10 March 2019

UK: Scottish title for the Earl of Wessex

Buckingham Palace announced today, 10 March 2019, which is the 55th birthday of the Earl of the Wessex, the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II, that he had received an additional title:
The Queen has been pleased to grant The Earl of Wessex the additional title of Earl of Forfar.
In the «Notes for Editors» section, the Earl's Scottish connections, such as being a patron of several Scottish charitable organisations etc., are pointed out. From the notes we also learn that:
Their Royal Highnesses will use the title The Earl and Countess of Forfar when in Scotland.

The Earldom of Forfar was created in 1661 and became extinct as a title in 1715. It was a subsidiary title to the Earl of Ormond and was a title held by the Douglas Family.

The 1st Earl of Forfar (1653 to 1712) was Archibald Douglas. His son, also Archibald Douglas, became the 2nd Earl of Forfar (1692 to 1715). The 2nd Earl took the title at the age of 20 and died without issue leaving the Earldom, part of the Peerage of Scotland, extinct.

Forfar is the county town of Angus with a population of just over 14,000. It is the principal county town nearest to Glamis Castle, the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It was this family of which the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was part.
According to Michael Rhodes, who is behind the blog Peerage News, the Earl of Wessex is «a fifth cousin nine times removed of the previous holder of that peerage».

Just for the record, as there are so many misconceptions concerning the Earl of Wessex and the future title of Duke of Edinburgh, let me quote the press statement released at the day the Earl of Wessex married Sophie Rhys-Jones on 19 June 1997:

TITLE OF HRH THE PRINCE EDWARD The Queen has today been pleased to confer an Earldom on The Prince Edward. His titles will be Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn. The Prince Edward thus becomes His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales have also agreed that The Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title now held by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown. The Queen has also decided, with the agreement of The Prince Edward and Miss Rhys-Jones, that any children they might have should not be given the style His or Her Royal Highness, but would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an Earl. To be released at 12 noon BST Saturday 19th June, 1999.
The Prince of Wales as the eldest son of the title holder is the present heir to the title Duke of Edinburgh. This mean that the Prince of Wales will inherit the title on the death of his father. If this happens while the Queen is still alive, the Prince of Wales will just add the Duke of Edinburgh title to his other titles. When he becomes King, the title will merge with the Crown.  If Prince Philip outlives the Queen, then the title will eventually pass on to the Prince of Wales, but as he by then is already the King, the title will merge with the Crown. Only then the title can be recreated for the Earl of Wessex.

5 March 2019

UK: Buckingham Palace issues Social Media Community Guidelines

On 4 March 2019 Buckingham Palace issued the following press statement concerning the new «Social Media Community Guidelines»:
These guidelines are in place to help create a safe environment on all social media channels run by The Royal Family, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.

The aim of our social media channels is to create an environment where our community can engage safely in debate and is free to make comments, questions and suggestions.

We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities.

In order to help create this safe environment we have set out some guidelines which apply to any engagement with us or other members of the community on any of our social media channels.

By engaging with our social media channels you agree to follow these guidelines.

Comments must not:
  • Contain spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence.
  • Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • Breach any of the terms of any of the social media platforms themselves.
  • Be off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible.
  • Contain any advertising or promote any services.
Breach of guidelines

We reserve the right to determine, at our discretion, whether contributions to our social media channels breach our guidelines. We reserve the right to hide or delete comments made on our channels, as well as block users who do not follow these guidelines.

We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.
The Telegraph explains the new formal guidelines with the «escalating abuse of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex» in social media, and adds that «On Twitter and Instagram, the comments section has regularly descended into abuse of both Duchesses, with the Duchess of Sussex subjected to racist comments on top of the sexist and offensive words aimed at both her and the Duchess of Cambridge.»

The Telegraph also refers to the ongoing «war» between the «supporters» of the two duchesses. I have noted that many Boardhost forum regulars and others have also been dragged into this conflict. I am happy to stay out of it! Another matter is how this «Sussex vs. Cambridge war» goes against the very concept of monarchy. Many of the «warriors» seem to have a very shallow understanding of monarchy, monarchism and the roles of the royals.

I don't think the lack of formal guidelines would have stopped the British Royal Court from blocking or reporting offensive postings, but at least from now on the trolls and haters can not claim that they have not been warned!

Titles for the Emperor and Empress of Japan following abdication

Preparations are under way for the abdication of Emperor Akihito of Japan on 30 April 2019. One question that naturally has arised is what to call them afterwards.

Last week The Japan Times wrote, with the Imperial Household Agency as the stated source, that Emperor Akihito will be referred to as «Emperor emeritus», while his wife, Empress Michiko will use the title «Empress emerita». The Japanese equvialents will be jōkō (上皇) and jōkōgō (上皇后) respectively.

The similar practice in Europe varies. While the Dutch monarchs traditionally reverts to the title of prince or princess* following abdication, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Albert of the Belgians and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg are still titled King or Grand Duke respectively, but they are of course not HM The King or HRH The Grand Duke anylonger. A parallell to Japan would be the Roman-Catholic Church, where Pope Benedixt XVI is referred to as «supreme pontiff emeritus».

* The three monarchs prior to King Willem-Alexander were all women – Queen Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix respectively – and they all reverted to the title of Princess of the Netherlands following their abdication. I mention the title prince the just for «the sake of balance and equality» and because I expect that King Willem-Alexander will use the title of Prince again if he should decide to abdicate some time in the future. As far as I know, the first King of the Netherlands, Willem I, continued to use the title King following his abdication in 1840.

31 January 2019

New Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia; Longest reigns page updated

The closest I got to the Royal Palace (Istana Negara) in Kuala Lumpur ... © 2004 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The Sultan of Pahang, Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, was sworn in as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King/Head of state) of Malaysia  in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, today, following his election by the Conference of Rulers last Thursday. At the same time the Sultan of Perak, Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, took the oath following the re-election as Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Deputy King/Head of state).

The previous king, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated the throne on 6 January 2019, and the Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong acted as Head of state until today.

The new Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, b. 30 July 1959, succeeded as Sultan of Pahang as recent as 15 January 2019 following the abdication of his father, Sultan Ahmad. Abdullah has been married to Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, b 5 August 1960, since 6 March 1986. His second wife, since 1993, is named Cik Puan Julia Aisha binti ‘Abdu’llah, b. 1971. His first wife will act as the official consort (titled Raja permaisuri Agong). The Sultan of Pahang has six children by his first wife and three by his second, cf. The Royal Ark. In addition he has also two adopted sons born prior to his children by his first wife.

The new King is described as a huge football fan and a supporter of the English football team Arsenal FC. According to the newspaper The Star, «Sultan Abdullah, who is quite a skilful midfielder in football, is just as adept at hockey, tennis, golf, horse riding, scuba diving, squash and polo».

Today's events in Kuala Lumpur means that I have updated my Longest reigns (current monarchs) page. If nothing happens in the meantime, the website will be updated again in late April when the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, abdicates.

18 January 2019

Another abdication in Malaysia, new Sultan of Pahang to become the new King?

The 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State/King) of Malaysia, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated on 6 January 2019 and returned to his home state of Kelantan, while the Deputy Head of State, the Sultan of Perak, in accordance with the Constitution stayed in the capital to exercise  the  functions of  the Yang di-pertuan Agong until the Conference of Rulers elected the new King. The election will take place on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Malaysia has a rotation system by which the king is elected for a five-year-period among the 9 rulers. At the time of the abdication, The Straits Times wrote that «[...] the next in line is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, 88, followed by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, 60, and then Sultan Nazrin Shah from Perak, 62. Sultan Ahmad Shah is not in good health and his son has been Regent for two years.»

Since my blog article of 7 January, I haven't really paid enough attention to the news from Malaysia. Today I learnt that the Sultan of Pahang, Ahmad Shah, b. 1930, abdicated the sultanate throne on 15 January 2019 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah. Ahmad Shah became Sultan of Pahang in 1974 and served as the 7th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia from 1979 to 1984. His son Abdullah, b. 1959, had the role as regent in the meantime.

The Straits Times wrote on 15 January that «The installation of Sultan Abdullah puts him in line to become the next Malaysian constitutional ruler under the rotation system practised by the nine Malay royal houses.» Next Thursday we will know for sure.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway's confirmation

Photo: © 2018 HKH. Kronprinsen/HRH The Crown Prince.

The Royal Norwegian Court announced today that Princess Ingrid Alexandra will be confirmed in the Palace Chapel at the Royal Palace on Saturday 31 August 2019.

According to the press release, the princess is receiving her confirmation instruction with Asker Church congregation under the direction of Provost Tor Øystein Vaaland and acting Vicar Karoline Astrup.

The confirmation service in the Palace Chapel will be led by the Bishop of Oslo, Kari Veiteberg, and the Praeses of the Norwegian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien.

The christening of Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who turns 15 on Monday 21 January 2019, took place in the Palace Chapel on Saturday 17 April 2004. She was carried to the christening font by her grandfather, King Harald. Her other sponsors were King Felipe of Spain (then Prince of Asturias), Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, her aunt Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her grandmother Marit Tjessem.

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2018

The front cover of the latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 4, 2018) is blue and beautiful, and in the photo we can se the royal family of Montenegro in around 1910, the year when the principality was declared a kingdom. I have happy memories of my visit to Montenegro and the former capital of Cetinje in 2009. I will come back to this later in the blog article.

So, what is on the mind of the editor, Ted Rosvall, this time? He starts with mentioning the 100th birthday of Princess Woizlawa Feodora Reuss and then lists other royals (by birth or by marriage) who reached the same milestone. Members of royal as well as princely and mediatized families are included. Strictly speaking I wouldn't have included Elsa Cedergreen, née Bernadotte Countess of Wisborg, as she was only a decendant of the Swedish royal family, but I will leave it at that.

The first article, 'The Blue Flower' a Romanian Mystery, is written by the magazine's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat. She writes about, and make extracts, of a collection of postcards signed by «Floare Albastra».While her identity is never disclosed, she obviously was close to the Romanian royal family and court.

Then Ove Mogensen follows up with the second part of his series Tombs, Graves and Monuments. Burial Places of the Bonaparte Dynasty. My, my, hasn't he been all over the place! Would love to visit some of the places as well as the graves he has visited.

Another regular contributor, Marlene A. Eilers Koenig, has researched and written the story of the American-born Nonnie May Stewart (1878–1923), who in 1920 married Prince Christopher of Greece (1888–1940), youngest son of King George I and Queen Olga, née Grand Princess of Russia. Prince Christopher was her third husband. Funny how she lied about her age to make her closer in age to her husband. As of today, her Findagrave.com entry still gives her birth year as 1883 ...

The front cover photo obviously reveals which royal family Charlotte Zeepvat will cover this time in her Family Album series. I find the history of the former royal familiy of Montenegro to be one of the most fascinating ones, and once again I cannot say how much I enjoyed my visit in 2009, three years after the former monarchy regained its independence. Following a 3 pages long historical introduction, the readers can enjoy 61 illustrations besides the photo of the royal palace and a map. And of course, there is a genealogical table as well.

Here is a small collection from my own visit to Cetinje in 2009, the first two shows the royal palace, the third was taken of the chapel in which King Nikola I and Queen Milena were reburied in 1989. I was not allowed to take photos inside. The last two photos show the birth house of King Nikola in the village of Njeguši. There is a museum inside.

Photos: © 2009 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The royal palace in Cetinje is open for tours, but you are not allowed to visit by your own, only groups are allowed. At least that was the case in 2009. So I had to wait half an hour or so until a group of Russian tourists arrived and I could join them for the sightseeing. I was the only one who left money in the book shop, though. I bought lots of cards as well as the book The Court of King Nikola by Milan Jovićević, Anđe Kapičić and Tatjana Jović, published by The National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje in 1999.

Of course I took loads of photos during my visit to Cetinje (and other royalty-related places), including many tombs, but I will have to come back with another article on this later on. It is on time, considering the fact that it is close to 10 years since my visit! Then again, my visit to Norse, Texas in 2005 was covered as late as in 2018, so I guess it is never too late ...

Returning to the article and specifically the genealogical table for a minute, I note that Zeepvat and Rosvall list two daughters of Prince Boris of Montenegro, Milena, b. 2008, and Antonia, birth year not given, while An Online Gotha only mentions Milena. Has the birth of Antonia never been officially confirmed? I know that it is almost impossible to get any news or any information at all about the present head of the royal family, Prince Nikola, and his children and grandchildren. With no male heirs (after Boris) in sight, the house seems destined to die out with him.

The article The November 1918 Abdications, part I by Bearn Bilker gives a presentation of abdications of Emperor Wilhelm II and the monarchs of the various kingdoms, duchies and principalities of the German Empire. It was a good idea to write such an article, and I look forward to the follow-ups.

I have never really understood the fascination for Sisi, the Empress of Austria (1837–1898). I think other members of the imperial family of Austria are far more interesting. But of course there are many aspects of Empress Elisabeth's life which are interesting to pay attention to, and the story of her property at Corfu, Greece, A Fairytale Palace on Corfu. I: The Achilleion and Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Stefan Haderer, is at least new to me and is worth reading.

Then Coryne Hall is back with her Little-Known Royals series, this time writing about Princess Therese of Bavaria (1850–1925), younger (and only) sister of King Ludwig III. I have earlier put a question marks of some of the royals covered in this series, but Princess Therese certainly deserves to be included. But I am sure there are many Bavaria experts out there who will disagree with me ...

Last, but not least, The World Wide Web of Royalty column, is put at the end of the magazine again. The column lists genealogical news of the Imperial, Royal, Princely and/or mediatized families of Europe and this time we are treated with news from Austria, France, Reuss, Romania, Schönburg-Hartenstein, Sweden and Two Sicilies.

Now I just have to remember to renew my subscription!

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.  

Updated on Sunday 20 January 2019 at 14.15 (grammatical error corrected).