28 March 2018

The Shifting World of Mariana Victoria of Spain

by Miguel Antonio do Amaral
via Wikimedia Commons
Screams rent the air. The earth suddenly pulled away. Was she falling? Were her daughters crying? Was that her own voice? The King?! Where was the King?

The earth was always shifting beneath the feet of Mariana Victoria of Spain, but nothing like the literal movement of November 1, 1755. Now Queen of Portugal, the former Spanish infanta, her husband King Jose I of Portugal, and their daughters had attended an early morning mass to celebrate All Saints Day before journeying into the country outside of Lisbon to enjoy the day together. Now, the world was literally crashing around them.

Back in Lisbon, churches collapsed killing thousands of feast day worshippers. The sea pulled away from the harbor only to return as a vicious tsunami wiping away thousands of survivors who had gathered at the shore to escape falling buildings and spreading fires.

Much earlier in her life, Mariana Victoria had felt her world shift. At the tender age of three, she was sent from her home in Spain to become the bride of France's 11-year-old boy King Louis XV. She was sent as part of a political exchange that also saw his French cousin Louise Elisabeth of Orleans marry Mariana Victoria's brother soon-to-be King Luis I of Spain. Unlike the teenaged Luis and Louise Elisabeth, Louis and Mariana Victoria were too young to marry yet. Instead, the new "Infanta Queen" as she was called, was raised at her fiance's court. Bright and lovely, she was greatly admired by everyone except for her intended husband. Pre-adolescent boys have little interest in toddler girls who follow them about and call them "my husband."

Louis XV with his "Infanta Queen"
By Francois de Troy via Wikimedia Commons
As Louis matured and the Infanta Queen remained in childhood, things began to fall apart. At age 13, Louis officially reached his majority. One of his first acts was to repudiate his fiancee. Already earning a randy reputation, he much preferred a wife who could assume her wifely duties immediately. Seven-year-old Mariana Victoria was told that she was merely going to visit her parents who missed her. She had no idea of the political scandal her return would cause in Spain, which immediately sent Louise Elisabeth, whose young husband had died, back to France. The Spanish aligned themselves with Austria and began looking for another husband for their rejected infanta, preferably one who would put the French king's nose out of place.

So it was that Mariana Victoria found her world moving once again. The ten-year-old girl was married to the Jose Prince of Brazil, heir to the Portuguese throne. This was yet another double deal: her brother Ferdinand married Jose's sister Barbara. Just four years older than his new wife, Jose found Mariana Victoria much more interesting than her first fiance had. Since they were so young, it was nearly six years before their first child, the future Queen Maria I of Portugal was born. The couple had eight children, but all of their sons and one of their daughters were stillborn. By the time they ascended the throne in 1750, their family was complete.

It was one of their daughters who had prompted that jaunt out to the countryside on November 1, 1755, and perhaps saved the entire family's lives. Even so, having killed up to 50% of Lisbon's population, the destruction left a terrible impact on them. Both King Jose and the future Queen Maria developed claustrophobia. The King refused to live indoors again where the walls might fall in and collapse them. Instead, Mariana Victoria and the royal family lived in a regal tent village on the outskirts of the city at the Real Barraca (the Royal Hut), a wooden structure that his father had built years earlier. Maria later built the Palace of Ajuda on the site.

Jose's reign was also dominated by political weakness and international struggles.. Increasingly, he left the country to be ruled by the Marquis of Pombal, who started as secretary of foreign affairs and then later became secretary of internal affairs. This left the royal couple with less actual authority. Spain once again shifted sides to reunite with France, leading to a Spanish invasion of Portugal. With its British allies, the Portuguese were able to repel the invasions.

After Jose suffered several strokes, he named Mariana Victoria as the Regent of Portugal. She only held the position for three months due to Jose's death. Upon ascending the throne, their eldest daughter Maria immediately removed Pombal from power, although he had introduced important economic and educational reforms. These, however, had often come at a price to the nobility and the Catholic Church.

With no real role in the new government, Mariana Victoria decided to work on healing the relationship between her homeland and her adopted country. She returned to Spain as a familial ambassador to her brother King Charles III to iron out ongoing disagreement over the two colonial superpowers' territories in the New World. The agreement they reached was naturally cemented with another set of double marriages: two of her grandchildren married one of his sons and one of his granddaughters.

Still only 50 years old, Mariana Victoria suffered a debilitating case of rheumatism before returning to Portugal. Once back in Lisbon, it was discovered that she also had heart disease. She survived another decade, passing away at the age of 62 at the temporary "palace" at Ajuda, where her family had settled after the earthquake that changed their world.

More about Mariana Victoria
Mariana Victoria de Borbón on Casa Real de España
Mariana Victoria of Spain on All About Royal Families
Mariana Victoria of Spain on Madame Guillotine
Marie-Anne-Victoire, the Infanta-Queen on Versailles and More

16 March 2018

Georgian Names for Baby Cambridge

By Chris Jack, Getty via Kensington Palace
Since the Duke of Duchess of Cambridge picked their first two children's names from among those that were popular when the Hanoverian (or Georgian) kings reigned in the United Kingdom, it is quite possible that their third child, who is due next month, will also get a Georgian-era royal moniker. William and Kate's choices of George and Charlotte for their first two children are the most commonly used names from the Hanoverian era. So, let's take a look at what they might choose for Baby #3.

[UPDATE: The baby's name is Louis Arthur Charles.]


After George, the most popular male names in the Georgian family are William and Frederick. Both were used by five royals, although sometimes as a double name such as Augustus Frederick Duke of Sussex (a son of George III). William is also a kingly name -- William the Conqueror, one of his sons William II, William III (who reigned jointly with his wife/cousin Mary II), and the last Hanoverian King William IV. It was also used by two successive generations of Dukes of Gloucester, the first being a son of Frederick Prince of Wales and the second his only son, who had no children. However, I doubt today's Prince William will name his child after himself, so I think we can mark this off the list.

Frederick, on the other hand, has possibility. It has not been used within the immediate family in many generations although it is popular among their Danish cousins. It is also the name of Prince of Michael of Kent's son, Lord Frederick Windsor, who grew up next door to William and his brother Harry at Kensington Palace, and whose oldest daughter Maud is a classmate of Prince George. Frederick is a rather traditional name and is frequently popular among aristocratic circles. It would not be a surprise.

Evil Uncle Cumberland:
King Ernest Augustus
By George Dawe in the National
Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia Commons
The next most common Georgian name would be Augustus, which was used by the male founder of the dynasty, George I's father Elector Ernest Augustus of Hanover, and two of Queen Victoria's uncles: "evil Uncle" Ernest Augustus, who became King of Hanover, when she was barred from that throne because she was a woman, and favorite Uncle Augustus Duke of Sussex, who gave her away when she married Prince Albert because her own father was deceased. Augustus passed into the still-German Hanoverian branch of the family, where it is still being used today. It is altogether too clunky, I think, to be used for a British royal today.

The next most commonly used are the trio of Henry, Edward, and Ernest. Since the first of these two are already being used by the baby's Uncle Harry and Great-Uncle Edward Earl of Wessex (plus cousin Prince Edward Duke of Kent), I think they are unlikely. While used in combination with Augustus in the German branch of the family, Ernest is perhaps more acceptable for an English-speaking nation and could be used.

Rounding out the Georgian boys' names are Adolphus (ummm, no), Alfred (maybe? It is after all, the name of one of Britain's ancient great kings, too), Leopold (not very English and only tangentially Georgian as the name of the widower of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales who later became King of Belgian and uncle-mentor to Queen Victoria), and Octavius (very unlikely; it was only given to the eighth son of George III precisely because he was the eighth son -- Oct equals 8 -- and he died very young). Both Leopold and Alfred were also used by Queen Victoria for two of her children, but I'm not counting that generation as Georgians.

Top Boys' Picks: My first place goes to Frederick with Alfred coming in a distant second. But, Octavius would certainly be fun! (The betting seems to be on Albert or Arthur, but these aren't Georgian so they didn't fit within my parameters.

Frederick Prince of Wales (and cherubs)
By Jacopo Amigoni, Royal Collection via Wikimedia Commons


Caroline of Ansbach, Queen of George II
In the manner of Michael Dahl via Wikimedia Commons
The Georgian dynasty had dramatically more female than male members so there are many more girls' names to choose from. Rising to the top of the list, based on how many royal ladies used the names, are Caroline and Sophia. Caroline was the name of two Hanoverian queens, the bright wife of George II and the scandalous wife of George IV who wasn't even allowed to attend his coronation! It is also the name of one of the most scandalous/tragic Georgian princesses, George III's baby sister Caroline Matilda (see my post A Scandalous Marriage: The Story of a Teenage Queen), who was briefly Queen of Denmark. Two of the things I like best about this choice is that it mirrors the Duchess of Cambridge's mother's name, Carole, as well as being a feminine form of the name of the baby's paternal grandfather Charles Prince of Wales. (Of course, William and Kate covered that angle by naming their first daughter Charlotte).

Sophia is also a real possibility. It is very common in royal Europe as the name of the King of Spain's mother and his youngest daughter as well as of the wife of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. It also has ties into Prince Philip's family as the name of one of his sisters. However, it is also already in use within the current BRF by Sophie Countess of Wessex, so maybe not.

The next most common girl's name among the Georgians was Augusta. It came in with Augusta Princess of Wales, whose husband died before his father and never became king. It has not been used since Queen Mary's aunt Augusta of Cambridge, a granddaughter of King George III. That double Georgian and Cambridge connection might make it a winner for Kate and William.

Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, later Duchess of Teck

by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Royal Collection
via Wikimedia Commons
Speaking of the Cambridge Hanoverians, Queen Mary's mother was Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, which suggests another couple of possibilities: the very popular and historically timeless Mary and the far less common Adelaide. While Adelaide was only used by Queen Mary's mother and her aunt Queen Adelaide, the wife of King William IV, it could certainly appeal to the increasingly Republican Australians, whose city of Adelaide was named for Queen Adelaide. On the other hand, Mary is one of the most popular girl's name in the entire Judeo-Christian-Islamic world across many, many centuries. There may not be a more universal feminine name. In English, it is generally rendered as Mary but could also be Marie or Maria. It has not been used in the BRF since the last Princess Royal, daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, passed away in 1965, so it just might be time to resurrect it. (No pun intended, Christians. Okay, it was kind of intended.)

Elizabeth was also used a few times by the Hanoverians, having been given to daughters of Frederick Prince of Wales, George III and William IV. It was not used at all as a first name by the Victorians who followed, only re-emerging into the BRF when the future George VI married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and they named their daughter Elizabeth. Of course, that baby is now Queen Elizabeth II and is the new baby's great-grandmother. It could be a nice tribute to her, but the Cambridges have already used it as a secondary name for Princess Charlotte.

The also-rans for Georgian royal girls also includes: Anne (not likely as the name of the current Princess Royal), Amelia (a real possibility, although it does belong to third cousin Lady Amelia Windsor), Dorothea (could pay tribute to Kate's maternal grandmother Dorothy), Frederica (could be, but really low on my radar), Louisa (a classic name but it already belongs to William's first cousin and bridesmaid The Lady Louise Windsor), Matilda (an ancient royal name that could be revived), and Victoria (which came in right at the end of the Georgians and then was proliferated through nearly every royal house in Europe down to today's Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden--a model princess if there ever was one.)

Top Girls' Picks: I previously announced Caroline as my top pick and I'll stick with it, but I'm really liking Mary or Augusta now. (Mary seems to be a top choice with the betting public, just ahead of Alice -- which is Victorian rather than Georgian -- and Victoria.)

Caroline Matilda of Wales, later Queen of Denmark
By Johannes Heinrich Ludwig Möller via Wikimedia Commons

12 March 2018

A New Little Royal Lady: Princess Adrienne of Sweden

Mr. Christopher O'Neill/Kungahuset.se
Our newest little royal lady arrived in Sweden in the wee hours of March 9, 2018. (It was still March 8 in my part of the world, so she and I technically share a birthday!) Within hours, a photo taken by her father was released, but we had to wait for her name. Luckily, the wait was much shorter than in other countries! The princess is the seventh grandchild for King Carl Gustaf and German-Brazilian wife Queen Silvia. She is the third child of their youngest child Princess Madeleine, who married British-American businessman Christopher O'Neill in the summer of 2013. At the time of their marriage, he declined a title for himself, in order to continue his business interests. The couple currently lives in London, but they returned to Sweden for Adrienne's birth. Their oldest child Princess Leonore was born in New York City. She celebrated her fourth birthday on February 20. Their second child Prince Nicolas was born in the same hospital as little Adrienne. He will be three years old in June. The family will have returned to London well before his birthday.

Her name was formally announced by King Carl XVI Gustaf at a meeting of the Council of State on the morning of March 12. She will be known as Adrienne Josephine Alice and she has been granted the title Duchess of Blekinge. Her first name is a new name for a Swedish royal although it does exist among her distant ancestors and distant cousins. The name Josephine stretches back to the second Queen of the current reigning dynasty in Sweden. (See my post The Bernadotte Queens of Sweden.) It also among her mother's four names: Madeleine Therese Amelie Josephine. To add even another special touch, it is the first name of one of Christopher O'Neill's grandmothers. Meanwhile, Alice is the name of Queen Silvia's mother.

Like her name, her title is also a new one. Blekinge is one of the smallest provinces in Sweden and is located in the south of the country. It's population is just under 160,000. The name is derived from a Swedish nautical term that means "dead calm", so perhaps it will also give us some indication of the princess's personality. So far, she has been described as beautiful. One Swedish official even called her a cutie pie.

Princess Madeleine has regularly and generously shared photos of her children on her Facebook page. With Adrienne's arrival, she has now opened an Instagram account. The first photo was this one of the three little O'Neills together.


A Truly Royal In-Law: Ingeborg of Denmark

Carl Duke of Vastergotland and his wife
Ingeborg of Denmark
From the 1926 book Kronprinsessan Astrid
via Wikimedia Commons 
Despite her extensive royal family connections, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark (1878-1958) married a man she called "a complete stranger." Two of her brothers were kings of Denmark and Norway. Her first cousins included a King of England, a King of Greece, and a Czar of Russia. Yet, somehow, when it came time to pick a husband for his 20-year-old daughter, the future King Frederik VIII of Denmark managed to find a princely spouse she barely even knew.

Carl of Sweden, Duke of Vastergotland, was the third son of King Oscar II. Despite the 17-year age difference between them, the couple got on well. She fit in well with her new family--her mother, after all, had been a Swedish princess and was a cousin of Ingeborg's father-in-law, who called his new daughter-in-law the family's "little ray of sunshine." She was also popular among the public, not only because her maternal grandfather had been a Swedish king but because she cheerfully stepped in to take on the queen consort's role during the frequent absences of her mother-in-law Victoria of Baden. (See my post The Bernadotte Queens of Sweden.)

Although they never came near inheriting a throne, Carl and Ingeborg might have become the monarchs of Norway when that nation became independent of Sweden in 1905. Carl's father, King Oscar II, was not happy about how Norway's independence had been achieved and did not wish for his son to appear to be supporting it (and therefore opposing him). Carl declined the role and the throne was eventually offered instead to Ingeborg's brother, another Carl, who took the kingly Norwegian name Haakon.

Together, Carl and Ingeborg were greatly admired for raising a very happy family of a son and three daughters. Ingeborg had brought with her the Danish royal family's more relaxed and modern approach to child rearing was evident their home, where the children learned to cook and had chores to do. (Her aunts Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and Empress Marie of Russia had grown up making their own clothes!)

Ingeborg and her daughters Margaretha, Martha and Astrid,
before the birth of her son.
By H. Paetz in the Municipal Archives in Trondheim via Wikimedia Commons
Their son, Carl Jr. might have made a brilliant royal match by marrying the future reigning Queen Juliana of The Netherlands, but the two deeply despised each other. Instead, young Carl made three morganatic marriages, for which he surrendered his royal rank. Ingeborg and Carl's first daughter Margaretha married back into the Danish family, nowhere near the throne. Second daughter Martha married the future Norwegian king, while third daughter Astrid married the man destined for the Belgian throne. Sadly both Martha nor Astrid predeceased their parents. Queen Astrid died in a car accident at the age of 29 just a year after becoming queen, leaving three young children. (See my post End of the Fairytale.) Crown Princess Martha succumbed to cancer at age 53 long before her husband succeeded and when the youngest of her three children was still a teenager.

Three of Ingeborg's nine grandchildren became monarchs: Martha's only son Harald is the current King of Norway while Astrid's childless son King Baudouin of Belgium was succeeded by his brother King Albert, father of the current King Philippe. Another descendant also has a throne because Astrid's daughter Josephine Charlotte of Belgium (see my posts about her from 2015 and from 2017) married the reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg and their son Henri is the current grand duke.

Prince Carl died at the age of 90 in 1951, and Ingeborg followed later that decade on March 12, 1958, at the age of 79. Her funeral was attended by four kings: her nephews Gustav VI Adolph of Sweden, Frederik IX of Denmark and Olav V of Norway, and her grandson King Baudouin of Belgium.

Embed from Getty Images

More about Ingeborg:
Four Kings at Ingeborg's Funeral on Royal Musings
Ingeborg of Denmark on Swedish Royal Court
Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, Princess of Sweden, on Unofficial Royalty
Princess Ingeborg's Wedding Jewelry on Royal Magazin
Princess Ingeborg's Pearl Fleur-de-Lis Brooch on The Court Jeweller
Royal Jewels: Princess Ingeborg's star tiara on Trond Noren Isaksen's blog

08 March 2018

Sidonie of Saxony

By Lucas Cranach the Elder
via Wikimedia Commons
Take an unhappy marriage. Set it in the middle of religious strife with each spouse taking different sides. Add in accusations of witchcraft. There you have the story of one of the unhappiest royal marriages of the 16th century. But, it wasn't supposed to be that way. Eric II of Brunswick-Luneberg actually broke off an earlier engagement in order to marry Sidonie of Saxony, who was born on March 8, 1518. The daughter of Duke Henry IV of Saxony, 17-year-old Sidonie was 10 years younger than her groom. The couple seemed happy together for a couple of years.

Then, the all of the big three royal marriage disasters happened to them: 1) They had no children. 2) They had no money--well, not enough at least. 3) They disagreed about religion. In an era when the division between Protestants and Catholics was still just heating up, religion was the hottest issue in Europe. Although both Eric and Sidonie had chosen to be Protestants, Eric changed his mind. He came to view his wife as a heretic. Some reports even alleged that he wanted to poison her; better a dead wife than a Lutheran one.

When Sidonie threatened to harm Eric's mistress, who was living in the castle with him, things got worse. Sidonie was a virtual captive. Neither her family nor the Holy Roman Emperor were able to alleviate her restrictions. Then Eric fell ill. Whom should he blame but his now detested wife? He accused her of using witchcraft against him or at the very least of poisoning him. Four women were tortured into confessions, which implicated Sidonie. The four were executed, while the intervention of the Saxons and the Emperor finally resulted in her acquittal as well as an income settlement for her.

Sidonie returned to Saxony and her younger brother, who was by then the duke, granted her the income from a Poor Clares monastery. She died there at the age of 56. The couple had never divorced, but Eric did remarry very shortly after her death. This marriage was also childless, but they were both Catholic and they seem to have refrained from accusations of poisoning each other.

More about Sidonie
Honour, a Poor Woman's Treasure on The History of Royal Women