22 May 2019

Vita Brevis: The ancestry of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor

More from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) today. When I earlier tonight wrote about Gary Boyd Roberts' article «On the Ancestry of the New Royal Baby», I was not aware that another article about Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, this time including his ancestry table, had been published at the NEHGS run blog Vita Brevis today. The blog article is written by NEHGS' editor-in-chief Scott C. Steward, but the genealogy is a collaboration with Christopher C. Child.


By the way, late last year Christopher C. Child wrote another Duchess of Susex-related blog article, «Challenging modern records», which is also worth reading:


NEHGS: On the Ancestry of the New Royal Baby

Genealogist, author and Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Gary Boyd Roberts, has recently written a short article titled «On the Ancestry of the New Royal Baby» about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor's ancestry and especially on his US American connections. It is well worth reading:


19 May 2019

Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg married to Count Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille

It turns out that there were two (semi-)royal weddings yesterday in which descendants of Queen Victoria were involved. Lady Gabriella «Ella» Windsor and Thomas Kingston were married in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

A more private and «secret» wedding («secret» because the wedding was not publically known before the event) took place at Skt. Jørgen kirke (St. George's Church) in Svendborg, Fyn, Denmark between Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, b. Copenhagen 1970, elder daughter of the late Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Princess Benedikte of Denmark, and Count Michael Ahlefeldt-Laurvig Bille, b. Svendborg 1965, son of the late Count Claus Ahlefeldt-Laurvig-Bille and Countess (Comtesse) Merete Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.

Princess Alexandra was from 1998 to 2017 married to Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth. They had two children together.

Count Michael was from 1992 to 2005 married to Margrethe Kirketerp-Møller and from 2006 to 2016 married to Caroline Søeborg Ohlsen. He has four children, two in each marriage (cf. Danmarks Adels Aarbog).

(Thanks to Martin C. for posting the link to Fyens.dk (see above) at the Scandinavian Royals Message Board yesterday.)

18 May 2019

UK: Lady Gabriella Windsor marries Thomas Kingston

Lady Gabriella Windsor, daughter of Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Michael of Kent, formerly Marie-Christine, Baroness von Reibnitz, and thus a first cousin once removed to Queen Elizabeth II, married today, 18 May 2019, Thomas Kingston, son of William M. Kingston and Jill M. Kingston, née Bache, in St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The ceremony was officiated by the dean of Windsor, David Conner.

Among the guests at the wedding, besides of the nearest family of the bride and groom, were Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Sussex, the Princess Royal (Princess Anne), Sir Timothy Laurence, the Earl of Wessex, Princess Alexandra, lady Ogilvy, the Duke of York, Sarah, Duchess of York, Princess Beatrice and her boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the former occupied with the FA Cup Final later the same day, and the Duchess of Sussex were absent.

The engagement of Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston was announced on 19 September 2018.

UK: Copy of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's birth certificate published

A copy (or rather type-up version) of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor's birth certificate was yesterday obtained by the British Press Association and spread to the media. The copy can among others be viewed here.

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the firstborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, was born on 6 May 2019.  His name was made public 2 days later.

The birth certificate confirms that Archie was born at The Portland Hospital in Westminster, London, as The Daily Mail had already claimed to know. Other than that, the certicate doesn't tell more than we already knew. That the Duchess of Sussex has the rank (in the certificate listed as «Occupation») as Princess of the United Kingdom is known to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the British Royal Family. Thankfully Archie's mother is styled as Duchess of Sussex and not «Princess Henry».

Anyway, the historians and genealogists can now rest satisfied that the question of Archie's birth place has been confirmed.

8 May 2019

UK: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced today the name of their son, who was born 2 days ago:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pleased to announce they have named their first born child:

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

This afternoon Their Royal Highnesses introduced Her Majesty The Queen to her eighth great-grandchild at Windsor Castle. The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duchess’ mother were also present for this special occasion.
Shortly after, at 4.45 p.m. local time, Buckingham Palace confirmed:
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to announce that they have named their son Archie Harrison.

The baby will be known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
The choice of names stresses the fact that the baby is so far down in the line of succession (no. 7) that the parents didn't feel any need for a traditional name, but could chose names entirely of their own preference. Archie is usually a shortened form of Archibald, which is Germanic of origin and means «genuine» or «precious» and «bold». Harrison obviously means «son of Harry». Of course most boys with the given name Harrison don't have a father named Harry, but for the ducal son the choice is most fitting, even if Harry is only the Duke's nickname.

According to The Telegraph, Archie was the 18th most popular name for boys in England and Wales in 2017 (see more details at the website of the Office for National Statistics). The Telegraph also writes that «In Scotland, Archie was the 17th most popular name for boys in 2018, according to the National Records of Scotland.»

When searching for the name Archie or Archibald at An Online Gotha, I only get one hit: Hon. Lionel Frederick Archibald Fitzclarence (1857–1863), a great-grandson of King William IV (1765–1837). Maybe one can find the name among the Duke of Sussex's non-royal ancestors, but I think we can safely assume that the Sussexes didn't check Prince Henry's family genealogy in order to find a name they liked.

Yesterday I wrote that «I would be surprised if the baby boy will be not be known as Earl of Dumbarton.» The press statement says, however, if not explicitly, that Prince Henry's subsidiary title Earl of Dumbarton will not be used. He is of course entitled to the courtesy title, and one can of course argue that Archie became Earl of Dumbarton the very second he was born. But «Master» Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor it is, and he will probably continue to be untitled even after his grandfather has succeeded to the throne and even if this will be in conflict with the Letters Patent of 1917. The LP will have to be modified some time anyway.

And of course, some time in the future the young master will become the 2nd Duke of Sussex (second creation, 2018), unless the Letters Patent of 2018 has been changed in the meantime. One can of course wonder why Prince Henry («Harry») accepted the ducal title in the first place, but no ducal title would have meant that Meghan would have been styled HRH Princess Henry of Wales, which for many people doesn't look so good in this day and age.

Archie's surname Mountbatten-Windsor was of course as expected and in accordance with the declaration of 8 February 1960:
[...] Now therefore I declare My Will and Pleasure that, while I and My Children shall continue to be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, My descendants other than descendants enjoying the style, title or attribute of Royal Highness and the titular dignity of Prince or Princess and female descendants who marry and their descendants shall bear the name of Mountbatten-Windsor.
A photo call took place at Windsor Castle earlier in the days. The photos can be viewed in the Telegraph article linked to above or at the website of BBC News.

7 May 2019

UK: Follow-up to the birth of Baby Sussex – place of birth etc.

I thought I should write a short follow-up to yesterday's article, in which I commented on the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby boy. I mentioned among others that the birth announcement didn't explicitly state where the birth took place and added that «is quite possible that the Duchess delivered the baby at home at Frogmore Cottage as the media has speculated about for quite some time». However, The Daily Mail claimed yesterday evening that the allegedly planned home birth was called off and that the Duchess of Sussex was transported to a private hospital in London, possibly The Portland Hospital, on Sunday night and where she gave birth early on Monday morning. No named source was stated and both Buckingham Palace and the hospital have denied to comment. As the Duchess allegedly was one week overdue, the decision to send her to a hospital is more than likely, but for now we will not know for sure.

The timing of the press releases yesterday – several hours after the birth had taken place – can easily be explained by the ducal couple's wish for privacy. They wanted to travel to the hospital and then return home again unnoticed. Their wish is of course easy to understand, considering what the British media is capable of. A car chase from Windsor to Great Portland Street in London would certainly not be a dream scenario for the parents to be. The ducal couple got it the way it wanted. However, it would have made more sense – and it would have been more professional – if the information department had dropped the first statement about the duchess being in labour.

Returning to the question about the place of birth – the operational note of 11 April said that «Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private.» I interpreted the note as saying that the couple wished to keep the birth plans private prior to the birth, but not after, but obviously I was wrong. As many have pointed out, the notice of the birth which was displayed outside Buckingham Palace yesterday didn't include the names of the medical personnel assisting the birth, as has been the tradition in the past. Had the names been included, the place of birth would of course have been revealed.

The place of birth is of course of historic and genealogical interest. Richard Palmer, royal correspondent of The Daily Express, tweeted yesterday evening that «Palace officials are still refusing to say where Meghan gave birth amid conflicting reports that it was at Frogmore Cottage or in a private hospital. But they acknowledge they will have to reveal the place of birth on the birth certificate within 42 days.»

As the tweet says, the information department knows that the birth certificate will be public knowledge in due time. One reason for keeping the place of birth a secret for the time being could be to protect the privacy of the medical personnel and the doula (i.e. the possible doula for what was allegedly planned to be a home birth). In 40 days the media's interest might have dropped a bit. There is of course nothing wrong with a discussion about home birth versus the use of a maternity hospital, but the media pressure is of course something the royal family, the court and medical team wanted to avoid.

As already pointed out, the birth certificate will be made public some time next month. The historians and genealogists just have to wait in patience.

A photo call will take place either Wednesday or Thursday. We will then learn to know the names of the Sussex baby and how he is to be styled. Now, as already pointed out, traditionally the eldest son of a duke will by courtesy use the second (lesser grade) title, so I would be surprised if the baby boy will be not be known as Earl of Dumbarton. Some observers have suggested, however, that it is possible he will «only» be known as Lord X Mountbatten-Windsor (or something else). I guess other scenaries shouldn't be ruled out completely, but as of now I believe that Buckingham Palace will stick to tradition.

Updated on Wednesday 8 May 2019 at 20:45 (the sentence concerning the possible use of a doula in the third last paragraph was made more precise) and at 21:40 (orthographic mistake corrected).

6 May 2019

UK: Duke and Duchess of Sussex have become parents to a boy

Finally – finally! – Buckingham Palace announced today – 6 May 2019 – that the Duchess of Sussex had given birth to a boy, born at 05.26 a.m.:
The Duchess of Sussex has been delivered of a son

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 0526hrs.

The baby weighs 7lbs 3oz.

The Duke of Sussex was present for the birth.

The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Earl Spencer have been informed and are delighted with the news.

The Duchess's mother, Doria Ragland, who is overjoyed by the arrival of her first grandchild, is with Their Royal Highnesses at Frogmore Cottage.
The press statement was first wired to the media and was immediately published some time before 2.30 local time before it was released on the Royal Family's social media accounts as well. Half an hour earlier or so it was announced that the Duchess was in labour. The statement said: «The Duchess of Sussex went into labour in the early hours of this morning. The Duke of Sussex was by Her Royal Highnesses’ side. An announcement will be made soon.» The wording of the statement suggested that the birth had already taken place, something the follow-up statement revealed. Of course, Buckingham Palace had in its «operational note» of 11 April stated that one could expect two press releases – one when the Duchess went into labour and then the second one after the birth had taken place and «once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family». Releasing the first statement several hours after the birth had taken place only made the press department look silly. It could very well be that the ducal couple kept the press department in the dark for some time before it was allowed to prepare the statement. In this regard one can understand the complaints made by the press. Richard Palmer of the Daily Express tweeted for instance: «Not that it will matter to most people but for journalists, the palace’s handling of that announcement was an absolute shambles. It would help if the press office spent more time worrying about keeping journalists informed and less time on Instagram and overseas organisations.» Then again, thinking of how the British media was sulking after the ducal couple made its birth plans known I guess thay didn't deserve any better. Anyway, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was allowed to celebrate the arrival of their son for quite some time just like they had wanted it. We got the happy news soon enough anyway.

It was certainly a wise move by the Duke to give a few comments on camera outside Frogmore Cottage later on. As earlier promised, a photo call would take place in a couple of days and the Duke seemed to suggest that the names of the newborn baby would be made known at the same time. They were still thinking of names, the Duke claimed.

A notice of the birth was also displayed outside Buckingham Palace. The text read: «The Queen and the Royal Family are delighted at the news that her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex was safely delivered of a son at 0526am today. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well. 06 May, 2019.»

I would like to make a few points. First, it was not explicitly stated where the birth took place. I find it a bit odd that this relevant information was not released, but it is quite possible that the Duchess delivered the baby at home at Frogmore Cottage as the media has speculated about for quite some time.

The baby boy, who is no. 7 in the line of succession to the British throne, has – as I commented on last month – not received the title of prince, but will by courtesy be styled Earl of Dumbarton, which is the Duke of Sussex's second (lesser grade) title. The birth also means that the first 20 in the line of succession now are all descendants of the Queen.

I will not enter a guessing game about the names. Some observers expext that the new parents will chose a traditional name for the one to be used daily. Others have pointed out that the child is so far from the throne that the ducal couple would feel less burdened by tradition. I suppose there will be a good mixture of names the couple likes and names from both side of the family. So maybe Alvin or Frederick or Isaac would be combined with a name or two from the British royal family?

1 May 2019

Luxembourg: List of royals confirmed to attend Grand Duke Jean's funeral

The Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg published yesterday «La liste des Familles royales régnantes confirmée». i.e. a list of members of reigning royal families who have confirmed their presence at the funeral of Grand Duke Jean in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg on 4 May 2019. Grand Duke Jean, who reigned from 1964 to 2000, died on 21 April 2019, 98 years old.

  • The King and Queen (King Philippe and Queen Mathilde)
  • King Albert II and Queen Paola
  • Prince Lorenz and Princess Astrid
  • Prince Laurent
  • Princess Léa
  • Princess Elisabeth
  • The Queen (Queen Margrethe II)
  • Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath
  • Prince Rashid (*)
  • Princess Badia
  • The Hereditary Prince and Princess (Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie)
  • Prince Albert II
The Netherlands
  • Princess Beatrix
  • The King and Queen (King Harald V and Queen Sonja)
  • Princess Astrid Mrs. Ferner
  • King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia
  • The King and Queen (King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia)
United Kingdom
  • The Princess Royal (Princess Anne)
  • The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (Richard and Birgitte)
I am sure there will be many members of former reigning families in attendance as well. I hope to come back with more details over the weekend.

(*) Postscript 15 May 2019 at 21.25: Prince Rashid was on the original list, but didn't attend. For a more complete list of royals and others attending the funeral, please see Netty Royal or  Luxarazzi.

Updated on Wednesday 15 May 2019 at 21.25 (postscript added, typo corrected).

King of Thailand marries for the fourth time

The Royal Gazette of Thailand informed today, 1 May 2019, that King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has «married General Suthida in accordance with laws and traditions» and that she is now to be known as Queen Suthida. The newspapers – Bangkok Post and The Nation – refers to the formerly Suhida Tidjai, born 3 June 1978, as «General Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya».

Queen Suditha used to be a flight attendant for Thai Airways before she was appointed commander of the then Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s household guard in August 2014. On 1 December 2016 she was appointed Commander of the Special Operations Unit of the King’s Guard and promoted to the rank of General. On 13 October 2017 she was named a Dame Grand Cross (First Class) of The Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao with the title Than Phu Ying.

The king was first married to Soamsawali Kitiyakara from 1977 to 1991, secondly to Yuvadhida Polpraserth from 1994 to 1996 and thirdly to Srirasmi Suwadee from 2001 to 2014. He has 7 children – 5 sons and 2 daughters – but has yet to announce his heir in accordance with the Palace Law of Succession Section 5, cf. the Constitution of Thailand Section 20.

The coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) takes place on 4 May 2019. Vajiralongkorn succeeded to the throne on 1 December 2016, upon proclamation following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), on 13 October 2016.

30 April 2019

New Emperor of Japan, Longest reigns (current monarchs) page updated

The Imperial Seal of Japan. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Emperor Akihito of Japan declared his abdication in a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo at 5 p.m. local time on 30 April 2019.

I have not yet found a translation of the special abdication act which was passed on 8 June 2017 by the National Diet of Japan and which allowed Akihito to abdicate. But according to BBC News, «Akihito technically remained emperor until midnight (15:00 GMT on Tuesday)», which makes sense.

Crown Prince Naruhito ascended the throne from midnight 1 May 2019 local time and thus became the 126th Emperor of Japan. The Koreiden-Shinden-ni-Hokoku-no-gi, which is the «rite of reporting the accession to the throne» is sceduled to take place at the Imperial Sanctuaries (Koreiden and Shinden) later on 1 May 2019. A enthronement ceremony will follow in the fall of 2019.

As it is already 1 May 2019 in Japan, I decided to update my Longest reigns (current monarchs) page already this evening.

Links to websites and documents with relevant information:

23 April 2019

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921–2019)

Grand Duke Jean at the wedding of his grandson Prince Louis in 2006. Photo: Schnékert/Wikimedia Commons.

Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg, who served as head of state of Luxembourg from 1964 to 2000, died early in the morning of 23 April 2019, the Grand Ducal Court has announced.

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of my beloved father, His Royal Highness Grand Duke Jean, who has passed away in peace, surrounded by the affection of his family.
Grand Duke Jean died a week after he was hospitalised for a lung infection. The exact time of death, 00.25, was given in a declaration by Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, later on 23 April. A national mourning will last until the day of the funeral, 4 May 2019. The death was also formally announced in Mémorial, the Legal Gazette of Luxembourg.

Jean Benoît Guillaume Robert Antoine Louis Marie Adolphe Marc d'Aviano, Prince of Luxembourg (as well as Prince of Bourbon-Parma and of Nassau), was born at Schloß Berg in Luxembourg on 5 January 1921 as the eldest son and child of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg (1896–1985) and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma (1893–1970). His siblings were Elisabeth (1922–2011), Marie Adelaide (1924–2007), Marie Gabriele (b. 1925), Charles (1927–1977) and Alix (1929–2019).

Following school in Luxembourg and England, Prince Jean received the title Hereditary Grand Duke by decree of 4 January 1939 in connection with his 18th birthday the day after. When Luxembourg was invaded by German troops in 1940, Jean and his family fled to France, later to Portugal before finally being transported to the United States. He studied law and political science at the Quebec University in Canada before joining the British forces in 1942. He took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and came home to Luxembourg in September 1944. He later took part in several battles before the Germans surrendeded in May 1945. In April 1945 he welcomed his mother Grand Duchess Charlotte home to Luxembourg.

Raised to become Grand Duke and head of state of Luxembourg, Jean served as a member of the State Council for 10 years from 1951 before becoming  Lieutenant-Représentant («Lieutenant Representative», i.e. Regent) in 1961. Jean became Grand Duke upon his mother's abdication on 12 November 1964 and served until he himself abdicated on 7 October 2000 on behalf of his eldest son Henri.

Grand Duke Jean, 1967. Photo: Ron Kroon/Wikimedia Commons.

The then Hereditary Grand Duke Jean married on 9 April 1953 Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium (1927–2005), daughter of King Leopold III of the Belgians (1901–1934–1951–1983) and Queen Astrid, née Princess of Sweden (1905–1935). They had 5 children – Marie Astrid, b. 1954, Henri, b. 1955, Jean and Margaretha, b. 1957, and Guillaume, b. 1963 – and 22 grandchildren. (Someone else has to give the total number of great-grandchildren!)

As Grand Duke Jean's great-grandfather Grand Duke Adolf (1839–1905), formerly Duke of Nassau, was an elder brother of Princess Sophie (Sofia) (1836–1912), who in 1857 married Prince Oscar of Sweden, later King Oscar II, Jean was a third cousin of King Harald V of Norway. At the same time Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte was a first cousin of King Harald as their mothers Astrid and Märtha née Princess of Sweden were sisters. From this follows that Grand Duke Henri and the future King of Norway, Haakon, are 2nd cousins.

Then people of Luxembourg is mournng their beloved former head of state and war hero. He held the same position in Luxembourg as Queen Elizabeth II does in the United Kingdom – even if he had retired, he «had always been there» for generations of people. Loyally he spent his whole life in service of his country. «Der stille Monarch», «the quiet Monarch», as Luxemburger Wort writes today. «Er war ein großes Stück Luxemburg» («He was a large piece of Luxembourg»), as one citizen expressed earlier today. «He was one of us», has also been said. Someone the people could identify themselves with. Both royal and distant and close at the same time.

An epoch has reached its end.

Obituary in Telegraph.co.uk  23 April 2019: Jean, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, benevolent ruler who served in Normandy landings, took part in the liberation of the Grand Duchy and had close ties to Britain – obituary

15 April 2019

UK: «Private birth plans»

We are getting closer to yet another royal birth in the United Kingdom – today it is exactly 6 months since the pregnancy was announed – and last Thursday Buckingham Palace released an «operational note» to the media facilities «ahead of the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's baby»:
«The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very grateful for the goodwill they have received from people throughout the United Kingdom and around the world as they prepare to welcome their baby. Their Royal Highnesses have taken a personal decision to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby private. The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.»
This means first of all that we will not know if the Duchess will give birth in a hospital or at home at Frogmore before the birth has taken place. Secondly, there will not be a photo call outside the Lindo Wing at the St. Mary's Hospital in London like after the births of the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

However, in the same operational note the media was also told that «Within a few days of the birth, the Duke and Duchess will take part in a photo call within the grounds of Windsor Castle». And furtheremore, the media has been informed that «A large fixed position for broadcasters and reporters will be facilitated on the Long Walk in Windsor. This will only become open for access once it has been announced that The Duchess is in labour. The facility will be operational from 6am until 11pm and for up to 72 hours after The Duchess has given birth».

So much for keeping the birth «secret». Of course the media – and far too many royalty watchers and «experts» – have worked themselves into a frenzy with screaming headlines about «break of protocol» and whatever. The Norwegian tabloid VG produced one of the most silly headlines ever: «Prins Harry og hertuginne Meghan vil holde fødselen hemmelig» («Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan is going to keep the birth a secret»). But then went on by saying that «Prinseparet vil vente med å kunngjøre at babyen er kommet til de selv har rukket å feire begivenheten privat», which more or less taken from the last sentence of the first quote above.

If only people could calm down for a minute or two ... or three. As the editor of the blog Peearage News, Michael Rhodes, has put it, «The idea that the Sussexes are breaking ‘protocol’ and ‘royal tradition’ by having a private royal birth is wrong. The hospital photo shoot is a modern move. The birth of the Queen’s children were private affairs. Edward wasn’t seen in public until he was 3 months old.» Rhodes later went on by writing that «If some people understood the difference in the words ‘private’ and ‘secret’ then the Duke & Duchess of Sussex would not be suffering from the barrage of criticism thrown at them by irrate Twitterers....and Press».  I couldn't have said it better myself.

I think the parents to be have made a wise decision. We will get the happy news soon enough anyway.

Many people have asked about possible royal titles for the Sussex baby. As no press release concerning a Letters Patent has been given yet, I think we can safely assume that the Sussex baby will not become a Prince or Princess. This means that the baby, if a girl, will be styled Lady X Mountbatten-Windsor, while a boy by courtesy will be styled Earl of Dumbarton, which is the Duke of Sussex's second (lesser grade) title.

For the record, when I commented on the title issue back in October, I didn't make any predictions on what the Queen would decide. I only wrote what I personally thought would be the best solution. The number of «working royals» are bound to drop for natural reasons in the years to come, so in that regard it would be wise to give a royal title to the Sussex baby as well. Many have argued that the Letters Patent published in January 2013 signalled that only the children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be Prince or Princess. In other words, the LP would have been worded differently if all possible grandchildren of the Prince of Wales were to receive a royal title.

That is a reasonable argument. However, there is nothing that could have stopped the Queen from changing her mind some time in the future if she saw it necessary. At the time Prince Harry had not settled down anyway. There are good arguments for limiting the number of Princes and Princesses, but there are in my opinion equally good reasons for including the Sussex baby.

As it stands today, the future Sussex baby, whether it be Earl of Dumbarton or Lady X Mountbatten-Windsor, will in accordance with the terms of the Letters Patent of 30 November 1917 become Prince or Princess when the Prince of Wales succeeds to the throne. But it is not unreasonable to expect that the Letters Patent in due time will be modified to reduce the number of potential princes and princesses, or that the monarch in some form or another will «let it be known» that the Sussex baby will continue using «the birth title» under the new reign even without a changed LP. We will obviously know sooner or later.

Updated on Monday 6 May 2017 at 22.00 (orthographic mistake corrected).

8 April 2019

Luxembourg: Louis and Tessy divorced

The Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg announced on 5 April 2019 that the divorce between Prince Louis and Princess Tessy became final the day before, 4 April 2019.

The divorce was covered by the local press, among others Wort.lu, following the statement and has also been written about in other blogs, like Marlene Koenig's (go also here) and Luxarazzi (see also a follow-up). But «for the record» I mention it also in my own blog.

Prince Louis married Tessy Antony in 2006. The decision to get a divorce was made public in January 2017, and a decree nisi was granted om 17 February 2017. Since then the former couple has been in a conflict over the financial settlement, which now is solved.

According to the press statement referred to above, Tessy has as a result of the divorce ceased to be a Princess of Luxembourg with the style Royal Highness, and she will not represent the Grand Ducal family anylonger. It's been a while, anyway. For the sake of the children, Prince Gabriel and Prince Noah of Nassau (born 2006 and 2007 respectively), Tessy will be allowed to use the hyphenated surname Antony-de Nassau taking effect from September 2019. I am not sure why she has to wait so long, but it might be because Luxembourg law concerning name changes works that way. She is referred to as «Mrs. Tessy Antony» in the statement, but if it takes so long to get a new surname in Luxembourg, how is it possible to lose the surname de Nassau so quickly? She seems to believe that she is a Princess until September, although this is in conflict with the said press statement and house law. The name of her Instagram account is «Tessy from Luxembourg», by the way, while she at present calls herself «Tessy Antony, Princess de Luxembourg» on Twitter. I hope there will be more information on the issue in due time.

Updated on 8 April 2019 at 23:53 (reference to Tessy's Twitter account added).

29 March 2019

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 1, 2019

It is Hanover time! Or should I say Cumberland time? The latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly – no. 1, 2019 – has a cover photo of Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick and his sister Alexandra, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin with their partners and children. The photo was taken in 1917.

The cover photo hints at the fact that Hanover is the topic for this issue's Family Album by Charlotte Zeepvat. One observant reader commented recently in the Royalty Digest Quarterly's Facebook group that the very first issue of the magazine (no. 1, 2006) covered a Hanover album as well. Editor Ted Rosvall replied that «Yes, but that was long before we found the format and concept of the family albums. It only ahd [sic!] a few pages and very limited illustrations. This time we have done it properly.» Later in the same discussion another observant reader points out the same, and Rosvall refers to the 2006 album as «only an embryo, a tryout, to the Family Albums we have since produced». He continues: «Since Ms Zeepvat and I thought we did not handle that dynasty properly, we decided that it would be a good idea to redo it, this time with all the Brunswick background in the 17th and 18th centuries. The dynasties next to come are FRANCE (Bourbon/Orléans/Bonaparte), Two Sicilies, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Reuss-Schleiz, Spain and Sweden.»

And the redo is properly done indeed, with the traditional introduction to the family besides a large collection of photos of the members of the royal house and the palaces – 84 in all – as well as 6 pages with genealogical tables. Cleverly enough, the editor has also included the article The Cumberland Princesses by Marlene A. Eilers-Koenig.

In his Editor's Corner Ted Rosvall dwells on abdications in royal Europe prior to WW1 and lists examples from among others France, Spain and Austria. He could of course have mentioned abdications closer to his home country, such as King Christian Frederik's abdication of the Norwegian throne in 1814 and King Oscar II's of the same in 1905. The reason for Rosvall's list is to point to the second part of Bearn Bilker's The November 1918 Abdications, which is included in the present issue. I really enjoyed the first part published in no. 4, 2018, and Bilker delivers once again! This time we can read about the abdications in Saxe-Weimar, Hesse and by Rhine, Württemberg, Saxony, Mecklenburg and Waldeck-Pyrmont. Concerning the royal house of Saxony, Bilker correctly points out that the royal house is now extinct while one morganatic branch still remains. Oddly enough the editor has  included a photo of «Prince Alexander of Sachsen-Gessaphe» (Alexander de Afif), who claimed the headship following the death of his uncle, Maria Emanuel, Margrave of Meißen, in 2012. But otherwise de Afif is not mentioned at all. It is a trifle, though, but it might have been more fitting to include a photo of either Maria Emanuel or Albert.

In the last issue of 2018, Stefan Haderer was the author of the article A Fairytale Palace on Corfu. I: The Achilleion and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. This time Haderer returns with the second part, The Achilleion and German Emperor Wilhelm II. It is once again worth reading, and the information that the Achilleion and its park today is a museum certainly tempts my desire to visit Corfu one day.

Bearn Bilker has also made a second contribution this time – a review of  John van der Kiste's book Daughter of Prussia. Louise, Grand Duchess of Baden and her family (A&F Publications, South Brent Devon, UK, 2017, ISBN 978-1546960379). As of today the Kindle edition only costs USD 5,61, the paperback edition USD 10,09.

The editor has found space for two of his own (smaller) articles this time: Royal Monograms, based on and old album containing a large collection of among others royal and noble monograms and which he found in a second hand book store many years ago, and Little-Known Royals. Prince Erik of Sweden.

Finally the readers are treated with The World Wide Web of Royalty, the column covering genealogical news of the Imperial, royal, princely and/or mediatized houses of Europe, this time Austria, Castell-Rüdenhausen, France, Fürstenberg. Hohenzollern, Luxembourg and Spain (or France again, depending on your view on Luis Alfonso, Duke of Anjou's claims).

In other words, plenty of good articles to read this time as well!

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. 

Updated on Thursday 4 April 2019 at 21.20 (reference to Cumberland article corrected, see comments section).

10 March 2019

UK: Scottish title for the Earl of Wessex

Buckingham Palace announced today, 10 March 2019, which is the 55th birthday of the Earl of the Wessex, the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II, that he had received an additional title:
The Queen has been pleased to grant The Earl of Wessex the additional title of Earl of Forfar.
In the «Notes for Editors» section, the Earl's Scottish connections, such as being a patron of several Scottish charitable organisations etc., are pointed out. From the notes we also learn that:
Their Royal Highnesses will use the title The Earl and Countess of Forfar when in Scotland.

The Earldom of Forfar was created in 1661 and became extinct as a title in 1715. It was a subsidiary title to the Earl of Ormond and was a title held by the Douglas Family.

The 1st Earl of Forfar (1653 to 1712) was Archibald Douglas. His son, also Archibald Douglas, became the 2nd Earl of Forfar (1692 to 1715). The 2nd Earl took the title at the age of 20 and died without issue leaving the Earldom, part of the Peerage of Scotland, extinct.

Forfar is the county town of Angus with a population of just over 14,000. It is the principal county town nearest to Glamis Castle, the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It was this family of which the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was part.
According to Michael Rhodes, who is behind the blog Peerage News, the Earl of Wessex is «a fifth cousin nine times removed of the previous holder of that peerage».

Just for the record, as there are so many misconceptions concerning the Earl of Wessex and the future title of Duke of Edinburgh, let me quote the press statement released at the day the Earl of Wessex married Sophie Rhys-Jones on 19 June 1997:

TITLE OF HRH THE PRINCE EDWARD The Queen has today been pleased to confer an Earldom on The Prince Edward. His titles will be Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn. The Prince Edward thus becomes His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones on marriage will become Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex. The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales have also agreed that The Prince Edward should be given the Dukedom of Edinburgh in due course, when the present title now held by Prince Philip eventually reverts to the Crown. The Queen has also decided, with the agreement of The Prince Edward and Miss Rhys-Jones, that any children they might have should not be given the style His or Her Royal Highness, but would have courtesy titles as sons or daughters of an Earl. To be released at 12 noon BST Saturday 19th June, 1999.
The Prince of Wales as the eldest son of the title holder is the present heir to the title Duke of Edinburgh. This mean that the Prince of Wales will inherit the title on the death of his father. If this happens while the Queen is still alive, the Prince of Wales will just add the Duke of Edinburgh title to his other titles. When he becomes King, the title will merge with the Crown.  If Prince Philip outlives the Queen, then the title will eventually pass on to the Prince of Wales, but as he by then is already the King, the title will merge with the Crown. Only then the title can be recreated for the Earl of Wessex.

5 March 2019

UK: Buckingham Palace issues Social Media Community Guidelines

On 4 March 2019 Buckingham Palace issued the following press statement concerning the new «Social Media Community Guidelines»:
These guidelines are in place to help create a safe environment on all social media channels run by The Royal Family, Clarence House and Kensington Palace.

The aim of our social media channels is to create an environment where our community can engage safely in debate and is free to make comments, questions and suggestions.

We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities.

In order to help create this safe environment we have set out some guidelines which apply to any engagement with us or other members of the community on any of our social media channels.

By engaging with our social media channels you agree to follow these guidelines.

Comments must not:
  • Contain spam, be defamatory of any person, deceive others, be obscene, offensive, threatening, abusive, hateful, inflammatory or promote sexually explicit material or violence.
  • Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
  • Breach any of the terms of any of the social media platforms themselves.
  • Be off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible.
  • Contain any advertising or promote any services.
Breach of guidelines

We reserve the right to determine, at our discretion, whether contributions to our social media channels breach our guidelines. We reserve the right to hide or delete comments made on our channels, as well as block users who do not follow these guidelines.

We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.
The Telegraph explains the new formal guidelines with the «escalating abuse of the Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex» in social media, and adds that «On Twitter and Instagram, the comments section has regularly descended into abuse of both Duchesses, with the Duchess of Sussex subjected to racist comments on top of the sexist and offensive words aimed at both her and the Duchess of Cambridge.»

The Telegraph also refers to the ongoing «war» between the «supporters» of the two duchesses. I have noted that many Boardhost forum regulars and others have also been dragged into this conflict. I am happy to stay out of it! Another matter is how this «Sussex vs. Cambridge war» goes against the very concept of monarchy. Many of the «warriors» seem to have a very shallow understanding of monarchy, monarchism and the roles of the royals.

I don't think the lack of formal guidelines would have stopped the British Royal Court from blocking or reporting offensive postings, but at least from now on the trolls and haters can not claim that they have not been warned!

Titles for the Emperor and Empress of Japan following abdication

Preparations are under way for the abdication of Emperor Akihito of Japan on 30 April 2019. One question that naturally has arised is what to call them afterwards.

Last week The Japan Times wrote, with the Imperial Household Agency as the stated source, that Emperor Akihito will be referred to as «Emperor emeritus», while his wife, Empress Michiko will use the title «Empress emerita». The Japanese equvialents will be jōkō (上皇) and jōkōgō (上皇后) respectively.

The similar practice in Europe varies. While the Dutch monarchs traditionally reverts to the title of prince or princess* following abdication, King Juan Carlos of Spain, King Albert of the Belgians and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg are still titled King or Grand Duke respectively, but they are of course not HM The King or HRH The Grand Duke anylonger. A parallell to Japan would be the Roman-Catholic Church, where Pope Benedixt XVI is referred to as «supreme pontiff emeritus».

* The three monarchs prior to King Willem-Alexander were all women – Queen Wilhelmina, Queen Juliana and Queen Beatrix respectively – and they all reverted to the title of Princess of the Netherlands following their abdication. I mention the title prince the just for «the sake of balance and equality» and because I expect that King Willem-Alexander will use the title of Prince again if he should decide to abdicate some time in the future. As far as I know, the first King of the Netherlands, Willem I, continued to use the title King following his abdication in 1840.

31 January 2019

New Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia; Longest reigns page updated

The closest I got to the Royal Palace (Istana Negara) in Kuala Lumpur ... © 2004 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The Sultan of Pahang, Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, was sworn in as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King/Head of state) of Malaysia  in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, today, following his election by the Conference of Rulers last Thursday. At the same time the Sultan of Perak, Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, took the oath following the re-election as Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Deputy King/Head of state).

The previous king, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated the throne on 6 January 2019, and the Timbalan Yang di-Pertuan Agong acted as Head of state until today.

The new Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, b. 30 July 1959, succeeded as Sultan of Pahang as recent as 15 January 2019 following the abdication of his father, Sultan Ahmad. Abdullah has been married to Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, b 5 August 1960, since 6 March 1986. His second wife, since 1993, is named Cik Puan Julia Aisha binti ‘Abdu’llah, b. 1971. His first wife will act as the official consort (titled Raja permaisuri Agong). The Sultan of Pahang has six children by his first wife and three by his second, cf. The Royal Ark. In addition he has also two adopted sons born prior to his children by his first wife.

The new King is described as a huge football fan and a supporter of the English football team Arsenal FC. According to the newspaper The Star, «Sultan Abdullah, who is quite a skilful midfielder in football, is just as adept at hockey, tennis, golf, horse riding, scuba diving, squash and polo».

Today's events in Kuala Lumpur means that I have updated my Longest reigns (current monarchs) page. If nothing happens in the meantime, the website will be updated again in late April when the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, abdicates.

18 January 2019

Another abdication in Malaysia, new Sultan of Pahang to become the new King?

The 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State/King) of Malaysia, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated on 6 January 2019 and returned to his home state of Kelantan, while the Deputy Head of State, the Sultan of Perak, in accordance with the Constitution stayed in the capital to exercise  the  functions of  the Yang di-pertuan Agong until the Conference of Rulers elected the new King. The election will take place on Thursday 24 January 2019.

Malaysia has a rotation system by which the king is elected for a five-year-period among the 9 rulers. At the time of the abdication, The Straits Times wrote that «[...] the next in line is Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, 88, followed by Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, 60, and then Sultan Nazrin Shah from Perak, 62. Sultan Ahmad Shah is not in good health and his son has been Regent for two years.»

Since my blog article of 7 January, I haven't really paid enough attention to the news from Malaysia. Today I learnt that the Sultan of Pahang, Ahmad Shah, b. 1930, abdicated the sultanate throne on 15 January 2019 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah. Ahmad Shah became Sultan of Pahang in 1974 and served as the 7th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia from 1979 to 1984. His son Abdullah, b. 1959, had the role as regent in the meantime.

The Straits Times wrote on 15 January that «The installation of Sultan Abdullah puts him in line to become the next Malaysian constitutional ruler under the rotation system practised by the nine Malay royal houses.» Next Thursday we will know for sure.

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway's confirmation

Photo: © 2018 HKH. Kronprinsen/HRH The Crown Prince.

The Royal Norwegian Court announced today that Princess Ingrid Alexandra will be confirmed in the Palace Chapel at the Royal Palace on Saturday 31 August 2019.

According to the press release, the princess is receiving her confirmation instruction with Asker Church congregation under the direction of Provost Tor Øystein Vaaland and acting Vicar Karoline Astrup.

The confirmation service in the Palace Chapel will be led by the Bishop of Oslo, Kari Veiteberg, and the Praeses of the Norwegian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Helga Haugland Byfuglien.

The christening of Princess Ingrid Alexandra, who turns 15 on Monday 21 January 2019, took place in the Palace Chapel on Saturday 17 April 2004. She was carried to the christening font by her grandfather, King Harald. Her other sponsors were King Felipe of Spain (then Prince of Asturias), Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, her aunt Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her grandmother Marit Tjessem.

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 4, 2018

The front cover of the latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 4, 2018) is blue and beautiful, and in the photo we can se the royal family of Montenegro in around 1910, the year when the principality was declared a kingdom. I have happy memories of my visit to Montenegro and the former capital of Cetinje in 2009. I will come back to this later in the blog article.

So, what is on the mind of the editor, Ted Rosvall, this time? He starts with mentioning the 100th birthday of Princess Woizlawa Feodora Reuss and then lists other royals (by birth or by marriage) who reached the same milestone. Members of royal as well as princely and mediatized families are included. Strictly speaking I wouldn't have included Elsa Cedergreen, née Bernadotte Countess of Wisborg, as she was only a decendant of the Swedish royal family, but I will leave it at that.

The first article, 'The Blue Flower' a Romanian Mystery, is written by the magazine's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat. She writes about, and make extracts, of a collection of postcards signed by «Floare Albastra».While her identity is never disclosed, she obviously was close to the Romanian royal family and court.

Then Ove Mogensen follows up with the second part of his series Tombs, Graves and Monuments. Burial Places of the Bonaparte Dynasty. My, my, hasn't he been all over the place! Would love to visit some of the places as well as the graves he has visited.

Another regular contributor, Marlene A. Eilers Koenig, has researched and written the story of the American-born Nonnie May Stewart (1878–1923), who in 1920 married Prince Christopher of Greece (1888–1940), youngest son of King George I and Queen Olga, née Grand Princess of Russia. Prince Christopher was her third husband. Funny how she lied about her age to make her closer in age to her husband. As of today, her Findagrave.com entry still gives her birth year as 1883 ...

The front cover photo obviously reveals which royal family Charlotte Zeepvat will cover this time in her Family Album series. I find the history of the former royal familiy of Montenegro to be one of the most fascinating ones, and once again I cannot say how much I enjoyed my visit in 2009, three years after the former monarchy regained its independence. Following a 3 pages long historical introduction, the readers can enjoy 61 illustrations besides the photo of the royal palace and a map. And of course, there is a genealogical table as well.

Here is a small collection from my own visit to Cetinje in 2009, the first two shows the royal palace, the third was taken of the chapel in which King Nikola I and Queen Milena were reburied in 1989. I was not allowed to take photos inside. The last two photos show the birth house of King Nikola in the village of Njeguši. There is a museum inside.

Photos: © 2009 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The royal palace in Cetinje is open for tours, but you are not allowed to visit by your own, only groups are allowed. At least that was the case in 2009. So I had to wait half an hour or so until a group of Russian tourists arrived and I could join them for the sightseeing. I was the only one who left money in the book shop, though. I bought lots of cards as well as the book The Court of King Nikola by Milan Jovićević, Anđe Kapičić and Tatjana Jović, published by The National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje in 1999.

Of course I took loads of photos during my visit to Cetinje (and other royalty-related places), including many tombs, but I will have to come back with another article on this later on. It is on time, considering the fact that it is close to 10 years since my visit! Then again, my visit to Norse, Texas in 2005 was covered as late as in 2018, so I guess it is never too late ...

Returning to the article and specifically the genealogical table for a minute, I note that Zeepvat and Rosvall list two daughters of Prince Boris of Montenegro, Milena, b. 2008, and Antonia, birth year not given, while An Online Gotha only mentions Milena. Has the birth of Antonia never been officially confirmed? I know that it is almost impossible to get any news or any information at all about the present head of the royal family, Prince Nikola, and his children and grandchildren. With no male heirs (after Boris) in sight, the house seems destined to die out with him.

The article The November 1918 Abdications, part I by Bearn Bilker gives a presentation of abdications of Emperor Wilhelm II and the monarchs of the various kingdoms, duchies and principalities of the German Empire. It was a good idea to write such an article, and I look forward to the follow-ups.

I have never really understood the fascination for Sisi, the Empress of Austria (1837–1898). I think other members of the imperial family of Austria are far more interesting. But of course there are many aspects of Empress Elisabeth's life which are interesting to pay attention to, and the story of her property at Corfu, Greece, A Fairytale Palace on Corfu. I: The Achilleion and Empress Elisabeth of Austria by Stefan Haderer, is at least new to me and is worth reading.

Then Coryne Hall is back with her Little-Known Royals series, this time writing about Princess Therese of Bavaria (1850–1925), younger (and only) sister of King Ludwig III. I have earlier put a question marks of some of the royals covered in this series, but Princess Therese certainly deserves to be included. But I am sure there are many Bavaria experts out there who will disagree with me ...

Last, but not least, The World Wide Web of Royalty column, is put at the end of the magazine again. The column lists genealogical news of the Imperial, Royal, Princely and/or mediatized families of Europe and this time we are treated with news from Austria, France, Reuss, Romania, Schönburg-Hartenstein, Sweden and Two Sicilies.

Now I just have to remember to renew my subscription!

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.  

Updated on Sunday 20 January 2019 at 14.15 (grammatical error corrected).

7 January 2019

Malaysia: New king to be elected on 24 January 2019

Following the abdication of the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State/King) of Malaysia, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, yesterday, the Conference of Rulers decided today that the new king would be elected in a special meeting on Thursday 24 January 2019.

According to Thestar.com, the meeting was attended by the rulers from Terengganu, Perlis, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perak and Kedah. The Sultan of Selangor was abroad, while the Sultan of Pahang felt unwell and therefore stayed home. A special meeting for the swearing-in ceremony for the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be held on Thursday 31 January 2019.

No official explanation for the king's decision to abdicate has been given, but The Straits Times points to the complaints made by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in June last year, alleging that «Sultan Muhammad had not abided by the rule of law in delaying his installation as Premier and the appointment of a new Attorney-General». The events had caused debate and allegedly damaged the royal institution, something some of the Malay rulers were unhappy about. The final straw was supposedly the King's wedding to a 25-year-old Russian model (Oksana Voevodina, following convertion to Islam renamed Rihana Oxana Gorbatenko) while he was on sick leave last fall.

6 January 2019

Published articles and Slektshistoriewiki contributions, 2018, plans for 2019

Here is a survey of the articles I have written and got published during 2018. Both articles (book reviews) were published in Genealogen, the newsletter of Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening, the Norwegian Genealogical Society.
  •  ««Helt til jordens ende». Bok om de mange norsk-amerikanske misjonærene», book review, Genealogen no. 1/2018, pp. 47–49.
  • «Ny kildeutgivelse fra Riksarkivet: Lofthusoppreisten», review of Løyland, Marit (publisher). Lofthusoppreisten. Rettsmateriale frå kommisjon og høgsterett 1789–99, Oslo: Riksarkivet, 2018, in Genealogen no. 2, 2018, pp. 55–56.
I have also helped out with proofreading all issues of Genealogen and Norsk Slektshistorisk Tidsskrift published in 2018. My bibliography, although still not complete, can be viewed here.

I have mentioned earlier in my blog that I am one of the administrators of Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian genealogy wiki, which is administered by Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (the Norwegian Genealogical Society). Besides administration work I have contributed with many articles over the years.

Here are some (but far from all) of the articles I written (both initiated and written most, if not all, of the updates) during 2018:

Book presentations
The articles above come in addition to the updating of many articles which I have initiated earlier. I am mostly proud of finishing (with the help of others) the project Ordliste for ættegranskere (bok) («Dictionary for genealogists»), which was started in 2015. Cato Krag-Rønne published the dictionary in 1946. He had made a collection of explanations to words and expressions which one encounters during genealogy research. We got the permission from Krag-Rønne's daughter, Bodil Gjetanger, to add all the explanations to the wiki. It took a while to finish the project, though, but I am pleased that the work was finally done. Unfortunately Gjetanger died just before I did the finishing touch on the project.

The teacher and author Guri Trygsland mentioned above was the sister of my great-grandfather Søren Trygsland (1878–1967). I have done a great deal of research on Guri's life and work, so I hope to update the article soon. I have also done the needed research on the Norwegian ancestry of Rep. Deb Haaland, so I just have to get my act together and get the work done! The article Norsk prestehistorie (is «History of the Norwegian clergy» a good translation?) is just the first step of transferring the project from the website of the Norwegian Genealogical Society to Slektshistoriewiki. Hopefully I will finish the move during 2019. I was also happy to add more details about the noble family of Mund (which died out in the male line in 1915), especially the cognatic line (non-noble, of course) which still exists today.

By the way, a survey of all my contributions to Slektshistoriewiki can be viewed here. Most of the Slektshistoriewiki articles initiated in 2018 are rather short, but believe me, it takes time to do the research needed, in addition to the writing process.

Still, I am not too satisfied with my «achivements» in 2018. I would like to have done more. Of course I can use my family and work commitments as an excuse (I don't get that much time every day to research and write), but if I could be more disciplined and focus on less projects at a time I should be able to publish more. I have done lots of research during 2018 (as in previous years), but I have too many ongoing projects, and would love to focus more on writing and publising.

David Allen Lambert, the Chief Genealogist at NEHGS (New England Historic Genealogical Society) in Boston, Massachusetts, asked on 1 January 2019: «What #GenealogicalNewYearsResolution are you planning for 2019? Sort, organize, publish, research, visit a grave?»
This made me thinking! Yes, of couse I will do all the things he mentioned – sort, organize, publish. research, visit a grave – during 2019! But it is the publishing part which is most challenging. I really hope, if my time allows it (here I go again!), to publish more than the two book reviews and thus ad more to my bibliography. The quality is of course more important than the number of publications. But still ... So, what are my publishing plans for 2019? In the late fall of 2018 I was asked to «update» the genealogy of an old Norwegian family of German origin. It will be a time-consuming project which will certainly not be finished in 2019. The question whether I will take on this project or not has not been settled yet. Therefore, in the meantime I am thinking of working on the genealogy of one of the other families I descend from, with the possible publishing date some time in 2020. In addition I am working on a surname project which I think I can be able finish in 2019. My goal is both a printed edition as well as an e-book accessible for members of the Norwegian Genealogy Society. It all depends on what will happen with the old Norwegian family genealogy I mentioned above. Time will show ...

So, what about my blog? Obviously I have made far less updates in 2018 (48) than I did in the first years, but still I am happy with four blog articles a month on average. I think I will be satisfied with 48 blog articles in 2019 as well.

Updated on 10 March 2019 at 13.10 (correcting a mistake in the last paragraph).

Longest reigns (current monarchs) page updated

The 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Head of State/King) of Malaysia, Muhammad V, Sultan of Kelantan, abdicated today, 6 January 2019. He took office on 13 December 2016 and had therefore close to 3 years left of his term. As I understand it, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, as the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, will perform the duties of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong until the Conference of Rulers has elected the new king.

My Longest reigns (current monarchs) page has therefore been updated. Obviously the page will soon be updated again after the election has taken place and the new King has taken the oath. The Emperor of Japan, Akihito, has already announced that he will abdicate his throne on 30 April 2019. Hopefully there will be no other changes in the meantime.