10 January 2017

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2016

The latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly – no. 4, 2016 – arrived just in time for Christmas.  According to the editor, Ted Rosvall, the issue had to be reprinted «because of a sloppy job done at the printing-works'». I have no idea what went wrong, but more important is that the new version was in perfect condition and well timed for the Christmas weekend.

I would have loved to witness the royal wedding in Tirana, Albania on 8 October 2016, but the wedding day collided with a family trip to Spain (no, I am not really complaining). Fortunately Netty Leistra was able to go, and her visit has resulted in the article An Albanian Royal Wedding ... with many royal guests in the RDQ as well as an article in her own blog. Her coverage of the wedding of Prince Leka and Elia Zaharia certainly made the icing on the cake this time. This is not meant to be disrespectful of the other articles, far from it – they are all well-written and interesting – but I have always had a fascination for the history of the former Balkan monarchies, so articles about their past & present tend to appeal to me particularly. I hope to visit Tirana one day. So far «I have only made it» to Shkodër in Northern Albania, so I would love to combine a visit to Tirana with the beaches of Sarandë and the ancient city of Butrint. One of these days ...

In his Editor's Corner Ted Rosvall points how Prince Leka through the Anhalt-Dessau ancestry of his Hungarian grandmother Queen Geraldine, née Countess Apponyi de Nagy-Appony (1915–2002) is related to most, if not all, the royal dynasties of Europe.

The photo on the front cover shows the then Prince Edward (VIII) of Wales together with George (V), Prince of Wales; Princess Maud; Princess Albert of Wales (George VI); Louise, Princess Royal, Duchess of Fife; Princess Mary of Wales and Princess Alexandra at Abergeldie, around 1905. This means that the British royal house is yet again the topic for Charlotte Zeepvat's traditional Family Album. The fourth and last (?) part, titled The Royal House of Great Britian and Ireland. A Family Album – House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Wundsor [sic!] brings the readers up to the present Queen Elizabeth II. Besides a short introduction the readers can enjoy 100 photos and 2 pages containing genealogical surveys of the family.

There were several big anniversaries in 2016. Michael L. Nash reminds us that in 2016 it was 200 years since the wedding of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales and Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (formerly -Saalfeld) in his article «England's Star of Promise». A Very Coburg Marriage, 2nd May 1816.

The house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is also touched upon in the next article, Three Cousins by Marlene A. Eilers Koenig. The article deals with the 1896 weddings of Princess Maud of Wales to Prince Carl of Denmark, Princess Louise of Denmark to Prince Friedrich of Schaumburg-Lippe and Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Hereditary Prince Ernst of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Have you ever been to Frogmore House? It is one of the royalty-related «musts» in the Windsor area. It is only open to the public parts of the year, in 2017 in August only (in addition to the Charity Open Days), so I not sure when I will be able to visit it. Anyway, located on the estate of Frogmore above the lake one can also find the mausoleum of Queen Victoria's Mother, the Duchess of Kent. The mausoleum has never been open to the public, but at least Elizabeth Jane Timms has written a rather nice presentation of it in the RDQ.

David Horbury then returns with his series Half a Century of Royal Letters; 1899-1946. Collected by John Wimbles from the Romanian National Archives and other sources. We can only be so lucky that not all royals command their correspondence to be burnt after their death. The letters of the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Marie, née Grand Princess of Russia) are a thrill to read. And how horribly critical she is of her relatives and in-laws! Just read her description of the then Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) in 1914: «... I was horribly shocked, even grieved, at the appearance of the nice little Prince of Wales, whom I find looking very ill. [...] Imagine he looks like a miserable boy of 15, his face and neck are so thin that they rather belong to an old woman than a young man of 20 which he was yesterday. He eats nothing and looks as if he were wasting away».

The final main article, Courting Disaster – The Russian Prince and the Regent's Park Country Club, is written by Coryne Hall, and deals with Prince Andrew of Russia and his wife Elizabeta, née Ruffo di Sant Antimo, who in 1923 founded the Regent's Park country club which ended in bankruptcy, quite a scandal in those days.

Finally the readers are treated with genealogical news in the traditional column The World Wide Web of Royalty. The following royal and princely and/or mediatized houses are covered: Albania, Bentheim and Steinfurt, Carolath-Beuthen, Luxembourg, Oldenburg, Prussia and Serbia (Yugoslavia).

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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