Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Coin

Diamond Jubilee Commemorative  Royal Mint £5 coin.

This coin is a real currency which can be spent (if you want to). It is the first diamond jubilee coin ever made since Queen Victoria never had one made for her Diamond Jubilee.
This Commemorative bears Portraits of HM Queen Elizabeth on both sides. It is a true souvenir and memorabilia.

The Château de Beuregard, Loire Valey

Our friend Countess Natalie du Pavillon, chatelaine of Beuregard, dedicates herlsef, along with her husband, to the preservation of their ancestral home.

The Château de Beuregard, near Chambord, is a beautiful destination in the Loire. We encourage any of our readers to pay the Chatillons a visit, enjoy a wonderful day supporting this stately home. all while basking in the surrounding beautiful scenery of the Loire.

The Château de Beauregard is a Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley in France It is located on the territory of the commune of Celletes, a little south of the city of Blois and a few miles from other famous Loire châteaux such as Cheverny Although still inhabited, it can be visited by tourists. The castle is renowned for its Gallery of portraits decorated in the 17th century with 327 portraits of famous people.



Most of the château was built around 1545, when it was bought by Jean du Thiers, Lord of Menars, and Secretary of State to King Henri II. The commissioned interior included frescoes on the fireplace of the royal chamber, which have survived. In the Great Gallery there is a fireplace in Italian style from this period. However its main feature was commissioned by Paul Ardier, Comptroller of Wars and Treasurer, who bought the château in 1617. He added further interior decorations over the next few decades, including a gallery of portraits.


The gallery of portraits

The gallery of portraits (Galeries des Illustres in French), the largest in Europe to have survived to our days, is the masterpiece of the castle : built during the first half of the 17th century at the request of Paul Ardier, it is 26 meters long, its pavement is entirely made of 5 500 Deltwate tiles and its walls are decorated with 327 portraits of famous people having lived between 1328 (date of the beginning of the reign of Philippe VI of France) and 1643 (death of Louis XIII. The French kings are depicted accompanied by portraits of their queens, ministers, marshals, diplomats etc. Apart from French personalities, other important historical people of 25 nationalities are represented. Marie Ardier, daughter of Paul Ardier, committed the decoration of the ceiling to the painter Jean Mosnier and its family. The blue color which dominates has been obtained by the use of lapis lazuli, one of the most precious and expensive mineral stones in the 17th century.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Baby in House Hesse

Hereditary Prince (Heinrich) Donatus and Hereditary Princess Floria of Hesse are expecting their third child later thus Summer.

The eldest son of Landgraf Moritz of Hesse (b. 1926) and of his former wife Princess Tatiana zu Sayn-Wittengenstein-Berleburg (whose brother Richard is the husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark ), Donatus was born in Kiel, Germany, in 1966. In 2003 he married Countess Floria-Franziska von Faber-Castell (b. 1974).

Four years after their wedding, which had taken place at Kronberg, where the Hesse's magnificent castle, Schloß Friedrichshof, is located, the couple welcomed twins. Princess Paulina and Prince Moritz were born in March 2007, their baptism taking place privately at Schloß Wolfsgarten some time later.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Crown Princess Victoria To Receive the Galliera Inheritance

A Swedish magazine, Svenska Dagbladet, has reported that Prince Carl Philip of Sweden "has agreed to let the Galliera inheritance, which consists of an exquisite art collection and a financial fund, pass to his sister Crown Princess Victoria, although the Prince would be the legal inheritor according to the terms laid down by Emperor Napoléon I of the French." 

What Galliera possessions remain in the hands of the Swedish royal family, include: "some sixty Italian works," as well as "jewels of the Swedish royal collection." “Madonna with Child," a masterpiece by Piero de Cosimo is widely considered the greatest masterpiece of the Galliera collection. The trust fund that accompanies this inheritance "was worth millions already at the time of the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973"

The Dukedom of Galliera was an Italian title created in 1812 by Emperor Napoleon I and bestowed on the firstborn child of his stepson Eugene de Beauharnais, in this case Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg.Modern-day Galliera is a city located in Province of Bologna, in the state of Emilia-Romagna.

Princess Josephine married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden in 1823 when she was barely sixteen years old. With the future King Oscar I, Josephine had several children, among them: King Carl XV and King Oscar II. Josephine's three other children did not leave any offspring. Carl XV's only children Louise was married to King Frederik VIII of Denmark and brought a fabulous jewel collection as part of her personal property, not to mention the tremendous dowry and inheritance she received from her wealthy parents. Oscar II's descendants include the present Swedish monarch.

Management of the Duchy of Galliera posed a serious problem for Josephine and her husband. It's income was not worth the trouble caused by the demands involved in administering such a faraway possession. Thus soon after her marriage, Josephine began searching for a buyer. It took a decade and a half to find one.

In 1837 Marchese Raffaele de Ferrari (1803-1876) purchased the properties attached to the Dukedom of Galliera. One year later Pope Gregory XVI created de Ferrari "Duke of Galliera." In 1839, King Carlo Alberto of Sardinia confirmed the granted given by the Pope and also added the title of Prince of Lucedio.

Josephine had the works of art she owned at Galliera transferred to Sweden, along with the money made out of the sale. It was placed in trust and was to be inherited by for the oldest son of each generation of her descendants. Thus, It would go to future King Gustav V, then to his oldest son (Gustav VI Adolf), and from him to Gustav Adolf (who died before his father), then to King Carl XVI Gustav and from him to his son Carl Philip. However, the change of the Swedish succession law allowing absolute primogeniture denied Carl Philip the throne, as well as the position Queen Josephine had designed when it came to the Galliera inheritance. Had Carl Philip inherited the Galliera trust, it would have mandated that it break away from the main royal line. His renunciation has now corrected the situation.

The new Duke of Galliera, holder of a magnificent banking fortune which he made through the creation of the Crédit Immobilier de France (a rival to the Rothschild banking empire), married a French noblewoman by the name of Marie Brignole-Sale (1811-1888), by whom he had three children. Two of them died young. Their last remaining child, Philippe (Filippo), was born in 1850 and died in 1917. In the world of philately, he was well-known as the owner of perhaps the world's most complete stamp collection. He lived at the sumptuous Hôtel Matignon in Paris, now the official residence of the French Prime Minister. Marie Brignole-Sale was distantly related to the Princes of Monaco as well.

Philippe was also notorious for a quarrel with his mother, whom he accused of having been untrue to his father. Because of his suspicions, unfounded it seems, Philippe refused the use of the title of Duke of Galliera claiming that not being his father's son, he had no right to use the title, much less claim possession of any of its properties.

When Duchess Marie died in 1888 she left the bulk of the Galliera inheritance to her dear friend Prince Antoine d'Orléans, Duke de Montpensier, youngest son of King Louis Philippe of the French. Other royal friends received bequeaths from Duchess Marie, among them the Empress Friedrich, who used some of this windfall to finance the construction of her magnificent home, Schloß Friedrichshof.

The Galliera properties were sold by Infante don Antonio of Spain, Montpensier's only surviving son. They were used by Antonio to continue paying for the expenditures of his mistress, much to the detriment of his sons and wife. In fact, such was the financial dislocation brought about by Anotnio's mismanagement, that his eldest son the Infante don Alfonso (who was married to Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh) took his father to court in an effort to declare Antonio incompetent. By the time Infante Antonio's misdeeds were out an end to, little remained of this once phenomenally amazing fortune.

The Duke de Montpensier was recognized as Duke of Galliera by King Umberto I of Italy. In 1890 when Antoine died, he was succeeded by his son Antonio, who held the title until 1930. From that year and until 1975 the Infante don Alfonso was also the Duke of Galliera, his son Alvaro inheriting the title that year. Alvaro died in 1997 and was succeeded by his own grandson Alfonso, who is the present holder of the Orléans creation of the Duchy of Galliera.

 Queen Josephine of Sweden
(Duchess of Galliera)

 King Oscar I of Sweden
(Duke Consort of Galliera)

 Prince Antoine d'Orléans, Duke de Montpensier, Infante
of Spain, 1st Duke of Galliera (Orleans creation)

 Infante don Alfonso of Spain, 2nd Duke of Galliera

 Infante don Alfonso of Spain, 3rd Duke of Galliera, holding his son
Prince Alvaro de Orleans, 4th Duke of Galliera

Prince don Alfonso de Orleans, Fifth Duke of Galliera


Los Desconocidos Infantes de España, by Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano
Los Infantes de Andalucía, by Ricardo Mateos Saínz de Medrano
Various Issues of the EuroHistory Journal
Le Cousinage – The Descendants of the Other Count of Paris, by Arturo E. Beéche

Saturday, May 26, 2012

When Idiots Get Elected to Public Office or Governor Scott Visits King Juan Carlos

How this moron is let loose on European royalty strikes me as indicative of the sort of idiots a certain party and a movement of extremists (usually lesser educated and cosmopolitan) enjoy electing.

Governor Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, is nothing short of a cretino!


Gov. Rick Scott became a Spanish punch line this week after a televised gaffe with the king of Spain, who's reeling from an elephant-shooting scandal.

"I've ridden elephants, I've never tried to shoot one," Scott said, smiling as he walked in and shook the hand of King Juan Carlos.

The king seemed to freeze and mumble "Oh."

You can't blame him.

The 74-year-old monarch was pilloried for hunting elephants in Botswana, where he injured his hip. Spaniards were infuriated because the king took such an expensive hunting trip at a time when the country is in such dire economic straits. About one in four Spaniards are unemployed. Also, Juan Carlos is an honorary president of Spain's branch of the World Wildlife Fund.

"I am very sorry. I made a mistake. It won't happen again," the king said in an apology when he left a Madrid hospital in crutches.

The king has since recovered. And the scandal had seemed to die down.

Enter Scott — who was visiting Spain this week on a trade mission.

Not only did the governor start with the I've-never-shot-an-elephant ice-breaker, Scott then continued to talk about elephants and Botswana after he introduced his wife, Ann, to the king.

"We were in Botswana," Scott says. "And we were in the Jeep. And an elephant started to chase the Jeep. My wife was in the back part of the Jeep and she wanted to get out to the front of the Jeep."
"I needed you in the Jeep with me," Ann leans in to say to the king.

Juan Carlos laughed nervously at the elephant in the room and . . . Cut! The video stops.

But the laughter began. Newspapers nationwide and late-night Spanish television made Scott's elephant story a topic of uproarious laughter.

"All the news outlets highlight the absolute lack of tact of the Florida governor, which can only be attributed to poor preparation for the meeting," TV personality Sandra Sabatés says on the satirical news show El Intermedio (Halftime). "Gov. Scott continues, obstinate in his error. He adds insult to injury and asks the king increasingly uncomfortable questions about the details of the hunt."

At one point, Scott suggests that the king needs a better story to tell than that he injured his hip getting out of bed while on the trip.

"On top of it, he thinks the anecdote is s- - -!" the show's host, a comedian known as El Gran Wyoming (The Great Wyoming), roars about Scott. "That's because he's American. If the story is about an exploding car and Will Smith killing someone, he's bored."

Returning to Florida on Thursday afternoon, Scott was met by a gaggle of media at Miami International Airport.

"If I did anything . . . wrong I completely apologize," he said. "The king's a wonderful person. He's a wonderful world leader. He's done so many wonderful things in his life. And we had a great conversation.

"The first thing I asked him about was his hip, of course, because he had been injured," Scott said.

Continue reading...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Official Photos of the Swedish Royal Baptism

The Royal Court in Stockholm has released several official photos of the baptism of Princess Estelle of Sweden.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Yugoslav Royals at The Queen's Celebrations

Much appreciated photos were sent to us by the Yugoslav Royal Court.

These images are of Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine attending last week's commemorative gatherings in honor of Her Majesty The Queen, both at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

Many thanks!

 The Yugoslav Crown Princely couple being welcomed by HRH The Prince of Wales and his wife The Duchess of Cornwall.

 Top and bellow: Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia.

Queen Victoria's Journals Now Online!

Queen Victoria in Coronation robes.

A message from HM Queen Elizabeth II

In this the year of my Diamond Jubilee, I am delighted to be able to present, for the first time, the complete on-line collection of Queen Victoria's journals from the Royal Archives.
These diaries cover the period from Queen Victoria's childhood days to her Accession to the Throne, marriage to Prince Albert, and later, her Golden and Diamond Jubilees.

Thirteen volumes in Victoria's own hand survive, and the majority of the remaining volumes were transcribed after Queen Victoria's death by her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, on her mother's instructions.

It seems fitting that the subject of the first major public release of material from the Royal Archives is Queen Victoria, who was the first Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.

It is hoped that this historic collection will make a valuable addition to the unique material already held by the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, and will be used to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the past.

+Fürstin Delia zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein

Born in 1919 Countess Delia Schenck von Stauffenberg was destined to marry into a prominent mediatized family.

Her parents were Count Marquard Schenck von Satuffenberg (1889-1975) and Olga-Marie Böhl de Liagre (1889-1973).

Delia was the couple's first child and her siblings included: Maria-Agnes (1920-1999) who was married to Hans-Heinrich Linden; Alexandra (b. 1922), widowed from Rolf Staelin (1912-1985); Alfred (b. 1923), who in 1954 married Countess Gioia von Hochberg, Baroness zu Fürstenstein (of the Princes of Pleß), but divorced in 1980 and six years later married Mrta Daeppen; and Clemens (1929-1987), who married Countess Clementine Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht.

In 1942, in the midst of the Second World War, Delia married Hereditary Prince Carl Friedrich zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein (1917-1991), eldest son and heir of Fürst Eugen (1885-1969) and of his wife the former Princess Maria Anna zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, von Ratibor und Corvey (1895-1978). Carl Friedrich's siblings included: Moritz (1922-1944), who was killed fighting in Romania; Rose-Marie (1923-2008), who was married to Count Franz von Strassoldo; and Wolfgang (1924-2001), who married three times, firstly to Countess Henriette de Longueval von Buquoy (1917-1967), secondly to Princess Michaela von Schönburg-Waldenburg (b. 1940 (div.); and lastly to Countess Angelika von Schönborn (b. 1942), who survived him.

Carl Friedrich and Delia were the parents of three children: Ernestine (b. 1943), who is widowed from Raffaello Massini (1928-2001); Moritz (b. 1946), who married Princess Lioba zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg; and Krafft (b. 1951), who is married to Helen Lins.

Delia's husband succeeded as sixth Fürst zu Oettingen-Wallerstein upon the death of his father in 1969. For the next two decades he was head of the mediatized family whose holdings include forestry and agricultural lands in Baden-Württemberg and Western Bavaria, as well as a well-respected brewery. Their properties include three beautiful castles in the area: Schloß Wallerstein, Schloß Baldern and the Harburg. These are destinations for countless tourists yearly.

Fürst Carl Friedrich passed away in 1991. Fürstin Delia survived her husband by more than two decades, achieving the status of doyenne amongst German aristocrats.

Fürstin Delia zu Oettingen-Wallerstein passed away on 5 May 2012. She is mourned by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Her funeral was celebrated a week later and she now rests next to her husband in the family burial plot at Schloß Baldern.

May She Rest in Peace...

Article about her 90th birthday:

Article on her funeral service:

Fürstin Delia on her 90th birthday.

 Fürstin Delia in old age.

The German Gotha gather at Schloß Baldern to bid farewell to Fürstin Delia.

Fun Facts About The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II is the second longest serving monarch in British history, with a rich and varied 60 years on the throne. From the amount of letters she has received during her reign to the distance she has traveled, we take a quirky look at her life in numbers.

Elizabeth II: Young queen who grew into a modern monarch

Editor's note: In 2012, the UK's Queen Elizabeth II became the second-longest serving British sovereign with a reign spanning 60 years. On June 4 - 6, the Queen marks her Diamond Jubilee year with a series of parties and pageants, and CNN will be there to follow the festivities. Leading up to the celebrations, we will put her reign in context with a series of articles, op-eds and interactives.

London, England (CNN) -- The 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the British throne marks a major milestone in the remarkable life of a monarch who, though reluctantly thrust into the spotlight at a young age, has won almost universal praise for her steadfast dedication to duty.

Her long reign (second only to Queen Victoria's) has seen Britain transformed from a war-weary declining imperial power into its modern incarnation as a member state of the European Union that rarely looks to its monarch for leadership, but still holds her in high esteem.

In 1952, when Elizabeth and Philip were on an official trip to Kenya, news came of her father's death. She was now queen.

And while it has witnessed its fair share of joy -- not least the recent marriage of the queen's grandson Prince William to Catherine Middleton -- Elizabeth's rule has also weathered many storms, both public and personal, as the monarchy has tried to keep pace with changing times.

Elizabeth Alexander Mary was born in 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. She did not become heiress presumptive to the throne until 1937 when her father was crowned King George VI after the scandalous abdication of his older brother -- events recently dramatized in the Oscar-winning film "The King's Speech."

As World War II erupted, Elizabeth was quietly groomed for statehood. While living out the blitz on London in nearby Windsor Castle, she was privately tutored in matters of constitution by Henry Marten, an eccentric yet respected teacher who reputedly kept a pet raven in his study.

She began making tentative steps to public life in 1940 when, aged 14, she made her first radio broadcast: a speech to children displaced by conflict. At 16 she was made an honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, a British army infantry regiment.


Prince Philip – A Portrait

London, England (CNN) -- Known as much for his gaffes, brusque manner and eccentricities as for his charity and campaigning work, Prince Philip seems to have lived a life permanently in the shadow of his wife, Queen Elizabeth II.

Yet as a child born into the turmoil of inter-war Europe, a naval officer decorated for heroism in World War II, and one half of one of the most-enduring modern royal marriages, the Duke of Edinburgh is an extraordinary figure in his own right.

And as Britain celebrates 60 years since the queen succeeded as monarch, celebrations will also be focused on the man who has rarely left her side during her time in the spotlight.
Prince Philip's life was dramatic from the outset. The nephew of Greece's King Constantine I, he was born in 1921 on the dining room table of a villa on the Greek island of Corfu.

Known then simply as Philip -- he had no official surname -- he was forced into exile just 18 months later when the Greek monarchy was overthrown by a military revolt. Sailors on board HMS Calypso, the British cruiser given the secret mission to carry his family to safety, made him a crib out of an old fruit box.

Stateless and (by royal standards) poor, Philip's family spent the next few years wandering between the homes of European relatives as the continent descended into the political and economic upheaval that would lead to World War II.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Century Ago in Denmark...1912

It was 100 years ago today that Denmark’s then-king, Frederik 8, unexpectedly collapsed and died on the street in Hamburg, stricken by acute cardiac arrest.

His death occurred near the Hotel Hamburger Hof, where the king and his entourage had taken lodgings on the way home from a recreational trip to southern France.

Frederik 8 was born in 1843, the eldest son of the later King Christian 9 and his queen, Louise. With his father’s accession to the throne in 1863, he became the successor and then received the title of crown prince. It was not until he was 63 years old, in 1906, that he succeeded his father on the throne, so he was king for only six years before death overtook him at the age of 69 in 1912.

The news about the king’s sudden death reached Copenhagen early on the morning of 15 May. And after a hastily-called Council of State, council president Klaus Berntsen, from the balcony of Christian VII’s Palace at Amalienborg, proclaimed the successor to the throne as the new king of Denmark, under the name of Christian 10.

At the time, Christian 10 was 41 years old. His reign lasted until 1947, when he died at the age of 76. His 35-year reign was a dramatic period in both Denmark’s and the rest of the world’s history. It began with a world war and it ended with yet another all-encompassing world war. And the inter-war period in the 1920s and 1930s was strongly marked by the large worldwide economic crisis, which turned many conventional notions upside down.

King Frederik VIII (1843-1912)
r. 1906-1912 

King Christian X (1870-1947)
r. 1912-1947

Prince Joachim of Denmark – A Family Portrait

The Danish Royal Court has released a new photo of HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark and his family.


Royal Baptism in Sweden

In Stockholm today, HRH Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary of Sweden was baptized in the Swedish Lutheran Church.

The royal court released the names of the godparents, who are: HRH The Prince of Orange, HRH The Crown Prince of Norway, HRH The Crown Princess of Denmark, HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Ms Anna Westing.

Royal guests in attendance included: Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark, the Crown Prince of Denmark, the Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and his fiancée, Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and her husband Mr Ari Behn.

Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.

 King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

 Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and Countess Stephanie de Lannoy.

 Princess Madeleine of Sweden.

 Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle of Sweden.

Monday, May 21, 2012

An Article on Queen doña Sofía of Spain

For half a century she has been by his side, a quiet, dignified presence through turbulent decades. But now Spain is beginning to ask just how much more Queen Sofia can take.

Against a backdrop of family financial scandal and an increasingly troubled marriage, Queen Sofia was counting the days until she could escape to London and attend Friday's Jubilee banquet at Windsor Castle – an eagerly anticipated family gathering.

But 48 hours before she was due to leave she was prevented by the government from attending. Declining the invite on her behalf, the Spanish government cited the recent "heightened tensions" with Britain over the ownership of the island of Gibraltar, currently the scene of a row over fishing rights.

The government's decision focused attention once again on the troubled life of the woman whom some are calling the loneliest royal consort in Europe.

"She was really looking forward to it," said Pilar Eyre, whose book The Loneliness of the Queen has been top of the best seller list in Spain since it was published in January. "It was a huge blow for her to be stopped from attending."

Continue reading...

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall Begin Canadian Tour

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the official arrival to Canada ceremony at CFB Gagetown on May 21, 2012 in Oromocto, Canada.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eurohistory Issue LXXXVI – April 2012

Greetings to All!

As we await the arrival of Eurohistory Issue LXXXV (February 2012), we have sent Issue LXXXVI to print!

 Both Issues will mail at the same time, thus getting us all caught up.

We have already started working on Issue LXXXVII (June 2012) which will mail to subscribers in early July – You cannot begin to image what relief to feel knowing that we are back on track!

Inside Issue LXXXVI readers will find the following articles:

1. The Tsar’s Swiss Tutor – Marc-Ferdinand Thormeyer, by Coryne Hall.

2. The Shadow Behind the Throne – The Press Campaign Against Prince Albert, 1853-4, by Paul Brighton.

3. Death of an Emperor – Karl I of Austria (Part II), by Hans Karl Zeßner-Spitzenberg.

4. What’s in a Photo – The Wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Georg Donatus of Hesse and by Rhine & Princess Cecilie of Greece, by Ilana D. Miller.

5. Marie Adelaide – The Tragic Grand Duchess, by Sarah Marie Watts.

6. The Seventieth Anniversary of the Death of the Third Duke of Aosta, by Natasha Erbury.

7. Obituary: HRH Princess Maria Anna of Saxony, by Arturo E. Beéche.

8. A Quiet Royal Wedding in Brussels, Princess Paola Orléans-Bragança Sapieha Marries Prince Constantin Czetwertynski, by Arturo E. Beéche.

9. Book Reviews.

10. Royal News.

Happy Birthday Archduchess Helen!

Today Archduchess Helen of Austria (née Toerring-Jettenbach) celebrates her 75th birthday!

Countess Helen zu Toerring-Jettenbach was born at Schloß Winhöring on 20 May 1937. She was the second child of Count Carl Theodor zu Toerring-Jettenbach and of his wife, Princess Elisabeth of Greece, herself the middle daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece (1872-1938) and Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia (1882-1957). Count Carl Theodor Toerring-Jettenbach's parents were Count Hans Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach (1862-1929) and his wife Duchess Sophie in Bavaria (1875-1957), herself the daughter of Karl Theodor, Duke in Bavaria (a brother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria) and of his second wife Infanta Maria José of Portugal, a daughter of King Miguel I of Portugal.

Interestingly, this Portuguese ancestry connects Helen to a plethora of royal personages. Maria José's siblings included: The Duke of Braganza (whose descendants include the present holder of the title, Dom Duarte, as well as descendants in the houses of Liechtenstein and Thurn und Taxis); Archduchess Maria Teresa of Austria (last wife of Archduke Karl Ludwig [1833-1896], a brother of Emperor Franz Joseph as well as the great-grandfather of Archduke Ferdinand, Helen's late husband); Grand Duchess Maria Anna  of Luxembourg (who married Grand Duke Guillaume IV and who was the mother of six daughters, among them Grand Duchesses Marie Adelaide and Charlotte, as well as Crown Princess Antonia of Bavaria); and Duchess Maria Antonia of Parma (who was the second wife of Duke Robert, by whom she had twelve children, among them: Prince Felix of Luxembourg, Empress Zita of Austria and Duke Francesco Xaverio of Parma, to name a few).

Helen passed the war years in Bavaria, where her family felt protected from the atrocities consuming Europe. Her father's opposition to the National Socialists and her mother's outright and intense dislike for Hitler and his cronies made it imperative that then family remain in semi-isolation, while living quietly. The fact that Princess Elisabeth's sisters (Olga of Yugoslavia and Marina of Kent) were married into families that opposed Nazi Germany during the war only made life more fragile for the Toerring-Jettenbachs.

With peace in 1945 also came an opportunity for the family of Countess Helen to renew long-lost connections to their royal relations outside Germany. Visits to Athens to see Grand Duchess Helen and other members of the Greek royal family were soon arranged, while others traveled to Bavaria to reconnect with the Toerring-Jettenbachs. Luckily, Schloß Winhöring was unscathed by the ravages of war and the bombings that Munich underwent.

Tragedy, however was also around the corner. In 1955 Princess Elisabeth succumbed, quite rapidly, to a malady that she had been fighting against. The previous year the family of Grand Duchess Helen, a widow since 1938, suffered a sad blow when Prince Nicholas of Yugoslavia, second son of Princess Olga and Prince Regent Paul, died in a car crash in England.

However, as life always does, great loss is oftentimes replaced by deep happiness. Such was the case in 1956 when Countess Helen married a longtime family friend, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria (1918-2004), eldest son of Archduke Maximilian (1895-1952) and of his wife Princess Franziska zu Hohelonhe-Schillingsfürst (1897-1989). Ferdinand and Helen were to be married for nearly five decades.

The couple were blessed with three very attractive and delightful children: Elisabeth (1957-1983), Sophie (b. 1959) and Maximilian (b. 1961). They were raised in various European countries as Archduke Ferdinand's business obligations demanded relocation every so often. However, throughout the family remained much attached to London, Munich and Salzburg, where Ferdinand's mother lived. They also retained countless links to most of their royal relations across the continent, particularly with King Constantine II of the Hellenes and Queen Sophie of Spain, as well as with Helen's first cousins of Yugoslavia and Kent.

In October 1982 Helen's eldest daughter, Elisabeth, married an Australian gentleman by the name of James Litchfield. The couple settled in faraway Australia and hoped for a long life together. Sadly, it was not to be as Archduchess Elisabeth passed away quite suddenly at Myalla, Cooma, Australia, on 18 May 1983.

In the meantime, Archduchess Sophie, who can easily be argued is one of the most strikingly beautiful royals, was making a name for herself as both a top model and an humanitarian devoted to orphaned children. After several attempts at finding a soul mate, Sophie married Fürst Hugo zu Windish-Grätz in 1990. The couple settled in Italy, where Furst Hugo has vast interests as well as playing an important role within the Vatican's administrative structure. Hugo has also served as Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Hugo and Sophie had three children: Hereditary Prince Maximilian (b. 1990), Prince Alexis (1991-2010) and Princess Larissa (b. 1996). The death of their son Alexis, which Eurohistory covered in our Issue LXXXIII (February 2010), was a deeply sad tragedy for the boy's parents and his grandmother Helen. Christian fortitude and a deep belief in Catholic principles allowed the family to find the strength to overcome this immensely challenging loss.

The family's benjamin, Archduke Maximilian settled in Madrid, where he works in the medical device field. Maximilian Heinrich Ferdinand of Austria was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine in 1961. In 2005 he married Maya Al-Askari, a lovely lady whose family proudly claims descent from the Prophet Mohammed. Max and Maya have been blessed with three children: Archduke Nikolau b. 2005), Archduke Constantin (b. 2007) and Archduchess Katharina (b. 2010). All children were born in Madrid, where Max has lived for the better part of the last quarter century.

In 2004 Archduchess Helen lost her husband, who succumbed to a long malady. I first met Archduchess Helen a month after she became a widow. Since then she has been not only an active supporter of my labors dealing with European royalty, but also someone I am honored enough to consider a friend. I have always been very taken by her bonhomie as well as her inner strength to deal with whatever challenges life sends her way. Archduchess Helen's deep belief in Catholicism as a way of life and a source of solace has inspired me to pay more attention to the goodwill found in the faith of my upbringing.

Two years ago, for example, when I was battling cancer and living through a dark period of despondency, Archduchess Helen was kind enough to include me in he prayers. I was deeply touched and thankful!

Today, on Archduchess Helen's 75th birthday, we at Eurohistory, and I personally, wish her the very best and may God continue keeping a watchful eye over the life of a truly lovely lady...

The christening of Archduchess Helen in 1937. Holding her is her grandmother and  namesake, Grad Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia.

Princess Elisabeth of Greece (Countess zu Toerring-Jettenbach) with her children Hereditary Count Hans Veit and Countess Helen – Schloß Winhöring, c. 1944.

Princess Olga of Yugoslavia, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Countess Helen zu Toerring-Jettenbach and Princess Marina, The Duchess of Kent.

Archduchess Helen on her wedding day.

Archduchess Helen with her eldest daughter, the late Archduchess Elisabeth.

The baptism of Archduke Nikolaus: Prince Alexis, Princess Larissa, Archduchess Helen with baby Nikolaus and Hereditary Prince Maximilian.

Archduchess Helen of Austria and her brother Count Hans Veit zu Toerring-Jettenbach.

Archduke Ferdinand and Archduchess Helen of Austria.

Archduchess Helen of Austria.