Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grand Duke Nicholas cheers Serbs

August 20, 1914

Grand Duke Nicholas, commander of the Russian army, has sent a letter to Prince Alexander of Serbia, congratulating him on Serbia's victory, according to a St. Petersburg dispatch to Reuters.

He wrote: "Having received news of the brilliant victory of the Serbian Army, I send on behalf of the Pan-Slavic Army cordial congratulations on the first victory which God has given us.  The Russian Army shouts to you a vigorous cheer in honor of the victorious Serbs."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Royal travels

August 19, 1888

King Christian IX of Denmark and his daughter, the Princess of Wales and her daughters, traveled today from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt, where they "met and dined with the Prince of Wales," according to a dispatch sent to the New York Times.

The Princess of Wales will now travel to Gmunden, to visit her youngest sister, Princess Thyra, who is married to the Duke of Cumberland.

Margaret to announce engagement

August 19, 1950

Princess Margaret, who will celebrate her 20th birthday on August 21, is said to have a "birthday secret," according to an article in the Sunday Pictorial. 

The secret is expected to be an announcement of her engagement to the 26-year-old Earl of Dalkeith, heir to the Duke of Buccleuch.

The newspaper reports that many of Princess Margaret's friends "are certain she has a birthday secret.  They add it would have been announced already but for the birth of Princess Elizabeth's baby."

Princess Elizabeth gave birth to her second child, a daughter, on August 15.

The Pictorial features side-by-side photographs of the Princess and Lord Dalkeith.   The Duke of Buccleuch is the brother of the Duchess of Gloucester, who is married to King George VI's younger brother, Henry, the Duke of Gloucester. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Coburg prince dead at 19

August 14, 1888

A cable to the Chicago Daily Tribune announces the death of Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.   He died from an "inflammation of the lungs.

Prince Joseph Ferdinand Maria Michael Gabriel Raphael Gonzaga was born on May 21, 1869 at the Palace Leopoldina in Rio de Janeiro.  He was the third son of Prince Ludwig August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Princess Leopoldina of Brazil.

The prince was nineteen years old.  He died yesterday at Weiner Neustadt in Austria.

Text of George V's message to Nicholas released today

August 14, 1914

The text of King George V's message to Nicholas II, which was sent on August 1, was released today:

I cannot help thinking that some misunderstanding has produced this deadlock.
I am most anxious not to miss any possibility of avoiding the terrible calamity which
at present threatens the whole world. I therefore make a personal appeal to you
to remove the misapprehension which I feel must have occurred, and to leave still
open grounds for negotiation and possible peace.

"If you think that I can in any way contribute to this all-important purpose, I will do everything .in my power to assist in reopening the interrupted conversations between the Powers concerned. I feel confident that you are as anxious as I am that all that is possible should be done to secure the peace of the world."

"I would gladly have accepted your proposals had not the German ambassador this afternoon presented a note to my government declaring war. Ever since presentation of the ultimatum at Belgrade, Russia has devoted all her efforts to finding some pacific solution of the question raised by Austria 's action. Object of that action was to crush Serbia and make her a vassal of Austria. Effect of this would have been to upset balance of power in Balkans, which is of such vital interest to my Empire.

"Every proposal, including that of your Government, which rejected by Germany and Austria, and it was only when the favorable moment for bringing pressure to bear on Austria had passed that Germany showed any disposition to mediate. Even then she did not put forward any precise proposal.  Austria's declaration of war on Serbia forced me to order a partial mobilization, though, in view of the threatening situation, my military advisers strongly advices a general mobilization owning to the quickness which Germany can mobilize in comparison with Russia.

"I was eventually compelled to take this course in consequence of complete Austrian mobilization of the bombardment of Belgrade, of concentration  of Austrian troops in Galicia, and of the secret military preparations being made in Germany.  That I was justified in doing so is proved by Germany's sudden declaration of war, which was quite unexpected of me, as I had given most categorical assurances to the Emperor William that my troops would not move so long as mediation negotiations continued,.

"In this solemn hour I wish to assure you once more that I have done all in my power to avert war. Now that it has been forced on me, I trust your country will not fail to support France and Russia.  God Bless and protect you."

It appears that Nicholas would have accepted Britain's proposals, but they came after Germany declared war.

Stork expected to visit Wilhelmina

August 14, 1908

It was announced today at Apeldoorn that an "interesting event is expected in the Dutch royal family," reports the New York Times.

Queen Wilhelmina is now staying at Het Loo, near Apeldoorn.

Churchill to marry

August 14, 1908

It was announced today that Winston Spencer Churchill, President of the Board of Trade, will marry Clementine, daughter of the late Sir Henry Montagu Hozier, reports the New York Times.

Mr. Hozier was for 32 years the Secretary of Lloyd's.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill is the elder son of the late Lord Randolph Churchill, who was the son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough, and the American-born Jennie Jerome.

Mr. Churchill was born November 30, 1874.  He served in the British army for a short period of time, and then joined the Spanish forces as "an observer during the attempts to quell the insurrections in Cuba.  He worked as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer war.

He is the author of "books on economic, colonial, and other subjects," including a biography of his father.   In "certain circles," Churchill is seen as a "rising statesman who may attain the Premiership."

A new interview with Peter Phillips

Peter Phillips is the eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Don Gonzalo dead after car crash

August 13, 1934

Infante Don Gonzalo, the fourth of son of former King Alfonso XIII, died this morning at 1 a.m., of injuries suffered in a motor accident at 7:30 last night in Austria.  His death was due to hemophilia, which the 19-year-old Infante suffered along with several other members of the former Spanish royal family.

Don Gonzalo was with his sister, Infanta Beatriz, who was driving her own car from Klagenfurt to drive along "the shore of the lake.   Outside the small village of Krumpendorf,  Beatriz overtook a bicyclist who was zig-zagging over the road.    She tried to pass the man  at a "moderate speed" when he "suddenly swerved" in front of the car.

In order to avoid hitting the young man,  the infanta was forced to "swing her car sharply to the right" and hit the walls of Krumpendorf castle.

At first, neither Infanta Beatriz nor her brother were injured.    She drove home, and Don Gonzalo went to bed.  Unaware of anything being wrong, King Alfonso went to the Park Hotel and Casino at Poertschach, about 10 p.m., and was told his son was unwell, and had gone home.

The King then called for a doctor. 

Although Don Gonzalo suffered no external injuries, his condition grew worse, and he died a few hours after the accident, due to an "internal hemorrhage following heart failure and an advanced stage of hemophilia."

King Alfonso issued a statement following his son's death:  "My son was suffering from hemophilia to such a degree the slightest shock was always liable to prove fatal."

The cyclist was Baron Neimans, a well-known German jockey.  He was not arrested, but remains at the "disposal of the police.

Countess Hoyos has confirmed that the Spanish royal family has been staying at her villa, where Don Gonzalo died.  She would provide no further information about his death.    Queen Victoria Eugenia, who is in Davos, Switzerland, has been informed by telegram of her youngest son's death.   She is now on her way to Austria.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday afternoon at Poertschach, where Infante Gonzalo will be buried.

Will Queen Maria Cristina be regent again?

August 13, 1924

Queen Maria Cristina of Spain arrived in Paris this morning from Switzerland, reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.  She was met by representatives of President Doumerge and Premier Herriot, as well as the Spanish Ambassador.  Maria Cristina, the mother of King Alfonso XIII, is expected to leave for Spain on Saturday.

There "conflicting rumors" about the political situation in Spain.  Newspapers are under "strict censorship, which allows nothing to escape from Madrid," except for information in official communiques.

There may be some credence to the report that the Queen Mother is returning to Spain to "take up the regency for her grandson on the abdication" of her son.  She has received "unusual attention" from the French and Spanish authorities, and while she remains in Paris, Maria Cristina is receiving protection from republican guards.  She has also received a "stream of political visitors" this afternoon and evening, all encouraging the belief that she is about to "return to the political arena."

Queen Maria Cristina served as Regent following the death of her husband, Alfonso XII in 1885.   She was expecting her third child at the time of his death.  The couple were the parents of two daughters, the elder, Mercedes, was the Princess of Asturias, and would have succeeded to the throne as Queen of Maria Cristina's third child was also a girl.  But in May 1886,  she gave birth to a son, Alfonso XIII.  She remained as Regent until he reached his majority.

The Dowager queen is respected by all the political parties in Spain "for her political sagacity."  If King Alfonso abdicates, she would be the "only person" who would be able to form a new government, as the regent for the young Prince of Asturias.

Infant heir made colonel

August 13, 1904

The new heir to the Russian throne received his first military honor even before he was twenty-four hours old, reports the New York Times.

Tsarevitch Alexis was made the Honorary Colonel of the Finland Guards.  The colonel of the regiment traveled to the Alexandria Villa at Peterhof to "salute his baby chief."

The regiment is "so named because they took part in the war against the Swedes in Finland."

Alexis, who is the first son and fifth child, of Emperor Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra, is said to be a "strong, healthy baby."

The Emperor's younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, "joyfully surrenders his rights and prestige as heir apparent" to his new nephew.  He looks forward to being out of the public eye, and has been "exceedingly anxious" to go to the front, although it is improbable that he will be permitted to travel to the Far East.

The Duke of Vendome: interview

The Duke of Vendome described his grandmother, the Countess of Paris, as the "emotional cement" of his family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dowager Empress is ill

August 12, 1914

The Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia arrived in Berne earlier today, reports the New York Times.  She is said to be "seriously ill," and she will undergo a "surgical operation."

The Dowager Empress is the sister of Queen Alexandra.  She was returning to St. Petersburg when she was stopped in Berlin on August 3.  She was persuaded to travel to Stockholm, and has now decided to remain in Switzerland for the duration of the war.

It's a boy!!! Russia celebrates

August 12, 1904

BULLETIN:   The Empress of Russia gave birth to a son today at 12:30 p.m., in St. Petersburg.  The empress and her infant son are "doing well," according to the New York Times.

Empress Alexandra, the consort of Nicholas II, gave birth not at the "great palace at Peterhof," but at the Alexandra Villa, one of a group of "small palaces in a secluded corner of the magnificent Peterhof Park."

The Empress had been staying in this palace for several weeks.  The other three palaces have been occupied by other members of the Imperial family, including the Dowager Empress Marie, and her two daughters, Grand Duchess Xenia and Grand Duchess Olga, and her younger son, Grand Duke Michael, as they awaited the birth of Nicholas and Alexandra's fifth child. 

The Alexandra Villa is a "more private spot" than the main palace.  The public has been excluded from this part of the park for "days past," as the four small palaces are hidden from view, "set in a thick forest of oaks, birches and lindens," hidden from view on "every side except toward the Gulf of Finland.

The announcement of the birth was followed immediately by a 101 gun salute from the "imperial yacht lying at anchor off the palace.  It was not until 2:45 p.m., when the "guns of the St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress," opposite the Winter Palace, "conveyed the glad tidings to the people of the Russian capital."

The effect of the announcement was "electrical," especially when the 32 gun was fired.  Only thirty-one guns are fired for a girl.  When the local citizens realized that the Empress had finally given birth to a son, the "whole city had blossomed out with flags and bunting."

Then the church bells began to "ring wildly."    The news of the birth was soon "telegraphed to the most remote corners of the empire.  The "clangor of bells" and the sounds of cannons reverberated throughout the country.  Services of Thanksgiving soon followed.

Tonight, the Emperor and members of the Imperial family attended a Te Deum at the chapel in the Villa Alexandra.

The baby will be named Alexis.  Should he come to the throne, he will be known as Emperor Alexis II.

Nicholas II released a statement tonight in response to the congratulations from court officials:  "I am happier at the birth of a son and heir than at a victory of my troops, for now I face the future calmly and without alarm, knowing by this sign that the war will be brought to a happy conclusion."

Nicholas married Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in November 1894.  The couple's first child, Grand Duchess Olga, was born a year later.  Grand Duchess Tatiana was born in 1897, and followed by Grand Duchess Marie (1899) and Grand Duchess Anastasia (1901.)

Nicholas is not in robust health, and if he dies within the next few years, there will be a "long regency."   But many believe that the birth of Alexis will "bring the Czar and his people closer together."  Certainly the "enmity of the people", which has "hardly been concealed," will dissipate now that Alexandra has given birth to a son an heir.

Nicholas' younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, moves down to second in line to the throne.   The birth of Alexis also puts a damper on the "ambitions" of Grand Duke Vladimir and his family.   Vladimir, the eldest of Nicholas' uncle, will be "shattered" by the birth of a direct heir.  

Grand Duke Michael is said to suffer from consumption, and Vladimir and his three sons, Grand Dukes Kirill, Boris and Andrew, are the next heirs in the line of succession.

Some see the accession of one of Vladimir's sons to the throne as a "national calamity," due to the "constant intrigues" by members of Nicholas' family.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Empress abandons trip to Darmstadt

August 11, 1898

Empress Alexandra is to be "congratulated on her wise decision to abandon her trip" to Darmstadt, and remain "by the side of her husband," writes the Marquise de Fontenoy.

The change of plans "knocks on the head all the projects and intrigues organized for the purpose of estranging her husband from her" during her time abroad at her former home.  This intrigues were apparently "contrived" by members of the imperial family who "object" to Alexandra's "influence over the Emperor."

It has been arranged for Nicholas and Alexandra to leave St. Petersburg on August 20th to travel to Moscow for the "solemn unveiling of the monument to Alexander II in the Kremlin."

The entire Imperial family, with the exception of the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, will be present at the ceremony.

The Emperor and Empress will be staying with Grand Duke Serge and Grand Duchess Elisabeth at their country home at Illinsky.   Grand Duchess Elisabeth, "as everyone knows," is an elder sister of the Empress.   Grand Duke Serge is Nicholas II's uncle and brother-in-law.

After they leave Moscow, the Emperor and Empress will "proceed straight" to Livadia, the "lovely Crimean country seat on the shores of the Black Sea."   It was at Livadia, where Nicholas' father, Alexander III, "breathed his last," on November 1, 1894.