October 22…Royal History


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Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-01286,_Kaiserin_Auguste_Viktoria.jpgToday is my birthday!! So let’s see what royal related things happened on this day!!

1383 – The 1383–85 Crisis in Portugal: King Fernando dies without a male heir to the Portuguese throne, sparking a period of civil war and disorder.

1727 – George II and Caroline of Ansbach were crowned King and Queen of Great Britain.

1978 – Papal inauguration of Pope John Paul II.


1071 – William IX, Duke of Aquitaine (d. 1126)
1689 – John V of Portugal (d. 1750) (pictured below)
1701 – Maria Amalia of Austria (d. 1756)
1858 – Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein (d. 1921) Last German Empress, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II of German, King of Prussia. (Pictured above)


741 – Charles Martel, King of the Franks (b. 688)
1383 – Ferdinand I of Portugal (b. 1345)
1751 – Willem IV, Prince of Orange (b. 1711)
1761 – Ludwig-Georg, Margrave of Baden-Baden (b. 1702)
2002 – Geraldine, Queen of Albania (b. 1915)


8oo Year Anniversary of the Death of King John of England.


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On this day, 800 years ago, October 19, 1216 King John of England dies at Newark-on-Trent and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry III. King John has gone down in English history as one of England’s ineffective kings. Jim Bradbury, British historian specializing in the military history of the Middle Ages, states that the current consensus among historians was that John was a “hard-working administrator, an able man, an able general”, albeit,  with “distasteful, even dangerous personality traits”, including pettiness, spitefulness and cruelty.”

His cause of death at the age of 49 after a reign plagued with numerous battles was dysentery. A condition highly curable today but often fatal in the Middle Ages. Shortly after his death rumors began circulating that he had been killed by poisoned ale, poisoned plums or a “surfeit of peaches”.His body was buried in Worcester Cathedral in front of the altar of St Wulfstan.  A new sarcophagus with an effigy was made for him  in 1232 in which his remains now rest.

An interesting factoid is that during the reign of King John the title of the monarch officially changed from “King of the English” to “King of England.” The standard title for all monarchs from Æthelstan (924-927) until the time of King John was Rex Anglorum (King of the English). Canute II the Great, King of Denmark, was the first king to call himself “King of England”. In the Norman period Rex Anglorum (King of the English) remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie (King of England).  From the time of King John onward all other titles were eschewed in favor of Rex or Regina Anglie .(King of England).


Royal Grief…Part I


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With my interest in royalty I often peruse genealogy charts and biographies to look at the history and events in people’s lives to see if I can capture an accurate picture of who these people were and the times in which they lived. That is what I do when I wear the hat of an historian. I also have a background in psychology and despite having these high and lofty titles they are still human and can and do suffer all the ills associated with the human condition and that includes grief.

When I examine genealogy charts and notice that there are deaths that come close after one another I realize that certain royal family members may be caught up in grief. Often their biographies may detail their grief, as the case with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, however, there are times when nothing is mentioned. This past July I noticed that King Edward VII of the United Kingdom went through many losses in one year. I envision that it may have been a very difficult time for him.

In 1892 he lost his eldest son and heir, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892) to pneumonia. It has been reported that Prince Albert Victor’s mother, Princess Alexandra, Princess of Wales (at that time) never fully recovered from her son’s death and kept the room in which he died as a shrine. This was typical of those in the Victorian era that made grief seem like an Olympic sport. I suspect that the future King Edward VII also never recovered from the death of his son…what parent ever truly recovers from such a tragedy?

However, it is the year 1899 that we turn to in examining the difficult year for Edward VII. On February 6, 1899 came the death of his nephew, HRH Alfred, Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (October 15-February 9, 1899), the only son and  heir of HRH Prince Alfred, reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Duke of Edinburgh and brother of King Edward VII. The Hereditary Prince’s mother was, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia the fifth child and only surviving daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and his first wife Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine.

The Hereditary Prince was aged 24 and his death was under circumstances still not entirely clear.Was it due to health reasons such as consumption or was it suicide? He is alleged to have secretly married Lady Mabel Fitzgerald, granddaughter of the 4th Duke of Leinster, and it has been claimed that this caused friction between young Prince Alfred and his parents and was the cause of his suicide. One report is that Alfred shot himself with a revolver while the rest of the family was gathered for the anniversary celebration of his parents marriage, January 23rd 1899. Prince Alfred survived the initial self-inflicted gun shot and was taken to Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha for three days before being sent to the Martinnsbrunn Sanatorium in Gratsch in the South Tyrol (Austria, now part of Italy). Alfred died there at 4:15 pm on February 9, 1899.

Technically this part of the story belongs more to the grief of the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha than to Edward VII himself, after all, it wasn’t his son that died. I only relay this story here because it was the start of a string of deaths in the British Royal Family that would run from 1899 until August of 1901 that would have had an emotional impact on the future Edward VII.

In keeping my desire to have these posts be not too length and therefore easily digestible, I will stop here and post the next entry next Friday.


64 Years on the Throne


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Today HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland marks the 64th year on the throne. Her father, King George VI, died on this date, February 6, 1952. Last September 2015, Her Majesty became Britain’s longest ruling monarch when she surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria (1837-1901) who reigned for 63 years and seven months.

Her Majesty is also the oldest sovereign to reign. Queen Victoria also held that record. She was 82 when she passed away in 1901. At age 89 Her Majesty broke that record seven years ago. This April 21, Her Majesty will turn 90 and many celebrations are planned in Britain for this momentous milestone.

Almost 90 and having been queen for 64 years Her Majesty shows no sign of slowing down. Her calendar is full, although maybe not as full as years past for the Prince of Wales has taken over some of her work. Still, unless some heath crisis appears Her Majesty will continue to press forward.

Although today we mark the 64th year Her Majesty came to the throne, within the Royal Family itself these dates are rarely acknowledged publicly. For royal historians such as my self and other royal enthusiasts this is a special day, for Her Majesty this is the day her father died and that is something to be noted but not celebrated. What we will celebrate is the dedication and the long life of service to her country and long may she continue to reign.



January, the Gloomy Month


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Yesterday, January 22nd, was the 115th anniversary of the Death of Queen Victoria. But did you know that January has been a month where many British royals have died? We start with King George III who died January 29, 1820. His son, HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, predeceased his father and died 6 days prior on January 23, 1820. His anniversary is today. His daughter, Queen Victoria, died on January 22, 1901. Her grandsons also died in January. The eldest son of the then Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII), Prince Albert-Victor, Duke of Clarence, died January 14, 1892. His brother, King George V, died on January 20, 1936. King George V’s sister, Princess Louise, The Princess Royal, died on January 10, 1931. HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, son of Queen Victoria and brother of King Edward VII, died on January 16, 1942. The Duke of Connaught’s youngest daughter, HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught (Lady Patricia Ramsay) died on January 12, 1974. Lastly, HRH Princess Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, longest surviving grandchild of Queen Victoria died on January 3, 1981. I may have missed some But January is a gloomy month for the royal family.

Who’s your Daddy? Part II


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One of the more notable royals with questionable parentage was King Alfonso XII of Spain. Alfonso was born in Madrid as the eldest son of Queen Isabella II. Officially, his father was her husband, Infante Francisco de Bourbon, Duke of Cadiz. The Duke of Cadiz was given the title of King Consort, one of the few in history, upon his marriage to his double first cousin, Queen Isabella II of Spain, on October 10, 1846. There is evidence that Isabella desired to marry the Duke of Cadiz’ younger brother, Infante Enrique de Bourbon, Duke of Seville. Shortly after their wedding night Queen Isabella II bitterly complained about her husband’s effeminate habits and mannerisms.

These facts had lead to considerable speculation that some or all of Isabella’s children were not fathered by Francisco; this speculation has been bolstered by rumors that Francisco was either homosexual or physically unable to complete the sex act. With Alfonso XII’s biological paternity uncertain, there has been speculation that his biological father may have been Enrique Puigmoltó y Mayans (a captain of the guard). This rumor was put forth by the Carlists as part of their propaganda against the queen.

Let provide some background on Carlism. In 1701 the French Bourbon prince, Philippe, Duc d’Anjou, grandson of France’s king, Louis XIV, inherited the Spanish throne. What the new King Felipe V brought with him to Spain was the ancient Salic Law which barred woman from inheriting the throne as well as passing along succession rights. This law was foreign to the Spaniards because there had been many queen regnants in Spain prior to the accession of the House of Bourbon. This law was not tested in Spain because between the reigns of Felipe V and Fernando VII each monarch successfully produced a male heir.

King Fernando VII, despite multiple marriages, had not fathered a male heir and this lead to a succession crisis in 1833 with the Salic Law being rescinded in Spain. In 1827 King Fernando VII’s third wife, Maria Josepha Amalia of Saxony, died. This forced the aging king into a hasty fourth marriage in order to father a male heir. His bride was Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The awkwardness of this union was that not only were they cousins multiple times over, King Fernando VII was also her uncle by both birth and marriage. Maria Christina’s mother, Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain, was King Fernando VII’s sister; both were born to King Carlos IV of Spain and his wife, Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Parma. Fernando VII did, however, have two daughters, with Infanta Isabella being the eldest and Infanta Luisa Fernanda being the youngest.

When Fernando VII lay dying his queen had him set aside the Salic Law, which thus made their young daughter succeed him as Queen Isabella II upon his death. Under the old Salic Law the late King Fernando VII’s brother, Don Carlos, Duke of Molina, was heir to the throne instead of any female. Don Carlos revolted and proclaimed he was the legitimate and rightful king and styled himself King Carlos V of Spain. Needing support, Queen Maria Christina (acting as Regent for her daughter) turned to the liberals. She issued a decree of amnesty on October 23, 1833. Liberals, who had been in exile, returned and dominated Spanish politics for decades. The liberals threw their support behind Isabella II and the Carlist Wars resulted. It was in this context that the rumors began flooding in years later that the future Alfonso XII was not fathered by Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, the legitimate husband of Queen Isabella II.

After a tumultuous reign, Isabella II and her husband went into exile with his wife in France in 1868 and adopted the incognito title of Count of Moratalla. In 1870 Francisco and Isabella were amicably separated but in time they actually became good friends. This friendship, which they had certainly not been while she was Queen regnant, was new. The 1874 restoration placed his son Alfonso XII on the throne.

So was Alfonso XII really fathered by Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, or was he really fathered by Enrique Puigmoltó y Mayans, or was this merely a rumor spread by Carlist enemies? From what I understand after reading about this issue from many historians is that the evidence does seem to point to the Duke of Cadiz being a homosexual and although that doesn’t rule out the possibility he could be the father of Alfonso XII, but given the fact that the promiscuity of Isabella II is also well documented, it is reasonable to doubt that Alfonso XII was really fathered by Francisco, Duke of Cadiz.

Who’s Your Daddy?


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When I began my interest in European Royalty one of my great pleasures, and still is to this day, is perusing genealogy charts and trying to memorize who all these people are and how many different ways they are connected to one another. However, at one point the thought occurred to me that these charts may not accurately reflect what actually happened. In other words, was the parentage of each royal accurate or was someone else, in reality, the father of certain children. I have discovered there are times when who the actual father of a royal really is.

In legal terms as long as the legal spouse acknowledges the paternity of the child then that child is said to be the legal offspring of the marriage. In all or royal circles this has been the majority practice. I know of only one case, Princess Louise-Auguste of Denmark (1771-1843), where paternity was well known not to be that of the queen’s legal husband, King Christian VII of Denmark, but he acknowledged the child as his anyway. It is broadly accepted that her real biological father was Johann Friedrich Struensee, the king’s royal physician and de facto regent of Denmark at the time of her birth. It was also known at the time that the mentally unstable king was estranged from his queen, Caroline-Matilda of Great Britain. After the affair the king and queen were divorced in 1772.

Struensee, who had initiated many modernizing and emancipating reforms, was arrested and executed for high treason for his affair with the queen that the same year. Christian VII reluctantly signed Struensee’s arrest and execution warrant under pressure from his stepmother, Queen Juliane-Marie, the power hungry queen led the movement to end the marriage and hopefully advance her son (Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway) in his claims to the Danish throne.  Caroline Matilda, retained her title of Queen but her children were taken away from her. She was eventually exiled from Denmark and passed her remaining days at Celle Castle in her brother, King George III of Great Britain’s German territory, the Electorate of Hanover. Her life was tragic. She died there of scarlet fever on May 10, 1775, at the age of 23.

Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark, though officially regarded as the daughter of King Christian VII, was, in fact, the daughter of Queen Caroline Matilda and Johann Friedrich Struensee. Their daughter had a better life than her mother and her actual illigitimacy did not affect her position in society. She was married to a Danish cousin, Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg. He was born the eldest son of Friedrich Christian I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1721–1794), and his cousin Princess Charlotte of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön (1744–1770). Until his father’s death, he was styled “Hereditary Prince of Augustenborg”.

This marriage was arraigned by Danish Chief Minister Andreas Peter Bernstorff, because he theorized that since a son of Louise Auguste could ascend the throne some day, it would be beneficial to arrange a marry to the “half-royal” and to keep her in the family. The result of this plan closely re-connected the Danish royal house’s two lines, the ruling House of Oldenburg and the offshoot House of Augustenburg. The marriage took place on May 27, 1786 and the 14-year-old Louise Augusta was married to the 20 year old Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg at Christiansborg Palace.

The couple lived at the Danish court in Copenhagen for many years until the Christiansborg Palace fire of 1794 and the death of the elder Duke of Augustenborg, Frederik Christian I, 1721-1794, when her husband inherited his father’s the estate, title and the Duchy. The new radiant Duchess of Augustenburg was often the center of court activities, and was proclaimed the “Venus of Denmark”; she was the real female center of the Danish royal court even after her brother, King Frederik VI, married in 1790 to Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel. Sadly the union was a mismatch for the spouses were different: Louise Augusta was extrovert, lively, beautiful and pleasure-loving, Frederik-Christian II was homely, serious, and only interested in philosophy and politics. This is where history repeated itself. Louise Auguste was said to have had many lovers, and the most notably among them was the doctor Carl Ferdinand Suadacini, who treated her for infertility and was believed to have fathered her three children. Unlike the situation with her mother and Friedrich Struensee, this rumor cannot be proven. Despite being a great-granddaughter of King George II of Great Britain and having many British royal cousins, Louise Auguste felt sympathy for the French Revolution and from 1789 onward held anti-British views.

Frederik-Christian II died on June 14, 1814. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Christian-August II, who was only sixteen years old. Duchess Louise Auguste took control of the Augustenborg estates and the children’s upbringing. However, the estate was turned over to Christian-August II, on his return from an extended foreign tour in 1820. After her short period as a regent for her son, Louise-Aguste then resided in the Augustenborg Castle, where she established an eccentric court. She had a close and warm relationship with her daughter, Caroline Amalie (September 28, 1796-March 9, 1881), who would become Queen of Denmark as consort to Christian VIII, but her relationship to her sons was tense. Louise-Aguste died at Augustenborg in 1843, when her brother’s reign in Denmark had already ended (Frederik VI 1808-1839) and Christian VIII (1839-1848)*, her son-in-law, ascended – she thus died as the mother of the then Queen of Denmark.

* Christian VIII (September 18, 1786-January 20, 1848) was the King of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian-Frederick, King of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born in 1786 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. His paternal grandparents were King Frederik V of Denmark and his second wife, Duchess Juliane-Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

This will be a relatively short series. The parentage of the following monarchs will be looked at: King Edward III of England, King Alfonso XII of Spain, Archduke Maximilian of Austria (Emperor of Mexico), Emperor Pavel of Russia.

Oh, here is another interesting bit of trivia. Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark was the grandmother of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg who was married to Princess Helena of Great Britain, daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

HM Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Longest Ruling Monarch!!


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When I began my interest in British and European Royalty back in 1977 Queen Victoria had been Britain’s longest ruling monarch. Her Majesty, the Queen, had celebrated her Silver Jubilee, 25 years on the throne, and the thought of her becoming Britain’s longest ruling monarch and breaking her great-great-grandmother’s record was not on my mind. In 1989 Her Majesty passed Henry VIII of England’s 37 years on the throne and it was then I thought that maybe someday, in 2015 I calculated, she could become Britain’s longest ruling monarch. In 1989 the year 2015 seemed like a life-time away. In 1997 the Queen passed her name sake, Queen Elizabeth I’s 44 year reign and seeing how good her health was and the fact that her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was 97 at the time and still going strong, lead me to believe this historic event could be achieved.

It has been a long time coming and now it is here. I do have to say that because the Victorian Era has been one of my favorite eras to study I do greet this day with a little sadness but I am happy to see the queen reach this historic milestone in her reign.

During her reign Her Majesty has shown herself to be the very picture of a dedicated, hardworking, constitutional monarch. Congratulations your majesty on reaching this historical milestone! May her majesty continue to reign for a long long time.

Historically speaking, since she is the longest ruling monarch in British history she has five more years to beat HIM Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria-Hungary’s 68 years and nine more to beat Louis XIV of France and Navarre’s 72 years on the throne.

When Monarchs ruled.


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When I began my interest in royalty I was at first solely concerned in learning their particular genealogies. As I delved into the history of each country I began to be interested in the reigns of each monarch. I learned how monarchies survived going from periods of absolute power to the constitutional form we have today. Somewhere in the process I became a monarchist myself. With all the political infighting that occurs among politicians I think it is beneficial to have a figurehead as the Head of State. A Head of State that is symbolic of the nation and is above the petty partisan politics of the day. I think there are many beneficial aspects of having a Head of State being politically impartial for that gives them the opportunity of serving all the people and not just members of a particular party.

I need to be honest though, I do miss the days when Monarchs actually ruled and held some power. It is one of the things I enjoy about reading the history of these countries that were or are monarchies. For me it is an issue of power. In life some people have power and some do not. It is fascinating to read how those that held power used that power. So I find that the days when monarchs actually held power to be fascinating. Those times are even more interesting when a larger-than-life figure such as when Charlemagne or William the Conqueror or Louis XIV held power. I am sure I am romanticizing things because I know life was not all puppies, rainbows and roses under these monarchs. Yet things were not always terrible for there were monarchs that held power that did good for their country.

I look at King Edward I of England (1272-1307) as a good example. Historians report that the king could be a frightening individual and that he had a reputation because of his intimidating fierce temper also with a domineering physical presences. There is an anecdotal story about when the Dean of St Paul’s, who desired to confront the king about his broad level of taxation, was so intimidated by the king that he collapsed and died instantly the moment he was brought into the King’s presence. That sounds crazy to our modern scientific minds but it could be plausible that the stress of meeting this intimidating King could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. There was also a report that when the Prince of Wales (future Edward II) petitioned and pressured his father to grant an earldom for his personal favorite and friend, Piers Gaveston, the King grew impatient with his sons demands and the King exploded in anger and purportedly tore out handfuls of his son’s hair!

Edward is also known for the establishment of the Model Parliament. Parliament gathered on a fairly regular basis during his reign. In 1295 the king brought about some significant changes. At this point in history the English Parliament contained the secular (the nobility) and ecclesiastical lords (Priests and Bishops). In 1295 Edward also summoned two knights from each county and two representatives from each borough. These two representatives from the boroughs planted the seed for what eventual lead to the development of the House of Commons. Although having commoners sit in Parliament was not exactly new, the precedent setting status of these commoners was the fact that they were given, by the king, authority (plena potestas) of their communities, to give assent to the decisions made in Parliament. No longer were these commoner representatives there to give a rubber stamp and to simply assent to decisions already made by the upper magnates, they now met in Parliament with the full authority nobility and ecclesiastical lords had. This structure eventually became the standardized formation for later Parliaments.

Edward I was a mixture of being a good king with some bad personality issues. Now I do support Classical Liberal ideals of the democratic principles that came of age during the Enlightenment period where we have a right to select those that rule over us. However, I do enjoy reading about these monarchs such as Edward I who did hold power and also, with his creation of a more egalitarian Parliament, demonstrated that many times they could be effective and efficient rulers. While it is best to now have the monarchs as being above partisan politics you really cannot blame a monarchist for missing the good old days when they held actual power.

Limits of Power for Exiled Royal Families: Conclusion


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On December 30, 2007, King Michael signed a new Statute of the Royal House, called Fundamental Rules of the Royal House of Romania. These new House Laws were implicitly based on European Union type of legislation, specifically those laws which addresses the European Convention on Human Rights, which, however, does not guarantee any right to reign as a monarch of any country, and also on the values of the Romanian society. The document clarifies the order of inheritance of King Michael’s fortune and rights to the Romanian throne. This new Statute, thought by some to be undemocratic because it was not approved by any Parliament, is mostly symbolic but it does attempt to replace the old 1884 Statute Law. According to this new Statute, the first in line of succession is King Michael’s eldest daughter, newly titled “Crown Princess of Romania” and “Custodian of the Romanian Crown,” Princess Margarita. In 1997 King Michael had already designated her as successor to “all” his “prerogatives and rights”, indicating his desires for a gender-blind succession to the throne.

The argument has been made that Crown Princess Margarita will only become head of the royal family because King Michael, as a constitutional monarch, is unable to alter the old and inoperative succession laws which had excluded females and their descendants. King Michael was not and is not an absolute monarch who could rule via the strength of his will. It is only the Romanian Parliament that could ameliorate these laws along with the Constitution where these precepts had been included. Also, the Romanian Parliament will not alter the succession to a monarchy that no longer exists. In order to legally alter the succession the monarchy would need to be restored. There is however, an alternative view which finds that Michael is able to alter these succession laws alone, effectively making him an absolute monarch. This view stems from the rreality of the fact that during his second reign, Michael neither was sworn into office by any Parliament, nor did he take any oath to any Constitution. Instead King Michael was instead anointed king by the Romanian Orthodox Church. The second opinion ignores the fact that Michael never personally claimed to be an absolute monarch, nor had he acted as such, and he always supporting democracy and the constitutional monarchy.

During the week this came in over the news….This is copied from Royal Central…

“In a statement released yesterday, Romania’s King Michael has withdrawn his grandson’s royal title. The former Prince Nicolae of Romania, once third in succession to the throne, and only grandson of the ninety-three-year-old king will now be known as Mr. Nicholas Medforth-Mills. He became third in line to the throne on April 1st, 2010 at the age of twenty-five.

King Michael reached this conclusion by observing his grandson’s behavior in public and in private. Ioan Luca Vlad explained further, “When you are in public, you must have a certain attitude, you must comply with certain norms. If you do this, but you are not happy with it, this won’t last long, so you must make a preventive step,”

The king is merely thinking of the future, stated the Royal House’s representatives. It isn’t a punishment for the former prince, who was in agreement with his grandfather’s decision. Mr. Methford-Mills issued his statement, “The royal life means leading my life in a way I find hard to accept,” he said. “For this reason, I accept with a lot of pain in my heart the decision of His Majesty King Michael for me.”

I have given it some great thought. One problem, as I already stated it, is that these House Laws/Constitutions were written at a time when these thrones were extant. This forever sets them in stone and there is no legal means to change them. If these families were still reigning there would be a legal means of altering the House Laws.

In the majority of these former ruling families, most holding their titles in pretense, there is still considerable wealth and estates to consider and who should inherit these vast holdings are some of the problems the heads of these former ruling families face. In the past these issues were decided legally and while the courts today can rule on these issues they do not have jurisdiction over the claims of titles and thrones that no longer exist. There are limits.

Many of these former ruling families had strict marriages laws/requirements and rules on who was and was not a dynast. Why does this still matter? As I mentioned there is still wealth and land to be inherited but more than that, some of these former reigning families still hold places of privilege and high profile levels of service to their country. The heirs to the thrones of Romania, Serbia, Germany and Portugal all have some relationships with the government either on a national level or local level. For instance, the wedding of the pretender to the Portuguese throne was televised and attended by the Prime Minister and the President of Portugal as well as other foreign dignitaries. When the Prince of Prussia, heir to the German Empire, married in 2011 the religious wedding was broadcast live by local public television. The formal dinner, which many members of German and European royal families attended, was held in the Orangery Palace at Sanssouci Park.

There still is a lot at stake. For instance, the Prince of Prussia (Prince Georg-Friedrich) was under a lot of pressure to marry someone of equal status after his great-great grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm II, placed a stipulation in his will that only those of equal marriage were eligible to inherit his vast wealth and headship of the Royal House. The eldest children of Prince Georg-Friedrich’s grandfather, Prince Louis-Ferdinand (1907-1994), did not marry equally so Prince Louis-Ferdinand named his grandson (born of an equal marriage) as heir to the estate and the Headship of the Royal House. This was contested in the courts by Prince Georg-Friedrich’s uncles and although he eventually won, he too, had to marry equally. His wife, the current Princess of Prussia, was born Her Serene Highness Princess Sophie of Isenburg. Although the court could rule on the inheritance it could not rule on the Headship of the Royal House because the monarchy was no longer existing so it had no jurisdiction over pretense to titles.

Times have changed and monarchies in order to survive also need to change with the times. In 1936 King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain had to abdicate in order to marry the woman he loved. This caused great scandal. Today, attitudes on divorce and equal marriage have changed. When the Prince of Wales married his former mistress in 2005 it was accepted by most. When Crown Prince Haakon of Norway married a woman that had had a child from a previous relationship, it was accepted although it did cause a minor uproar. If these former ruling families want to stay relevant and not disappear into the dust bins of history I think they need to be allowed to change and adapt.

I don’t think old House Laws and Constitutions need to tie the hands of these Heads of former reigning Houses. For practical reasons they should not. As we have seen issues and problems do come up in these families and they do need to be addressed and I think the Heads of former reigning Houses need to have some freedom to address these problems and change the Laws as the times change.