Friday, December 9, 2016

Edward remains secluded at Fort Belvedere: will he abdicate?

December 9, 1936

King Edward VIII remains secluded at Fort Belvedere as the "nation and empire" prepares for the inevitable: the "first voluntary abdication" in the thousand year plus British monarchy.

The King's decision has "racked his people with suspense for an almost unbearable week,"  and the announcement will be made, perhaps tomorrow, in the House of Commons.  It will probably be in a message from the King, which will read by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and it will state categorically if Edward has chosen to renounce the American-born twice divorced Mrs, Wallis Simpson or abdicate his throne.

Tonight, Mr. Baldwin read to his colleagues in the Cabinet a note he had just received from the King.  From the "grave faces of the Ministers," and the "incessant activity" that is going on tonight in the Commons, one can surmise that King Edward VIII has "expressed his willingness to abdicate."

Government officials believe that it is important to keep Princess Elizabeth in the direct line of succession.  They feel that "even with a very quiet King in Buckingham Palace, his little Scottish wife and his golden-haired children will make up" for the publicity value that Edward lacks.   It is a "tonic" to know that the king's subjects will have another "reigning Queen in the offing and a Queen Elizabeth at that."

It is hoped that the hope of the future will allow the British people to forget Edward and give their "undivided loyalty" to the new king and his family.

Duke of York issues statement denying rift with brother

The Duke of York has issued a statement regarding recent press stories regarding his daughters and his relationship with his brother, the Prince of Wales

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Still no Family Order for Catherine

This is the first time that a formal photograph of Queen and other members of the royal family who attend the annual Diplomatic Reception.

From Left to right:  The Duchess of Cornwall (Greville Tiara), the Prince of Wales, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The three royal men are wearing the Order of the Garter, which explains the knee breeches and sashes.  The Duchess of Cornwall is wearing the Royal Family Order, given to distaff members of the Royal Family.  This Order is a personal gift of the Sovereign, and an announcement of when it is given is never made.

The Duchess of Cornwall received it two years after her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

The Queen is wearing the Royal Family Orders for George V and George VI (her grandfather and her father.)  She received the first order when she was an infant.

Oh, look, at the lady in the stunning red gown!  The Duchess of Cambridge, wearing Queen Mary's Lovers Knot tiara (it is NOT the Cambridge Lovers Knot tiara, which is now in the possession of the Waldburg zu Zeil family)  that her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales often wore ... but after 5 and a half years of marriage, she has yet to receive the Order.   It seems the Queen does not think she is ready for the order.

Sarah, Duchess of York, did not receive the Order.  Nor does Princess Michael have it.

The Duchesses of  Kent and Gloucester received theirs shortly after their marriages in 1961 and 1972, respectively.   Diana received hers within the first few months of her marriage to the Prince of Wales in 1981.   The Countess of Wessex was first seen wearing the Order in 2004, five years after her marriage to Prince Edward.

There is a precedent for the wife of a grandson of the reigning Sovereign to receive the family order.  Shortly after her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York in 1893,  Princess Mary (nee of Teck) received the  Royal Order of Victoria & Albert (First Class.)

Edward VIII dines with brothers and PM

December 8, 1936

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin dined with King Edward VIII tonight at Fort Belvedere and remained until 10 p.m., reports the New York Times.  He had arrived at 5 p.m., with Walter Monckton,  Attorney General of the Duchy of Cornwall.  Two of the King's brothers, the Duke of York and the Duke of Kent, were also at the dinner.

No one knows if this dinner was a "farewell between Edward and his chief Minister or a feast of reconciliation."  But the fact that this was a long meeting between the two men and the "added amenities of food and wine" was interpreted by Whitehall and Members of Parliament "as a sign there is to be no abdication."

This feeling was "strengthened"  by a report that Mrs. Wallis Simpson's attorney had arrived in Cannes, France, to arrange for the "disposal" of Mrs. Simpson's home in Cumberland Terrace, as "she has no intention of returning to London for a considerable time."

One new rumor, however, has clouded the optimism that the King will not abdicate.   The King allegedly telephoned a friend in London,  saying that he would be happy to meet him soon on the Riviera.

It is believed that Baldwin had nothing of "sufficient importance" to have a late night conference with his colleagues.

There is "little expectation" that there will be any major announcement in Parliament tomorrow.  One can only speculate on what was discussed during the five hour meeting between the king and Mr. Baldwin.

The Duke of Kent is expected to stay the night with his brother at the Fort.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Will we see an engagement by the end of the year

Last August.  Sunday Express' crack royal reporter, Camilla Tominey broke the news that we should be expecting a royal engagement by the end of the year.

No, not Prince Harry, but his first cousin, HRH Princess Eugenie of York, younger daughter of HRH The Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York, who has been dating Jack Brooksbank for more than six years.

Camilla wrote that the 26-year-old Princess will become engaged "by the end of the year."

Today is December 7, and we are fast approaching the end of 2016.  Yes, still three weeks left to go in 2016, but would Jack want to wait until after Christmas to make the engagement official.  If he pops the question before Christmas (and Eugenie says yes), Jack may be invited to join the Royal Family for the Christmas Day service -- and Princess Eugenie and Mr. Brooksbank can walk together, hand in hand, smiling broadly, accepting bouquets, cards and congratulations from the crowd outside the church.  

Will Camilla's prediction come true?  Twenty four more days left until 2016 comes to an end.

In May,  I predicted that an engagement might be forthcoming.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wallis says she will give up Edward

December 7, 1936

In a "simple statement to the press,"  Mrs. Simpson, the American-born commoner whom King Edward VIII wants to marry, "proclaimed to the world tonight that she was willing to give up her love for the king in order that he would be free to marry "according to the dictates of the empire," reports the Associated Press.

The statement was written in the third person.  "Throughout the last weeks she has invariably wished to avoid any action or proposal which might hurt or damage His Majesty or the throne.  Today her attitude is unchanged and she is willing if such action will solve the problem to withdraw forthwith from a situation that has become unhappy and untenable."

The King, however, remains "resolved" to marry Mrs. Simpson,  Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin told the House of Commons earlier today.   His speech has "strongly inferred" that Mrs. Simpson would be Queen Wallis  was not "broached by either himself or Edward" in their many discussions about the King's relationship.

Baldwin's speech "presented to the empire and the world"  the struggle between the throne and love:
*   The King is insisting that he will marry Mrs. Simpson
*   Mrs. Simpson has stated that she is ready to "surrender her love to the crown.
*   The British government will not sanction a morganatic marriage.
*   The Prime Minister has assured the dominions,  after the King makes his decision, will have their opportunity to "express their views."

Friends of Mrs. Simpson said that she has "repeatedly beseeched the monarchy to give her up to save his throne."  Edward wants to follow the "dictates of his heart" no matter what his government or Mrs. Simpson want him to do.  He consented to her decision to flee to Cannes -- she is staying with Mr. and Mrs. Herman Rogers -- after he made clear that he is determined to keep his throne and marry her.

The king will not accept Mrs. Simpson's "tearful entreaties" to allow her to leave him.

Prime Minister Baldwin told the "anxious members" of the House of Commons that the King informed "me  of his intention to marry Mrs. Simpson whenever she should be free."

The final hearing for her divorce from Ernest Simpson will take place on April 27.

The New York Times's London correspondent describes the king as a "romantic lover, "who loves his cakes and ale better than the ceremonies and responsibilities incidental to kingship."

His mother, Queen Mary, and younger sister and brothers, including the Duke of York, who would become king if he abdicates, are all "urging him one way."   The thought of "the woman in Cannes is tugging him the other.

Prime Minister Baldwin believes the King's decision must come soon.  Not in a "matter of weeks, but of days."

The Duke of York traveled today to Fort Belvedere to dine with his brother.

Members of the former German ruling family have also offered their opinions on the growing constitutional crisis.

Little prince has a name

© 2016 Cour grand-ducale / photos privées S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse / tous droits réservés

Princess Amalia with new little brother  © 2016 Cour grand-ducale / photos privées S.A.R. la Grande-Duchesse / tous droits réservés
Le Grand-Duc et la Grande-Duchesse sont très heureux d’annoncer, avec le Prince Félix et la Princesse Claire, que le nom de leur petit-fils est Son Altesse Royale le Prince Liam Henri Hartmut de Nassau.
Palais grand-ducal, le 6 décembre 2016

Prince Felix and Princess Claire of Luxembourg have announced the name of their son.   The new prince has been given the names Liam Henri Hartmut.  He will be styled as HRH Prince Liam of Nassau.

Prince Liam is fourth in line to the Luxembourg throne after Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume,  Prince Felix and big sister, Princess Amalia of Nassau.
Proud grandma HRH The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg has taken the official photographs.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Queen Marie counsels the British Empire

December 5, 1936

The Dowager Queen Marie of Romania has "counseled" the British Empire to "rely of King Edward," reports the Associated Press, which has based its report on an article in today's Sydney Sun.   Marie, the mother of King Carol I, spoke in a "telephonic interview from Bucharest."

"Let the empire keep steady and the King will do the right thing, for he's an Englishman.  I know what the empire means, for, remember, I was an Englishwoman."

Marie is a granddaughter of the late Queen Victoria, and first cousin of King Edward's late father King George V.

"You must be feeling great distress in the empire.  But your king was loved everywhere and it will cause distress throughout Europe and the rest of the world."  the Queen said.

"Now, as never before the empire must stick together. The calm and peace of Europe rests of the shoulders of Great Britain and the empire.  This is not just the imperialistic expression of the granddaughter of Queen Victoria.  It is the simple truth. "

Marie was born at Eastwell Park in 1875, the second child (and eldest daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (second son of Victoria) and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.  In 1893, she married the future King Ferdinand of Romania, who died in 1927.

BULLETIN: Edward drops all engagements, may go to France

December 5, 1936

The Chicago Tribune's correspondent in Cannes was informed "on the most competent authority tonight" that King Edward VIII will arrive in Cannes next Tuesday, December 8.

According to a news bulletin from London,  it is now a "virtual certainty" that King Edward VIII will vacate the throne as a "penalty" for not giving up his relationship with Mrs. Wallis Simpson.  He is expected to "surrender his crown without a fight," and abdicate tomorrow.  This is seen as "almost inevitable" by members of the British Cabinet.

The Empire's constitutional crisis is now "sweeping to its dramatic denouement tonight."

The King has remained at his country home, Fort Belvedere, where there is a hive of activity as limousines have been been traveling between the Fort and London.

Constitutional lawyers are drawing up the appropriate documents.

Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin visited the king tonight, perhaps the last of a "series of visits to Fort Belvedere"   It is understood that during this meeting the Prime Minister has handed the king "certain documents."  The nature of these documents have not been revealed.

The King has cancelled all his engagements, giving credence to the reports that he will join Mrs. Simpson in France next week.

It also understood that the King's abdication will take place on Monday.   His intent will be in a message read to the House of Commons.  As the king "reigns by consignment of parliament," he will need to abdicate with parliamentary approval.

Conservative leader Winston Churchill is opposed to an abdication.  He has declared that the king be granted "time and tolerance."

"There is no question of any conflict between the king and parliament, stated Mr. Churchill.  "Parliament has not been consulted in any way nor allowed to express an opinion.  The question is whether the king is to abdicate upon the advice of the ministry of the day. No ministry has authority to advise abdication of the sovereign."

Churchill warns that if the king's abdication is "hastily extorted, the outrage so commuted would cast shadow across many chapters in the history of the British empire."

The Duke of York, who could become king within the next week,  is believed to be "preparing for the possible new dignity."   His private secretary,  Sir Eric Melville,  visited Prime Minister Baldwin before the latter spoke to the House of Commons.  Sir Eric has also met with Queen Mary.

The two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York, "golden-haired Princess Elizabeth, 10," and her six-year-old sister, Princess Margaret Rose, "went for their usual automobile ride today.  When they were spotted by a crowd, there were huge cheers to the young princesses.  Should the Duke of York succeed to the throne,  Princess Elizabeth will become the heiress presumptive.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

King Rama X's older sons

It is unlikely that the people of Thailand will be able to read about their King Rama X's rather scandalous life.   Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was proclaimed king this morning 50 days after the death of his much loved, much revered father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Due to strict lese majeste law in Thailand,  it would be dangerous to write about the new king's salacious private life.

Rama X may be on his fourth marriage, according to new reports.  His first three marriages ended in divorce. His first marriage in 1977 was to his maternal first cousin, Princess Soamsawali.   Their only child, Princess Bajrakitiyabha was born a year later.  

By the time the marriage was dissolved by divorce. the Crown Prince was already living with Yuvadhida Polpraserth, a Thai actress, by whom he had four sons and a daughter.   Their first child, Juthavachara Mahidol, was born a year after his legitimate daughter.

The couple finally married in 1994, in a marriage blessed by the King.  Queen Sirikit chose not to bless her son's second marriage, after he had abandoned her niece for his eventual second wife.

By 1996,  the Crown Prince's second marriage was over.  His wife fled to Britain with their five young children.  He put posters up in the Palace, accusing her of committing adultery with a Thai air marshal.  She and their sons were banished from Thailand, and stripped of their royal titles.  Their daughter, Busyanambejra Mahidol, returned to live in Thailand with her father.  In 2005, her grandfather elevated her to the rank of princess.  She is now styled as Princess Sirivannavari.

Here is a blog article about Rama's four sons,  all of whom live in the United States.

The Crown Prince 's  third marriage took place in 2001.  His new wife, Srirasmi Suwadee, was born into a modest Thai family.  She was not elevated to royal rank until after she gave birth in April 2005 to the couple's only child, a son, who was named Dipangkorn  Rasmihoti.  The little prince attends school in Bavaria, Germany.  He is his father's only legitimate son.

One can only imagine the feelings of Rama's four eldest sons, as they watch and read from afar about their father's accession to the throne. It must be said that Rama X is their father in name only, and their mother raised them without his help.   All four sons are now adults, and have successful careers.

Five years ago, the four sons released an official statement in response to questions about their lives.

"July 29, 2011


Dear Friends,

This year marks the fifteenth year that we have been living abroad. Over the years, we have received many kind words of encouragement and well wishes over the Internet and elsewhere from the people of Thailand; both from within Thailand and around the world. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for your kind regards, and we are thankful that so many of you have not forgotten us. We have realized that some people were curious or had questions regarding our whereabouts over the years. To eliminate confusion and false rumors, we have decided to take this opportunity to disclose our situation.

Over the years, we have been waiting patiently for the order for us to return to Thailand. As yet, we have received no word from our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, nor have we received any type of contact from the Royal Household. In 1996, while studying in England, we were ordered by our father not to return home to Thailand. We were specifically instructed not to use our royal titles and to use the last name “Vivacharawongse” instead. We never, at any time, voluntarily renounced our royal titles nor choose to surrender the “Mahidol” surname. Since we were not receiving any kind of support from the Royal Household, financial or otherwise, we moved to the United States with our mother.

When we were younger, we did not understand the drastic change in our lives, nor could we comprehend why we must live our lives outside of our beloved country. Our mother would remind us that we have to follow the orders of the Royal Family, and to show our gratitude and respect. Our situation, at times, was not at all easy. However, we did not stand idle. Instead we learned to push ourselves to our highest potential, and to behave in a manner that would not bring shame upon the Royal Family.

Juthavachara received a bachelor’s degree in avionics and maintenance and a master’s degree in aeronautical science. After working in the aviation industry, he is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree. Vacharaesorn, after receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Law (LLM), is now a practicing attorney. Chakriwat, received his bachelor’s degree in psychobiology with chemistry minor, he is currently attending medical school, and will soon begin his clinical rotations. Vatchrawee double-majored in International Business and Finance, and has a Master of Business Administration. He is now attending law school in pursuit of a Juris Doctor degree.

We are also aware of the many rumors being circulated regarding Chakriwat’s health. The truth is Chakriwat has been battling Neurofibromatosis (type II) since he was thirteen years old. The disease causes tumors to appear along his nervous system, and surgery or radiation treatment is required every year or so to remove or otherwise treat these tumors. Due to numerous radiation treatments he has received, there has been some damage to his acoustic nerve, and he became deaf in one ear. He will receive another surgery in August of this year. Despite having to undergo these exhausting procedures on a regular basis, Chakriwat is determined to complete his medical training.

For many years we have lived our lives in silence, which caused some speculation that we wished to remain abroad. To the contrary, as much as we wish to return, we could not defy orders not to return, or speak out to clear our names. We were afraid to risk even demonstrating the slightest inference of disrespect toward the Royal Family. Many may wonder why we did not speak out against false rumors or allegations against us. The truth is, it is better to suffer in silence than risk harm to the institution. We have never given up hope that, one day, we would receive word from Thailand to allow us to return. Each year, we write to our grandparents, Their Majesties the King and Queen, our father, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and our aunt, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. We would write to give them updates on our lives, informing them of academic progress, any medical issues, and to send well wishes to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses on New Years and birthdays. However, our letters were never answered. The communication has always been one sided.

Many people continue to speculate regarding our situation or to spread false and malicious rumors about us. Rather than addressing these issues in the open, and risk offending the institution, we have chosen to remain silent. We merely wanted to use this correspondence as an opportunity to thank the many Thais who still care about us and remember us, and to state clearly that, every day, we wish to return to Thailand. For fifteen years, we have never set foot in our country, and we miss it far too much. Until we are permitted to return, however, we will remain loyal to the Royal Family, and pray for the future of our country.

We remain faithfully yours,





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another veiled warning to king by politicians

November 30, 1936

A "thinly veiled warning" to King Edward VIII -- the third within the week - was published in The Times today "tucked at the end of an other innocuous leading editorial."

The editorial was titled "A Council of State," and praised the House of Commons for the spirit of unity" for the "great issues of recent weeks," reports the New York Times.

The House of Commons has "every right to feel proud of the example it is setting to a querulous and distracted world."

But it was the last sentence, a "flash of an editorial rapier," that caught attention.  "The Commons may well prove itself to be what the country has often required in similar times during its long history but seldom has been given,  namely,  a council of state which is able to demonstrate its solid strength in any crisis that may arise, whether foreign or domestic."

The use of the words domestic and council of state by the editorial writer cannot be seen as accidental.  "Council of State" is recognized as a "constitutional method for carrying on the king's duties," if he himself is unable to fulfill those duties.  It was used in 1911, when King George V was in India, and again in 1928, when the king was "desperately ill and unstable."

But why did the Times' editor resurrect the term "Council of State." when King Edward VIII is in good health.   The answer came this afternoon when the British government and the opposition in the Commons "agreed to stand together" in case of a struggle between the king and the Cabinet "should come to a head."

Clement R. Atlee, leader of the Labour Party, has assured Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that the opposition will not take advantage of the situation if Edward should decide to marry Mrs. Simpson, and force the government to resign.

This remains merely an understanding between Atlee and the Prime Minister, ans a constitutional crisis  remains a fairly remote contingency."

It is understood that Labour Party members in Parliament, as well as members of the trade union, are fond of the king, and are not concerned about his friendship with Mrs. Simpson.

But there are other Labour supporters in England and especially in Scotland -- in the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian chapels -- where there is concern about the "spectacle" of a twice divorced queen.

Labour party leaders know that a "constitutional king" cannot do anything unless he has the support of his ministers.  Thus it is important to note why Atlee gave such a momentous promise" to Prime Minister Baldwin, and why The Times' editorial described the House of Commons as a "council of state."

Carol opposed by father

November 30, 1926

King Ferdinand of Romania has made it clear that he is strongly opposed to the "return of former Crown Prince Carol," or a change to the law of succession, reports the Associated Press.

The king has made this declaration in a letter sent to Premier Averesch, and was published in the Official Gazette.

"I have been greatly moved by the sympathy and affection shown me on all sides regarding my health , but at the same time I see with real grief that some persons have taken advantage of the circumstances to bring into the discussion the principles which form the dynastic basis of the constitutional monarchy and which do not permit the fate of the crown to be left to the changeable will of any persons."

King Ferdinand also referenced his predecessor, King Carol, and the love "he himself has for his country."    He also hoped that his subjects know that he knows how to sacrifice "his personal relations in the interest of the country.   As King, Ferdinand has put "an end to the unfortunate waywardness and weakness of a beloved child."

The king ended his letter stating that he will be aided by "good Roumanians and his regular counselors, who know how to bind together the national strength to fortify the throne and impose respect for the decisions and acts accomplished in accord with the laws and supreme interests of the monarchy and state."

Queen Marie arrived earlier today in Cherbourg, "anxious over the king and doubtless concerned over the dynastic problem, but happy in the results of her American trip."  She and her two children, Princess Ileana and Prince Nicholas, traveled on the Berengaria.  Due to stormy weather, the ship was delayed several hours.

The king is said to be in a "serious condition," but not in "immediate danger of death.   Queen Marie will remain in Paris for several days, and has plans to see her eldest son. She is expected to convey to her son that there will be no turning back in Carol's "reported aspirations to withdraw his renunciation of the throne."

Marie is also resolved to use all her "great influence" in regards to the present succession arrangement for her grandson, Prince Michael's succession with a regency.

India Hicks on The Crown

Here is a link to an interview with India Hicks about her mother watching Netflix's The Crown.

I may be the only royal historian who has not viewed the program.  My TV does not get Netflix.  I don't have data on my cell.   My 2007 Sony Bravia has two HDML ports (used by cable and DVR) so no way to use a Fire Stick or Roku.  I hope Netflix doesn't wait too long to release on a DVD.

Zara and Mike Tindall: second baby due in 2017

It was announced today that Zara Phillips, 35, and her husband, Mike Tindall, are expecting a second child in the spring of 2017.   The couple's daughter, Mia Grace, will celebrate her third birthday on January 17, 2017.

Zara, an Olympic Silver Medalist (London 2012) is the second of two children of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her first husband, Mark Phillips.   Tindall, 38, is a former professional rugby player.

The couple married at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 30, 2011.