Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Royal Generation

With the birth of a daughter yesterday to Peter & Autumn Phillips, HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh are great-grandparents (and HRH the Princess Royal a grandmother) for the first time. Miss Phillips, whose name has not yet been announced, is 12th in the Order of Succession to the Throne. Once again the Royal Family spans four generations, as it did prior to the death of Princess Alice Duchess of Gloucester (last by marriage of the generation of Windsors senior to that of the Queen) in 2004. (Between Peter Phillips's own birth in 1977 and the death of Princess Alice Countess of Athlone in 1981 the Royal Family--broadly defined--spanned five generations!) Congratulations to the Phillipses and all the Royal Family!

Elizabeth II is only the second reigning British sovereign to become a great-grandparent, the first of course being her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Victoria (1819-1901) first became a great-grandmother at the age of 60 upon the birth of Princess Feodora of Saxe-Meiningen (1879-1945), daughter of Princess Charlotte of Prussia (1860-1919), daughter of Princess [later Empress] Victoria (1840-1901). Since Feodora married in 1898 while her great-grandmother was still alive, theoretically Victoria could have become a great-great-grandmother, but the couple were childless. As it turned out the next generation began four years after the Queen's death with the birth of Princess Margarita of Greece (1905-1981), sister of the present Duke of Edinburgh. Queen Victoria did however live to see the births of her eventual successors Edward VIII (1894-1972) and George VI (1895-1952), also her great-grandchildren.

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