January 27, 1859: Birth of Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia


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Wilhelm II (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert; January 27, 1859 – June 4, 1941) was the last German Emperor (German: Kaiser) and King of Prussia, reigning from June 15, 1888 until his abdication on November 9, 1918.

Wilhelm was born in Berlin on January 27, 1859—at the Crown Prince’s Palace—to Victoria, Princess Royal “Vicky”, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. His father was Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (“Fritz” – the future Emperor Friedrich III).

At the time of his birth, his granduncle, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, was king of Prussia. Friedrich Wilhelm IV had been left permanently incapacitated by a series of strokes, and his younger brother Prince Wilhelm was acting as regent.

Upon the death of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in January 1861, Wilhelm’s paternal grandfather (the elder Wilhelm) became King of Prussia, and the two-year-old Wilhelm became second in the line of succession to Prussia.

After 1871, Wilhelm also became second in the line to the newly created German Empire, which, according to the constitution of the German Empire, was ruled by the Prussian King. At the time of his birth, he was also sixth in the line of succession to the British throne, after his maternal uncles and his mother.

Traumatic birth

Shortly before midnight on January 26, 1859, Wilhelm’s mother experienced labour pains, followed by her water breaking, after which Dr. August Wegner, the family’s personal physician, was summoned. Upon examining Victoria, Wegner realised the infant was in the breech position; gynaecologist Eduard Arnold Martin was then sent for, arriving at the palace at 10 am on January 27.

After administering ipecac and prescribing a mild dose of chloroform, which was administered by Victoria’s personal physician Sir James Clark, Martin advised Fritz the unborn child’s life was endangered. As mild anaesthesia did not alleviate her extreme labour pains, resulting in her “horrible screams and wails”, Clark finally administered full anaesthesia.

Observing her contractions to be insufficiently strong, Martin administered a dose of ergot extract, and at 2:45 pm saw the infant’s buttocks emerging from the birth canal, but noticed the pulse in the umbilical cord was weak and intermittent.

Despite this dangerous sign, Martin ordered a further heavy dose of chloroform so he could better manipulate the infant. Observing the infant’s legs to be raised upwards and his left arm likewise raised upwards and behind his head, Martin “carefully eased out the Prince’s legs”.

Due to the “narrowness of the birth canal”, he then forcibly pulled the left arm downwards, tearing the brachial plexus, then continued to grasp the left arm to rotate the infant’s trunk and free the right arm, likely exacerbating the injury. After completing the delivery, and despite realising the newborn prince was hypoxic, Martin turned his attention to the unconscious Victoria.

Noticing after some minutes that the newborn remained silent, Martin and the midwife Fräulein Stahl worked frantically to revive the prince; finally, despite the disapproval of those present, Stahl spanked the newborn vigorously until “a weak cry escaped his pale lips”.

History of the Kingdom of East Francia: The Treaty of Verdun and the Formation of the Kingdom.


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Ludwig the Pious (April 16, 778 – June 20, 840) was King of the Franks and co-emperor with his father, Charlemagne, from 813. He was also King of Aquitaine from 781. As the only surviving son of Charlemagne and Hildegard, he became the sole ruler of the Kingdom of the Franks and the Carolingian Empire after his father’s death in 814, a position that he held until his death except from 833 to 834, when he was deposed.

As emperor, he included his adult sons, Lothair, Pepin and Ludwig, in the government and sought to establish a suitable division of the realm among them. The first decade of his reign was characterised by several tragedies and embarrassments, notably the brutal treatment of his nephew Bernard of Italy for which Ludwig atoned in a public act of self-debasement.

In the 830s his empire was torn by civil war between his sons that was only exacerbated by Ludwig’s attempts to include his son Charles by his second wife in the succession plans.

Pepin I or Pepin I of Aquitaine was King of Aquitaine and Duke of Maine. He had rebelled against his brother Lothair and lost but was later restored to his throne shortly before his death on December 13, 838.

Ludwig the Pious, Emperor of the Romans, King of the Franks

Emperor Ludwig the Pious fell ill soon after his final victorious campaigns and retreated to his summer hunting lodge on an island in the Rhine near his palace at Ingelheim. He died on June 20, 840 in the presence of many bishops and clerics and in the arms of his half-brother Drogo as he pardoned his son Ludwig the German proclaimed Lothair Emperor and commended the absent Charles and Judith to his protection.

Though his reign ended on a high note, with order largely restored to his empire, shortly after his death dispute plunged the surviving brothers into yet another civil war. It lasted until 843 with the signing of the Treaty of Verdun.

The Treaty of Verdun agreed on in August 843, divided the Frankish Empire into three kingdoms among the surviving sons of the Emperor Ludwig the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne.

Charles the Bald, King of West Francia

The treaty was the first of the four partition treaties of the Carolingian Empire, followed by the Treaties of Prüm (855), Meerssen (870), and Ribemont (880).

Prior to the death of Emperor Ludwig the Pious, each of the three brothers was already established in one kingdom: Lothair in the Kingdom of Italy; Ludwig the German in the Kingdom of Bavaria; and Charles the Bald in the Kingdom of Aquitaine, (succeeding his half-brother Pepin) a large province in the west of the Frankish realm.

As mentioned above, Lothair I was given the title of Emperor after the death of Ludwig the Pious but because of several re-divisions by his father and the resulting revolts, he became much less powerful.

Lothair I, Emperor of the Romans, King of Middle Francia

In an attempt to reclaim the power his father had at the beginning of his reign as emperor, Lothair I, claimed overlordship over the entirety of his father’s kingdom and Empire.

Lothair also supported his nephew, Pepin II’s claim to the Kingdom of Aquitaine over his half-brother Charles the Bald. Lothair’s brother, Ludwig the German and his half-brother Charles the Bald refused to acknowledge Lothair’s suzerainty over them and declared war against him.

After a bloody civil war, the two brothers, Ludwig the German and Charles the Bald, defeated Lothair at the Battle of Fontenoy in 841 and sealed their alliance in 842 with the Oaths of Strasbourg which declared Lothair unfit for the imperial throne, after which he became willing to negotiate a settlement.

Peace negotiations began, and in June 842 the brothers met on an island in the Saône. They agreed to an arrangement which developed, after much difficulty and delay, into the Treaty of Verdun, signed in August 843.


Emperor Lothair I received Middle Francia (the Middle Frankish kingdom). In the settlement, Lothair retained his title and position of Emperor, but it conferred only nominal overlordship of his brothers’ lands.

His domain later became the Low Countries, the Rhineland west of the Rhine, Lorraine, Alsace, Burgundy, Provence, and the Kingdom of Italy (which only covered the northern half of the Italian Peninsula). He also received the two imperial cities, Aachen and Rome.

Charles II the Bald received West Francia; all lands west of the Rhône. It eventually became the Kingdom of France.

King Ludwig II the German received East Francia. He was guaranteed the kingship of all lands to the east of the Rhine (although not the Netherlands to the north of the Rhine) and to the north and east of Italy, altogether called East Francia. It eventually became the High Medieval Kingdom of Germany, the largest component of the Holy Roman Empire.

The brothers nephew, Pepin II, was granted the Kingdom of Aquitaine, but only under the authority of Charles the Bald.

Ludwig II the German, King of East Francia

After Lothair’s death in 855, his eldest son, Ludwig II the Younger inherited Italy and his father’s claim to the Imperial throne. Upper Burgundy and Lower Burgundy (Arles and Provence) passed to Lothair’s third son, Charles of Provence. The remaining territory north of the Alps, which did not previously have a name, was inherited by Lothair’s second son, Lothair II, and was then named Lotharingia (present day Lorraine) after him.

Ludwig II the Younger’s usual title was imperator augustus (“august emperor”), but he used imperator Romanorum (“emperor of the Romans”) after his conquest of Bari in 871, which led to poor relations with the Eastern Roman Empire. He was called imperator Italiae (“emperor of Italy”) in West Francia while the Byzantines called him Basileus Phrangias (“Emperor of Francia”).

With Ludwig II the German now established as King of East Francia, the new Kingdom consisted of a district around Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, on the left bank of the river (see also Oaths of Strasbourg 842). His territories included Bavaria (where he made Regensburg the centre of his government), Thuringia, Franconia, and Saxony.

In the next post I will continue the examination of how the Kingdom of East Francia became the Holy Roman Empire and the usage of the titles, King of East Francia, King of Germany and King of the Romans.

January 27, 1892: Birth of Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria


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From the Emperor’s Desk: I could not find a lot of information on Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska so I supplemented information on her parents marriage.

Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria (January 27, 1892 – January 29, 1930) was the eldest daughter of Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria and Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria. Through her mother, she was a granddaughter of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and through her father she was a descendant of King George II of Great Britain.

Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria

Her mother was Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria (April 22, 1868 – September 6, 1924) was the youngest child of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. She was usually called Valerie.

In Bad Ischl on July 31, 1890, Archduchess Marie Valerie married her third cousin Archduke Franz Salvator.

Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies

Her father, Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria 21 August 21, 1866 – April 20, 1939) was a son of Archduke Charles Salvator, Prince of Tuscany and Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies, the fifth child and second-eldest daughter of Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies and his wife Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria.

Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria

He became a cavalry general in the Imperial and Royal (k.u.k.) Austro-Hungarian Army. He received an honorary doctorate in medicine from the University of Innsbruck for his work with the Red Cross during World War I and was a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece and Order of the White Eagle.

Archduke Franz Salvator had met Archduchess Marie Valerie in 1886 at a ball, but Marie Valerie waited several years to be sure that her feelings toward Franz Salvator were strong enough for a successful marriage.

It was hoped by many at court that she would marry someone like the Crown Prince of Saxony (King Friedrich August III of Saxony); the Prince Royal of Portugal (King Carlos I of Portugal); or Prince Alfons of Bavaria as she courted with him.

Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria, Prince of Tuscany

Nonetheless, Empress Elisabeth declared that Marie Valerie would be allowed to marry even a chimney sweep if she so desired (in contrast to her other children, who both had to make dynastic marriages).

Marie Valerie chose Franz Salvator, a relatively minor prince from the Tuscan branch of the Austrian imperial family who had no great wealth to offer, and Elisabeth, as promised, supported her favorite daughter.

This caused a deep rift between Marie Valerie and her siblings for a time, but eventually Crown Prince Rudolf reconciled with her when Marie Valerie and Franz Salvator became engaged on Christmas 1888. However, the relationship between Marie Valerie and Crown Prince Rudolph’s wife, Princess Stéphanie of Belgium, remained cold even after Rudolf’s death.

Archduchess Marie Valerie and Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria

Marie Valerie’s solemn renunciation of her rights to the Austrian throne, which was necessary for the marriage to proceed, took place on July 16, 1890 at the Hermesvilla.

The young couple’s festive wedding followed in the parish church of Bad Ischl on July 31. The ceremony was conducted by the Bishop of Linz, Franz Maria Doppelbauer. Afterwards, Valerie and Franz honeymooned in Italy, Switzerland and Bavaria.

Thier daughter, Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria, married at Niederwallsee on September 19, 1912 Georg Count von Waldburg zu Zeil und Hohenems (1878–1955). The marriage was one of love and not a political marriage. Georg von Waldburg had no money or property, and had been hired as a tutor for her brothers.

Archduchess Hedwig (left) and Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria

They had four children, three daughters and a son:

1. Countess Marie Valerie von Waldburg-Zeil (1913–2011), married Archduke Georg of Austria, Prince of Tuscany (1905–1952) in 1936. He was the younger son of Archduke Peter Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Princess Maria Cristina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

2. Countess Klementine von Waldburg-Zeil (1914–1941), unmarried and without issue.

3. Countess Elisabeth von Waldburg-Zeil (1917–1979), unmarried and without issue.

4. Count Franz Josef von Waldburg-Zeil (1927 – 2022), married Countess Priscilla of Schönborn-Wiesentheid in 1956. They had seven children.

Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska was a painter for some time. She died, aged 38, of pneumonia on January 29, 1930. Her widower remarried nearly two years later, on December 29, 1931, to his wife’s younger sister Archduchess Gertrud of Austria.

January 26, 1763: Birth of Carl XIV-III Johan, King of Sweden and Norway.


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From the Emperor’s Desk: In this examination of King Carl XIV-III Johan of Sweden and Norway I will cover his marriage and election to the Swedish throne.

Incidentally, when I began studying royalty I was interested in knowing if the Britis Crown had been passed down in the same family or did they ever bring in a family that was totally unrelated by Blood to previous monarchs. Although this is not Britain, for life of the future King of Sweden demonstrates such a case.

Carl XIV-III Johan (January 26, 1763 – March 8, 1844) was King of Sweden and Norway from 1818 until his death in 1844. Before his reign he was a Marshal of France during the Napoleonic Wars and participated in several battles. In modern Norwegian lists of kings he is called Carl III Johan. He was the first monarch of the Bernadotte dynasty.

Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte was born on 26 January 26, 1763 in Pau, the capital of the province of Béarn in the southwestern part of the Kingdom of France. He was the son of Jean Henri Bernadotte (1711–1780), prosecutor at Pau, and his wife, Jeanne de Saint-Jean (1728–1809).

The family name was originally du Poey (or de Pouey), but was changed to Bernadotte—a surname of an ancestress at the beginning of the 17th century. He was the youngest of five siblings, two of whom died in childhood. Soon after his birth, Baptiste was added to his name, to distinguish him from his elder brother Jean Évangeliste. Bernadotte himself added Jules to his first names as a tribute to the French Empire under Napoleon I.

Carl XIV-III Johan, King of Sweden and Norway

Bernadotte joined the French Royal Army in 1780. Following the outbreak of the French Revolution, he exhibited great military talent, rapidly rising through the ranks, and was made a brigadier general by 1794. He served with distinction in Italy and Germany, and was briefly Minister of War.

His relationship with Napoleon was turbulent; nevertheless, Napoleon named him a Marshal of the Empire on the proclamation of the French Empire. Bernadotte played a significant role in the French victory at Austerlitz, and was made Prince of Pontecorvo as a reward.


Désirée Clary was born in Marseille, France, the daughter of François Clary (February 24, 1725 – January 20, 1794), a wealthy silk manufacturer and merchant, by his second wife Françoise Rose Somis (1737 – 1815).

Clary had a sister and brother to whom she remained very close all her life. Her sister, Julie Clary, married Joseph Bonaparte, and later became Queen of Naples and Spain. Her brother, Nicholas Joseph Clary, was created Count Clary. He married Anne Jeanne Rouyer, by whom he had a daughter named Zénaïde Françoise Clary (1812 – 1884). Zénaïde would marry Napoléon Alexandre Berthier, the son of Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier, and have several children, among them the first wife of Joachim, 4th Prince Murat.

Désirée, Queen of Sweden and Norway

She received a proposal from General Junot, but turned it down because it was given through Marmont. Clary eventually met her future spouse, Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, another French general and politician. They were married in a secular ceremony at Sceaux on August 17, 1798. In the marriage contract, Clary was given economic independence. On July 4, 1799, she gave birth to their only child, a son, Oscar.

In 1810 Bernadotte was about to enter his new post as governor of Rome when he was unexpectedly elected the heir-presumptive to King Carl XIII-II of Sweden and Norway. The problem of Carl’s successor had been acute almost from the time he had ascended the throne a year earlier.

The King was 61 years old and in poor health. He was also childless; Queen Elizabeth Charlotte had given birth to two children who had died in infancy, and there was no prospect of her bearing another child.

Queen Elizabeth Charlotte was daughter of Duke Friedrich August I of Holstein-Gottorp and Princess Ulrike Friederike of Hesse-Cassel.

Soon after his coronation, the king had adopted a Danish prince Carl August, (originally Prince Christian August of Denmark).

Prince Christian August was the son of Friedrich Christian I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1721–1794) and Princess Charlotte of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön (1744–1770).

Carl XIII-II, King of Sweden and Norway

He was a younger brother of Friedrich Christian II, Duke of Augustenborg, brother-in-law of Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark “daughter” of King Christian VII of Denmark and Caroline Matilda of Great Britain and an uncle of Caroline Amalie of Augustenburg, Queen Consort of Denmark as the wife of Christian VIII and Christian August, Duke of Augustenborg. He did not marry.

Despite the fact that Napoleon favored his ally Danish King Frederik VI, Danish Prince Frederick Christian initially had the most support to become Swedish Crown Prince as well.

As Crown Prince of Sweden, Prince Christian August changed his name to Carl August. Honors were lavished upon him on his arrival, he was for example made an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on April 18, 1810, and was the first person to enjoy this status in that academy.

However, he did not live long enough to make a historical impact in Sweden. He suddenly died on 28 May 28, 1810, when he fell off his horse during a military practice in Kvidinge. His autopsy confirmed that he had died of a stroke, but at the same time rumours went that he had been poisoned by Gustavians.

Specifically, the Marshal of the Realm Count Axel von Fersen was openly accused of having killed Crown Prince Carl August, and was lynched on June 20, 1810 during the funeral procession of Carl August. Carl August was buried in Riddarholmen Church, the burial church of Swedish monarchs.

The political situation internally and externally for Sweden meant that selecting a foreign king was an attractive option. Sweden wanted to strengthen its relationship with Napoleon for militaristic reasons so sought to select a king who would be able to attract Napoleon’s support.

The Swedish court initially sounded out the emperor for his preferences on candidates for crown prince, whereupon Napoleon made it clear he preferred his adopted stepson Eugène de Beauharnais, or one of his nephews or brothers.

The Swedish envoys did not accept Eugène as a candidate. Baron Lagerbielke, the Swedish envoy in Paris, reported to Stockholm that Eugène was “gentle and good,” “but he does not seem to be a man of strong character; and, although he had had great opportunities, he does not appear to have developed any distinguishing talents.”

Also, Eugène, serving as viceroy in Italy, did not wish to convert to Lutheranism, a prerequisite for accepting the Swedish offer. Moreover, none of Napoleon’s brothers were interested in going to Sweden and his nephews were too young, as the Swedes did not want the hazards of minority rule in the event King Carl XIII died prematurely.

The matter was decided by an obscure Swedish courtier, Baron Karl Otto Mörner (nephew of Count Gustav Mörner, the commander of the Swedish force captured by Bernadotte at Lübeck), who, entirely on his own initiative, offered the succession to the Swedish crown to Bernadotte.

Carl XIV-III Johan, King of Sweden and Norway

Bernadotte communicated Mörner’s offer to Napoleon who at first treated the situation as an absurdity, but later came around to the idea and supported Bernadotte’s candidacy both financially and diplomatically.

Although the Swedish government, amazed at Mörner’s effrontery, at once placed him under arrest on his return to Sweden, the candidature of Bernadotte gradually gained favour and on August 21, 1810 he was elected by the Riksdag of the Estates in Örebro to be the new crown prince, and was subsequently made Generalissimus of the Swedish Armed Forces by the King.

Several factors benefitted Bernadotte’s election. Being foreign was, although problematic, also to his favour due to geopolitical factors and the internal situation at the time. One benefit was his (presumed) close ties to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, with whom a relationship would provide military backing as the intention at the time was to reacquire Finland.

The current King, Carl XIII, viewed Napoleon in a more positive way than the deposed King, Gustaf IV Adolph had, who had held him in very ill regard. Another point in favour was that a large part of the Swedish Army, anticipating conflict with Russia, were in favour of electing a soldier.

Also, Bernadotte was personally popular, owing to the kindness he had shown to the Swedish prisoners in Lübeck and his reputation as the well-liked governor of the Hanseatic Cities from 1807 to 1809; as many Swedish merchants had operated under his auspices.

Finally, Bernadotte had no qualms about converting to Lutheranism, recalling the conversion of King Henri IV for the benefit of France with whom he felt a kinship with as both hailed from Pau, nor converting his son Oscar (though his wife Désirée never did renounce Catholicism).

Before freeing Bernadotte from his allegiance to France, Napoleon asked him to agree never to take up arms against France. Bernadotte refused to make any such agreement, upon the ground that his obligations to Sweden would not allow it; Napoleon exclaimed “Go, and let our destinies be accomplished” and signed the act of emancipation unconditionally.

On November 2, 1810 Bernadotte made his solemn entry into Stockholm, and on November 5, he received the homage of the Riksdag of the Estates, and he was adopted by King Carl XIII under the name of “Carl Johan.”

At the same time, he converted from Roman Catholicism to the Lutheranism of the Swedish court; Swedish law required the monarch to be Lutheran.

soon after his arrival becoming de facto head of state for most of his time as Crown Prince. In 1813, following the sudden unprovoked French invasion of Swedish Pomerania, Crown Prince Carl Johan was instrumental in the creation of the Sixth Coalition by allying with Emperor Alexander I of Russia and using Swedish diplomacy to bring warring Russia and Britain together in alliance. He then authored the Trachenberg Plan, the war-winning Allied campaign plan, and commanded the Allied Army of the North that defeated two concerted French attempts to capture Berlin and made the decisive attack on the last day of the catastrophic French defeat at Leipzig.

After the War of the Sixth Coalition, Crown Prince Carl Johan forced King Frederik VI of Denmark to cede Norway to Sweden, leading to the Swedish–Norwegian War of 1814 where Norway was defeated after a single summer’s conflict. This put Norway into a union with Sweden, which lasted for almost a century before its peaceful 1905 dissolution. The Swedish–Norwegian war is credited as Sweden’s last direct conflict and war.

Upon the death of King Carl XIII-II in 1818, Crown Prince Carl Johan ascended to the thrones as King Carl XIII-II Johan of Sweden and Norway. He presided over a period of peace and prosperity, and reigned until his death in 1844.

January 26, 1873: Death of Amélie of Leuchtenberg, Empress of Brazil


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From the Emperor’s Desk: In addressing the death of Amélie of Leuchtenberg I will focus on the arrangement of her marriage to Emperor Pedro of Brazil.

Amélie of Leuchtenberg (July 31, 1812 – January 26, 1873) was Empress of Brazil as the wife of Pedro I of Brazil. Amélie was the fourth child of General Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg and his wife Princess Augusta of Bavaria.

Her father was the son of Joséphine de Beauharnais and her first husband, Viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais. When Joséphine remarried, to Napoleon Bonaparte, Eugène was adopted by the latter and made viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy.

Amélie of Leuchtenberg

Amélie’s mother was the daughter of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and his first consort, Princess Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Among Amélie’s siblings were Josephine of Leuchtenberg, Queen Consort of King Oscar I of Sweden, and Auguste de Beauharnais, 2nd Duke of Leuchtenberg, prince consort of Queen Maria II of Portugal (stepdaughter of Amélie). French Emperor Napoleon III was Amélie’s first cousin.

After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, Eugène de Beauharnais, having been granted the title Duke of Leuchtenberg by his father-in-law, settled in Munich. The possibility occurred to Amélie’s mother, Augusta, of marrying Amélie to the Emperor of Brazil, to guarantee the pretensions of the House of Leuchtenberg to royal status.


After the death of his first wife, the Austrian Archduchess Maria Leopoldina, in December 1826, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil (former King Pedro IV of Portugal) sent the Marquis of Barbacena to Europe to find him a second wife.

Emperor Pedro ‘s Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Franz II, and his second wife, Maria Theresa of Naples and Sicily. Among her many siblings were Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria and Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Amélie of Leuchtenberg

Marquis of Barbacena’s task was not easy; several factors complicated the search. First, Emperor Pedro had stipulated four conditions: a good family background, beauty, virtue and culture. Conversely, the Emperor of Brazil did not have a particularly good image in Europe: his relationship with the Marchioness of Santos was notorious, and few eligible princesses were expected to be eager to leave the courts of Europe to marry a widower who had a tarnished reputation as a husband, becoming step-mother to his five children.

To make matters worse, the former father-in-law of Emperor Dom Pedro, Holy Roman Emperor Franz II had a low opinion of his son-in-law’s political views, and apparently acted to prevent a new marriage to ensure that his grandchildren would inherit the throne of Brazil if they survived infancy.

After refusals by eight princesses turned the ambassador into an object of scorn in the courts of Europe, the Marquis of Barbacena, in agreement with the Emperor, lowered his requirements, seeking for Dom Pedro a wife merely “good and virtuous.”

Amélie now became a good possibility, but their encounter was brought about not by the Marquis of Barbacena, but by Domingos Borges de Barros, Viscount of Pedra Branca, minister in Paris, to whom she had been pointed out.

Emperor Pedro I of Brazil

She came from a distinguished and ancient line on her mother’s side, the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria, but her father, an exile who shared in the disgrace of Napoleon Bonaparte’s deposition as Emperor, was not an optimal marital match. However, that was her sole “defect”. The princess was tall, very beautiful, well proportioned, with a delicate face.

She had blue eyes and brownish-golden hair. António Teles da Silva Caminha e Meneses, Marquis of Resende, sent to verify the beauty of the young lady, praised her highly, saying that she had “a physical air that like that the painter Correggio gave us in his paintings of the Queen of Sheba”. She was also cultured and sensitive.

A contemporary piece in The Times of London affirms that she was one of the best educated and best prepared princesses in the German world.

Amélie of Leuchtenberg

The marriage contract was signed on May 29, 1829 in England, and ratified on June 30 in Munich by Amélie’s mother, the Duchess of Leuchtenberg, who had tutored her daughter personally. On July 30 of that year, in Brazil, a treaty of marriage between Pedro I and Amélie of Leuchtenberg was promulgated.

Upon confirming the marriage, Emperor Pedro definitively broke his links to the Marchioness of Santos and, as evidence of his good intentions, instituted the Order of the Rose, with the motto “Amor e Fidelidade” (“Love and Fidelity”).

Marriage of Amélie of Leuchtenberg and Emperor Pedro I of Brazil

A proxy marriage ceremony on August 2 in the chapel of the Palais Leuchtenberg in Munich was a simple affair with few in attendance, as Amélie insisted on donating to a Munich orphanage the appreciable amount Dom Pedro had sent for a ceremony with full pomp. Dom Pedro was represented by the Marquis of Barbacena. Amélie was barely seventeen years old; Dom Pedro was thirty.

Was He A Usurper? King Edward IV of England. Part VI.


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On June 26, the Earl of Warwick and Salisbury landed at Sandwich. The men of Kent rose to join them. London opened its gates to the Nevilles on July 2. They marched north into the Midlands, and on July 10, they defeated the royal army at the Battle of Northampton (through treachery among the king’s troops), and captured King Henry VI whom they brought back to London.

The Duke of York remained in Ireland. He did not set foot in England until September 9 and when he did, he acted as a king. Marching under the arms of his maternal great-great-grandfather Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, he displayed a banner of the coat of arms of England as he approached London.

A Parliament was called to meet on October 7, and it repealed all the previous legislation of the Coventry parliament. On October 10, Richard, Duke of York arrived in London and took residence in the royal palace. Entering Parliament with his sword borne upright before him, he made for the empty throne and placed his hand upon it, as if to occupy it.

Richard, Duke of York may have expected the assembled peers to acclaim him as king, as they had acclaimed Henry Bolingbroke in 1399. Instead, there was silence. Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asked whether he wished to see the king. York replied, “I know of no person in this realm the which oweth not to wait on me, rather than I of him.” This high-handed reply did not impress the Lords.

The next day, Richard advanced his claim to the crown by hereditary right in proper form. However, his narrow support among his peers led to failure once again. After weeks of negotiation, the best that could be achieved was the Act of Accord, by which the Duke of York and his heirs were recognised as King Henry VI’s successors.

However, in October 1460 Parliament did grant the Duke of York extraordinary executive powers to protect the realm, and made him Lord Protector of England. He was also given the lands and income of the Prince of Wales, but was not granted the title itself or made Earl of Chester or Duke of Cornwall. With the king effectively in custody, the Duke of York and the Earl of Warwick were the de facto rulers of the country.

Final campaign and death

While this was happening, the Lancastrian loyalists were rallying and arming in the north of England. Faced with the threat of attack from the Percys, and with Margaret of Anjou trying to gain the support of the new King of Scotland, James III, York, Salisbury and York’s second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, headed north on December 2.

They arrived at York’s stronghold of Sandal Castle on December 21 to find the situation bad and getting worse. Forces loyal to King Henry VI controlled the city of York, and nearby Pontefract Castle was also in hostile hands.

The Lancastrian armies were commanded by some of York’s implacable enemies such as Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland and John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, whose fathers had been killed at the Battle of Saint Albans, and included several northern lords who were jealous of York’s and Salisbury’s wealth and influence in the North.

On December 30, the Duke of York and his forces sortied from Sandal Castle. Their reasons for doing so are not clear; they were variously claimed to be a result of deception by the Lancastrian forces, or treachery by northern lords who York mistakenly believed to be his allies, or simple rashness on York’s part.

The larger Lancastrian force destroyed York’s army in the resulting Battle of Wakefield. Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York was killed in the battle. The precise nature of his end was variously reported; he was either unhorsed, wounded and overcome fighting to the death or captured, given a mocking crown of bulrushes and then beheaded.

Edmund of Rutland was intercepted as he tried to flee and was executed, possibly by Clifford in revenge for the death of his own father at the First Battle of St Albans. Salisbury escaped, but was captured and executed the following night.

The Duke of York was buried at Pontefract, but his severed head was put on a pike by the victorious Lancastrian armies and displayed over Micklegate Bar at York, wearing a paper crown. His remains were later moved to Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay.

History of the Kingdom of Greece. Part III. King Otto.


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The continued inability of the royal couple to have children also raised the thorny issue of succession: the 1844 constitution insisted that Otto’s successor had to be Orthodox, but as the king was childless, the only possible heirs were his younger brothers, Prince Luitpold and Prince Adalbert.

The staunch Catholicism of the Wittelsbachs complicated matters, as Prince Luitpold refused to convert to the Greek Orthodox Church and Prince Adalbert married Infanta Amalia of Spain, the eleventh child and sixth daughter of Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain, younger brother of King Fernando VII of Spain, and his wife, Princess Luisa Carlota of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.

Otto, King of Greece

The sons of Prince Adalbert, and especially the eldest, Prince Ludwig Ferdinand, were now considered the most likely candidates, but due to the issue of religion, no definite arrangements were ever made.

Following his marriage to Infanta María de la Paz of Spain, Prince Ludwig Ferdinand was also created an Infante of Spain. Infanta María de la Paz of Spain was the third surviving daughter of Queen Isabella II and her husband Infante Francisco of Spain.

According to historians, the true biological father of Infanta Paz was the diplomat and politician Miguel Tenorio de Castilla (1818–1916), who was secretary of Queen Isabella II for several years.

It has been suggested that had Otto and Amalia borne an heir, the king would not have been overthrown, as succession was also a major unresolved question at the time. However, the Constitution of 1844 made provision for his succession by his two younger brothers and their descendants.

While Otto was visiting the Peloponnese in 1862 a new coup was launched and this time a Provisional Government was set up and summoned a National Convention.

King Otto of Greece

Ambassadors of the Great Powers urged King Otto not to resist, and the king and queen took refuge on a British warship and returned to Bavaria aboard (the same way they had come to Greece), taking with them the Greek regalia which they had brought from Bavaria in 1832.

In 1861, a student named Aristeidis Dosios (son of politician Konstantinos Dosios) attempted to murder Queen Amalia and was openly hailed as a hero. His attempt, however, also prompted spontaneous feelings of monarchism and sympathy towards the royal couple among the Greek population

Otto died in the palace of the former bishops of Bamberg, Germany, and was buried in the Theatiner Church in Munich. During his retirement, he would still wear the Greek traditional uniform, nowadays worn only by the evzones (Presidential Guards).

The Life of Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg


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Dietrich or Theoderic of Oldenburg (c. 1398 – February 14, 1440) was a feudal lord in Northern Germany, holding the counties of Delmenherst and Oldenburg. He was called “Fortunatus”, as he was able to secure Delmenhorst for his branch of the Oldenburgs.

The town of Oldenburg was first mentioned in 1108, at that time known under the name of Aldenburg. It became important due to its location at a ford of the navigable Hunte river. Oldenburg became a small county in the shadow of the much more powerful Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.

The earliest recorded inhabitants of the region now called Oldenburg were a Teutonic people- the Chauci. The genealogy of the counts of Oldenburg can be traced to the Saxon hero Widukind (opponent of Charlemagne) but their first historical representative was Huno of Rustringen (died 1088, founded the monastery of Rastede in 1059).

In the Holy Roman Empire Oldenburg was a county that developed around the settlement of Oldenburg, (first attested in 1108) and in the course of history gained control of a wider area. The Counts of Oldenburg stemmed from a Frisian princely house.

Huno’s descendants appear as vassals of the Welf Saxon Duke Heinrich III-XII the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Duke of Bavaria, they took advantage of his deposition by Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa to make themselves autonomous. They were given the title of princes of the Empire when Friedrich I Barbarossa dismembered the Saxon duchy in 1189.

The first Oldenburgs belonged to the line of the Rüstringen Frisians.

In 1234 the county was acquired by the also Frisian Stedingens, later by other Frisian territories (Butjadingen, Rüstringen, Wurden) and finally in 1575 came into the possession of the Lordship of Jever.

At this time the county of Delmenhorst formed part of the dominions of the counts of Oldenburg, but afterwards it was on several occasions separated from them to form an appanage for younger branches of the family, namely in ca. 1266-1436, 1463-1547 and 1577-1617.

The northern and western parts of what would become the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg were in the hands of independent, or semi-independent, Frisian princes, who were usually pagan, and the counts of Oldenburg seized much of these lands in a series of wars during the early part of the 13th century. The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen and the bishop of Münster also frequently warred with the counts of Oldenburg.


Dietrich of Oldenburg was the son of Christian V of Oldenburg, who became the Count circa 1398 and died in 1403. His mother was the Countess Agnes of Honstein. His grandfather, Conrad I of Oldenburg, who died circa 1368, left his lands divided between Dietrich’s father and uncle, Conrad II.

Dietrich’s father, Christian V, managed to gain the upper hand when Conrad II’s son Maurice II died in 1420. After this, most of the Oldenburg family patrimony was under the rule of Dietrich’s branch. However, the house had several minor branches with estates and claims, as was usual in any medieval fief.

Dietrich of Oldenburg was the grandson of Ingeborg of Itzehoe, a Holstein princess who had married Count Conrad I of Oldenburg. After the death of her only brother, Count Gerhard V of Holstein-Itzehoe-Plön in 1350, Ingeborg and her issue were the heirs of her grandmother Ingeborg of Sweden (d. ca. 1290, the first wife of Gerhard II of Holstein-Plön), the eldest daughter of King Valdemar of Sweden and Queen Sophia, who herself was the eldest daughter of King Eric IV of Denmark and his wife Jutta of Saxony who had no male descendants. Since there were no other living legitimate descendants of King Valdemar by this time, Dietrich was considered the heir general of Kings Valdemar I of Sweden and Eric IV of Denmark.

Dietrich succeeded his father as head of the House of Oldenburg in 1403.

Oldenburg gained importance when Count Dietrich of Oldenburg († 1440) married Helvig of Schauenburg, daughter of Gerhard VI of Schleswig-Holstein-Rendsburg. Dietrich’s younger son carried on the line of Oldenburg counts, which died out in 1667. The elder son, Christian, was elected King Christian I of Denmark in 1448 and Lord of Schleswig and Holstein in 1460. In 1667 this line acquired Oldenburg as well, which thereby was joined in personal union with the Danish crown.

Marriages and children

During his childhood, Dietrich married a distant cousin, the Countess Adelheid of Oldenburg-Delmenhorst, daughter of Oldenburg Count Otto IV of Delmenhorst, for reasons of succession and uniting the hereditary fiefs. Countess Adelheid is presumed to have died in 1404.

In 1423, Dietrich married again, to Helvig of Schauenburg (born between 1398–1400 and died in 1436), widow of Prince Balthasar of Mecklenburg and daughter of the murdered Duke Gerhard VI of Schleswig and Holstein and his wife Elisabeth of Brunswick and, thus, sister of the reigning Duke Adolf VIII. All his legitimate children were born by his second wife.

His second marriage strengthened this interest in the Scandinavian monarchies since Helvig was a descendant of King Eric V of Denmark, King Haakon V of Norway and King Magnus I of Sweden.

At this time, Scandinavia was ruled by the Kalmar Union, established by Queen Margarethe I of Denmark. In 1387, she had lost her heir Olav IV of Norway, who was succeeded as heir by Eric of Pomerania and his sister Catherine, who was married to a Prince of the Palatinate and Bavaria.

Dietrich of Oldenburg is said to have been a rival claimant to the crowns of Sweden and Denmark during the reign of Eric VII-XIII, whose succession was through Christopher I of Denmark, the younger brother of the murdered Eric IV, and through Magnus I of Sweden, younger brother of the deposed King Valdemar.

Count Theodoric had three surviving sons and one daughter:

Christian (1426–1481); who succeeded him as Count Christian VII of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, and later became King Christian I of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (following the deposition of Carl VII of Sweden), as well as Duke of Schleswig and Holstein. He would found the House of Oldenburg Dynasty in Denmark that still rules to this day.

Maurice V of Delmenhorst (1428–1464); when his elder brother became king, he was given the County of Delmenhorst.

Gerhard VI, Count of Oldenburg (1430–1500); two years after his eldest brother had become king, he was given the county of Oldenburg, and from his other brother’s heirs, he also inherited Delmenhorst in about 1483. The third son got his name from usages of the mother’s Holstein clan.

Adelheid (1425–1475), first married Ernest III, the Count of Hohnstein (d. 1454) and then, in 1474, Gerhard VI, Count of Mansfeld (d. 1492).

Male line of descendants

Dietrich of Oldenburg is a direct ancestor of the Danish royal family having given birth to the first House of Oldenburg King of Denmark, Christian I. He is also a direct ancestor of the British Royal Family, the pretenders to the Kingdom of the Hellenes, the Norwegian royal family, and the last Russian Emperors of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp.



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BREAKING: Buckingham Palace has announced HRH Princess Eugenie of York and her husband Jack Brooksbank are expecting their second child.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “Princess Eugenie and Mr Jack Brooksbank are pleased to announce they are expecting their second child this summer.

“The family are delighted and August is very much looking forward to being a big brother.”

January 22 and 23: Death of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn & Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.


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The Emperor’s Desk: I took a couple of days off so I’m a bit late with this. I find it interesting that Prince Edward and his daughter Queen Victoria died a day apart, albeit 81 years separate that one day.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, KG, KP, GCB, GCH, PC (Edward Augustus; 2 November 1767 – 23 January 1820) was the fourth son and fifth child of King George III of the United Kingdom and Duchess Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. His only legitimate child became Queen Victoria.

Prince Edward was created Duke of Kent and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin on April 23, 1799 and, a few weeks later, appointed a General and commander-in-chief of British forces in the Maritime Provinces of North America. On March 23, 1802 he was appointed Governor of Gibraltar and nominally retained that post until his death. The Duke was appointed Field-Marshal of the Forces on September 3, 1805.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn


Following the death of Princess Charlotte of Wales in November 1817, the only legitimate grandchild of King George III at the time, the royal succession began to look uncertain. The Prince Regent (later King George IV) and his younger brother Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, though married, were estranged from their wives and had no surviving legitimate children.

The king’s surviving daughters were all childless and past likely childbearing age. The King’s unmarried sons, William, Duke of Clarence (later King William IV), Edward, Duke of Kent, and Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, all rushed to contract lawful marriages and provide an heir to the throne.

The King’s fifth son, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, was already married but had no living children at that time, whilst the marriage of the sixth son, Augustus, Duke of Sussex, was void because he had married in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act 1772.

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
For his part the Duke of Kent, aged 50, was already considering marriage, and he became engaged to Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, who had been the sister-in-law of his now-deceased niece Princess Charlotte. They were married on May 29, 1818 at Schloss Ehrenburg, Coburg, in a Lutheran rite, and again on July 11, 1818 at Kew Palace, Kew, Surrey.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

Princess Victoria was the daughter of Franz, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and the sister of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, husband of the recently deceased Princess Charlotte. She was a widow: her first husband was Emich Charles, 2nd Prince of Leiningen, with whom she had had two children: a son, Charles, 3rd Prince of Leiningen, and a daughter, Princess Feodora of Leiningen.

They had one child, Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent, who became Queen Victoria on June 20, 1837. Prince Edward, Duke of Kent was 51 years old at the time of her birth. The Duke took great pride in his daughter, telling his friends to look at her well, for she would be Queen of the United Kingdom.

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Duchess of Kent

Following the birth of Princess Victoria in May 1819, the Duke and Duchess, concerned to manage the Duke’s great debts, sought to find a place where they could live inexpensively. After the coast of Devon was recommended to them they leased from a General Baynes, intending to remain incognito, Woolbrook Cottage on the seaside by Sidmouth.


The Duke of Kent died of pneumonia on January 23, 1820 at Woolbrook Cottage, Sidmouth, and was interred in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. He died six days before his father, George III, and less than a year after his daughter’s birth.

He predeceased his father and his three elder brothers but, as none of his elder brothers had any surviving legitimate children, his daughter Victoria succeeded to the throne on the death of her uncle King William IV in 1837, and ruled until 1901.

In 1829 the Duke’s former aide-de-camp purchased the unoccupied Castle Hill Lodge from the Duchess in an attempt to reduce her debts; the debts were finally discharged after Victoria took the throne and paid them over time from her income.

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; May 24, 1819 – January 22, 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 216 days was longer than that of any previous British monarch and is known as the Victorian era.

It was a period of industrial, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire. In 1876, the British Parliament voted to grant her the additional title of Empress of India.

Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn (the fourth son of King George III), and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After the deaths of her father and grandfather in 1820, she was raised under close supervision by her mother and her comptroller, John Conroy.

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

She inherited the throne aged 18 after her father’s three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. Victoria, a constitutional monarch, attempted privately to influence government policy and ministerial appointments; publicly, she became a national icon who was identified with strict standards of personal morality.

Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840. Their children married into royal and noble families across the continent, earning Victoria the sobriquet “the grandmother of Europe” and spreading haemophilia in European royalty.

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

After Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria plunged into deep mourning and avoided public appearances. As a result of her seclusion, British republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered.

Her Golden and Diamond jubilees were times of public celebration. Victoria died aged 81 on January 22, 1901 at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The last British monarch of the House of Hanover, she was succeeded by her son Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.