Royal News: Wednesday 1 July 2015

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July 1915: Royalty and World War I

by Susan Flantzer


Two sons of British peers died at the very end of July 1915, one in battle and the other of typhoid fever while serving with the Serbian Relief Fund in Serbia because he was not medically fit for active service.

gerald grenfell

The Honorable Gerald William Grenfell ; Photo Credit – http://photos.geni.com

The Honorable Gerald William Grenfell, known as William or Billy, was born in London on March 29, 1890. He was the second of the five children and the second of the three sons of William Henry Grenfell, 1st Baron Desborough,  and Ethel Anne Priscilla Fane, daughter of the diplomat Julian Fane.  His elder brother, the war poet The Honorable Julian Grenfell, died from battle wounds on May 26, 1915 and was featured in May 1915: Royalty and World War I.  His younger brother The Honorable Ivo George Grenfell, died in 1926 as the result of a car accident. The title, Baron Desborough, became extinct upon the death of their father, the 1st Baron Desborough, in 1945.

Billy attended Oxford University and served as a Second Lieutenant in the 8th Battalion of Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own)  in the British Army. He was killed on July 30, 1915 at the age of 25 leading a charge near Hooge, a small village east of Ypres in the Flemish province of West-Vlaanderen in Belgium, within a mile of where Julian had been mortally wounded. Billy has no known grave, but is memorialized on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium, dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in the Ypres Salient of World War I and whose graves are unknown.

Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Like his brother Julian, Billy is also considered a British War Poet.  Along with his brother, Billy was featured in The Muse in Arms, an anthology of British war poetry published in November 1917.  Billy’s poem is a memorial to his friend The Honorable John Neville Manners, the eldest son of John Manners-Sutton, 3rd Baron Manners,  who died in 1914 during the early weeks of the war. The poem is one of the nine poems in the In Memoriam section of The Muse in Arms.

To John
(The Hon. John Manners)
by William Grenfell

O heart-and-soul and careless played
Our little band of brothers,
And never recked the time would come
To change our games for others.
It’s joy for those who played with you
To picture now what grace
Was in your mind and single heart
And in your radiant face.
Your light-foot strength by flood and field
For England keener glowed;
To whatsoever things are fair
We know, through you, the road;
Nor is our grief the less thereby;
O swift and strong and dear, good-bye.

grenfell memorial

Memorial to Gerald William Grenfell and his brother Julian near their family home; Photo Credit – www.grenfellhistory.co.uk

 

The Honorable Richard Chichester, the youngest son of Arthur Henry Chichester, 3rd Lord Templemore and his second wife Alice Dawkins was born on April 4, 1889. He was educated at Harrow School in London, England and graduated from Christ Church, Oxford University in 1910 with a Bachelor of Arts. Richard had been pronounced medically unfit for active service. However, he still wanted to serve in the war effort. In November 1914, he went to Serbia as acting honorary secretary to the first hospital unit of the Serbian Relief Fund, founded by Dame Louise Paget, Lady Paget, a British humanitarian. For his services in Serbia, Richard was given the honorary rank of Captain in the Serbian Army. He was planning to go home on leave, to try to persuade the army doctors to approve him for active service, when he caught a virulent form of typhoid fever and died in nine days, on July 31, 1915.

Petar Mirkovie, member of the Municipality of Novi Bazar, Serbia, sent this telegram to Lady Paget : “In the name of the citizens of Novi Bazar, I beg you to accept my deepest sympathy, learning the news of the sudden death of our young and noble Richard Chichester, who came to Serbia under pressure of his love for right, and far away from his own country left his life on this field of duty.”

Lady Paget wrote of Richard: “His devoted work of the previous winter, and his unfailing energy and courtesy, had endeared him to a far wider circle even than that with which he came into personal contact. For myself, I cannot express the value of his efficient and sympathetic help, nor what his loss meant to us. There was no member of the unit whose absence could have left a greater gap, or whose presence during the indescribable difficulties of the following winter would have been a more effective aid to us all.”

www.rastko.rs: British Medical Missions in Serbia 1914-1915

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Timeline: July 1, 1915 – July 31, 1915

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A Note About German Titles

Most of the royals who died in action during World War I were German. The German Empire consisted of 27 constituent states, most of them ruled by royal families. Scroll down to German Empire here to see what constituent states made up the German Empire.  The constituent states retained their own governments, but had limited sovereignty. Some had their own armies, but the military forces of the smaller ones were put under Prussian control. In wartime, armies of all the constituent states would be controlled by the Prussian Army and the combined forces were known as the Imperial German Army.  may be used in Royals Who Died In Action below. Refer to Unofficial Royalty: Glossary of German Noble and Royal Titles.

24 British peers were also killed in World War I and they will be included in the list of those who died in action. In addition, more than 100 sons of peers also lost their lives, and those that can be verified will also be included.

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July 1915 – Royals/Nobles/Peers Who Died In Action

The list is in chronological order and does contain some who would be considered noble instead of royal. The links in the last bullet for each person is that person’s genealogical information from Leo’s Genealogics Website.  or to The Peerage website.  If a person has a Wikipedia page, their name will be linked to that page.

The Honorable Gerald William Grenfell

The Honorable Richard Chichester

  • son of Arthur Henry Chichester, 3rd Lord Templemore and his second wife Alice Dawkins
  • born April 4, 1889
  • died of typhoid fever July 31, 1915 in Niš, Serbia while working for the Serbian Relief Fund, age 26
  • http://www.thepeerage.com/p25003.htm#i250025

Alexandrine of Baden, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Alexandrine of Baden (Alexandrine Luise Amalie Friederike Elisabeth Sophie) was born Karlsruhe, Grand Duchy of Baden (now in Germany) on December 6, 1820. She was the eldest of the eight children of Leopold I, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Sophie of Sweden.  Alexandrine had seven siblings:

Alexandrine, standing next to her mother, with four of her siblings; Credit – Wikipedia

Alexandrine was first courted by the future Tsar Alexander II of Russia. He visited her in Baden and preliminary marriage negotiations took place. However, on his way home to Russia, Alexander visited Hesse-Darmstadt and he met Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine who was eventually his bride. On May 13, 1842 in Karlsruhe, Baden (now in Germany) Alexandrine married the future Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prior to the marriage, Ernst was suffering from a venereal disease as a result of his many affairs. He had been warned that continued promiscuity could leave him unable to father children. Ernst had at least three illegitimate children, but the marriage was childless, perhaps due to Ernst passing the venereal disease to Alexandrine causing her to become infertile. Alexandrine was loyal and devoted to her husband despite his infidelities, and believed that their lack of children was her fault.

Alexandrine, Painting by Franz Winterhalter, 1842; Credit – Wikipedia

After his marriage, Ernst continued to carry on with affairs which Alexandrine accepted. At one point in time Ernst had two mistresses living with him and Alexandrine. Ernst’s sister-in-law Queen Victoria could not understand how Alexandrine could accept this, and wrote to one of her children, “Uncle E.’s conduct is perfectly monstrous and I must blame Aunt very much. They have not written to me yet – but when they do I shall have to write very strongly.”

On January 29, 1844, Ernst’s father died and he became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Ernst was not well loved by his people, but Alexandrine was. She supported many charities including the Ernst Foundation for needy students. During the Franco-German War, Alexandrine worked with the Red Cross dealing with the German wounded soldiers. For this work, she was awarded the Bavarian Order of Theresa and the Prussian Order of Louise. Alexandrine founded the Gymnasium Alexandrinum, an all girls school that was funded by her school foundation. Upon her death, she left 620,000 marks from her personal assets for the good of the people of Coburg.

Alexandrine (in black) with family of Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died after a short illness at the age of 75 at Schloss Reinhardsbrunn in Coburg on August 22, 1893. Alexandrine survived him by eleven years, dying at Schloss Callenberg in Coburg on December 20, 1904 at the age of 84. She was buried in the Ducal Mausoleum in the Glockenberg Cemetery.

Ducal Mausoleum in Glockenberg Cemetery; Photo Credit – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: Alexandrine of Baden

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July 1: Today in Royal History

Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine with their children; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

July 1, 1481 – Birth of King Christian II of Denmark, Norway and Sweden at Nyborg Castle in Denmark
Wikipedia: Christian II of Denmark

July 1, 1534 – Birth of King Frederik II of Denmark and Norway at Haderslevhus Castle in Denmark
Unofficial Royalty: Frederik II of Denmark

July 1, 1726 – Death of Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg, wife of Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, in Darmstadt (Germany)
Wikipedia: Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg

July 1, 1862 – Wedding of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, England
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Alice of the United Kingdom
Unofficial Royalty: Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

July 1, 1961 – Birth of The Honorable Diana Spencer, first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, at Park House in Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Full name: Diana Frances
Wikipedia: Diana, Princess of Wales

July 1, 1969 – Investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle in Wales
Caernarvon Castle was built by Edward I of England after his defeat of the Welsh. Edward’s son, the future Edward II, was born at the castle and was created the first English Prince of Wales. Charles was created Prince of Wales in 1958 but was not formally invested until 1969.
Unofficial Royalty: Charles, Prince of Wales
Wikipedia: Prince of Wales

July 1, 1995 – Wedding of Princess Stephanie of Monaco (1st marriage) and Daniel Ducruet in Monaco
Their affair, which began in 1992, resulted in a marriage that lasted a little more than a year.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Stephanie of Monaco
Wikipedia: Daniel Ducruet

July 1, 1999 – Birth of Charles Armstrong-Jones, son of Viscount Linley, grandson of Princess Margaret of the United Kingdom, in London, England
Full name: Charles Patrick Inigo
Wikipedia: Charles Armstrong-Jones

July 1, 2011: Civil marriage of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock in the Throne Room of the Prince’s Palace in Monaco
Unofficial Royalty: Wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock – Civil Ceremony

Royal News: Tuesday 30 June 2015

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June 30: Today in Royal History

Henrietta-Anne of England, daughter of King Charles I of England, wife of Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

June 30, 1470 – Birth of King Charles VIII of France (the Affable) at the Château d’Amboise in Amboise, France
Wikipedia: King Charles VIII of France

June 30, 1670 – Death of Henrietta-Anne of England, daughter of King Charles I of England, wife of Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans, at the Palace of St. Cloud in Paris, France; buried at St. Denis Basilica near Paris, France
Unofficial Royalty: Henrietta-Anne of England

June 30, 1964 – Birth of Alexandra Christina Manley, first wife of Prince Joachim of Denmark, in Hong Kong
Unofficial Royalty: Alexandra Christina Manley

June 30, 1978 – Wedding of Prince Michael of Kent and Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz at the Rathaus in Vienna, Austria
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Michael of Kent
Unofficial Royalty: Marie-Christine von Reibnitz

Royal News: Monday, June 29 2015

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Getty Images: In Focus: A Right Royal Christening

UK
BBC: Tunisia attack: Queen offers condolences to victims’ families
Daily Mail: ‘I don’t trust doctors – they all give you different opinions’: Duke of Edinburgh reveals why he dislikes hospitals
Daily Mail: Police files on sex abuse at Gordonstoun where Prince Philip and Prince Charles were educated have vanished
Daily Mail: SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Just good friends, Fergie? The Duchess of York’s friendship with dashing entrepreneur Manuel Fernandez seems to be blossoming
Daily Mail: Royal flash! Party girl Beatrice reveals a LOT of leg as she joins her mother Sarah Ferguson at motor racing event
Daily Mail: ‘I’ve been very lucky': Zara Phillips on why she’s happy living life on the fringes of the Royal Family…and how she doesn’t give two hoots about THAT ‘mum tum’ photo
Daily Mail: GIRL ABOUT TOWN: Wills plots a polo career for George
Daily Mail: PETER HITCHENS: The EU reigns over our borders, our laws… and now our Queen
Daily Mail: Thousands of servicemen and women join events across the country to mark Armed Forces Day after police foil Isis plot
Express: Cameron urges Britons to ‘keep calm & carry on’ as ISIS attack on Armed Forces Day FOILED
Guardian: Tunisia attack: Queen offers condolences to families of victims
Hello: Prince William and Kate host Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt for tea

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Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was born on June 21, 1818 at Ehrenburg Palace in Coburg, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (now in Bavaria, Germany). He was the elder of the two sons of Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his first wife Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. Ernst had one brother:

Ernst (right) with his younger brother Albert and his mother Louise; Credit – Wikipedia

Since Ernst and Albert were close in age, they were also close companions during their childhood. However, their childhood was marred by their parents’ disastrous marriage, separation, and divorce. Ernst’s mother and father were very different and drifted apart soon after Albert’s birth. Ernst’s father was a notorious womanizer and as a result his young wife Louise (who was 17 years younger than her husband) sought consolation with Baron Alexander von Hanstein, who was the Duke’s equerry. Louise was exiled from court in 1824 and divorced in March of 1826. Seven months later, Louise secretly married von Hanstein. She died in 1831 at the age of 30 from cancer. After Louise’s exile from court in 1824, it is probable that she never saw her sons again. In 1831, the Duke was married again to Duchess Marie of Württemberg, his niece who was the daughter of his sister Antoinette. The Duke and Marie had no children, but Marie had a good relationship with her stepsons (who were also her first cousins).

Ernst, along with his brother Albert, was first educated at home by a caring tutor, Johann Christoph Florschütz. Florschütz supervised the brothers over the next 15 years and was their primary caregiver. The brothers had lessons in German, Latin, English, French, history, science, philosophy, and geography. Their father often took lunch with his sons and occasionally took them hunting, but played only a minor role in their education. From June 1836 – April 1837, Ernst studied mathematics, philosophy, foreign languages, and public and constitutional doctrine with private tutors in Brussels, Belgium (where his paternal uncle was King Leopold I of the Belgians) and then studied at the University of Bonn, which many German princes attended. While at the University of Bonn, Ernst studied law and philosophy. In Dresden, Saxony, Ernst received a military education with the Royal Saxon Guards Cavalry.

Ernst in 1842; Credit – Wikipedia

At the urging of his brother Albert, who had married Queen Victoria in 1840, Ernst began his search for a bride. However, Ernst was suffering from a venereal disease as a result of his many affairs. He had been warned that continued promiscuity could leave him unable to father children. On May 13, 1842 in Karlsruhe, Baden (now in Germany) Ernst married Princess Alexandrine of Baden, the daughter of Leopold I, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Sophie of Sweden.  Ernst had at least three illegitimate children, but his marriage was childless, perhaps due to Ernst passing the venereal disease to Alexandrine causing her to become infertile. Alexandrine was loyal and devoted to her husband despite his infidelities, and believed that their lack of children was her fault.

Alexandrine in 1842, painted by Franz Winterhalter; Credit – Wikipedia

On January 29, 1844, Ernst’s father died and he became Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Ernst had financial difficulties throughout his reign due to his extravagance. In 1852, the constitutions of Coburg and Gotha merged into one constitution, converting the personal union of the two duchies into a real union. Ernst was against his nephew Edward, Prince of Wales (Bertie) marrying Princess Alexandra of Denmark due to the Schleswig-Holstein Question, the relation of two duchies, Schleswig and Holstein to the Danish crown and to the German Confederation. He had a reputation for being a strong friend of the United States. However, Ernst was the only European sovereign to appoint an ambassador to the Confederate States of America. In 1862, after Otto of Bavaria, King of Greece was deposed, Ernst was considered as Otto’s replacement. Eventually, the Princess of Wales’ younger brother Prince William of Denmark would become King George I of Greece. Ernst was in favor of a German unified, federal state and supported Prussia in the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars. In 1871, he was on the podium in the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles when King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor.

The Proclamation of the German Emperor by Anton von Werner, Ernst in the white uniform on the podium on the far left; Credit – Wikipedia

Ernst was an excellent musician, an amateur composer, and a great patron of the arts and sciences in Coburg. He was friend and patron of the German writer Gustav Freytag and the “Waltz King” Johann Strauss. From February to May 1862, Ernst took a trip to Africa with travel writer Friedrich Gerstäcker and the zoologist Alfred Brehm, and described his experiences in a book. Ernst enriched the art collection at the Veste Coburg and at Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha and the collection became part of the Ducal Museum in Gotha.

Although Queen Victoria loved Ernst because he was her dear Albert’s brother, he annoyed her. In 1891, when Victoria and Ernst met in France, one of the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting wrote “…the old Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has been here today with his wife. He is the Prince Consort’s only brother and an awful looking man, the Queen dislikes him particularly. He is always writing anonymous pamphlets against the Queen and the Empress Frederick, which naturally creates a great deal of annoyance in the family…” Queen Marie of Romania, born Princess Marie of Edinburgh, said of her great uncle, he is “… an old beau, squeezed into a frock-coat too tight for his bulk and uncomfortably pinched in at the waist’, sporting a top hat, lemon coloured gloves, and a rosebud in his lapel.”

Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died after a short illness at the age of 75 at Schloss Reinhardsbrunn in Coburg on August 22, 1893. Thousands of people came to view the funeral procession. He was buried in the Ducal Mausoleum in the Glockenberg Cemetery. Ernst was succeeded by his nephew Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

Ducal Mausoleum in Glockenberg Cemetery; Photo Credit – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

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June 29: Today in Royal History

Prince Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld, husband of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

June 29, 1252 – Death of Abel, King of Denmark
Wikipedia: Abel, King of Denmark

June 29, 1509 – Death of Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII of England, in the Deanery of Westminster Abbey; buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey
Wikipedia: Margaret Beaufort

June 29, 1841 – Death of Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, King of Hanover, in Hanover, Germany; buried at Chapel of Schloss Herrenhausen in Hanover, Germany
Frederica and Ernest were first cousins.
Wikipedia: Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

June 29, 1844 – Birth of Peter I, King of Serbia
Wikipedia: Peter I, King of Serbia

June 29, 1875 – Death of Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia; buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, Austria
Wikipedia: Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria

June 29, 1911 – Birth of Count Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld, husband of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, in Jena, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Germany)
Full name: Bernhard Leopold Friedrich Eberhard Julius Kurt Karl Gottfried Peter
Unofficial Royalty: Bernhard von Lippe-Biesterfeld

June 29, 1978 – Wedding of Princess Caroline of Monaco (1st marriage) and Philippe Junot
The couple divorced in 1980 and received an annulment from the Roman Catholic Church in 1992.
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Caroline of Monaco
Wikipedia: Philippe Junot

June 29, 1990 – Wedding of Prince Akishino of Japan, son of Emperor Akihito of Japan, and Kiko Kawashima at the Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Akishino of Japan
Unofficial Royalty: Kiko Kawashima

June 29, 2008 – Birth of Prince Aristidis Stavros of Greece, son of Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, in Los Angeles, California
Wikipedia: Prince Aristidis Stavros of Greece

Royal News: Sunday 28 June 2015

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