29 October 2011

Hoelseth.com: 'Longest reigns' page updated

Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia died on Saturday 22 October 2011 in New York City and was buried in the Al-Oud cemetery in Riyadh on Tuesday 25 October. 3 days later Saudi Arabia's interior minister, Prince Nayef Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, b. 1933, was appointed as the country's new Crown Prince. He was also named prime minister, a position he will hold in addition to his post as interior minister.

In connection with the changes to the Saudi succession I have updated my website Longest reigns, which is a survey of the longest reigns among the reigning monarchs today.

The website will soon be updated once again, as Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, the Sultan of Kedah, was recently elected by the Council of Rulers to be the next Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia. The Sultan of Kedah will succeed as King on 13 December 2011. The Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V, will at the same time be installed as the next Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


26 October 2011

Princess Tatiana of Greece is pregnant

Princess Tatiana of Greece, née Blatnik, wife of Prince Nikolaos of Greece, has confirmed to the Danish magazine Billed-Bladet that she is expecting their first child in the spring of 2012.

Prince Nikolaos is the third child and second son of the former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes. The child will become Their Majesties' tenth grandchild, and would have, if the Greek monarchy had still existed, become no. 8 in the line of succession.

Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana were married at the Greek island of Spetses on 25 August 2010.

Postscript 12 March 2012: In the Billed-Bladet article referred to above the readers were told that Princess Tatiana had "posed" her tummy for the camera and had said "thank you" when the journalist offered his congratulations. Even if the pregnancy was never officially announced, I gathered that it would be strange if the princess didn't understand what the journalist was congratulating her on, and that she didn't want the publicity such an official announcement might lead to. However, according to a message by Stephanie at the Scandinavian Royals Message Board today, she has been in contact with the office of the former King of the Hellenes, which informed her that Princess Tatiana is not pregnant. Similar information has also been posted at the Nobiliana Forum. I can only say that I am sorry that I have contributed to passing on such false information. Normally I am rather critical about passing on information from unofficial sources, so I can only hope that I will get back to my normal standard in the future.

Updated on Monday 12 March 2012 at 23:45 (postscript added); Tuesday 13 March 2012 at 08:45 (postscript text slightly modified), last time Wednesday 2 January 2013 at 18:50 (one correction to the postscript).

23 October 2011

England weekend October 2011

Last weekend (14-17 October 2011) I made my second trip to England this year. Last time was in April when I for the first time attended the Royalty Weekend in Ticehurst, East Sussex. I also spent one day in London, meeting friends and doing some shopping. It was the first time for a very long time that I visited England without watching at least one football (soccer) game. During the Royalty Weekend my English favourite team, Norwich City, played Swansea City away and lost 0-3, so I guess it didn't matter that much that I focused on royal history instead of travelling to Wales!

Carrow Road, Norwich. City Stand in the background.

Fortunately I got a chance to see football in England again in October because Supporterunionen for Britisk Fotball (SBF) (The Supporters' Union of British Football), which is the umbrella organisation for all the Scandinavian supporters' clubs following various British football teams, invited representatives of the membership clubs to an anniversary trip in connection with the organisation's 25th anniversary.

I was chairman of the Norwich City Supporters' Club of Scandinavia (NCSCS) from 1983 to 1996 and returned to the committee in June this year, now as an ordinary member. As none of the other members of the NCSCS committee were able to represent the supporterts' club that particular weekend, I got the chance instead. I was actually present when the SBF was founded back in 1986, so I guess it was only natural that I joined the other supporters' club representatives for the football weekend.

Marc Tierney ready for a throw-in.

On Saturday 15 October I took the train from London up to Norwich with members of the Capital Canaries, the London-based supporters' club for the Canaries (nick-name of Norwich City). I will not get too much into detail about the football part of the weekend, as I am going to write a piece for our newsletter, The Canary Magazine. But I am happy to tell that my favourites, who won promotion to the Premiership after last season, most deservedly beat Swansea City 3-1! The atmosphere at the stadium was great, and the weather was warm and lovely.
On Sunday the whole SBF group travelled up to Birmingham to watch the Championship game between Birmingham City and Leicester City. The home team won 2-0.

Display of royal biographies at Waterstone's, Piccadilly.

The display included one of the biographies I ended up buying, Young Prince Philip. His Turbulent Early Life by Philip Eade.

On Monday 17 October 2011 I had a few hours to spend in London before heading for Stansted and the flight home to Norway. My shopping round was not so very different from the one I had after the Royalty Weekend in April. I bought a few stamps at the Stanley Gibbons stamps shop at Strand, before visiting the bookstores at Piccadilly - Waterstone's and Hatchard's. I think the latter could do more out of the royal biographies section - the former seems to be more professional regarding how to display news items, but still I spent more time at Hatchard's. One of the reasons might be that one of the employees I have known since the early 1990s was in that day, and I hadn't seen him for quite some time. Always nice with a little chat about royalty!

I bought two biographies which as far as I remember (please correct me if I am wrong) were published after my last visit to London - Nazi Princess. Hitler, Lord Rothermere and Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe by Jim Wilson (Stroud, Gloucestershire: The History Press, 2011) and Young Prince Philip. His Turbulent Early Life by Philip Eade (London: HarperPress, 2011). The latter was actually bought at Waterstone's, as it was signed by the author. Not sure why if was so important to me, though. It is not supposed to contain that much new information, but the topic interested me nevertheless.

I almost regret that I bought Jim Wilson's book. Now, it must be stressed that I have only read a few chapters of the book, but what I have read so far makes me a bit sceptical. With "access to secret British intelligence files, only derestricted and released to The National Archives in 2005, and a large collection of Princess Stephanie's own papers now held in the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University in California" (cf. the introduction), the book seemed promising, but as always it is important how you make use of the sources and how you present the story.

"Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe" refers to the Vienna-born Stéphanie Richter (1896-1972), who in 1914 married Prince Friedrich Franz of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst (1879-1958). After her divorce in 1920, she became "a close confidante of Hitler, Goering, Himmler and von Ribbentrop" (cf. the front inside flap). Stéphanie was born as the daughter of Ludmilla Kuranda, a Jewish woman from Prague, following - according to the biography - an affair with one Max Wiener. Kuranda, or rather Mrs. Richter, who converted upon marriage converted to Catholism, was married to one Johann "Hans" Richter who was in prison serving a sentence for embezzlement, and who accepted the child as his own after he was released.

One thing is that the author ignores the obvious question of the morganatic status of Prince Friedrich Franz's marriage to Stéphanie Richter. She surely kept the Hohenlohe name following the divorce, and she might have used "her title" all along, but as far as I know the marriage was not deemed dynastic. I find it much worse, though, that the author claims in connection with her marriage to Prince Friedrich Franz and the child that was born into the marriage, Franz Joseph, that the true father of the son was Archduke Franz Salvador, Prince of Tuscany (1866-1939) and son-in-law of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, without giving any source for the paternity. It might be true for all I know, but then the author should have told how the information was reached. There is no footnote or any clue whatsoever in the particular paragraph on page 31. Even more funny, on the very same page the author refers to Stéphanie's son as "illegitimate". No, no, no! Even if he was fathered by another man than his mother's husband, he was born into wedlock and was of course legitimate at birth.
Pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant!

Oh well, I will finish the book eventually and might come back with a review later on. My general impression might change, but as of now I am a bit disappointed. I only hope that I will not get similarly disappointed with Philip Eade's biography of the young Prince Philip after having read the first 55 pages! If you have read any of the said biographies, you are of course free to post your thoughts!

After more shopping, I got home to Oslo late Monday evening (17 October). I have travelled a lot recently - among others to Rhodes (Greece), England and Mandal in Southern Norway this weekend - one reason why there has been little time for blogging and website updating. Other reasons are of course family and work commitments etc. I am also going to spend a weekend in Tallinn, Estonia in November, but apart from that I hope to do more blogging from now on, i.e. more frequently than in the last couple of months (I will not make any promises, though!). Besides news items (there was unfortunately no time to write about the Bhutanese Royal Wedding of 13 October or Princess Märtha Louise's 40th birthday celebration in September, but the initiatives to change the Danish Constitution and the British Act of Settlement can easily be commented on later on), I have numerous cemetery visits to write about - could be as many as 30, 40 articles, I think (graves and cemeteries in Norway, Denmark, the United States, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro and the United Kingdom). And from my many travels there are many royal history topics to cover as well!

Postscript 24 October 2011: I forgot to mention yesterday that another biography about Stéphanie von Hohenlohe was published in 2004: Hitler's Spy Princess: The Extraordinary Life of Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe (Stround, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2004, ISBN 978-0750935142). See also Sfluxe.com's article dated 8 December 2010, Sflashback: The Nazi Princess of Pacific Heights.

Postscript 10 November 2011: Tim Allman of the Capital Canaries has mentioned me in his review of the Swansea game (link). Unfortunately he has mixed things up and written that I come from Sweden! Yes, we did talk about Swedish players during the train trip, including Ottosson and Svensson, but we also talked about other Scandinavian football players formerly with Norwich, such as Åge Hareide, today manager of Viking FK, Erik Fuglestad (now at Bryne FK) and Henrik Mortensen (from Denmark).

Postscript 19 December 2011: See Supporterunionen for Britisk Fotball's chairman Trond Fuhre's article about the anniversary trip at www.supporterunionen.no (in Norwegian, but with photo).

Updated on Sunday 23 October 2011 at 22.55 (typo corrected), Monday 24 October 2011 at 08.45 (postscript added), Thursday 10 November 2011 at 23.35 (postscript added), Monday 19 December 2011 at 21.45 (postscript added), last time Friday 23 March 2012 (minor correction).


13 October 2011

Wilmersdorf Cemetery, Berlin, Germany, Part III

Part I and part II.

(32) Wilmersdorf Cemetery in Berlin had many war memorials and war graves. Here is a "denkmal" for the victims of WW1.

(33) WW2.

(34) One of the victims, C. v. Callenberg (b. 17 February 1891, d. 26 April 1945).


(36) WW1 and WW2.


(38) Another WW2 memorial.


(40) The Columbarium at Wilmersdorf. As I have mentioned before, I would like to see similar memorials in Norway as well. The graves in Norway take up too much space.








(48) As I mentioned in part II, I had not made any preparations prior to my visit to the Wilmersdorf Friedhof. Therefore I didn't know of any other graves which could be of interest. The cemetery lists a few honorary graves, which includes Gustav Kemmann, architect of the first subway line in Berlin, the actor Guido Thielscher, the author Fedor von Zobeltitz and the politician Eugen Schiffer.

For photos of the Patzek family grave, a map of the cemetery and for directions, go to
part I. For other graves, go to part II.


12 October 2011

Wilmersdorf Cemetery, Berlin, Germany, Part II

For part I, go here.

(10) At the end of this wall, but on the other side, you will find the Patzek family grave.


(12) I have really tried to find out more of this Vladimir Segline, who I gather was an ice hockey player, but to no avail. There was an Anatoli Seglin, though, who played for the USSR team Spartak Moscow. Might be a Latvian connection.

(13) Grave of the composer Leon Jessel (1871-1942).





(18) The Kalkowski family grave (several politicians).


(20) Grave of "Tante Jenny" ("Aunt Jenny")!



(23) Havestadt.

(24) Feist.

(25) Speck.

(26) More Speck family members (and others).


(28) I should obviously have taken a more complete photo of this family grave, or at least written down the name. Immrath? Ammrath? Hard to tell.

(29) To the left the Bahmer family grave.



I visited the Wilmersdorf Cemetery (Friedhof Wilmersdorf) in Berlin during the last weekend of August, 2011. My main goal for the cemetery visit was to see the grave of Erica Bernadotte, née Patzek, the first wife of Count Sigvard Bernadotte of Wisborg, born Prince of Sweden. As the part I suggests, I didn't know for sure where Erica was buried before I left for Berlin, so I made no preparations for the visit and therefore might have missed several other interesting graves and monuments. The German Wikipedia article brings, for instance, the picture of the baronial von Dincklage family, which I must have missed somehow.

Anyway, it was a beautiful cemetery park, and quite a contrast to the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery which I visited later the same day (I will come back with one or more blog articles about that visit later on).

As already mentioned, for part I of the Wilmersdorf Cemetery series, go here. And yes, there will be a part III as well! [to see part III, go here.]

Updated on Thursday 13 October 2011 at 21.20 (link added).