18 June 2015

Sweden and Spain: A new princess, a new prince and a revoked title

HRH Prince Carl Philip and HRH Princess Sofia. Photo: ©Mattias Edwall, Kungahuset.se.
I haven't been able to update my blog lately, with the exception of the Ferner article of Tuesday this week, so I thought I should summarize the events of the last few days.

1. Sweden got a new princess on Saturday 13 June 2015 when Prince Carl Philip, b. 1979, only son of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married Sofia Hellqvist, b. 1984, the second daughter of Erik Hellqvist and Marie Hellqvist, née Rotman, at the Palace Church in Stockholm. The officiants at the wedding ceremony were Lars-Göran Lönnermark, head predicate and bishop emeritus, and Michael Bjerkhagen, pastor of the Royal Court Parish. Prince Carl Philip's best man was his school friend Jan-Åke Hansson.Sofia didn't have a maid-of-honor, while Princess Estelle, Tiara Larsson, Anaïs Sommerlath and Chloé Sommerlath were bridesmaids.

Because I attended a party on Saturday, I was not able to watch the televised wedding ceremony, but came home just in time to watch and listen to Prince Carl Philip's impressive speech at the gala dinner.

More details about the wedding, including the guest list, can be found at the official website.

Last year I wrote an article about Princess Sofia's ancestry, based on among others research made by Ted Rosvall. In connection with the wedding I read that Princess Sofia also has Forest Finns (Finnish migrants who settled in forest areas in Sweden and Norway during the 16th and 17th centuries) among her ancestors (through her mother's line, I gather). However, no source was stated, and as I can't find where I read it, the reader should put a big question mark over it for the time being. Interestingly enough, also Prince Daniel has Forest Finn roots through his father. Anyway, it would be interesting to hear if more research has been done on Princess Sofia's ancestry since the above-mentioned article was posted in early July last year.

Time will show how Princess Sofia will be received by the Swedish people. Many find her background somewhat problematic, so the princess will have to work hard to impress. How the princess will communicate and connect with people is of course a key here. I am hardly the only one who has been impressed by how the couple, and especially Princess Sofia, has handled the press so far (at least from the engagement was announced and onward). The start of her "princess career" can only be described as promising.

2. Only two days after the wedding, the bridegroom's younger sister, Princess Madeleine, and her husband, Chris O'Neill, became parents for the second time. A boy was born at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd municipality (Stockholm County) on 15 June 2015 at 1.45 p.m. The little prince weighed 3,08 kg at birth and was 49 cm long. Danderyd Hosoital is, by the way, also where Princess Sofia was born in 1984.

In the traditional Council of State held at Stockholm Palace on 17 June 2015, the names and titles of the little boy, currently 6th in line of succession to the Swedish throne, were announced: HRH Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Duke of Ångermanland. His name in daily use will be Nicolas. Considering the fact that Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill had chosen Leonore as the call name for their firstborn child, a name not based on Swedish royal traditions, I wasn't surprised that the parents followed up with the name Nicolas for the second one. They could have landed on the more Swedish-sounding name Niklas, but seems to have wanted a more "international" name. Even spelt the French way. Well, the Bernadotte dynasty is after all French of origin. However, one can find several examples of Nicolas in various forms (Nicholas, Nicolaus, Nikolaus, Nikolai etc.) throughout European royal history. Within the Bernadotte family one can point at the former Prince Lennart (Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul) (1909-2004), Prince August (Carl Nikolaus August) (1831-1873) and Prince Eugen (Eugen Napeleon Nicolaus).

Most people had guessed that Paul would be one of the names, as Chris O'Neill's father was named Paul Cesar O'Neill. And thankfully the third name Gustaf is a common name in Swedish royal history, and is of course the second name of King Carl XVI Gustaf. All in all, I am not too disappointed with the names (my opinion is of course irrelevant, but when has that ever stopped me from commenting), although I as usual would have preferred a more traditional Swedish royal name as call name.

3. On Thursday 11 June 2015 in form of a royal decree, published in the Official Gazzette (BOE) the day after, King Felipe of Spain decided to strip his sister, Infanta Cristina of her title Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, which she had received by her father, the former King Juan Carlos, in connection with her wedding in 1997 to Iñaki Urdangarin Liebert. The reason behind the decision to revoke the title is of course the tax evasion charges against the couple, a scandal that has seriously embarrassed the monarchy, to say the least. Cristina remains an Infanta of Spain, so the real motivation behind the decision might be to stop her husband, most likely "the main crook", from using his (courtesy) title. Although the scandal is serious enough regardless of the outcome of the trial (no date has yet been set), I still find the timing of the decision somewhat unmusical.

16 June 2015

Last resting place for Johan Martin Ferner

Johan Martin Ferner, the husband of Princess Astrid, died on 24 January 2015, 87 years old. The funeral service took place at Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo on 2 February. According to the website of Gravferdsetaten i Oslo (the Cemetery Administration in Oslo), the urn was interred at Ris Cemetery in Oslo on Monday 15 June 2015. The urn grave has been leased together with 3 other (now empty) urn graves.

As one can see from the photos, the headstone has not yet been put up, so I will have to pay the cemetery another visit later this year to take new photos.

The urn grave can be found at section 20 close to the church. A map of the cemetery can be viewed here.

© 2015 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

More photos of Ris Church and Cemetery can be viewed at Lokalhistoriewiki (here and here).

4 June 2015

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.1, February 2015

The latest issue of Eurohistory. The Europan Royal History Journal, issue CIII, Volume 18.1, February 2015 (yes, that is an handful!), arrived last month, but only now I have found the time to write a few comments. The main difference from last year's issues is that the binding (cover paper) of ERHJ is different (thicker). I have been looking for the right expression to describe it all night, but have to let it pass for now. Anyway, I agree that the new binding increases "the overall quality of the magazine", but I am not convinced that it is really worth the expanded printing time. The February 2015 arrived in the last part of May, while issue CIV (April 2015) first will be posted at the end of June. Still. the contents of the magazine is after all the most important thing.

The front cover of issue CIII (i.e. no. 103!) shows a photo of the Battenbergs - Prince Maurice, Prince Alexander and Prince Leopold, i.e. the sons of Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858–1896) and Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom (1857-1944). The first article of this issue, written by Marlene Eilers Koenig, deals with Prince Maurice (1891-1914), who was killed during WW1. The article is certainly interesting and readable enough, but I can't fail to think that I have read many articles about him before. As I have also commented on Royalty Digest, I would like more variation in topics, because some times I feel the topics are just circulated. There are so many people from so many royal, princely and mediatized houses to write about!

Ilana D. Miller, author of The Four Graces. Queen Victoria's Hessian Granddaughters (2011) is the next one out with her article Who Is In the Photo ... Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna and Her Descendants. The photo which is the starting point for the article shows Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, Dowager Grand Duchess Anastasia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Alexandrine (later Queen) of Denmark and her sons, Prince Knud and Prince Frederik (later King Frederik IX). It is a good way of telling the story of family connections, but I wish Miller could have done some more research. The story with King Christian X of Denmark wearing the yellow star during WW2 just isn't true. See for instance Snopes.com or JTA.

Roberto Cortez Gonzáles has contributed with a long and very detailed article called An Interdisciplinary Discussion. The Nassaus of Luxembourg, which I really enjoyed. And it was only part one! Still, I wish the author had read more about the constitutional affairs of Nassau and Luxembourg, as the succession law that prevailed in Luxembourg until 1912 was not Salic, but semi-Salic.

Greg King is perhaps mostly known for his books and articles on the Romanovs, but he also writes about other royal topics, and this time he has given a presentation of the Palace of Queluz outside Lisbon, Portugal. I didn't find the time to visit Queluz when I visited Portugal last summer, and even though I am going to Portugal again this year, I will most likely miss it. But Portugal is certainly a country I would like to return to even a third or fourth time, and the said palace certainly looks interesting to visit.

Italy and it's royal history during WW1 has also been covered many times before, but it is my impression that Janet Ashton's article "Our ally has shamefully betrayed us". Italy Enters the Great War is based on a more varied and "new" selection of sources, and I look forward to reading part 2. The notes on the authors and their works could have been expanded on, though.

And there are many great book reviews, all written by Coryne Hall: "Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna" (by Galina Korneva & Tatiana Cheboksarova), Eurohistory.com/Likki Rossi Publishing, 2014; "Storfyrstinde Olga i eksil" (by Karsten Fledelius, Kim Frederichsen and Anne Hedeager Krag), Paul Kristensens Forlag, 2014; "Our Duty With The Queen" (by Dickie Arbiter), Blink Publishing, 2014; and finally "The Prussian Princesses. The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II" (by the well-known John van der Kiste), Fonthill Media, 2014 (e-book)/2015 (hard cover).

Finally, Eurohistory brings a selection of Royal News, covering Bavaria, Norway, Parma, Prussia, Sweden, UK, Croy, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and Thurn and Taxis.

All in all, issue CIII provides plenty to read and ponder about, and I hope the next issue will arrive soon!

The publisher of The Europan Royal History Royal can be reached at erhj [at] eurohistory.com.

For earlier articles on the magazine, go here.

28 May 2015

Genealogen no. 1, 2015

The latest issue of Genealogen, the newsletter of Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (The Norwegian Genealogical Society), arrived around 3 weeks ago, so it is on time to write a few lines about its contents.

The cover photo shows a seal stamp found in 1998 at the farm Huseby in Stange in the county of Hedmark. The stamp is dated to the late 14th century, and the genealogist Frode Myrheim has written an article about the finding, the owner of the seal stamp, Goden Jonsson and how it could have ended up at Huseby.

There are many other rather interesting articles in the issue. Per Ole Sollie, Grete Singstad Paulsen and Lars Østensen have documented new information about the Arctander family, Torbjørn Pihl has written about the Brøgger family and the librarian Sølvi Løchen has written about genealogical sources and records at the NTNU Gunnerus Library in Trondheim. Elaine Hasleton has contributed with an obituary of the Norwegian-American genealogist Priscilla (Sorknes) Grefsrud (1932-2014), while Are S. Gustavsen has written about the late historian and genealogist Gunnar Christie Wasberg (1923-2015).

This time I have contributed with 3 articles. Wilhelmine Brandt is hardly known outside the boarders of Norway, and I don't think many knows her name within the boarders either, but in January 2015 it was 100 years since she died. Brandt is regarded as one of the first truly professional genealogists in Norway, and from1993 until her death in 1915 she even received a grant from the Norwegian state. Her main work was Slægten Benkestok published in 1904. My article about Brandt is titled Hundre år siden Wilhelmine Brandt døde ("Hundred years since Wilhelmine Brandt died").

In 2012 the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian author and artist (among others) Thorbjørn Egner was marked all over the country. Even the Norwegian Genealogical Society contributed to the anniversary, as it published - on 12 December 2012, which would have been his 100th birthday - a draft of Egner's ancestry at Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian Genealogy Wiki. Earlier the same year Anders Heger published the biography Egner. En norsk dannelseshistorie. In the book Heger points to the fact that Egner was born on 12 December 1912 (12.12.12), and writes that Egner himself had been told by his parents that he was even born at 12 o'clock (noon). Heger more than suggests that Egner's parents had stretched the time a bit to underscore "the time of birth's magical symmetry". But as I have written about earlier, there are ways of finding out when people were born even 100 years ago. The midwife reported the birth to the Oslo (then Kristiania) Health Council, and the birth reports are stored in Oslo City Archives. So it was a rather easy task to visit the archives, find the birth report for Thorbjørn Egner and then write the article Sannhet eller myte om Thorbjørn Egner's fødselstidspunkt ("Fact or myth about Thorbjørn Egner's time of birth"). And the answer? Yes! According to the midwife, Egner was born exactly at 12 o'clock. A copy of the birth report is published together with the article.

My third article this time around deals with the late Johan Martin Ferner (husband of Princess Astrid) and his family: Da Ferner Jacobsens barn fikk Ferner til etternavn ("When Ferner Jacobsen's children adopted Ferner as surname"). I have written about this several times before, last time when Johan Martin Ferner died in January 2015:
By the Ministry of Justice and Police's grant of 21 November 1927 Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were given the right to adopt their father's given name Ferner as their surname. The grant published in Norsk Kundgjørelsestidende said:
Ved Justisdepartementets bevilling av 21. november 1927 er kjøpmann Ferner Jacobsen og hustru Ragnhild Jacobsens barn Inger, Finn Christian Ferner og Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo meddelt tillatelse til å anta navnet Ferner som slektsnavn.
("By the Ministry of Justice's grant of 21 November 1927 shopkeeper Ferner Jacobsen and wife Ragnhild Jacobsen's children Inger, Finn Christian Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo, were given permission to adopt Ferner as surname.")
Johan Martin Ferner himself commented on the grant in his 70th birthday interview in Aftenposten in 1997. So this is hardly news. Still, VG.no claimed in an article at the time of his death that he got the surname as an adult... Not very accurate when he was 4 months old! What is new, however, are the details about the grant, which I received from the National Archives. The act relating to personal names of 1923 allowed people to adopt a new surname, but surnames which were "not widespread" were protected. If you wanted such a surname, you needed the permission of those carrying it. At the time there was no national register, so it was the National Archives which got the task to find out if  there were others with the surname Ferner in Norway. The National Archives referred to Per Edvard Ferner's family, who lived at Høybråten in Aker (now part of Oslo). Ferner Jacobsen received permission from Per Edvard Ferner, b. 1866, and his family, and in this way Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were granted permission to adopt Ferner as surname. It is interesting to mention, however, that according to the 1910 census there was also another Ferner family living in Trysil (Vilhelm Ferner, b. 1872), and as far as I can tell there are numerous descendants of that family living in Norway even today, but the National Archives never mentioned them. Was there a connection between Wilhelm and Per Edvard Ferner, by the way? I hope someone will follow up on that question some time in the future.

The documents about the Ferner name grant can be viewed here.

5 May 2015

UK: HRH Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

The news that the newborn daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana (and to be known as HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge) seems to have been received well.

The name Charlotte has deep roots in British royal history, with Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), wife of King George III (1738-1820), and Princess Charlotte (1796-1817), who in 1816 married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (who in 1831 became King of the Belgians), as two of many examples. Many has also pointed out that Charlotte is the feminine form of Charles, so even if one cannot know for certain the motivation behind the chosen names, it is easy to conclude that the baby has been named after her grandfather the Prince of Wales. In addition, the mother of the Duchess of Cambridge has the name Carole, which is one of several variations of Charlotte. And finally, the duchess' sister is named Philippa Charlotte.

The second name Elizabeth is also rather obvious, as the baby's great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II wears that name. Not to mention the baby's great-great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, née Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002). As mentioned in my previous article, the Duchess of Cambridge's mother has Elizabeth as her second given name. And finally Diana, named after the late Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997), mother of the Duke of Cambridge.

On Buckingham Palace's official Facebook page The British Monarchy, one could today read that "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have formally registered the birth of Princess Charlotte. The Duke of Cambridge signed the birth register at Kensington Palace this afternoon, witnessed by a Registrar from Westminster Register Office."

2 May 2015

UK: Birth of a daughter to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Finally the time has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge became parents to a daughter early in the morning of 2 May 2015 at the Lindo Wing of the St. Mary's Hospital in London. Kensington Palace issued the following press statement:

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8.34am.
The baby weighs 8lbs 3oz [3714 g].

The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news.

Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well.
The newborn princess, who is fourth in line of succession to the British throne (afther the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge), was introduced to the world later on the day when her parents left the hospital to take her home to Kensington Palace.

The princess is the fifth great grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Besides Prince George of Cambridge, Peter Phillips (son of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal) has two daughters - Savannah and Isla - while Peter's sister Zara has the daughter Mia.

The name of the princess is yet to be announced, but not surprisingly speculations have been going on for a while already. Last time around, when Prince George was born, almost everyone guessed the first of three names correctly. Some people had almost made it to a historical law that the prince would get four names, but he "only" got three. So, to be on the safe side, we can expect everythng from two to five names! As last time I would be surprised if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will not decide on a traditional royal name for the newborn girl. I am now first of all thinking about the name being in daily use, the call name. Elizabeth, Victoria, Alice and Charlotte are among the main suggestions, and they are all nice and traditional royal names. The Diana fans can of course not think of any name but Diana, but although Diana is a nice name, it will perhaps be too much to live up to and to be compared to for the little princess. Maybe the name should be saved for another generation, or only as one of the other given names.

Looking at William Addams Reitwiesner's book The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (2011), we learn that the Duchess of Cambridge's grandparents were named Valerie and Dorothy, while her great-grandmothers had the names Olive Christiana, Constance, Edith Eliza and Elizabeth Mary. The mother of the duchess is named Carole Elizabeth, and the duchess herself Catherine Elizabeth. In other words, it is quite possible to give names that combine the traditions of both the British Royal Family and the Middleton family (and Goldsmith and Lupton etc.). Catherine's sister is named Philippa Charlotte, by the way ... Hopefully the Cambridges will not let us wait for too long for the names to be announced.

Updated: 4 May 2015 at 4.05 p.m. (missing word inserted in second last paragraph).

29 April 2015

New Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Longest reigns page updated

King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who succeeded King Abdullah on 23 January 2015, today appointed his newphew Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz, b. 1959, as the new Crown Prince. The king's half-brother Muqrin held the position of Crown Prince from 23 January until today. According to the royal order, Muqrin was relieved of his post "upon his own request".

The change means that when Crown Prince Mohammed one day succeeds to the throne, he will be the first king who is not a son of the monarchy's founder, King Ibn Saud (Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud) (appr. 1876-1953).

By the same royal order, King Salman's son Prince Mohammed was appointed Deputy Crown Prince.

Because of the changes in Saudi Arabia, I have earlier this evening updated my Longest reigns page.