Thursday, April 24, 2014

Questions abound over auction of Princess Marie of Denmark's possessions

The upcoming auction of royal letters, photos and articles owned by Princess Marie'd Orléans (1865-1909), wife of Prince Valdemar of Denmark, is responsible for a major family discord among her heirs.

The items in the auction were being auctioned in the name of Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma. His children, however, were not consulted by their father. Furious at seeing these family heirlooms dispersed to the four corners of the world, Prince Michel's offspring have joined forces and taken their father to court in an effort to prevent the spoliation of family legacy.

More than half the items that were listed in the catalogue have been removed from the auction. Also, the hours during which the auction was to take place have been drastically reduced.

Thanks to Art Beeche for allowing me to reprint his article, which was published earlier today on

Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma, 88, is a grandson of the late Princess Marie of Orleans, wife of Prince Valdemar of Denmark.  His mother, Princess Margrethe of Denmark married Prince René of Bourbon-Parma.

Princess Marie's fourth son, Prince Viggo of Denmark, inherited her papers, and the collection past to his wife, the American-born Eleonor Green, after his death.  Their marriage was childless.  After Eleonor's death, the collection was inherited by Prince Michel.

A lovely catalog.

Estelle meets Leonore - and you can go Ahhhh!

Foto: H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria, / H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria, The Royal Court, Sweden

Foto: H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria, / H.K.H. Kronprinsessan Victoria, The Royal Court, Sweden

Earlier this month, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her daughter, Princess Estelle paid a private visit to New York City to meet Princess Leonore, the infant daughter of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill.

Earlier today, the Swedish Court released these two photos of two adorable princesses.  Princess Estelle is smitten with her new cousin, who will be baptized in June.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I wanna throw up

Seriously.  I feel a major hair ball coming on.  A big hair ball.  Just when you think Reality TV can get any lower,  all of the sudden the bar drops even further.

On May 27, Fox (same owner as the wretched faux news channel) will offer I Wanna Marry Harry.    Twelve women (bimbos?) will be competing to win a royal marriage proposal from ... are you ready?  Really ready?  

Prince Harry of Wales.  You know Harry: brother of the Duke of Cambridge,  younger son of the Prince of Wales, fourth in line to the throne.  War veteran. 

Prince Harry, who will celebrate his 30th birthday in September, does have a girlfriend,  and her name is not a secret.   His main squeeze is Cressida Bonas, a blue blood with fabulous blonde hair and a DNA to make royal genealogists squeak with delight.   Cressida has been on the cover of Tatler, which means EVERYONE knows about her relationship with Prince Harry.

I know this is "reality TV," but I cannot believe that here in America, especially in Texas, there are women who don't know about Prince Harry and his girlfriend.  Shakes head in total disbelief.  I am so embarrassed.  We Americans have such a wretched international reputation as it is ... now these chickie-poos will only make it worse.  

Stop the madness.  Memo to world:  not all of us on this side of the Pond are stupid, vain or the punch line of a blonde joke!  Most of us know that the show is using a Prince Harry impersonator.

Secret Princes ... and now I Wanna Marry Harry!    Stop the madness.  I want to get off, now!

The Daily Mail published today a story about these silly, vain and vapid women.

A recent interview with Grand Duchess Maria of Russia

Grand Duchess Maria Wladimirovna of Russia recently spoke with Izvestiia, a Russian newspaper.

Your Imperial Highness, you have promised to ask your royal relatives to use all their influence to prevent an escalation of the conflict between Russia and the West. What in your view can your relatives hope to achieve?
In answer to a question from INTERFAX as to whether I would appeal to my relatives to intervene on the sanctions against Russia, I replied that, in the modern world, the heads and members of royal families, even those currently reigning, cannot substantively influence the policies of their countries. Whether that is a good thing or not, each person can decide for himself. But that is how modern political systems work. Therefore, to expect some kind of sensational or game-changing political gestures from Europe’s monarchs and heads of dynasties would not be realistic.
However, in the spiritual, social, and cultural spheres, Europe’s royal houses, whether they reign or not, continue to enjoy significant influence. And I will certainly try to familiarize my relatives with the history of the Crimean question and with the current situation there so that they are fully informed. I am sure that they can then exert a calming influence in the social and cultural climate in their countries.
Naturally, every country has its own national interests. It would be naïve to think that the geopolitical rivals of Russia would not protest against the return of Crimea to Russia. But sensible people can call for a stop to radicalism and hysteria, they can call for an even-handed and rational approach to the crisis even in the current circumstances if they do not agree, even partly, with what is transpiring on the ground. Such calls from members of royal dynasties are especially significant because they speak not from the point of view of a single concrete event, but from the broad perspective of historical processes.
What is the attitude of members of Europe’s royal houses to Russia today? Are there some royals who are sharply opposed to Moscow’s policy?
Europe’s monarchs, and the heads and members of Europe’s royal houses, are cultured and well-educated people. They know very well Russia’s literature and music, Russia’s rich traditions in dance and architecture, and Russia’s history; and they pay tribute to our country and recognize its significance to the entire world. Many are interested in the Russian language, in the life of the people, and are sincerely sympathetic to Russia.
But politics is another matter altogether. Both before the revolution and now, admiration for Russia’s cultural achievements and appreciation for Russian national character were not enough to overcome the competition and confrontation between Russia and other great powers. Each country has its own understanding of its place in the world and its own national interests. Royal dynasties share the position of their governments. It cannot be otherwise.
But the monarchist worldview is completely alien to any sort of radicalism. The experience of two world wars in the 20th century, which led to untold misery and, moreover, to the fall of many monarchies, suggests that any “clear intentions” against anyone whatsoever will be destructive not only to those against whom these intentions are directed, but also to those who are predisposed to give themselves over to emotion and lose all sense of proportion.
I have up to now not heard any member of a royal house make any sharp anti-Russian statements of any kind, and I very much hope that it will remain that way going forward.
What is your opinion on Crimea becoming part of Russia? How do you assess the actions of the Russian government?
When the alarming reports began to come out of Ukraine, I initially called on its citizens to remember the terrible lessons of the revolution and Civil War. I called on them not to succumb to fratricide and to make every effort to preserve the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. And if the situation in Ukraine had played out differently than it has, I would not have such a firm conviction now that the return of Crimea to Russia was appropriate and inevitable.
Unfortunately, events began to develop in the direction of the worse-case scenario. There was a coup in Kiev. The new government fell under the control of extreme nationalists. Those political groups that had triumphed began their rule not with calls for peace, not by taking steps to restore order, but, on the contrary, with chauvinistic and revanchist attacks on Russians and Russian-speaking citizens, with threats against the clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church, and with anti-Semitic proclamations redolent of the Nazis.
The legitimate leaders of Crimea not only had the right, it had the duty to take steps to protect from harm the people who had elected them into office. Yet, the heads of government institutions in Crimea did not take matters into their own hands; they held a referendum. The referendum included the option of keeping Crimea part of Ukraine. But a clear majority voted in favor of Crimea becoming a part of Russia, and Russian authorities, naturally, could not ignore this outcome. To do so would have been not only a political mistake, but also an act of immoral indifference.
When various politicians speak about the situation in Crimea today, I sometimes get the impression that Crimea is some piece of property which had belonged to Ukraine and has now been seized and appropriated by Russia. But that is not the case. Crimea is not just some piece of real estate. It is not an uninhabited territory. It is populated by people who have their own feelings, thoughts, will, and aspirations to live in peace. It is necessary to think first and foremost about their well-being. In my opinion, the analogy here is not with property but with a child of porce who has to choose with which parent he is going to live. As sad as it was, in 1991 Russia and Ukraine went through a political porce. Crimea remained with Ukraine as a result of the completely arbitrary decision in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev to transfer Crimea from Russia to Ukraine. But pro-Russian sentiments were always strong in Crimea. And when the course of historical events forced the people of Crimea to express their will, they chose Russia.
And just as when a child chooses to live with one parent he does not cease to love the other, so too will Crimea not lose entirely its connection with Ukraine in becoming part of Russia. I feel sure that, with time, tempers will cool, Kiev will again have a legitimate government, elected by the people, and many of the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, which now seem so insurmountable, will be resolved in a way that is mutually beneficial to all. And Crimea will not be a stumbling block between Russia and Ukraine, but rather a valuable link—part of Russia, and to the greatest extent possible, close as well to Ukraine.
Were we to draw a parallel between pre-revolutionary Russia and present-day Russia, could we say that Moscow is now trying to revive the Russian Empire?
You can’t step into the same river twice, as they say. Neither the Russian Empire nor the USSR can be reestablished in the form in which they previously existed. Integration is possible, but only in new and different ways, taking into account the positive experiences of the Russian Empire and USSR, and also in analyzing the mistakes they made that led to their downfall.
The situation with Crimea is unique, and one can in no way see it as the beginning of some kind of revanchist action on the part of Russia. Setting the question up that way will only cause harm, will put strong trump cards in the hands of the rivals and critics of our country, and alarm many of our friends and potential allies.
I firmly believe that the territory of the former Russian Empire continues to be a single unified cultural space, which is actually far more important than political unity. Political unity can be ephemeral and fleeting, as the 20th century has amply demonstrated. But cultural unity, sewn together by centuries of spiritual, cultural, and social connections, is stronger, deeper, and more significant. And Russia, and the other sovereign states which arose after the fall of the USSR, must preserve and develop all that brings people together and serves the interests of peace and stability.
Could Western sanctions against Russia lead to positive results, in your view?
I know of no examples when sanctions of this sort have led to positive results. One can understand how, during periods of cooling relations, the privileges, exemptions, and preferences that existed in relations between countries during better times might be suspended. But to impose sanctions specially and clearly directed at causing harm to a country which is fulfilling all its financial and economic obligations to its partners, and which, moreover, is as large and powerful a country as Russia, during a time of today’s global economic crisis, is absurd and harmful. This is a blow not only to our country, but to all other countries, as well.
There are practically no actions in international politics that do not somehow elicit criticism from some party or that are entirely satisfactory to everyone. Those who today are criticizing Russia have many times themselves acted in ways that have violated the principles of international law when it suited their interests to do so. And now, speaking figuratively, they who live in glass houses want to throw stones at Russia. Double standards may be the easy road to take, but they only exacerbate problems.
Then one has to look at the purpose of sanctions. What is the objective and is it achievable? It is clear, after all, that Russia, regardless of the sanctions that have been imposed on it, has not because of them refused to accept the joining of Crimea to Russia. Just as the USA and the nations of Europe will not refuse, for example, to recognize the independence of Kosovo. Therefore the ending of tensions and the reconciliation of all sides should be realized not through threats and sanctions, but through negotiations between equal partners. One can and should seek reciprocal concessions on separate points of dispute, negotiate certain additional reciprocal guarantees which will lower tensions between the parties, and so on. It is an on-going process. But to try to dictate a resolution from a position of strength and with the presumption that your side is absolutely right and the other side is absolutely wrong is counterproductive.
Do you intend to visit Crimea during your next visit to Russia, which is planned for next August? Do you plan to raise the question of Romanoff property in the Crimea?
The itinerary for all my travels for the current year was arranged at the end of last year, and a visit to Crimea had not been planned.
Of course, I would be very happy to visit Crimea in the future, when my countrymen living there believe that my visit would be useful and appropriate.
Neither I nor my son, Grand Duke George of Russia, involve ourselves in politics. That is the permanent and fundamental position of the Russian Imperial House. We have, of course, our own views on events of the day, and we reserve the right to express those views, as is the right of any citizen. But we do not take part in politics of any kind. Our goal is to serve the cause of inter-confessional, interethnic, and civil peace; to preserve our country’s historical traditions; and to help the needy as much as we possibly can. I hope that everyone understands this and, consequently, will understand that at the present moment it would be inappropriate for me to rush to visit Crimea.

As far as property is concerned, I have many times publicly and officially voiced our consistent position.  The Russian Imperial House is in principle against the restitution of property and makes no claims on any property.  We are very pleased that properties that were constructed and owned by our ancestors  today serve the public, and we ask nothing for ourselves.  The wonderful Livadia Palace, so loved by Emperors Alexander III and Nicholas II, and also all the other homes and estates owned once by members of our dynasty, should remain the property of the state and always be accessible to all our countrymen as historical and cultural public spaces and health resorts."

Prince Christian chases robbers

April 22, 1954

It doesn't pay to snatch purses in New York City, as two young men found out earlier today when they were chased on foot by a real "prince of the blood,: reports the New York Times.

The hero of the day is Prince Christian Oskar Ernst August Wilhelm Viktor Georg Heinrich of Hannover, fourth child of the late Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, great-grandson of Queen Victoria and younger brother of Queen Frederika of Greece.

The two young men, residents of the Bronx, grabbed a handbag from Mrs. Florence Ross, who was entering her home on Madison Avenue.  The robbers jumped into a waiting car and sped off.  After running a red light, they crashed into a taxi cab, and began to run "westward" on 73rd Street.

Prince Christian had not known about the robbery when he stepped out of his cab at the entrance to his "bachelor apartment" at 42nd East 72nd Street.  As he paid his fare, he witnessed the accident.

He said: "I knew nothing about the theft then.  I thought the men were just hit-and-run drivers, whom I hate.  Nobody was hurt, but at the moment, the accident looked worse than it was. So, I said to my driver, 'let's go after them.'"

Prince Christian began running after the culprit.  When he was at school in Germany he had been a "distance runnier and a skier."   Now 34 years old, he keeps in shape by running two miles every morning before breakfast.

He "pursued the fugitives" to Fifth Avenue, "vaulted the stone wall into Central Park," and  continued his chase.

The pursuit came to an end at  Conservatory Lake, drained for the winter, at 79th Street.  It was at this point that the two men, "who evidently had neglected to run two miles every morning."  They collapsed to the ground and "surrendered without a struggle."

Neither man was armed, and they "meekly allowed" the 6'2" tall Prince Christian, "built like the stroke of a champion crew" to march them toward the park's 72nd Street gate. 

The prince's taxi driver and the police were waiting. Everyone went to the local precinct on East 67th Street.

The two men were charged with petit larceny, as Mrs. Ross's handbag contained only $2.00. 

The police thanked Prince Christian. He replied that this was a "small return for the kindness the police, the press, and all New York had shown his sister and her husband, King Paul," when they made an official visit last year.

Prince Christian is learning "the shipping business" while he is in New York.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prince Phillip: third man at court

April 22, 1948

Buckingham Palace announced today that the Duke of Edinburgh, will become third in precedence at the British court, after the Dukes of Gloucester and Windsor. He will precede the Duke of Gloucester, only when he accompanies his wife, Princess Elizabeth.  (The Duke of Windsor does not attend court events.)

The new list of precedence has Philip in two places.  The first is called "joint precedence," with the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke of Edinburgh, following directly after the King and Queen.  The other section features "single precedence," where the Duke is below the King's two brothers, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Windsor.

Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mother Mary and Princess Elizabeth are at the top of the women's precedence list, followed by Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal (the King's only sister, Princess Mary), followed by the Duchesses of Gloucester and Kent.

The new list has allowed King George to reconsider the precedence for his older brother, the former Edward VIII.  After his abdication in 1936,  Edward was "relegated to the bottom of the list."

The king's decision to give his brother "individual preference" over Philip was the "result of blood being thicker than water," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The Duke of Edinburgh, a former Greek prince, is a British royal highness, but "he is not by blood a British prince."

Young King Michael brings flowers to Mom

April 22, 1938

Princess Helen of Romania celebrates her 32nd birthday today. She spent part of the day "opening another clinic for sick mothers and their babies," reports the New York Times.

The estranged wife of Prince Carol, devotes a lot of her time to "Red Cross and charity work."   She received "scores of birthday greetings" from royal relatives all over the world, but "no remembrance from her errant husband."

Prince Carol lives a leisurely life in Paris with Mme. Lupescu, on the "half million dollars" he inherited from his late father, King Ferdinand.

Friends of the "deserted" Princess say she regards her marriage as a "closed chapter in her life," and if her husband ever returns to Romania, she "will leave the country."

Perhaps the "most touching" of her gifts was a "tiny bunch of flowers" picked by her young son, King Michael.

"You see, Mama, I haven't forgotten you like Papa has," he said as he "raced into the house bearing the fragrant bouquet."

Princess Helen graciously accepted the flowers, and kissed "the thoughtful youngster." 

She remains "the picture of health and beauty" despite the heartaches in her life.

Her estranged husband, Carol, however, is said to be in "bad health and straightened circumstances, according to friends who saw him recently in Brussels.

The former heir to the throne looked "wan and thin."  Carol told reporters that he was feeling unwell, and in need of a long rest.

"I have come to Brussels for a rest and I hope I get it," he said.

The Prince had spent one day in the Ardennes with Mme. Lupescu, her brother, father and two secretaries.  

They returned to Brussels earlier today.   Reporters noted that Carol's "cheeks were hollow and his face seemed to be wasting away."  He gives the "impression" of a man "whose health was ruined."

"I do not know what is going on in Romania just now," he said.  "I am living quietly here to have a vacation from political events.  I don't know how long I will be able to stay but I seem to be getting a better rest here than in France."

Duke of Anhalt : loved music

April 22, 1918

Duke Friedrich II of Anhalt died today at Schloss Ballenstedt, reports the new York Times in a dispatch from Amsterdam.  

The Duke was 61 years old.

He ruled a duchy that "embraced an area a little larger than 900 square miles.".  His capital, Dessau, was well known for its culture, especially the court theatre, celebrated throughout Europe "for its operatic performances."  The Duke devoted his life to music, and "he was rarely seen in uniform."

He was the second son of Duke Friedrich I and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg.  He succeeded his father in 1904. He had become the heir apparent after the death of his older brother, Prince Leopold in 1886.

Three years later, he married Princess Marie of Baden.  Their marriage was childless.  The new Duke is his younger brother, Eduard.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Princess Elizabeth reaches majority age

April 21, 1944

Princess Elizabeth, heiress presumptive the throne, celebrates her 18th birthday day.  Having reach the age of majority, the princess becomes "automatically" a member of the Council of State.  She will begin to also have her own staff and a lady-in-waiting. 

The elder daughter of King George VI,  Princess Elizabeth also "goes a little deeper into the servitude of etiquette and the great office that awaits her."

Elizabeth has been preparing for her future role for nearly her entire life, "since she was old enough to learn," writes the New York Times.  She has studied modern languages.  She "rides and shoots and plays tennis and swims."   She very likely knows more about the United States "than most of us do."

The princess was raised simply by her parents in "Piccadilly, in Scotland, at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park."  She "has no more clothes coupons than any other girl," and she has "plenty of fun."

Princess Elizabeth "loves to dance," and some of "our American officers have danced with her."  She likes most everything "except arithmetic," and can have "small thought of the long years of public cerium and function that are before her."

She is "kind, intelligent, unpretentious, democratic," and she is the eldest daughter of the "democratic king and queen of our ally and friend."  The New York Times' editorial also adds: "we all feel a friendly and not in the least snobbish interest in her and wish her all good fortune."

George and Mary arrive in Paris

April 21, 1914

King George V and Queen Mary arrived in Paris today for a three days
visit to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the entente cordiale between Great Britain and France, reports the New York Times.

Much work has been done by the British and French governments to "render the visit significant politically and pleasant personally."

Most of Paris' main streets have been decorated with "garlands of evergreens and intertwined flags of both nations."  Crowds of Parisians stood on the sidewalks as they "awaited the early arrival of their Majesties.
The greeting was certainly a "flattered one."  The royal procession made its way through the Avenue de Bois de Boulogne and the Champs Elysées to the Palace of the Foreign office, where "specially decorated apartments" have been made ready for the king and queen.

Their schedule includes lunch at the British Embassy, a trip to Vincennes to "attend a great military review,"  a visit to the Hotel de Ville in Paris, where the king and queen will receive local citizens, a banquet the British Embassy where they will entertain President and Mme Poincare, which will be followed by a gala performance at the Opera.

The King and Queen will also have the opportunity to attend a "race meeting at Auteuil" and they will be the guests of honor at a State Banquet.

They traveled to France on the royal yacht Alexandra, crossing the English Channel from Dover to Calais.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Princess Cecile of Hohenlohe-Langenburg: jewelry designer

@Bill Durgin
Princess Cecile of Hohenlohe-Langenburg is the eldest of three children of the late Kraft, 9th Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and his first wife, Princess Charlotte of Croy.  She was born on December 16, 1967.  On June 6, 1998, Princess Cecile married Cyril de Commarque, a grandson of Princess Marie Clotilde Bonaparte (daughter of Princess Clementine of Belgium)

Their marriage was dissolved by divorce in 2008.  The couple did not have any children.

Princess Cecile is now a noted jewelry designer. 

My thanks to Mickey Boardman for allowing me to use Bill Durgin's photo.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wilhelmina in Paris

April 16, 1898

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, and her mother, Queen Emma, the Queen Regnant, are in Paris, "incognito," for a few days, before they travel to Cannes to visit Queen Emma's sister, the Duchess of Albany, reports the New York Times.

This is the young queen's first visit to Paris, and she is "said to be delighted."  They are scheduled to meet with President Faure.

Margarethe comes of age

April 16, 1958

Princess Margrethe  eldest daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark celebrated her 18th birthday today with new duties and responsibilities, reports the New York Times.    Denmark celebrated this coming of age birthday day as fete day.

This morning the "tall, vivacious Princess" began her new duties as a future Queen.  At a "solemn ceremony" at Parliament House, Christianborg Palace,  she was :sworn in as a member of the State Council."  She will also sit with the King at the weekly Cabinet meetings, and will act as regent when her father is "absent from Denmark.

No engagement for Juliana

April 16, 1934

The Royal Palace in the Hague today "authoritatively denied" that the Prince Consort's recent visit to Brussels was not made "with a desire to betroth" Princess Juliana,  heir to the  throne, to Prince Charles of Belgium, younger son of King Albert, reports the New York Times.

Marguerite is a duchess

April 16, 1928

Despite reports to the contrary,  Miss Marguerite Watson, the wife of Prince Charles, Duke of Nemours, is a duchess, according to the Associated Press.

Reports from abroad stated that she was not a duchess because she "failed to confirm with official regulations when she was married in England on Saturday."  These views have caused "great amusement" in French official circles and among the nobility.

"The people setting that rumor afloat seem not have heard of the French revolution," commented Count Fleury, a noted authority on titles.  "The third republic never abolished titles, but the only interest it takes in them is to levy a fat tax when nobles want their titles verified."

Another high member of the French nobility said: "The American girl who married the Duc de Nemours is as much a Duchess as he is a duke.  Nobody can change that since the de Nemours title is well enough established.  It is curious that while so many spurious titles are going around unchallenged, a real one should be questioned when one happens upon it."

The  marriage between the Duke and Miss Watson is "legal" regardless of what the Duke's family thinks.  Consent of the parents "is not absolutely necessary" if the son demanded consent.

The Duke of Guise, head of the royal family, has had the last word:  "Bless you, my children."