February 23, 1848: Abdication of Louis Philippe, King of the French

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The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

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Louis Philippe I (October 6, 1773 – August 26, 1850) was King of the French from 1830 to 1848. As Duke of Chartres he distinguished himself commanding troops during the Revolutionary Wars but broke with the Republic over its decision to execute King Louis XVI.

His father was Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans and his mother was Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a Prince of the Blood, which entitled him the use of the style “Serene Highness”. His mother was an extremely wealthy heiress who was descended from Louis XIV of France through a legitimized line. His father known as Philippe Égalité during the French Revolution who supported the execution of Louis XVI, fell under suspicion and was executed, and Louis Philippe fled France and remained in exile for 21 years until the Bourbon Restoration.

Marriage

In 1796, Louis Philippe supposedly fathered a child with Beata Caisa Wahlborn (1766-1830) named Erik Kolstrøm (1796-1879). In 1808, Louis Philippe proposed to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. His Catholicism and the opposition of her mother Queen Charlotte meant the Princess reluctantly declined the offer. Louis Philippe struck up a lasting friendship with Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, (father of Queen Victoria) and moved to England, where he remained in exile from 1800 to 1815.

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Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom

In 1809, Louis Philippe married Princess Maria Amalia of the Two-Sicilies, the tenth of eighteen children of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina of Austria, herself thirteenth child of Empress Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Franz I. The ceremony was celebrated in Palermo 25 November 1809. The marriage was considered controversial, because she was the niece of Marie Antoinette of Austria (wife of King Louis XVI of France), while he was the son of Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans who was considered to have played a part in the execution of her aunt.

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Princess Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily

Louis Philippe usurped the throne from his distance cousin Henri de Bourbon, comte de Chambord and was proclaimed king in 1830 after his cousin Charles X was forced to abdicate by the July Revolution. Louis Philippe’s liberal policies and his popularity with the masses was the main reason the Chamber of Deputies chose him as king. Upon his accession to the throne, Louis Philippe assumed the title of King of the French – a title already adopted by Louis XVI in the short-lived Constitution of 1791. Linking the monarchy to a people instead of a territory (as the previous designation King of France and of Navarre) was aimed at undercutting the legitimist claims of Charles X and his family.

The reign of Louis Philippe is known as the July Monarchy and was dominated by wealthy industrialists and bankers. Though initially liberal in his policies Louis Philippe followed conservative policies, especially under the influence of French statesman François Guizot during the period 1840–48. He also promoted friendship with Britain and sponsored colonial expansion, notably the French conquest of Algeria. His popularity faded as economic conditions in France deteriorated in 1847.

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The Duke of Orleans in uniform as a Colonel-General of the Hussars in 1817

Nicknamed the “Bourgeois Monarch”, Louis Philippe sat at the head of a state controlled mainly by educated elites. Supported by the Orléanists, he was opposed on his right by the Legitimists (former ultra-royalists) and on his left by the Republicans and Socialists. Louis Philippe was an expert businessman and, by means of his businesses, he had become one of the richest men in France. Still Louis Philippe saw himself as the successful embodiment of a “small businessman” (petite bourgeoisie).

The year 1846 saw a financial crisis and bad harvests, and the following year saw an economic depression. A poor railway system hindered aid efforts, and the peasant rebellions that resulted were forcefully crushed. According to French economist Frédéric Bastiat, the poor condition of the railway system can largely be attributed to French efforts to promote other systems of transport, such as carriages.

Because political gatherings and demonstrations were outlawed in France, activists of the largely middle class opposition to the government began to hold a series of fund-raising banquets. This campaign of banquets (Campagne des banquets), was intended to circumvent the governmental restriction on political meetings and provide a legal outlet for popular criticism of the regime. The campaign began in July 1847. Friedrich Engels was in Paris dating from October 1847 and was able to observe and attend some of these banquets.

The banquet campaign lasted until all political banquets were outlawed by the French government in February 1848. As a result, the people revolted, helping to unite the efforts of the popular Republicans and the liberal Orléanists, who turned their back on Louis-Philippe.

Anger over the outlawing of the political banquets brought crowds of Parisians flooding out onto the streets at noon on 22 February 1848. They directed their anger against the Citizen King Louis Philippe and his chief minister for foreign and domestic policy, François Pierre Guillaume Guizot.

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Alphonse de Lamartine in front of the Town Hall of Paris rejects the red flag on 25 February 1848, during the February 1848 Revolution

At 2 pm the next day, February 23, Prime Minister Guizot resigned. Upon hearing the news of Guizot’s resignation, a large crowd gathered outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An officer ordered the crowd not to pass, but people in the front of the crowd were being pushed by the rear. The officer ordered his men to fix bayonets, probably wishing to avoid shooting, but in what is widely regarded as an accident, a soldier discharged his musket and the rest of the soldiers then fired into the crowd. Fifty-two people were killed.

Fires were set, and angry citizens began converging on the royal palace. Louis-Philippe, fearing for his life, abdicated in favor of his nine-year-old grandson Philippe, Comte de Paris and fled to England in disguise. A strong undercurrent of republican sentiment prevented Philippe, Comte de Paris from taking his place as king.

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Louis-Philippe (1773-1850), The Citizen King by Eugène Lami

Louis Philippe and his family remained in exile in Great Britain in Claremont, Surrey, though a plaque on Angel Hill, Bury St. Edmunds claims that he spent some time there, possibly due to a friendship with the Marquess of Bristol, who lived nearby at Ickworth House. The royal couple spent some time by the sea at St. Leonards and later at the Marquess’s home in Brighton. Louis Philippe died at Claremont on August 26, 1850.

February 23, 1934: King Leopold III succeeded to the throne of Belgium following the death of his father King Albert I.

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Leopold III (November 3, 1901 – September 25, 1983) was King of the Belgians from 1934 until 1951, when he abdicated in favour of the heir apparent, his son

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Prince Leopold was born in Brussels, the first child of King Albert I of the Belgians and his consort, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria.* In 1909 his father became King of the Belgians, as Albert I, and Prince Leopold became Duke of Brabant, the title of the heir to the Belgian throne.

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Astrid (far right) with her mother and sisters
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Prince Leopold married Princess Astrid of Sweden in a civil ceremony in Stockholm on November 4, 1926, followed by a religious ceremony in Brussels on November 10. Princess Astrid was the third child and youngest daughter of Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland, and his wife, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.

Her father was the third son of Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, by his wife, Sophia of Nassau. Her mother was a daughter of King Frederick VIII of Denmark by his wife, Louise of Sweden. Astrid’s father was a younger brother of King Gustav V of Sweden, and her mother was the younger sister of kings Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway. The marriage produced three children:

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1. Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium, (October 11, 1927 – January 10, 2005) Grand Duchess consort of Luxembourg, through married on to Prince Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
2. King Baudouin of Belgium, Duke of Brabant, Count of Hainaut, (September 7, 1930 – July 31, 1993).
3. King Albert II of Belgium, Prince of Liège, (June 6, 1934 -) He abdicated in July 2013.

On August 29, 1935, while the king and queen were driving along the winding, narrow roads near their villa at Küssnacht am Rigi, Schwyz, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Lucerne, Leopold lost control of the car which plunged into the lake, killing Queen Astrid.

Leopold married Lilian Baels on September 11, 1941 in a secret, religious ceremony, with no validity under Belgian law. The new Princess of Réthy was soon expecting their first child, the ceremony took place on December 6, 1941. They had three children in total:

1. Prince Alexandre of Belgium, (July 18, 1942 – November 29, 2009) married Léa Wolman.
2. Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium, (February 6, 1951 -) Her first marriage, to Paul Drucker in 1981, lasted 40 days (and formally divorced in 1985); she subsequently married Jean-Paul Gourges in 1989.
3. Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium, (September 30, 1956 – ) a journalist, her professional name is Esmeralda de Réthy. She married pharmacologist Salvador Moncada in 1998. They have a son and a daughter.

The Duke of Brabant succeeded to the throne of Belgium on February 23, 1934, as King Leopold III following the death of his father King Albert I.

The controversial reign of Leopold III would need several blog entries to detail this complex topic and which I will do in the future. Therefore today, I will simply summarize the information.

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King Leopold III during World War II

Leopold’s controversial actions during the Second World War resulted in a political crisis known as the Royal Question. The Royal Question was a major political crisis in Belgium that lasted from 1945 to 1951, coming to a head between March and August 1950. During Leopold’s exile from 1944 until 1950, Leopold’s brother, Charles, served as prince regent while Leopold was declared unable to reign.

The “question” at stake surrounded whether King Leopold III could return to the country and resume his royal duties as King of the Belgians amid allegations that his actions during World War II had gone contrary to the provisions of the Belgian Constitution. In 1950, following a referendum, Leopold was allowed to return from exile to Belgium, but the continuing political instability pressured him to abdicate on July 16, 1951 in favor of his eldest son Baudouin.

In retirement, he followed his passion as an amateur social anthropologist and entomologist and travelled the world, collecting zoological specimens. Two species of reptiles are named after him, Gehyra leopoldi and Polemon leopoldi. He went to Senegal and strongly criticized the French decolonization process, and he explored the Orinoco and the Amazon with Heinrich Harrer.

Leopold died in 1983 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert aged 81, following emergency heart surgery. He was interred next to Queen Astrid in the royal vault at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken. Leopold’s second wife, the Princess de Réthy, was later interred with them.

Notable royal descendants

As of 2020 two of Leopold’s grandsons are reigning monarchs: Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg since 2000, and King Philippe of Belgium since 2013.

* Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria was the daughter of Karl-Theodor, Duke in Bavaria, head of a cadet branch of the Bavarian Royal Family and an ophthalmologist. She was named after her father’s sister, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known as Sisi, wife of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungry. Her mother was Maria Josepha of Portugal, daughter of exiled Miguel I of Portugal and his wife Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg.

February 22, 1511: Death of Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall.

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Henry, Duke of Cornwall (January 1, 1511 – February 22, 1511) was the first child of King Henry VIII of England and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and though his birth was celebrated as that of the heir apparent, he died within weeks. His death and Henry VIII’s failure to produce another surviving male heir with Catherine led to succession and marriage crises that affected the relationship between the English church and Roman Catholicism, giving rise to the English Reformation.

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Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of England used from 1504 to 1554 for the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.

Birth and christening

Henry was born on January 1, 1511 at Richmond Palace, the first live-born child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, born eighteen months after their wedding and coronation. Catherine had previously given birth to a stillborn daughter, on January 31, 1510. He was christened on January 5 in a lavish ceremony where beacons were lit in his honour. The christening gifts included a fine gold salt holder and cup weighing a total 99 ounces, given by Louis XII of France, his godfather. His other godparents were William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy * At the christening, the baby prince’s great-aunt Lady Anne Howard stood proxy for Margaret, and Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, stood proxy for the French king.

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Young King Henry VIII of England

Celebrations and death

Henry VIII and his queen planned extravagant celebrations rivalling that of their joint coronation for the birth of his son, who automatically became Duke of Cornwall and heir apparent to the English throne, and was expected to become Prince of Wales, King of England, and third king of the House of Tudor, as King Henry IX. The tournament at Westminster was the most lavish of Henry’s reign, and is recorded via a long illuminated vellum roll, known as The Westminster Tournament Roll to be found in the College of Arms collection. Known as “Little Prince Hal” and “the New Year’s Boy”, the prince was fondly regarded by Henry’s court.

However, on February 22, 1511, the young prince died suddenly. The cause of his death was not recorded. He received a state funeral at Westminster Abbey. It was another two years until the Queen again became pregnant. There is no known portrait of Prince Henry. Contemporary reports state that both parents were distraught at the loss of their child. The deeply religious Catherine spent many hours kneeling on cold stone floors praying, to the worry of courtiers. Henry distracted himself from his grief by waging war against Louis XII of France with his father-in-law, Fernando II of Aragon.

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Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England

Impact of Henry, Duke of Cornwall’s death on history

Historians have speculated what course English history might have taken had Henry, Duke of Cornwall, or any other legitimate son by Catherine survived. With the couple’s failure to provide a live son, Henry VIII’s desire for a male heir was the cited reason that led him to have their marriage annulled. A living son by Catherine might have forestalled or even prevented the marriage to Anne Boleyn and placed England in a different relationship with Roman Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation, thereby affecting, and perhaps even preventing, the English Reformation that grew out of the succession crisis prior to the birth of the future Edward VI to Henry VIII and Jane Seymour in 1537. This theme has also been explored in some alternative history fiction.

* Archduchess Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy, (January 10, 1480 – December 1, 1530), the second child and only daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I of Austria and Mary of Burgundy, co-sovereigns of the Low Countries. She was named after her stepgrandmother, Margaret of York, (May 3, 1446 – November 23, 1503) the third wife of Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy a daughter of Richard, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville.

February 22, 1403: Birth of King Charles VII of France

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Charles VII (February 22, 1403 – July 22, 1461), called the Victorious or the Well-Served was King of France from October 21, 1422 to his death on July 22, 1461.

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Charles VII was born at the Hôtel Saint-Pol, the royal residence in Paris, the eleventh child and fifth son of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria-Ingolstadt, the eldest daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. Charles was given the title of comte de Ponthieu at his birth in 1403. His four elder brothers, Charles (1386), Charles (1392–1401), Louis (1397–1415) and Jean (1398–1417) had each held the title of Dauphin of France (heir to the French Throne) in turn. All died childless, leaving Charles with a rich inheritance of titles.

Charles VII inherited the throne of France in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War, under desperate circumstances. Forces of the Kingdom of England and the Duke of Burgundy occupied Guyenne and northern France, including Paris, the most populous city, and Reims, the city in which the French kings were traditionally crowned. In addition, his father Charles VI had disinherited him in 1420 and recognized Henry V of England and his heirs as the legitimate successors to the French crown instead. At the same time, a civil war raged in France between the Armagnacs (supporters of the House of Valois) and the Burgundian party (supporters of the House of Valois-Burgundy allied to the English).

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Marie of Anjou

On December 18, 1422, Charles married his second cousin Marie of Anjou the eldest daughter of Duke Louis II of Anjou, claimant to the throne of Naples, and Yolande of Aragon, claimant to the throne of Aragon. They were both great-grandchildren of King Jean II of France and his first wife Bonne of Bohemia through the male line. They had fourteen children. But whatever affection he may have had for his wife, or whatever gratitude he may have felt for the support of her family, the great love of Charles VII’s life was his mistress, Agnès Sorel.

Political conditions in France took a decisive turn in the year 1429 just as the prospects for the Dauphin began to look hopeless. The town of Orléans had been under siege since October 1428. The English regent, the Duke of Bedford (the uncle of Henry VI), was advancing into the Duchy of Bar, ruled by Charles’s brother-in-law, René. The French lords and soldiers loyal to Charles were becoming increasingly desperate. Then in the little village of Domrémy, on the border of Lorraine and Champagne, a teenage girl named Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d’Arc), demanded that the garrison commander at Vaucouleurs, Robert de Baudricourt, collect the soldiers and resources necessary to bring her to the Dauphin at Chinon, stating that visions of angels and saints had given her a divine mission. Granted an escort of five veteran soldiers and a letter of referral to Charles by Lord Baudricourt, Joan rode to see Charles at Chinon. She arrived on February 23, 1429.

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Joan of Arc

What followed would become famous. When Joan appeared at Chinon, Charles wanted to test her claim to be able to recognise him despite never having seen him, and so he disguised himself as one of his courtiers. He stood in their midst when Joan entered the chamber in which the court was assembled. Joan identified Charles immediately. She bowed low to him and embraced his knees, declaring “God give you a happy life, sweet King!” Despite attempts to claim that another man was in fact the king, Charles was eventually forced to admit that he was indeed such. Thereafter Joan referred to him as “Dauphin” or “Noble Dauphin” until he was crowned in Reims four months later. After a private conversation between the two (Charles later stated that Joan knew secrets about him that he had voiced only in silent prayer to God), Charles became inspired and filled with confidence.

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Joan of Arc at the coronation of Charles VII with her white flag

After her encounter with Charles in March 1429, Joan of Arc set out to lead the French forces at Orléans. She was aided by skilled commanders such as Étienne de Vignolles, known as La Hire, and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles. They compelled the English to lift the siege on May 8, 1429, thus turning the tide of the war. The French won the Battle of Patay on June 18, at which the English field army lost about half its troops. After pushing further into English and Burgundian-controlled territory, Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France in Reims Cathedral on July 17, 1429.

Joan was later captured by Burgundian troops under John of Luxembourg at the siege of Compiègne on May 24, 1430. The Burgundians handed her over to their English allies. Tried for heresy by a court composed of pro-English clergy such as Pierre Cauchon, who had long served the English occupation government, she was burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.

February 21, 1728: birth of Emperor Peter III of Russia

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Peter III (February 21, 1728 – July, 16, 1762) was Emperor of Russia for six months in 1762. He was born in Kiel as Charles Peter Ulrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp the only child of Charles Friedrich, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (the son of Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, sister of Carl XII), and Anna Petrovna (the elder surviving daughter of Emperor Peter I the Great and Empress Catherine I of Russia). His mother died shortly after his birth. In 1739, Peter’s father died, and he became Duke of Holstein-Gottorp as Charles Peter Ulrich The German Peter could hardly speak Russian and pursued a strongly pro-Prussian policy, which made him an unpopular leader.

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When Elizabeth, his mother’s younger sister, became Empress of Russia, she brought Peter from Germany to Russia and proclaimed him her heir presumptive in the autumn of 1742. Previously in 1742, the 14-year-old Peter was proclaimed King of Finland during the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743), when Russian troops held Finland. This proclamation was based on his succession rights to territories held by his childless great-uncle, the late Carl XII of Sweden, who also had been Grand Duke of Finland.

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Portrait of the Grand Duchess Ekaterina Alekseyevna around the time of her wedding, by George Christoph Grooth, 1745.

Empress Elizabeth arranged for Peter to marry his 2nd cousin, Sophia Augusta Frederica (later Catherine the Great), daughter of Christian August, Prince of Anhalt-Zerbst and Princess Joanna Elisabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. The young princess formally converted to Russian Orthodoxy and took the name Ekaterina Alexeievna (i.e., Catherine). They married on August 21, 1745. The marriage was not a happy one but produced one son, the future Emperor Paul, and one daughter, Anna Petrovna (December 20, 1757 – March 19, 1759). Catherine later claimed that Paul was not fathered by Peter: that, in fact, they had never consummated the marriage.

Peter succeeded to the Russian throne (January 5, 1762) he withdrew Russian forces from the Seven Years’ War and concluded a peace treaty (May 5, 1762) with Prussia (dubbed the “Second Miracle of the House of Brandenburg”). He gave up Russian conquests in Prussia and offered 12,000 troops to make an alliance with Friedrich II of Prussia (June 19, 1762). Russia thus switched from an enemy of Prussia to an ally — Russian troops withdrew from Berlin and marched against the Austrians.

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Despite his generally poor reputation, Peter made some progressive reforms during his short reign. The reign of Peter III is cast as progressive for its focus on transforming economically developed feudal Russia to a more advanced European state. During his 186-day period of government, Peter III passed 220 new laws that he had developed and elaborated during his life as a crown prince. He proclaimed religious freedom (a very enlightened move for the time) and encouraged education. He sought to modernize the Russian army. He abolished the secret police, which had been infamous for its extreme violence, and made it illegal for landowners to kill their serfs without going to court. Catherine adopted some of his reforms and reverted others.

It has been theorized that he wasn’t deposed for political reasons and was in fact murdered for personal reasons. He was deposed and possibly assassinated as a result of a conspiracy led by his German wife, Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, who succeeded him to the throne as Catherine II. With the aid of the two Guards troops that Peter had planned to discipline more harshly, the emperor was arrested and forced to abdicate on July 9, 1762. Shortly thereafter, he was transported to Ropsha, where he was supposedly assassinated, although it is unknown how Peter died. However, one theory is that he died as a result of a drunken brawl with his bodyguard while he was being held captive after Catherine’s coup.

Are the descendants of the Duke of Edinburgh also Prince/Princess of Greece and Denmark? Part II.

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In this last entry we examined the history of the Greek monarchy, how it descended from King Christian IX of Denmark, and how all subsequent mail line dynasts have carried the title princess/prince of Greece and Denmark. There has been some question to whether or not it’s Philip’s renunciation of his Greek and danish titles could still be legally carried by his descendants.

It is two fold question. The question involves both the monarchy in Greece and the United Kingdom. As mentioned yesterday, King George II of the Hellenes did accept the renunciation of Prince Philip’s Greek and Danish titles. So what the question is, did the King’s reluctant acceptance of Philip’s renunciation meet the requirement for the renunciation of titles under Greek law at the time? One theory is that Philip’s renunciation of his titles by letter was not sufficient due to the fact that he remained in the line of succession to the Greek throne until the laws of succession to the Danish throne was changed in 1953. At that time Philip and his descendants ceased to be a dynasts to both the Greek and Danish thrones.

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However, titles aren’t necessarily connected to succession rights. Many monarchies have dynasts that are in line for the succession to a specific throne yet they do not have official titles. Theoretically, therefore, if one believes that Prince Philip’s renunciation didn’t carry any legal authority or binding, then according to the Greek monarchy Prince Philip and his descendants are also princes and princesses of Greece and Denmark. In fact today many individuals from monarchies that no longer exist do you carry titles in pretense that are not recognized by current governments.

And that is the issue as we examine this topic from the perspective of the Greek monarchy. The Greek monarchy no longer exists and therefore has no jurisdiction on ruling whether or not Prince Philip and his descendants carry the title of prince and princess of Greece and Denmark.

With the monarchy in the United Kingdom the answer is more clear. Prince Philip and his descendants do not legally carry the titles prince or princess of Greece and Denmark. This is due to the fact that foreign titles are no longer recognized under British law.

The general principle is that the Sovereign is the Fount of Honor. For official purposes, only titles granted or recognized by the Sovereign exist.

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Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland

The basic reason why the sovereign might not wish to authorize British subjects to bear foreign titles is the “divided loyalty” argument, expressed by Queen Elizabeth I in the famous Arundell of Wardour case in 1597. Thomas Arundell had distinguished himself in the service of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, at the capture of Esztergom (Hungary) in 1595, and was made count of the Holy Roman Empire. The Queen disapproved, and famously said:

as a woman should not follow any man but her husband, so a Subject should not receive any thing but from his owne Prince. I would not my sheepe should be branded with anothers marke: neither would I have them to be at anothers call or whistle

The Warrant of Apr 27, 1932

Curiously, the proximate cause of the Warrant of 1932, put an end to the acceptance of foreign titles once and for all in the UK. This was a repercussion of the Lateran Treaty of 1929. This treaty between Italy on one hand, the Holy See on the other, deprived the British government from the pretext that the Pope was not a sovereign power. No matter how small the Vatican City State, it was now necessary to accept that the Pope could confer titles. 

The Home Office suggested that this was an opportunity to settle the matter of foreign titles. Beside the “divided loyalty” argument, there were practical considerations: foreign titles might be confused with British titles (indeed, such confusion was part of their attraction), determining rules of descent was difficult, recording successions and deciding disputed claims was not practicable (the heralds being in charge of recording the licenses).

The suggestion was made to the King George V, and he agreed in May 1930 that no further Royal licenses would be granted, and asked for some way to deal with existing licences. In July 1930, the king made his decision: the use of foreign titles by British Subjects was abolished and that no further recommendations for Royal Licences were to be submitted to him. 

There it is in a nutshell. Ever since 1930 it has not been legal for a subject/citizen to carry a foreign title. As I stated yesterday, Prince Philip did not have to go through the naturalization process because he was a British subject/citizen from birth. As a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover and the subsequent Sophia Naturalization Act of 1705 which granted British nationality in perpetuity to Sophia’s descendants. However, it was necessary for him to renounce his Greek and Danish titles .

February 19, 1594: birth of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales

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Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (February 19, 1594 – November 6, 1612)was the eldest son of James VI and I, King of England and Scotland, and his wife Anne of Denmark. His name derives from his grandfathers: Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley and King Frederik II of Denmark. Prince Henry was widely seen as a bright and promising heir to his father’s thrones. However, at the age of 18, he predeceased his father when he died of typhoid fever. His younger brother Charles succeeded him as heir apparent to the English, Irish and Scottish thrones.

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Henry was born at Stirling Castle, and since his father James VI was the reigning King of Scotland the new born prince and heir became Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland automatically on his birth. Henry’s baptism on August 30, 1594 was celebrated with complex theatrical entertainments written by poet William Fowler and a ceremony in a new Chapel Royal at Stirling purpose-built by William Schaw.

With his father’s accession to the throne of England in 1603, Henry at once became Duke of Cornwall. In 1610 he was further invested as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, thus for the first time uniting the six automatic and two traditional Scottish and English titles held by heirs-apparent to the two thrones. The ceremony of investiture was celebrated with a pageant London’s Love to Prince Henry, and a masque Tethys’ Festival during which his mother gave a sword encrusted with diamonds, intended to represent justice.

He also disapproved of the way his father conducted the royal court, disliked Robert Carr, a favourite of his father, and esteemed Sir Walter Raleigh, wishing him to be released from the Tower of London.

The prince’s popularity rose so high that it threatened his father. Relations between the two could be tense, and on occasion surfaced in public. At one point, the two were hunting near Royston when James criticised his son for lacking enthusiasm for the chase, and Henry initially moved to strike his father with a cane, but rode off. Most of the hunting party then followed the son.

“Upright to the point of priggishness, he fined all who swore in his presence”, according to Charles Carlton, a biographer of Charles I, who describes Henry as an “obdurate Protestant”. In addition to the alms box to which Henry forced swearers to contribute, he made sure his household attended church services. His religious views were influenced by the clerics in his household, who came largely from a tradition of politicised Calvinism.

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Henry is said to have disliked his younger brother, Charles, and to have teased him, although this derives from only one anecdote: when Charles was nine years of age, Henry snatched the hat off a bishop and put it on the younger child’s head, then told his younger brother that when he became king he would make Charles Archbishop of Canterbury, and then Charles would have a long robe to hide his ugly rickety legs. Charles stamped on the cap and had to be dragged off in tears.

Henry died from typhoid fever at the age of 18, during the celebrations that led up to his sister Elizabeth’s wedding. (The diagnosis can be made with reasonable certainty from written records of the post-mortem examination, which was ordered to be carried out in order to dispel rumours of poisoning.) He was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Prince Henry’s death was widely regarded as a tragedy for the nation. According to Charles Carlton, “Few heirs to the English throne have been as widely and deeply mourned as Prince Henry.” His body lay in state at St. James’s Palace for four weeks. On 7 December, over a thousand people walked in the mile-long cortège to Westminster Abbey to hear a two-hour sermon delivered by George Abbot, the Archbishop of Canterbury. As Henry’s body was lowered into the ground, his chief servants broke their staves of office at the grave. An insane man ran naked through the mourners, yelling that he was the boy’s ghost.

Immediately after Henry’s death, the prince’s brother Charles fell ill, but he was the chief mourner at the funeral, which his father, King James (who detested funerals) refused to attend. Henry’s titles of Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay passed to Charles, who until then had lived in Henry’s shadow. Four years later Charles, by then 16 years old, was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.

Had he lived he would have reigned as King Henry IX of England, Scotland and Ireland….and the history of England would have been very different.

Are the descendants of the Duke of Edinburgh also Prince/Princess of Greece and Denmark? Part I.

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George I, King of the Hellenes, (December 24, 1845 – March 18, 1913) was born as Christian Wilhelm Ferdinand Adolf George, the second son and third child of King Christian IX of Denmark and Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Until his accession in Greece, he was known as Prince Wilhelm. At age only 17, he was elected King of the Hellenes on March 30, 1863 by the Greek National Assembly under the regnal name of George I.

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King George I of the Hellenes

King George I of the Hellenes married Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia (September 3, 1851 – June 18, 1926), the daughter of Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg, at the chapel of the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg on October 27, 1867 when she was barely 16 and he was he was 21. Over the next twenty years, they had eight children.

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Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia

All male line descendants of King George are entitled to the be a Prince of Greece and Denmark. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, was born the only son and fifth and final child of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, was a prince of both Greece and Denmark by virtue of his patrilineal descent from George I of Greece and Christian IX of Denmark.

The Duke of Edinburgh is also member of the House of Glücksburg, itself a branch of the House of Oldenburg. The House of Glücksburg (also spelled Glücksborg), shortened from House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, is a Dano-German branch of the House of Oldenburg, members of which have reigned at various times in Denmark, Norway, Greece and several northern German states.

The question I raise is, are the Duke of Edinburgh’s children and other descendants also princes/princesses of Greece and Denmark?

At birth the Duke of Edinburgh was in the line of succession to both thrones of Greece and Denmark; the 1953 Succession Act removed his family branch’s succession rights in Denmark.

In 1947 Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Princess Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement in July of that year, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish royal titles, became a naturalised British subject, and adopted his maternal grandparents’ surname Mountbatten.

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Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark

However, it wasn’t necessary for Philip to under go the naturalization process due to the fact that he was born a British national as a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover and the subsequent Sophia Naturalization Act of 1705 which granted British nationality in perpetuity to Sophia’s descendants. The act was superseded in 1949 by the passage of the British Nationality Act.

Although born a Prince of Greece and Denmark his upbringing was thoroughly British. On September 22, 1922, Philip’s uncle, King Constantine I of the Hellenes was forced to abdicate and the new military government arrested Prince Andrew, his father, along with others. In December, a revolutionary court banished Prince Andrew from Greece for life. The British naval vessel HMS Calypso evacuated Prince Andrew’s family, with Philip carried to safety in a cot made from a fruit box.

Because Philip left Greece as a baby, he does not speak Greek, and has stated that he thinks of himself as Danish. In 1928, he was sent to the United Kingdom to attend Cheam School, living with his maternal grandmother, Victoria Mountbatten, Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven, at Kensington Palace and his uncle, George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, at Lynden Manor in Bray, Berkshire. Philip has always lived in the United Kingdom ever since.

Prince Philip initially started the process of renouncing his Greek and Danish titles in 1941, after he had joined the British Royal Navy. The renunciation of his Greek and Danish titles was done in a private via a letter to King George II, then in exile, in December of that year. The king accepted the renunciation with some reluctance, but only accepted his request due to Philip’s desire to serve in the British Royal Navy. After George II returned there was never any official action taken by the Greek government to remove Philip’s Greek and Danish, but the decision was accepted by the Greek king therefore that action in itself has been considered official by many historians and governmental figures.

However, there are some historians that believed since there isn’t any direct evidence that official documentation was submitted by King George II of the Hellenes to the government to remove Philip’s titles, therefore it is believed that Philip just simply stopped using his titles. Therefore theoretically, do Philip and his descendants still have their Dynastic titles such as Prince/Princesses of Greece and Denmark as well as other dynastic titles, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg, and Oldenburg? Are they still there, and just in a state of disuse?

Is that true? That is what we’ll examine in part II.

February 18, 1478: Execution of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence.

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George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence (October 21, 1449 – February 18, 1478), was a son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of English kings Edward IV and Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle between rival factions of the Plantagenets known as the Wars of the Roses.

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Coat of Arms of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

George’s father died in 1460. In 1461 his elder brother, Edward, became King of England as Edward IV. In that year George was made Duke of Clarence and invested as a Knight of the Garter, and in 1462 Clarence received the Honour of Richmond, a lifetime grant, but without the peerage title of Earl of Richmond.Despite his youth, he was appointed as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the same year.

Having been mentioned as a possible husband for Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Clarence came under the influence of his first cousin Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and in July 1469 was married in Église Notre-Dame de Calais to the earl’s elder daughter Isabel Neville.

Here is a side story to the connection of the House of Burgundy and the House of Plantagenet. In 1454, at the age of 21, Charles the Bold was looking to marry a second time. Charles the Bold’s first wife was Catherine of France (1428 – 13 July 1446) was a French princess and the fourth child and second daughter of Charles VII of France and Marie of Anjou. Catherine fell ill with violent coughing in 1446 and died with what was likely tuberculosis.

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Mary, Duchess of Burgundy

For his second marriage, Charles the Bold wanted to marry Margaret of York, daughter of his distant cousin Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York (a sister of Kings Edward IV and Richard III of England), but under terms of the Treaty of Arras of 1435, he was required to marry another French princess. His father, Philippe III the Good of Burgundy, chose Isabella of Bourbon, who was Charles the Bold’s first cousin being the daughter of his father’s sister, Agnes of Burgundy and Charles I, Duke of Bourbon. Agnes of Burgundy and Charles of Bourbon both were very distant cousins of Charles VII of France, the father of Charles the Bold’s first wife, Catherine. Charles the Bold and Isabella of Bourbon were the parents of Mary of Burgundy, potential bride of George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence.

Isabella of Bourbon died September 25, 1465, and July 3, 1468 Charles the Bold finally married Margaret of York as his third wife. As Duchess of Burgundy Margaret acted as a protector of the duchy after the death of Charles the Bold in January 1477.

Now back to George, Duke of Clarence…

Though a member of the House of York, he switched sides to support the Lancastrians, before reverting to the Yorkists. Clarence had actively supported his elder brother’s claim to the throne, but when his father-in-law, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as “the Kingmaker,” deserted Edward IV to ally with Margaret of Anjou, consort of the deposed King Henry VI, Clarence supported him and was deprived of his office as Lord Lieutenant. Clarence joined Warwick in France, taking his pregnant wife. She gave birth to their first child, a girl, on April 16, 1470, in a ship off Calais. The child died shortly afterwards. Henry VI rewarded Clarence for his loyalty by making him next in line to the throne after his own son, justifying the exclusion of Edward IV either by attainder for his treason against Henry VI or on the grounds of his alleged illegitimacy. After a short time, Clarence realized that his loyalty to his father-in-law was misplaced.

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George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

In 1477 Clarence was again a suitor for the hand of Mary, who had just become Duchess of Burgundy in her own right. Edward IV objected to the match, and Clarence left the court.

The arrest and committal to the Tower of London of one of Clarence’s retainers, an Oxford astronomer named Dr John Stacey, which led to his confession under torture that he had “imagined and compassed” the death of the King, and also implicated Thomas Burdett and Thomas Blake, a chaplain at Stacey’s college (Merton College, Oxford). All three were tried for treason, convicted, and executed.

This was a clear warning to Clarence, which he chose to ignore. He appointed Dr John Goddard to burst into Parliament and regale the House of Commons with Burdett and Stacey’s declarations of innocence that they had made before their deaths. Goddard was a very unwise choice, as he was an ex-Lancastrian who had expounded Henry VI’s claim to the throne. Edward IV summoned Clarence to Windsor, severely upbraided him, accused him of treason, and ordered his immediate arrest and confinement.

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Edward IV, King of England and Lord of Ireland

Clarence was imprisoned in the Tower of London and put on trial for treason against his brother Edward IV. Clarence was not present – Edward IV himself prosecuted his brother, and demanded that Parliament pass a Bill of Attainder* against his brother, declaring that he was guilty of “unnatural, loathly treasons” which were aggravated by the fact that Clarence was his brother, who, if anyone did, owed him loyalty and love.

Following his conviction and attainder, he was “privately executed” at the Tower on February 18, 1478, by tradition in the Bowyer Tower, and soon after the event, the unfounded rumor gained ground that he had been drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.

Richard III biographer Paul Murray Kendall believes that the reason Edward was so harsh with his brother was that he had discovered from Bishop Robert Stillington of Bath and Wells that George had let slip the secret of Edward IV’s marriage precontract with Lady Eleanor Talbot, which would mean that Edward IV’s marriage with Elizabeth Woodville was null and void, making their children illegitimate. Although legend claims Richard III had brought about his brother’s death, the opposite may be true: he tried to prevent it.

* A bill of attainder (also known as an act of attainder or writ of attainder or bill of penalties) is an act of a legislature declaring a person or group of persons guilty of some crime and punishing them, often without a trial.

Dynasty ~ Royal Houses

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I will be examining the history of Royal Houses, or Dynasties, from time to time but before I do I’d like to examine just what is a Dynasty?

A Dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in elective republics. Alternative terms for “Dynasty” may include “House”, “Family” and “Clan”, among others.

The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BC. The current Japanese Emperor is Naruhito. He acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne on May 1 2019, beginning the Reiwa era, following the abdication of his father, Emperor Akihito (the Showa Emperor). He is the 126th monarch according to Japan’s traditional order of succession.

The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a “noble house”, which may be styled as “imperial”, “royal”, “princely”, “ducal”, “comital”, “baronial” etc., depending upon the chief or present title borne by its members.

Prior to the 20th century, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. In nations where it was permitted, succession through a daughter usually established a new dynasty in her husband’s ruling house. This has changed in some places in Europe, where succession law and convention have maintained dynasties de jure through a female.

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For instance, the House of Windsor will be maintained through the children of Queen Elizabeth II, as it did with the monarchy of the Netherlands, whose dynasty remained the House of Orange-Nassau through three successive queens regnant. The earliest such example among major European monarchies was in the Russian Empire in the 18th century, where the name of the House of Romanov was maintained through Grand Duchess Anna Petrovna.

By the marriage of Duke Franz of Lorraine to Maria Theresa of Austria in 1736, and with the success in the ensuing War of the Austrian Succession, the House of Lorraine was joined to the House of Habsburg, and was now known as Habsburg-Lorraine. Franz, his sons Joseph II and Leopold II, and grandson Franz II were the last four Holy Roman Emperors from 1745 to the dissolution of the empire in 1806. Habsburg-Lorraine inherited the Habsburg Empire, ruling the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary until the dissolution of the monarchy in 1918.

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Queen Maria II of Portugal

This also happened in the case of Queen Maria II of Portugal, who married Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but whose descendants remained members of the House of Braganza, per Portuguese law. In Limpopo Province of South Africa, Balobedu determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mother’s dynasty when coming into her inheritance. Less frequently, a monarchy has alternated or been rotated, in a multi-dynastic (or polydynastic) system – that is, the most senior living members of parallel dynasties, at any point in time, constitute the line of succession.

Dynasts

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Louis XIV (seated) with his son le Grand Dauphin (to the left), his grandson Louis, Duke of Burgundy (to the right), his great-grandson Louis Duke of Anjou, and Madame de Ventadour, Anjou’s governess, who commissioned this painting; busts of Henri IV and Louis XIII are in the background.

A ruler from a dynasty is sometimes referred to as a “dynast”, but this term is also used to describe any member of a reigning family who retains a right to succeed to a throne. For example, King Edward VIII ceased to be a dynast of the House of Windsor following his abdication.

In historical and monarchist references to formerly reigning families, a “dynast” is a family member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchy’s rules still in force. For example, after the 1914 assassinations of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his morganatic wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, their son Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg, was bypassed for the Austro-Hungarian throne because he was not a Habsburg dynast.

Even since the abolition of the Austrian monarchy, Duke Maximilian of Hohenberg and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position. Although its senior agnates are the Dukes of Hohenberg, the house is currently headed by Charles von Habsburg-Lothringen (born 1961), oldest grandson of the last emperor Charles I.

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este

The term “dynast” is sometimes used only to refer to agnatic descendants of a realm’s monarchs, and sometimes to include those who hold succession rights through cognatic royal descent. The term can therefore describe overlapping but distinct sets of people. For example, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth II through her sister Princess Margaret, is in the line of succession to the British crown; in that sense, he is a British dynast, but since he is not a patrilineal member of the British royal family, he is therefore not a dynast of the House of Windsor.

On the other hand, the German aristocrat Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a male-line descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom, possesses no legal British name, titles or styles (although he is entitled to reclaim the former royal dukedom of Cumberland). He was born in the line of succession to the British throne and was bound by Britain’s Royal Marriages Act 1772 until it was repealed when the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 took effect on March 26, 2015. Thus, he requested and obtained formal permission from Queen Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco in 1999.

Yet, a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time, stipulating that dynasts who marry Roman Catholics are considered “dead” for the purpose of succession to the British throne. That exclusion, too, ceased to apply on 26 March 2015, with retroactive effect for those who had been dynasts prior to triggering it by marriage to a Roman Catholic.

A “dynastic marriage” is one that complies with monarchical house law restrictions, so that the descendants are eligible to inherit the throne or other royal privileges. The marriage of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands to Queen Máxima Zorreguieta in 2002 was dynastic, for example, and their eldest child Princess Catharina-Amalia is expected to inherit the Crown of the Netherlands eventually. However, the marriage of his younger brother Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau to Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau in 2003 lacked governmental support and parliamentary approval. Thus, Prince Friso forfeited his place in the order of succession to the Dutch throne, lost his title as a “Prince of the Netherlands”, and left his children without dynastic rights.