31 December 2019

Royal Ladies of 2019

The royal spotlight fell on a variety of royal ladies this year, mostly for lovely reasons like weddings and babies, but occasionally for sad reasons like scandal or tragedy. Let's take a look at the royal ladies who experienced important life moments in 2019.

Princess Beatrice and Eduardo
Image by Princess Eugenie of York
While we had no truly royal weddings in 2019, we did get a big engagement announcement and a few royal-adjacent weddings. Plus, we finally got some information about one 2018-announced engagement.

First, the big engagement news, Princess Beatrice of York announced her engagement to Eduardo Mapelli Mozzi on September 26. After a ten-year relationship ended in 2016, we have all been hoping for a happy ending for the spunky redhead. Some were concerned about her beau's suitability (is he just looking for notoriety?) and others worried that the relationship has been too quick (perhaps just over a year), but I prefer to be a hopeless romantic and hope for all good things for the couple. However, their bright future has already been dimmed by the cloud surrounding Beatrice's father Prince Andrew The Duke of York who "temporarily" stepped away from his royal roles in November following an ill-advised interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and accusations that Epstein provided at least one underage girl for the Duke's "entertainment". We are still awaiting details for Beatrice's spring 2020 wedding with many royal experts predicting that it will be a much less grand and public event as her younger sister Princess Eugenie's wedding in 2018.

In the meantime, we still are awaiting details of the wedding for Princess Theodora of Greece, who announced her engagement to Matthew Kumar in November 2018. At the time, we were told that the wedding would take place in 2019. However, in November 2019, we finally learned that the wedding will happen some time in May 2020 but no word yet on location. Her older siblings married in Spetses, Greece in 2010; in London in 1999; and in London in 1995. So, we might expect a wedding in Greece (which was not possible for the family in the 1990s), especially now that her parents have moved from London to Greece. Of course, there is also the possibility that she might marry in Los Angeles where she and her fiance both live -- she is an actor and he is an attorney.

The British Royal Family returned to St. George's Chapel, Windsor on May 18 for the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor to Thomas Kingston. Lady Gabriella is the daughter of the Queen's cousin, Prince Michael of Kent. On the Continent, Prince Albert II of Monaco witnessed the marriages of a niece and a nephew. His sister Princess Caroline of Hanover's oldest daughter Charlotte Casiraghi married Dimitri Rassam in June. Dimitri is the father of Charlotte's second son, Balthazar. Then, in July, Albert's sister Princess Stephanie of Monaco's only son Louis Ducruet married Marie Chevallier.

(From left) Prince Philip, Prince Harry, the Queen, Doria
Ragland and the Duchess of Sussex holding Archie
By Chris Allerton via SussexRoyal
While the year did not bring us many new babies, we did get an exciting new British-American baby and, toward the end of the year, some very big pregnancy news that many of us have been praying for for years.

First, everyone hail the royal baby who is Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Although his parents, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, decided to forego the seemingly requisite post-birth appearance on the hospital stairs, gave him a first name that sounded more like a nickname, and announced that he would not use any titles (including Earl of Dumbarton, to which he is entitled as his father's heir), Archie did not need any of that fancy stuff to capture hearts. He won us over with a fantastic photo feature his paternal great-grandparents and his maternal grandmother. Then, he charmed us again at a personal meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He wound up the year with an adorable Christmas snap. A lot of accomplishments for a lad who has only been with us for just over seven months! (For information about why Archie's name is NOT really unique, read my post.)

While Archie's birth was heralded worldwide as the first mixed-race British royal and the first to hold dual British and American citizenship, from a dynastic point of view, we received much bigger baby news from the Hereditary Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Luxembourg. On December 6, they announced that Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie is expecting their first child in May 2020. This will be the first child for the couple who married eight years ago. Many have speculated that the couple may have struggled with fertility issues, a personally heartbreaking situation if true. While the new baby will be the heir to the Grand Duchy after his/her father, the dynasty was in no danger of fading away if Guillaume and Stephanie had no children. Henri has several siblings and their descendants in the line of succession. Nevertheless, I am thrilled to bits that they are going to have their own child...and don't be surprised if that baby is named Jean or Jeanne following the death of Guillaume's grandfather in 2019 (see deaths below).

Tessy and Prince Louis of Luxembourg on their

wedding day with their son Gabriel Image by Schnékert via Wikimedia Commons
More news came out of Luxembourg this year when Guillaume's younger brother Prince Louis of Luxembourg's divorce was finally finalized after more than two years of negotiations, which reportedly (but typical of many divorces) were stuck on points of child custody and financial support. The couple were fairly controversial from the start: their first son was born before they married. When they married, Louis renounced succession rights for himself and his children while his bride Tessy Antony and the children were not granted titles. Two years later Tessy was made a Royal Highness and their sons were made Princes of Nassau. With the divorce, Tessy's titles have been stripped -- although many still call her Princess Tessy -- and she now uses the name Tessy Antony de Nassau for her extensive humanitarian work.

In July, we received news of the dramatic disintegration of higher profile royal marriage when Princess Haya of Jordan suddenly left her husband Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. They have had a prominent role internationally, with Haya assuming a very public role. The couple wed in 2004, with Haya taking on the role of junior wife since the Sheikh was already married to his first cousin Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum. Sheikha Hind, who lives her life privately, is the mother of 12 of the Sheikh's estimated 30 children. Princess Haya mothered two of his children, both of whom she took with her (along with millions of dollars) when she fled the UAE for London, claiming that her life was in danger. The chief issue seems to be "forced marriage", which the Sheikh has reportedly required of his older daughters, but which Haya does not want for her own daughter. So far, she has been granted an order of protection, normally given to people who have experienced physical abuse, for herself and forced marriage protection for her children. The custody hearings are ongoing in London with an expected divorce in the billions of dollars expected later. Haya is represented by the same divorce attorney who worked for the Prince of Wales and Sir Paul McCartney. In the meantime, the Sheikh has been posting his own poems on social media accusing his wife of treachery.

Christina of the Netherlands in 2015

Image RVD, Jeroen van der Meyde
On April 23, 2019, the former Grand Duke of Luxembourg passed away at the age of 98--he was five months older than Britain's Prince Philip. (Although he is not a royal lady, the passing of a monarch certainly merits a mention.) Having served in the British Army during World War II, Grand Duke Jean ascended the throne in 1964 following the abdication of his mother Grand Duchess Charlotte. He and his wife, Princess Josephine Charlotte of Belgium (aunt of the current Belgian King), had five children. Grand Duke Jean was a proponent of European unification and he led his tiny nation to become a major financial center. He abdicated in favor of his oldest son Henri in 2000. His death has been greatly mourned by his people and his family. Even his grandson's ex-wife Tessy Antony de Nassau speaks frequently of him as her beloved grandfather.

We did lose one royal lady this year: Princess Christina of the Netherlands passed away on August 16 at age 72. The youngest daughter of Queen Juliana, she was the aunt of the current King Willem Alexander. Because Juliana had contracted rubella during the pregnancy, Christina was born nearly blind. Treatment and corrective lenses helped her be able to see more normally. Her parents also employed a controversial faith healer, who is thought by many to have had too much influence on Queen Juliana (a kind of Dutch version of the Alexandra and Rasputin story). Christina attended university and became both a professional vocalist and vocal coach, eschewing her royal titles to live like a normal person in New York City as a young woman where she fell in love with a commoner. Unfortunately for her, her Cuban-born preschool teacher sweetheart was Catholic, a no-go for a Dutch princess at the time. So, she renounced the right to the throne for herself and her offspring in order to marry Jorge Perez y Guillermo and, much later, even converted to Catholicism herself. Their marriage produced three children and lasted nearly 21 years before they divorced. Both her professional and royal work focused mainly on music, but she also supported other endeavors in the areas of dance therapy and blindness. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer in 2018.

The most devastating royal death of 2019, however, was undoubtedly the Christmas Day suicide of Princess Martha Louise of Norway's ex-husband, Ari Behn. Martha Louise had a somewhat challenging year, facing some questions over her romantic relationship and business partnership with self-proclaimed guru and shaman Durek Verrett. Accusations that she was misusing her royal titles for financial benefit (which she has faced before) led her to reorganize her marketing and social media. Nevertheless, she seemed to be thriving in her new romance and her work -- she does not carry out official duties -- when the terrible news was announced. An artist and writer, Ari had married the princess in 2002. Their 15-year marriage produced three daughters: Maud, 16; Leah, 14; and Emma, 11. Ari often had a tempestuous relationship with art critics and the media. In an interview last year promoting his latest book, he said, perhaps tellingly, "I am yesterday's news, even though the world has not yet been told. I'm a clown, at worst. At best, I am a publicist and public actor. For many I'm a fool." He even spoke publicly about whether he was capable of being a good father and said that he would just grow increasingly lonely in his life. Nevertheless, many friends and family have issued loving statements about him in the wake of his death, including his former in-laws, King Harald and Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit, and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden. Victoria even canceled all of her public and personal New Year's activities to travel to Norway to be with Martha Louise and her daughters. The tragedy is greatest for those three young girls, for whom Christmas may never again be a time of joy.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako via Wikimedia Commons
To end this post on a happier note, we fly around the globe to Japan where a new imperial era has dawned with the retirement of Emperor Akihito and coronation of his eldest son, the new Emperor Naruhito. Japan had to change its laws to allow the aging Akihito to step down -- proving such laws can be changed (hint, hint Japan: let's update the laws that bar female succession and that require princesses to leave the family and lost their titles when they marry). The big news for this blog, however, has been the renaissance of Naruhito's wife Masako, who has struggled over the years with stress-induced illness, diagnosed as adjustment disorder, following massive pressure and scrutiny plus the personal trauma of the couple's fertility struggles, which included at least one miscarriage, before their only daughter Aiko was born nearly nine years after their wedding. Since 2002, Masako undertook few public appearances and Naruhito often traveled without her for official visits abroad. Nevertheless, he has always been supportive of her, asking the public in 2008 to "Please continue to watch over her kindly and over the long term." After so many years of suffering, it seems that Masako, now 56, is at last emerging as a strong, healthy, well-adjusted woman, much more like she was before her life as a princess. It has been gratifying to see her at Naruhito's side through all of the accession and coronation rites as well as many other public occasions in 2019. Although she still remains a bit tentative about her role, she is showing great grace and fortitude. May she continue to grow in health, in strength, in confidence and in happiness for her sake, her family's sake and for all of us who admire and support her.

23 December 2019

Christmas Princesses

Each year as Christians prepare to celebrate the Nativity of their Savior on Christmas Day, we often don't think about others who were born on Christmas Day. Throughout history, this day of worldwide rejoicing has sometimes been the cause of deeply personal rejoicing for royal families. Let's take a look at some of the royal ladies who were born on Christmas day...and give a thought to their mothers, who probably did not get to observe many other festivities that day!

Alice de Lacy (1281-1348)
daughter of Margaret Longespee 4th Countess of Salisbury and Henry de Lacy 3rd Earl of Lincoln
Through her mother, Alice was descended in an illegitimate line from King Henry II of England. Her real royal ties, however, came through her first marriage to Edmund 2nd Earl of Lancaster, a grandson of King Henry III. As the only surviving heir to her parents (one brother drowned in a well and another fell off of a castle), Alice was an extremely sought-after heiress. The right man could make his fortune by marrying her. She was just 12 years old when she married into the royal family, with a marriage contract that guaranteed her father's earldom would go to the royals even if she had no children with Lancaster, which she didn't. Thirteen years later, Alice was abducted by one of Lancaster's enemies and held for several years while the two men fought each other. Thomas rebelled against his cousin the King for which he was executed and his properties as well as most of his wife's properties, were taken by the Crown. The King also imprisoned Alice, releasing her only after she paid a huge ransom. The King kept the Earldom of Salisbury but let her have back the Earldom of Lincoln. She remarried at age 42 and took a vow of chastity when she was widowed. Nevertheless, a rich woman in those days was often a target. At age 54, she was kidnapped and raped by a baron, and per the standard of the day, wed her attacker, who then also gained control of her estates. The baron, however, lived less than a year to enjoy his "success". Soon thereafter, her castle and men were attacked and robbed by her second husband's nephew and her illegitimate half-brother, each of whom had a claim as her heirs. Alice finally found peace in death at the age of 66.

Image by Jacques la Boucq via Wikimedia Commons
Margaret of Scotland (1424-1445)
daughter of Joan Beaufort and King James I of Scotland
Although the first child of a medieval "love match", Margaret was subjected to a political marriage at an earlier age. Her father had fallen for the lovely Joan while being held prisoner by the English. He welcomed marriage to the daughter of the Lancastrian branch of the English royal family as much from his desire for her as for the fact that it was a condition of his release. However, this attempt at brokering peace between Scotland and England did not last long and their daughter Margaret was sent to cement Scotland's alliance with England's other traditional enemy, France. The princess was only 11 years old when she met the future Louis XI on the day before their wedding. Due to her young age, the couple were separated, which only seems to have exacerbated their dislike of each other and Margaret seems to have taken her father-in-law's side against her husband's in family disputes. Things were not helped when a soldier spread unsavory lies about Margaret's fidelity. The situation stressed and depressed her so much, that she offered no will to live when she was struck by a fever at age 20, never having become Queen as Louis did not ascend the throne for another 15 years.

Image by Léonard Limousin via Wikimedia Commons
Antoinette de Bourbon (1494-1583)
daughter of Marie of Luxembourg and Francois Count of Vendome
Born into a branch of French Royal House of Bourbon, Antoinette's great claim to fame is that she was the maternal grandmother of Mary Queen of Scots. Antoinette married into the rival house of Guise, with her 12 children vying for more political influence and power in France and, after her daughter Marie of Guise married the Scots King, in Scotland. Although her famous granddaughter inherited the French throne when she was less than a week old, Antoinette did get to know her during the time that Mary was in France as the child bride of King Francis II. Since Marie of Guise had been required to remain in Scotland as Regent, Antoinette became a chief adviser and influence on the young Queen, sharing with her a strong sense of family and female authority in a man's world. Widowed at age 55, she lived another 34 years, which was long enough to see all but one of her children die, including her oldest son Francis Duke of Guise, who was assassinated in the 1563 siege of Orleans. In truth, it was not the assassin who killed him but the doctors who treated him by bleeding him to death. Nevertheless the incident led to an act of vengeance known to history as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre.

Image by Jost vom Hoff - Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
via Wikimedia Commons
Christine of Saxony (1505-1549)
daughter of Barbara Jagiellon of Poland and George Duke of Saxony
Just two weeks before her 18th birthday, Christine was forced into a political marriage with Philip I of Hesse to try to calm the religious conflicts between the two nations in the wake of emerging Lutheranism. Despite Philip's distaste for his sickly wife, the couple had 10 children together, including three who were born after Philip had married someone else. That's right; he was a bigamist, but Christine is believed to have approved of the second marriage his sister's teenage lady-in-waiting Margarethe van der Saale. Interestingly, church reformer Martin Luther also agreed with the bigamist marriage, encouraging Philip that having two wives was less sinful than having a mistress or divorcing Christine. Philip and Margarethe had nine children together. Christine's last three children were each born within weeks of children born by Margarethe. Even with apparent harmony at home, the bigamous marriage caused outrage across the German states, where the religious strife was already so heated and, for a time, the Lutheran Philip aligned himself with the Catholic Emperor, but that didn't last long. When Philip once again turned against the Emperor, he was captured and imprisoned him for five years, leaving Christine as regent for their young son in Hesse until her own death at age 43.

Image by Joseph Heintz the Elder - Photography made by Maciej Pokrzywa, 05-10-2012, Budapest, National
Art Gallery via Wikimedia Commons
Margaret of Austria (1584-1611)
daughter of Maria Anna of Bavaria and Archduke Charles II of Austria
The granddaughter to one Holy Roman Emperor and sister to another, Margaret married a close cousin like so many other Habsburgs. At 14, she became Queen of Spain and Portugal by marrying King Philip III, son of the much married Philip II. (She and her husband were first cousins once removed. Her parents were also first cousins once removed. His parents were a niece and her uncle.) Margaret's marriage, however, turned out to be personally and politically successful, despite a six-year wait for their first son (after two daughters). She used her considerable influence over her husband to promote Spain's leadership within Catholic Europe and to support the arts and culture. Nevertheless, some resented her "foreign" influence as so often happened with Queens but she was generally able to overcome their objections against her. Five of Margaret's eight children survived childhood, with four of them gaining great authority as King of Spain, Queen of France, Holy Roman Empress and Cardinal of Santa Maria in Portico. Margaret died at the age of 26 following the birth (and death) of her last child. The King lived another decade but never remarried.

Image by Dorothy Wilding - National Portrait Gallery
via Wikimedia Commons
Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott (1901-2004)
daughter of Lady Margaret Bridgeman and the 7th Duke of Buccleuch
The fifth of eight children of Scotland's greatest landowner, Alice grew up amidst great luxury but remained very down-to-earth and as a young girl was imbued with a sense of purpose following a near-drowning accident. She spent her young adulthood traveling the globe looking for what her purpose might be before finally "settling down" by marrying the third son of Britain's King George V. Alice was 35 when she married Prince Henry The Duke of Gloucester, and she was a fashionably unique bride -- her gown was a soft pink color! Unfortunately, the wedding was scaled way back following the death of her father two weeks earlier. Then, her father-in-law died two months later. The newlyweds faced other struggles, too, including frustrated attempts at parenthood that resulted in miscarriages and the start of World War II, which separated them as the Duke took on dangerous duties on the Continent. Following the birth of their first son Prince William of Gloucester just one week before her 40th birthday, Henry was nearly killed in a bombing as he escaped Belgium after a failed attempt to get the Belgian King to evacuate. (The King stayed; he and his young family were held captive by the Nazis.) Their second son Prince Richard of Gloucester arrived three years later just before the Gloucester were sent through enemy-infested waters to travel to Australia where Henry became Governor General. After the war, the family returned to Britain becoming important supporters of Henry's brother King George VI and then his niece Queen Elizabeth II. The 1970s, however, brought great sadness. First their son William was killed in a flying accident while performing in an airshow and then Henry died following a series of strokes. The newly married Prince Richard became Duke of Gloucester (see my post about his Danish wife Birgitte). Queen Elizabeth granted her aunt the right to be called Princess Alice, and she continued to remain publicly active well into old age. She died shortly before her 103rd birthday making her the oldest ever member of the British Royal Family, ahead of her sister-in-law Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. (Prince Philip is currently #3. He will surpass Elizabeth in December 2022 and Alice in April 2024.) See my full post about Alice.

By LancasterII via English Wikipedia
Alexandra of Kent (1936- )
daughter of Marina of Greece and Denmark and George The Duke of Kent
Our most recent Christmas princess is celebrating her 83rd birthday in 2019. Named for her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, she was the first Kent princess to be born since Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent in 1819 -- she is better known to history as Queen Victoria. A first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, Alexandra is also closely related to Prince Philip on her mother's side. Alexandra and her two brothers were raised by their mother alone following the wartime death of their handsome and popular father in 1942. They grew up primarily at the family's home in Buckinghamshire but due to their extend regal relations on both sides of their family, they were constantly involved in royal gatherings around Europe. Alexandra holds the distinction of being the first British princess to attend school; a precedent that has now been followed by Princess Anne, the York princesses, The Lady Louise Windsor and Princess Charlotte of Wales. Alexandra's first big public moment came when she served as a bridesmaid for Elizabeth and Philip when she was 10 years old. As a teenager, she began accompanying her mother on royal duties and soon became an active and independent working member of the Royal Family. In 1963, she married a the Hon. (later Sir) Angus Ogilvy, a younger son of the 12th Earl of Airlie. Angus later regretted turning down a title for himself because he felt it set a bad precedent for other men who married into the family. The couple had two untitled children, who produced four grandchildren. Since her husband's death in 2004, Alexandra has continued her royal duties although ill health has caused her to cancel some engagements in recent years. (See my full post about Alexandra.)

17 December 2019

10th Anniversary of Princess Palace

Meghan Markle on her first day as a princess, following her
wedding to Prince Harry, who was created Duke of Sussex
By Alexi Lubomirski/PA Images/Hand Out/INSTARimages.com

In 2009, I launched the Princess Palace blog to explore the lives of real princesses using the tools of creative nonfiction: facts presented in the language and literary techniques that would make it more enjoyable to read. On occasion, I have gotten caught up in the excitement of whatever current princess is capturing the headlines, but I have tried to stay true to presenting today's royal ladies within their historic contexts while also bringing forward women whose stories may not yet have been encountered by today's royal watchers.

In celebration of Princess Palace's tenth anniversary, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the ten posts that have proven most popular among the readers. Feel free to click through to read the full posts or visit the complete lists of profiles, arranged by lady, in My Princess Posts to find your favorite royal woman. If you don't see your favorite there, leave a comment or send an email to cherylandersonbrown@gmail.com to get her added to the list for future profiles!

Thanks so much for enjoying Princess Palace!

#10 The Most Neglected Princess: Henry VIII's Favorite Wife
As one of the first posts on Princess Palace, this one about Catherine of Aragon has stood the test of time. Everyone is fascinated by the six wives of King Henry VIII -- there is even a smash new musical called Six! about them, but it was a bold assertion to name his first wife as his favorite, which some readers questioned. So, be sure to read my long comment at the end for more insight.

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their first five children.
By Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Royal Collection, via Wikimedia Commons
#9 Victoria's Secret: 10 Things You Don't Know about the Famous Queen
Another post from Princess Palace's first few months, this one has held up despite the fact that I've published many, many more about Queen Victoria, who is literally the progenitor of nearly every royal lady today. When this was written, before the production of the Emily Blunt film Young Victoria (2009) or the Jenna Coleman television series Victoria (2016-2019), this post introduced some readers to the Queen's early, less-well-known life, which may account for some of its appeal. Of course, other Victoria-themed films have also continued to whet people's appetites to know more about the diminutive monarch, including Judi Dench's second Victoria performance in Victoria and Abdul (2017), 20 years after playing her in Mrs. Brown.

#8 Catherine: An Unhappy Queen?   
Written in the wake of the engagement of the future king, Prince William of Wales, to Catherine Middleton, this post takes a look at all of the British queens who have borne her name. Of the five historic Catherines, one was widowed at 21, three were married to King Henry VII, and one was wed to the super-philandering King Charles II, hence the "unhappy" title. Profiles of all five women are included in this single post.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
By Frankie Fouganthin via Wikimedia Commons

#7 Princesses of Monaco 
Similarly to #8 on this list, this post was written in recognition of a new princess entering our lives. This quick view of all the previous Princesses of Monaco was published after the newest princess, Charlene Wittstock, gained her title by marrying Prince Albert III of Monaco. While most people today identify the late Grace Kelly as THE Princess of Monaco, she was not the first American nor even the first actress to hold the title. The men of Monaco have often followed their hears, for better or worse, and have made some very interesting matrimonial choices over the centuries.

#6 An Affair to Remember Part 1 and Part 2
In the decade since I wrote this two-part series about Princess Margaret's ill-fated romance with Peter Townsend, fascination with the princess has only continued to grow. Thanks to Netflix's The Crown, a whole new generation is discovering Queen Elizabeth II's glamorous and high-flying younger sister. Although each of the two posts ranks in the top ten, I've included them here as one item -- technically, added together, they would come in at #3.

#5 Three Naughty Princesses and One Wicked Queen
This 2011 post focuses on one of the greatest royal scandals that you've probably never heard of: the Tour de Nesle Affair. A sordid episode when the 19-year-old French-born Queen of England discovered that her brothers' wives were not just frivolous but also unfaithful, the scandal rocked the French throne, brought the line of succession into question, and destroyed the lives of three young women while their lovers were put to death.

#4 Lady Sarah Chatto
There is a gigantic leap in readers between #5 and #4, with Lady Sarah receiving nearly double the traffic of the Three Naughty Princesses, even though it was published more than four years later. Much of the traffic for this profile of Queen Elizabeth II's only niece comes from search engines, leading me to conclude that interest in Lady Sarah is very high while little information is available. It's clear that we all would love to know more about the enigmatic artist, but it's unlikely they she is in any hurry to welcome us into her lives. Perhaps, she learned too well from the notoriety achieved by her parents, Princess Margaret and the Earl of Snowdon.

Three of Victoria's Edinburgh granddaughters (from left)
Marie, Victoria Melita and Alexandra
From the Royal Collection via Wikimedia Commons
#3 Gorgeous Granddaughters of Victoria
Published in 2014, this post includes a photo and mini bio for every one of Queen Victoria's granddaughters. That's 22 ladies, all of whom were born within a 17-year time period. Four of them became queens, one became a Crown Princess, one surrendered her titles, one died as a young child,  two others never married, two married first cousins, two were divorced, four passed the gene for hemophilia on to their offspring, one died while pregnant, and two were assassinated and are now considered saints by the Russian Orthodox Church. They were an amazing group of women bound by the love of family but often separated by the politics of rival nations. Usually raised by English nannies, most identified with their grandmother's nation, even when their lives required them to live in Germany or Greece or Norway or Romania or Russia or Spain or Sweden.

#2 Kate Middleton's First Baby
Written BEFORE Prince William and Catherine Middleton were married, this post asked Royal Fans, who were already predicting when the soon-to-be-bride would get pregnant, to not be too hasty. This piece traces the pregnancy histories of some other recent royal brides, including several who struggled to conceive or carry their children to term. Here is a clue: most of the "top" contemporary princesses had their first child a year and a half to two and a half years after their marriage. ("Kate's first baby" came near the end of that time frame: Prince George arrived 27 months after his parents married and has since been joined by a little sister and a little brother.)

#1 How to Become a Princess
This post has been the #1 post nearly every week since it was first published in December 2009. Periodically updated, it traces how today's royal brides met their princely husbands. It also explores whether you have to be a certain "type" to marry a 21st Century prince. Gone are the old stereotypes of aristocratic virgin brides that helped lead to the disastrous marriage of Charles and Diana. Now, royal gents marry for love -- which hasn't necessarily prevented divorces.