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Publisher and editor - Ted Rosvall

Ted Rosvall started ROSVALL ROYAL BOOKS in 1985 and has so far published 28 books on The Royal Families of Europe. In 2006 he started ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY - a successor to Royalty Digest,
A journal of Record, that was published 1991-2005 by Piccadilly Rare Books.

Contact us at
tel: +46-515-37105
Write to us at ROSVALL ROYAL BOOKS, Falekvarna Enåsen 2, 521 91 FALKÖPING, Sweden.

Ted is 65 years old, a retired church musician by profession, and a devoted genealogist. From 2000 to 2008 he served as president of the Federation of Swedish Genealogical Societies, an umbrella organisation for some 170 societies with a total of around 75.000 members. Apart from the Royal books, Ted has also published a Handbook on Emigration Research - mostly concerning modern research via the Internet in the US and Canada - and a collection of causeries and short stories (Ted's Thoughts). His research efforts have caused him to travel 21 times to the US and Canada, some 15 times each to the UK and Germany and once to Australia and New Zealand.

From 2008 to 2015 he worked with research for the Swedish version of Who do you think you are) and appeared in 32 of the episodes as genealogical guide to the celebrities.

He lives with his wife Margareta, a high school teacher, in a house outside Falköping which was built in 1795 by his great-great-great-grandfather, Isac Sandgren (1751-1820). There are four Rosvall children and five grand-children.



On August 31st, Princess Sofia of Sweden gave birth to her and Prince Carl Philip’s second child, a son. A few days later, the boy’s grandfather, H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf, announced that this new Prince of Sweden had been given the names GABRIEL CARL WALTHER and the title Duke of DALARNA.

Most people had guessed that the dukedom would be DALARNA - an excellent choice, given that the mother, H.R.H. Princess Sofia, has many of her roots in that province. There have been two previous Dukes of Dalarna; Prince August (1831-1873) and Prince Carl Johan (1916-2012).

The names CARL and WALTHER are easy to understand; the infant’s paternal grandfather, the King, and great-grandfather, Herr Walther Sommerlath (1901-1990). A few notoriously mean journalists have criticized the parents for choosing Walther, the name of a man that they would like to call a Nazi, though of course this claim has never been proven. Not that journalists these days have to prove anything before an article is printed …

The name GABRIEL, however, was quite unexpected, as was ALEXANDER for his elder brother. As far as I can see, there have been no princes by those names in Swedish history. The closest we come would be Magnus GABRIEL De la Gardie (1622-1686), at one time Sweden’s richest man, who was married to Princess Maria Eufrosyne of Pfalz (1625–1687), a sister to the Swedish King Carl X Gustav.

The name GABRIEL does appear in some Royal Houses, but is not very common. I can think of only a few; Prince Gabriel of Belgium (2003), Prince Gavriil Konstantinovich of Russia (1887-1955), Prince Gabriel of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies (1897-1975), a couple of Infantes of Spain and Count Gabriel de Nassau (2006) - but there are perhaps a few more, if you really scan the genealogies. As for non-royals, celebrities like Gabriele D’Annunzio and Gabriel García Márquez, both famous authors, stick out.

The new little Prince is number six in the line of succession. Early next year there will be another little Prince or Princess, the third child of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill, who will be number ten. The Bernadotte dynasty seems to be thriving …



In the old Residenz in Munich, which my wife and I recently visited, there is a beautiful collection of portraits, the AHNENGALERIE, showing over 100 distinguished members of the house of Wittelsbach. This Versailles-inspired room is in gold and white which, together with the portraits, creates for an astounding atmosphere and a rare display of beauty. Each portrait has a gilded crowned frame, where you will find the name, title and dates of birth and death of the portrayed. This breath-taking gallery takes you through a dynastic mix of dukes and electorates, kings and queens and emperors and empresses.

Aware of the fact that three kings and one queen of Sweden, Carl X Gustav, Carl XI, Carl XII and Ulrika Eleonora, were members of the house of Pfalz-Zweibrücken, a branch of the Wittelsbachs, I of course start to look for them. And there he was, Carolus Rex, the Swedish warrior king Carl XII. But what is this? Close to him is this man:  Carl XI, King of Sweden. Yes, that is what it says. But like all historically interested Swedes, I know that this is NOT Carl XI, but his father, Carl X Gustaf, who in 1654 succeeded his cousin, Queen Christina, when the latter abdicated in order to convert to Catholicism. The real Carl XI is identified as someone else, and God knows who the man is that is called Carl X Gustaf. Turns out there are major identification mistakes here and there in the collection.

Being a notorious know-it-all, it is of course impossible to refrain from pointing out these mistakes to the staff. The female guard at first tries to dismiss and trivialize our claims over the confusion amongst the portraits. Once realizing that we actually come from Sweden - Silvia’s country - and possibly know what we are talking about, she calls for reinforcement. Within minutes, Herr Doctor So-und-So comes hurrying through the gallery, hears our story, turns pale, and exclaims: Wirklich ??? After having  written down our observations in a kind of a logbook we are thanked with a VIP treatment for the remainder of our visit.

It seems, during the last part of World War II, all the portraits were removed from the Residenz so as to escape the bombardment that was to follow. When, after the war, the Residenz was restored and the pictures brought back, they came without nametags. And so, the curator did his best to match the pictures to the frames. Evidently in some cases his best was not good enough. Hence, the room today could be described as a somewhat fallible gallery. 
                                                                                                   Ted Rosvall

Carl X Gustaf, King of Sweden



In this issue, and possibly for the first time, RDQ features an article about Monaco and the Princely House of Grimaldi. Sometimes maybe frowned upon as not enough Royal to be called a dynasty, the Monegasques do not have very many family connections to the rest of Royal Europe. But there are some …

As mentioned in the previous issue, the first wife of reigning Prince Albert I was Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton (1850-1922), an English noblewoman. Her mother, however, was Princess Marie of Baden (1817-1888) whose parents were Grand Duke Karl and Stephanie de Beauharnais. Marie in turn was the sister of Josephine of Baden (1813-1900) who married Prince Karl Anton of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Their daughter Stephanie (1837-1859) became Queen of Portugal, their son Leopold (1835-1905) was almost elected King of Spain and their son Karl founded the new Romanian dynasty from which in turn the Serbian one descends. 

There was also a daughter, Marie (1845-1912) who married Philippe of Flandres and became the mother of King Albert I of Belgium, grandmother of King Leopold III and Queen Marie-José of Italy, and great-grandmother of Kings Baudouin and Albert II of Belgium, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg and of the present head of the house of Savoy. 

But there is also another, lesser-known Royal conn-ection worth mentioning: In 1863, Prince Albert’s aunt, Princess Florestine (1833-1897) married the 1st Duke of Urach, who belonged to a morganatic branch of the House of Württemberg. Their son Wilhelm Karl of Urach (1864-1928) was in 1918 el-ected King of Lithuania, under the historic name Mindaugas II, but was never able to reach his kingdom. Had it not been for the fact that his cousin Prince Louis of Monaco in the end decided to bring in his illegitimate daughter Charlotte as heir, Wilhelm Karl or his children may very well have ascended to the throne of Monaco instead. The birth of the now eighteen-year-old Princess Alexandra of Hannover, a niece of reigning prince Albert II, created yet another link between the Grimaldis and the Royal families of Europe.  
                                                                                                   Ted Rosvall

Picture: Princess Florestine of Monaco (right) in 1859.


Albanian connections ...

This issue of RDQ features an article about the recent Royal Wedding in Tirana, written by Royalty expert Netty Leistra, who was there and saw it all. Who has ever heard of a King of Albania? Well, there have been two attempts at establishing a monarchy in that country. On February 6th 1914, Prince Wilhelm of Wied (1876-1945) assumed the new Albanian throne as Prince of Albania, but had to flee his country already on September 5th the same year. The second attempt came in 1928 when Ahmet Bey Zogu (1895-1961), a former Prime Minister and President, proclaimed himself King Zog I, a reign that would last until 1939.
    In April 1938, having given up hope of finding a “real princess”, Zog married Countess Geraldine Apponyi de Nagy-Appony (1915-2002), a Roman Catholic aristocrat who was half-Hungarian and half-American. Hence one would assume that the Albanian Royal family has no family connections at all to the rest of Royal dynasties in Europe. Not so! 

   The key individual here is Queen Geraldine’s father’s mother’s father’s mother’s mother, Princessss Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau, Freiherrin von Loën  (1744-1799). This Anhalt lady has a most illustrious ancestry, not only involving minor principalities such as the houses of Dessau, Bernburg and  Köthen, but also major players like Hessen-Kassel, Württemberg, Holstein, Denmark, Nassau-Orange and Hohenzollern. Through all these connections, I dare say the Tirana bridegroom, Crown Prince Leka, is related to each and every Royal family in Europe, even the one in Monaco ...
    Monaco! How? Well, let’s see... Who was the father’s mother’s father’s mother of the present Prince, Albert II? Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton (1850-1922), of course. Her mother was Princess Marie of Baden (1817-1888) whose parents were Grand Duke Karl and Stephanie de Beauharnais - by the grace of Napoleon a French Princess.
Behind Grand Duke Karl there are myriads of Badens, Hesses, Nassaus, Württembergs and all the others. I believe Prince Albert was present for the wedding in Tirana, but did he know that the bridegroom was a cousin of his ...?
                                                                                                   Ted Rosvall

Articles about the Albanian Royal family can be found in:

RDQ 4/2007    Zog I  [Zkopinski]
RDQ 4/2010    The Zogu Princesses  [Zkopinski]
RDQ 1/2012    King Leka I of the Albanians  [Rees]
RDQ 1/2015    An Englishman in Durazzo  [Zkopinski]  


Love and divorce

From Norway we hear of the separation and pending divorce between Princess Märtha Louise and her husband of fourteen years, author Ari Behn. Although not too common within the European Royal families, in recent years there has been an alarming increase in these unhappy events. In England it started off with Princess Margaret in 1978, followed by the Princess Royal in 1992, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York in 1996. In Denmark there is Prince Joachim in 2005 and in Holland Princess Irene in 1981 and Princess Christina in 1996. There are for obvious reasons fewer cases of divorce within Catholic families, but even they have had their share. Forgetting about the Monegasques, the recent (2009) divorce of Princess Elena of Spain comes to mind as well as a number of them within the house of Orléans. Among the Orthodox Royal Houses in the Balkans and in Russia, divorce seems to be more common than sticking together in lifelong marriages.
    In the 19th century Royal divorces were extremely scarce. Combing the genealogies, one comes up with just a few:

1809     Napoleon  Ω  Josephine 1810     Prince Christian (VIII) of Denmark  Ω  Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
1812     King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden  Ω  Princess Friederike of Baden
1820     Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich  Ω  Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
1826     Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld  Ω  Princess Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
1837     Crown Prince Frederik (VII) of Denmark  Ω  Princess Wilhelmine of Denmark 
1843     Prince Gustav Wasa (Sweden)  Ω  Princess Luise of Baden 
1846     Crown Prince Frederik (VII) of Denmark  Ω  Duchess Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
1848     Duke Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg  Ω  
             Princess Adelheid of Schaumburg-Lippe
1849     Princess Marianne of the Netherlands  Ω  Prince Albrecht of Prussia
1861     Landgrave Alexis of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld  Ω  Princess Luise of Prussia  
1880     Prince Albert I of Monaco  Ω  Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton

Unique in this collection is the 1848 one, where the couple had married in 1841, only to divorce seven years later. Somehow the relation between them must have improved, since they remarried one another in 1854 and had four more children. One wonders what the story might have been there?     

                                                                                    Ted Rosvall



As the phenomenal Queen of England and her equally phenomenal husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, turn 90 and 95 respectively, one starts to wonder if they are indeed unique, or if there have been other monarchs and consorts that have reached comparable ages. Well, if we include the consorts, there is always the magnificent Queen Mother with her record of 101 years, 7 months and 26 days. So, let’s leave them out. As for reigning monarchs, I come up with the following rather short list:

King Gustaf V of Sweden  
92 years, 4 months and 13 days.
Reigned 1907-1950

King Wilhelm I of Prussia,
German Emperor 1797-1888;
90 years, 11 months and 15 
days. Reigned 1861/1871-1888

King Gustaf VI Adolf 
of Sweden  1882-1973, 
90 years, 10 month and 4 days. Reigned 1950-1973

Where is Juliana? I hear my Dutch readers cry. Well, Queen Juliana (1909-2004) lived to be 94 years, 10 months and 20 days, and would therefore have topped this list, had it not been for the fact that she abdicated in 1980 and did not reign for the last 24 years of her life.  
    Another person that should be mentioned is the Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria (1821-1912) who lived to be 91 years and 7 months. His reign lasted from 1886-1912, but unlike his son, Ludwig III, he never tried to depose his nephew, the mad King Otto, which is why he was a ruler only and never a monarch.
    Any others? Well, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (1924-2015), was 90 years, 5 months and 22 days when he died, and King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who has now been on the throne for an amazing 70 years, will turn 90 in December 2017. 
    People tend to live longer these days, and that probably goes for Royalty as well. But will we ever see a centenarian on the throne somewhere? Queen Elizabeth II probably has a good chance at breaking that record as well, along with the many others she has already broken. 

    Long live the Queen!

                    Ted Rosvall

Birth and Death


March 2nd 2016 was a day of sadness and joy for the Swedish Royal family. Early in the day, the King’s brother-in-law, Prince Johann Georg (Hansi) von Hohenzollern passed away at the age of 83. In 1961, he married Princess Birgitta of Sweden, and although having lived separate lives for decades, he in
Munich and she on the island of Mallorca, they were never divorced.

Upon marrying Princess Birgitta, Hansi was given the Order of the Seraphim, a very exclusive order, normally given to royalty, archbishops and foreign heads-ofstate. The shields of each knight of this illustrious order are kept in the Royal Palace in Stockholm. On the funeral day, the shield is escorted by the Life Guard to the Riddarholmskyrkan where, after a ceremony, which includes band music, it is placed on permanent display. There are over 1000 such shields along the walls of this former church, and to wander around there is an inspiring lesson in European history and culture.
The joyous event was of course the birth of little Prince Oscar Carl Olof of Sweden, Duke of Skåne,
second child of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Most Swedes rejoice in this news, and in the choice of names, in particular Oscar, which is a name that was unknown in this country up to 1810, when Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, later King Carl XIV Johan, introduced his son an heir by that name. Right now it is number 4 on the popularity list for boys’ names in Sweden, and that was before the little prince was born ... 


Not everyone rejoices though. Several columnists and angry journalists now holler about how the Royal family has grown by leaps and bonds and that it is high time to call a halt to this uncontrolled fertility. “How many ribbon cutters do we need?” one newspaper exclaimed. My counter question is: How many unprofessional, offensive and opportunistic journalists can we stomach?

                                                                                            Ted Rosvall


Royal Recluse

Leonid Kulikovsky – a grandson of Grand Duchess Olga of Russia (1882-1960)  - died of a heart attack on 27 September 2015, while walking his dog in Katherine, Northern Territory, Australia. As Kulikovsky, who was born in Denmark in 1943, lived alone, his body was kept in the morgue for two months as no one contacted the authorities. Police later found his relatives in Denmark. This somewhat sad piece of semi-royal news reached us recently, and made us think of other members of the Gotha who have chosen to retire from Royal life in favour of privacy, and sometimes solitude.
    King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden (1778-1837). After his abdication in 1809, he divorced his wife, left his children, and travelled aimlessly through Germany. He ended his days as “Colonel Gustafsson” in a small Guest House in St Gallen, Switzerland.


    Tsar Alexander I of Russia supposedly died at Taganrog by the Sea of Azov in 1825 but persistent rumours claim that he staged his death and lived on until 1864 as an Orthodox monk, Feodor Kuzmich. It was said that he wanted forgiveness for any role he may have played in the assassination of his father Pavel I in 1801, or simply for benefiting from the action of those who did slay the tsar.  
    Don Juan de Bourbón – King Juan III - Carlist claimant to the Spanish throne, he escaped the turmoils of politics and intrigue by moving to England, calling himself Charles Monfort and starting a new family. He died in Brighton in 1887. [See: The Reluctant King by Richard Thornton in RDQ 2/2009] 
    Madame Royal – Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France (1778-1851) – the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She was thought to have escaped to Germany, hiding in Hildburghausen as “Die Dunkelgräfin” after 1795 while an imposter took her place. DNA testing has however recently proven that the lady buried in Hildburghausen was not a Princess of France. 
    Johann Orth and Leopold Wölfling, former Arch-dukes of Austria/Tuscany, chose or were forced to live their lives in exile and under new names.
    Prince Christopher of Yugoslavia (1960-1994) a science teacher, known as Chris George, who died in a bicycle accident on the Isle of Islay, Inner Hebrides, Scotland. He lived by himself in a rented house, and told colleagues nothing of his past.
Are there others?
                                                                                    Ted Rosvall

Romanian Rhapsody

On August 1, 2015, former King Michael of Romania signed a document removing the title Prince of Romania and the qualification of Royal Highness from his grandson, Prince Nicholas. Nicholas has also been removed from the line of succession. Since April 1st 2010, which was his 25th birthday, the King’s grandson Nicholas Medforth-Mills, had been raised as a Royal Highness and a Prince of Romania, with the expectation that he would one day succeed his aunt, Crown Princess Margarita of Romania, as head of the Royal Family. This is now evidently not to be.
    Little explanation has hitherto been given to this extraordinary and unprecedented step. The brief state-ment mentions that “Romania needs a ruling marked by modesty and moral principles” – which indicates that the poor Prince must have made himself guilty of horrible transgressions. The action as well as the wording is actually a vicious Guantanamo like treatment of a young man’s life and reputation, leaving him without any real means of defending himself and his honor.   
    Rumors will in a case like this run amok. Some say that this is nothing but jealousy within the family, where one major player can’t stand the fact that the new Prince has become more popular than himself. During his short years as Prince, Nicholas has endeared himself to the Romanian people. “Charming and handsome, he is a committed environmentalist, enthusiastic sportsman and keen supporter of children’s charities” (The Guardian). Other rumors circulating suggest that he might be gay, an embezzler or a socialist.  
    Be this as it may, the actions taken by King Michael in this and other family affairs have become notorious. Of his five daughters, four have been divorced, one has been cut out of the line of succession after she pleaded guilty to helping run a cockfighting business while another seems to be an outcast still, for marrying the wrong man, a charlatan and a fraud. The King, now 94, who has been a most respected historical figure and the sole surviving leader from World War II, is now losing much of that appreciation because of a series of hasty, unfair and illogical decisions pertaining to his own immediate family. 
    A rhapsody is a work of epic poetry that is suitable for recitation. The Romanian Rhapsody, or Tragedy, of recent years is best forgotten.

                                                                                                                           Ted Rosvall


Royal Events

Two major Royal events in my small country in just two days!  We are certainly not used to this ...

On Saturday June 13th, Prince Carl Philip married Miss Sofia Hellqvist in a beautiful ceremony in the Stockholm Palace Church. It was not the grandest of Royal Weddings, and the choice of music did perhaps leave a little to be desired, yet it was indeed a delightfully romantic and very personal wedding. It was obvious that the young couple had been part of the entire planning down to the smallest detail, and there was no doubt that this was a love match if ever there was one.
    The entire Swedish Royal family was of course present, as were many of the Danes, Norwegians and Dutch and a sprinkling of Royals from other countries. Unusual was the presence of four “single” Queens, Margrethe II, Maxima Mathilde and Sonja, all there without their husbands. Carl Philip’s four aunts, Margareta, Birgitta, Désirée and Christina were there as were his great-aunt Marianne Bernadotte, 91, and distant cousin Dagmar (Bernadotte) von Arbin, aged 99. The Bernadottes often live to a grand age, including Kings Gustav V (92) and Gustav VI Adolf (90), Princes Oscar (93), Sigvard (94), Carl Johan (95), Lennart (95) and Carl Jr (92). The record holder so far is Dagmar von Arbin’s aunt, Elsa (Bernadotte) Cedegren (102).
    At the wedding banquet, there were nice speeches by H.M. the King and by the father of the bride, as well as a glorious and memorable one by the bridegroom himself, amazingly overcoming his publicly confessed problems with dyslexia. And then, the new Princess surprised everyone by standing up, brides don’t usually do this, adressing her husband and the guests, a talk that ended with a lovesong, performed by some of her friends, that she had written herself. Bravo!
    Present was of course also the groom’s younger sister, the very pregnant Princess Madeleine and her family. Two days later, on 15 June, she went into labour and was safely delivered of a son, a new Prince for Sweden. Three days later, the King announced that his new grandchild had received the names and titles H.R.H. Prince NICOLAS PAUL GUSTAF of SWEDEN, Duke of ÅNGERMANLAND, one of Sweden’s 25 historic provinces (Landskap). Of these several, including Ångermanland, which is way up north, have never had a Duke or a Duchess. Others include Blekinge, Öland, Bohuslän, Medelpad, Härjedalen, Norrbotten and Lappland. No lack of potential Dukedoms or Duchessdoms, should the Stork pay additional visits to the Royal family of Sweden.
    Three Royal weddings in just five years ... Too much for the Swedish monarchists? No way, especially since we will probably have to wait for another quarter of a century for the next one! It was however definitely too much for the Swedish republicans, for whom the month of June 2015 was indeed a black one.

                                                                                                                           Ted Rosvall



Recently, word was received of the passing of Queen Fabiola of Belgium. Fabiola de Mora y Aragón, a Spanish noblewoman, was born in 1928 and married King Baudouin of the Belgians in 1960. She was universally respected and continued to be a much loved “Extra Queen” long after the death of her husband in 1993. She was thus a widow – a dowager – for 23 years, which is a long time, but nowhere near a record …     Queen Victoria lost her Albert in 1861 and made something of a career of her grief, dressing in black and wearing a widow’s cap, for the rest of her life. She mourned her husband for 40 years, and yet she can’t be described as a “dowager” since she was in fact the sovereign herself, reigning for all those years. Thanks to Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith, the world outside the UK is nowadays also fully aware of the concept “dowager”, a word that in the rest of the world was otherwise mostly used for the mother of the last Tsar of Russia, Dagmar or Maria Feodorovna. She was the “dowager empress”, a position she had from 1894 to 1928 – 34 years. Still, not a record:
  1. Empress Zita of Austria  1922-1989  67 years
  2. Empress Charlotte of Mexico   1867-1927  60 years 
  3. Queen Giovanna of Bulgaria   1943-2000  57 years
  4. Hereditary Grand Duchess Auguste of Mecklenburg-Schwerin   1819-1871  52 years
  5. Duchess Maria Antonia of Parma   1907-1959  52 years
  6. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother   1952-2002  50 years
  7. Grand Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin   1842-1892  50 years
  8. Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach   1758-1807  49 years
  9. Grand Duchess Feodora of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach   1923-1972  49 years
  10. Queen Maria Christina of Spain   1833-1878  45 years
  11. Queen Emma of The Netherlands   1858-1934   44 years
  12. Grand Duchess Stephanie of Baden   1818-1860  42 years
  13. Queen Geraldine of Albania   1961-2002  41 years

The Scandinavian term “Änkedrottning” [Queen Widow] was normally used in those countries, but the tradition ended with Queen Ingrid of Denmark, who chose to remain “Queen” after the death of her husband, King Frederik IX. And as for dowager kings or consorts, there have not been too many. One is however portrayed in the family album in this issue; King Consort Ferdinand of Portugal. 

                                                                                                                           Ted Rosvall


An heir and a spare

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their second child, thereby fulfilling the royal task of producing an heir and a spare. Not that there is a lack of potential monarchs in the UK, the Line of Succession seemingly going on forever and ever. In other countries, the number of possible candidates to eventually sit on the throne have been much more limited. The succession laws and family rules have been so narrow, that for the young couple called upon to provide them, the pressure for an heir and a spare must have been overwhelming.
In some dynasties it is quite obvious that many marriages have been arranged and that man and wife, after having done their duty, lead separate lives. A few examples:
King Carlos and Queen Amelie of Portugal were married in 1886, had a son Luis Filipe on 21 March 1887, a daughter Maria Ana that was born and died on 14 December the same year, and finally a son, the future King Manoel II in 1889. No more.
King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark were married in 1898, had a son, the future King Frederik IX in 1899 and another son, prince Knud in 1900. No more.
King Louis XIII and Queen Anne of France were married in 1615, had their first child, the future Louis XIV in 1638 – 23 years after the wedding (!) – and another one, Philippe, Duke d’Orléans, in 1640. No more.
King Wilhelm I of Prussia, later German Emperor, and Queen Augusta were married in 1829, had a son, the future Emperor Friedrich III, in 1831 and a daughter, Princess Luise, later Grand Duchess of Baden, in 1838. No more.
King Maximilian II and Queen Marie of Bavaria were married in 1842, had their first son, the future Ludwig II, in 1845 and the second, the future King Otto, in 1848. No more.
Carlo Lodovico, Duke of Parma and his wife Maria Teresia of Sardinia were married in 1820, had a daughter Luise in 1821 and a son Carlo in 1823. No more. (See the article in RDQ 2/2014)
and of course …
The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer were married in 1981, had a son William in 1982 and another son Harry in 1984. No more.
Luckily, times have changed, and in the western hemisphere, very few marriages, royal or not, are arranged. One may hope that most royal children today are born out of love, not duty, and that family life in these circles nowadays is much more sensible and loving than what was the sad case for many of their illustrious ancestors.
Ted Rosvall


The New Duchess

On Thursday February 20th, a new little Swedish princess was born in New York City. Or was it on February 21st? The confinement took place so late in the evening that it had actually turned into the next day in Sweden. So, which date counts as her birthday? The one where the event took place or the one relevant to the country to whose royal family she belongs? 
    On Friday morning I published a small contest on RDQ’s Facebook page: Who can guess the name and title of the newborn child? There were a lot of suggestions, for names like Astrid, Christina and Désirée, for example, and when it came to Dukedoms (Duchessdoms?) several provinces were mentioned, including Blekinge and Lapland, neither of which has ever had a Duke assigned to them. My contribution was LILIAN and GOTLAND. It turned out to be a brilliant guess, as the little girl is to be H.R.H. Princess Leonore LILIAN Marie of Sweden, Duchess of GOTLAND.
    How did I nail this one? Well, the first name was perhaps not that difficult, since the family’s beloved “Auntie”, Princess Lillian, had recently passed away. But the province? My reasoning was as follows: Which province would be fitting for a princess, born at some distance away from the mainland? An island perhaps? Well, Sweden has two, Öland and Gotland. The former would be a perfect choice, since the Solliden palace, where the Royal family has its summer retreat, is located there. But Öland is already, so to speak, taken, as Crown Princess Victoria celebrates her birthday there every summer, with the so called “Victoria day” – broadcast on TV and all. So, Gotland then!
    Gotland has had a single duke, the second son of King Oscar II, Prince Oskar (1859-1953), who lost both the Dukedom and his place in the line of succession when, in 1888, he married Ebba Munk af Fulkila, who was certainly noble but not royal. Despite this, the couple continued to be styled Prince Oskar and Princess Ebba Bernadotte. Their children, however, including the famous Folke Bernadotte (1895-1948), did not have any titles whatsoever. This upset the proud King Oscar, but he was not in a position to do anything about it. His brother-in-law, Duke Adolf of Luxemburg, was, and in 1892 he generously provided a Luxembourg title to the princely couple and their descendants. They became counts and countesses “af Wisborg”, a clever choice of name, alluding to the name of the ruined castle near Visby in Gotland, Oskar’s dukedom. In time, the descendants would adjust their name and title to “counts/countesses Bernadotte af Wisborg”.
    The same generosity was not granted forty years later, when Prince Lennart, Duke of Småland (1909-2004), insisted on marrying his sweetheart, Miss Karin Nissvandt. He was stripped of all titles, prerogatives and his apanage, becoming Mr. Lennart Bernadotte, plain and simple. Same thing with Princes Sigvard, Duke of Uppland (1907-2002), and Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna (1916-2012), when they eventually jumped off the royal train. This was perceived as unfair, especially by Sigvard, who pestered his father until 1951, when the latter extended the 1892 ennobling, with a little help from his 2nd cousin, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, to apply to these three princes and their families as well.
    One that never came to be covered by this honor was Prince Carl Jr. (1911-2003), Duke of Östergötland, the son of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg. His marriage in 1937 to Countess Elsa von Rosen was at the time about as close as one could come to an acceptable royal match, but for the sake of consistency, it was decided that Prince Carl Jr would be treated in the same way as Princes Lennart and Sigvard. Carl, however, had the good fortune to be the brother-in-law of a reigning King, Leopold III of Belgium, who quickly bestowed a Belgian princely title upon him.

                                                                                                          Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 4/2013

Long Live the Queen

On 23 December this year, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden will turn 70. This is hard to believe. The Queen, still beautiful, hard-working, always amiable and kind to everyone, shows no sign of slowing down. Apart from all the regular Royal duties that she diligently performs, Queen Silvia has also found time to start and maintain The World Childhood foundation, in an effort to reach and support children at risk around the world. The foundation’s focus is on protecting children from sexual abuse as well as supporting those who have already fallen victim, with a concentration on girls and young mothers. "Childhood" currently supports over 115 programs in 17 countries and works actively to raise awareness of children’s rights and to spread information about the exploitation of children taking place around the world. The Queen and her younger daughter, Princess Madeleine, both devote a lot of their time and energy to this most worth-while charity.

For Royalty to engage in various charities is by no means unusual, but the degree of commitment shown by Queen Silvia in regards to Childhood is outstanding.

The very topic, sexual abuse, is one that most official people, not to mention members of a Royal family, would find it hard to speak about. Yet, Queen Silvia has taken it upon herself to be the voice of all those suffering children around the world, in dire need of immediate help and support. Her position as Queen has helped lift an often hidden-away issue and give it the focus it craves.

Apart from Childhood, the Queen also works actively for the handicapped and in 1990, she was awarded the prestigious German prize "Deutscher Kulturpreis" for her work in this field. She is also an honorary board member of The Mentor Foundation, which works against drug use in adolescents and young adults. Her commitment to work with dementia and the care of the elderly at the end of life is also well-known and respected. On her initiative, "Silviahemmet" was established in Stockholm. It seeks to educate hospital personnel in how to work with people suffering from dementia, and also initiates research in the area.

Queen Silvia has raised the barrier for those working with charities, and we honor her for that.


Ted Rosvall

H.M. Queen Silvia




This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 3/2013

Is she or ain't she?

The birth of little Prince George Louis Alexander has stirred a renewed interest in the title of his mother, The Duchess of Cambridge. Apparently Kate’s occupation on the birth certificate is shown as "Princess of Great Britain", which has caused Royal fundamentalists to object, stating that she is no such thing and never will be. Not being born royal means that she can never be an H.R.H. in her own right, only as "Princess William of Wales", but since a Royal dukedom trumps the title of Princess, the whole thing is academic.

English titles, subsidiary titles and courtesy titles are not to be compared with those of any other country, and it is only the British people that can fully understand them. Or can they…? Conflicting statements over this matter have over time been issued by Court officials, and I suggest that not even H.M. is 100% certain as to what might be correct.

To all of us born outside this weird but fascinating world of viscounts, heir apparents, special remainders and duchesses in their own right, it is obvious that the British people cannot separate real titles from what I would like to call "titles of convenience". A few examples:

The newborn prince is to be known as "H.R.H. Prince George of Cambridge". As we all know, there is no Kingdom or Principality called Cambridge, so how can one be a Prince of it? That’s right, one can’t. The reason for this convenience title is of course that his parents are known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and it is therefore practical to let him be known somehow by that name. That he is in reality a Prince of Great Britain and Northern Ireland goes without saying. The same thing applies for the children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex, yet for some reason they are not Princess Louise and Prince James of Wessex, which would have been logical, but are to be known as Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.

H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent is married to the former Marie Christine von Reibnitz, who has a pedigree every bit as grand as that of her husband. Yet, she was not born royal, and hence she is not an H.R.H. in her own right, only as a sort of annex to her husband. She is thus known as "Princess Michael of Kent" which in this day and age sounds perfectly medieval. Even in the good ol’ USA it is today far from politically correct to address a married woman as Mrs Joseph Brown III.

The most striking example of irrational treatment of titles is otherwise the case of Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband. Upon marrying Princess Elizabeth in 1947, he was granted the style of His Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Edinburgh by King George VI. Ten years later, The Queen made him a Prince of the United Kingdom. But why was this at all necessary? Philip was already an H.R.H. and a Prince of Greece and Denmark, but for some reason that did not count, and as we know, Princess Elizabeth married someone else, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and it still beats me why he chose to, or why someone talked him into getting rid of his proper names and titles.

It is perhaps time for a revision of the rules and regulations when it comes to titles and such, and above all, a distinction between real titles and those of convenience. The British have a right to be a bit funny (a quotation from one of my correspondents) about titles and traditions, but they have no right to exempt themselves from logic…

Ted Rosvall


This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 2/2013


On April 30th, Europe acquired a new King and Queen, a fact that could not possibly have escaped many. That it also, on that same day, actually lost a Queen perhaps comes as more of a surprise. In accordance with a tradition created in 1948 by her grandmother, and carried on in 1980 by her mother, Queen Beatrix abdicated not only the throne but also the title of Queen, choosing from now on to be known simply as Princess Beatrix.

Is there, in the history of Monarchy, any other precedent for this rather unusual policy? The concept "Ex-King" comes to mind, but that usually refers to monarchs who have been dethroned, perhaps through a revolution or a referendum. One of the more notorious abdicators, The Duke of Windsor, was rarely referred to as Ex-King, although technically he was. "Queen Dowager" is another expression, referring to a Consort Queen after her husband, the King, has died. Have there been any Prince Consort Dowagers around? Well, sort of; When Queen Maria da Gloria of Portugal died in 1853, she was succeeded by her eldest son, King Pedro V. Her husband, Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, did survive her by more than 32 years, but in 1837 he had already received the title of King, although it was his wife who reigned the country. In fact, since Pedro V was under age when his mother died, it was his father, the titular King Ferdinand, who stepped in as regent for his son for a couple of years.

In the clerical world, there is another expression for retired people; Emeritus. In our country one might refer to a Vicar Emeritus or a Bishop Emeritus. The concept "Professor Emeritus" can also sometimes be heard. It is a rather kind word, with a positive ring to it. The "merit" part of the word indicates, that it describes someone who has done good and deserves his rest. But what if it is a woman? Easy, the correct word is Emerita! And if there are two or more of them? Try Emeriti. I love these old Latin endings and hope for a revival of them. I always insist on using the i-plural whenever possible (and sometimes, obnoxiously, when it is not). Thus you can hear me talk of the cacti in my window-bay, the croci in my flowerbeds and the fierce hippopotami on the African savannas.

So, have a happy retirement, Beatrix, Queen Emerita.


Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 1/2013

In the palace


In January 25th a historical seminar took place in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The reason for this seminar, to which around 200 people – the editor of this magazine included – had been invited, was to honour Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, otherwise known as King Carl XIV Johan, who was born 250 years ago. Under the theme "Carl XIV Johan - builder of society", seven scholars lectured on various aspects of the King’s character and achievements; the peace-maker, the reformer of agriculture and medicine, the creator of hospitals, the founder of banks and sound finance and so on.

The seminar was to start at 9 AM, but the invitation card clearly stated, ‘All guests should be seated no later than 8.50.’ Why? Well, because the Royal Family was to attend, and absolutely no one arrives after the King! At 9 sharp, the doors opened and the King and Queen, with the Crown Princess and Princess Christina and their husbands, entered the library where a bust of their revered ancestor had been given pride of place. King Carl XVI Gustaf himself gave a personal talk on how he regarded Jean Baptiste Bernadotte and how important it was to show what a versatile and brilliant man he was, and then opened the session.

At 10.30 there was a break for refreshments and conversation. The King and Queen stood in a corner and soon enough a line formed of people who wanted to present themselves to the Royal couple and exchange a few words. "It is now or never", I thought, and placed myself in line. After a few minutes I stood before Queen Silvia, presented myself and grasped the opportunity to thank her for the help she gave me when I was researching her Brazilian family and ancestors for my book "The Bernadotte Descendants". The Queen, char-ming as ever, replied that it was nice to put a face (mine) to the name, and that it must be considerably more difficult to do genealogical research in Brazil than in Sweden. Ushered on to where the King was standing, I thanked him too for allowing me access to the Royal Picture Collection for my two books on Queens Astrid and Ingrid, to which the King answered that it pleased him that some of these rare and stacked away pictures had been made available for the public to enjoy.

After the seminar, there was a luncheon at the Royal Coinery Museum, with an interesting slide show focusing on the Bernadotte Museum at Pau in France, and in the evening the Ambassador, M. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, invited everyone to a reception at the French Embassy in Stockholm. What a day! Far too much for a simple country man like yours truly....

Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 3/2012


Rumour has it, that Archduke Karl, AKA Karl Habsurg-Lothringen, the head of the Austrian dynasty is considering or has already decided  to “demorganize” all Habsburg marriages after 1918. If this rumour is true, it is quite a change and the world will instantly see a huge number of new Archdukes and Archduchesses. The Habsburg dynasty used to be very strict when it came to the house rules, and those that did not toe the line soon found themselves out in the cold, deprived of their titles and prerogatives, even their military grades and earthly possessions. In spite of these rather grave consequences, a great many Archdukes did eventually bolt, e.g. Archdukes Leopold Salvator, Josef Salvator, Heinrich Salvator, Johann Salvator, Franz Karl, Leo Karl and Karl Pius.

There is one remarkable exception; Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was eventually allowed to marry the love of his life; the Countess Sophie Chotek, albeit the marriage was considered to be morganatic and the children of this union not able to inherit the throne. Had Franz Ferdinand lived to succeed his uncle, Emperor Franz Josef, he would probably have tried to alter the laws of succession, and there would have been no Emperor Karl.

Another break-through came in 1993, when Archduke Karl himself wanted to marry the Baroness Francesca von Thyssen-Bornemisza – a match that was by no means “ebenbürtig”. Archduke Otto, the groom’s father, who had hitherto refused to accept such marriages, finally came around and declared that marriages to women of the nobility would henceforth be acceptable – and in an effort to be fair, this decision even worked retroactively, thus creating dozens of new Archdukes and Archduchesses. Now the time apparently seems ripe for a further step, the demorganization (is there such a word?) of ALL Habsburg marriages since 1918.

Will other Royal Families follow suit? Well, in Bavaria it has already happened and chances are that several Royal and Princely families in Germany, especially those facing extinction, will jump on board. After all, when the reigning dynasties do not seem to be able to stick to the old traditions of equal marriages, why should the non-reigning do so?

So, will we see a number of “af Rosenborgs” be reinstated as Princes of Denmark, and a few “Bernadotte af Wisborgs” be transformed into Princes of Sweden? And will we see a retroactive action in favour of H.R.H. Princess Wallis, Duchess of Windsor?
I doubt it…

Ted Rosvall

   Karl Habsburg-Lothringen


This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 4/2012

Blue Sapphire Anniversary

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. In Swedish there is a special word for that occasion: Krondiamantbröllop – which would translate as "Crown Diamond Wedding". The Daily Telegraph suggests that the proper term in English would be "Blue Sapphire Anniversary", but I doubt that anyone has ever heard that one before…

Going through the genealogies of the various European dynasties, one can find very few marriages that have lasted as long as that, and only a handful that have been longer. (Are we yet to discover a royal couple that have reached 70 blissful years together?) In some cases one can argue, that although technically still married, husband and wife had long since separated, but for the sake of statistics, here is the short list:

Archduke Joseph Franz of Austria (1872-1962) and Princess Augusta of Bavaria (1875-1965) arried (1893) for 69 years

Henri, Count of Paris (1908-1999) and Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganca (1911-2003) Married (1931) for 68 years

Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1909-2004) and Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Beisterfeld (1911-2004) Married (1937) for 67 years

Prince Alfonso of the Two Sicilies, Count of Caserta (1841-1934) and Princess Antonietta of The Two Sicilies (1851-1938) Married (1868) for 66 years

Prince Karl of Hessen-Kassel (1744-1836) and Princess Louise of Denmark (1750-1831) Married (1766) for 65 years

King Michael of Romania (*1921) and Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma (*1923) Married (1948) 64+ years

Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria (1859-1949) and Princess Maria de la Paz of Spain (1862-1946) Married (1883) for 63 years

Archduke Rainer of Austria (1827-1913) and Archduchess Maria Caroline of Austria (1825-1915) Married (1852) for 61 years

King Nikola I of Montenegro (1841-1921) and Milena Vukotic (1847-1923) Married (1860) for 61 years

Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1819-1904) and Princess Augusta of Cambridge [Great Britain and Ireland] (1822-1916) Married 1843 for 61 years

Maximilian, Duke in Bavaria (1808-1888) and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria (1808-1892) Married (1828) for 60 years

Alvaro, Prince of Orléans-Borbón, Duke of Galliera (1910-1997) and Carla Paarodi Delfino (1909-2000) Married (1937) for 60 years

Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 2/2012

Ultima Familiae

It was hardly crowded on the Buckingham Palace balcony the other day. Just the Queen, her eldest son and daughter-in-law, the two grandsons William and Harry and of course Kate; a moment of triumph for those engineers of the modern British monarchy that have decided that the common man can’t keep track of more than ten Royals and regard "down-sizing" as a sacred thing.

Surely, on this glorious day in the Jubilee year there would have been room there for the hard-working Princess Royal, for the Duke of York and his daughters and for the Wessex family, including T.R.H. Princess Louise and Prince James... Not to mention the Gloucesters and the Kents!

Whereas many a Royal family throughout the times have struggled with extinction, rather than over-representation, the Windsors seem to regard the kissing cousins as more of a burden than a resource. True, a few dynasties, including the Habsburgs, the Wittelsbachs and the Romanovs, did at times grow out of proportion, but the largest Royal or Princely families ironically seem to inhabit the smallest countries, e.g. Liechtenstein and Reuss. The latter had so many Henrich’s in the pedigree that they had to number them (they still do...)

Other families have involuntarily downsized to the point of no return, extinction. Such was the case in France at the death of the Duke de Berry in 1820 - but seven months later, his widow gave birth to a posthumous son, the Count de Chambord, at his birth referred to as "l’Enfant du Miracle". Some families, including Schwarzburg, Saxe-Altenburg and Lippe-Detmold have in fact died out and others are nervously close to it. Many families have had to change the rules of succession, allowing for females to carry on the tradition, the Netherlands being the most famous example with now three reigning Queens in a row.

That reminds me of the situation in Holland in the mid- 60’s with youth revolts and uprisings. In Holland the violent youth opposition went under the name "Proovis" and their most active era coincided with the wedding of the heir to the throne, Princess Beatrix, in 1966. A famous Swedish journalist had managed to get an interview with the leader of the Proovis and among other things concluded that they were not too fond of the Royal family and intended to demonstrate on the wedding day;

"So, you do not want Beatrix to succeed her mother on the throne one day?"

"No, indeed not?".

"...and why is that?"

The Proovi leader lifted his eye-brows, looked somewhat mischievously at the journalist and answered:

"Because I want her to be Empress of Europe"


Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 1/2012

Long to reign over us ...

One cannot help but wonder how H.M. Queen Elizabeth II is able to stay so active and so diligent after 60 amazing years as sovereign. It is astonishing to see her and the Duke of Edinburgh go about their business, this Jubilee year even increasing their activities, as if they were still young! But they are not. Where others would have retired 25 or 30 years ago, they are still amazingly alert at 86 and 91 respectively. More power to them! The Queen is however not yet a record breaker. Her great-great-grandmother, Victoria Regina, reigned for 63 years and 7 months, and if we look around in other countries, we may come up with some rulers that have reigned as long or even longer:

73 years Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden (first 7 years under regency)

72 years King Louis XIV of France (first 8 years under regency)

70 years Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein

68 years Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria

61 years King Nikola I of Montenegro (last 3 years in exile)

60 years King George III of England (last 9 years under regency)

59 years King Louis XV of France (first 8 years under regency)

58 years Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (first 8 years under regency)

52 years King Haakon VII of Norway

48 years King Carol I of Romania

48 years Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar

46 years King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy

45 years King Alfonso XIII of Spain

45 years Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxemburg

43 years King Christian IX of Denmark

43 years King Gustav V of Sweden


Alfonso XIII, who was born a King in 1886, would certainly have had a chance to reach the top of this list, had he not been dethroned in 1931, and if Charlotte of Luxemburg had stayed on until she died, rather than abdicating, she would have reigned for a glorious 65 ½ years.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who both ascended to the throne when relatively young, now stand a real chance to surpass their respective great-grandfathers’s reigning records.

Here is probably the magic and beauty of Monarchy as compared with a Republic. Presidents only last for 5 or 10 years – unless they fiddle about and become prime ministers for a while in between – whereas Kings and Queens go on forever! And when they eventually die, the succession is automatically taken care of …

Ted Rosvall

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 4/2011

The winner takes it all ...

…and so it seems the UK will join the group of monarchies that have decided to let the firstborn, regardless of sex, be the heir to the throne. This was not unexpected, and it is hard to argue in favor of the old way of handling the situation. It is also a relief to note that the silly business of barring from the line of succession anyone who marries a catholic will vanish. Evidently Mr Cameron must have read the inspired editorial in number 4/2006 of this magazine, where the author called for change; “Isn’t it about time to deal with this business of letting religion interfere with love, marriage and orders of succession. In a global, secularized and multi-cultural world, the concept of controlling people’s religious persuasion is obsolete, to say the least. Shouldn’t the choice of religion, or non-religion, be up to the individual?”
So, Primogeniture is to be the name of the game. Fair and square! Or is it? Is it always certain that the firstborn is the best suited for the job? Of course not! There are many examples throughout history that a younger brother or sister would have done, or actually did, a better job. Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence (1864-1892) would, according to many scholars, have been a catastrophe for the British monarchy. Not to mention poor dear Edward VIII who was, by the grace of Wallis, luckily removed from the throne. Queen Wilhelmina had three elder half-brothers who were, by all accounts, totally inadequate and in Sweden we had King Erik XIV who was raving mad and eventually had to make way for his younger brothers, not that they were much better.   
But there are also cases where one would have wished that the eldest son had survived. Russia would probably have been a sounder nation with Nikolai Alexandrovitch (1843-1863) as Emperor, rather than his younger brother Alexander III (1845-1894), who is probably to blame for what happened afterwards. In England, chances are that Arthur, Prince of Wales (1486-1502) would have been a better monarch than Henry VIII. Arthur was known to be studious, thoughtful and reserved, hardly qualities that can be accredited to his younger brother.
While visiting a distant cousin in the US, over dinner I tried to explain to him exactly how we were related. I pointed out, as one interesting fact, that he was sort of the head of the family, its senior member. He looked at me in disbelief and said; “How can that be? I am just 40 years old, so how can I be the senior?” I started to explain the idea of primogeniture but soon realized that I had lost him. “Well”, I tried, “if our family was the Royal Family of Sweden, you would be King now”. His eyes grew wider and with a delighted expression he turned around, faced the other guests in the restaurant and shouted: “Hey guys, listen to this: If I lived in Sweden I would be King….”
                                                                                                               Ted Rosvall
This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 3/2011

An heir and a spare ...

…and so an heir is on its way here in the Kingdom of Sweden… [are Great Britain, Holland and Denmark “Queendoms”?]

Some say that this will be the end of the Bernadottes. After Victoria it will be the Westling dynasty for sure. Rubbish, I say! Uneducated, stubborn, macho rubbish! Let’s compare; In England we had the Tudors, the Stuarts and the Hanovers and then, following Queen Victoria’s marriage to her cousin Albert, the dynasty was called “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”. As we all know, King George V, after a lot of anti-German feelings during the Great War, gave the family a new name; Windsor. It is said that the German Emperor, the bombastic William II, upon hearing of the change roared with laughter and proclaimed: “Henceforth in Germany, Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” shall be called “The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha”.

Sometimes you see the combination “Mountbatten-Windsor”, as a surname for the children and some grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the latter having assumed the name of his uncle, Mountbatten, in 1947 when he became a British subject. To us Royal genealogists, however, he will always be Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, just as his two youngest grandchildren will always be Princess Louise and Prince James, not Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn…

 In Holland, with several generations of reigning Queens, the dynasty would have changed its name repeatedly; from Orange-Nassau to Mecklenburg-Schwerin to Lippe-Biesterfeld and eventually to von Amsberg. This never happened of course, nor will it happen in Denmark, where the next generations have indeed received ‘Count Laborde de Monpezat’ as an additional name and title but the name of the dynasty remains “Glücksburg”. But there are exceptions; The Windsors of course, but also the Royal family of Romania, which in the future is to be called just that and not “Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen”. 

The Romanovs celebrated their 300th jubilee in 1913 – but was it really correct to call them that? True – on paper they did descend from the original Romanovs, but we all know of the activities of Catherine the Great, and how small the chance is that her husband, Emperor Peter III, was the father of the future Emperor Paul. Not to mention Spain and the many lovers of Queen Isabella II, one of whom certainly fathered the future Alfonso XII. In spite of all this, reigning Queens in the succession, unfaithfulness and illegitimate children that are still allowed to succeed to the throne, and historical turmoil – the names of the dynasties seem rather stable.  
Long live the Bernadotte dynasty!
                                                                                                   Ted Rosvall
This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 2/2011

Down under

At the beginning of the year, my younger daughter and I spent five glorious weeks in Australia and New Zealand. This was a first for me, a trip to the other side of the world that I never thought I’d make. Apart from an abundance of beautiful nature and an unusual and fascinating flora and fauna, we also visited the big metropolises; Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Seems old Queen Victoria is everywhere to be found, in statues, portraits, monuments, houses, streets, bridges and place names. Not to mention other royals, such as Princess Margaret Rose (the famous caves near Mount Gambier), the Duke of Gloucester (a footpath trail in Katoomba) and Prince Albert (several parks and squares all over). Another royal that is immensely popular down under is the Danish Crown Princess, Mary, who was born in Tasmania.

The capital of Australia is Canberra, a somewhat artificial yet fascinating city with a multitude of museums, exhibitions, archives and libraries. More or less out of duty, we decided to visit Parliament House, the rather unusual modernistic construction that was opened on May 5th 1988 by Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. We guided ourselves through the building, and then suddenly stood face to face with Her Majesty in the form of a portrait on the wall. "Why is she hanging here?" asked the daughter. "Well", I answered, "the Queen of England is also the Queen of Australia, New Zealand and Canada plus a few other places around the world". "How strange" was the comment from the next generation.

And it is rather.... Why is it that nations that have been sovereign for a hundred years or more still chose to stick with a monarch that resides thousands and thousands of miles away? Would it not have been better for those countries to have started a Royal Family of their own? Why didn’t one send for the Edinburghs, the Connaughts, the Gloucesters or the Kents when it was still possible and have them found new dynasties in spin-off monarchies? Much as the Portuguese did in Brazil? Or was it already too late for that?

The truth is probably that the Queen is the only reason for countries like Australia to remain a monarchy, the only link to the homeland and to the heritage of so many of their inhabitants. The Queen is a unique and well-respected figurehead, nearing her 60th anniversary as a sovereign. A fix-star in a world that is forever changing. Mark my words; when the Queen is no longer with us, Australia, New Zealand and Canada will turn republic within months...

In New Zealand we came to visit a family whose 19 year old granddaughter was amazed to hear that Sweden too has a queen. "Gosh" she said "I did not know that other countries could have queens too. I thought Queen Elizabeth was sort of the Queen of the World, or something..."

                                                                                                    Ted Rosvall


This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 1/2011.

Dynast or not ...

In January 21st 2011, S.K.H. Prinz Georg Friedrich von Preussen, head of the Prussian Royal family, announced his engagement to I.D.H. Prinzessin Sophie von Isenburg, with a grand Potsdam wedding planned for later this year. Royal observers all around, long since weaned from any hopes of truly royal matches ever happening again, had to pinch themselves in disbelief. Furthermore, studying the Isenburg family tree, one discovers that the two sisters of the bride-to-be, Princesses Katharina and Isabelle, have also married within the Gotha; Katharina to Archduke Martin of Austria and Isabelle to Fürst Carl zu Wied.

Blimey! Is this the start of a revival of dynastic marriages? Probably not, but it seems quite evident that members of the mediatized families - the so called "second parts" - do tend to marry more according to the rulebook than their first part colleagues. In the case of Georg Friedrich one is not totally surprised, since his being the head of the family and having become so because of his uncles’ non-dynastic marriages, more or less forced him to chose his bride carefully.

S.K.H. is of course the German version of H.R.H. Had it been before 1918, one might even have thrown in another "K" there [Seine Kaiserliche und Königliche Hoheit], the Prussian Royal family at the same time being the Imperial family of Germany. But what in God’s name does I.D.H. stand for? The answer is "Ihre Durchläuchtigste Hoheit" - meaning "Her Enlightened Highness" - a nice epithet that one could easily accept and grow fond of. But it actually means "Transparent" which is perhaps not a quality one would always wish for. There is in fact another epithet; "Erlaucht" which does indeed translate as "Enlightened".

In my latest book; "The Bernadotte Descendants" [Bernadotteättlingar], as well as in the previous edition, I have chosen to keep the titles and the epithets in their original language. Trying to translate them would inevitably cause problems and inadequacies. "His Transparency" would of course be ludicrous and we also have the problem with the little words, such as "von" and "zu". It has become fashionable to use the English version of a name, e.g. "Prince of Prussia", only for the dynast members of the family, whereas those family members that are born from an unequal marriage are called by their German names; "Prinz von Preussen", where all elements according to German law are considered to be a surname, not a title. This however means that one has to decide who is dynast and who is not - and one quickly realizes that this is an impossible task.

It is probably better to use the original names, titles and epithets and wherever necessary explain what they mean. Except of course when it comes to languages with other letters, e.g. Russian, Bulgarian and Greek, where you are doomed to failure...

Anyway, see you in Potsdam!

                                                                                                Ted Rosvall


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