Royal News: Saturday 28 November 2015





United Kingdom

November 28: Today in Royal History

Lilian Baels, Princess de Réthy, second wife of King Leopold III of the Belgians; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 28, 1170 – Death of Owain Gwynedd, Prince of Gwynedd, probably in Gwynedd, Wales; buried at Bangor Cathedral (Wales)
Wikipedia: Owain Gwynedd

November 28, 1290 – Death of Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I of England, at Harby, Nottinghamshire, England; buried at Westminster Abbey
Unofficial Royalty: Eleanor of Castile

November 28, 1489 – Birth of Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, at the Palace of Westminster in London
Wikipedia: Margaret Tudor

November 28, 1700 – Birth of Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, wife of King Christian VI of Denmark and Norway, at Castle Schonberg in Germany
Wikipedia: Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach

November 28, 1706 – Wedding of Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, daughter of King George I of Great Britain, and King Frederick William I of Prussia in Berlin, Prussia
Wikipedia: Frederick William I of Prussia
Unofficial Royalty: Sophia Dorothea of Hanover

November 28, 1811 – Birth of King Maximilian II of Bavaria in Munich, Bavaria (Germany)
Wikipedia: Maximilian II of Bavaria

November 28, 1857 – Birth of King Alfonso XII of Spain in Madrid, Spain
Unofficial Royalty: Alfonso XII of Spain

November 28, 1916 – Birth of Mary Lilian Baels, second wife of King Leopold III of the Belgians, in London, United Kingdom
Full name: Mary Lilian Henriette Lucie Josephine Ghislaine
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Lilian, Princess de Réthy

November 28, 1935 – Birth of Prince Hitachi of Japan, son of Emperor Hirohito of Japan, at the Tokyo Imperial Palace
Wikipedia: Prince Hitachi

November 28, 1952 – Death of Elena of Montenegro, wife of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, at Montpellier, France; buried at Saint-Lazare Cemetery in Montpellier, France
Wikipedia: Elena of Montenegro

November 28, 1962 – Death of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands at Het Loo near Apeldoorn, The Netherlands; buried at Nieuwe Kerk, in Delft, The Netherlands
Unofficial Royalty: Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

November 28, 1982 – Death of Helen of Greece, wife of King Carol II of Romania, at Lausanne, Switzerland; buried at the Greek Orthodox Church in Lausanne, Switzerland
Wikipedia: Helen of Greece

Royal News: Friday 27 November 2015

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Désirée Clary, Queen of Sweden

source: Wikipedia

Queen Desideria of Sweden

Queen Desideria of Sweden and Norway was the wife of King Carl XIV Johan (born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte). She was born Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary, on November 8, 1777 in Marseille, France, one of nine children of François Clary and Françoise Rose Somis. Her siblings included a sister Julie, who later married Joseph Bonaparte (brother of Napoleon), and became Queen of Naples and Spain.

Désirée was educated at a convent in her early years, before returning home to her family during the French Revolution. Several years later, she met Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother of Napoleon, and the two became engaged. Soon after, Napoleon suggested that Joseph should instead marry Désirée’s sister, Julie, and that he himself would marry Désirée. They became engaged in April 1795, but Napoleon soon became involved with Joséphine de Beauharnais and the engagement ended in September 1795. She spent the next several years living with her sister and brother-in-law in Genoa and then in Rome. While in Rome in 1797, she became engaged to a French general, Mathurin-Léonard Duphot, allegedly arranged by Napoleon. They were to marry on December 31, 1797, but Duphot was shot and killed in a riot the previous day.

Returning to Paris, she soon met Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, a noted French general and future King of Sweden. The couple married on August 17, 1798, and had one son, the future King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway, born in 1799. In 1804, Bernadotte was made Marshal of France, and Désirée was given an allowance by Napoleon, as well as a house on the Rue d’Anjou Saint-Honoré. Désirée maintained this house for the rest of her life, living there whenever she was in Paris. With her husband often gone, Désirée installed herself in the ranks of Parisian high society, spending her time with both the Bonaparte and Clary families. She would occasionally travel to see her husband, but quickly returned to Paris which was the only place she felt at home.

portrait by François Gérard, c.1810. source: Wikipedia

In August 1810, Désirée’s husband was elected Crown Prince of Sweden. Not wanting to leave Paris, Désirée did not initially accompany her husband to Sweden. She finally made the trip in December of that year, and was immediately unhappy. She found the Swedish weather to be very harsh, and could not adapt to the formality and responsibilities of her new role as Crown Princess. Added to that was a very difficult relationship with Queen Hedwig who complained – perhaps rightfully so – about Désirée’s constant complaints about everything that wasn’t French.

The following year, Désirée left Sweden and returned to Paris, living under the name Countess of Gotland. There, she was able to act as a go-between and mediator between her husband and Emperor Napoleon, and kept her husband fully advised of the political events in Europe. After Napoleon was overthrown, Désirée often spent time with the court of King Louis XVIII of France and used her influence to prevent her sister from being exiled from the country.

On February 5, 1818, King Carl XIII of Sweden died, and Désirée’s husband ascended the thrones of Sweden and Norway. However, Désirée – the new Queen of Sweden and Norway – remained living in Paris. It would be several years before she made her return to Sweden. In 1822, her son, now Crown Prince of Sweden, toured Europe to find a bride, and met with his mother twice. The following year, in June 1823, Désirée returned to Sweden, accompanying her future daughter-in-law, Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg. Although she planned to make just a temporary visit, Désirée would instead remain in Sweden for the rest of her life.

Coronation of Queen Desideria in Sweden, August 1829, by Fredric Westin. source: Wikipedia

Her coronation had been delayed due to potential religious issues stemming from her remaining a Roman Catholic and not converting to Lutheranism like her husband and son. Finally on August 21, 1829, Queen Desideria (her official name although she never used it herself) was crowned Queen of Sweden. She was never crowned in Norway, however, due to her religion.

Queen Desideria attempted to fulfill her role as Queen Consort, holding parties and balls, but she soon grew tired of it and longed to return to Paris. Her lack of efforts to embrace her new homeland, as well as refusal to learn the languages of either Sweden or Norway, led to her never being fully accepted by the Swedish people. Her less-than-royal roots didn’t help either. She was better received in Norway, where she visited several times, and served as patron of the Eugenia Foundation from 1828 until 1847.

Following her husband’s death in 1844, she became Queen Dowager. Despite plans to return to her home in Paris, in 1853, her fear of sea travel kept her from making the trip. She spent her remaining years in Sweden, splitting her time between her apartments at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, Drottningholm Palace and Haga Palace.

source: Wikipedia

Queen Desideria died on December 17, 1860 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Following her funeral, in January 1861, she was interred in the Bernadotte Chapel at the Riddarholm Church, just in front of the tomb of her husband.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

November 27: Today in Royal History

Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 27, 1635 – Birth of Françoise d’Aubigné, morganatic second wife of King Louis XIV of France, in Niort, France
Wikipedia: Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon

November 27, 1640 – Birth of Barbara Villiers (later Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland), mistress of King Charles II of England, in the parish of St. Margaret’s, Westminster, London
Among King Charles II’s and Barbara’s descendants are Diana, Princess of Wales; Sir Anthony Eden, British Prime Minister from 1955-1957; and Serena Stanhope, wife of Princess Margaret’s son Viscount Linley.
Wikipedia: Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland

November 27, 1833 – Birth of Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge in Hanover, Germany
Full name: Mary Adelaide Wilhelmina Elizabeth
Mary Adelaide was the mother of Queen Mary, wife of King George V of the United Kingdom and the first cousin of Queen Victoria.
Wikipedia: Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge

Royal News: Thursday 26 November 2015

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November 26: Today in Royal History

Princess Dagmar of Denmark, wife of Tsar Alexander III of Russia; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 26, 1252 – Death of Blanche of Castile, wife of King Louis VIII of France, in Paris, France; buried at Maubuisson Abbey in Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône near Paris, France
Blanche was a granddaughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Wikipedia: Blanche of Castile

November 26, 1504 – Death of Queen Isabella I of Castile, wife of King Ferdinand of Aragon, mother of Catherine of Aragon, at Medina del Campo, Spain; buried at the Capilla Real in Granada
Wikipedia: Isabella of Castile

November 26, 1847 – Birth of Princess Dagmar of Denmark, wife of Tsar Alexander III of Russia, mother of Tsar Nicholas II, at the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark
Full name: Marie Sophie Frederikke Dagmar
Wikipedia: Dagmar of Denmark

November 26, 1869 – Birth of Princess Maud, daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, wife of King Haakon VII of Norway, at Marlborough House, London
Full name: Maud Charlotte Mary
Unofficial Royalty: Maud of Wales, Queen of Norway

November 26, 1894 – Wedding of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Alix of Hesse and by Rhine in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg
Unofficial Royalty: Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Unofficial Royalty: Alix of Hesse and by Rhine

November 26, 1992 – Birth of Louis Ducruet, son of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, at the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, Monaco
Wikipedia: Louis Ducruet

November 26, 1992 – British government announces that Queen Elizabeth II had volunteered to start paying taxes on her personal income
Official Website of the British Monarchy: Taxation

November 25, 1120 – The Sinking of the White Ship and How It Affected the English Succession

Today in 1120, was one of those days that changed the fate of British royal history.

by Susan Flantzer

The White Ship sinking, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

In 1120, the third of the Norman kings, King Henry I, had been on the English throne for twenty years.  Still uneasy about the fate of the Norman dynasty his father William the Conqueror had started in 1066 with the defeat of the Anglo-Saxon King of England, Harold Godwison, at the Battle of Hastings, King Henry I had made a strategic dynastic marriage in the year of his accession. His choice of a bride was Matilda of Scotland (originally known as Edith), the daughter of King Malcolm III of Scotland and Saint Margaret of Scotland.  Margaret was born an Anglo-Saxon princess and through her, Matilda was the niece of Edgar the Ætheling, the great-granddaughter of Edmund Ironside and a descendent of Alfred the Great.  The blood of the Anglo-Saxon kings would flow in the veins of Matilda’s children.  By marrying Matilda of Scotland, King Henry I increased the legitimacy of the Norman dynasty.  King Henry I and Matilda had two children who survived childhood: a daughter Matilda, sometimes called Maud, who was born in 1102 and a son William Ætheling, born in 1103.  In Anglo-Saxon England Ætheling was used to designate males of the royal dynasty who were eligible for the throne and by using Ætheling as part of his only son’s name, Henry made a further connection to the Anglo-Saxon kings.

Because the Kings of England still held Normandy (in France) and were Dukes of Normandy, they were often in Normandy, and this was the case in November of 1120.  After the successful military campaign in which King Henry I of England had defeated King Louis VI of France at the Battle of Brémule, the English were finally preparing to return to England.   King Henry I was offered the White Ship for his return to England, but he had already made other arrangements.  Instead, Henry suggested that his son William sail on the White Ship along with his retinue which included William’s half-brother, Richard and his half-sister Matilda the Countess of Perch, Richard d’Avranches the 2nd Earl of Chester and many of the heirs to the great estates of England and Normandy.

William Ætheling and his retinue boarded the ship in a festive mood and barrels of wine were brought on board to celebrate the return to England.  Soon both passengers and crew were inebriated.   By the time the ship was ready to set sail, there were about 300 people on board.  William and his retinue ordered the captain of the White Ship to overtake the ship of King Henry I so that the White Ship would be the first ship to return to England.  Unfortunately, the White Ship hit a submerged rock and capsized.  William’s bodyguard quickly got the heir to the throne into the safety of a dinghy.  However, William Ætheling heard the screams of his half-sister Matilda and ordered the dinghy to turn back to rescue her.  At this point, the White Ship began to sink and the many people in the water desperately sought the safety of the William’s dinghy. The chaos and the weight were too much causing William Ætheling’s dinghy to capsize and sink without a trace.  The chronicler Orderic Vitalis claimed that only two people survived the shipwreck by clinging on to a rock all night.

King Henry I holds the record for the British monarch with the most illegitimate children, 25 or so illegitimate children, but the tragedy of the White Ship left him with only one legitimate child, his daughter Matilda.  Henry’s nephews were the closest male heirs.  In January of 1121, Henry married Adeliza of Louvain, hoping for sons, but the marriage remained childless.  On Christmas Day of 1226, King Henry I of England gathered his nobles at Westminster where they swore to recognize Matilda and any future legitimate heir she might have as his successors.  That plan did not work out.  Upon hearing of Henry’s death on December 1, 1135, Stephen of Blois, one of Henry’s nephews, quickly crossed the English Channel from France, seized power, and was crowned King of England on December 22, 1135.  This started the terrible civil war between Stephen and Matilda known as The Anarchy.  England did not see peace for 18 years, until Matilda’s son acceded to throne as King Henry II of England in 1153.

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden (Jean Baptiste Bernadotte)

source: Wikipedia

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden (Jean Baptiste Bernadotte)

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden was born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte on January 26,1763, in Pau, France. He was the youngest of five children of Jean Henri Bernadotte and Jeanne de Saint-Jean. He was educated to follow his father in the law profession, but seems to have had no interest. Following his father’s death, Jean ended his studies and joined the military, where he quickly stood out for his courage and leadership. During the French Revolution, he rose quickly through the ranks, attaining the rank of Brigadier General in 1794.

Désirée Clary, 1807 portrait by Robert Lefèvre. source: Wikipedia

On August 16, 1798, he married Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary, whose sister Julie Clary was married to Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Désirée had previously been engaged to Napoleon. They had one son, Oscar (born in 1799), who would later become King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway.

In 1804, Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of France, and appointed Bernadotte as Marshal of France. He served for several months as Governor of the recently-occupied Hanover, and in December 1805, took part in the battle of Austerlitz. In recognition of his efforts at Austerlitz, Napoleon created him Prince of Pontecorvo, a small principality in Italy.

Bernadotte’s relationship with Napoleon was often strained, but the Emperor respected Bernadotte greatly. Bernadotte often went against the Emperor’s orders during battle, at least once being stripped of his command. Despite this, he was later appointed Governor of Rome, but never took up the position. Instead, he would find himself heading north to Sweden.

In 1809, King Carl XIII ascended the throne of Sweden. He had no living children, and his adopted son and heir had died the following year. The Swedes had the idea to offer the position of Crown Prince to one of Napoleon’s Marshals. Bernadotte was well-liked in Sweden, particularly because of his considerate treatment of Swedish prisoners during the recent war with Denmark. In addition, he was related to Napoleon through his wife, and already had a son who could continue the succession. On August 21, 1810, the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates elected Bernadotte as Crown Prince. He arrived in Stockholm in November 1810 and was formally adopted by the King, taking the name Carl Johan, and converting from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism.

The new Crown Prince quickly took an active role in the Swedish government, particularly in the area of foreign policy. He was actively involved in the events leading up to the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, in which Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden. Norway refused to accept the treaty at first, and the Crown Prince invaded, quickly suppressing the Norwegian forces. Soon, Norway became united with Sweden at the Convention of Moss. Unlike the previous union with Denmark, this was a personal union under a single sovereign, and Norway remained an independent state with its own constitution.

Coronation in Norway, painting by Jacob Munch. source: WIkipedia

King Carl XIII died on February 5, 1818, and Bernadotte ascended the throne. His coronation in Sweden took place on May 11th, and he took the name King Carl XIV Johan. In September, he was crowned in Norway, as King Carl III Johan. Thus began the Bernadotte dynasty in Sweden, which continues today.

Following his accession, the King soon lost much of his popularity with the Swedish and Norwegian people. In Norway, his role in the events of 1814 and his constant attempts to change the constitution to allow him great powers, caused him to be viewed skeptically by the people. His attempts to squash the celebrations of Norway’s National Day (May 17th) – going so far as making it illegal – further cemented the negative views of the Norwegians.

In Sweden, where he enjoyed much more power and control, his conservative almost autocratic views caused significant dissent among the population. By the 1830s, there were calls for his abdication, however he held onto his throne and seems to have regained the respect of many of his subjects.

Tomb of King Carl XIV John and his wife De’sire’e Clary. photo © Susan Flantzer

On his 81st birthday in January 1844, King Carl XIV Johan suffered a stroke, from which he never recovered. He died on March 8, 1844 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Following his funeral, he was interred at the Riddarholm Church in Stockholm.

Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.

November 25: Today in Royal History

Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 25, 1034 – Death of King Malcolm II of Scotland at Glamis Castle; buried at Isle of Iona, Scotland
Wikipedia: Malcolm II of Scotland

November 25, 1120 – Death of William the Ætheling, Duke of Normandy, son and heir of King Henry I of England, on the White Ship
William’s death resulted in the The Anarchy, the succession crisis between his sister Maud and her cousin Stephen.
Wikipedia: William Ætheling
Unofficial Royalty: The Sinking of the White Ship and How It Affected the English Succession

November 25, 1253 – Birth of Katherine of England, daughter of King Henry III of England, at the Palace of Westminster
Wikipedia: Katherine of England

November 25, 1314 – Death of John Balliol, King of Scots at his family’s château at Hélicourt in France; buried at St. Waast at Bailleul-sur-Eaune, France
Wikipedia: John Balliol

November 25, 1609 – Birth of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of King Charles I of England, at Hotel du Louvre in Paris, France
The state of Maryland in the United States was named after her.
Wikipedia: Henrietta Maria of France

November 25, 1638 – Birth of Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charles II of England, at Vila Viçosa in Lisbon, Portugal
The borough of Queens in New York City was supposedly named for Catherine.
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine of Braganza

November 25, 1868 – Birth of Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, grandson of Queen Victoria, at Neues Palais, Darmstadt (Germany)
Full name: Ernst Ludwig Karl Albert Wilhelm
Ernst was the son of Princess Alice and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse and by Rhine. He married his first cousin Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh but they divorced after seven years of marriage. Ernest married again to Princess Eleonore of Solms-Braunfels.
Unofficial Royalty: Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

November 25, 1876 – Birth of Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, at San Antonio Palace in Malta
Victoria Melita was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. She married his first cousin Grand Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, but they divorced after seven years of marriage. After the divorce, she married her Romanov first cousin Grand Duke Kryill Vladimirovich.
Unofficial Royalty: Victoria Melita of Edinburgh

November 25, 1885 – Death of King Alfonso XII of Spain at Palacio Real de El Pardo in Madrid, Spain; buried at the Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real in El Escorial, Spain
Unofficial Royalty: King Alfonso XII of Spain

November 25, 1925 – Death of Vajiravudh, Rama VI of Siam, at the Grand Palace, Phra Nakhon, Siam (Thailand)
Wikipedia: Vajiravudh