Saturday, May 13, 2017

Aksel and the Royals

As my two greatest enthusiasms in life are classical music and royalty, it would be hard to find a video more meaningful to me than this one of Norway's star treble Aksel Rykkvin (possibly the leading boy soprano soloist in the world right now) performing Handel's "Lascia ch'io pianga" from Rinaldo for his King and Queen and their guests at their 80th birthday gala in Oslo earlier this week. I love watching the royals' reactions almost as much as the music. They--and we--are very lucky that he is still singing treble at 14.



Royal guests in Norway celebrating the 80th birthdays of King Harald V (21 Feb) and Queen Sonja (4 Jul). Seated in front are their five grandchildren, Emma, Leah, and Maud Behn, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, Prince Sverre Magnus.

Second row, standing, L-R: Princess Astrid, Queen Maxima & King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Queen Silvia & King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Queen Sonja & King Harald, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Grand Duke Henri & Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, King Philippe & Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, President Sauli Niinistö of Finland, President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson of Iceland.

Third row: Lady Elizabeth Anson Shakerley, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, Princess (former Queen) Beatrix of the Netherlands, Prince Daniel & Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Crown Princess Mette-Marit & Crown Prince Haakon, Princess Märtha Louise, Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Countess Madeleine (Bernadotte) Kogevinas & Bernard Mach, Jenni Haukio (First Lady of Finland), Eliza Reid (First Lady of Iceland).

Fourth row: Princess Tatiana & Prince Nikolaos of Greece, Princess Mabel of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Princess Sofia & Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Crown Princess Marie-Chantal & Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume & Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, Sophie Countess of Wessex (Great Britain), Desirée Kogevinas & Carlos Eugster.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Society of King Charles the Martyr


As a recently elected member of the board of trustees of the Society of King Charles the Martyr American Region, one of my duties is to try to increase membership from among the monarchist community. I would be delighted if I were able to recruit any of this blog's North American readers into the Society. Membership costs very little ($15 a year) and will connect you to one of the few monarchy-related organizations in the United States that actually holds regular organized events. The Society offers a list of goods to purchase, many of which pertain to King Charles and the Stuarts. Information on joining is available at the above website. You do not have to be an Anglican to join. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the Society in comments on this post. I have attended SKCM national masses in 2002 (New York), 2006 (Charleston), May 2010 (Omaha), 2014 (Fort Worth), and 2017 (Philadelphia), and was always glad I did.

Readers in the UK may wish to look into the original SKCM.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

April 1947: Royal Transitions in Postwar Europe

Seventy years ago today, the heroic King Christian X of Denmark (whose reign, like those of the other two Scandinavian kings, had spanned both world wars), who had become a beloved symbol of Danish defiance during the German occupation, died at 76 and was succeeded by his musical son King Frederik IX.

King Christian X (1870-1947)

King Frederik IX (1899-1972)
The postwar period was a time of rapid change in Europe's monarchies. Those of Yugoslavia (1945), Italy (1946), Bulgaria (1946), and Romania (1947) all sadly fell, as Hungary and Albania which were already lacking kings but had remained nominal kingdoms were also taken over by Communists in 1946. In the surviving monarchies, there was for awhile at least one transition every year: Greece (1 Apr 1947), Denmark (20 Apr 1947), the Netherlands (1948), Monaco (1949), Sweden (1950), Belgium (1951), and finally the United Kingdom (1952) all got new sovereigns due to abdication (in the Netherlands and Belgium) or death. The last of the monarchs who had come to the throne before World War I, Christian X's younger brother Haakon VII of Norway, hung on until 1957, his death at 85 severing a last link with the monarchical Old Order. At that point, not only were there no more sovereigns from before World War I, but only Luxembourg (until 1964) and Liechtenstein (until 1989) had the same monarchs they did before World War II. Greece excepted, relatively long reigns then prevailed (and still do in Britain and Scandinavia) until the flurry of abdications a few years ago.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Reza Pahlavi rising?

Iran's long-exiled prince wants a revolution in age of Trump. I usually prefer the term "counterrevolution," but Javid Shah! The Middle East needs monarchies now more than ever. Many of our modern problems can be traced to or were exacerbated by the fall of Reza Pahlavi's father the Shah, who envisioned Iran as a great nation in harmony with the international community, in the evil 1979 revolution.

From Isabella to Isabella

Since the Reformation, European royalty have tended to divide into two genealogical groups, Catholic and Protestant, with Orthodox royalty generally having become linked more closely to the Protestant group since Peter the Great started importing German princesses to Russia in the 18th century (Protestant princesses being more willing than Catholic ones to embrace Orthodoxy). While plenty of relationships across the confessional divide exist (the Romanian and Belgian royal families, for example, are closely related to both Catholic and Protestant dynasties), in general they tend to be more distant, so that most contemporary Protestant royals do not have many recent Catholic royal ancestors. 

When reading about the family of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V as background for Carlos, Rey Emperador, as mentioned in a previous post, I was intrigued to learn that while his sister Isabella (1501-1526) was Queen of Denmark as the wife of the unfortunate King Christian II (deposed in 1523), none of their descendants occupied the Danish throne until 1912. The present Princess Isabella, who will turn ten this month, granddaughter of Queen Margrethe II, is named for her distant Habsburg ancestress. With a little help from Wikipedia, I determined exactly what the line of descent is.

-Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504), m. Ferdinand II of Aragon (1452-1516)
-Joanna "the Mad" (1479-1555), m. Philip "the Fair" (1478-1506)
-Isabella (1501-1526), m. Christian II of Denmark (1481-1559)
-Christina (1521-1590), m. Francis, D. of Lorraine
-Renata (1544-1602), m. William V, D. of Bavaria
-Magdalene (1587-1628), m. Wolfgang Wilhelm, C. Palatine
-Philip Wilhelm (1615-1690) El. Palatine, m. Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
-Carl III Philip (1661-1742), El. Palatine, m. Ludwika Radziwill
-Elisabeth (1693-1728), m. Joseph, C. Palatine of Sulzbach
-Maria Franziska (1724-1794), m. Frederick Michael, C. Palatine of Zweibrücken
-Maximilian I of Bavaria (1756-1825), m. Augusta of Hesse-Darmstadt
-Augusta (1788-1851), m. Eugene, D. of Beauharnais (son of Napoleon's first wife Empress Josephine)
-Josefina (1807-1876), m. Oscar I of Sweden
-Carl XV of Sweden (1826-1872), m. Louise of the Netherlands
-Louise (1851-1926), m. Frederik VIII of Denmark
-Christian X (1870-1847), King of Denmark 1912, m. Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
-Frederik IX (1899-1972), m. Ingrid of Sweden
-Margrethe II (1940- ), m. Henri de Laborde de Monpezat
-Frederik (1968- ), m. Mary Donaldson
-Isabella (2007- )

And that's how the blood of King Christian II and Isabella of Austria finally worked its way back onto the Danish throne in 1912. I find this sort of thing fascinating; I hope you do as well.

Archduchess Isabella of Austria, Infanta of Castile & Aragon, Queen of Denmark (1501-1526)

Princess Isabella of Denmark (b 21 Apr 2007)

Carlos, Rey Emperador

I stayed up past 2:00 last night to finish Carlos, Rey Emperador. While not always historically perfect, it's a stirring and powerful drama from start to finish that will lift these distant royal historical figures from paintings and books into your heart. The Emperor's final scene, in which on his deathbed he finally addresses his promising young illegitimate son "Gerónimo" (Don Juan of Austria), who has come to be the pride and joy of his final years (and one day will lead Christendom to victory at Lepanto), as "my son" ("mi hijo") for the first and only time, is profoundly moving. As with its predecessor Isabel, I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

Watch it online with English subtitles at: http://wlext.net/series/carlos-rey-emperador?server=openloadco&episode=001

A dying Emperor Charles V (1500-1558) (Álvaro Cervantes) bids farewell to his natural son Jeromín (1547-1578) (Álvaro Villaespesa)



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RIP Infanta Alicia (1917-2017)

RIP Infanta Alicia, Duchess of Calabria (1917-2017). I had hoped she would make her 100th birthday on 13 November but it was not to be. Extremely significant genealogically, she was the heiress of the Kings of Navarre as well as of Edward the Confessor and David I of Scotland, a distinction now born by her grandson Pedro Duke of Noto (b 1968) as her son Carlos (1938-2015) predeceased her. Daughter of Elias Duke of Parma (1880-1959) and Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria (1882-1940), she married Infante Alfonso Duke of Calabria (1901-1964), nephew and onetime heir presumptive (1904-07) of King Alfonso XIII who after 1960 was one of the two claimants to the throne of the Two Sicilies. In addition to the late Carlos they had two daughters, who survive her.

Born in Austria-Hungary when her similarly long-lived aunt Zita (1892-1989) was still its Empress, Infanta Alicia had been the oldest living member of any European royal family (possibly any). With her death there are no more royals born before the end of World War I; I believe the comparatively obscure Duchess Woizlawa of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Reuss (b 17 December 1918) is now the oldest.

May she rest in peace. Condolences to the Bourbon family.