Monday, January 16, 2017

Royal engagement: HRH Princess Marie Gabrielle of Nassau & Antonius Willms

Copyright Valentin Dupont.   This photo shows Princess Marie-Gabrielle and Antonius Willms arriving for the wedding of her cousin, Princess Alix de Ligne,
HRH Princess Marie-Gabrielle Cecile Charlotte Sophie of Nassau is engaged to marry Mr. Antonius Willms.  The marriage will take place at the Finca Llanos de Belvis in Istan, Malaga, Spain, which is the home of Alejandro Abello y Gamazo and his wife, Marie Caroline Willms, the sister of the bridegroom to be.

Princess Marie-Gabrielle is the eldest child of HRH Prince Jean of Luxembourg and his first wife, Helene Vestur, a French lawyer, who is a member of the  Conseil d'État.  The 31-year-old princess was born at Paris on September 8, 1986 without a title.  She was born three weeks before her father renounced his right of succession.  The announcement was made on September 26, 1986. Jean's reason for his renouncement: he intended "to live abroad and follow an international business career."

Marie-Gabrielle's birth was not announced by the court, and, in fact,  the first public reports of her birth came in 1988, after the birth of her little brother, Constantin, who was born on July 22, 1988.   The revelation came in Prince Jean's  interview with Point de Vue (September 16, 1988). The magazine's cover photo showed the Prince Jean, Helen and baby Constantin.  Readers were introduced to the couple's first child, Marie-Gabrielle.

Jean and Helene were married on May 28, 1987 in Paris.  Neither Grand Duke Jean nor Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg.   Helene did not meet her husband's parents until some time after the wedding.
Marie Gabrielle and her brother, Carl Johann in Washington, D,C., for the wedding of her first cousin, Archduke Imre of Austria.  copyright Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

Marie-Gabrielle and her younger brothers, Constantin,  Wenceslas and Carl-Johann, were registered with the surname Nassau.  It was not until September 21, 1995 that Grand Duke Jean decreed that Prince Jean's children would have the title Countess and Count of Nassau.  Prince Jean's older brother, Grand Duke Henri, issued a decree on November 24, 2004 that gave the title Prince and Princess of Nassau to Jean's children with the rank of Royal Highness.     Princess Marie-Gabrielle and her younger brothers do not have dynastic rights, however.

Prince Jean and Miss Vestur were interviewed by Point to Vue shortly before their wedding.  Both were asked what were their favorite names.  Helene answered: Jean, Constantin, Francois,  Xavier, Henri, Marie-Gabrielle and Anastasia.

Prince Jean and Helene Vestur were divorced in 2004.  He married a second time to Diane de Guerre.

Marie-Gabrielle received a BA in Visual Cultures from Goldsmiths College in London, and a MAAB (Master's in Art Business) from Sotheby's Institute.   The princess is now based in the Munich area, where she works in architecture planning and interior design.

Antonius Benedikt Willms was born on December 22, 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia, one of four children of Hayo Willms and his wife, Countess Maria Theresia von Goëss.  He studied in Luxembourg and at the University of St. Andrews, where he received a MA in Economics and Modern History.

The Spanish estate ,where the wedding will take place, has its own royal connection.  Marie Caroline's husband, Alejandro (Sandro) is a descendant of Prince Maximilian Egon of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1897-1968)   In 1921, he married  Maria Piedad de Iturbe, the Marquesa de Belvis de las Navas (1892-). They had five children: Maria Francisca, Alfonso, Christia, Elisabeth, Max Emanuel and Beatriz.  

Maria Francisca (1922-2007) married Claudio Gamazo y Arnus, Marqués de Soto de Aller.  They had four children, Alejandra Maria de la Piedad , 4th Marquesa de Belvis Las Navas; Ana Isabel, Clara and German.   In 1968, Ana Isabel married Juan Abello Gallo.  Alejandro is their fourth and youngest son.   According to Forbe, Alejandro's father, Juan is worth more than $1.89 billion dollars.

Princess Marie-Gabrielle and Antonius Willms are fifth cousins, and share a common ancestor in Princess Maria Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1798-1870), eldest child of King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies and his first wife, Archduchess Clementine of Austria (1777-1801).    Maria Carolina was married twice. Her first marriage to Prince Chjarles of France, Duke of Berry  (1779-1820).  The Duke of Berry and his wife were leaving the opera house in Paris when he was stabbed by a saddle maker, Louis Pierre Rouvel.  Princess Marie Gabrielle descends from their daughter, Louise Marie Therese (1819-1864), who married Duke Carlos III of Parma.

The Duchess of Berry painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Antonius is a descendant of Maria Carolina's second marriage to Ettore Carlo Lucchesi-Palli, 8th Duke della Grazia through the youngest child  of Adinolfo Lucchesi-Palli, 9th Duke della Grazia (1840-1911) and his wife, Donna Lucrezia Ruffo (1831-1941)

The date of the wedding has not been announced.

The new Earl of Snowdon

Viscount Linley,  eldest (and only legitimate) son of the late Earl of Snowdon will remain styled as Viscount Linley until after his father's funeral.  Once his father is buried (or cremated), Linley will assume the title Earl of Snowdon.  He will be the 2nd Earl of Snowdon.    His two children,  Charles and Margarita, will move from the style and rank of children of a viscount to children of an earl.   The Hon. Charles Armstrong-Jones will bear the courtesy title, Viscount Linley of Nymans, and the Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones will be styled as The Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones.

From Debrett's Correct Form

As a peer of the realm,  the new Lord Snowdon will cease to be a commoner.  He will sign his name as Snowdon.  His wife,  Lady Serena Stanhope,) becomes the Countess of Snowdon and will sign her name as Serena Snowdon.

I use Lady Serena because she is the daughter of the Earl of Harrington.  At the time of her wedding in 1993, Serena was styled as the Hon. Serena Stanhope, as father, Viscount Petersham, did not succeed to the earldom until 2009.  If Serena had married a mere Mr. Armstrong-Jones, she would have been styled. The. Hon. Mrs. David Armstrong-Jones.  This would have changed after her grandfather's death when she would have adopted the style The Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones.  Mr. David and The Lady Serena Armstrong-Jones.  No Mrs for daughters of dukes, marquesses or earls.

These are photos (no long lens for me at the time) I took of Lord Linley in New York City in the late 1980s,  and Lord and Lady Linley at their wedding and in Washington, D.C., in 1993.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg celebrates 75 years

HSH Aloys-Konstantin Karl Eduard Joseph Johann Konrad Antonius Gerhard Georg Benediktus Pius Eusebius Maria, Fürst zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg Prince of Löwenstein-Werthheim-Rosenberg celebrated his 75th birthday on December 16, 2016.  He is the fifth child and only son of the late Karl, 8th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg and Carolina dei Conte Rignon.   In 1965, he married HRH Princess Anastasia of Prussia, elder daughter of Prince Hubertus of Prussia (third son of Crown Prince Wilhelm and Crown Princess Cecilie.)

The couple had four children: Hereditary Prince Carl Friedrich (1966-2010),  Prince Hubertus (1968), Princess Christina (1969)and Prince Dominik (1983).  They have nine grandchildren.

Carl Friedrich was killed during a car race.  His car crashed, and he could not be removed from the car in time.  He died from smoke inhalation.    His second child and elder son, Nicodemus, is the Hereditary Prince and heir to his grandfather's titles and estates.

A look at Belgian royals

I have selected about 30 images from one of my Belgium postcard albums ending with the engagement  Prince Albert of the Belgians (1875-1934), heir presumptive to the Belgian throne and Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria (1876-1975.)

Albert was the 5th child (and second surviving son) of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and his wife, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern Sigmaringen.   At birth he was third in line to the throne, as his first cousin, Prince Leopold, the only son of King Leopold II, had died at the age of nine in 1869.  (King Leopold II had three daughters as well: Louise, Stephanie and Clementine, but succession was governed by Salic law -- males only -- so after Prince Leopold's death,  Leopold II's younger brother, Philippe, became the heir presumptive.)

Albert had an older brother,  Prince Baudouin (1869-1891) was groom for eventual succession, but on January 23, 1891,  the young prince was killed in a duel with the husband of his mistress.  

The Count of Flanders died in 1905, and Prince Albert became Leopold II's heir presumptive.   Albert succeeded to the throne on December 23, 1909.

Albert met his future wife, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, the daughter of Duke Karl-Theodor in Bavaria (the noted oculist) and Infanta Maria Josefa of Portugal, at a family funeral.  This was a true love match.    Albert and Elisabeth, named for her paternal aunt, Empress Elisabeth of Austria, married in Munich on October 2, 1900.

Second wife of Leopold II

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Mecklenburg House - Once a royal residence

I took these photos on my final night in London in June 2016

Nearly a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace is Buckingham Gate, a street that runs from Birdcage Walk to Victoria, a lovely street which fine homes and posh hotels. This house is 16 Buckingham Gate. In 1889, following the death of her mother, Augusta, the Dowager Duchess of Cambridge, Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, acquired the lease to this residence, which she named Mecklenburg House. The Grand Duchess, who preferred London to Strelitz, enjoyed her visits to England. Augusta was in London during the spring of 1904, when she received word of her husband's death. The Prince and Princess of Wales were at Victoria Station to say goodbye to Augusta on June 1, 1904, as she began her journey back to Neustrelitz, not returning again until March 26, 1905. This was probably her final visit to England. In July 1907, Augusta's niece, the Princess of Wales, traveled to Neustrelitz to see her aunt. After the first world war, 16 Buckingham Gate was converted to flats, at least, according to the listings in The Times. Bond & Co., a real estate agency, maintained an office in the building in 1930, thus ceasing to be a residence, royal or otherwise. The Dean of the British School of Osteopathy also had an office in the building. In the 1990s, the German-British Chamber of Industry and Commerce moved their offices into the building. The name of the building remains Mecklenburg House.

I wish I had walked by during the day, when I could have opened the door and ask if I could see any of the rooms.  I did that a few years earlier at Cambridge Cottage in Kew.