30 November 2017

NEHGS: Royal Roots Run Deep for Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle, whose engagement to Prince Harry of Wales was announced earlier this week, has deep royal roots according to an article the New England Historic Genealogical Society published today.
«Researchers at New England Historic Genealogical Society have announced that Meghan Markle is descended from King Edward III

Markle is a cousin of her future husband, Prince Harry, more than 240 times over

She is related to Prince Harry through lines shared with both HM The Queen and the late Diana, Princess of Wales

She is related to eight American presidents, three first ladies, and a cast of other notable Americans, including actors James Dean and Roy Rogers.»
Earlier this week I asked the genealogical society on Twitter if there was «Any chance of a book on Meghan Markle's ancestry like Reitwiesner/Child did with the former Catherine Middleton?» So far NEHGS has responded by clicking on the like button. But maybe a more detailed account of Meghan Markle's ancestry will be published closer to the wedding?

Having said that, I hope that the genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, who is a Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), will return with more details about the sources for his claims made in the article mentioned above. His short entry about Ms. Markle's ancestry can be viewed here.

Postscript 30 November 2017 at 22.10: Christopher C. Child has just published the article The Wentworth Connection in NEHGS' blog Vita Brevis. Child gives more details with references to published books and has also provided a chart which shows one of the many connections between Ms. Markle and Prince Harry. Child also writes: «I’ve also been working on Meghan Markle’s American ancestors, so stay tuned!» So there is maybe hope for something more on Meghan's ancestry some time in the future?

Updated on 30 November 2017 at 22.10 (link to Roberts' entry and the postscript were added), last time on Monday 4 December 2017 at 12.50 (typos corrected).

28 November 2017

UK: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding month set

Only one day after the engagement between Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle was announced, Kensington Palace could reveal that the wedding is going to take place in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018.

The press release also said that the royal family would pay for the wedding. More details to follow in due course.

St. George's Chapel is, among others, where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall received their blessings after their civil marriage, and where Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999. The christening of Prince Harry also took place in the chapel on 21 December 1984.

Kensington Palace also informed today that Prince Harry and Ms. Markle would undertake their first official engagements together in Nottingham firstcoming Friday, 1 December. They are going to visit a Terrence Higgins Trust charity fair where they will meet representatives of organisations supporting people living with HIV/AIDS. They will also speak to staff and mentors at Nottingham Academy «about the Full Effect programme which is helping prevent young people from turning to violence and crime».

The Telegraph, on the other hand, writes that «Ms Markle, a protestant who went to a Catholic high school, will be both baptised and confirmed ready for the religious ceremony. She also intends to become a British citizen.» The New York Times follows up by telling that «Ms. Markle, a Protestant, was not baptized as a child. She attended a Catholic girls’ school in Los Angeles.» But if she was not baptized as a child, but still referred to as a protestant, one could easily wonder what kind of protestant church her family, or parts thereof, belongs to, and what kind of relationship she has had with it. I suppose more information will appear in due course.

Postscript 29 November 2017 at 21.00: Daily Mail, and surely other newspapers as well, writes today that «Miss Markle, whose father is an Episcopalian, will be baptised and confirmed in the Church of England before the wedding». No word on Meghan's mother's church affilation, if any. I should add that QVD author Marlene Koenig wrote already in August that Thomas Markle was an Episcopalian.

Updated on Tuesday 28 November 2017 at 20.10 (paragraph about baptism and citizenship added), last time on Wednesday 29 November 2017 at 21.00 (postscript added).

27 November 2017

UK: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engaged

Clarence House announced today at 10 a.m. GMT the engagement between Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle. The announcement said:
His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales and Ms. Meghan Markle are engaged to be married

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Henry to Ms. Methan Markle.

The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

His Royal Highness and Ms. Markle became engaged in London earlier this month. Prince Harry has informed Her Majesty The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince Harry has also sought and received the blessing of Ms. Markle's parents.

The couple will live in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.
The announcement was followed up by more tweets from Kensington palace's Twitter account and the other secretariats:

Meghan Markle's parents stated the following:
Statement on behalf of Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland

On the announcement of their daughter Meghan Markle's engagement to His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales, Mr. Thomas Markle and Ms. Doria Ragland said:

«We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter has always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents.
We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together.»
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry's brother and sister-in-law, said of the engagement:
«We are very excited for Harry and Meghan. It has been wonderful getting to know Meghan and to see how happy she and Harry are together.»
From the official Royal Family Twitter account:
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall followed up with another statement:
On the news of Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle's engagement, The Prince of Wales, speaking for himself and The Duchess of Cornwall, said: «We're thrilled. We're both thrilled. We hope they'll be very happy indeed.»
The British Prime Minister Theresa May also offered her congratulations:
I would like to offer my very warmest congratulations to HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle upon their engagement.

This is a time of huge celebration for two people in love and, on behalf of myself, the Government and the country, I wish them great happiness for the future.
Considering the fact that Meghan Markle is an American citizen one could perhaps have expected a statement from the White House as well, but I guess that will come later.

The newly engaged couple met the media for a photo call in Kensington Palace Gardens at 2 p.m. today. Four hours later the couple appeared in a broadcast interview. I was most impressed by them both. They seemed to be very much in love and appeared confident and sure of each other as a couple. From different backgrounds, yes, but still seem to be a good match. Yes, she is an actress and has some experience with the media, but still it was great to see how well she handled the interview situation. She will be a great asset to the British Royal Family I am sure.

Meghan Markle was born in Los Angeles, California, USA on 4 August 1981. Meghan has one half-brother, Tom, and one half-sister, Samantha. She went among others to the Catholic Immaculate Heart High School. In 2003 she graduated from Northwestern University in Chicago, where she took theater studies before completing her bachelor's degree in theater and international studies. As an actress she is best known for her role as Rachel Zane in the legal drama series Suits. She has also been involved with charity work and is an advocate for women's issues. She was married to Trevor Engelson from 2011 to 2013.

There have been some articles already on Ms. Markle's ancestry:
  • Daily Mail 4 November 2016: Meet the family! How Harry's American girl's ancestors were a tailor, a teacher and a cleaner in racially-divided Jim Crow South - while his were ruling the British Empire
  • Daily Telegraph 18 November 2017: King Henry VIII ordered for Meghan Markle's ancestor to be beheaded
A summary of Ms. Markle's ancestry can be read in the current version of the Wikipedia article about her.

Ms. Markle - an American, an actress, a divorcee and biracial. In late 2016 Elle Magazine republished an article Meghan Markle wrote in July 2015, titled I'm More Than An 'Other', "on creating her identity and finding her voice as a mixed race woman. Personally I don't think the colour of her skin is much an issue in the United Kingdom. She will be welcomed with open arms.

Earlier this fall a good friend of mine from England, Michael Garrard, died, 87 years old. We learnt to know each other from football supporting activities, being fans of Norwich City FC. The last few years we didn't keep in touch as much as we used to earlier, but his last text message, written a few days before Christmas last year, was quite representative of who he was (and of the British people as well, I would think): «I wish Prince Harry would get on with it and marry Meghan. It will make him happy and put UK light years ahead while USA flounders in outdated racism and have elected a maverick president.»

Only a minority would have an issue with her former marriage. Her parents are divorced and she has been through a short marrige herself. This might be a bit worrysome, but every relationship is different. They have both been through long relationships and have hopefully learnt by their mistakes. I have a good feeling for their marriage.

HM The Queen has given her blessings. In accordance with the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, as Prince Harry is currently number five in the line of succession to the British throne, the Queen will also formally have to give her consent in a Privy Council meeting. Most likely the Queen will also bestow upon Prince Harry a ducal title. As of today the title Duke of Sussex seems to the greatest favourite. If he receives such a ducal title, Meghan Markle will have the status as a Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland due to her marriage to a Prince, but will be styled HRH The Duchess of Sussex.

In accordance with the Letters Patent of George V (1917) any children of Harry and Meghan will not be princes or princesses with the style Royal Highness unless the Queen decides to  «upgrade them», as the editor of Peerage News, Michael Rhodes, put it earlier today. This is what happened in 2013 when the Queen issued a Letters Patent where she declared that «all the children of the eldest son of The Prince of Wales should have and enjoy the style, title and attribute of Royal Highness with the titular dignity of Prince or Princess prefixed to their Christian names or with such other titles of honour.» She just has to issue another Letters Patent where the words «eldest son of The Prince of Wales» are replaced by «youngest son of The Prince of Wales».

Updated on Tuesday 28 November 2017 at 08.40 (minor addition, some typos corrected).

22 November 2017

Arms of Prince Gabriel of Sweden

The National Archives of Sweden published today the arms of Prince Gabriel of Sweden, whose christening will take place on 1 December.

The arms were presented at the meeting of the Heraldic Committee of the National Archives on 24 October 2017. The four quarters of the arms show the lesser coat of arms of Sweden (field 1 and 4), the arms of Folkunga (field 2) and in field 3 the arms of Dalarna. As previously mentioned, Prince Gabriel was also given the title of Duke of Dalarna at the Council of State held at Stockholm Palace on 4 September 2017. The inescutcheon shows the arms of the House of Bernadotte.The arms are then crowned by the Swedish prince crown. Prince Gabriel will receive the Order of the Seraphim in connection with the christening, which explains why the arms are encircled (in lack of the correct heraldic term) by the collar and badge of the said order. The arms are drawn by the heraldic artist Henrik Dahlström, the Swedish National Archives.

The arms of Dalarna, taken from the website of the National Archives:

Blazon: "Azure, two Dalecarlian Arrows Or in saltire point upwards pointed Argent and in chief a Crown of the first". Source: Wikipedia.

The monogram consists of the initial G and a prince crown above and is drawn by the heraldic artist Vladimir A Sagerlund.

20 November 2017

King of Norway discharged from hospital

King Harald of Norway was today discharged from the National Hospital (Rikshospitalet) and is in good shape, the Norwegian Royal Court announced today. The king was admitted to hospital on Friday due to an infection.

19 November 2017

King of Norway hospitalised

The Norwegian Royal Court announced today that King Harald (80) was hospitalised on Friday 17 September 2017 after having contracted an infection. His condition is described as satisfactory, and is improving.
Kongen har pådratt seg en infeksjon

Hans Majestet Kongen ble fredag innlagt på Rikshospitalet i Oslo på grunn av en infeksjon. Tilstanden er tilfredsstillende, og Kongen er i bedring.
The Norwegain daily VG.no writes today that the king's planned engagements on Monday have been cancelled. He was scheduled to receive in audience the Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy, Rear Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, as well as representatives of the National Spiritual Council for Bahá'í in Norway. In addition he was to receive in audience Brigadier General Jan Morten Mangersnes and the chairperson of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

According to the Royal Court the king presided in Council of State on Friday at 11 a.m., so the hospitalisation must have taken place later in the day.