19 October 2018

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 3, 2018

I really enjoyed the latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 3, 2018). There were several articles about royals and royal families that I knew little about, so I felt I got full value this time, and I trust that other readers feel the same.

The five daughters of Heinrich XXII, Prince (Fürst) Reuss zu Greiz, adorn the front page this time, meaning that Charlotte Zeepvat has devoted her traditional Family Album to the House of Reuss zu Greiz. The daughters were Emma, Marie Agnes, Karoline, Hermine and Ida. The latter is surely the one in the middle, while I will not make a guess on the others. Hermine (1887–1947) is the most famous of the sisters, as she in 1922 married the exiled Emperor Wilhelm II. She was previously married to Prince Johann Georg of Schoenaich-Carolath (1873–1920) and had 5 children by him. Interestingly enough, a second cousin of Prince Johann Georg, Princess Karin-Elisabeth (1900–1966) married in 1933 the Norwegian banker Christoffer Blom Heimbeck (1885–1967). They were both members of the Norwegian nazi party Nasjonal Samling during WW2, but that is a story I will get into another time. Karin-Elisabeth and Christoffer's eldest daughter Ingrid (1934–2016) was in 2000 married to her second cousin Count Wolfgang von Schimmelmann (1921–2004). Of course none of this was mentioned in Zeepvat's article, I just get carried away here because of the Norwegian connections. There might be other family connections between Hermine Reuss zu Greiz and the Schoenaich-Carolaths which make the connection between her and Karin-Elisabeth closer than through her husband, but I haven't got the time to look into it right now. Two of Hermine's children were present at the Heimbeck wedding, I should add. But I cannot forget to mention that the said Reuss sisters had a brother, Prince Heinrich XXIV (1878–1927), who was the last (at least in name) reigning Prince (Fürst) of the small Reuss zu Greiz principality. According to Zeepvat, «the mental and physical disabilities he suffered as the result of a childhood accident made him incapable of reigning», and his regent was originally Heinrich XIV, Prince (Fürst) Reuss zu Schleiz (1832–1913). I gather that his son Heinrich XXVII (1858–1928) was the second regent.

Anyway, Zeepvat tells the story of the Reuss elder line and all the Heinrich princes (all the princes are named Heinrich followed by numerals which were supposed to go up to 100 before it would start all over with no. I again, it never did as the house died out with Heinrich XXIV mentioned above. In addition to the introduction to the Reuss zu Greiz family, the readers are treated with 43 illustrations of various family members and palaces, as well as two pages with genealogical tables. The first shows one (of surely many more) connection between Reuss zu Greiz and the Norwegian Royal Family.

But before we come as far as to the Family Album, Charlotte Zeepvat has also made another contribution, 'My Dear Miss Howard. Serving the Kaiser's family', which tells the story of Ethel Howard (1865–1931), who served as the governess of Emperor Wilhelm II and Empress Auguste Victoria's elder sons from 1895 to 1897, while from 1900 to 1908 she was in charge of the upbringing and education of five orphaned Japanese princes! She later published her memoirs (Potsdam Princes, 1916, and Japanese Memories, 1918, but the article is mainly based on a collection of her papers which have recently emerged on the collector's market.

Before the Reuss article starts, the readers have arrived at column The World Wide Web of Royalty, which usually is placed at the end of each issue, but this time appears quite early on. Anyway, the column this time gives us genealogical news from the imperial, royal or princely houses of Austria, Denmark, Bourbon-Parma, Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Saxony, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Solms-Laubach, Waldeck and Pyrmont and Thurn and Taxis.

Following the Reuss article, Michael L. Nash takes over with the article The Belle of the Coronation Ball. Emperor Alexander II had succeeded the year before, but because of the ending of the Crimean war, the coronation was delayed. The belle of the ball was Princess Ekaterina Dadiani (1816–1882), née Chavchavadze, who served as Regent of Mingrelia (Western Georgia) for some time. Not often we can read about the various monarchies and reigning families in Georgia, so this was an interesting encounter.

Queen Marie of Bavaria, née Princess of Prussia (1825–1889) had a life-long love of the mountains, of climbing and hiking, and Elizabeth Jane Timms takes us to Marie's retreat in Elbigenalp in the Austrian state of Tyrol.

It is not the first time that Royalty Digest Quarterly provides an article about the royal family of Montenegro, but I am confident that it is the first time that Jutta, née Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1880–1946) is portraited. The author is Marlene A. EIlers Koenig. Jutta was married to Prince Danilo of Montenegro in 1899 and took the name Militza following her conversion to Orthodoxy. WW1 and later Montenegro's incorporation into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Kingdom of Yugoslavia) forced Danilo and Militza into exile. They lived rather separate lives. Danilo died in Vienna in 1939. Militza lived in France and later in Italy, where her sister Elena was Queen, and died in Rome in 1946. Koenig mentions that Militza was buried at the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome, i.e. Il Cimitero Acattolico di Roma. I might not have paid enough attention to Militza's life in exile, as the information on her place of burial was new to me. I visited the cemtery around a year ago and thought I had prepared well for the visit! I can't find Jutta or Militza's name listed at the website at all. I photographed numerous graves of people of Norwegian or Scandinavian origin, including the last resting places of the historian Peter Andreas Munch (1810–1863), in addition to the grave of Prince Felix Youssoupoff (1856–1928), the grave of the poet John Keats (1795–1821) and many others. When you visit the cemetery, you are able to search for the names of all the people buried there, but as I didn't know of Militzia's grave, I never looked for it. Surely I must have passed the grave, but when looking at a photo of it tonight, I must say it was certainly not a headstone that would scream out for my attention. Well, well, it only means that I have to visit the cemetery again another time.

Speaking of royal graves, the Danish Ove Mogensen has for many years taken a great interest in this topic, and there is hardly a royal grave he hasn't been to. Well, not to the grave of Karin-Elisabeth Heimbeck, Princess of Schoenaich-Carolath, I am sure! But anyway, I just love his articles on royal graves, and his contribution Tombs, Graves and Monuments. Burial Places of the Bonaparte Dynasty [Part] I certainly didn't disappoint me. I look forward to reading the second part!

Coryne Hall then gets the honor of providing the last article of the present issue, Prince Ataulfo of Bourbon-Orleans (1913–1974) in the series Little-Known Royals. He certainly deserved the description little-known, and Hall gives a good survey of his miserable life. Ataulfo, his brothers and parents, Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera (1886–1975) and Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884–1866) are buried in the Capuchin convent in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, yet another place I hope to visit one day.

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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