February 10, 1840: A Royal Wedding

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On this date in history: February 10, 1840. Her Majesty Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland married her maternal first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

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Victoria once complained to her Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, that her mother’s close proximity promised “torment for many years”, Melbourne sympathized but said it could be avoided by marriage, which Victoria called a “schocking alternative”. Although a marriage between Victoria and her cousin Prince Albert had been encouraged by the Coburg family, specifically King Leopold I of the Belgians since 1936, Victoria was ambivalent at best toward the arrangement. She did however, show interest in Albert’s education for the future role he would have to play as her husband, but she resisted attempts to rush her into wedlock. King William IV of the United Kingdom preferred that Victoria marry her paternal first cousin, Prince George of Cambridge.

Victoria continued to praise Albert following his second visit in October 1839 and it was during this visit that genuine romantic feelings began to stir for Victoria. Albert and Victoria felt mutual affection and the Queen proposed to him on 15 October 1839, just five days after he had arrived at Windsor. They were married on 10 February 1840, in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace, London. Victoria was besotted. She spent the evening after their wedding lying down with a headache, but wrote ecstatically in her diary:

I NEVER, NEVER spent such an evening!!! MY DEAREST DEAREST DEAR Albert … his excessive love & affection gave me feelings of heavenly love & happiness I never could have hoped to have felt before! He clasped me in his arms, & we kissed each other again & again! His beauty, his sweetness & gentleness – really how can I ever be thankful enough to have such a Husband! … to be called by names of tenderness, I have never yet heard used to me before – was bliss beyond belief! Oh! This was the happiest day of my life!

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Just before the marriage, Albert was naturalized by Act of Parliament  and granted the style of Royal Highness by an Order in Council. This style was only legal in Britain and under the German system of styles and titles Prince Albert remained His Serene Highness. Lord Melbourne advised against the Queen’s strong desire to grant her husband the title of “King Consort”. Parliament even refused to make Prince Albert a peer of the realm—(granting him a title of nobility) partly because of anti-German sentiment and a desire to exclude Albert from any political role.

Initially Albert was not popular with the British public; he was perceived to be from an impoverished and undistinguished minor state, barely larger than a small English county.  In time Albert became an important political adviser as well as the Queen’s companion, replacing Lord Melbourne as the dominant, influential figure in the first half of her life.

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A Full House!

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We often see in fairy tales that a future king, or a king himself, will marry a princess who is the daughter of a king herself. The reality is that this scenario is not always played out in the history of royalty. The last time it happened in the British monarchy was when Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII married Princess Alexandra of Denmark the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark. Well, technically her father wasn’t the king just yet when they married. Albert-Edward and Alexandra were married March 10, 1863 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle while her father, Christian IX, didn’t become king until November 15, 1863 when King Frederik VII died that same year. Although she missed it by a few months I will count it.

You have to go back to King Charles II of England and Scotland when he married Catherine of Braganza, on May 15, 1662 to find a king (or future king) that married the daughter of a king. Catherine was the daughter of King João IV of Portugal. I guess you could also count Queen Anne of Great Britain who married Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland in 1683 for he was the son of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway. However, for this post I am concentrating on women who were the daughters of kings.

When examining the genealogy of a daughter of a king that married another king this made these woman often connected to many other relatives who wore a crown. Today I want to look at four women who were very royally connected.

  1. Elizabeth of York (1466-1503). She was the daughter of a king (Edward IV of England), the sister of a king (Edward V of England), the niece of a king (Richard III of England), the wife of a king (Henry VII of England), the mother of a king (Henry VIII of England), the mother-in-law of a king (James IV of Scotland), and the grandmother of two kings (Edward VI of England and James V of Scotland) and the grandmother of two queens (Mary I and Elizabeth I of England). Although I am not counting consorts per se, Elizabeth of York was also the mother of two queen consorts of Scotland and France.
  2. Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) She was the daughter of two sovereign monarchs (Isabella I of Castile and Fernando II-V of Aragon and Castile), she was the sister and sister-in-law to two sovereign monarchs (Juana of Castile and Felipe I of Castile, Archduke of Austria), she was the aunt of two Emperor-Kings (Carl V of the Holy Roman Empire who was also Carlos I of Spain, Ferdinand I Holy Roman Emperor) she was the wife of a king (Henry VIII of England) and the mother of a sovereign queen (Mary I of England) and mother-in-law/great aunt of a king (Felipe II of Spain and King of Portugal, Archduke of Austria).
  3. Henrietta-Maria de Bourbon of France (1609-1669). She was the daughter of a king (Henri IV of France and Navarre), she was the sister of a king (Louis XIII of France and Navarre), she was the aunt of a king (Louis XIV of France and Navarre), she was the wife of a king (Charles I of England and Scotland), she was the mother of two kings (Charles II and James II-VII of England and Scotland) she was the grandmother of a king and two sovereign queens (William III of England and Scotland, Staholder of the Netherlands, Mary II of England and Scotland, Anne of England and Scotland/Great Britain).

    Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925). She was the daughter of a king (Christian IX of Denmark), the sister to two kings (Frederik VIII of Denmark and George I of Greece), the aunt of three kings and an emperor (Christian X of Denmark, Haakon VII of Norway, Constantine I of Greece and Emperor Nicholas II of Russia), the mother of a king (George V of the United Kingdom), mother-in-law of a king (Haakon VII of Norway) and the grandmother two kings (Edward VIII of the United Kingdom and George VI of the United Kingdom).

    Sofia of Greece and Denmark (1938-). She is the daughter of a king (Paul of Greece), she is the sister of a king (Constantine II of Greece), the sister-in-law of a queen (Margrethe II of Denmark), she is the wife of a king (Juan-Carlos of Spain) and the mother of a king (Felipe VI of Spain).

Those are some good royal connections! I am certain there are more and I will post more in the future!

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Queen Sofia of Spain, princess of Greece and Denmark.

What is in a name?

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william_iv_of_great_britain_c-_1850In the majority monarchies a new monarch generally retains his given name upon succession. However, there are times when a monarch either changes his or her name completely or shortens the name they will be known by during their reign. For example, Emperor Friedrich III of Germany (1888), was known as Fritz to his family, and was officially known to the public as Friedrich-Wilhelm while he was Crown Prince.

In the English/British monarchy changing names has been a recent development and even then there are only a few example. Up until the time of William IV of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hanover, I cannot find any King or Queen of England that changed their name when they wore the crown. There was one King of Scotland that did change his name. King Robert III of Scotland (1390-1406) was born with the name John. One month after his accession in April of 1390 the Scottish Parliament granted John permission to change his regnal name to Robert, to maintain the link back to Robert I the Bruce but also to disassociate himself from the unpopular and disastrous reign of King John Balliol.

When King George IV of the United Kingdom died in 1830 his brother, The Duke of Clarence, christened Prince William-Henry, wanted to call himself King Henry IX until it was pointed out to him that the Scottish Pretender, Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York, also claimed to be Henry IX by himself and his supporters. Given that Henry Stuart died 30 years prior and many still remembered him the King was persuaded to be known by his first name, William.

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King William IV’s niece, Queen Victoria, was christened with the double name Alexandrina-Victoria and was known as Drina within the family during her youth. The day she became queen she was actually proclaimed Queen Alexandrina-Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. However, the next day she let it be known that she simply wanted to be called Victoria.

In homage to her sainted husband, Prince Albert,*  Queen Victoria named her son, the Prince of Wales, Albert-Edward in hopes that he would become King Albert I of the United Kingdom. That did not happen and in an effort to forge his own identity he chose to reign as King Edward VII. Up until he succeeded his mother the Prince of Wales was known as Bertie within the family. Albert-Edward’s eldest son was christened Albert Victor Christian Edward and was known as Eddy within the family. Albert-Victor died of pneumonia in 1892 and never assumed the crown. Since he was known as Eddy within the family it is logical to concluded that had he lived he would have become King Edward VIII.

The next name change we find is with Queen Mary, the wife of King George V. Queen Mary was christened HSH Princess Victoria-Mary of Teck and known as May within the family, had to choose her regnal name when her husband came to the throne in 1910. As Princess of Wales she was known by her double name Victoria-Mary and since George V detested double names he told his wife to choose between which two she wanted be known by. She believed that to be called Queen Victoria was out of the question seeing that it was only 9 years ago that the great queen had passed, so the obvious choice was Queen Mary.

The son of King George V and Queen Mary, King Edward VIII, was christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David and although he was known as David within the family, his official public name was Edward and so when he became King Edward VIII for a short period in 1936 it cannot be considered a name change. However, his brother and next-in-line to the throne, Prince Albert The Duke of York, and known as Bertie in the family, did change his regnal name to George VI in order to show continuity with his father George V after the scandalous abdication crisis. It is understandable then, given this short tradition of name changes, to question the new Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 to ascertain what name she wanted to reign under. Without a question she chose her own name.

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For years there have been rumors flying around that when the current Prince of Wales comes to the throne instead of being known as King Charles III he will be known as King George VII. The rumor is that King Charles I and II are unpopular and associated with bad reigns and it is well known that the Prince of Wales holds a great affection and admiration for his ancestor, King George III. First off, I do not put much faith in this rumor and I do not think King Charles II had such a bad reign or negative connotations are associated with him. However, if the Prince of Wales does choose to reign under a different name there is some precedence for it.

  • Speaking of Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, his first name was actually Franz (Francis) and Albert was one of his many names. He was christened HSH Prince Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

On this date in History: January 20th, 1936. Death of HM King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India.

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king_george_v_1911_color-cropOn this date in History: January 20th, 1936. Death of HM King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India. The king had reigned for 25 years.

He was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the grandson of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth, he was third in the line of succession behind his father and his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George’s father became King-Emperor of the British Empire, and George was created Prince of Wales. He succeeded his father in 1910. He was the only Emperor of India to be present at his own Delhi Durbar.

His reign saw the rise of socialism, communism, fascism, Irish republicanism, and the Indian independence movement, all of which radically changed the political landscape. The Parliament Act 1911 established the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons over the unelected House of Lords. As a result of the First World War (1914–18) the empires of his first cousins Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany fell while the British Empire expanded to its greatest effective extent. In 1917, George became the first monarch of the House of Windsor, which he renamed from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a result of anti-German public sentiment. In 1924 he appointed the first Labour ministry and in 1931 the Statute of Westminster recognised the dominions of the Empire as separate, independent states within the Commonwealth of Nations. He had health problems throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.

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Earl of Snowdon, former husband of Princess Margaret, has died.

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antony_armstrong-jones_1965It has been reported that Lord Snowden died in his sleep aged 86. His son, with Princess Margaret, David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, becomes the 2nd Earl of Snowdon.

Here is some biographical info on him related to royal history.

Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, GCVO, RDI (7 March 1930 – 13 January 2017), commonly known as Lord Snowdon, was an English photographer and film maker. He was married to Princess Margaret, younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II.

In February 1960, Snowdon, then known as Antony Armstrong-Jones, became engaged to the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and they married on 6 May 1960 at Westminster Abbey. The couple made their home in apartments at Kensington Palace. As he was a commoner, he was created Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley, of Nymans in the County of Sussex on 6 October 1961 due to concerns over the prospect of a British princess giving birth to a child without a title. The Snowdon title has centuries-old royal associations, since the name Snowdon was borne by the Welsh princes and the House of Gwynedd before 1282, though here it was granted as a nod to Armstrong-Jones’s Welsh ancestry. A Barony of Snowdon (sometimes spelled Snaudon) was a subsidiary title of King George II’s son Frederick, Prince of Wales. The subsidiary Linley title honoured Lord Snowdon’s great-grandfather Linley Sambourne as well as Nymans, the Messel family estate in West Sussex.

The couple had two children: David Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, born 3 November 1961, and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, born 1 May 1964.

The marriage began to collapse early and publicly.

On 16 November 1999 Lord Snowdon was created Baron Armstrong-Jones, of Nymans in the County of West Sussex This was a life peerage given him so that he could keep his seat in the House of Lords after the hereditary peers had been excluded. An offer of a life peerage was made to all hereditary peers of the first creation (those for whom a peerage was originally created, as opposed to those who inherited a peerage from an ancestor) at that time.

The government of the day had expected Lord Snowdon to follow the example of members of the royal family and turn down his right to a life peerage. At the time, Labour MP Fraser Kemp said he was “shocked and surprised that someone who achieved their position in the House of Lords by virtue of marriage should accept a seat in the reformed Lords”.

He retired from the House of Lords on 31 March 2016.

 

Her Majesty’s Sapphire Jubilee

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In a few short weeks, on February 6, 2017, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will celebrate 65 years on the throne technically inaugurating 2017 as her Sapphire Jubilee Year. In September 2015 she surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history. In October 2016, she became the longest currently reigning monarch and head of state following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Her Majesty became Queen on February 6, 1952 when her father, King George VI, passed away in his sleep at the Sandringham estate.

From what I have read there will be no official celebration for her Sapphire Jubilee and I for one think this is a good idea. On April 21 of this year Her Majesty will also be 91 and although this dedicated monarch will continue to carry out her royal duties there are already signs that she will be slowing down a bit as she hands off some of her duties to other members of the Royal Family. I think this is a good idea. After a long battle with a severe cold, which can be be quite serious for the elderly, I would like to see Her Majesty slow down a bit and take care of herself. I do not want to see her abdicate and nor will she ever, I just would like to see her slow down a little.

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Queen has cancelled her plans to travel to Sandringham today due to illness.

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BREAKING NEWS: The Queen has cancelled her plans to travel to Sandringham today.

Further details to follow when available.

I do not want to be an alarmist, but when I first saw the picture attached here, I didn’t think Her Majesty looked too well. I hope this is nothing and that things will be alright.

Queen Cancels Plans due to illness.

The Annual Diplomatic Corps Reception At Buckingham Palace

 

Wonderful picture of HM the Queen with HRH The Prince of Wales!

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Taken earlier this year! Not sure who took this picture but it is wonderful! Wonderful picture of HM the Queen with HRH The Prince of Wales!

EDIT: Info from my friend Karen. The photo was taken by photographer Nick Knight back in May, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle before the night of the celebrations at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

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HRH Princess Ileana of Romania

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HRH Princess Ileana of Romania (also Mother Alexandra) (5 January 1909-21 January 1991) was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania, and his consort Princess Marie of Edinburgh, Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Princess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Duchess of Saxony. She was a great-granddaughter of both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and of Czar Alexander II of Russia. She was born Her Royal Highness Ileana, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. After marriage to Archduke Anton of Austria-Hungary, Prince of Tuscany, she was known as Her Imperial and Royal Highness, Ileana, Archduchess of Austria, Princess Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, Princess of Tuscany, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.

Princess Ileana’s paternity is also in question. It has been claimed, or rumored, that Although it was rumored that Ileana’s real father was not the King of Romania but her mother’s lover, Prince Barbu Ştirbey. Despite the rumor the King did admit paternity. Princess Ileana had four older siblings: King Carol II of Romania, Elisabeth (wife of King George II of the Hellenes), Marie (wife of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia),  Nicholas, and  her youngest brother, Mircea, was also claimed to be the child of Prince Ştirbey even though the King also claimed to be his father.

After Michael I of Romania abdicated, Ileana and her family were exiled from the newly Communist Romania. They escaped by train to the Russian sector of Vienna, then divided into three parts. After that they settled in Switzerland, then moved to Argentina and in 1950, she and the children moved to the United States, where she bought a house in Newton, Massachusetts.

The years from 1950 to 1961 were spent lecturing against communism, working with the Romanian Orthodox Church in the United States, writing two books: I Live Again, a memoir of her last years in Romania, and Hospital of the Queen’s Heart, describing the establishment and running of the hospital.

On 29 May 1954, Ileana and Anton officially divorced and she married secondly in Newton, Massachusetts, on 20 June 1954, to Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu (October 1906 – 21 December 2002).

In 1961, Princess Ileana entered the Orthodox Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God, in Bussy-en-Othe, France. Her second marriage ended in divorce in 1965. On her tonsuring as a monastic, in 1967, Sister Ileana was given the name Mother Alexandra. She moved back to the United States and founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, the first English language Orthodox monastery in North America. She was the third female descendant of Queen Victoria to become a Mother Superior in a convent of her own foundation. She served as abbess until her retirement in 1981, remaining at the monastery until her death. In January 1991, she suffered a broken hip in a fall on the evening before her eighty-second birthday, and while in hospital, suffered two major heart attacks. She died four days after the foundations had been laid for the expansion of the monastery.

Ileana and Archduke Anton had six children; they were raised in the Roman Catholic faith of her husband and of the country:

Archduke Stefan of Austria (5 August 1932 – 12 November 1998)

Archduchess Maria Ileana of Austria (Minola) (18 December 1933 – 11 January 1959)

Archduchess Alexandra of Austria (Sandi) (born 21 May 1935)

Archduke Dominic of Austria (Niki) (born 4 July 1937)

Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria (Magi) (born 2 October 1939)

Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria (Herzi) (born 15 January 1942)

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