Wednesday, January 24, 2018

No real precedent for a peerage

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I have lost count at the number of questions, tweets, and comments about the possibility that Jack Christopher Stamp Brooksbank will receive a peerage when he marries Princess Eugenie of York later this year.

He will not receive a peerage.  There is no real precedent for Mr. Brooksbank to receive a peerage.

The only male spouse to receive a peerage on the occasion of his marriage to a British princess was Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (né HRH Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.)  George VI created Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich with the style of Royal Highness on November 19, 1947, one day before Philip married Princess Elizabeth, the heiress presumptive to the British throne.

The next British princess to marry was Princess Margaret, who wed Mr. Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6, 1960.   Tony entered Westminster Abbey as a Mister ... and came out of the Abbey as a Mister.  He did not receive a peerage when he married Princess Margaret.   The princess did not use her husband's surname.  She remained styled as HRH The Princess Margaret and not HRH The Princess Margaret, Mrs. Armstrong-Jones.
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It was not until October 3, 1961that Antony Armstrong-Jones was created Earl of Snowdon and Viscount Linley of Nymans.  One of the reasons that he chose to accept the peerage was "for the sake of his son," according to Anne de Courcy, the author of Snowdon.   Although his child was unlikely to succeed to the throne, the new earl believed that "if it were a boy it was then close in line to the throne -- and would it have done to have a former Mr. Jones as king?"

Princess Margaret gave birth to a son, David (named for the Queen Mother's favorite brother, the Hon. David Bowes-Lyon, who had died a few months earlier), who was styled as Viscount Linley.   The Princess's title also changed.  She was styled as HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.

Some years later, Princess Margaret told biographer Christopher Warwick that she had chosen to not use her married name as a part of her title because "I didn't want people to think I was a snob, taking a double-barrelled name."

After the Queen's first cousin, HRH Princess Alexandra married the Hon. Angus Ogilvy, younger son of the Earl of Airlie in April 1963,  the Queen approached Alexandra and Angus with the offer of a peerage.   With a bit of humor, the Evening Standard offered Lord Ben Nevis or Count Killiecrankie as possible peerages for Angus, the son of a Scots peer.

Alexandra and Angus were adamant.  No peerage.  "I don't see why I should get a peerage just because I've married a Princess,"  the Hon. Angus Ogilvy was quoted in a profile of Royal Consorts by Anthony Holden in the Sunday Express  (August 7, 1983.)

One can only assume how Alexandra's mother,  Princess Marina reacted to the decision to decline a peerage.  She had "contemplated" Angus' position.  Would he receive a dukedom like her cousin Prince Philip or an earldom that had been bestowed on Princess Margaret's husband?   If declining a peerage was bad enough, imagine Marina's reaction to Alexandra's decision to be styled as HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Mrs. Ogilvy.   Alexandra was the first to use Mrs as a part of her title.  Princess Anne was known as HRH The Princess Anne, Mrs Mark Phillips until she was created the Princess Royal.

The Queen bestowed the KCVO (Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) on Angus on December 31, 1988.  His style changed to the Hon. Sir Angus Ogilvy, KCVO, and Princess Alexandra's style became HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy.

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Queen Elizabeth II did ask her daughter, Princess Anne, and her future son-in-law, Mark Phillips, about accepting an earldom.  The answer was no.  Princess Anne, who was named Princess Royal, in 1988,  expected that her children would need to find their own way in the world and their careers could be hindered by a peerage or a courtesy title.  [In fairness,  Princess Margaret's son, David, parlayed his courtesy title into a successful design business, Linley.]

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In a 1988  profile by the Daily Express' Compton Miller,  Angus Ogilvy acknowledged that he regretted his decision to decline the offer of a peerage.

Angus told a friend: "I should have accepted the Queen's offer of a peerage.  My not doing so created an unfortunate precedent which Mark Phillips used when he married Princess Anne 10 years later.

"It's clearly absurd that the Queen's eldest grandchildren, Peter and Zara Phillips, have no title, while, for instance, the Duke of York's children will have."

The Duke of York has two daughters, HRH Princess Beatrice and HRH Princess Eugenie.  His children are royal because of George V's 1917 Letters Patent.  Children of the Sovereign and grandchildren of the Sovereign in the MALE line are HRH and Princes and Princesses of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  The Letters Patent included the HRH and the title Prince for the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.  Several months before the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince the Queen issued a new Letters Patent that gave the HRH and the title Prince or Princess to the all of the children of the Duke of Cambridge.

This Letters Patent was largely in response to the new Succession law allowing for the eldest child, regardless of sex, as the heir apparent.  If the Duke and Duchess' first child had been a girl, she would have been styled as the daughter of a Duke.  Lady Charlotte Windsor and her younger brother would have had the royal title.

An upgrade was in the offering:  when Charles succeeds to the throne, all of the Cambridge children would become royal highnesses and princes and princesses.

Digressing here.  Back to Princess Eugenie.    She is not going to renounce her own title and Jack Brooksbank will not be given a peerage.   She does not have to use his surname as a part of her title.  She can remain HRH Princess Eugenie without adding Mrs. Brooksbank.

The York Princesses do not have official royal duties.  They have their own charities and patronages, but their engagements are not included in the Court Circular or in the charity database on the British Monarchy's official website.  Beatrice and Eugenie are the only two adult royals who do not have their own profiles on the website.  They are included in their father's profile.

The Duke of York recently offered the final word on titles: “It is a complete fabrication to suggest I have asked for any future husbands of the Princesses to have titles."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Putting the Christmas cards away

here is a selection of the Christmas and thank you cards I received for 2017

The exterior of the thank you card from Lord and Lady Max Percy.  Lady Max was born HSH Princess Nora of Oettingen-Oettingen

New to my collection

TI & RH Archduchess Maria (1901-1936) - Archduke Theodor Salvador of Austria (1899-1978), younger children of  Archduke Franz Salvator of Austria, Prince of Tuscany and Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria.  This image is from 1908.

HI & RH Archduchess Maria de los Dolores of Austria, Princess of Tuscany (1891-1974).  She was the eldest of ten children of Archduke Leopold Salvator, Prince of Tuscany and HRH Infanta Blanca of Spain,  Dolores never married.  One of her younger brothers was Archduke Anton, who married Princess Ileana of Romania.

A meeting between heiresses to the throne:  HRH Princess Margrethe of Denmark and HRH Crown Princess Beatrix at  Gråsten Palace on July 31, 1954. 

HRH Princess Hildegard Maria Christina Therese (1881-1948), eighth of thirteen children of King Ludwig III of Bavaria and his wife, Archduchess Marie Theresa of Austria
HI & RH Archduke Albrecht of Austria (1897- 1955) only son and 9th child of Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen and Princess Isabella of Croy.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Caspian Donald Hicks - the newest QVD

@Ashley Hicks

Kata Hicks, the wife of Ashley Hicks, son of the late designer David Hicks and Lady Pamela Hicks (nee Mountbatten) gave birth to a son, Caspian Donald on January 21, 2018.

Caspian was born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

This is the first child for the American-born Kata Sharkey de Solis, but the third child for Ashley, 53.   He has two grown daughters,  Angelica, 25, and Ambrosia, who turns 21 on January 23.

Thank you, Ashley, for allowing me to use your photograph.

Princess Eugenie to marry Jack Brooksbank

@Buckingham Palace
More than a year ago, I wrote a piece on the possibility of Princess Eugenie's engagement and included information on Jack Brookbank's ancestry.

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Happy New Year from Luxembourg

From the Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.  The printed card was inside the main card.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A thank you from the Count of Paris and family

Today's mail - a card from the Count of Paris and his family (his former wife and their four surviving children on the recent death of Prince Francois

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Nicholas and Alina will marry in Romania

Nicholas de Roumanie Medforth-Mills and Alina-Maria Binder will have their religious ceremony in Romania in the next few months. 

The couple became engaged last summer during holiday and were married in a civil ceremony not long afterward. 

The religious wedding was confirmed by a priest who spoke for sometime time Nicholas.  The priest advised the couple to marry as "soon as possible.  God's Blessing on them.  He will marry a wonderful girl."

The priest also confirmed that the religious wedding will take place in Romania.

According to Stirle Kanal D,  King Michael gave his consent to the marriage last year.

Nicholas Medforth Mills will not be making any public statements during the three months of mourning after King Michael's death.   His lawyer, Radu Enache, said that Nicholas is following the the Royal House regarding not making public appearances  for three months.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nicholas Medford-Mills planning to move back to Romania

Nicholas de Roumanie Medforth-Mills and his wife, Alina, joined Her Majesty Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, Prince Radu and Princess Marie, at a religious service marking the 40th day since the death of King Michael.

The Romanian Orthodox service was shown on Romanian television.  Many witnessed the "first sign of peace" between Nicholas and his aunt, Margareta, who warmly embraced her nephew and kissed him on his cheek.

Princess Marie was also seen offering a hug to Nicholas, whose wife, Alina, curtseyed to Margareta as she moved toward Nicholas.

In the presence of clergy,  Nicholas said that he plans to move back to Romania in the spring, but must solve work issues in England before he can return to Romania.   He said he would like to establish his home in Curtea de Arges.   He said he was fond of the city and its people and plans on settling down in the historic town.

Relatively recent mail

Last day of a four day weekend.  I am making some progress on the massive pile on my desk.  I am trying to make progress but my work is hampered by a certain cat named Harper.

 I found several lovely thank you cards in the pile - and are now going into their respective albums

Princess Eliane de Merode and the Hon. Charles Astor, only son of Lord and Lady Astor of Hever, married in France on June 17, 2017

I have blocked a part of the message.  

HH Duchess Fleur of Württemberg celebrated her 40th birthday on November 4.  She is married to Count Moritz von Goess.  They have three children: Count Zeno, Countess Flaminia, and Countess Livia 

Prince Ludwig of Baden, the youngest of three children of Berthold, Margrave of Baden and Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Romanian Royal family to move out of Elisabeta Palace

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Margareta, Crown Custodian, and her husband, Prince Radu, will leave the Elisabeta Palace in Bucharest on February 5.  The lease between King Michael and the Romanian government expired when he died on December 5.  The agreement allowed for his family to remain in the home for sixty days.

The Royal House has released a statement regarding the use of the Elisabeta Palace.

"No offer from RA-APPS was received at Her Majesty's House to rent the Elisabeta Palace. They have not begun talks between Her Majesty the Crown Custodian's House and RA-APPS on this subject. After February 5, 2018, Her Majesty Margareta, Crown Custodian, will act in accordance with the law in force. Her Majesty hopes that the partnership with the state institutions will continue so that the activities of the Royal Family in support of Romania's fundamental interests will take place in the future, as it has been for 20 years. Her Majesty Margareta, the Crown Custodians, reaffirms her commitment to carry on the commitment of her father, King Michael, to the Crown and to the nation, now and in the future."

RA-APPS is the government department in charge of the lease.  I used Google to translate the statement as the Royal House has not (yet) released an English translation.

On Thursday, the Romanian government offered a  "negative opinion on the draft law" that would continue the status of the royal house.  Among other things, the bill would extend the lease to the Royal family for 49 years.

The Romanian government's view is a "consultant one."  It is the Romanian Parliament that will decide on the matter.   Prime Minister Mihai Tudose said that the Royal house was willing to pay "any rent," but asked for a grace period of one year.  "Meaning, we (the Royal House) stay here for free for one year and then we will see.  This doesn't work!  The Justice Ministry has given a negative opinion on this using the unconstitutional criterion."

I understand that they reclaimed everything on which they claimed ownership. They came with the list, it was a negotiation back then and they received them. Have you taken Peles, Savarsin? I don't know them all, with some groves, forests, some domains. Are we still reclaiming? We had an epiphany, we remembered owning a train station? All right, do the papers, we'll see - if you owned it or not?," Tudose also said.

Margareta's office did not state where the royal family would live after February.  It is possible that they could rent another home in Bucharest.  Savarsin, which King Michael purchased in the mid-1940s, is in Arad county, about seven hours by car from Bucharest.  The High Court of Cessation and Justice returned the estate in 2000 to the King.  Peles and Pelesor, both of which were built privately by King Carol I, who left the estate to his nephew and successor, King Ferdinand.  Before Ferdinand died in 1927, he changed his will and left the Sinaia estate to his grandson, Michael, bypassing Michael's father, Carol.

The Elisabeta Palace, after years of disuse, became the official home of King Michael and his family in 2001.

Romanian sisters

@ Casa Regale

This photo was taken on Christmas eve at Savrasin.

Margareta, Custodian of the Crown, Irina Walker, Princess Marie, Princess Helen and Princess Sophie.

In the front:  Alma.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Michael calls off wedding for now.

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January 10, 1948

Former King Michael of Romania has called off plans for marriage with Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma, at least "for the immediate future," reports the Associated Press.

The 24-year-old Princess was on her way from Copenhagen to Switzerland to see Michael when she announced that she would be going to Luxembourg instead.  Prince Felix, the consort of Grand Duchess Charlotte, is Princess Anne's paternal uncle.

Michael's spokesman Jacques Vergotti explained that a "love entanglement" at this time could be used by the Romanian Communists to destroy Michael's hopes of "eventually returning to his throne.

A dispatch from Luxembourg stated that the princess and her mother, Princess Margaretha, spent the afternoon at the Grand Ducal Palace.

The new Romanian Communist government is trying to give the impression that Michael is an "unstable playboy following in the footsteps of his father, the former King Carol II," who abdicated in 1940.

Princess Anne, looking pale and tired, got off the train at Liege, Belgium, in mid-journey from Copenhagen.  She and her mother got into a car and drove to Luxembourg "for an undetermined period and have a little rest."  The princess does not expect Michael to join her in Luxembourg.

"I have no definite plans yet.  I might want to go to Paris but this is not certain.  You see we have been having such a lot of troubles and changings that no settlement could have been made up to now.

Earlier, as she began her journey from Copenhagen, she told reporters that perhaps Michael might have a ring for her when she arrived in Switzerland, adding that their engagement was "not official, although everybody seems to know about it."

Major Vergotti acknowledged that the former king "really loves Anne," and he expected Michael may "eventually" marry her.   He added that Michael's unofficial engagement was "another reason" why the king was forced to abdicated.

The Romanian Government did not want to see an "upsurge in the King's popularity, which would have followed a royal wedding, making it more difficult to force him off the throne.   Now, a wedding would "give a wrong impression/"

Vergotti added that the King is concerned about family members still in the country and friends for whom he is "making efforts to obtain exist visas."
The king arrived in Switzerland "with very little money," and is negotiations with the government for the sale of some of the royal property.

Queen Marie has relapse

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January 10,  1938

Dowager Queen Marie of Romania's health has in the last 48 hours "taken a turn for the worse, " according to the New York Times.

She was planning a trip to Merano in northern Italy, but is still in Bucharest, attended by her doctors.

Her daughter, Queen Marie of Yugoslavia, left for home four days ago, which indicated that the Dowager queen was doing better.

It appears now that her condition has changed within the last two days.

Palace officials have refused to give out any information regarding Queen Marie's health.

Empress Alexandra under strain

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January 10, 1908

Emperor Nicholas II's "handsome consort is an object of such universal sympathy and good will, especially in America, where she is popularly believed to have exerted all of her influence over the emperor in behalf of liberalism and against the reactionary advice of his other relatives," the Marquise de Fontenoy writes today in her column, published in the Chicago Daily Tribune.

Many of Empress Alexandra's international supporters will be "grieved to learn that she has become a nervous wreck."  She is suffering from "melancholia to such a degree that her reason is unhinged."

Russian and foreign specialists have been "called into consultation" and all agree that the "only hope for a cure" is for the Empress to leave Russia and go abroad to "almost entirely different surroundings of a soothing and quieting order, free from every care and anxiety."

Alexandra is "passionately devoted" to her husband and children, especially her three-year-old son Alexis, the heir to the throne.   She has great fear for the safely of her husband and son and believes they are in "hourly acute danger at the hands of revolutionists and nihilists."  This fear has "contributed greatly to her present state of health."

She believes that her presence by their sides "affords to them a certain amount of protection," as she is reminded of the assassination of her husband's uncle, Grand Duke Serge (who was her brother-in-law) who was the subject of many threats, but the would-be assassins would not throw their bombs if Serge's wife, Grand Duchess Elisabeth was with him.

Her doctors believe that is is "imperative" for the Empress to leave Russia to "recover her health of mind and of body."   But it is also certain that her mental state would become "more pronounced and possibly incurable if she is parted from her husband and children."   She will only leave Russia if she is accompanied by her husband and children.

Nicholas may "yield to her wishes" and travel with her and the children to Germany or England. 

If Nicholas does choose to accompany Alexandra, he will most certainly name his younger brother, Grand Duke Michael, as regent.   Michael is fond of his brother and will do everything in the best interests of the Emperor with "loyalty and without any thought of serving his own acquisition of the throne."

The Empress has been away from the "public view" for some time.  At first it was suggested that she was recovering from a "stubborn case" of influenza, but it soon became apparent that her mental health issues could no longer be concealed.   She is unable to take part in the "festivities of the St. Petersburg season" due to her current health issues. 

It has been suggested that the Empress is suffering from "pronounced melancholia and of a complete nervous breakdown."