Royal News: Monday 18 December 2017

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Prince Philippe of Belgium, Count of Flanders

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Prince Philippe of Belgium (Philippe Eugène Ferdinand Marie Clément Baudouin Léopold Georges) was born on March 24, 1837, at the Royal Castle of Laeken near Brussels, Belgium. He was the third of the three sons and the third of the four children of Leopold I, King of the Belgians and his second wife Louise-Marie of Orléans. Prince Philippe is the ancestor of the current Belgian royal family as his son succeeded to the Belgian throne as King Albert I.

Philippe had two elder brothers and one younger sister:

Philippe (in the middle) with his brother Leopold and sister Charlotte; Credit – Wikipedia

Philippe’s father was born Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and first married Princess Charlotte of Wales, the only child of the future King George IV of the United Kingdom and the second in the line of succession to the British throne. Sadly, 21-year-old Princess Charlotte of Wales died in childbirth along with her son. In 1831, Leopold became King of the Belgians after Belgium became independent from the Netherlands. King Leopold I was the uncle of both Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, and therefore his son Philippe, Victoria, and Albert were first cousins. Philippe’s mother was the daughter of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French and Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies.

Philippe in 1863; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

When he was three-years-old, Philippe was created Count of Flanders and on his 18th birthday, he received the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold. In 1866, Philippe refused the offer of the throne of Romania which was later accepted by his future brother-in-law Prince Karl of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen who reigned as King Carol I of Romania.

Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen on her wedding day; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

On April 25, 1867, at St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in Berlin, Philippe married Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, daughter of Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, head of the Princely House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Prime Minister of Prussia, and his wife Princess Josephine of Baden.

Philippe and Marie had five children:

Philippe and Marie settled in the Palace of the Count of Flanders in Brussels, which Philippe bought and had renovated. During the first several years of the couple’s married life, there were several family tragedies. In 1867, Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, the husband of Philippe’s sister Charlotte, was deposed and executed by a firing squad. Charlotte descended into the mental illness which would plague her for the rest of her life. In 1869, ten-year-old Leopold, Duke of Brabant, the only son and heir of Philippe’s brother King Leopold II, fell into a pond, caught pneumonia, and died. Hoping for a crown prince because only males could inherit the throne, Leopold II and his wife had another child, but the long-awaited crown prince did not materialize as the child was a girl.

It was Philippe and Marie who secured the future of the Belgian dynasty. Philippe was the heir presumptive to the Belgian throne until his death in 1905. Philippe’s elder son Baudouin was second in line to the throne until his death in 1891 from influenza. Then Philippe’s younger son Albert became second in line to the throne. Eventually, Albert succeeded his uncle King Leopold II upon his death in 1909 as King Albert I.

Marie and Philippe, 1880; Credit – Wikipedia

Philippe led a comfortable life in the intimacy of his Brussels palace surrounded by his objets d’art, his superb horses, and especially his precious library of 30,000 books. Philippe, age 68, died on November 17, 1905, at his palace in Brussels. He was buried at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken.

Church of Our Lady of Laeken; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Prince Philippe of Belgium, Count of Flanders

Works Cited

  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philippe,_Count_of_Flanders [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].
  • Fr.wikipedia.org. (2017). Philippe de Belgique (1837-1905). [online] Available at: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_de_Belgique_(1837-1905) [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].
  • It.wikipedia.org. (2017). Filippo del Belgio (1837-1905). [online] Available at: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_del_Belgio_(1837-1905) [Accessed 15 Sep. 2017].

December 18: Today in Royal History

Prince William of Gloucester, Photo Credit – http://www.nga.gov.au/

December 18, 1290 – Death of King Magnus III of Sweden; buried in Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: King Magnus III of Sweden

December 18, 1626 – Birth of Queen Christina of Sweden in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Queen Christina of Sweden

December 18, 1818 – Birth of Prince Charles III of Monaco in Paris, France
Wikipedia: Prince Charles III of Monaco

December 18, 1863 – Birth of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, whose assassination in 1914 sparked World War I, in Graz, Austria
Unofficial Royalty: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

December 18, 1941 – Birth of Prince William of Gloucester, son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England
Full name: William Henry Andrew Frederick
Unofficial Royalty: Prince William of Gloucester

December 18, 2004 – Death of Princess Takamatsu of Japan, wife of Prince Takamatsu, at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Tokyo, Japan; buried at Toshimagaoka Cemetery in Tokyo, Japan
Princess Takamatsu was married to a brother of Emperor Hirohito.  After the birth of Princess Aiko, only child of Crown Prince Naruhito, his wife, 90-year-old Princess Takamatsu, issued a statement saying Japan should allow an empress to succeed to the throne.
Wikipedia: Princess Takamatsu of Japan

Royal News: Sunday 17 December 2017

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Royal Birthdays & Anniversaries: December 17-December 23

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10th birthday of James, Viscount Severn, son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex; born at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, England on December 17, 2007
Full name: James Alexander Philip Theo
Unofficial Royalty: The Children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex

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Photo Credit – Wikipedia

54th birthday of Infanta Elena of Spain, daughter of King Juan Carlos of Spain; born in Madrid, Spain on December 20, 1963
Full name: Elena María Isabel Dominica de los Silos de Borbón y de Grecia
Unofficial Royalty: Infanta Elena of Spain

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Princess Akiko of Japan, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

36th birthday of Princess Akiko of Japan, daughter of the late Prince Tomohito of Japan; born in Tokyo, Japan on December 20, 1981
Wikipedia: Princess Akiko of Japan

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Emperor Akihito of Japan, Photo Credit – www.reuters.com

84th birthday of Emperor Akihito of Japan; born in Tokyo, Japan on December 23, 1933
Unofficial Royalty: Emperor Akihito of Japan

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Queen Silvia of Sweden, Photo Credit – www.zimbio.com

74th birthday of Queen Silvia of Sweden, wife of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden; born Silvia Renate Sommerlath in Heidelberg, Germany on December 23, 1943
Unofficial Royalty: Queen Silvia of Sweden

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Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, Photo Credit – au.eurosport.com

42nd birthday of Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, son of King Hussein of Jordan and his third wife Queen Alia; born in Amman, Jordan on December 23, 1975
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan

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December 17: Today in Royal History

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

December 17, 1600 – Wedding of King Henri IV of France and Marie de’ Medici
Unofficial Royalty: King Henri IV of France
Unofficial Royalty: Marie de’ Medici

December 17, 1619 – Birth of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, commander in the English Civil War, in Prague (Czech Republic)
Rupert was a nephew of King Charles I England, who created him Duke of Cumberland and Earl of Holderness.
Wikipedia: Prince Rupert of the Rhine

December 17, 1734 – Birth of Queen Maria I of Portugal at Ribeira Palace in Lisbon, Portugal
Wikipedia: Queen Maria I of Portugal

December 17, 1847 – Death of Marie Louise of Austria, second wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, at Parma, Italy; buried at the Imperial Crypt in the Kapuzinerkirche in Vienna, Austria
Unofficial Royalty: Marie Louise of Austria, Empress of France

December 17, 1860 – Death of Désirée Clary, wife of King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden, in Stockholm; buried at Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Unofficial Royalty: Désirée Clary, Queen of Sweden

December 17, 1909 – Death of King Leopold II of the Belgians at Laeken, Belgium; buried at Royal Vault at the Church of Our Lady in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium
Unofficial Royalty: King Leopold II of the Belgians

December 17, 2007 – Birth of James, Viscount Severn, son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, England
Full name: James Alexander Philip Theo
Unofficial Royalty: The Children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex

Royal News: Saturday 16 December 2017

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Royal News updates are done daily except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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December 16: Today in Royal History

King Alexander I of Yugoslavia, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

December 16, 1485 – Birth of Catherine of Aragon, daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, first wife of King Henry VIII of England, mother of Queen Mary I of England, at Alcala de Henares, Spain
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England

December 16, 1522 – Birth of Honoré I, Lord of Monaco
Wikipedia: Honoré I, Lord of Monaco

December 16, 1732 – Death of Prince Josef Johann Adam of Liechtenstein; buried at the Liechtenstein Crypt in Vranov nearby Brno, Czech Republic
Wikipedia: Prince Josef Johann Adam of Liechtenstein

December 16, 1790 – Birth of King Leopold I of the Belgians at Ehrenburg Palace in Coburg, Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (Germany)
Birth name: Prince Leopold Georg Christian Friedrich of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld
King Leopold I was the uncle of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Unofficial Royalty: King Leopold I of the Belgians

December 16, 1888 – Birth of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Cetinje, Principality of Montenegro
Unofficial Royalty: King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

December 16, 1909 – Death of Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, wife of King Miguel of Portugal (after he was deposed); at Ryde, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, buried at the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon, Portugal
Unofficial Royalty: Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg

Royal News: Friday 15 November 2017

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Royal News updates are done daily except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

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Princess Clémentine of Belgium, Princess Napoléon

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Princess Clémentine of Belgium (Clémentine Albertine Marie Léopoldine) was born at the Royal Castle of Laeken in Belgium on July 30, 1872. She was the third of the three daughters and the youngest of the four children of Leopold II, King of the Belgians and Archduchess Marie-Henriette of Austria. In 1869, when Leopold and Marie-Henriette’s only son Leopold died, King Leopold blamed Queen Marie-Henriette for their son’s death. Little Leopold had fallen into a pond, caught pneumonia and died. Hoping for a crown prince because only males could inherit the throne, Queen Marie-Henriette became pregnant again, but the long-awaited crown prince did not materialize as the child was a girl, Clémentine. Clémentine’s parents completely separated after her birth.

Clémentine had three older siblings:

Even before the death of their brother, Clémentine’s siblings had a difficult childhood. The marriage of their parents started out unhappy, remained unhappy, and the couple lived mostly separate lives. King Leopold had many mistresses and he made no real attempt to have a successful marriage. Queen Marie-Henriette was cold and inaccessible. Their mother showed no interest in the children and their father, who was only interested in his business in the Belgian Congo, did not spend time with his daughters.

By the time Clémentine was eight-years-old, both her sisters had married and she was the only child left at home. She grew up alone under the guidance of governesses who taught her French, German, music, history, and literature. Clémentine had a close relationship with her sister Stéphanie. The two sisters maintained a faithful correspondence and considered each other their best friend. Clémentine’s relationship with her father improved. In 1894, she got her own coach and could come and go without the permission of her mother. By 1895, Queen Marie-Henriette moved to Spa, Belgium where she lived out the rest of her life at Hôtel du Midi, the home she had bought there. Clémentine replaced her as the first lady of the Belgian court.

Clémentine fell in love with her first cousin Prince Baudouin of Belgium. Baudouin was the elder son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, brother of King Leopold II who had become heir to the Belgian throne after the death of Leopold’s only son. Therefore, Baudouin was second in the line of succession. It appears that Clémentine and Baudouin were informally betrothed. Although accounts differ as to whether or not Baudouin was in favor of this arrangement, it was generally seen as the best way of uniting the cadet and main branches of the Belgian Royal Family. However, Baudouin died of influenza in January 1891 at the age of 21.

Clémentine first met Prince Victor Bonaparte in 1888, when the prince visited Brussels. The prince had become head of the House of Bonaparte upon the death in 1879 of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the only child of Napoleon III, Emperor of the French. Clémentine confided to one of her sisters that she was attracted to Victor, but her father opposed the match because it could compromise the relations between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Republic of France. King Leopold’s refusal caused many arguments between father and daughter. In 1903, Clémentine once again asked permission to marry Victor and her father again refused. Clémentine persisted but was threatened with disinheritance by her father.

In 1909, after her father had died, Clémentine received permission to marry Victor from the new Belgian monarch King Albert I, her first cousin and Prince Baudouin’s younger brother. On November 14, 1910, at the Castle of Moncalieri in the Kingdom of Italy, 38-year-old Clémentine married 48-year-old Victor. Clémentine later wrote to her sister Stephanie: “My good husband, gentle, adoring, tender, loving, intelligent, connoisseur of people and things. He is beautiful, this Prince. Napoleon is a love, I adore him.”

Victor and Clementine; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Clémentine and Victor had two children:

Embed from Getty Images

Clémentine and Victor initially settled in Brussels because the Republic of France did not allow pretenders to the throne to live in France. During World War I, Clémentine, Victor, and their children lived with the former Empress of the French, Eugenie, the widow of Emperor Napoleon III, at her home Farnborough Hill in Farnborough, Hampshire, England. Following the end of the war, the family returned to Brussels. Prince Victor died on May 3, 1926, in Brussels, Belgium.

Clémentine initially remained in Belgium after her husband’s death. However, she was greatly saddened by a major political crisis in Belgium, The Royal Question, and therefore, lived the majority of the rest of her life in France. The Royal Question (1945 to 1951) concerned whether King Leopold III could resume his royal powers and duties as King of the Belgians despite allegations that his actions during World War II were contrary to the Belgian Constitution. The crisis was eventually resolved in 1951 by the abdication of Leopold in favor of his elder son King Baudouin I.

Embed from Getty Images

The last ten years of Clémentine’s life were happy and peaceful. She enjoyed her many grandchildren and received the Legion of Honor for her 80th birthday. On March 8, 1955, Clémentine died at the age of 82, at her home in Nice, France, the Villa Clairvallou. She was buried with her husband at the Imperial Chapel of Ajaccio in Ajaccio, Corsica, the birthplace of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. The Imperial Chapel was built by Cardinal Joseph Fesch, the half-brother of Napoleon Bonaparte’s mother Letizia, so that Letizia and any other members of the Bonaparte who desired so, could be buried there.

Embed from Getty Images

Wikipedia: Princess Clémentine of Belgium

Works Cited

  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Clementine von Belgien. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementine_von_Belgien [Accessed 14 Sep. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Princess Clémentine of Belgium. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princess_Cl%C3%A9mentine_of_Belgium [Accessed 14 Sep. 2017].
  • Fr.wikipedia.org. (2017). Clémentine de Belgique. [online] Available at: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cl%C3%A9mentine_de_Belgique [Accessed 14 Sep. 2017].
  • Nl.wikipedia.org. (2017). Clementine van België. [online] Available at: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementine_van_Belgi%C3%AB [Accessed 14 Sep. 2017].