Her Majesty’s Sapphire Jubilee


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

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






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


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

Further details to follow when available.

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

Queen Cancels Plans due to illness.

The Annual Diplomatic Corps Reception At Buckingham Palace


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


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

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


HRH Princess Ileana of Romania


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Baptism of HRH The Prince of Wales; December 15, 1948.


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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.


1066, Not something to celebrate?


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Okay, I am a few months behind on this. The Norman Conquest of England occurred on October 14, 1066. The Battle of Hastings was fought between the Norman-French army of Duke William II of Normandy (who became King William I of England) and an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. That was 950 years ago. In 50 years from now, the year 2066, this historic even will celebrate its 1,000th anniversary. Will this be something to celebrate or not?

Maybe celebrate is not the correct word? How about honor…or even mark the date? No matter how you want to note this historic event the topic is very controversial. Even though this was a significant date that forever changed England’s entire culture, language and structure of society; this event helped shape England and the United Kingdom into what it is today. The truth is, this is the date when England was conquered and defeated and then occupied by a foreign power. Who wants to celebrate or honor that!?

However, is there anything positive that can be acknowledged on this anniversary? Without the Norman Conquest England would have developed very differently. Certainly the end result of this conquest, the by product of this invasion, is something to honor? The monarchy itself, although it did exist pre-1066, also was significantly changed and a descendant of William the Conqueror sits on the throne today. In fact, many people alive in Britain are descendants of William the Conqueror.

Much of this is speculative. In 50 years I will be 103 so chances are I will not be here, but you never know!? I am sure the occasion will be marked in someway and maybe a balance can be found and the good and the bad from this can be acknowledged.




Kate Middleton? NO, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge!


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After more than five years of marriage to HRH The Duke of Cambridge, his wife, the former Kate Middleton, is still often called Kate Middleton or many other incorrect titles. Her correct title, simply is, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. I swear if by some unfortunate tragedy the Duke of Cambridge were to wake up tomorrow to find that he is the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain the press and others would still call his wife Kate Middleton!

She is a Princess of the United Kingdom via her marriage to HRH The Duke of Cambridge, but because she was not born a member of the royal family she is not entitled to be called Princess Catherine. That right is reserved for women who are the daughter of the sovereign or the granddaughter of the sovereign in the male line. (an exception has been made for little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge who is a great-granddaughter of the sovereign in the male line…more on that in another post).


This was the same case/situation for the late Diana, Princess of Wales (her correct title after the divorce). While Diana was married to HRH The Princes of Wales her correct title was, again simply,  HRH The Princess of Wales. Since Diana was not born either as daughter of the sovereign or the granddaughter of the sovereign in the male line it was not correct to call her “Princess Diana.”

The press never got that right and that is why they and others flounder in what to call the wife of the Duke of Cambridge…Duchess Kate: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (this way of referring to her indicates she is divorced for that is how Diana was referred to after her divorce): Princess Catherine: Princess Kate and a combination of all the above. All are wrong. Her correct style is, Her Royal Highness, and her correct title is…The Duchess of Cambridge. That is it! If you have a peerage title you are known by that peerage title (along with the style His or Her Royal Highness in the case of the royal family members that hold peerage titles) and not your first name. If you are a wife of a peer you take the feminine form of your husband’s title…in the case of the lovely lady formerly known as Kate Middleton, the title is Duchess of Cambridge.

In the future HRH The Duchess of Cambridge will be known as HRH The Princess of Wales when her father-in-law (the current Prince of Wales) becomes king and eventually invests his son as Prince of Wales. Further in the future, and God willing, when the Duke of Cambridge becomes King, as King William V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (assuming he doesn’t select another regnal name) and the simple correct way to refer to him will be, His Majesty the King, and his his wife’s correct style and tittle will be Her Majesty The Queen. So lets stop calling her Kate Middleton.

Maybe tomorrow or very soon I will write a post on the history of titles and their correct forms and usage.


Royal Grief: Part IV


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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.


Royal Grief: Part III


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With the death of Prince Alfred, reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on July 30, 1900, his older brother, Prince Albert-Edward, The Prince of Wales, slipped into a depression over the death of his brother. Six months later would come an even larger and more life changing loss. On January 22, 1901 the Prince of Wales’ mother, Queen Victoria, passed away after a reign of 63 years  making him King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

I could find no recording of the grief he must have felt at the time. Was he conflicted? The new king, aged 59, had waited his entire life for this moment. On the one hand it was his mother that died. On the other hand he now could assume the role for which he was born into, which he had been waiting all of his life. I am sure the moment was bitter sweet.

Their relationship, mother and sun, was not easy. Queen Victoria had an almost worshipful view of her Husband, Prince Albert, and had hoped and expected that her son and heir would be a carbon copy of esteemed husband. She was very disappointed in him. In 1861, shortly before his death, Prince Albert confronted his son, the Prince of Wales, after his affair became public.

The Prince of Wales attended manoeuvres in Ireland, during which he conducted a three-day affair with actress, Nellie Clifden. Prince Albert, clealrly ill, was angered and disgusted with his sons behavior and visited Albert-Edward at Cambridge to reprimand him. Two weeks after the visit Albert died on December 14, 1861. Queen Victoria was inconsolable, wore mourning clothes for the rest of her life and blamed her son, Albert-Edward for his father’s death.  She wrote to her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, “I never can, or shall, look at him without a shudder.”

Though relations did improve between mother and son, she was was very relieved when the Prince of Wales recovered from a bout of typhoid (which took the life of Prince Albert) in 1871, but she often refused to give her son proper work as heir to the throne feeling that he was not up to the task.

Upon succeeding to the throne Prince Albert-Edward chose to reign under the name Edward VII, instead of Albert Edward the name his mother had desired him to use. declaring that he did not wish to “undervalue the name of Albert” and diminish the status of his father with whom the “name should stand alone”.

Part IV tomorrow! I promise!!


Royal Grief: Part II


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In examining the grief born by the Prince of Wales-Edward VII from July 1900 to August of 1901 our story turns to the relationship he had with his brother, HRH Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.

HRH Prince Alfred Ernest Albert was born on August 6, 1844 and was the second son and fourth child of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was created Duke of Edinburgh  by his mother in 1866 and he succeeded his paternal uncle Ernst II as the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in the German Empire on August 22, 1893.

On 23 January 1874, the Duke of Edinburgh married Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia, the second (and only surviving) daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and his wife Marie of Hesse and by Rhine (daughter of Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine and Wilhelmine of Baden) at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg. The marriage was not a happy one and the Duchess of Edinburgh was thought haughty by London Society. Perhaps there was great truth to this claim and it is evident by her displeasure when she learned that she had to yield precedence to the Princess of Wales and all of Queen Victoria’s daughters.

The Duchess of Edinburgh persistently insisted on taking precedence before the Princess of Wales (the future Queen Alexandra) because she  considered the Princess of Wales’ family (King Christian IX and the rest of the Danish Royal Family) as inferior to their own. The Duchess ‘ father,  Emperor Alexander II of Russia, shared this opinion. However, Queen Victoria refused this demand, yet in the end compromised with her daughter-in-law and granted her precedence immediately after the Princess of Wales.

To his credit, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales did not allow this issue to dampen relations with his brother. In fact, shortly after the incident, The prince of Wales invited the Czarevitch (future Emperor Alexander III) and his family to Marlborough House, the London residence of the prince and Princess of Wales. During this visit he forged a close relationship with his nephew, the future Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. What I find interesting, and need to read more about this prejudice the Emperor Alexander II had toward the family of King Christian IX of Denmark, is that Alexander II’s own son, future Emperor Alexander III, was, like the prince of Wales, married to a daughter (Princess Dagmar) of King Christian IX of Denmark! Does this mean he didn’t approve of his own daughter-in-law?

I digress.

On the death of his uncle, Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on August 22, 1893, the duchy fell to the Duke of Edinburgh, since The Prince of Wales had renounced his right to the succession before he married. Alfred thereupon surrendered his seats in the House of Lords and the Privy Council, but he retained Clarence House as his London residence. At first regarded with some coldness as a “foreigner”, he gradually gained popularity. By the time of his death in 1900, he had generally won the good opinion of his subjects.

Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died of throat cancer on July 30, 1900. He was buried at the ducal family’s mausoleum in the Friedhof am Glockenberg (de) in Coburg.    Alfred was succeeded as the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha by his nephew, Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, the posthumous son of his youngest brother, Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany because Alfred’s next brother, The Duke of Connaught, and his son, Prince Arthur of Connaught, had renounced their succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The Prince of Wales attended his brother’s funeral and at that time learned that his sister, Victoria, the Princess Royal (Empress Frederick) was also suffering from spinal cancer and was in great pain. Upon his return to London and his Marlborough residence it was reported that the grief stricken Prince of Wales sunk into a “black depression.”

Part III next week!!