24 April 2021

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 1, 2021

Yes another issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 1, 2021) has arrived in the mailbox and I am happy to continue my reviews again after a little break. I didn't comment on the third and fourth issues of last year mainly due to my work and a genealogy project which took most of the fall as well as this spring. So my last RDQ article was published in June 2020. I could of course have written the articles now, but I find it to be less newsworthy. I should add that I write these presentations/reviews on my own initiative, it is not something «I have to do», but I enjoy writing them when I have the opportunity.

Liechtenstein on the front cover! The photo is of Prince Franz Joseph II of Liechtenstein (1906–1989), his wife Princess Georgine (Gina) of Liechtenstein, née Countess von Wilczek (1921–1989) and their two eldest sons, Prince Hans-Adam and Prince Philip. I am not sure when the photo is taken, maybe late 1946 or early 1947. The choice of front cover photo reveals that Charlotte Zeepvat this time has chosen the Princely House of Liechtenstein for her her traditional Family Album. Besides a 2 pages long introduction to the family history, the readers are treated with 72 illustrations of various family members and of the castle. The princely house is so large that the article also contain 5 pages with genealogical tables.

© 2005 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

I would love to visit Liechtenstein again one day. My only visit took place in 2005 when the Schloss Vaduz was under renovation. With a better camera I hope to take better photos and also see other parts of the principality.

Charlotte Zeepvat, who is an historical consultant to the magazine, has also written the first article of the present issue, An Extraordinary Life. The Story of Cyril von Sellheim. It is not proven, but in my opinion very likely that Cyril Albert Robert von Sellheim (1897–1983), who was adopted by Peter Alexander von Sellheim (1830–1913) and Philomena Maria (Mary) de Cock (1844–1915), was the son of Princess Marie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1878–1948), eldest daughter of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V (1848–1914) and Grand Duchess Elisabeth, née Princess of Anhalt (1857–1933). It is a well-written and interesting article to read, and it also has a page with short genealogies of the Sellheim and Mecklenburg-Strelitz families.

A Guiness for Monaco? Stephen Bunford asks. He tells the story of the Grimaldis and who the current head of state could have been if Prince Louis II of Monaco (1870–1949) had not adopted and legitimated his natural daughter Charlotte (1898–1977) in 1919.

I really enjoyed Bearn Bilker's article Clothilde von Merenberg – the last Nassau. He has both met and interviewed the countess and gives a good outline of the history of the Nassau and Merenberg family. Clothilde von Rintelen, née Countess of Merenberg, b. 1941, is the great-great-granddaughter of Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm of Nassau (1832–1905), who is 1868 married Natalia Alexandrovna Pushkina (1836–1913). The Merenberg title was granted by Nikolaus' brother-in-law Prince Georg Viktor of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1831–1893). The countess is related to most royal families of Europe, including the Norwegian, as Prince Nikolaus Wilhelm was a brother of Princess Sophia (1836–1913), who in 1857 married Prince Oscar of Sweden (1829–1907), from 1872 King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway. This means that Clothilde and Crown Prince Haakon are fourth cousins. There are other connections as well, but I will leave it at that.

Ove Mogensen from Denmark has traveled the whole world to take photos of royal graves. This time he presents the Saxe-Altenburgs as no. III in his series Tombs, Graves and Monuments in Thuringia.

In the series of Little-known Royals Coryne Hall has this time decided to present Princess Gundelinde of Bavaria (1891–1983), the youngest and 13th child of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (1845–1921), from 1913 King Ludwig III, and Princess Maria Theresa of Bavaria, née Archduchess of Austria-Este. Princess Gundelinde married in 1919 Count Johann Georg von Preysing-Lichtenegg-Moos (1887–1924). The article reminded me of the somewhat unusual names (at least to me) of some of Gundelinde's siblings, including Helmtrud, Notburga and Dietlinde.

The columns The World Wide Web of Royalty gives us genealogical news from the Imperial, Royal or Princely houses of Austria, Bourbon-Parme, Hohenberg, Leiningen, Norway (Erling Lorentzen), Sweden and Thurn and Taxis.

Really newsworthy are the book titles Royal Books have «in the pipeline», among them the third edition of Bernadotteättlingar (Bernadotte Descendants), which is expected in the summer of 2021, and Genealogie des Fürstlichen Hauses Kinsky, which will come out in the winter of 2021/2022. Really something to look forward to!

Information about Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentations of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.

17 April 2021

UK: The Royal Family took farewell with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

The funeral service for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died on 9 April 2021, 99 years old, took place in St. George's Chapel at Windsor today, 17 April 2021.

The funeral procession, which started at 2.50 p.m. local time, took place from the State Entrance to the chapel. The coffin of the duke was carried by a customised Land Rover. Behind it walked members of the royal family – the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex, Tim Laurence and the Earl of Snowdon – while other members had driven to the chapel by car in advance. More details can be read at the official website.

Due to the pandemic and Covid-19 protocol, only 30 people were allowed to attend the funeral service. These were:

  • HM The Queen (Queen Elizabeth II)
  • HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles)
  • HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla)
  • HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William)
  • HRH The Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine) 
  • HRH The Duke of Sussex (Prince Harry)
  • HRH The Duke of York
  • HRH Princess Beatrice of York
  • Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi (husband of the former)
  • HRH Princess Eugenie of York
  • Jack Brooksbank (husband of the former)
  • HRH The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward)
  • HRH The Countess of Wessex (Sophie)
  • Lady Louise Windsor
  • James, Viscount Severn
  • HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne)
  • Tim Laurence
  • Peter Phillips
  • Zara Tindall
  • Mike Tindall
  • The Earl of Snowdon (David Armstrong-Jones, son of the late Princess Margaret)
  • Lady Sarah Chatto (daughter of the late Princess Margaret)
  • Daniel Chatto
  • HRH The Duke of Gloucester (cousin of the Queen)
  • HRH The Duke of Kent (cousin of the Queen)
  • HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy
  • HGDH The Hereditary Prince of Baden (Hereditary Prince Bernhard)
  • HRH The Landgrave of Hesse (Landgrave Donatus)
  • HRH The Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Prince Philipp)
  • Countess Mountbatten of Burma (Penelope Knatchbull)
In other words – besides the widow the serivice were for the most part attended by children, children-in-law, grandchildren and their children – as well as a few other relatives. The Duchess of Sussex decided to remain in Los Angeles on advice of her doctor. The Hereditary Prince of Baden, the Landgrave of Hesse and the Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg represented the sisters of Prince Philip, while the Countess Mountbatten of Burma was a good friend and married to Norton Knatchbull, the 3rd Eaarl Mountbatten of Burma, a relative on his mother's side.

The funeral was a so-called «Ceremonial Royal Funeral», the same as that of the Queen Mother in 2002. The Dean of Windsor, David Conner, conducted the service, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, pronounced the blessing. The full Order of Service can be viewed here.

The congregation wore masks for the service and the members of the royal family wore day dress or morning coat with medals.

As described by the official website, due to the public health guidelines, some of the funeral plan had been modified, «although the day was still be very much in line with His Royal Highness’s wishes». He had himself decided on the hymns and other music and that there should be no sermon. All in all it was a simple and beautiful service. What I will remember first of all is the sight of the queen, sitting all by herself in the choir , due to the health guidelines no-one could sit close to her and comfort her ...

The coffin was lowered into the royal vault at the end of the service. After the archbishop had pronounced the blessings and the national anthem was sung by the choir, the members of the royal family and members of the Duke of Edinburgh's family left the chapel via Galilee Porch.  

The funeral was televised. The broadcast started already two hours before the service here in Norway. The historian Trond Norén Isaksen was one of the commentators on TV2.

11 April 2021

UK: Record of Prince Philip's birth at Corfu

The Mail on Sunday has taken the trouble of locating the church book in which the then Prince Philip of Greece's birth and christening was recorded. [External link]

Prince Philip was born at the royal estate of Mon Repos on 10 June 1921 (28 May in the old Julian calendar) and baptized in the Church of Our Christ the Saviour,

The record is dated 24 October 1921 (i.e. 14 November 1921, Gregorian calendar).

UK: Prince Philip's funeral set to Saturday 17 April 2021

Yesterday, just as I had finished writing a piece about Prince Philip, who died at Windsor Castle on Friday 9 April 2021, 99 years old, Buckingham Palace released details about the funeral service:

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Funeral will take place on Saturday 17 April 2021 at 3pm in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The Funeral Service will begin with a National Minute’s Silence at three o’clock. The service will be preceded by a ceremonial procession inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. 

The plans for the funeral are in line with The Duke of Edinburgh's own personal wishes, and the occasion will recognise and celebrate The Duke’s life and his more than 70 years of service to The Queen, the UK and the Commonwealth. 

It will be a Ceremonial Royal Funeral, the same as for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, rather than a State Funeral – something which is generally reserved for Monarchs. The plans have been approved by The Queen and reflect appropriate Government advice.

See the link above for more details. The funeral will, as the current Covid-19 protocol stipulates, be attended by only 30 members of the royal family. This includes the Duke of Sussex, who will be flying over from Los Angeles, while his pregnant wife will remain, allegedly on advice by her doctor. The funeral service will be televised.

10 April 2021

UK: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921–2021)

Buckingham Palace announced on Friday 9 April 2021 the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II:

It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

Further announcements will be made in due course.  

The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.   

Prince Philip (Filippos), who died two months short of his 100th birthday, was born on at Corfu in Greece on 10 June 1921 as the fifth and youngest child and only son of Prince Andreas of Greece (1882–1944) and Princess Alice, née Princess of Battenberg (1885–1969). In 1922 the family was forced into excile and Prince Philip grew up in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. After leaving Gordonstoun School in Scotland in 1939 he joined the British Royakl Navy and served in the British forces during WW2. In 1947 Prince Philip was naturalized as a British subject, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles (there is till a question mark on how this was made legal in Greece and Denmark) and took the surname Mountbatten (an Anglization of his mother's Battenberg family name). On 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey, London he married Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. from 1952 Queen Elizabeth II, eldest daughter of King George VII (1895–1952) and Queen Elizabeth, née Bowes-Lyon (1900–2002). He received the style Royal Highness and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. In 1957 he was created Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Prince Philip left behind his wife of 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II, his four children Charles (the Prince of Wales), Anne (the Princess Royal), Andrew (the Duke of York) and Edward (the Earl of Wessex), 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. His titles Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich were upon his death inherited by the Prince of Wales in accordance with the Letters Patent of 1947). See my blog article of 10 March 2019 for details of the title Duke of Edinburgh, which in due time will be bestowed on the Earl of Wessex.

Prince Philip's death didn't come as a big surprise, as he looked very frail when he left hospital last month. But I kind of expected that he would at least say on and have his big day on 10 June when he was to turn 100. But unfortunately we lost him yesterday. It is almost impossible to write a blog article which gives justice to such a grand man, who was the longest-serving consort of a British monarch. He dedicated his life to the British Crown and people. When he decided to retire from public life in 2017, we learnt that he had carried out 22,191 solo engagements since 1952. The number speaks volumes. He will perhaps first of all be remembered for his supporting role to Queen Elizabeth. As the Queen said herself during the celebrations of the couple's golden anniversary in 1997: «He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and manybother countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.»

We will remember his smile and sparkle in the eye and all his witty remarks. Yes, he crossed the line a few times, he was far from perfect, but he was first of all a funny and generous man who will be sadly missed by his family and by everyone who cares about the British royal family and monarchy.


Gun salutes have been fired across the United Kingdom and in Gibraltar at noon today marking the death of Prince Philip. The British always do it proplerly, as described in The Telegraph: «Saluting batteries began firing 41 rounds at one round every minute from midday on Saturday in cities including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, as well from Royal Navy warships.»


Current and former heads of state, other diginitaries and politicians all over the world have expressed their condolences following the news of Prince Philip's death. The statement at the website of the Norwegian Royal Family said yesterday:

The Duke of Edinburgh

The Royal Family has received the news that His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh has passed away with great sorrow.

“Our thoughts are with Queen Elizabeth and the rest of her family. We also send our condolences to the British people,” said His Majesty King Harald.

His Majesty has decided that a flag will be flown at half-mast from the Palace balcony today and on the day of the funeral.

Following the death of HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh HM The King has made a statement:

The Queen and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip has been a great friend of our family for many years, a relation which we have deeply valued.

His service to his country will remain an inspiration to us all.

We offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty The Queen, The Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.


The Queen of Denmark has also sent her condolences to Queen Elizabeth. The head of the Serbian Royal Family, Crown Prince Alexander, has paid the following tributes:

Their Royal Highnesses saddened by the passing of Prince Philip

TRH Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine and the entire Royal Family received with great sadness the news that HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, godmother of the Crown Prince, passed away today.

The whole life of Prince Philip was dedicated to the service of the British Crown and the people. He is survived by his wife, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, four children, eight grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

Prince Philip was the son of the Greek and Danish Prince Andrew, the brother of the Greek King Constantine, the maternal great-grandfather of the Crown Prince Alexander.

Crown Prince Alexander and the Royal Family had a good cousin, a sincere friend in the late Duke, whose memory will live forever. His departure will create a great void in the hearts of all who knew him.
The British Prime minister, Boris Johnson, gave a televised statement which can be read here. He said among others that «Prince Philip earned the affection of generations here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and around the world.» 

The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, expressed among others: «A man of great service to others – first as a decorated naval officer and later as a dedicated leader in the areas of community engagement and philanthropy – the Duke always sought out the best in people and challenged them to strive for greater heights.» 

Australia's prime minister Scott Morrison said: «Your Majesty, here in Australia, and indeed across the world, your Commonwealth family joins in your sorrow and your mourning and that of your family. But also, we give thanks for the life of who you described as your strength and your stay. Your Prince, Prince Philip. Husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The Duke's life was one of duty and of service, of loyalty and of honour. Memories of him will of course tell stories of his candour, and a unique and forceful and authentic personality. But above all, he was a man who was steadfast, who could be relied upon, always standing by his Queen.»

President Joe Biden gave the following statement:
On behalf of all the people of the United States, we send our deepest condolences to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the entire Royal Family, and all the people of the United Kingdom on the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Over the course of his 99-year life, he saw our world change dramatically and repeatedly. From his service during World War II, to his 73 years alongside the Queen, and his entire life in the public eye — Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK, the Commonwealth, and to his family. The impact of his decades of devoted public service is evident in the worthy causes he lifted up as patron, in the environmental efforts he championed, in the members of the Armed Forces that he supported, in the young people he inspired, and so much more. His legacy will live on not only through his family, but in all the charitable endeavors he shaped.

Jill and I are keeping the Queen and Prince Philip’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in our hearts during this time.
Every living former US presidents have also expressed their condolences, as summed up on the website of BBC News.

Selected obituaries

Details of Prince Philip's funeral have yet to be published. According to his own wishes, it will be a relatively low-key service at the St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Covid-19 restrictions will also hae an impact on the service and the number of people attending will be smaller than originally planned. The prince will first be interred in the royal family vault beneath the chapel, and then later be transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel following the death of the queen.

Updated on Thursday 15 April 2021 at 20:15 (more precise details concerning Prince Philip's interment added).

Norway: King Harald resumes his constitutional duties

The Norwegian Royal Court announced today that King Harald will resume his constitutional duties on Monday 12 April 2021 following the expiration of his sick leave.

The king was operated for a torn tendon above his knee on 30 January 2021 and has been on sick leave ever since. Crown Prince Haakon has served as Regent in the meantime.

6 April 2021

Luxembourg: Prince Louis engaged to marry Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue

The Grand-Ducal Court of Luxembourg announced today the engagement between Prince Louis, b. 1986, the third son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, and Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue, b. 1991, the second child of Pierre Sirgue and Scarlett Berrebi.

Scarlett-Lauren Sirgue was born in Bordaux, France on 8 August 1991. She has lived in Cap Ferret, Bordaux, Switzerland, London and Paris and today works as a lawyer in the family law firm, which has offices in both Bordaux and Paris, and specializes in labour law, family law and personal injury law. Ms. Sirgue was admitted to the Paris Bar 23 years old and took the oath when she was 25. Prince Louis works for the same company. Ms. Sirgue has two siblings – Elisabeth Defforey, who is 34 years old, and Archibald Sirgue, who is 27.

Prince Louis was previously married (from 2006 to 2019, separated in 2017) to Tessy Antony (now Tessy Antony-De Nassau) and has two children by her, Prince Gabriel of Nassau, b. 2006, and Prince Noah of Nassau, b. 2007. Tessy's engagement to the Swizz businessman Frank Floessel was announced in December 2020. In February 2021 it was revealed that the couple is expecting their first baby together.

Lorentzen grave, Asker kirkegård, Norway

© 2021 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

Yesterday on my way home from Easter vacation at Blefjell I made a short stop at Asker kirkegård (Asker Cemetery) in order to take new photos of the Lorentzen grave after the burial of Erling Lorentzen on 22 March. Erling Lorentzen, the widower of Princess Ragnhild, died on 9 March 2021 and was buried next to his wife.

I hadn't visited this cemetery since the summer of 2013 when I among others took photographs of Princess Ragnhild Mrs. Lorentzen's grave following her death and burial the previous year.

Back in 2013 I promised to return with a blog article on other graves in the cemetery, and one of these days I hope to fulfill the promise ...