Royal News: Friday 27 March 2015

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March 27: Today in Royal History

Tomb of Mary, Duchess of Burgundy; Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer, July 2009

March 27, 972 – Birth of Robert II, King of France
Wikipedia: Robert II, King of France

March 27, 1482 – Death of Mary, Duchess of Burgundy (in her own right) at Wijnendale Castle, Flanders after falling from her horse; buried in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium
Wikipedia: Mary, Duchess of Burgundy

March 27, 1615 – Death of Marguerite de Valois, daughter of King Henri II of France, first wife of King Henri IV of France, at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye; buried at the Basilica of St. Denis near Paris
Wikipedia: Marguerite de Valois

March 27, 1625 – Death of King James I of England at Theobold’s Park in Hertfordshire, England; buried at Westminster Abbey
Wikipedia: James I of England

March 27, 1714 – Death of Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Cassel, wife of King Christian V of Denmark and Norway, at Charlottenborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark; buried at Roskilde Cathedral in Roskilde, Denmark
Wikipedia: Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Cassel

March 27, 1785 – Birth of King Louis XVII of France, son of King Louis XVI of France and pretender to the throne during the French Revolution, at the Palace of Versailles
Wikipedia: Louis XVII of France

March 27, 1819 – Birth and death of Princess Charlotte of Clarence, daughter of (the future) King William IV of the United Kingdom, at Fürstenhof Palace in Hanover, Germany
Full name: Charlotte Augusta Louisa
Wikipedia: Princess Charlotte of Clarence

March 27, 1837 – Death of Maria Fitzherbert, morganatic wife of King George IV of the United Kingdom, in Brighton, Sussex, England; buried at St. John the Baptist’s Church in Kemp Town, Brighton, England
George married Mrs. Fitzherbert against the Royal Marriages Act and the Act of Settlement. He was 22 at the time of the marriage and married without his father’s permission.  In addition, Mrs. Fitzherbert was a Roman Catholic. The marriage was invalid under the term of the Royal Marriages Act.
Wikipedia: Maria Fitzherbert

March 27, 1879 – Death of Prince Waldemar of Prussia, grandson of Queen Victoria, at Potsdam, Germany; buried at Friedenskirche in Potsdam, Germany
Prince Waldemar was the son of Victoria, Princess Royal and Friedrich III, German Emperor.  He died of diphtheria at age 11, three months after his aunt Princess Alice and her daughter Princess May died from the same disease.
Unofficial Royalty: Prince Waldemar of Prussia

Succession to the Crown Act 2013

In a written statement from Parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has announced that the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 has come into force, effective today, March 26, 2015.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Perth, Australia in October 2011, the Heads of Government of the 16 realms who have Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State announced they would all introduce legislation to eliminate the male-preference succession. This became known as the Perth Agreement.  In the United Kingdom, the Act passed through Parliament and was given Royal Assent on April 25, 2013.  However, it needed to be approved in the other realms as well.  While most passed the legislation quickly (or agreed that there was no need for separate legislation in their realm), Australia was the last to pass through, finally passing through Parliament in March 2015.  Canada was actually the first to pass their legislation, however there are currently legal challenges.

There are three provisions of the Act: Gender-blind succession, repeal of the Royal Marriages Act 1772, and the ban on marriage to a Catholic.

Succession to the British throne, as well as those of the 16 realms, will now fall to the eldest child, regardless of gender.  This change is retroactive only back to October 28, 2011 when the Perth Agreement was reached.  So, contrary to some published reports, this does not change the place in succession of The Princess Royal and her descendants.  In fact, the first people affected are some of the grandchildren of the Duke of Gloucester.  His two daughters both have a daughter and a son.  As both sons were born after the retroactive date of the Act, they will no longer come before their sisters in the line of succession.

Royal Consent for Marriage. The Royal Marriages Act 1772 required all descendants of King George II (other than those of princesses who had married into other royal families) to receive consent from the Sovereign before marrying.  Going forward, this requirement will only apply to the first six people in the line of succession.

Ban on marriage to Catholics. Previously, those who married a Catholic lost their place in the line of succession.  Going foward, this will no longer be the case.  This will return both George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews (elder son of the Duke of Kent), and Prince Michael of Kent to the line of succession.  Both had lost their rights of succession due to their marriages.  Despite this change, the Act of Settlement still requires that the monarch may not be Catholic.

Royal News: Thursday 26 March 2015

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The Order of Service for Richard III’s Reinterment

 

The remains of King Richard III will be reinterred on March 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM British time. Live coverage will be on http://www.channel4.com/programmes/richard-iii-the-reburial, but we are unsure whether it will be available outside of the United Kingdom.

Medievalists.net: The Order of Service for Richard III’s Reinterment
Unofficial Royalty: King Richard III of England
Unofficial Royalty: Richard III – Lost and Found

March 26: Today in Royal History

Marie Louise of Orléans; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

March 26, 1130 – Death of King Sigurd I of Norway in Oslo, Norway; buried at St. Hallvard’s Cathedral in Oslo, Norway
Wikipedia: Sigurd I of Norway

March 26, 1131 – Birth of King Malcolm III of Scotland
Wikipedia; Malcolm III of Scotland

March 26, 1212 – Death of King Sancho I of Portugal at Coimbra, Portugal; buried at Santa Cruz Monastery in Coimbra, Portugal
Wikipedia: Sancho I of Portugal

March 26, 1662 – Birth of Marie Louise of Orléans, first wife of King Charles II of Spain, at Palais-Royal in Paris, France
Wikipedia: Marie Louise of Orléans

March 26, 1687 – Birth of Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, daughter of King George I of Great Britain, at Hanover, Germany
Wikipedia: Sophia Dorothea of Hanover

March 26, 1868 – Birth of Fuad I, King of Egypt
Wikipedia: Fuad I, King of Egypt

March 26, 1949 – Birth of Princess Margareta of Romania, eldest daughter of King Mihai (Michael) of Romania
Unofficial Royalty: Princess Margareta of Romania

March 26, 1982 – Birth of Prince Leka of the Albanians, only child of Crown Prince Leka and current head of the House of Zogu
Full Name: Leka Anwar Zog Reza Baudouin Msiziwe Zogu
Wikipedia: Prince Leka of the Albanians

March 26, 2005 – Birth of Countess Luana of Orange-Nassau, daughter of Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau
Full name: Emma Luana Ninette Sophie
Wikipedia: Countess Luana of Orange-Nassau

March 26, 2015 – Remains of King Richard III of England re-buried at Leicester Cathedral in England
Unofficial Royalty: King Richard III of England
Unofficial Royalty: Richard III – Lost and Found

March 25: Today in Royal History

King Frederik I of Sweden; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

March 25, 1005 – Death of King Kenneth III of Scotland at the Battle of Monzievaird; buried at Iona, Scotland
Wikipedia: Kenneth III of Scotland

March 25, 1223 – Death of King Afonso II of Portugal at Coimbra, Portugal; buried at Santa Cruz Monastery in Coimbra, Portugal
Wikipedia: Afonso II of Portugal

March 25, 1306 – Robert the Bruce crowned King of Scots at Scone, Scotland
Robert the Bruce, descendant of one of the original contestants for the Scottish throne, took up the struggle for Scotland’s independence after the death of William Wallace, and had himself crowned King of Scotland. His daughter Marjorie married Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland. Their son Robert took Stewart as his surname and became the first monarch of the Royal House of Stewart.
Wikipedia: Robert I of Scotland

March 25, 1734 – Wedding of Anne, Princess Royal, daughter of King George II of Great Britain, and Prince William IV of Orange at Chapel Royal at St. James Palace in London, England
The Dutch royals are descendants of Anne and William.
Wikipedia: Anne, Princess Royal
Wikipedia William IV of Orange

March 25, 1751 – Death of King Frederik I of Sweden at Stockholm; buried at Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Frederik I of Sweden

March 25, 1921 – Birth of Alexandra of Greece, Queen of Yugoslavia
Unofficial Royalty: Alexandra of Greece, Queen of Yugoslavia

March 25, 1975 – Assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia by his nephew Prince Faisal bin Musaid in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; buried at Al Od Cemetery in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
On June 18, 1975, Prince Feisal bin Musaid was publicly beheaded in Riyadh for the assassination of King Faisal.
BBC: On This Day – March 25
Wikipedia: Faisal of Saudi Arabia

Royal News: Wednesday 25 March 2015

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Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia

Source: Wikipedia

Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia

Queen Victoria’s 23rd grandchild, Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, is perhaps remembered best as Alexandra Feodorovna, the last Empress of Russia. She was born on June 6, 1872 at the New Palace in Darmstadt, the sixth of seven children of Princess Alice of the United Kingdom and Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine. Her siblings were:

She was christened Alix Victoria Helena Luise Beatrice – named for her mother and her four maternal aunts – on July 1, 1872 (her parents’ 10th wedding anniversary) with the following godparents:

Nicknamed Sunny, she was from all accounts a happy and beautiful child. She was very close with her brother Ernie, and would remain so through her life. The family lived a rather simple life, as they were not very wealthy by royal standards. In 1877, Alix’s father became the reigning Grand Duke, but the children’s lives remained mostly unchanged. They spent time with Queen Victoria each year, relishing their visits to ‘Grandmama’ and looking forward to the next one. This relationship would become even closer in the coming years.

In 1878, most of the family became ill with diphtheria. Sadly, Alix’s younger sister, May, succumbed to the illness, followed a few weeks later by their mother, Princess Alice. Queen Victoria stepped in to serve as a surrogate mother to the children, managing nearly every detail of their lives.

One detail which was of great importance Queen Victoria was the marriages of her grandchildren. The Queen had promoted a marriage Alix and her first cousin, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, but Alix showed no interest. She had already found her true love — her second cousin, Nicholas, the Tsarevich of Russia. The couple had first met in Russia in 1884 at the wedding of Alix’s elder sister Ella to Nicholas’ uncle, Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich. Several years later, on a visit to her sister, Alix and Nicholas realized their feelings for one another and began their courtship. Despite misgivings from both The Queen and Nicholas’ parents, the couple continued their courting for several years. It was in 1894, while the family was all gathered in Coburg for the wedding of Alix’s brother Ernie and their first cousin, Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, that the couple finally became engaged.

Engagement photo of Alix and Nicholas, 1894. Source: Wikipedia

Alix had turned down Nicholas’ first proposal. A devout Lutheran, she was initially unwilling to give up her religion and convert, as would be required of her. However, after encouragement from her sister Ella, she finally relented and accepted the second time Nicholas asked. Their announcement still met with great resistance, particularly from his parents. However, several months later, Tsar Alexander III fell ill, and his feelings seem to have changed. Perhaps sensing death approaching, he allowed Nicholas to summon Alix to Russia, and insisted on greeting and welcoming her in full military uniform.

The wedding of Nicholas and Alexandra, painting by Laurits Tuxen. Source: Wikipedia

Tsar Alexander III died on November 1, 1894, leaving Nicholas as the new Tsar Nicholas II. The following day, Alix was received into the Russian Orthodox church, and was given the name Grand Duchess Alexandra Feodorovna. Although originally planning to marry the following Spring, the wedding was quickly arranged and the couple married on November 26, 1894, in the Grand Church of the Winter Palace. The young princess from Darmstadt was now Empress of All the Russians. Over the next ten years, the couple had five children:

Alexandra found it very difficult to relate to the Russian people, and was perceived as being very haughty and aloof. Those who knew her attribute this to her extreme shyness. This was magnified by the drastic difference in personality of her mother-in-law, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, who was very outgoing and greatly loved. Alix was also met with distrust by the Russian people, due to her German roots. This would be greatly magnified in years to come, during World War I.

Having had four daughters, Alexandra felt great pressure to provide an heir. Finally, in 1904, she gave birth to a son, Alexei. However, it would soon become apparent that she was a carrier of hemophilia, and her young son was a sufferer. This would cause great pain to the Empress, and great measures were taken to protect him from harm, and to hide the illness from the people. When it eventually became public knowledge, it led to more dislike for the Empress, with many of the Russian people blaming her for the heir’s illness.

After working with many physicians to help Alexei, the Empress turned to mystics and faith-healers. This led to her close, and disastrous, relationship with Grigori Rasputin. Several times he appeared to have brought the Tsarevich back from the brink of death, which further cemented Alexandra’s reliance. To many historians and experts, this relationship would contribute greatly to the fall of the Russian monarchy.

 

During World War I, in March 1915, Nicholas was forced to abdicate. The family was held under house arrest first at the Alexander Palace, and later in Tobolsk. Following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, they were moved to the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg. It was here on the morning of July 17, 1918, that the family were brought to a room in the basement and assassinated. Their bodies were initially thrown down a mine, then retrieved and hastily buried.

In 1979, a mass grave was discovered, believed to include the remains of the Imperial Family. They were exhumed in 1991, and in 1998, through DNA testing, it was announced that the remains were of Nicholas, Alexandra and three of their daughters. On July 17, 1998 – 80 years to the day of their murders – the bodies were interred in the St. Catherine Chapel at the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The remains of the last two children were found in a nearby grave in 2007, and positively identified the following year. They were buried alongside the rest of the Imperial Family.

The St Catherine Chapel, with the tombs of the Imperial Family. Source: Wikipedia

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Royal News: Tuesday 24 March 2015

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