28 April 2016

Genealogen no. 1, 2016

The latest issue of Genealogen, the newsletter of Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (The Norwegian Genealogical Society) has just arrived. The society celebrates its 90th anniversary this year (on 26 October 2016), which is commented on in chairman Rune Nedrud's column. Nedrud is also the editor-in-chief of the newsletter, assisted by Carsten Berg Høgenhoff. The newsletter comes out twice a year, just like the society's other periodical, Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift.

The photo on the front page, taken by Høgenhoff, shows the viking ship Saga Oseberg in front of the Oslo opera house. Høgenhoff has also taken a similar photo of the Saga Oseberg viking ship and Akershus Fortress and City Hall which was used for the front cover of Genealogica & Heraldica. Influence on Genealogy and Heraldry of Major Events in the History of a Nation. Proceedings of the XXXIst International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences. Oslo 2014, which was published by Slektshistorisk Forlag (owned by Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening) in late 2015. A short presentation of the book, including its contents, can be found on Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki. The Proceedings are reviewed in Genealogen no. 1, 2016 by the historian Tor Weidling. The congress itself is also commented on in an article by Hans Cappelen.

In the latest issue you can also find among others the following articles:
  • Setesveiner i Fosen («Setesveins in Fosen») by Per Ola Sollie (for an explanation of «setesvein», go to Wikipedia).
  • Rederfamilien Halvorsen («The shipping family Halvorsen») by (the late) Marie Nilssen and Michael Hopstock
  • Jon Simensson Kattevøl – «rundbrenneren» fra Vang («Jon Simensson Kattevøl – «the Casanova» of Vang») by Harald Flaten
  • Fra Brandenburg gjennom Skandinavia og Baltikum til Russland og Storbritannia («From Brandenburg through Scandinavia and the Baltics to Russia and Great Britain» by Elin Galtung Lihaug. The article is based on the lecture the author held at the above-mentioned congress. The article covers among others the von Grabow, Galtung, Pusjkin and Battenberg/Mountbatten families.
I made two contributions this time – reviews of the following titles (book review heading first):
  • «Dahleslekta i Isfjorden»: 
    • Valved, Jostein (red.). Dahleslekta i Isfjorden. Anna og Ole I. Dahle, etterslekt og aner, Oslo: klarahytta.wordpress.com, 2015. ISBN: 979-82-303-2934-4. 
  • «Ny serie med håndbøker i kortform: Släktforskning i Norden»:
    • Nedrud, Rune. Släktforskning i Norge. Grundprinciper och användning av källor, Solna: Sveriges Släktforskarförbund, 2015. ISBN: 978-91-87676-91-8.
    • Christensen, Gitte/Tobiasen, Kathrine. Släktforskning i Danmark. Grundprinciper och källanvändning, Solna: Sveriges Släktforskarförbund, 2015. ISBN: 978-91-87676-92-5.
    • Winter, Ritva. Släktforskning i Finland. Grundprinciper och källanvändning, Solna: Sveriges Släktforskarförbund, 2015. ISBN: 978-91-87676-93-2.
In the first article I review a book on the Dahle family from Isfjorden in Rauma, Møre og Romsdal county. In the second article I comment on a series of genealogy handbooks covering Norway, Finland and Denmark, published by The Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies.

You will also find information about among others the next general meeting, which will take place in Trondheim on 21 May. I left the committee last year, but will of course be present at the meeting. 3 lectures will be held before the the formalities begin.

Updated on Friday 29 April 2016 at 08:40 (second last paragraph added).

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25 April 2016

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.6, December 2015

I received the last issue of volume 18 of Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal during the first week of April, but haven't found the time to comment on it before now. The birth and naming ot the new Prince of Sweden were «more urgent news» and had to come first. I just don't have enough time for blogging, even if I would have loved to write more articles than I do at present. Anyway, returning to ERHJ, Vol. 18.6 is the last bimontly issue, as from Volume 19 it will be published quarterly, as explained in my previous ERHJ article.

The man on the front cover is most likely Grand Duke (of Grand Prince if you like) Konstantin Konstantinovich (1858–1915), who is the topic for one of Coryne Hall's contributions, A Most Accomplished Man. I say most likely, because the magazine doesn't mention it. But judging from other pictures it must be him.

The Konstantin Konstantinovic article starts on page 14. The first article of the present issue is written by Ilana D. Miller, who continues the «Who Is In the Photograph» series, this time with A Gathering in Coburg, showing a photo of Princess Sibylla of Sweden, née Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the Earl of Athlone and his wife Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. As usual we are not only told the story of the people in the first picture, but also get details about their immediate relations. There is not only one photograph in the article, but 8 more, including a portrait of Princess Sibylla's father, Duke Carl Eduard.

Janet Ashton has on several occasions written about royals and WW1. This thime she has chosen the later King Alexander of Yugoslavia as a topic for her article Losing some battles but starting to win a war. Crown Prince Alexander and Serbia's Defeat and Exile.

The historian Diana Mandache, known among others for her books Later Chapters of My Life: The Lost Memoir of Queen Marie of Romania (2004) and Dearest Missy (2011), then tries to explain why Nicholas Medforth-Mills was excluded from the succession to the Romanian throne (i.e. if you think it is up to King Michael personally to change the succession law) in the article HRH Prince Nicholas of Romania. The Lost Prince of Romania. I am afraid I am no wiser after reading it. It is rather sad that the former king has made such a mess of everything.

I have to smile every time I hear the name of Princess Augusta of Cambridge, later Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1822–1916), because I cannot help thinking of her famous remark «A Revolutionary Throne» about Queen Maud in connection with King Haakon VII of Norway's election in 1905 and coronation the year after. Marlene Eilers Koenig has written a nice and long portrait of the British-born Grand Duchess, with many details about the political debate concerning the personal annuity she was to receive after her father's death.

Issue 18.6 also includes two obituaries: Prince Friederich Wilhelm of Prussia (1939–2015) and Duchess Donata of Oldenburg (1950–2015), both written by the publisher and editor, Arturo E. Beéche.

I was also pleased to find several book reviews. The first one is actually called «A Reader's Review», where Martijn Arts has given his thoughs on the Eurohistory publication I did it my way... The Memoirs of Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was launched at the Royal Gatherings in the Hague in November 2015 (ISBN 9781944207007) with the author, Prince Andreas, present. Because the book is published by Beéche, who is also editor of the magazine, he has wisely chosen a person who is not in the publisher's «inner circle» to review the book. The other review is written by Coryne Hall and covers another Eurohistory publication, Royal Exiles in Cannes. The Bourbons of the Two-Sicilies of the Villa Marie-Thérèse by David McIntosh and Arturo E. Beéche (2015, ISBN 9781944207014).

Regarding the memoirs of Prince Andreas, it could be mentioned that they are now also published in German: I did it my way – Die Lebensrinnerungen von Prinz Andreas von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha, ISBN 9781944207069. The publisher is yet again Eurohistory.com,* cf. the Amazon.com entry, but at the Eurohistory Facebook page we were recently told that Prince Andreas and Arturo E. Béeche have established a new company, Prinz von Coburg Verlag, based in Coburg, Germany and owned 50–50 by the said gentlemen. According to the FB page, the company plans «to republish all of Eurohistory’s titles, or at least most of them, in German and market them in the countries where the language is predominant». It seems to be a wise move, as Eurohistory will expand into new markets and get more than one string to it's bow. The local newspaper of Coburg, Neue Presse, wrote, by the way, a large article about the book last Friday, 22 April 2016, Ein tiefer Blick ins Innerste, but it is behind a payment wall.

Finally we get the Royal News section, this time with news from the Imperial, Royal or Princely houses of Albania, Bavaria, Bourbon, Liechtenstein, Savoy (Italy), Auersperg-Trautson, Croy, Leiningen, Waldburg of Zeil and Trauchburg and Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.

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

For earlier articles on the magazine, please go here.

* Postscript Sunday 1 May 2016 at 21:30: Arturo Beéche has explained in a message today that the German version of Prince Andreas' memoirs was published before he and Beéche formed the Verlag and therefore the edition came out under the Eurohistory logo. Every further cooperation will come out under both logos, Eurohistory and Prinz von Coburg Verlag.

Updated on Sunday 1 May 2016 at 21:30 (postscript added).

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21 April 2016

HRH Prince Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland

Many «royalty watchers» seem to have been taken by surprise when the name of the newborn son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden was announced in the Council of State at the Royal Palace in Stockholm today: Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil. Not like the «bombshell» created when Princess Estelle's name was announced back in 2012, however.

Even though the name Alexander, which will be in daily use, is new to the royal family of Sweden, it is at least an often-used name in royal Europe. There are plenty of examples from Russia, Germany (including Prince Carl Philip's second cousin Prince Alexander of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). Serbia as well as the Netherlands, and even Denmark. Olav of Norway was named Alexander before he became Crown Prince of Norway, remember. The parents of the 2 days' old prince might tell later why they chose Alexander. Most likely they were not thinking about any royal name bearers in particular, but just happened to like the name. It is a rather common name in Sweden, as it as of 1 January 2016 ranks as no. 28 on the list of the most popular male names, according to the Statistics Sweden.  As many as 77 817 men have Alexander as one of their given names, while 35 771 have Alexander as their call name. The numbers for the alternative spelling Aleksander are 1262 and 658 respectively.

I was pleased to see Erik as one of the other given names. Several kings have bore the name, as well as King Gustaf V's youngest son Erik Gustaf Ludvig Albert, Duke of Västmanland (1899–1918). Erik is also the name of Princess Sofia's father Erik Oscar Hellqvist. King Carl Gustaf's fourth given name is Hubertus, which explains the young Prince Alexander's third name. King Carl Gustaf got Hubertus from his maternal uncle Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1909–1943). Bertil of course comes from the king's uncle and Prince Carl Philip's sponsor Prince Bertil (1912–1997).

An interesting point, as made by Robert Warholm at the Facebook group Kungligt forum today, is that the three princes Nicolas (Paul Gustaf), Oscar (Carl Olof) and Alexander (Erik Hubertus Bertil) all have got one of their names from their grandfather King Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus. So maybe we can expect Folke as one of the given names if another prince comes along?

Prince Alexander was also assigned the duchy of Södermanland (Sudermania). The last duke of Södermanland was Prince Wilhelm (1884–1965), second son of King Gustaf V (and the elder brother of Prince Erik mentioned above).

The current line of succession to the throne of Sweden is as follows:
  1. Crown Princess Victoria (1977)
  2. Princess Estelle (2012)
  3. Prince Oscar (2016)
  4. Prince Carl Philip (1979)
  5. Prince Alexander (2016)
  6. Princess Madeleine (1982)
  7. Princess Leonore (2014)
  8. Prince Nicolas (2015)
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19 April 2016

Sweden: Royal birth

The Marshal of the Realm announced tonight that Princess Sofia, wife of Prince Carl Philip, had given birth at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd municipality, Stockholm County, earlier in the evening:
The Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce that HRH Princess Sofia gave birth to a healthy child on April 19 at 6.25 p.m. at Danderyd hospital.

Both mother and child are in good health.

Svante Lindqvist  Marshal of the Realm
More details, like the gender, length and weight, were left to the press conference which Prince Carl Philip held at 21.30.

At the press conference the proud father could inform that he and Princess Sofia had become parents to a boy, who was born at 18.28, weighed 3595 grams and was 49 cm long. In the press statement released soon after the gender was announced, the time of birth was still given as 18.25, but Prince Carl Philip said loud and clear that the time was 18.28. Not that 3 minutes' difference is that important, but for the record... Midwife Anna Ståhl and birth doctor Sophia Brismar Wendel assisted at the birth. They also assisted at the birth of Prince Nicolas (the son of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill) in 2015.

The newborn prince is no. 5 in the line of succession to the Swedish throne, after his father Carl Philip, but before his aunt Princess Madeleine. The prince is King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia's third grandson and fifth grandchild.

Prince Carl Philip married Sofia Hellqvist on 13 June 2015. The pregnancy was announced on 15 October 2015.

As far as I understand it, and as mentioned by Aftonbladet, the Council of State, in which the name of the prince and his dukedom, will be announced on Wednesday 20 April 2016 (to be confirmed).*

The Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven sent his congratulations soon after the birth was announced:
– Mina varmaste gratulationer till prinsessan Sofia och prins Carl Philip som i dag har blivit föräldrar. Jag önskar dem all lycka, säger statsminister Stefan Löfven.
(– My warmest congratulations to Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip who today have become parents. I wish them all happiness, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven says.)
* Postscript 19 April 2016 at 23:50: After my article above was published, it was announced that the Konselj (Council of State) will take place on Thursday 21 April 2016 at 11.15 a.m.

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13 April 2016

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 1, 2016

I received the latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly – no. 1, 2016 – a couple of weeks ago. On the front page of every issue we get the introduction line, «Started in 2006, Royalty Digest Quarterly is a journal devoted to the history, genealogy and images of the Royal Families of Europe». In other words, the magazine, which took over the reigns after the UK-based Royalty Digest ceased to exist in 2005, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. It is a quality magazine which I look forward to receiving and reading – and commenting on in my blog!

In his Editor's Corner, Ted Rosvall has this time not surprisingly decided to focus on the events of 2 March 2016, when Prince Johann Georg «Hansi» of Hohenzollern died and Prince Oscar of Sweden was born. The last paragraph of his editorial column is especially interesting: «Not everyone rejoices though. Several columnists and angry journalists now holler about how the Royal Family has grown by leaps and bonds and that it is [on] high time to call a halt to this uncontrolled fertility. «How many ribbon cutters do we need?» one newspaper exclaimed. My counter question is: How many unprofessional, offensive and opportunistic journalists can we stomach?»

The newspapers, their journalists and correspondents are of course using their constitutional right to speak out and express their critical views of the monarchical institution and the royal house. But I don't appreciate the timing of their writing. Let the royal family and its supporters be allowed to enjoy the happy news a day or two. No need for fun killing! There are many other days in the year the republicans can speak out. And shouldn't they be concerned more about the principles rather than directing such personal comments towards the royal family?

Anyway, the Royal House of Great Britain is the topic for Charlotte Zeepvat's Family Album this time, something that explains the portraits on the front cover: Mary, Queen of Scots and her son King James VI of Scotland. The history of the English/Scottish/British monarchy is long, so Zeepvat limits the first part of her presentation to The Journey to Hanover, which takes us from Alfred the Great to Queen Anne (1665–1702–1714). As usual the family album includes an impressively large number of portraits of the royals – 86 i all – in addition to a photo of Hampton  Court Palace and a drawing of Windsor Castle. As well as genealogical tables showing the Houses of Tudor and Stewart and of the descendants of James VI of Scotland and I of England.

Before we get to the family album, Marlene A. Eilers Koenig gives her presentation and analysis of the Royal Marriages Act, clearing up a few misunderstandings on the way. Leaving the British Isles for a while, Coryne Hall takes the readers to Malmaison – 'The Prettiest Property I know' and the story of Josephine Bonaparte's country home.

I have in earlier comments on the Royalty Digest Quarterly and the European Royal History Journal asked for more articles about «lesser-known» royal and princely houses, and Charlotte Zeepvat doesn't disappoint me with her article When Royalty Take an Interest in Royalty. Here we meet Prince Wilhelm Karl of Ysenburg and Büdingen (Dr. Wilhelm Karl Prinz von Isenburg) (1903–1956), who published several genealogy works, but is also know for his interests in and works on among others Rassenreinheit, «racial purity».

Luis Fernando de Orleans y Borbón, Infante of Spain. Photo: Bain News Service/Wikimedia Commons.

Lucas Szkopinski's article Drugs, sex and an Infante of Spain is as entertaining as the title suggests. It tells the tragic story of Luis Fernando of Spain (1888–1945), second and youngest son and child of Infante Antonio of Spain, Duke of Galliera (1866–1930) and Infanta Eulalia of Spain (1864–1958): «Luis, often wearing heavy make-up and dressed as a woman, became a key figure in Parisian social life». According to the article, «Everybody knew him because his range of friends was vast: from Royalty to the employees of most of the gay brothels». Szkopinski gives an honest and balanced portrait of the turbulent and scandalous life of a royal hardly anyone, even the most accomplished students of royal genealogy and history, has heard about.

Ove Mogensen from Denmark has traveled all over the world in his «hunt» for royal gravesites, and his knowledge of the history of these memorials are impressive. He has finally made a contribution to RDQ with his article The Royal Burial Places in the Riddarholm Church in Stockholm. The church was closed when I visited the Swedish capital for the first (and still only) time in 2006. After reading the article I am more eager than ever to visit Stockholm again in order (among others) to visit the church and the to see the royal resting places there.

The last column, The World Wide Web of Royalty, gives us this time news from the Imperial, Royal or Princely Houses of Austria, Great Britain, Hohenzollern, Leiningen, Paar, Salm-Salm, Solms-Laubach, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Spain, Sweden and Windisch-Graetz.

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentation of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.

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3 April 2016

Gravesite of Sonja Henie, Høvikodden, Bærum, Norway

The Norwegian figure skater and film star Sonja Henie (1912–1969) is together with her husband, shipowner and art collector, Niels Onstad (1909–1978), buried at a small hill top overlooking the Henie Onstad Art Museum at Høvikodden in Bærum outside Oslo. The couple donated its art collection and money to the keeping of a museum to a foundation established in 1961, while Bærum municipality provided the property where the museum is located. The museum was opened in 1968.




 From the gravesite the museum's main entrance can be viewed.

The gravestone «is hiding» behind the wilderness at the small hill in the background. There is no sign telling how to find the private gravesite.

All photos: © 2016 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

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31 March 2016

Norway: 26 MPs in favour of republic, 137 against

The members of the Storting, the Norwegian Parliament, voted today over a constitutional bill (Dokument 12:10 (2011-2012)) to change the form of government from monarchy to republic. The bill, which traditionally is put forward by the Socialistic Left Party* every fourth year or so, got 28 votes, which later were corrected to 26, as two MPs had voted in error.

This was the 12th (or was it the 13th?) time the Storting has voted over the question about the form of government. There was of course never any danger of a constittional majority for such a bill, but is is nevertheless a way for the republican minority to demonstrate their principles and to initiate a debate. Or to put it another way, the 137 MPs who voted against the bill demonstrated how strong the people's support of the monarchical form of government still is. Of course, if Norway had decided to start from scratch, a republic certainly would have been established. But that is exactly the point. A majority of the people don't want to throw away a thousand years of tradition and history. The majority of MPs mirrors the wish of the people.

If the bill had got a constitutional majority (2/3), the republic would not have been adopted right away, as the proposal said that the bill would come into force on 1 January the year after the people had voted in favour of the bill in a referendum The referendum should take place no later than 31 September 2017.

As explained at the website of the Storting, a «proposal to amend the text of the Constitution must be submitted to the Storting during one of the first three years of a four-year parliamentary term. Even if the right of initiative belongs to the government, such proposals are normally presented by individual members of Parliament. Such proposals cannot be considered by the Storting until one of the first three years of the next parliamentary term, a system that provides an opportunity for the electorate to have its say through the election of the new Parliament. The proposal is considered by the Storting in a sitting in which at least two-thirds of the members of the Storting must be present to constitute a quorum. Of these, at least two-thirds must vote in favour of the proposal in order for it to be adopted.»

Of the 26 MPs who voted in favour of the republican bill, 16 MPs represented the Labour Party, 6 the Socialist Left Party and 3 the Liberals. The remaining vote was made by a member of the Conservative Party. 137 MPs voted against the bill, while 6 MPs were not present in the Storting today.

In 2010 17 MPs voted in favour of the bill (Dokument nr. 12:3 (2007-2008)), while 125 were against. In March 2013 the Storting debated a proposal to start a process leading to the introduction of a republic, but the proposal only got 11 votes (against 83). An alternative proposal got 17 votes (against 75).

*Traditionally the republican bill has been put forward by members of the Socialist Left Party only, but this time also four members of the Labour Party were behind it.

Updated on Thursday 31 March 2016 at 22.05 (number of Labour MPs behind the proposal corrected).

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