29 December 2015

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2015

I received the last issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 4, 2015) exactly one week before Christmas Eve, and have speent a large part of this evening reading it. I will probably read several of the articles once more during the new year's weekend, as they deserve to be spent more time on.

Some times the publisher and editor Ted Rosvall uses his Editor's Corner to give his views on a recent royal event, other times he uses a royal event as a jumping-off point for diving into history. In the present issue Rosvall mentions the fairly recent death of Leonid Kulikovsky, a grandson of Grand Princess Olga of Russia (1882–1960), in order to list other members of the Gotha "who have chosen to retire from Royal life in favour of privacy, and sometimes solitude", such as King George IV Adolf of Sweden (1778–1837), Johann Salvator of Austria-Tuscany/Johann Orth (1852–1890?) and Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia (19601994). Thankfully Rosvall didn't mention Alexander Hugo Köhler, by some people believed to be Johann Orth!

The very same day I received the present issue, it was exactly 200 years since Brazil joined with Portugal to form the United Kingdom of Piortugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Claudia Witte gives the background of the union in her article on the bicentenary, and outlines the history of the short-lived union until King João VI left Brazil in April 1821. Brazil's independence was declared the year after and Brazil became an empire.

Charlotte Zeepvat then returns with her traditional family album, this time covering The Royal House of the Netherlands. This also explains the photo on the front cover, which shows Queen Julia of the Netherlands with her family (Prince Bernhard, Princesses Irene, Margriet, Maria Christina and Beatriz) on her inauguration day in 1948. I must say that the history of the House of Orange-Nassau is rather complex, but Zeepvat does well in guiding the readers into the period from 1255 until 2013, and all these years on only three pages! The photo album this time includes 95 photos as well as 4 pages of genealogical tables.

I have been to Munich twice, the first time in the summer of 1987 when I spent 3 weeks there attending a German language course. The Deutsche Bundesbank, which is located at the site once occupied by the palais, was not too far from where I tried to learn more German. I didn't know then, though. Elizabeth Jane Timms gives a good outline of the history of the palais, which was demolished in 193738.

In April next year Dagmar von Arbin, the eldest daughter of Count Carl Bernadotte of Wisborg and the former Baroness Marianne de Geer and thus a great-grandchild of King Oscar II, will celebrate her 100th birthday. Roger Lundgren has used the occasion to make an interview, published in the article Dagmar von Arbin. The next Bernadotte centenarian. I would love to read more such interviews with people who is related to and has so much insight into royalty!

Marion Wynn tells the story of the then Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia's visit to Flete (Flete House at Holbeton, Devon) in 1887, before Charlotte Zeepvat dives into the scandals of Princess Louise of Belgium (18581924), daughter of King Leopold II and married to Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1921) from 1875 to 1906, in the article Her Own Affairs. The extraordinary life of Princess Louise of Belgium. Extraordinary, indeed, What a dreadful life! And that father ... "Louise was severly punished once for eating a peach from the garden, not realising that her father kept careful count of every piece of fruit on the tree". Good grief!

Earlier today I complained that Royalty Digest Quarterly seemed to have stopped publishing book reviews, but that was before I actually looked into the present issue. Because on page 62 Ted Rosvall himself gives a rather critical review of Royal Exiles in Cannes. The Bourbons of the Two Sicilies of the Villa Marie-Thérèse by David McIntosh and Arturo E. Beéche (Eurohistory.com, 2015, ISBN 9781944207014).

Finally, the readers can enjoy the column The World Wide Web of Royalty, with news from the imperial, royal or princely houses of Croy, Erbach-Erbach, Isenburg, Italy, Orsini and Rosenberg, Prussia, Russia, Saxe-Meiningen, Two Sicilies, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee and Waldburg-Zeil-Trauchburg.

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.


Serbia: HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic – At the service of the country

Two days ago the Office of HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic published a rather interesting article on the official website of the Royal Family of Serbia, titled HRH Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic – At the service of the country, which among others tell how much the Crown Prince couple has invested in the Royal Compound over the years.

In the last paragraph we can read that "[...] it makes no sense to respond to ugly tabloid headlines in our newspapers about the financial difficulties in the maintenance of the Royal Compound, but only to list the major activities of TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine, who with their devotion and love for the people Serbia and are entirely at the service of our country."

Still, it would have been interesting to learn what the tabloids actually wrote. And I hope that the Serbian state one day learns the historical value the Royal Compound represents and decides to increase its financial support.

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.4, August 2015

Issue CVI (Volume 18.4) of Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal arrived in mid-December, but I didn't find any time to read it before I traveled back to Oslo yesterday. But what can be better than to be able to read without disturbance on a plane? Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom made the front cover this time, as she on Wednesday 9 September 2015 became the longest-reignng British monarch ever, thus overtaking her great-grandmother Queen Victoria's record. And can you believe it, next year Queen Elizabeth will celebrate her 90th birthday. The first article of the present issue, A Historic Milestone, written by Katrina Warne and Arturo E. Beéche, naturally enough focuses on the record-breaking queen. Should I add a critical comment, it would be that at last to me – it would be make more sense if the article was published in the October issue rather than the August issue, but I might be too pedantic now. Anyway, the other articles included are as follows:
  • Crown Prince Rupprecht. The Best King Bavaria Never Had (Part II) by Coryne Hall
  • Who Is In the Photograph. The Kents by Ilana D. Miller
  • Beatriz, Jaime and Juan. Spanish Royal Marriages in 1935 by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig
  • The Extraordinary Life of Princess Catherine Radziwill. Perfect Liar (Part II) by Greg King and Janet Ashton
  • Obituary. HRH the Prince of Tirnovo by Arturo E. Beéche
Regarding Ilana Miller's photo article, the photo she has chosen as a starting-point for her article shows Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Kent (i.e. Princess Marina), Prince Michael and (current) Duke of Kent.The article includes 6 more photos, I should add.

Greg King and Janet Ashton's article is an analysis of the princess' writings about the Romanovs. The article includes "factual evaluations of some of her claims, pointing out where she demonstrated intimate information, where she slipped into opinion, and where she let spite overtake the truth". The authors continue to say that "we don't pretent to cover each and every contention, whether true or false. In so doing, we also look at the environment in which any given work was published, examining issues of consistency and how she slanted her presentation to accord with contemporary events and attitudes".

Even if not as entertaining as the first part (see my coverage of Volume 18.3), it is nevertheless a thorough and interesting exercise, and I look forward to reading part III.

This time I would like to give three cheers to Coryne Hall, who this time have found time to review as many as 5 publications:
  • Go-Betweens for Hitler by Karina Urbach (Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN: 9780198703662)
  • Michel Romanoff de Russie. Un destin français by Anna Toscano (Editions l'Harmattan, Paris), 2014, ISBN 9782343048475)
  • Royal Love Stories by Gill Paul (Ivy Press, 2015, ISBN 9781782401506) 
  • The Queen's Speech. An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward (Simon & Schuster, 2015, ISBN 9781471151545)
  • Treasures From the Royal Archives by Pam Cllark, Julie Crocker, Allisson Derrett, Laura Hobbs and Jill Kelsey (Royal Collection Trust, 2015, ISBN 9781909741041) 
The publisher should also be applauded for giving so much space for book reviews, especially now when the other royalty magazine, Royalty Digest Quarterly, without any explanation seems to have stopped including them.* For more book reviews, see Marlene Koenig's blog Royal Book News.

Finally the Royal News section gives the readers an update of events in Austria (Tuscany), Baden, Georgia, Hohenzollern, Lippe, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Spain, the United Kingdom, Salm-Salm, Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and Toerring-Jettenbach.

I often forget to comment on the back cover. This time it shows a nice photo of Prince Kardam of Bulgaria (the Prince of Tirnovo) and his wife Miriam, née Ungria y López. Prince Kardam died on 7 April 2015.

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 29 December 2015 at 23:30. The above was written before I read the last issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly. 

20 December 2015

Fødselsmelding for dronning Sonja (birth report for Queen Sonja)

I april 2015 skrev jeg en artikkel om fødselsmeldinger som kilde, og brukte medlemmer av kongefamilien som eksempler. Fødselsmeldingene (eller -anmeldelsene) sendt inn til enten Aker eller Oslo helseråd er arkivert i Oslo byarkiv. Det viste seg at fødselsmeldingen for daværende Sonja Haraldsen, nå dronning Sonja, ikke var å finne verken i 1937-boksen for Aker eller Oslo. En mulig forklaring kan ha vært at meldingen var feillagt, eventuelt  rotet bort og forsvunnet, stjålet eller konfiskert. Det har nok hendt at overivrige byråkrater har fjernet dokumenter som de har ment burde unndras offentlighetens lys, men ettersom jeg har vanskeligheter med å falle for konspirasjonsteorier, antok jeg at ett av de to første forklaringene var mest sannsynlig.

Forleden dag fikk jeg en tekstmelding fra en person som har valgt å være anonym – tekstmeldingen var ikke signert, og mobilnummeret står ikke i noe offentlig register – om at fødselsmeldingen var funnet i en boks merket «Utenbys». Jeg var rask med å kontakte byarkivet, og seksjonsleder Cecilie Lintoft kunne bekrefte i en e-post 16. desember 2015 at «vi for noen år har noen bokser merket «utenbys» i fødselsmeldingene for Oslo, og sikkert for Aker også». Med andre ord må man ha dette i mente når man leter etter fødselsmeldinger sendt inn til enten Aker eller Oslo helseråd i Oslo byarkiv.

Så kan man jo selvsagt begynne å gruble over hvorfor fødselsmeldingen havnet i boksen merket «Utenbys» og ikke i den vanlige Aker-boksen for 1937. Familien Haraldsen bodde vitterlig i Tuengen allé 1 B, som det også fremkommer av fødselsmeldingen. Det kan være at familien hadde midlertidig adresse Berget, Medø ved Røssesund i Tjøme kommune – Haraldsen fikk oppført hytta «på midten av 1930-tallet», ifølge Dagbladet i 1997.

Men familien må ha oppholdt seg på Vinderen i begynnelsen av juli, for følgende står skrevet i Randi Bratteli/Sissel Lange-Nielsens bok Sonja. Norges Kronprinsesse (Oslo: Aschehough, 1983), s.18:
    «Den 4. juli 1937 om eftermiddagen kom de første veene. Det var en stekende varm dag, pappa Haraldsen var på stranden med de to eldste barna. Han kom tilbake i halv-seks-tiden og kjørte sin kone til Røde Kors Klinikk. Det var første gang hun skulle føde på sykehus. De andre barna ble født hjemme, det vanligste på den tiden.
    Den lille gutten som døde [Karl Herman], hadde vært søndagsbarn, og nå var det søndag igjen. Dagny Haraldsen ble så ivrig. Hun ønsket inderlig at det nye barnet også skulle rekke å bli søndagsbarn.
    «Det må vi se å greie,» sa jordmoren.
    Og klokken halv ni kom en liten pike.»
Uansett hvordan man definerer «eftermiddagen», er det lite sannsynlig at Karl August, Haakon og Gry kjørte hele veien fra Tjøme til Vinderen og var fremme kl. 17.30. De ville vel heller ikke oppholde seg så langt fra klinikken så nære den forestående fødselen. Så dette med «Utenbys» kan man fortsette å gruble over. Eventuelt ta opp spørsmålet med Slottet ved leilighet.

Fødselsmeldingen for Sonja Haraldsen bekrefter det meste som er kjent fra før av. Hun ble født 4. juli 1937 kl. 20.30 på Røde Kors Klinikk i Frederik Stangs gate 11/13 i Oslo med foreldre kjøpmann Karl August Haraldsen, f. 5. april 1889 og hustru Dagny, f. 25. november 1898. Bostedsadressen var Tuengen allé 1 B på Vinderen. Sonjas mor hadde født 3 barn tidligere (Haakon, Gry og Karl Herman). Muligens mindre kjent er navnet på jordmoren, Ragnhild Roø.* Hun har jeg foreløbig ikke lykkes med å finne ut noe mer om. Etternavnet har i hvert fall eksistert, jf. et søk på DIS-Norges gravminner og i Aftenposten Arkiv, men noe treff på navnet «Ragnhild Roø» (med forbehold om at jeg har tolket skriften riktig) har jeg ikke fått. Hun kan jo ha vært født etter folketellingen 1910 og så giftet seg etter 4. juli 1937.

Summary in English

In a blog article I wrote in April 2015 about birth reports to Oslo or Aker Health Council, I commented that the birth report for the then Sonja Haraldsen was missing. It has now been found in a separate box labelled «Out of town».

  • Brantenberg, Gerd. «Sonja, 57 år, dronning», i Berggren, Arne/Brantenberg, Gerd/Dahle, Gro/Siegert, Herdis Maria/Tønnessen, Christine. Stemmer ved verdens ende. 86 Tjøme-portretter, Tønsberg : Færder forl., 1999, s. 9–14. [Boken er kun tilgjengelig for de med norske IP-adresser.]
  • Randi Bratteli/Sissel Lange-Nielsens bok Sonja. Norges Kronprinsesse, Oslo: Aschehough, 1983.
* Postskript 21. desember 2015: Kan jordmoren ha rotet til signaturen sin, slik at det som tilsynelatende ser ut som Roø i stedet skal være Røe? For mens man foreløbig ikke har funnet noen god kandidat med navnet Ragnhild Roø, så har gode hjelpere på Digitalarkivets brukerforum pekt i retning av Ragnhild Røe, f. Eidanger 28. mai 1904, jf. folketellingen 1910, datter av skipsreder Cornelius Røe (1856–1910) og Johanne Cathrine (Larsdatter) Larsen (1867–1944). Ragnhild er opplistet som underjordmor i Oslo Adressebok 1937, og giftet seg for øvrig med presten Arne Berge 13. april 1948 (jf. vielsesannonsen i Aftenposten 12. april 1948 nr. 166 s. 5). I vielsesannonsen henvises hun til som «Røde Kors-søster». Ragnhild Berge døde i Horten 3. februar 1988 (jf. dødsannonsen i Aftenposten 4. februar 1988 nr. 57 s. 17) og ligger gravlagt på Vestre gravlund, Oslo. Wikipedia-artikkelen om Arne Berge mangler henvisninger og må derfor leses med et kritisk blikk. Gårds- og slektshistorien for Eidanger, bind 3, er ihvertfall en referanse for informasjon om Cornelius og Johanne Røe, selv om forfatteren ikke fått seg med så mange barn sammenlignet med folketellingen 1910.

Updated on 21 December 2015 (postscript added, typos corrected); 29 December 2015 at 18:45 (typo corrected).

11 November 2015

John Van der Kiste: Dictionary of Royal Biographers (2015)

John Van der Kiste, the well-known author of more than 60 books, the majority being historical or royal biographies, is out with yet another book, Dictionary of Royal Biographers (A & F Publications, 2015, ISBN 9781517115272).

I think it will be a most useful addition to my library, as it will help me with background information on various authors when blogging or writing other articles. It has not always been easy to find information about authors, especially those still living - not everything can be found on the Internet, and it is not always easy to plan ahead and stop by a library before you go home to finish a blog article (you don't always know what you need of information before you start writing).

The dictionary includes presentations of more than 500 authors who have written and published books in English about British or European royalty from the 11th century to the present day. You will find well-known authors like Arturo Beéche, Greg King, Marlene Eilers Koenig, Ted Rosvall, Robert Lacey, Hanna Pakula, Ingrid Seward, Charlotte Zeepvat and Philip Ziegler to mention a few, and lesser known – at least to me – like Adolf Koch and Joachim Kurenberg. Many of the biographers will be presented with birth year (and death year), a short CV and a list of the biographies they have written. Some entries are of course longer and more detailed than others. Not all entries include a birth year, though. This could because Van der Kiste has failed to find it, or that he has been asked by the author to omit it, as he admits in his foreword to have done on some occasions. It is not that the birth year is really needed in all cases, but for the sake of consistency I think he should not have given in to the requests. Some people are taking desire for privacy a bit too far.

The dictionary also includes a section with royal authors of memoirs. Even Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, whose memoirs I did it my way was launched during the conference Royal Gatherings in the Hague last Saturday (7 November 2015), as far as I understand several weeks before the dictionary was published, has got an entry. Quite impressive!

Some times I wonder, though, about how one arranges dictionary entries alphabetically in English. In Norwegian I would for instance have listed Marlene Eilers Koenig under K, not E. Did any of my university teachers mention the alphabetization rules at all, I wonder ...

When limiting the dictionary to biographies published in English one misses out on many biographers who have given important contributions to the genre in the last 10 years, like for instance Tor Bomann-Larsen, Trond Norén Isaksen and many others, but of course one has to limit the extent somehow. The dictionary would need several volumes if also biographies written in other languages should be included. Two Norwegian biographers have been included, though (please tell me if I have overlooked someone) – Tim Greve (1926–1986), author of Haakon VII of Norway: Founder of a New Monarchy (1983), and Clara Tschudi (1856–1945) – as both have got some of their works translated into English. In the dictionary Greve is incorrectly listed as having been born in 1928, though. The death announcements in Aftenposten didn't state his birth year, and even the cemetery register for Haslum, Bærum only gives the death and burial information, but the church book (Johannes, Bergen) states 1926, as also confirmed by the entry in Norsk Biografisk Leksikon. I don't know which source John Van der Kiste has used, but in case he has leaned himself on the English version of Wikipedia, it can explain his mistake.

Concerning King Haakon VII mentioned above, the dictionary does not include Philip Paneth, who wrote the book Haakon VII. Norway's Fighting King in 1944. Not the most important work on King Haakon, though, but worth mentioning.

All in all, I think the dictionary includes the most important biographers and their books on European royalty. Even with some mistakes and omissions, I am confident that the dictionary will be helpful to many writers as well as readers in the years to come.

Updated on 12 November 2015 at 09.32 (word missing in one sentence).

22 October 2015

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.3, June 2015

I received issue CV of Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal earlier in October and finished reading it this week. The issue was delayed due to the printer having a "major press malfunction", as told by Eurohistory's blog on 22 September this year. I hope the magazine will come back on track soon. There is at least no reason to complain much about the magazine's contents, as I really enjoyed reading it.

The front cover shows a photo of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and his family. Most, if not all, of the family members can be identified by comparing with other photos in the article Crown Prince Rupprecht. The Best King Bavaria Never Had (Part I) by Coryne Hall, but I still wish the editor could have given a photo caption on the following page.

The second article is titled  Frederica of Hanover.  A Passionate & Obstinate Princess (Part II) written by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig. The first part was published in issue CIV (Vol. 18.2, April 2015). Frederica (Friederike) (1848–1926) was the 2nd child of King Georg V of Hannover and Queen Marie, née Princess of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1880 she married Baron (Freiherr) Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen (1843–1932) against the wishes of her  family. The marriage was, however, supported by Queen Victoria and other members of the British royal family. All in all a well-researched and well-written article about a princess I would say belong to the group of "lesser-known royals".

Ilana D. Miller is another more or less permanent contributor to the magazine, and this time she continues her series Who Is In The Photograph with the subtitle A Gathering in Hesse, showing Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Margaret of Hesse and by Rhine, née Campbell-Geddes, Landgrave Moritz of Hesse(-Kassel) and Princess Sophie of Hannover, née Princess of Greece and Denmark. The latter is of course an elder sister of Prince Philip, while Moritz was the nephew of Princess Sophie's first husband. Miller then goes on to give a presentation of the said persons and how they are related and interacted.

I have earlier commented that I would like more variation in topics in both the ERHJ and the Royalty Digest Quarterly, as I sometimes have felt that the topics are just circulated. There are so many people from so many royal, princely and mediatised houses to write about! So all of a sudden, Greg King and Janet Ashton appear with the brilliant article The Extraordinary Life of Princess Catherine Radziwill. Perfect Liar. The princess was born as Countess Ekaterina Adamovna Rzewuska in St. Petersburg in 1858 and died in New York City in 1941. She was twice married, first to Prince Wilhelm Radziwill and secondly to Karl Emile Kolb-Danvin, and is known first of all for her many books filled with behind-the-scene details and some times gossips about the various courts of Europe as well as for her extramarital affairs. I have come across her name from time to time due to her writings, but I have never read anything about her, so it was such a thrill so learn so much. Now, Radziwill is of course a well-known princely family, but articles about the family appears less often than articles about the Romanovs and the Windsors, so I was very pleased about the topic. Both well-written and well-researched. And it is only the first part! The authors' analysis of Princess Catherine Radziwill's writings is interesting: "In the last few decades [...] it has become fashionable to dismiss her as completely unreliable. But what is the truth? These books are, by turns, sympathetic, controversial, illuminating and outrageous, and many reflect Catherine's changing views and motivations. Caution is certainly advisable when considering Catherine as a source, yet contrary to current opinion careful analysis now reveals that many do contain accurate information and informed views. Outright rejection of Catherine's books and some of their more uncomfortable content as mere vituperative gossip, as we'll discuss in the second part of this article, does her, and history, a disservice." We really have something to look forward to!

The last article of the present issue, written by the magazine's editor and publisher, Arturo E. Beéche, covers the wedding of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist on 13 June 2015. (Princess Sofia's pregnancy was, by the way, announced by the court on Thursday 15 October while I was on a work trip to Brussels and unable to write about it.) The author mixed up Prince Carl Philip's birth date (9 June 1979) with that of his christening (31 August 1979), but that belongs to the kind of mistakes which one is bound to make from time to time with so many details having to be pressed into two pages. You think one thing and write another. It happens to everyone, including me! The magazine might spend more resources on proof-reading, though, for in the Royal News section we are told that Princess Madeleine's second child, born on 15 June 2015, was named Paul Gustaf. The main name Nicolas was in other words left out. But such mistakes are far from representative when we look on the magazine as a whole.

Then there are book reviews! All written by Coryne Hall:
  • 17 Carnations. The Windsors, the Nazis and the Cover-up by Andrew Morton (Michael O'Mara Books, 2015)
  • Henry VIII's Last Love. The Extraordinary Life of Katherine Willoughby, Lady-in-Waiting to the Tudors by David Baldwin (Amberley Publishing, 2015)
  • Towards the Flame. War and the End of Tsarist Russia by Dominic Lieven (Allen Lane, 2015)
Finally, the traditional Royal News section, and this time the imperial, royal or princely families of Austria-Este, Hannover, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ysenburg and Büdingen as well as Osuna (Spanish ducal family) are covered.

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.

Updated on Wednesday 28 October 2015 at 11 p.m. (typos corrected).

11 October 2015

Åmot Church and Cemetery, Norway

My Hoelseth family has its name from the farm Holset in Åmot in Østerdalen, Hedmark fylke (county). All the Hoelseths living today, both the agnatic and the cognatic lines, descend from my great-great-great-grandfather Tollef Olsen Hoelseth (18251876). Buried together with him are his first wife, Valborg Gudmundsdatter, née Waal (Vål) (18231873) and three of his eight children from his first marriage Anne Tollefsdatter Hoelseth (18541883), Helge Tollefsen Hoelseth (18611875) and Thorvald Victor Tollefsen Hoelseth (18631868).

The photos were taken on the last Saturday of September 2015 when my family and I made a short stop on our way up Østerdalen to Trondheim. I have visited the cemetery several times over the years, but this was my first visit after I bought my present digital camera in 2004. Genealogically speaking there are many interesting graves on the cemetery, so I hope to return some time later to take more photos.

The current church building was set up in 1901 and consecrated the year after. Older photos of the church can be found on Wikipedia. According to a brochure which I received on a previous visit, the old church from 1768, situated at the same place, was demolished in 1899 to make room for a bigger one. Two even older churches were situated on a hill south of the pastoral farm in Åmot.

There are several churches in Norway named Åmot kirke (church), by the way. The church mentioned here is situated at Rena in Åmot municipality. The others Åmot churches are in Nordre Land and Modum.

For more details about my Hoelseth family, see my website.

4 October 2015

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 3, 2015

The last issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly arrived in my mailbox sometime this week while I was on vacation. I haven't read much of it yet, so this will be a short presentation rather than a review. The front cover shows a photo of Queen Marie of Yugoslavia with her sons Tomislav, Andrej (Andrew) and Petar (Peter). The photo is obviously printed because the magazine's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat, this time has chosen Yugoslavia/Serbia as the topic for the traditional photo album. Her article is titled The Royal House of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Two Family Albums, because the article covers both the Obrenovic and the Karadjordjevic dynasties. Besides a four pages long introduction, the article contains 92 illustrations as well as three pages with genealogial tables. The article starts on page 24 and ends on page 55. I have a soft spot for the Eastern European dynasties and I am therefore very pleased about the topic.

The editor and publisher, Ted Rosvall, uses his Editor's Corner to comment on the recent events in Romania, where the former King Michael in August removed the titles and succession rights from his grandson, Nicholas Medforth-Mills. I am not the only person who has questioned the king's decision to set up a new law of succession for his family. I will not comment further on that discussion here, but just want to express how sorry I am for all the mess and negative headlines the king, who earlier was loyal to the principles of a constitutional monarchy, has created in recent years. Well, Romania is a republic now, and the chances of restoration is close to zero, so it is only an academic discussion anyway.

Michael L. Nash has made many contributions to RDQ over the years, and this time he has written the article The Jewels of Portugal. Another well-known royal history author is Coryne Hall, and she has contributed with the article Princess Beatrice, the Isle of Wight's true friend.

Charlotte Zeepvat's second article of the present issue is titled The Terracotta Angel, which deals with sculptural presentations of various royals, a neglected form of portraiture according to the author.

Then follows her second article, the photo album on the Obrenovic and Karadjordjevic dynasties, which has already been mentioned above.

I am not familiar with the name Stefan Haderer, but he seems to come from Austria, and his contribution is titled A highly unusual affair. The topic is the intimate relationship between Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and actress Katharina Schratt.

Finally, the column The World Wide Web of Royalty gives a sample of royal news since the last issue was printed. This time we can read news about the Imperial, royal or princely houses of Altenburg, Austria, Bagration, Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Lippe, Oldenburg, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Solms-Hohensolms-Lich and Solms-Wildenfels. Oh I so much loves the names of the German dynasties!

I have in other words a great reading time waiting for me next week. The only column I miss is the book reviews, as I also commented on last time.

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.

25 September 2015

Princess Kristine Bernadotte's Swedish ancestry

The Norwegian-born Princess Kristine Bernadotte, née Rivelsrud, third wife of Prince Carl Bernadotte (1911–2003), died last year (4 November 2014) in Benalmadena, Spain. When the news of her death was announced on 8 November 2015, I started to explore her ancestry and published my findings at Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki administered by Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, the Norwegian Genealogical Society.

The article is far from finished, but during the weekend of 8–9 November 2014 (and later the same month) I found a lot of new information, among others details about Princess Kristine's Swedish ancestry. Her ancestor no. 20 was a Didrik Bergman, b. around 1804,* who had a child with Maria Jonsdotter Mellberg, b. around 1809.**

In the last issue of VärmlandsAnor, the newsletter of Värmlands Släktforskarförening (Värmland's Genealogical Society), the article Prinsessan Kristine Bernadottes härstamning från den värmlandska släkten Bergman was published («Princess Kristine Bernadotte's descent from the Bergman family of Värmland») (VärmlandsAnor 2015:3, pp. 12–15). The author is Johan R. Honkainen Gyllenspetz. The author says the article should only be regarded as a «delrapport» («part report», section). He has focused on the Bergman family and not the other Swedish lines, but might do more research on Princess Kristine's roots later.

Issue no. 2015/3 can be obtained from the Värmland's Genealogical Society (see link above). The Slektshistoriewiki article will soon be updated with the new details.

* The birth date was corrected in the said article to 1792 (!) (the source I used was incorrect).
** Corrected to 1805.

22 September 2015

New royalty magazine launched: The Crown

The Crown, which presents itself as the international royalty magazine, was launched earlier this month, and Majesty Magazine has finally got some real competition again. The Crown is a so-called spin-off of the Dutch magazine Vorsten, which has been published for more than 40 years in the Netherlands. I definately think it has made a promising start, with many interesting articles.

Having said that, I am not really sure if I am in the magazine's target group. The majority of its readers will most surely be women, and will therefore be expected to have more articles about fashion than I would like. I am not much interested in jewels and tiaras and diadems either, although I admit that these are important parts of a monarchy's history. I generally prefer to read magazines and periodicals with more text and less photos. After all, my main interests within the royalty world is history, especially the constitutional part, and genealogy.

Then again, The Crown needs to be more than a popular science magazine to sell, and certainly not a scholar one. Even though I prefer text to photos, I have to say that the illustrations are great to look at. The 148 pages long magazine is filled with as many as 319 pictures (according to the magazine's website). The photos of the king and queen of Bhutan are, for instance, just stunning.

The magazine can also boast of 25 royal stories, 30 crowns and tiaras, and covering as many as 107 royals. The front page shows the Duchess of Cambridge, followed by the article Catherine, the island princess, which among others deals with the fact that she has little contact with other royal spouses, in contrast to her Scandinavian and Benelux counterparts. I hope the future issues will also have other, non-British, royals on the front page, even if the UK and the USA probably will be the most important market.

In the first issue the current and former monarchies of the UK, Austria, Monaco, Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Württemberg, Bhutan, Jordan, Belgium, Spain and Russia are covered. There are interviews with Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark in connection with the former's 75h birthday celebrations earlier this year (the Prince Consort again insists on how unfair he thinks it is that he is titled Prince Consort and not King Consort!) and Princess Haya, née Princess of Jordan, now wife of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, about the princess's love for horses. The magazine has something to offer for the history interested as well – with articles about Princess Charlotte of Wales (1796–1817), who died in childbirth the year after marrying the future King Leopold of the Belgians, Empress Elisabeth «Sisi» of Austria (about her jewels ...), Napoleon, Josephine de Beauharnais and Czar Alexander I of Russia in the article 2 Emperors & 1 empress, as well as In the footsteps of Napoleon in Paris (and Amsterdam) and finally an article based on Helen Rappaport's book Four Sisters. The Lost Lives of the Romanov Grand Duchesses (Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, of course).

If we could have less articles like Palace Power Heels (!), Fashion: dresses for the little princesses, The Princess Royal's fashion sense, No tiara but ... (about royal brooches! – then again not a bad idea as an alternative to all the tiaras and diadems) and Fashionable queens and princesses and more articles like Bhutan's beautiful King & Queen (although there certainly are more to them than just beauty) and Three new kings within a year: the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, then I would be happy. But again, I don't think I am in the target group. Still. can we hope for articles about the sultanates in Malaysia and the kingdoms of Morocco, Lesotho and Cambodia, at least once in a while? :-)

The idea behind the article When the spare becomes heir is a good one. If only the magazine had double-checked the Norwegian Constitution first. We are told that «In Norway, women were not entitled at all to the throne – until 1971. That year the law changed, but boys still came before girls. This is why Princess Märtha Louise (1971) had to give way to brother Haakon (1973). In the meantime, Norway has also caught up with modern succession laws – though not retroactively, meaning Haakon remains Crown Prince, but his daughter Ingrid Alexandra will become the Crown Princess once he is inaugurated».

No, the succession law was not changed in 1971, but in 1990. First then did women (but not those born before 1971) get equal succession rights. But because Haakon ever since birth had been raised to one day succeed his father as Crown Prince and later King, it was considered unfair if he should now be replaced by his elder sister. The last sentence of the fifth paragraph of article 6 of the Norwegian Constitution was therefore made as follows: «For those born before the year 1990 it shall nevertheless be the case that a male shall take precedence over a female.»

The nexzt issue, which will go on sale in early 2016, will contain among others articles about Queen Elizabeth II of the UK at 90 (the subject title The Queen at 90 annoys me, though), Empress Michiko of Japan, Queen Máxima, the Duke of Windsor, Diana, Princess of Wales as a jewellery trendsetter, the royal yacht Britannia as well as an interview with Princess Märtha Louise of Norway.

The magazine costs £8,50 (CAD 23,90, USD 20,99, NL/BE €9,95), and is planned to come out 4 times a year. The publishers is New Skool Media BV, with Justine Marcella as editor-in-chief. The Crown has already been established with its own website, http://www.thecrownmag.com, Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thecrownmag) and Twitter account (https://twitter.com/TheCrownTweets).

Updated last time on Friday 25 September 2015 at 9 a.m. (minor language correction).

20 September 2015

Vestre gravlund (Western Cemetery), Oslo, Norway, Part I

Vestre gravlund («Western Cemetery») in Oslo, Norway, or «Oslo Western Civil Cemetery», as referred to at Findagrave.com, is the largest cemetery in Norway (243 decares, close to 61 acres) and was inaugurated in 1902.

It is one of my favourite cemeteries and one I have visited many times to take grave photos, but so far I have only published two of them at my blog – the grave of Anne Lütken and the Ferner family grave. I also worked one summer at Vestre gravlund as a gardener in my student days in the 1990s.

I have recently received photo requests from other contributors at Findagrave.com and have added them earlier this evening (the photos were all taken yesterday, 19 September 2015). For the record I publish the photos here as well, and hope to return with more photos from Vestre gravlund (and other cemeteries) later this fall.

Ada Kramm, actress (1899–1981). Grave no.

Alfred Eriksen (1918–1991), Olympic fencer. Grave no.

Gunvor Hofmo (1921–1995), poet and writer. Grave no.

Johan Anker (1871–1940), Olympic sailor, and his 2nd wife Nini Roll Anker (1873–1942), author. Grave no. 20.318.00.076.

Kjell Hallbing (1934–2004), author of Western novels. Grave no.

Leif Normann Juster (1910–1995), comedian, singer and actor. Grave no.

I have, by the way, also published another photo from Vestre gravlund in my Slektshistoriewiki article about Cato Krag-Rønne. Slektshistoriewiki is the Norwegian genealogy wiki initiated by Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (the Norwegian Genealogical Society).

Updated on 28 February 2017 at 22.30 (minor language error).

4 September 2015

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden to become a mother again in March 2016

The media is always speculating about royals being pregnant. And in most cases the media will sooner or later get it right. Speculations about Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's "condition" has been circulating for some time, especially after photos from this summer's vacation were published. Today the Swedish Royal Court put an end to the speculations with the following confirmation:
The Crown Princess Couple is expecting a child

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel are happy to announce that The Crown Princess is expecting their second child.

The birth is expected to take place in March of 2016.

No changes in the schedule of The Crown Princess Couple's public engagements are planned during the fall of 2015.
The prince or princess, to be born some time in March 2016 if everything goes as expected, will be Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's second child. Their first child, Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland, was born on 23 February 2012. Estelle's little brother or sister will be King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia's fourth grandchild, and will take his or her place as no. 3 in the line of succession.

13 August 2015

Johan Martin Ferner's grave, Ris cemetery, Oslo, Norway (Part II)

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. The urn was intered at Ris Cemetery (officially Ris urnelund/Ris urn garden) on Monday 15 June 2015. The urn grave has been leased together with 3 other urn plots.

When I visited the cemetery the day after, the headstone was - perhaps as expected - not put up yet. This was done later this summer. The four photos were all taken yesterday, 12 August 2015.  

© 2015 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

For other photos of the church and the cemetery, go to Lokalhistoriewiki (Ris kirke; Ris urnelund).

19 July 2015

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.2, April 2015

I was pleased to find the latest issue of the European Royal History Journal – in my mailbox last Sunday when I returned home from the first part of my summer vacation. Great to have good reading material on my way to and home from work.

The latest issue's first article is the traditional The Who Is In the Photo series, this time a photo of the Battenberg family taken around 1895 – Princess Louise, Princess Alice, Princess Victoria, Prince George and Prince Louis (Ludwig) of Battenberg. The one missing is Prince Louis the younger, later Earl Mountbatten of Burma, obviously because he had not been born yet. Ilana D. Miller outlines the history of this branch of the Battenbergs.

The next one out is the Part II of An Interdisciplinary Discussion. The Nassaus of Luxembourg by Roberto Cortez Gonzáles, and yet again we get a thorough presentation of the history of the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg, with many details I either didn't know or have forgotten about. I have 2-3 books on the Luxembourgs in my collection, but it has been a while since I have read them.

The author and Queen Victoria Descendants genealogist Marlene A. Eilers Koenig has this time contributed with an article titled Frederica of Hanover. A Pasionate & Obstinate Princess. Frederica (Friederike) (1848–1926) was the 2nd child of King Georg V of Hannover and Queen Marie, née Princess of Saxe-Altenburg.The article stops well before Frederica's marriage to Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen (1843–1932), but fortunately the article is "to be concluded", so the readers have more to look forward to. Royals who go against the flow are always interesting to read about. Thinking about royals often listed as examples of enterring "non-equal marriages", it seems that Frederica most often is not mentioned.

Coryne Hall has contrbutied to many articles in both ERHJ and Royalty Digest Quarterly over the years, and this time she focuses on the Danish Royal Family with the article titled The Descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark. APAPA. Even if the title suggests otherwise, she has limited her work on the Danish. The article doesn't suggest that this is is "only" the first part of a series on the KCD (does this abbreviation work as well as QVD (Queen Victoria's Descendants), by the way?), but let's hope so!

I really enjoyed reading part I of Janet Ashton's article "Our ally has shamefully betrayed us". Italy Enters the Great War in volume 18.1, and the second and final part included in the April issue was as enjoyable. Now also with a full bibliography, so I can understand better the notes from last and current issues! The two-part article more or less covers the great war up to 1916, so I wonder if Janet Ashton will write more about Italy's role in WW1 later on?

The latest issue also has a book review column, and Coryne Hall returns with her review of Royal Gatherings. Volume II. 1914-1939 by Ilana D. Miller and Arturo E. Beéche, the latter being the ERHJ editor and publisher. As Hall contributes so often to the ERHJ, one wonders if the task could have been left to someone "outside the circle". Not that there is anything wrong with the review itself, but I sometimes feel that the world of royalty writers is too small. Anyway, here is Marlene A. Eilers Koenig's review in her blog Royal Book News.

Finally, we get the traditional Royal News section, which this time includes news from Brazil, Bulgaria, Reuss, Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, Two Sicilies, Prussia, United Kingdom, Hohenlohe-Oehringen and Wied. Of course, when you read these genealogical news they are already old, but considering the fact that many websites come and disappear again, it is useful to have these news on paper for the record.

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

For earlier articles on the magazine, please go here.

15 July 2015

Grave of Lorene Yarnell Jansson (Sandar Church and Cemetery, Sandefjord, Norway, Part III)

I was pleased to receive several comments to my articles about Sandar Church and Cemetery, Sandefjord, Norway (part I and part II), of 2010, both in the message field and by e-mail. Earlier this year I received among others a request to take a photo of the grave of the California-born mime dancer and Muppet Show particpant Lorene Yarnell Jansson (1944-2010) and publish it at Findagrave.com, a website dovoted to graves and cemeteries all over the world. According to its FAQ, its mission "is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience".

Earlier this month I finally got the time and opportunity to visit Sandar kirkegård (churchyard/cemetery) again, and last Sunday I published two photos on the said website.

Yarnell married the Norwegian Bjørn Jansson - her fourth husband - and in early 1998 moved with him to his hometown Sandefjord. She died there of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm in 2010. I must admit that I had never heard about her before, but at least the local newspaper Sandefjords Blad knew about her claim of fame, as it made a portrait interview with her and also covered her death. For more details, see the Wikipedia article.