Thursday, December 1, 2016

King Rama X's older sons

It is unlikely that the people of Thailand will be able to read about their King Rama X's rather scandalous life.   Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was proclaimed king this morning 50 days after the death of his much loved, much revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Due to strict lese majeste law in Thailand,  it would be dangerous to write about the new king's salacious private life.

Rama X may be on his fourth marriage, according to new reports.  His first three marriages ended in divorce. His first marriage in 1977 was to his maternal first cousin, Princess Soamsawali.   Their only child, Princess Bajrakitiyabha was born a year later.  

By the time the marriage was dissolved by divorce. the Crown Prince was already living with Yuvadhida Polpraserth, a Thai actress, by whom he had four sons and a daughter.   Their first child, Juthavachara Mahidol, was born a year after his legitimate daughter.

The couple finally married in 1994, in a marriage blessed by the King.  Queen Sirikit chose not to bless her son's second marriage, after he had abandoned her niece for his eventual second wife.

By 1996,  the Crown Prince's second marriage was over.  His wife fled to Britain with their five young children.  He put posters up in the Palace, accusing her of committing adultery with a Thai air marshal.  She and their sons were banished from Thailand, and stripped of their royal titles.  Their daughter, Busyanambejra Mahidol, returned to live in Thailand with her father.  In 2005, her grandfather elevated her to the rank of princess.  She is now styled as Princess Sirivannavari.

Here is a blog article about Rama's four sons,  all of whom live in the United States.

The Crown Prince 's  third marriage took place in 2001.  His new wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, was born into a modest Thai family.  She was not elevated to royal rank until after she gave birth in April 2005 to the couple's only child, a son, who was named Dipangkorn  Rasmihoti.  The little prince attends school in Bavaria, Germany.  He is his father's only legitimate son.

One can only imagine the feelings of Rama's four eldest sons, as they watch and read from afar about their father's accession to the throne. It must be said that Rama X is their father in name only, and their mother raised them without his help.   All four sons are now adults, and have successful careers.

Five years ago, the four sons released an official statement in response to questions about their lives.

"July 29, 2011


Dear Friends,

This year marks the fifteenth year that we have been living abroad. Over the years, we have received many kind words of encouragement and well wishes over the Internet and elsewhere from the people of Thailand; both from within Thailand and around the world. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your kind regards, and we are thankful that so many of you have not forgotten us. We have realized that some people were curious or had questions regarding our whereabouts over the years. To eliminate confusion and false rumors, we have decided to take this opportunity to disclose our situation.

Over the years, we have been waiting patiently for the order for us to return to Thailand. As yet, we have received no word from our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, nor have we received any type of contact from the Royal Household. In 1996, while studying in England, we were ordered by our father not to return home to Thailand. We were specifically instructed not to use our royal titles and to use the last name “Vivacharawongse” instead. We never, at any time, voluntarily renounced our royal titles nor choose to surrender the “Mahidol” surname. Since we were not receiving any kind of support from the Royal Household, financial or otherwise, we moved to the United States with our mother.

When we were younger, we did not understand the drastic change in our lives, nor could we comprehend why we must live our lives outside of our beloved country. Our mother would remind us that we have to follow the orders of the Royal Family, and to show our gratitude and respect. Our situation, at times, was not at all easy. However, we did not stand idle. Instead we learned to push ourselves to our highest potential, and to behave in a manner that would not bring shame upon the Royal Family.

Juthavachara received a bachelor’s degree in avionics and maintenance and a master’s degree in aeronautical science. After working in the aviation industry, he is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree. Vacharaesorn, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Law (LLM), is now a practicing attorney. Chakriwat, received his bachelor’s degree in psychobiology with chemistry minor, he is currently attending medical school, and will soon begin his clinical rotations. Vatchrawee double-majored in International Business and Finance, and has a Master of Business Administration. He is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree.

We are also aware of the many rumors being circulated regarding Chakriwat’s health. The truth is Chakriwat has been battling Neurofibromatosis (type II) since he was thirteen years old. The disease causes tumors to appear along his nervous system, and surgery or radiation treatment is required every year or so to remove or otherwise treat these tumors. Due to numerous radiation treatments he has received, there has been some damage to his acoustic nerve, and he became deaf in one ear. He will receive another surgery in August of this year. Despite having to undergo these exhausting procedures on a regular basis, Chakriwat is determined to complete his medical training.

For many years we have lived our lives in silence, which caused some speculation that we wished to remain abroad. To the contrary, as much as we wish to return, we could not defy orders not to return, or speak out to clear our names. We were afraid to risk even demonstrating the slightest inference of disrespect toward the Royal Family. Many may wonder why we did not speak out against false rumors or allegations against us. The truth is, it is better to suffer in silence than risk harm to the institution. We have never given up hope that, one day, we would receive word from Thailand to allow us to return. Each year, we write to our grandparents, Their Majesties the King and Queen, our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and our aunt, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. We would write to give them updates on our lives, informing them of academic progress, any medical issues, and to send well wishes to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses on New Years and birthdays. However, our letters were never answered. The communication has always been one sided.

Many people continue to speculate regarding our situation or to spread false and malicious rumors about us. Rather than addressing these issues in the open, and risk offending the institution, we have chosen to remain silent. We merely wanted to use this correspondence as an opportunity to thank the many Thais who still care about us and remember us, and to state clearly that, every day, we wish to return to Thailand. For fifteen years, we have never set foot in our country, and we miss it far too much. Until we are permitted to return, however, we will remain loyal to the Royal Family, and pray for the future of our country.

We remain faithfully yours,





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another veiled warning to king by politicians

November 30, 1936

A "thinly veiled warning" to King Edward VIII -- the third within the week - was published in The Times today "tucked at the end of an other innocuous leading editorial."

The editorial was titled "A Council of State," and praised the House of Commons for the spirit of unity" for the "great issues of recent weeks," reports the New York Times.

The House of Commons has "every right to feel proud of the example it is setting to a querulous and distracted world."

But it was the last sentence, a "flash of an editorial rapier," that caught attention.  "The Commons may well prove itself to be what the country has often required in similar times during its long history but seldom has been given,  namely,  a council of state which is able to demonstrate its solid strength in any crisis that may arise, whether foreign or domestic."

The use of the words domestic and council of state by the editorial writer cannot be seen as accidental.  "Council of State" is recognized as a "constitutional method for carrying on the king's duties," if he himself is unable to fulfill those duties.  It was used in 1911, when King George V was in India, and again in 1928, when the king was "desperately ill and unstable."

But why did the Times' editor resurrect the term "Council of State." when King Edward VIII is in good health.   The answer came this afternoon when the British government and the opposition in the Commons "agreed to stand together" in case of a struggle between the king and the Cabinet "should come to a head."

Clement R. Atlee, leader of the Labour Party, has assured Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that the opposition will not take advantage of the situation if Edward should decide to marry Mrs. Simpson, and force the government to resign.

This remains merely an understanding between Atlee and the Prime Minister, ans a constitutional crisis  remains a fairly remote contingency."

It is understood that Labour Party members in Parliament, as well as members of the trade union, are fond of the king, and are not concerned about his friendship with Mrs. Simpson.

But there are other Labour supporters in England and especially in Scotland -- in the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian chapels -- where there is concern about the "spectacle" of a twice divorced queen.

Labour party leaders know that a "constitutional king" cannot do anything unless he has the support of his ministers.  Thus it is important to note why Atlee gave such a momentous promise" to Prime Minister Baldwin, and why The Times' editorial described the House of Commons as a "council of state."

Carol opposed by father

November 30, 1926

King Ferdinand of Romania has made it clear that he is strongly opposed to the "return of former Crown Prince Carol," or a change to the law of succession, reports the Associated Press.

The king has made this declaration in a letter sent to Premier Averesch, and was published in the Official Gazette.

"I have been greatly moved by the sympathy and affection shown me on all sides regarding my health , but at the same time I see with real grief that some persons have taken advantage of the circumstances to bring into the discussion the principles which form the dynastic basis of the constitutional monarchy and which do not permit the fate of the crown to be left to the changeable will of any persons."

King Ferdinand also referenced his predecessor, King Carol, and the love "he himself has for his country."    He also hoped that his subjects know that he knows how to sacrifice "his personal relations in the interest of the country.   As King, Ferdinand has put "an end to the unfortunate waywardness and weakness of a beloved child."

The king ended his letter stating that he will be aided by "good Roumanians and his regular counselors, who know how to bind together the national strength to fortify the throne and impose respect for the decisions and acts accomplished in accord with the laws and supreme interests of the monarchy and state."

Queen Marie arrived earlier today in Cherbourg, "anxious over the king and doubtless concerned over the dynastic problem, but happy in the results of her American trip."  She and her two children, Princess Ileana and Prince Nicholas, traveled on the Berengaria.  Due to stormy weather, the ship was delayed several hours.

The king is said to be in a "serious condition," but not in "immediate danger of death.   Queen Marie will remain in Paris for several days, and has plans to see her eldest son. She is expected to convey to her son that there will be no turning back in Carol's "reported aspirations to withdraw his renunciation of the throne."

Marie is also resolved to use all her "great influence" in regards to the present succession arrangement for her grandson, Prince Michael's succession with a regency.

India Hicks on The Crown

Here is a link to an interview with India Hicks about her mother watching Netflix's The Crown.

I may be the only royal historian who has not viewed the program.  My TV does not get Netflix.  I don't have data on my cell.   My 2007 Sony Bravia has two HDML ports (used by cable and DVR) so no way to use a Fire Stick or Roku.  I hope Netflix doesn't wait too long to release on a DVD.

Zara and Mike Tindall: second baby due in 2017

It was announced today that Zara Phillips, 35, and her husband, Mike Tindall, are expecting a second child in the spring of 2017.   The couple's daughter, Mia Grace, will celebrate her third birthday on January 17, 2017.

Zara, an Olympic Silver Medalist (London 2012) is the second of two children of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her first husband, Mark Phillips.   Tindall, 38, is a former professional rugby player.

The couple married at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 30, 2011.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A birthday thank you

A few images from today's Memorial Service for the 6th Duke of Westminster

HRH Princess Eugenie of York, representing her father, HRH The Duke of York

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester and Lady Rose Gilman

Thank you to Paul Ratcliffe for allowing me to use a few of his photos from today's memorial service for the 6th Duke of Westminster.

Time to tell your subjects about Wallis, Edward is told

November 28, 1936

King Edward VIII has been "formally requested" to inform the British public, "by word or deed," about his relationship with Mrs. Simpson, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

This demand for an "immediate end to the semi-secrecy" surrounding the romance was told to the monarch in conversations with peers and the British cabinet.

Information received in Washington, D.C., from official and semi-official sources in London today have "failed to indicate" what Edward's answer will be.

Reports "trickling" into London are now strongly indicating that a "decisive crisis" has developed.

Two scenarios, neither confirmed, have been suggested to the king from those who are said to be in the know.  One is for Mrs. Simpson to leave England and travel to the United States or to Rome for a vacation - and her departure would be for a "decorous but nevertheless publicized 'farewell' by his majesty."    This would give the impression that there was a close friendship between the American divorcee and the king, but nothing more.

But if the king is determined to "continue the affair with matrimonial intentions," he should make "this fact evident by his public conduct," which would allow the  British public to "express its approbation or disapproval" of such a marriage.

The response of his subjects would also depend on whether or not his wife would have the title queen or another title, or whether the king would abdicate in favor of his brother, the Duke of York, which would allow him to be free to marry Mrs. Simpson.

The king, according to "important" Britons in Washington, has been reminded of the "obligations of the hereditary ruling class."

He was also told that if he "chooses to act as if such traditions and obligations do not exist," he should be willing to give up his throne and all "the royal riches with the exception of his personal fortune."

The public cannot be expected to "express an opinion" about the king's romance, if they are kept in the dark.

Princess being prepared to succeed uncle

November 28, 1936

A "fair-haired, rather plain little girl," just ten years old, is being "trained to be Queen Elizabeth II," reports United Press.   The little girl in question is Princess Elizabeth of York, niece of King Edward VIII, and second in line to the British throne.

When Edward is crowned in Westminster Abbey on May 12, 1937,  Princess Elizabeth will be present.  One day, she may have the leading role.

She will wear a "short crimson robe," over her "knee-length frock, but as she is a minor, she will not wear a coronet.   Her six-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, will be too young to attend the ceremony.

If King Edward does not marry or marries and does not have children, his brother the Duke of York, will succeed him,  and Elizabeth will succeed her father, unless, of course, the Duchess of York gives birth to a son, who will take precedence over his older sisters, and become second in line to the throne.

The King is unlikely to marry, and the Duchess of York is unlikely to have another child, as Princess Margaret Rose was born by Caesarean section.

The young Princess Elizabeth is said to be aware of "this probability," and is being "carefully trained" by her mother, and her grandmother, Queen Mary.

Her lessons are "comparatively light," but in due course, there will be "many things she must learn.  The young princess is "just an ordinary girl, who enjoys skipping rope, playing hopscotch or climbing trees.

HRH Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born April 26, 1926 at her mother's parents' London home.  She was soon the "the Empire's sweetheart."

But if her uncle marries, and has a child,  Elizabeth's position as a heiress presumptive will cease, and she will be able to have a more private life as she grows up.

A boy for Claire and Felix of Luxembourg

Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg are the parents of a son.  The yet-to-named prince was born earlier today (November 28) in Geneva, Switzerland.   The baby was born at 3:59 a.m., at the Clinique génerale Beaulieu.

Mother and baby are doing well.

This is the second child for Prince Felix, 32, and Princess Claire, 31.   Their daughter, Princess Amalia, was born in June 2014.

Prince Felix is the second child of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Marie Teresa of Luxembourg.  He is second in line to the throne after his brother,  Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, the heir apparent, who married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy.  After four years of marriage, the couple remain childless.

The current line of succession:  HRH Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume,  HRH Prince Felix,  HRH Princess Amalia of Nassau,  HRH Prince no name of Nassau, Princess Alexandra, Prince Sebastien,  Prince Guillaume (brother of Grand Duke Henri), Prince Paul-Louis of Nassau, Prince Léopold of Nassau and Prince Jean of Nassau.

The succession law changed to gender equal in 2011, but it applies to Grand Duke Henri and his descendants.  The previous succession law (Salic law) applies to other dynasts (his youngest brother and his sons.) Prince Guillaume's daughter, Princess Charlotte is not a dynast.

Grand Duke Henri's third son, Prince Louis, and his second brother, Prince Jean, renounced their rights to the throne, and their descendants are excluded from the succession,  as well.

Children of the sovereign and the heir apparent have the title Prince or Princess of Luxembourg.  Collateral lines have the title Prince or Princess of Nassau, both with the style of Royal Highness.

Duke of Westminster's Memorial Service

The 6th Duke of Westminster was remembered today in a memorial service at Chester Cathedral.   Members of the British Royal Family were in attendance, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall,  the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,  Princess Eugenie of York,  Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra,  the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and their daughter, Lady Rose Gilman.   Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece also attended, representing his father, King Constantine.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sophie de Roumanie's photographs on view: A royal art show in Dubai

@Christophe Forest

Sheik Rashid Bin Khalifa, a member of Bahrain's royal family,  and Baron Henri Estramant  are the co-organizers of Convergence, an exhibition of artworks by royals.

Convergence, according to the official press release, is an "exhibition that brings together for the first time in the history of art, an exceptional mix of royal and princely artists from around the world celebrating contemporary art in the City of Dubai.

Featuring a plethora of paintings, sculptures, jewellery designs and musical performances, Convergence considers global interchange in modern and contemporary art by providing a firsthand view at the work of twenty-first century royal and princely artists’ across disciplines who have proven professional record and international recognition.

This exceptional exhibition amongst these artists whose own histories are deeply intertwined with rich stories are the product of their unique personalities and circumstances, serving as examples of the magic that befalls when individuals put their passions and ideals into practice. It shall demonstrate how their work is the product of multi-directional global dialogues between their cosmopolitan cultural heritages as well as their colloquy with major art movements of their time and countries of origin.
@Sophie de Roumanie

@Sophie de Roumanie

Convergence demonstrates the passion and vision, that continuously illuminate the possibilities that these artists have to offer not simply as patrons of the arts but as actors themselves: thereby enhancing the viewer’s understanding of modern-day royalty, in exhibition form – a topic that has been underrepresented in the artistic historical discourse."

The exhibition features the work (photography, painting, fashion design) of more than 20 European, Asian and Middle east royals.  "Royal Bridges showcases the world," says Baron Estramant.

One of the artists whose work will be on display at the Ritz-Carlton in Dubai is HRH Princess Sophie of Romania, a professional photographer known as Sophie de Roumanie.

Sophie "picked up her camera again in 2000. Her first trip to Brittany, France, amazed her with its photographic possibilities. This area, on the European side of the North Atlantic, became her photographic playground. By 2007, Princess Sophie and her daughter were living there permanently.

The guidance of mentor Terence O’Donnell, a British artist and retired professional photographer specialized in war reportage settled in France, encouraged her to make photography her profession. She has since won recognition internationally as a photographic artist.

Princess Sophie uses her camera as a way to express herself, as a means to translate and convey the emotions she feels from any given scene. How various slants of light interact with the ocean, the coastal cliffs and rocks, the built environment of centuries- old churches, stone buildings, lighthouses — these particularly move the artist in her, as do the lush, ancient forests in which Brittany abounds.

Her fervent defense of the natural and man-made environment has led her to become Honorary President, Ambassador, and an active member of “Phare en Cap,” which promotes and safeguards the Breton maritime heritage of the Cap Sizun, denominated a “Grand Site de France”, and the Pointe Du Millier in particular.

The exhibition will take place on November 29.  On the following evening, there will be a gala event and an auction of the works of art.  The auction is being run by Christie's.

Other royals whose art will be on display include HRH The Duchess of Württemberg,  Count Bertram zu Castell-Rüdenhausen (a descendant of Queen Victoria),   Dowager Princess of Tirnovo,  Princess Lelli of Orleans and Braganza.

HRH Princess Sophie, the fourth of five daughters of King Michael and Queen Anne of Romania, lives in France with her daughter, Elisabeta.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cornelia Scott marries Belgian prince

November 26, 1936

Mrs. Cornelia Evelyn Paumier Scott of Philadelphia and Prince Henri de Ligne, were married today at St. Mary's Church in London, reports the New York Times.

A papal blessing was "bestowed" on the newlyweds.    Prince Henri of Croy is a retired Belgian Army officer.

Baron Emil de Cartier de Marchienne, Belgium's ambassador to the Court of St. James, was a witness to the ceremony, and afterward, hosted a wedding breakfast for the couple at the embassy.

The new Princess Henri of Croy is the widow of W. Carpenter Scott, an American businessman.   Ambassador de Marchienne was a close friend of her late husband and Prince Henri, who lived for some time in Washington, D.C.

The bride wore a "brown and gold costume with a collar of antique Flemish lace."

The wedding was officiated by Dr. William J. Anderson, the senior priest at St. Mary's.  Rev. Father Thurston, head of the Jesuit Order in England, gave the bride away.

The nuptial mass took place earlier today at Farm Street Church.

This is the first marriage for the 76 year old Prince Henri, who is the third of seven child of the late Prince Juste of Croy and Countess Marie d'Ursel.

Cornelia Paumier was born on October 4, 1877 at Jersey City, New Jersey.

Grand Duke Nicholas marries divorced woman

November 26, 1906

Although no one will confirm nor deny the report from St. Petersburg, it is understood that Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievitch of Russia has married Anastasia, Duchess of Leuchtenberg.

The marriage between Grand Duke Nicholas, a cousin of Nicholas II, and the former wife of  Prince George Romanovsky, 6th Duke of Leuchtenberg, took place yesterday. according to the New York Times.  

The Duke and Duchess of Leuchtenberg's separation has been "common knowledge," but there has been no official announcement of their divorce.  The Duke is now living abroad, and has made a morganatic marriage.

Grand Duke Nicholas celebrated his 50th birthday on November 18.  He is the eldest son of the late Grand Duke Nicholas Nicolaievich, sixth child of Emperor Nicholas I and his wife, Duchess Alexandra of Oldenburg.

The new Grand Duchess was born Princess Anastasia of Montenegro on June 4, 1868,  third child of Prince Nikola of Montenegro.   On August 28, 1889,  Princess Anastasia married Prince George Maximilianovich of Leuchtenberg, the youngest son of Maximilian de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg and Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaievna of Russia, daughter of Nicholas I.   The marriage between the Duke of Leuchtenberg and Grand Duchess Maria was deemed as equal, and their children were members of the Russian Imperial family.

Anastasia was the Duke's second wife.  His first wife, Duchess Theresa of Oldenburg, a granddaughter of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, died in 1883.   The new Duchess of Leuchtenberg became the stepmother to George's son, Prince Alexander, eight years old at the time of his father's second marriage.   The couple had two children of their own: Prince Sergei, 16, and fourteen-year-old Princess Elena.   

The new Grand Duchess Anastasia's older sister,  Militza, is married to Grand Duke Nicholas' younger brother, Grand Duke Peter.

Only a few months ago it was reported that Grand Duke Nicholas would marry, Grand Duchess Elisabeth, the widow of Grand Duke Sergei.

[Note:  this report was premature.  Anastasia's divorce from the duke of Leuchtenberg took place on November 16, 1906), but her second marriage was celebrated in April 1907.]

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Edward quarrels with Duchess of York

November 22, 1936

There is a growing rift between King Edward VIII and his sister-in-law, the Duchess of York over his insistence that his "family accept his friendship for Mrs. Wallis Simpson," reports the Los Angeles Times.

In an exclusive dispatch, the Times reports that a "close friend disclosed" tonight that the Duchess -- who would become Queen if Edward abdicates '' "tried to snub Edward's vivacious American friend."  In turn, the King snubbed the Duchess.

The Duke and Duchess of York were giving a "dinner party for a small circle of friends," and they asked the King to join them.  He telephone and asked if he could bring Mrs. Simpson with him.  The Duchess refused his request, "firmly declaring that she could not possibly manage another guest."

She said that it would "disrupt all her arrangements," and she would not "oblige Mrs. Simpson."  The King replied that he would not attend the dinner, either.  Instead, the king and Mrs. Simpson with to a "motion-picture theater," paying $2.00 a piece for the seats.

The situation between the King and his family is seen as unpleasant, and members of the royal family are concerned about Mrs. Simpson's influence over the King.  Edward has decided to host a separate Christmas party at Fort Belvedere, and has not invited his family.

Now that the British newspapers are free to report about the romance,  the papers are "getting bolder in their campaign to boos Edward and his possible marriage to Mrs. Simpson."

The Sunday Referee's front page stated that the King can "marry any commoner, thereby raising her to royal status."   The Sunday Graphic devoted three columns to "emphasize" that Edward is "the right man for the job because he knows how to meet common people."

In his column in the Sunday Dispatch,  Lord Donegal is convinced that the King has "every young Briton 100 percent behind him in whatever he does."