30 April 2024

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 1, 2024

The latest issue of Royalty Digest Quarterly (no. 1, 2024) was waiting for me in the mailbox when I returned on 7 April 2024 from my visit to Tanzania. Since my return I haven't had that much time for blogging, but obviously I had to finish reading RDQ before I could start commenting.

The front cover shows a photo of the Ansbach Residence (Residenz Ansbach), also called Markgrafenschloss (Margrave's Palace). The choice of photo tells that this issue's Family Album will cover The Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach. I will return to the article later in the blog. 

Main contents:

  • Olivier Defrance: A Life Without Tenderness. Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma. [Part] 1, pp. 1–10
  • Martijn Arts: Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Glücksburg. A Princess in a Caravan, pp. 11–15.
  • Elizabeth Jane Timms: Friedrich Wilhelm of Hesse (1870-1873), pp. 16–22.
  • Ted Rosvall: The Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach. A Family Album, pp. 23–35.
  • Susan Symons: The Last Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, pp. 36–41
  • Ove Mogensen: Tombs, Graves and Monuments in Prussia, pp. 42–51.
  • Coryne Hall: Little-known ROYALS. Princess Henriette of Belgium, Duchess de Vendôme, pp. 52–53.
  • David Horbury: Queen Elizabeth II and Greece, pp. 55–60.
  • Ted Rosvall/Anne-Karin Schander: Royal Bustards. The Princes of Lapland. King Oscar I and Emilie Högqvist, pp. 61–62.
  • The World Wide Web of Royalty, p. 64 [this time including news about/from Albania, Fürstenberg, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Schaumburg-Lippe and Württemberg].
On p. 63 there is an ad for the royal history conference in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, in October. I have paid for the flight and conference fee and got a hotel room reservation, so I look very much forward to the conference and hope to see as many old (and new) friends and acquaintances as possible. Go here for more details about the conference. 

The shocking abdication of Queen Margrethe II in January this year is the topic of Ted Rosvall's  Editor's Corner. He gives examples of abdications in other European countries and writes that "[...] in the Nordic countries, Margrethe's decision may be seen as an innovation, even though there was in fact a precedence. In 1654, Queen Christina of Sweden, actually did the same." That is absolutely correct. What Rosvall didn''t mention, was the abdication of the Danish King Erik III Lam in 1146. We are of course only talking about voluntary abdications. In Norway there were abdications in 1814 (King Christian Frederik) and in 1905 (King Oscar II), and neither had much choice in the matter. I only hope that Queen Margrethe's choice will not be followed up in the other Nordic monarchies.

The historian Oliver Defrance, with the colloboration of Joseph van Loon and Damien Bilteryst, has written about Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma (1870–1899), the first wife of of Prince and later King Ferdinand of the Bulgarians (1861–1948). The writers tell that they among others have based their article among others on an archive which has been little used until now : "[...] we have reread the existing works – old and new – on the Court of Bulgaria. We have gone trhough the press of the period, often rich with information, and we have made small surveys in an archive which has been little used until now: the Fonds Coburg, kept in the State Archives in Vienna". The result is a good and detailed biographical sketch of Princess Marie Louise, and I am already looking forward to part II.

I have often commented on the choices Coryne Hall has made for her column Little-Known ROYALS. I wonder if Princess Alexandria Victoria of Glücksburg (1887–1957) would also have been a good candidate. Of course my question marks some times tell as much about my own knowledge level. More important is that Martijn Arts has written an informative and amusing article about Princess Alexandria Victoria, the second eldest daughter of Duke Friedrich Ferdinand of (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-)Glücksburg (1855–1934) and Princess Caroline Mathilde of (Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-)Augustenburg (1860–1932, the latter a niece of Empress Augusta Victoria, wife of Empreror Wilhelm II, while the former was a cousin of KIng Frederik VIII of Denmark. Princess Alexandria Victoria married Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia (1887–1949) in 1908 and divorced him in 1920. They had one child, Prince Alexander Ferdinand (1912–1985). The princess then married Arnold Rümann (1884–1951) in 1922, but also this marriage ended in divorce. She had a long career as an artist and for some time traveled around in the USA in a caravan. She lost all her paintings when Russia occupied the area where they were stored during WW2. I wonder how talented she really was and how much one would have to pay for any paintings that still exist? I note that one of her works was put on auction last year.

Royalty Digest Quarterly has covered all the all the still existing reigning and non-reigning royal and princely houses of Europe in the article series A Family Album and now it seems that houses that for various reasons have died out will also be covered. In this issue we learn more about The Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Somewhat confusing is the fact that the principality was also referred to as a margraviate and that the head was a margrave. There might be some historical details here that I have missed. Anyway, the last reigning Prince and Margrave (!), Karl Alexander (1736–1806), who was also sovereign of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, sold his principalities to King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia in 1791. The childless margrave then moved to England with his second wife. As usual the family album gives a short introduction as well as quite a few photos/paintings – 55 in all (if a photo of  the Royal Family of Great Britain containing as many as 9 portraits should be counted as 9, and not just 1) – of various family members, palaces and tombs. The most famous descendant was Margravine Karoline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683–1737), who in 1705 married Georg Augustus of Hannover, who became King George II  of Great Britain and Ireland in 1727. One page 35 there is a select family tree of the house of Brandenburg-Ansbach.

The expert on German palaces, Susan Symons, then follows up with the article The Last Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach. The article, however, also gives many details about the above-mentioned Karoline/Caroline and even about Kaspar Hauser, who claimed to be a lost prince and the rightful ruler of Baden, because there is a memorial to him in the gardens of Ansbach Palace. When the former margrave moved to England after he had sold his principalities, he bought Brandenburgh House at Fulham, London as well as Benham Park near Newbury in Berkshire. It was at the latter country home that the margrave died in 1806. According to the Wikipedia article, "a memorial in St Mary's Church in Speen, simply records "In Memory of the Margrave of Anspach, who died at Benham 5th January 1806", but it doesn't say exactly where he is buried. Same thing could be asked about his wife Elizabeth, Princess Berkeley (b. London 1850–d. Naples, Italy 1828), née Lady Elizabeth Berkeley and formerly married to the 6th Baron Craven. The Wikipedia article about her, however, state that she was buried in the English cemetery in Naples. As for Brandenburgh House, it was demolished some time after the property was sold in 1822, and today the property, called Fulham Reach, consists of several buildings with luxury apartments. Not the worst place to live, I guess.

The Royal Mausoleum in Charlottenburg Palace Park, Berlin. © 2008 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

Grave of Queen Louise of Prussia, née Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1776–1810). © 2008 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

Grave of Friedrich der Grosse/Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, Potsdam. © 2011 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth.

The reason for including the grave photos above is of course due to Ove Mogensen's very informative article Tombs, Graves and Monuments in Prussia. Is there any royal burial place he has not been to?  I visited Charlottenburg Palace and the royal mausoleum (Luisenmausoleum) in February 2008. As far as I remember the main hall with the sarcophaguses was closed at the time due to renovation, so I could only visit the crypt, but that was of course where the royals were actually buried. I would have to return one day to see more of Berlin and Potsdam as well as the many burial places. I visited the crypt in Berlin Cathedral in 2011, so I might return with a blog article from that visit another time.

There are so many interesting articles in this issue, but I choose not to comment on all of them. But I have enjoyed reading them all, and cannot recommend a subscription enough! 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

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