince Philip, celebrates his 90th birthday this year) will probably make it difficult for him to travel, and we feel that the Queen and the Prince of Wales might be more inclined to invite relatives and friends who are closer in age to Prince William.

King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece - The exiled king of Greece, aside from being a cousin of both the Queen and Prince Philip, is also a close friend of the Prince of Wales and, most significantly to the wedding, is one of Prince William's godfathers. For being the groom's godfather alone, the king most certainly warrants an invitation to the wedding. Not only that, but the Greek royal family reside in a mansion outside of London, thus giving them the benefit of not having to travel far at all for the nuptials.

King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway - King Harald is more closely related to the Queen than any other foreign monarch (the Queen's grandfather, King George V, was the brother of King Harald's grandmother, Queen Maud), and it seems likely that he, or at the very least his son and daughter-in-law, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, will be invited to the wedding.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands - Though not a close relative of the British royal family, the Dutch queen and her son, the Prince of Orange, make appearances at almost every major European royal event, and it would not be surprising to see them turn up at Prince William's wedding.

Prince William of Wales and Catherine Middleton will be married on Friday, April 29 at Westminster Abbey in London.