Pity the Middleton Family

Many might think that having a Royal Duchess as a daughter must be like a dream come true. The reality is far from that. That being related to a member of the Royal Family resembles more to a nightmare is mainly due to the press and the media. 

James Middleton

Boredom Never Dies: The Duchess of Windsor

A new biography on the Duchess of Windsor manages the impossible: It is more boring than her and of even less consequence. The only amusement to be gained from it is following up the constant contradictions contained in it. 

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Prince George, Prince William's Predecessor as Duke of Cambridge

Prince George Duke of Cambridge was the last holder of the title before Prince William. He led an extraordinary life for his time. He had a most successful army career; he had firm beliefs on how it should be run to which he stuck without fail. His views on private life were no less firm and highly unconventional. 

HRH The Duke of Cambridge

Lady Nelson: This is Fanny’s Story

The story of Lady Nelson is not told often enough, as everyone seems to be captivated by Lady Hamilton. But her story is worth telling as well, one would think. It is nice, therefore, that her biography has been republished after 25 years. 

Fanny Nesbitt Lady Nelson

Shi Hu, the Hospitable Emperor

Shi Hu called himself Emperor of China; a charming affectation that expressed his ambition of once ruling all of China. To impress his guests, he put up lavish display and served only the best at his table. Tale of his banquets survived, his ambition died with him. 

Princess Stephanie of Monaco, The Circus Princess

Princess Stephanie of Monaco has been spotted spending a holiday at the Swiss National Circus Knie currently performing in Bern. Her holiday with the circus, though, is not the only reason to link her closely to all things circus. 

Princess Stephanie of Monaco

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden is (Finally) Pregnant

The Royal Palace in Stockholm informed the world today of the pregnancy of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. It has been a long and stony way for her and her husband Prince Daniel to get to this announcement. 

HRH Crownprincess Victoria of Sweden

Crown Prince of Thailand Grounded in Germany

Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been grounded by German authorities, or rather, they grounded his plane. A financial spat between a German road construction company and the government of Thailand has thereby reached diplomatic levels. 

HRH Crownprince Maha Vajiralongkorn

The Elected Monarchs on Europe’s Thrones

When we look at the monarchies in Europe, working and deposed ones, we get the false impression of perpetuity as ‘it always had been that way’. In fact, the vast majority of dynasties started out as elected monarchs. 

HRH The Duke of Cambridge

The Guelph Connection

Until 1918, German nobles didn’t have any family names; these only came into existence by act of parliament when the German Republic was created. Instead, the noble families were recognised as being part of ‘Houses’, and the tradition persists. Among them, the Guelph are looking back on over 1,000 years of history. 

HRH Christian Prince of Hanover

Monaco: Wedding Plans Revealed

The Palace in Monaco has announced that it wants to turn the city into a city of roses and become the world capital for romantics on the weekend of the wedding of Prince Albert to Charlene Wittstock. The wedding will be a two day affair with civil and religious ceremonies held separate days. 

Prince Albert, Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Antoinette of Monaco (1920 to 2011)

Princess Antoinette of Monaco was born the daughter of Princess Charlotte of Monaco and was the older sister of Prince Ranier III of Monaco. In her time, she was good for quite a few scandals. Highly eccentric, she was well beloved by the citizens of Monaco. She took two turns at being its First Lady of Monaco and was president of its animal welfare charity SPA. 

Baroness Antoinette of Massy, Prince Rainier, Princess Grace of Monaco

Monaco: Title Conundrum

The title of the ruler of Monaco today is Prince of Monaco, and the conundrum starts there. The prince also styles himself Duc du Valentinois, just one of many French titles the family lays claim to. There lies the second conundrum. The Prince and other family members are addressed as His (or Her) Serene Highness, and that’s a third conundrum. 

Andrea Casiraghi of Monaco

Monster in the Making

King Henry VIII is often perceived as a monster. The heads of various wives were just a fraction of an epidemic of the people losing their heads during his reign. But to understand why he acted the way he did, you must know where he came from. A new book sheds light on the young Henry. 

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers

The Wedding Document of Princess Theophanu of Byzantium

When Emperor Otto I went looking for a wife for his son, he wanted it to be a political statement. As the first Emperor from German stock, he was looking for acknowledgement by the other half of the Roman Empire. A princess of the house of Byzantium it had to be and nothing less. Once the goal was achieved, the newcomers went out of their way to show how much they appreciated the gesture. 

Empress Theophanu

What a Riot! William and Kate

The movie William & Kate has universally been panned as the worst movie ever. This is faint praise for one of the most miserable productions ever to come out of a studio anywhere in the world. The movie will set standards for decades in bad taste, bad acting, bad screen writing, and generally having no idea of what it is all about. You just have to see it! 

Monaco and The Second World War

Like San Marino, Monaco was a neutral state during World War II. It was fiercely contested by Germany and Italy who had mutually exclusive ideas as to its future. Prince Louis II had been brought up in Germany and was a general in the French army. He played his connections for all they were worth in trying to keep the country afloat. 

Prince Louis II of Monaco

The Duchess of Windsor by Conspiracy Theorist

The Duchess of Windsor was a footnote in history. Despite that fact, publishers keep on inundating the market with books about her. This one looked interesting from the outside but proved one very, very long disappointment inside. Author Hugo Vickers produced the ultimate guide on how not to invent a conspiracy theory. 

The Duchess of Windsor

Prince William’s Predecessors in Cambridge, Strathearn, and Carrickfergus

Prince William got a bevy of titles as a gift from Queen Elizabeth II for his marriage to Catherine (or Kate) Middleton. The titles mostly come with quite a baggage of history, some quite recent, some more ancient. 

HRH Prince William

There is No Princess Catherine

Even some British commentators got it wrong when describing the newlywed Catherine Middleton as Princess Catherine. She is not, as marriage to a Prince does not automatically make you a Princess. In keeping with tradition, though, the Queen conferred titles upon Prince William. 

TRH THe Duchess and Duke of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge and Curtsy in a Muddle

Now Kate Middleton is part of the Firm as Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, she is plunged into the middle of an etiquette blunder produced by the Queen in 2005. A Royal edict intended to keep peace in the family might now start to backfire spectacularly. 

THR The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

A Bright Future for Saint John Paul II

After Pope Benedict XVI fast tracked his predecessor John Paul II into beatification on the way to become a fully winged saint, it seems there is a bright future for the latter once he manages to climb the final hurdle. 

Pope John Paul II

Puzzling Principles on Princes and Princesses

There are Princes and Princesses, and then there are Princes and Princesses. The problem lies in where they come from; the title of Prince does not mean the same thing depending on where it comes from. The puzzle is solvable, given some knowledge of geography and history. And some of the muddle derived from translating foreign titles into English. 

Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco

Royal Succession in the United Kingdom

Checking the search results for my recent articles, I found that certain questions keep cropping up. The forthcoming visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the United States seems to give rise to quite a few puzzles. Royal succession seems a good starting point. 

HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge

Princess Madeleine of Sweden Wins Court Case

Princess Madeleine of Sweden took German papers to court over stories published between 2000 and 2004. The last act of this drama was now played out in Germany’s High Court and ended in a resounding victory for the Princess.

HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden

Loyal General: Prince Grigori Dmitrievich Yusupov

In their family myth, the Princes Yusupov claimed descent from Tamerlane and the Prophet Mohammed. To explain their fabulous wealth, they claimed descent from the rulers of the Khanate of Crimea. While Wikipedia and Russian tourist guides treat this as history, the myth only gained a wider audience with the writings of Prince Felix Felixovich Yussupov in the 20th century. 

Tsar Peter The Great of Russia

The Maryland Heiresses

When three heiresses arrived in London in 1816, they took London society by storm. Their large fortunes would enable them to overcome two little drawbacks that might bar them from achieving advantageous marriages: they were American and Catholic. 

The Caton sisters

Getting Away with Murder

1941, Jocelyn Hay, Earl of Errol, was shot in Kenya. The death of the debauched jetsetter at the heart of Kenya’s Happy Valley set gave the tabloids a heyday and rumours were ripe. The murderer was never apprehended. A new book tries to pin down a new suspect. 

Alice Countess of Janze

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Queen of Indolence

A grueling, long, arduous, and taxing tour of ten full days tired poor Camilla before she even started on it to the extent she desperately needed to catch her breath. 

HRH Camilla Duchess of Cornwall (left)

Royal In-laws Aren’t Always What They Seem, Either

Royal families always seem quite remote and so completely above board. But the titles are not always as high flying as they sound. And previous history might prove to be not so Royal after all. This is the story of the parents of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth's grandmother.

Antoine De Saint Exupéry Solves the Riddle of the Lost Prince

60 years after his own death, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of The Little Prince, solved the riddle of the lost Hereditary Prince Alexis at Bentheim and at Steinfurt by default. 

Alexis Prince zu Bentheim und zu Steinfurt

Waterloo: The Wellies Since Then

Weidenfeld & Nicholson just published Wellington: A Journey Through My Family by Jane Wellesley. The Right Honourable Lady Jane is the daughter of the present 8th Duke of Wellington and takes the reader a bit haphazardly but amusingly through 200 years of family history and anecdotes. 

The Lady is a Tramp and Not a Duchess

It seems that Prince Charles and Camilla are not a legally married couple. We all knew that Blair was a liar, but in that case, his lies might have gone a bit too far.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

Queens Consort of England

Lisa Hilton wrote Queens Consort, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The medieval lives of England’s Queens are presented in a well researched book. As a bonus, it’s a darn good read as well.