A message from Crown Princess Margareta of Romania, Custodian of the Crown of Romania, on the passing of her father, HM King Michael I of Romania.
The new Prince or Princess of Cambridge will be 5th in line to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Due to the Crown Act of 2013 if the Prince is a boy he will not supplant HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge in the line of succession.
June 20, 1837: His Majesty King William IV of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hanover died at Windsor Castle. He was 71 years old. Since The King died childless his niece Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandrina-Victoria of Kent ascended the British throne after him. After her proclamation as Queen she announced she wanted to simply be known as Victoria. The throne of Hanover governed by the Salic Law could only be held by a man, and so it went to the new Queen’s uncle HRH Prince Ernest Augustus, The Duke of Cumberland became King Ernst August of Hanover.
#KingWilliamIV #QueenVictoria #DukeofCumberland #TodayInHistory
Frequently on social media I will see posts by people that think the Queen should give the throne to the Duke of Cambridge, bypassing the Prince of Wales. These people generally are not fans of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Queen has no power to give the crown to anyone. She cannot bypass the Prince of Wales and give the crown to the Duke of Cambridge. The succession to the throne is regulated by Parliament and this authority has been in the hands of Parliament for centuries. Therefore, it would take an Act of Parliament to alter the succession and remove the Prince of Wales from his rightful place in the order of the succession. There is no plans to do so, nor is there any reason or need to alter the succession.
Even during the reigns of the Saxon kings the power to regulate or name your successor was not in the hands of the monarch. That power was in the hands of the Witenagemot (Witan) a council of elders. At the time the English kingship was elective and semi-hereditary. The Witenagemot had the power to name and elect the king and although they limited their choices to the House of Wessex, they would often select a brother of the pervious King especially if the king left children too young to reign.
In 1066 when William I “the Conqueror” became king he abolished the Witenagemot and held the power and right to name his successor. Although the king did hold this power, the will of the king was not always followed. Case in point was Henry I of England (1100-1134) who named his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor. However, despite the Barons swearing an oath to uphold the succession of the Empress Matilda, this oath was ignored upon King Henry’s death allowing the King’s nephew, Count Stephen of Blois, to usurp the throne and plunging England into many years of civil war.
Eventually the crown evolved into the male preferred primogeniture that remained up until recently which ended with the Crown Act of 2013 and left the succession to the Crown to the eldest child regardless of gender. Also, concurrent with the settling into the tradition of male preferred primogeniture, came the rise of Parliament which also tried influence the crown in matters of succession. When Henry IV (1399-1412) usurped the crown from Richard II (1377-1399) he had his kingship sanctioned by Parliament to give his reign legal status.
Even when monarchs such as Henry VIII (1509-1547) and his son Edward VI (1547-1553) tried to alter the succession they were unable to assert their will without Parliamentary approval. Henry tried to exclude the descendants of the union of his sister Margaret to King James IV of Scotland and Edward tried to bypass his sister Mary and give the throne to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey. In each case Parliament either ignored the king’s will, as was the case with the union of Margaret to King James IV of Scotland, and Parliament did not sanction altering the succession that Edward VI attempted. This was another reason Lady Jane is considered a usurper.
Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was the last monarch who had power to name her successor given the fact that she left no heir. This was a power she refused to use as she did not name her successor, although historians debate whether or not she did name her distant cousin, King James VI of Scotland, as her successor. In 1679 King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland actually stopped Parliament from removing his brother, James, Duke of York from the succession due to his Catholicism via the Exclusion Bill. The almost lead to another English civil war.
The Duke of York became King James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1685 and it was his abandonment of the throne in 1688 which lead to Parliament calling William III of Orange and Princess Mary, daughter of the deposed king, to the throne which they held jointly. This was made legal with the passing of the English Bill of Rights in 1689. With the Passing of the Act of Settlement in 1701, which regulated the throne to the Protestant descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover, Parliament has held the power to regulate the succession to the crown ever since.
Although not England, even the great powerful Louis XIV of France and Navarre (1643-1715), an absolute monarch, was unable to alter the succession to the French throne when he wanted to give succession rights to his legitimized children after the Princes of the Blood. This demonstrates how difficult it is for a monarch to alter the succession to the crown.
I hope this short history lesson demonstrates why the Queen cannot alter the succession to the crown by giving the throne to the Duke of Cambridge bypassing the Prince of Wales.
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.
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!
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.
Alexandra of Denmark, Aragon, Chalres V, Charles I of England, Charles II of England, Elizabeth of York, England, France, Henry VIII of England, Holy Roman Empire, Louis XIV of France, Nicholas II of Russia, Sofia of Spain, Spain, United Kingdom
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.
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!
Queen Sofia of Spain, princess of Greece and Denmark.
In 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.
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.
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.
One of the things I enjoy about the history of royalty is when I can connect todays royal family to the Victorian Era. On this date Prince Charles of Edinburgh (future Prince of Wales) was Baptized. The Prince of Wales was baptized in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 15 December 1948. At his birth on 14 November 1948, Charles was the first child of HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (later Queen Elizabeth II), and HRH Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the UK.
In the back row of this photograph are: (left to right) Patricia Mountbatten, the Lady Brabourne, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HM King George VI, the Hon David Bowes-Lyon (his maternal great-uncle), HG Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, brother of Queen Mary, who stood proxy for King Haakon VII of Norway.
In the front: (left to right) Victoria Mountbatten, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his paternal great-grandmother), who was born HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and his wife Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (second daughter of Queen Victoria), HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (holding Prince Charles) Queen Mary, Princess Margaret.
Pictured below. HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, paternal great-grandmother of HRH The Prince of Wales.
|Within seven months of the death of his mother, King Edward VII suffered the death of his sister, Victoria, Princess Royal, The Empress Frederick of Germany, eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Princess Victoria was born on 21 November 1840. She married Friedrich-Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858, a love match but also a dynastic alliance in the hope of helping liberalize Prussia. However, her father-in-law (Kaiser Wilhelm I) lived to be 90 and her husband was already terminally ill with throat cancer when he finally became Kaiser Friedrich III in March of 1888. Kaiser Friedrich III reigned for just 3 months and was succeeded by his eldest son Wilhelm II, a militaristic ruler in the mold of his grandfather. Victoria, who now styled her self The Empress Frederick, and her son did not get along, and she was marginalized for the rest of her life, finally dying in 1901, a few months after Queen Victoria.|
|In the summer of 1900 Edward VII, then still Prince of Wales, spent much of the summer in Berlin with his sister, the Empress Frederick, as her health began to deteriorate. Edward VII had regular visits at the spa at Bad Homburg. He would not see his sister once again until February of 1901, a month after his succession to the throne. When he came to see his sister, it was not known how much longer she had to live. Edward brought with him his private secretary, Sir Frederick Ponsonby, and a couple of English doctors to help treat his sister.|
|Vicky did not have a great relationship with German doctors. She felt that they were partly responsible for the difficult delivery of her son, the future Kaiser Wilhelm II, and they mismanaged and treated her husbands (Kaiser Friedrich III) throat cancer. Indeed the Empress Frederick was kept in such pain because the German doctors gave her so little morphine for her pain. The English doctors were able to giver more pain relief much to the resentments of the German physicians in attendance.|
|When Kaiser Friedrich III died in 1888 his son, the new Kaiser Wilhelm II, surrounded the palace with his troops in order to secure any of his father’s documents and other writings and letters. It seemed history would repeat itself when the Empresses Frederick died. This was the main reason Sir Frederick Ponsonby was there. The letters and documents of the Empress Frederick were smuggled out of Germany in Ponsonby’s luggage and kept in his own private estates instead of the archives at Windsor in an attempt to out manouver the Kaiser.|
|The Empress Frederick died in Friedrichshof on 5 August 1901 ending a long illness that began in late 1898 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer that would eventually metastasize to her spine. She was buried next to her husband in the royal mausoleum of the Friedenskirche at Potsdam on 13 August 1901.|
|Edward VII and Vicky had been close all their lives. Altogether their parents had differing views of each child, Vicky was Prince Albert’s favorite child, while Bertie (Albert-Edward) was a great disappointment to his mother, this did not seem to affect their relationship.|
|This concludes the King’s year of grief…the loss of a nephew in 1899 then between July 30, 1900 to August 5, 1901 the King lost his brother, mother and sister. If we expand the time back ten years or so, the King lost his eldest son (Prince Albert-Victor, Duke of Clarence) in 1892 and another nephew, Prince Christian Victor of Schleswig-Holstein in October of 1900. That is a lot of grief and loss for one person in that span of time.
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.