26 May 2018

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark's 50th birthday celebrations

HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark celebrates his 50th birthday today, 26 May. The anniversary has been marked by several events and activities, including a «Royal Run», receptions, a gala banquet tonight and a birthday show tomorrow. The program in English can be found here.

Queen Margrethe hosts a gala banquet at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen tonight, with guests from both Denmark and abroad. The main guests are (I have mainly used the court's own list, with some changes):

The Royal Family
  • HM Queen Margrethe of Denmark
  • HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark
  • HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
  • HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark
  • HRH Princess Marie of Denmark
  • HH Prince Nikolai of Denmark
  • HRH Princess Benedikte of Denmark [, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg] 
  • HSH Prins Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg 
  • HSH Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
  • HM King Constantine of the Hellenes
  • HM Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
  • HRH Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece
  • HRH Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
  • HRH Prince Philippos of Greece
  • HRH Princess Theodora of Greece
  • HRH Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece
  • HRH Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece
Foreign heads of state and royal dignitaries
  • HM King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
  • HM Queen Silvia of Sweden
  • HRH Crown Prince Victoria of Sweden
  • HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden
  • HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
  • HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
  • HM King Philippe of the Belgians
  • HM Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
  • HM King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands
  • HM Queen Máxima of the Netherlands
  • HRH Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
  • HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
  • HSH Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein
  • HRH Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
  • H.E. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland
  • Eliza Jean Reid
Other family members
  • HE Count Ingolf of Rosenborg
  • Countess Sussie of Rosenborg
  • HE Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg
  • Guillaume Bardin
  • Guillaume Bardin
  • Patricia Bailey

Other royals
  • HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
  • HRH Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies

Other guests include members of the Government, Folketinget (the Parliament), official representatives of Greenland and Faroe Islands, members of the court and staff and many others. For a full list go here.

Updated on Sunday 27 May 2018 at 20:00 (minor typo corrected).

25 May 2018

Coat of arms of HRH The Duchess of Sussex

Buckingham Palace announced today the coat of arms of HRH The Duchess of Sussex, formerly Meghan Markle, wife since Saturday 19 May 2018 of HRH The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry).

The press release said in full:
A Coat of Arms has been created for The Duchess of Sussex. The design of the Arms was agreed and approved by Her Majesty The Queen and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), who is based at the College of Arms in London.

Her Royal Highness worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative.

The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess's home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words.

Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.
It is customary for Supporters of the shield to be assigned to Members of the Royal Family, and for wives of Members of the Royal Family to have one of their husband’s Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication.

A Coronet has also been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex. It is the Coronet laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves.

The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.

Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms said: "The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London."
The heraldic artist is, cf. the signature,  Robert John Parsons. The College of Arms will most certainly give the blazon (description) of the arms later on.

23 May 2018

Maternal family of HRH The Duchess of Sussex

The day before HRH The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry) married Meghan Markle, the American genealogist Christopher C. Child published the article «Meghan Markle's maternal family» in Vita Brevis, the blog of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

In the blog article Child shows Meghan's matrilineal ancestry back to a Millie Jones, who was born in Georgia around 1815 and appeared last time in the national census of 1880, then living at Smiths in Hart County, Georgia.

Concerning Meghan's first marriage to Trevor Engelson, Child writes that they married at Ocho Rios, Jamaica on 10 September 2011.

His source is the Wikipedia article about the duchess. While there is no doubt that the wedding was celebrated in Jamaica, genealogists would normally focus on the legal marriage, which seems to have taken place in Los Angeles, USA. In his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess, 2018 (Kindle Edition, Loc 1329), Andrew Morton writes:
With the ocean as backdrop, the couple recited vows they had written themselves [...] Though the couple had officially married in Los Angeles in a brief civil ceremony, this was the real celebration for family and friends, [...]
In other words, the legal marriage took place earlier than 10 September 2011. I suspect, however, that Child already knows this. In the third paragraph of his article, he stresses that «The lineage should be considered preliminary, as I have ordered several additional twentieth-century records that might lead to corrections or additions to the facts below.» He might have ordered twentyfirst-century records as well?

Postscript 26 May 2018 at 19:25: My article above was cut short because I had to prepare for a meeting. I had intended to comment on Andrew Morton's sources before signing off. Sources for the claim that the couple married in a civil ceremony in Los Angeles are not explicitly given. In the Acknoweledgement section the author refers to among others certain family members and friends, some by name, some unidentified. The way the ceremony at Ocho Rios was described, however, it seems quite plausible that the couple was already legally married before entering the island. I wonder, though, if documentation of the civil wedding in LA, is available, or do we have to wait some time before such details are released?

Updated on Saturday 26 May 2018 at 19:25 (postscript added).

21 May 2018

UK: Sussex wedding

HRH The Duke of Sussex, younger son of the Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, married at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on 19 May 2018 Rachel Meghan Markle, daugher of Thomas Markle and Doria Ragland. I was away for the weekend, so I could not post my observations before now.

From a constitutional and genealogical point of view, and that is usually what I focus on, there is not much to write about. The engagement was announced on 27 November 2017 and the Queen expressed that she was «delighted» for the couple. The formal declaration of consent was given on 14 March 2018. From the Court Circular of 19 May we learn that «The Marriage of Prince Henry of with Ms. Meghan Markle was solemnized in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, today».

In the Court Circular the Duke of Sussex was still referred to as Prince Henry of Wales.  Earlier the same day the following announcement was given:
Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle: Announcement of Titles

Published 19 May 2018

The Queen has today been pleased to confer a Dukedom on Prince Henry of Wales.  His titles will be Duke of Sussex, Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel.

Prince Harry thus becomes His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, and Ms. Meghan Markle on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex.
The title «Duke of Sussex» was for unknown reasons always the favourite of the bookmakers and they got it right this time, just like in 2011 when the Queen conferred on Prince William the title «Duke of Cambridge». Harry's new title was created for the first time in 1801 for Prince Augustus Frederick, the sixth son and ninth child of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The prince married twice in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act (the first time before the title creation), so there never was a Duchess of Sussex. Meghan has thus become the first one. And of course, Prince Harry has become the 2nd Duke (1st Duke of the 2nd creation).
So, when the constitutional aspects have been touched upon, as well as basic genealogical facts of the marriage, I could move on to the guest list. But as far as I know such a list has not been released. In the Court Circular we only learn, following the sentence of the solemnization:
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, with The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and other Members of the Royal Family, arrived at St. George's Chapel and were received at the Galilee Porch by the Dean and Chapter of Windsor.

Prince Henry of Wales, with The Duke of Cambridge, was received at the West Door by the Dean and Chapter of Windsor and Their Royal Highnesses were conducted to the Bray Chapel.

Ms. Meghan Markle drove to St. George's Chapel and was received at the West Door by the Dean of Windsor.

The Service was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Dean of Windsor.

At the conclusion of the Service the Registers were signed in the Ambulatory.

The Bride and Bridegroom drove to Windsor Castle in an Ascot Landau, processed through the town of Windsor and returned to the Castle where The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh gave a Reception in their honour.
And that is not much to go by. Of course I watched the whole broadcast and as far as I know all the members of the British Royal Family were present except for Prince Louis of Cambridge, who was born earlier this year. Prince Philip, who will be 97 next month, had a hip operation earlier this year, but still walked without crutches. Very impressive.

Members of  Prince Harry's mother's side were of course also present. From the bride's family only her mother Doria Ragland was in attendance. Two days before the wedding Kensington Palace confirmed that Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, would not attend, and his health problems was given as an explanation. It had earlier been revealed that he had  had posed for staged photos with a paparazzi photographer and the embarrassment of it all might have made him feel too uncomfortable to attend. One can only feel sorry both for Meghan as well as for her father. She clearly wanted both her parents present for her wedding. Instead of her father, Ms. markle was accompanied to the altar by the Prince of Wales.

It appears that Meghan has had little or no contact with her half-brother Thomas Markle and Samantha Grant and their families for many years. They have created quite a few headlines before and after the engagement was announced, so it is not difficult to understand that they were not invited. That no uncles and aunts or other family members were invited was perhaps more surprising. It might say something about Meghan's priorities regarding family, but then again one should be careful not to jump to conclusions. She surely has her reasons.

The only royals who attended the royal wedding besides the members of the British Royal Family were Prince Seeiso and Princess Mabereng of Lesotho. Prince Harry has known Prince Seeiso, who is the youngest brother of King Letsie III of Lesotho, for many years. In 2006 the two princes founded Sentebale, a charity that «supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana,» to quote the charity's own website. Prince Harry has had little personal contact with members of the European royal family, which probably explains to some extent why no-one was invited. Of course he is only the younger son of the Prince of Wales and thus not in the direct line to inherit the throne, so his wedding could not be as grand as his brother's was. But I still felt something was missing. We already knew that no politicians would attend, but I still find it strange that the 6th in line of succession did not even invite the prime minister. One former prime minister attended, though – John Major – apparently because he following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales had played the role as guardian to Prince William and Prince Harry, being responsible for legal and administrative matters.

Instead of royals and representatives of the official UK, Harry and Meghan had invited representatives of charities and organisations Harry has endorsed as well as a long and impressive list of celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, Idris Elba, George Clooney and his wife Amal Alamuddin,  David and Victoria Beckham and Elton John and his husband David Furnish, to mention a few.

It was a great and enjoyable wedding ceremony, though. The couple looked a bit nervous, but very much happy and in love, the weather was great and the church was beautifully decorated. So much could be said about the dresses and the hats. Oh, the hats! But I will leave it at that. The ceremony had many highlights, including the introit, the hymns and the song «Stand by me» performed by Karen Gibson and the Kingdom Choir. Not to mention the address by the American Bishop Michael Curry, the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. How he could preach! The full text of his address can be read here, while the order of service is available here.

The service was lead by the Dean of Windsor, David Conner, while the marriage was solemnized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

Postscript Tuesday 22 May 2018 at 23.35: When commenting on non-British royals attending the wedding last Saturday, I obviously focused on reigning families. That is why I only mentioned the princely couple of Lesotho. But there were members of former reigning families and/or «Gotha members», including Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (a grand niece of Prince Philip and thus Prince Harry's second cousin) and Hereditary Prince Franz-Albrecht and Hereditary Princess Cleopatra of Oettingen-Spielberg (others would have to enlighten me concerning the motivation for inviting them – they certainly are not close relatives of Prince Harry, but obviously have learnt to know eachother somehow).

Besides the family members, representatives of charities and organisations and the celebrities – I could have mentioned many more than I did – there were of course also many friends of the couple in attendance, including Meghan's colleagues from the TV series Suits. I decided to give only a few examples. No full guest list has been released, but Netty Leistra and other contributors have assembled a survey in the guestlist section at the forum Nobiliana. Please go there if you want more names and details!

Updated last time on Tuesday 22 May 2018 at 23.35 (postscript added).

1 May 2018

Genealogen nr. 1, 2018

Siste utgave av Genealogen, medlemsbladet til Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, kom i posten i går. Som vanlig kan bladet by på flere slekts- og temaartikler og foreningsstoff. Hovedartiklene denne gangen er:
  • Sten Høyendahl: Den problematiske slekten på Søndre Ringstad i Trøgstad
  • Lars Holden: Historisk befolkningsregister
  • Liv Marit Haakenstad: Kildekritikk og kildeføring
  • Lars Østensen: Hr. Hans Olsen Metrosinensis residerende kapellan til Torsken
  • Are S. Gustavsen: Jertrud Finnkjellsdotter (ca. 1729–1805), ei husmannskone i Skoger fra Vang i Valdres
I spalten «Ny litteratur» har Lars Løberg anmeldt oversettelsen av Sagaen om Håkon Ivarsson. Oversettelsen er det Edvard Eikill som har stått for, og utgiver er forlaget Sagabok. Videre har Anfinn Bernaas anmeldt Heime og ute. Brevskifte mellom Ivar Kleiven og Kristian Prestgard 1886–1932, redigert av Gudmund Harilstad og Kristoffer Kruken. Utgivelsen inneholder 78 brev skrevet av slekts- og lokalhistoriker Ivar Kleiven (1854–1934) og journalist og redaktør Kristian Prestgard (1866–1946), og har et register som teller over 700 personer.

Mitt eget bidrag denne gangen er anmeldelsen av  Torbjørn Greipslands Helt til jordens ende, som ble utgitt på Ventura forlag i 2017. Greipsland er både redaktør og bidragsyter. Andre hovedbidragsytere er Gracia Grindal, tidligere professor ved Luther Seminary i St. Paul, Minnesota, misjonsprest Sigmund Edland og cand.theol. Erik Kjebekk. Boken omhandler de mange norsk-amerikanske misjonærene. Hoveddelen inneholder biografier om rundt 30 misjonærer, mens del 2 innholder omfattende lister over misjonærene og som gir et godt personbiografisk utgangspunkt for videre forskning.

En del foreningsstoff må det også bli plass til i et medlemsblad. Foreningens årsmøte går av stabelen onsdag 23. mai og i den forbindelse er det gitt plass til åresberetning, regnskap og forslag til nytt styre og vedtektsendringer. Man kan også finne oversikt over donerte bøker til NSFs bibliotek og en særskilt oversikt over bokgaver fra Berit Gullbekk, som døde i desember 2017. Leserne får også et innblikk i flere prosjekter som foreningen har på gang, som avfotografering av «Totens Slegter», stamtavleverket til Henrich Holst Neumann (1863–1936) Fire av de til sammen 11 bindene er allerede avfotografert. Foreningen planlegger også å registrere og indeksere alle skifter som er foretatt i Norge. Dette er et stort og langvarig prosjekt som krever mange frivillige. Et viktig prosjekt som jeg håper mange vil bli med på!

Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening har hatt kontor og bibliotek og tilgang til møtelokaler i Øvre Slottsgata 2 B i Oslo siden 2010 sammen med andre foreninger tilknyttet Norsk Kulturvernforbund. Det har vært et flott og sentralt sted å være, men dessverre er husleien litt for stor for en forening av NSFs størrelse. I medlemsbladet kan man lese litt om flytteplanene. Nye lokaler er snart spikret, men jeg skal overlate til styret med å gi nærmere detaljer når kontrakten for nytt sted er undertegnet. Personlig synes jeg det er leit at foreningen må flytte, men jeg har selvsagt stor forståelse for at økonomiske hensyn må komme først. NSF vil flytte litt ut av byen, men får større plass, lettere tilgjengelighet for de som er avhengige av bil og pengene man sparer inn på lavere husleie kan brukes til andre prosjekter som kommer medlemmene til gode.

In English: The article is about the latest issue of Genealogen, the newsletter of the Norwegian Genealogical Society. In addition to genealogy articles and book reviews, the issue has information about this year's annual meeting, which takes place on 23 May. In addition the readers can learn about ongoing projects which the society has initiated and surveys of donated books to the library. The board also informs about the decision to move the office and library to a new place. The move will take place during the summer of 2018. More details about the new address will be given later.