Royal News: Wednesday 1 October 2014




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Princess Claire of Belgium

photo: Zimbio

photo: Zimbio

Princess Claire of Belgium

Princess Claire of Belgium (neé Claire Louise Coombs) is the wife of Prince Laurent, youngest child of King Albert II of Belgium and Paola Ruffo di Calabria. She was born on January 18 1974 in Bath, England, the daughter of Nicholas Coombs and Nicole Eva Mertens. She has an older sister, Joanna, and a younger brother, Matthew.

The family moved to Belgium when Claire was 3 years old. She completed her primary and secondary education at the Institut de la Providence, in Wavre. She then studied as a surveyor, completing her training in 1999. She then worked for Brone & Oldenhove, a surveying firm in Wavre where she had also worked as an intern during her education.

In December 2002, the engagement of Claire Coombs and Prince Laurent was announced by the Royal Palace. The couple had first met in 2000 at the home of a mutual friend. Their marriage took place on April 12, 2003. A civil ceremony was held at Brussels Town Hall, followed by a religious ceremony at the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula in Brussels. By Royal Decree issued by the King, Claire was elevated to Princess of Belgium in her own right. Claire and Laurent live at Villa Clémentine in Tervuren, with their three children:

In 2004, Princess Claire was chosen to serve as an assessor at a polling station in Tervuren during the regional and European elections. This was the first time a member of the Belgian Royal Family had taken on a position like this, and it was hailed as a sign of the modernization of the monarchy.

Unlike her two sisters-in-law, Queen Mathilde and Princess Astrid, Princess Claire has no official role. However, she is often in attendance at official events and state functions, aside her husband. She serves as Patron of The Brussels Choral Society and Green Spaces and Garden Arts, and is the Honorary President of the Pro Renovassistance Foundation.

In 2013, she was appointed as administrator-delegate of Rec Arlon 67, a real estate company created to buy, renovate and rent properties located 63, 65 and 67, rue d’Arlon in Brussels.

photo: Getty Images

photo: Getty Images

Read more about your favorite royals here!

October 1914: Royalty and World War I

by Susan Flantzer

Deaths of High Profile Royals
Timeline: October 1, 1914 – October 31, 1914
A Note About German Titles
October 1914 – Royals Who Died In Action

Deaths of High Profile Royals

In October 1914, four high profile royals were killed in action: a grandson of Queen Victoria; a son of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovitch of Russia; a nephew of Wilhelm II, German Emperor; and a first cousin of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. Prince Maurice of Battenberg, grandson of Queen Victoria, will have a separate article, and the other three will be profiled here.

Prince Oleg Konstantinovitch of Russia; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Prince Oleg Konstantinovitch of Russia was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 27, 1892. His father, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovitch of Russia, was a grandson of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia. The Grand Duke was a poet, playwright, and translator and arranged for his nine children to have lessons from experts in a variety of fields in addition to their traditional education. Prince Oleg wrote poetry like his father and was thought to be the most intelligent of the nine children. He attended the prestigious Alexander Lyceum instead of receiving a military education. Just before the outbreak of World War I, Prince Oleg was engaged to his cousin Princess Nadejda Petrovna of Russia.

Shortly after the start of World War I, five of the six sons of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovitch were sent to the front to serve with the Imperial Guards. On October 10, 1914, Prince Oleg was wounded in an attack against the Germans in East Prussia. Unfortunately, blood poisoning set in before it was realized that Prince Oleg was seriously wounded. He was transported to Vilna (now in Lithuania) for an unsuccessful emergency operation. Before he died, Prince Oleg was able to see his parents and receive the Order of St. George from his father. On his deathbed, Prince Oleg said, “I am so happy…It will encourage the troops to know that the Imperial House is not afraid to shed its blood.” He died on October 12, 1914 at the age of 21 and at his request was buried at his father’s estate Ostashevo on the banks of the Ruza River in the Moscow countryside.

Sadly, three of Prince Oleg’s brothers, Ioann, Gavriil, and Konstantin, were executed by the Bolsheviks on July 18, 1918 at the same time as Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia (the elder sister of Empress Alexandra Feodrovna) and two additional members of the Romanov family, Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich, and Prince Vladimir Paley. See Unofficial Royalty: July 18, 1918 – Murder of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna of Russia.


Maximilian of Hesse

Prince Maximilian of Hesse-Kassel; Photo Credit –

Prince Maximilian of Hesse-Kassel was born on October 20, 1894 at Schloss Rupenheim in Offenbach, Hesse (Germany). His parents were Princess Margaret of Prussia and Friedrich Karl, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse. Through his mother Prince Maximilian was a great grandson of Queen Victoria and a nephew Wilhelm II, German Emperor.

Prince Maximilian was serving with the Grand Ducal Hessen Dragoons when he was severely wounded by British machine gun fire at Saint-Jean-Chappelle, near Bailleul, France on October 13, 1914. He was taken to a Trappist monastery where the monks cared for him, but the British advanced and took control of the monastery. Prince Maximilian told a British army doctor that he was a great grandson of Queen Victoria and asked him to send a locket to his mother which the doctor promised to do. The prince died three hours later at the age of 19 and the British army doctor died three days later. The locket was sent to the doctor’s widow who forwarded it to Queen Mary, the wife of King George V of the United Kingdom. Eventually, the locket did reach Prince Maximilian’s mother.

The mayor of the town where Prince Maximilian died ordered a local carpenter to construct a coffin for the prince and he was then buried in a local cemetery. However, local people who had suffered greatly in the fighting protested the burial when they found out the prince was the Kaiser’s nephew and the prince’s remains were moved to a secret location. In 1926, King George V assisted Prince Maximilian’s family in recovering his remains.

Prince Maximilian’s older brother Prince Friedrich Wilhelm was killed in action in 1916 and a younger brother, Prince Christoph, was killed in World War II.


Prince Wolrad Friedrich of Waldeck and Pyrmont ; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Prince Wolrad of Waldeck and Pyrmont was born on June 26, 1892 in Arolsen, Waldeck and Pyrmont (Germany). He was the only child of George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont and his second wife Princess Louise of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

Prince Wolrad was the half brother of Queen Emma of the Netherlands, wife of King William III of the Netherlands; Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany who married Queen Victoria’s youngest son Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany; and Friedrich, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont, last reigning prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Therefore, the prince was the first cousin of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, the reigning monarch during World War I; and the two children of Prince Leopold: Charles Edward, the reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha during World War I and Princess Alice of Albany.

Prince Wolrad was a lieutenant in Grand Ducal Hessen Dragoons. On the evening of October 17, 1914, he led a cavalry patrol near Moorslede, Belgium. The patrol came under fire from the advancing British troops. Several of the dragoons were hit and fell off their horses and Prince Wolrad’s horse was also hit. The prince and his aide reached a nearby trench, but then Prince Wolrad saw one of his men lying a short distance from the trench. The prince crawled to the wounded man and tried to pull him to safety, but was fatally hit with gunfire and died from his wounds at the age of 22.


Timeline: October 1, 1914 – October 31, 1914


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. German titles may be used in Royals Who Died In Action below. Refer to our Glossary of German Noble and Royal Titles.


October 1914 – Royals 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.  If a person has a Wikipedia page, their name will be linked to that page.

Karl, Freiherr von Vequel-Westernach

Hermann, Freiherr von Landsberg-Velen

Karl, Prinz zu Solms-Braunfels

Klemen, Freiherr von Loë

Prince Oleg Constantinovitch of Russia

Prince Maximilian of Hesse-Kassel

Paul Maria Joseph, Graf von Hompesch-Bollheim

Wolrad Friedrich, Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont

Heinrich XLVI, Prinz Reuss

Joseph Ferdinand, Prinz von Lobkowicz

  • son of Dr. Maria Ferdinand Georg August Melchior, Prinz von Lobkowicz and Ida Maria, Gräfin Podstatzky-Lichtenstein
  • born September 4, 1885 in Unterberkowic
  • 1913 married Gisela, Gräfin von Silva-Tarouca, had issue
  • killed in action at Jaroslau, Galicia (now in Poland) on October 25, 1914, age 29
Maurice of Battenberg

Prince Maurice of Battenberg; Photo Credit –

Prince Maurice of Battenberg

October 1: Today in Royal History

Charlotte of Prussia, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

October 1, 959 – Death of Eadwig, King of the English at Gloucester, England, buried in Winchester Cathedral in England
Wikipedia: Eadwig

October 1, 1207 – Birth of King Henry III of England at Winchester Castle in England
Wikipedia: Henry III

October 1, 1361 – Death of Margaret, daughter of King Edward III of England, buried at Abingdon Abbey in Oxfordshire, England
Wikipedia: Margaret, Countess of Pembroke

October 1, 1553 – Coronation of Queen Mary I of England
Wikipedia: Mary I of England

October 1, 1791 – Wedding of William I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmina of Prussia
Wikipedia: Wilhelmina of Prussia
Wikipedia: William I of the Netherlands

October 1, 1868 – Death of Mongkut, King Rama IV of Siam (Thailand) at the Grand Palace in Krung Thep, Siam
Wikipedia: Mongkut

October 1, 1919 – Death of Charlotte of Prussia, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, at Baden-Baden, Germany
Charlotte was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the daughter of Victoria, Princess Royal and Kaiser Frederick III of Germany.  She married her second cousin Bernhard III, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen.
Wikipedia: Princess Charlotte of Prussia

October 1, 1969 – Birth of Prince Nikolaos of Greece, son of King Constantine II of Greece, in Rome, Italy
Wikipedia: Prince Nikolaos of Greece

Prince Laurent of Belgium


Photo Credit –

Prince Laurent of Belgium (Laurent Benoît Baudouin Marie) was born on October 16, 1963 at the Château de Belvédère in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium. He is the youngest of the three children of King Albert II of the Belgians, who abdicated in favor of his son Philippe in 2013, and his wife Queen Paola (born Paola Ruffo di Calabria). Laurent has an older brother, King Philippe of the Belgians, and an older sister, Princess Astrid of Belgium.

Princess Paola of Belgium, Prince Philippe and Prince Laurent

Prince Laurent, in the middle, with his brother and mother; Photo Credit –

Prince Laurent began his education at Collège Saint-Michel d’Etterbeek (link translated from French) in Brussels where he was educated in French and then attended school in Loppem where he was educated in Dutch. In 1977, he began his studies at the Pius X Instituut (link translated from Dutch) in Antwerp and completed his studies there in 1980. Laurent then studied at the Royal Cadet School in Laeken, Brussels. He then proceeded to the Royal Military Academy where he was educated as an officer of the armed forces. Upon completion, Laurent joined the Belgian Navy as a naval trainee on a mine hunter. He trained to become a diver and helicopter pilot and his highest naval rank was Captain.

On December 19, 2002, the engagement of Prince Laurent and British-born, but Belgian-raised Claire Coombs was announced. The couple met at a mutual friend’s dinner party in 2000. Laurent was helping wash the dishes when Claire came in to lend a hand. The two barely talked and didn’t see each other again for two months. After their second meeting, Claire was impressed with Laurent’s generosity and sensitivity and Laurent knew Claire was right for him because of her honesty, spontaneity, and love for children.


Claire Coombs and Prince Laurent at the time of their engagement; Photo Credit –

Laurent and Claire married on April 12, 2003 at the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula in Brussels, Belgium.


Photo Credit –

The couple have three children:


Prince Laurent with his family; Photo Credit –

Visit the official website of the Belgian Royal Family here.
Read more about your favorite royal families here.

September 30: Today in Royal History

Princess Charlotte of Monaco; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

September 30, 954 – Birth of King Louis IV of France
Wikipedia: Louis IV of France

September 30, 1399 – King Richard II of England abdicates; Henry IV becomes King of England
Wikipedia: Richard II of England
Wikipedia: Henry IV of England

September 30, 1785 – Wedding of King Maximilian I of Bavaria and Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
Wikipedia: Maximilian I of Bavaria
Wikipedia: Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt

September 30, 1811 – Birth of Augusta of Saxe-Weimar and Eisenach, wife of Wilhelm I, German Emperor, in Weimar (Germany)
Wikipedia: Augusta of Saxe-Weimar

September 30, 1898 – Birth of Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois, daughter of Prince Louis II of Monaco and mother of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, in Constantine, French Algeria (Algeria)
Full name: Charlotte Louise Juliette
Wikipedia: Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois

September 30, 1972 – Birth of Ari Behn, husband of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, in Århus, Denmark
Full name: Ari Mikael
Wikipedia: Ari Behn

September 30, 1992 – Birth of Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor, daughter of the Earl of St. Andrews and granddaughter of HRH The Duke of Kent, at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge
Full name: Marina-Charlotte Alexandra Katharine Helen
Wikipedia: Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor

Royal News: Tuesday 30 September 2014

Wort: Guillaume & Stéphanie help with the harvest

Dutch News: Tassle thief apology accepted but the king would like it back

Getty Images: Rafel Catala is New Minister of Justice

Swedish Royal Court: The Crown Princess visits Blekinge
Swedish Royal Court: Prince Daniel visits Solna and Stockholm with Prince Daniel’s Fellowship
Swedish Royal Court: The Crown Princess receives the Chairman of the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee
Swedish Royal Court: The Crown Princess Couple visit Östra Göinge
Swedish Royal Court: Formal audiences at the Royal Palace of Stockholm
Swedish Royal Court: The King and Queen attend the Opening of the General Synod
Swedish Royal Court: The Crown Princess is patron of the Pink Ribbon campaign

United Kingdom
BBC: Royal opening for Dorchester council offices
Daily Mail: After 150 years as the royal grocer, Fortnum & Mason is ditched by the Queen and forced to apologise over Windsor meat scandal
Daily Mail: ‘Here I am left at home with the women… it is breaking my heart’: Astonishing letters from future kings Edward and George bemoan their terrible misfortune at having to sit out WWI
Daily Mail: Keeping up with the Windsors: New research shows almost half of parents have been influenced by Prince George when buying items for their own baby
Express: The Queen to rent out Balmoral home of former scandalous servant
Express: EXCLUSIVE: Queen faces million pound palace tax under Labour’s plan
Express: The Queen’s Houses: Alan Titchmarsh’s exclusive guide to Britain’s Royal Palaces
Express: Prince Andrew goes to war: How the Daily Express reported it 32 years ago
Express: Germaine Greer urges Duchess to stop having kids
Hello: Duchess Kate to resume royal duties as early as next month
Prince of Wales: The Prince of Wales attends the National Police Memorial Day

Make sure to get the latest news updates as soon as they’re posted. Register today as a member of Unofficial Royalty. It’s quick and easy, and completely free! Click the ‘Register’ link in the menu to the right.

Royal News: Monday, 29 September 2014

BBC: Cameron ‘embarrassed’ by Queen ‘purred’ comment
BBC: Prince Charles praises bravery of police in Northern Ireland
Daily Mail: After 150 years as the royal grocer, Fortnum & Mason is ditched by the Queen and forced to apologise over Windsor meat scandal
Daily Mail: Royals rent out cottage of man who entranced the Queen: Abdul Karim’s former Balmoral Estate retreat to be hired out for up to £1,080 per week
Daily Mail: Cameron to make MORE apologies to the Queen for claiming she ‘purred’ about Scotland result as he reveals he would have quit over a Yes vote
Daily Mail: ‘The Duchess of Cambridge is too thin!’ Controversial feminist Germaine Greer launches scathing attack on pregnant Kate and says royal family have crushed her personality
Daily Mail: Could Kate’s second baby be named after Diana, Princess of Wales? Royal author says couple are planning Elizabeth Diana Windsor if they have daughter
Daily Mail: One is not amused: Queen faces £1million bill every year if proposed Labour ‘mansion tax’ comes into force
Express: Duchess of Cambridge will return to royal duties after recovering from morning sickness
Guardian: David Cameron ‘embarrassed and sorry’ for saying Queen purred
Guardian: Duchess of Cambridge is too thin and has a ‘bastard of a job’, Germaine Greer says
Irish Independent: Prince Charles to visit Belfast today for National Police Memorial
Irish Times: Prince Charles in Belfast for memorial service for police officers
MSN: Charles tribute to ‘noble’ policing
Telegraph: Penny Junor: ‘The Army was the making of Prince Harry’
Telegraph: Queen’s grandson puts horse racing in China under starter’s orders

Make sure to get the latest news updates as soon as they’re posted. Register today as a member of Unofficial Royalty. It’s quick and easy, and completely free! Click the ‘Register’ link in the menu to the right.

Princess Astrid of Belgium


Photo Credit –

Princess Astrid of Belgium was born on June 5, 1962 at Château de Belvédère in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium. She is the second of the three children of King Albert II of the Belgians, who abdicated in favor of his son Philippe in 2013, and his wife Queen Paola (born Paola Ruffo di Calabria). Her full name is Astrid Joséphine-Charlotte Fabrizia Elisabeth Paola Maria and she is named for her paternal grandmother Astrid of Sweden, wife of King Leopold III of the Belgians, who tragically died in a car accident at the age of 29. Her godparents were her maternal uncle Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau and her paternal aunt Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg.  Princess Astrid has an older brother, King Philippe of the Belgians, and a younger brother, Prince Laurent.

Astrid_belgium_birth family

Princess Astrid with her parents and brothers; Photo Credit –

After completing her primary and secondary education in Brussels, Astrid studied art history for a year at Leiden University in the Netherlands and before continuing her art history studies at the Institute of European Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States.

On May 13, 1984, the engagement of Princess Astrid and Archduke Lorenz of Austria-Este was announced. Lorenz is the eldest son of Archduke Robert of Austria-Este, the second son of Karl I, the last Emperor of Austria and has been Head of the House of Austria-Este since 1996.


Engagement photo of Princess Astrid and Archduke Lorenz; Photo Credit –

The couple were married on September 22, 1984 at the Church of Notre-Dame au Sablon in Brussels, Belgium.


Photo Credit –

The couple have five children, who all have the styles Imperial and Royal Highness and titles Prince/Princess of Belgium and Archduke/Archduchess of Austria-Este:


Princess Astrid with her family; Photo Credit –

Princess Astrid gives her services to a number of organizations including:


Princess Astrid and her husband;

Visit the official website of the Belgian Royal Family here.
Read more about your favorite royal families here.


September 29: Today in Royal History

Charlotte, Princess Royal, Queen of Württemberg/Photo Credit – Wikipedia

September 29, 1240 – Birth of Margaret of England, daughter of King Henry III of England at Windsor Castle
Wikipedia: Margaret of England

September 29, 1276 – Birth of King Christopher II of Denmark
Wikipedia: Christopher II of Denmark

September 29, 1328 – Birth of Joan of Kent, wife of Edward the Black Prince, mother of King Richard II of England
Wikipedia: Joan of Kent

September 29, 1360 – Death of Joanna of Auvergne, wife of King John II of France, at Chateau d’Argilly in France; buried at Saint Denis Basilica near Paris
Wikipedia: Joanna of Auvergne

September 29, 1388 – Birth of Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, son of King Henry IV of England
Wikipedia: Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence

September 29, 1560 – Death of King Gustav I of Sweden at Stockholm Palace; buried at Uppsala Cathedral
Wikipedia: Gustav I of Sweden

September 29, 1766 – Birth of Charlotte, Princess Royal, daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom, at Buckingham Palace
Full name: Charlotte Augusta Matilda
Wikipedia: Charlotte, Princess Royal

September 29, 1773 – Wedding of Tsar Paul I of Russia and Wilhelmina of Hesse-Darmstadt
Wikipedia: Paul I of Russia
Wikipedia: Wilhelmina of Hesse-Darmstadt

September 29, 1833 – Death of King Ferdinand VII of Spain in Madrid, Spain; buried at the Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real in El Escorial, Spain
Wikipedia: Ferdinand VII of Spain

September 29, 1853 – Birth of Princess Thyra of Denmark, daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
Wikipedia: Princess Thyra of Denmark

September 29, 1898 – Death of Louise of Hesse-Kassel, wife of King Christian IX of Denmark, at Bernstorff Castle in Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark; buried at Roskilde Cathedral
Wikipedia: Louise of Hesse-Kassel

September 29, 1999 – Birth of Juan Urdangarín, son of Infanta Cristina of Spain, in Barcelona, Spain
Full name: Juan Valentín de Todos los Santos Urdangarín y de Borbón
Wikipedia: Juan Urdangarín

September 29, 2006 – Wedding of Prince Louis of Luxembourg and Tessy Antony at the parish church in Gilsdorf, Luxembourg
Wikipedia: Prince Louis of Luxembourg
Wikipedia: Princess Tessy of Luxembourg

September 29, 2008 – Emma Tallulah Behn, daughter of Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, at the family home in Lommedalen, Norway
Wikipedia: Emma Tallulah Behn