Saturday, December 31, 2016

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Albany - One Dynasty, Two Destinies

Albany - One Dynasty Two Destinies by Robert Golden and Arturo Beeche.  Out now.  Will be reviewed in the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shopping is not just for the holidays: Amazon clicks

Psst:  you can get almost anything from Amazon, says Harper

On the right  side of this  blog, there are three Amazon search boxes: US, UK and Germany.  If you enter your first Amazon search through one of these boxes, I earn a teeny percentage for each item you purchase ... and you can order books, DVDs, clothes, food,  computer parts ... basically anything from Amazon or or

The latter two pay in gift cards (once you reach a certain amount .. and it can take several years to reach the 25 pounds or euros.)
You cannot order a cat from Amazon  -- but your cat might appreciate the empty box. Sienna loves boxes.

So scroll down a bit to find the links ... and every time to you have an Amazon craving, please head first to Royal Book News or Royal Musings and use the search boxes.  It doesn't cost you anything extra.

Thank you so much.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Royalty Digest Quarterly No 4 2016

Enjoy the new issue - 4/2016 - of ROYALTY DIGEST Quarterly, where Charlotte Zeepvat brings the presentation of the British Royal Family up-to-date. 101 pictures and two pedigrees take the reader from Edward VII to Elizabeth II.
Also in this issue: Netty Leistra writes about the ALBANIAN ROYAL WEDDING; Michael Nash about PRINCESS CHARLOTTE (1796-1817) and her marriage to Leopold of Coburg; Marlene A. Eilers has an article on Three 1st cousins [Alexandra, Maud and Louise] and their 1896 weddings whereas Coryne Hall tells the story of a Romanov Prince, Andreij Alexandrovich, who started a Country Club in Regent's Park. The new series, HALF A CENTURY OF ROYAL LETTERS, continues with some dramatic War time correspondence from 1913 to 1917.
The new issue has just been printed and will be sent out to all subscribers next week. 45 of our subscribers have not yet renewed their subscriptions - if you are one of them, please do so ASAP, since you don't want to miss out on this of all issue ...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christie's: The Jewellery Archives Revealed by Vincent Meylan.

Royal Jewelry Lovers will want this book, Christie's: The Jewellery Archives Revealed by Vincent Meylan.

"Full access to Christie's archives has been granted for this book, resulting in the inclusion of never-before seen images
Stories of the world's great jewelry collections
Expertly curating Christie's extensive archives, Vincent Meylan has drawn out the key details of each momentous saleFor centuries, the stories of the world's great jewelry collections have lain hidden within the archives of Christie's, the celebrated auctioneers.
From the tragic European queens, Mary, Queen of Scots and Marie Antoinette - both beheaded - to Hollywood royalty such as Elizabeth Taylor, the vaults sparkle with the most celebrated (and occasionally notorious) names of the last 250 years. Following on from the success of his books on Boucheron: The Secret Archives, Van Cleef & Arpels: Treasures and Legends and Mellerio: Jewellers to the Queens of Europe, author Vincent Meylan explores these remarkable jewelry archives, revealing the mysteries within for the first time.Each sale had its intrigue, each its story to tell. The first auction of jewelry from the British royal family took place at Christie's in 1773, after the death of the Princess of Wales, mother of George III. As the archives reveal, in the subsequent centuries, Christie's has been party to the sale of jewelry by several further generations of British royals, from Lady Patricia Ramsay and the Countess of Southesk through to Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. And, in the wake of revolution and regicide further afield, the crown jewels of France, Russia, Bavaria, Serbia, Egypt, India and Spain were all sold at Christie's. Aside from Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary movie star collections of Merle Oberon and Gloria Swanson are also revealed here, as well as the most famous pearls and diamonds in the world; each explored within the context of their owners' remarkable lives. Expertly curating the extensive archives, Vincent Meylan has drawn out the key details of each momentous sale. More than a hundred original documents from the vaults are reproduced in the book, alongside hundreds of color illustrations of the jewels and their owners."


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Forthcoming in March The Kaiser’s Confidante Mary Lee, the First American-Born Princess

I am looking forward to Richard Jay Hutto's forthcoming book, The Kaiser's Confidante: Mary Lee, the first American-born Princess, scheduled to be published March 2017 (McFarland: $35.00)

From the publisher:  "New York City native Mary Esther Lee (1837–1914) married Prince von Noer, brother of the Queen of Denmark, in 1874 and was made a princess in her own right following his death. An active philanthropist to Protestant causes, she then married Count Alfred von Waldersee, whose close ties to the Prussian court made her an intimate friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II and a mentor to his young wife. Although she preferred to remain in the background, Mary’s influence caused intense jealously among those at court who resented her friendship with the Kaiser and Kaiserin. This biography chronicles the remarkable life of an American woman whose wealth and charisma enabled her to rise to power in the Prussian royal court."

Hutto's previous books include Crowning Glory: American Wives of Princes & Dukes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Life for the Tsar by Greg King and Janet Ashton

Yea, I know I have been remiss in reviewing several of the books in my pile - and I know a certain publisher is not happy with me right now.  I got caught up in several things, including school (I am a university librarian and the fall semester started in late August,) but the biggest reason for the delay was the Washington Nationals.   I am a season plan holder (since 2005) and I go to about 50 games a year.  (I have a half season -40 games - plan).    In September, I went to all but two of the 18 games of the last two home stands, and when the team was on the road, I watched from my couch, counting down until we clinched the National League East Championship.   Then the playoffs ... yea, you know what happened .... we did not make to the National League Championships.   Next year ...

I also "acquired" a nasty upper respiratory infection ... which took several weeks to dissipate, although my nose and ears are still a bit stuffed.    At long last, I am able to sit down and write a few reviews.

A young American woman, Kate Koon, on a visit to Russia provided a prescient observation following the coronation of Nicholas and Alexandra.  She wrote "It is said that never again will Russia have such  coronation festivities, for the people cannot stand the expense, and surely nowhere else in the world could there be a  greater magnificence."

Koon had no idea that Nicholas II's Coronation would be the last.  Not because of cost, but revolution that was presaged by the tragedy that followed the Coronation.

I also want to use the word "magnificence" to describe Greg King and Janet Ashton's A Life for the Tsar  Triumph and Tragedy of Emperor Nicholas II (Eurohistory:$48.95).  This is the best book I have ever read on the Nicholas II.

Acclaimed biographers and historians Greg King and Janet Ashton put their heads and their pens together and have come up with a monumental history of the events of the Coronation and the Khodynka Massacre.   There were so many witnesses, so many observers, all of whom offer a divergent view of the Coronation and the the massacre that followed.

The early chapters offer a prelude of Russian history - of Alexander III's final days and his death and his eldest son, Nicholas II's, accession to the throne.   This is followed by the detailed preparation for the elaborate and deeply religious Coronation Service.

What makes this book so special is the depth and breath of sources consulted --- just take a glance at the bibliography and the End Notes ... yes, End Notes (cited sources).  Hooray.

This is the ultimate complete history of one particular event in Nicholas II's life (and the tragedy that followed) as King and Ashton examine all sides, all angles of the Coronation - the reactions and historical views of the guests, of the royal family themselves,  political figures from all sides, and international witnesses.

It is accurate to say that "Moscow swelled with excitement, but  the man at the center of the spectacle was filled with dread."  This is no understatement.  Putting aside possible nerves for what would be an overwhelming experience for anyone,  Nicholas was a man wracked by personal doubt, and most certainly unprepared for position as Emperor of all the Russias.   An arranged marriage may have been more appropriate  -- a woman with personality and determination to help guide Nicholas through the vicissitudes of his reign.   He married Princess Alix of Hesse and By Rhine for love, and not because he thought she would be the right sort of consort that he really needed.  It is not a surprise that he did not realize that Alix was unprepared to be the Empress of all the Russias.  Others, including the Dowager Empress, did see it, but none had the real ability to deal with Alix's myriad of physical and mental issues.

The Dowager Empress tried to put on a brave face.  Other members of the family commented on her sadness, the deep emotion that she felt, knowing that her son and his wife were ill prepared for their new roles

The deeply religious and symbolic Coronation Service was long and tiring, not only for the participants, but also for the observers.  The service was followed by several gala events, where Nicholas and Alexandra had to remain on show.   There were more events the next day, including a gathering of hundreds of thousands of Nicholas' subjects, gathering at the Khodynka Meadow, outside the palace.  Nicholas and Alexandra were expected to attend the festive occasion.

While the Emperor and Empress were at the Bolshoi,  the crowd at the Meadow continued to swell, and tensions began to surface Khodynka.  Far too many rumors  about gifts from the emperor led to the growing crowds.  The police were unwilling to maintain the peace. Many fled. As souvenirs were handed out crowds moved toward the booths, and then came "a wave of human dominoes."

All told, nearly 1400 men, women and children were killed  Another 1300 were injured.  Nicholas' uncle, Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovitch, was the Governor-General of Moscow.  There would be huge consequences for Serge and his chief of police, and both tried to downplay the tragedy.  Their view: "Accidents often happen in large crowds."

Nicholas and Alexandra were scheduled to attend a ball that night, but after learning of the tragedy, they wanted to back out and cancel their appearance.   It did not take long for Nicholas' Minister of Foreign Affairs to point out that Nicholas could provoke a diplomatic incident if he failed to show up at the ball.    Nicholas' four uncles, Vladimir, Alexei, Paul and Sergei, all badgered their nephew "into submission.   Alexandra's sister, Ella, who was married to Grand Duke Serge, took her husband's side and told Alix that the ball was of "political importance."

The Dowager Empress Marie and other members of the Imperial Family believed that Nicholas and Alexandra should not attend the ball,  One cousin, Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich offered a warning to Nicholas that "the blood of those five thousand men, women, and children will forever remain a blot on your reign."

But it was the uncles, led by Serge, who won the day. The celebrations would  continue. None of the four men could accept that this was a bad decision.

The tragedy would leave a huge black mark on Nicholas' reign.

A Life for the Tsar is an amazing book.   The authors have been meticulous in their research, peeling away at the layers of this story, focusing not only on the Coronation itself, but also on the social, political, religious, and familial aspects of the events.

Greg King and Janet Ashton have hit a home run with A Life for the Tsar, and they hit it out of the park.  This is a terrific, well-written book, brimming over with history, with details, with facts.  The coronation and the Khodynka Meadow tragedy ensured that Nicholas' reign would not be successful.   If you are planning to give yourself a Christmas present,  this should be your gift.  Why wait for Christmas.  Get it now.  Seriously.   I have read a lot of books on the Romanov, and I will state categorically that this is one of the best in the Romanov canon ... and oh,  I forgot ... the illustrations and photographs (several hundred) are also good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eurohistory - The European Royal History Journal --- how to subscribe

This morning we released to our printer the latest issue of our magazine, EUROHISTORY (ERHJ).

In it readers will find very interesting articles on: Claremont, the famed royal residence that has witnessed an undue share of royal tragedies; Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia; Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern; the three daughters of Prince Nicholas of Greece and Grand Duchess Helen Vladimirovna of Russia; Crown of Tears: Marie Antoinette of France and Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia; Queen Marie of Romania; Countess Viktoria-Luis elf Solms-Baruth; as well as our usual sections: Royal Book Reviews and Royal News.

We should be mailing the magazine by month's end since the printer requires at least a month to print and ship!

If interested in joining our ever-growing pool of subscribers, you can do so by emailing us at: or

Subscription rates:

USA:           $50.00
UK:             £50.00
Europe:       $75.00
Rest of the World: $75.00

Or by sending your subscription payable to:

6300 Kensington Avenue
East Richmond Heights, CA 94805
Ph: 510.236.1730

UK Subscribers have the option of paying in Sterling by sending a cheque payable to Ms Katrina Warne:

Ms. Katrina Warne
c/o Eurohistory
12 Lockswood
Brookwood, Woking
Surrey GU24 0HL
United Kingdom

Monday, August 1, 2016

Queen Anne of Romania (1923-2016)

Queen Anne of Romania died today at a hospital in Morgues, Switzerland. She was 92 years old.  She was born Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma.  In June 1948, she married the exiled King Michael of Romania


Now difficult to find is Queen Anne's memoirs:  Anne of Romania - A War, An Exile, A Life published in 2002 by the Romanian Cultural Foundation Publishing House.   The book was published in English and in Romanian.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tatiana Romanov Daughter of the Last Tsar

Nicholas II of Russia had a private bath, a plonge (more like a small swimming pool) at the Alexander Palace.  It was place where the Emperor could relax, perhaps, read, or consider the events of that day.   No kids no wifey (one assumes) in this man cave, so image the delight of his second daughter, Grand Duchess Tatiana, was allowed to use the private bath.

"Papa darling, Huge thanks for allowing us to bathe in Your tub. It was immensely nice and fun and I enjoyed it terribly."   This was written by Tatiana to her father on March 7, 1915.  She was in her 18th year, a young woman on the cusp of adulthood.

This letter is included in Tatiana Romanov Daughter of the Last Tsar Diaries and Letters 1913-1918 (Westholme:$26.00), which will be seen as an important contribution to Romanov scholarship, thanks to Helen Azar, whose native Russian-language skills are an asset in translating original Romanov documents, such as diaries and letters.

Tatiana was perhaps the most gifted of the four sisters.  At times her diary entries and correspondence are eloquent, as she shows concern for family and friends, even after the Imperial Family is by the Provisional Government to Tobolsk in the late summer of 1917.

In exile, there were few complaints about their living conditions, and the lack of freedom.  In a letter to her aunt, Grand Duchess Xenia,  in September 1917,  Tatiana wrote: "The weather here is wonderful."    She also commented to her aunt that the house had a balcony and "it is fun to sit there and watch the street, to see the people. This is our only amusement."

The final years of Tatiana's life were not amusing, but she remained proud, and kind.  Her Orthodox faith and her relationships with her parents and siblings were important  to her.

Tatiana avoided politics and the growing revolutionary fervor in Russia that led to her father's abdication and their deaths.  The collapse of their world was not on their radar.  After Russia entered the first World War in 1914, Tatiana threw herself in the new duties: nursing and helping war refugees.   The Committee of Grand Duchess Tatiana was formed by an Imperial Ukase in September 1914.

During the next two years Tatiana was an eager nurse, taking part in surgeries including amputations.  A typical day would include lessons,  church services, visiting the infirmary, having meals with family members,  There were few political comments, but her view on the Germans --- calling them curs when German submarines destroyed Russian ships.

The murder of Rasputin by family members left an indelible impression.  In a Christmas letter (1916), Tatiana wrote to her mother. "....I believe the soul of our dead Friend is always with us and that he prays for you, my sweet angel Mama."  The Friend of course was Rasputin.

The Revolution changed everything.  The daily nursing visits came to an end in February 1917.  A month later, Nicholas abdicated, and 300 years of Romanov rule was over.    The family and a few retainers were kept confined at Tsarkoe Selo.    Tatiana's letters during this time period -- no diary entries --- are focused on  family and  keeping in contact with the outside world, especially her friends from nursing,  In one letter to Zinaida Tolstoy, there is a hint of lament about not being the Crimea for the summer.  "Strange to be without the sea for three years, there is no feeling of summer for me."   Until the war,  the Imperial Family spent summers at Livadia in the Crimea.   Winters were spent at Tsarkoe Selo, which in March 1917 had become their first prison.

The change in Tatiana's life becomes apparent in a letter to her aunt Xenia in January 1918.  "Does your Commissar read all the letters like ours?"

Tatiana's diaries for this time period are not complete, and kudos to Miss Azar for including excerpts from correspondence, biographies and other diaries of family members, servants and contemporaries.  The inclusion of the material, which always references Tatiana, enhances Tatiana's own words.  We see her through other eyes which help us to understand her and the life she lived.

The material for this book was obtained from the State Archives in Russia and in US libraries, including the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.  The illustrations come from the State Archives, and most have not been published before... at least I have never seen them.

Russian Imperial expert Nicholas Nicholson is the book's co-author.  He is responsible for the numerous annotations (footnotes) that will help the general readers with the historical and political references and identifying family relations as many are identified only by nicknames.

This is an important work, true scholarship in the Romanov canon.

Westholme also published Helen's The Diary of Olga Romanov: Royal Witness to the Russian Revolution.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer sale at Rosvall Royal Books

Looking to add to your royal book collection?  Take a look at Rosvall Royal Books website  for their July -August sale!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wilhelm II und seine Geschwister by Barbara Beck

Kudos to German publisher, Friedrich Pustet, which publishes competent and interesting royal books.  One of the firm's more recent books is Wilhelm II und seine Geschwister, which translates to Wilhelm II and his siblings.

German historian Barbara Beck has written a competent book that focuses on the relationship between Kaiser Wilhelm II and his younger brother and sisters (Henry, Charlotte, Viktoria, Margarete and Sophie).  It  is not a surprise to say that the relationships were complicated and difficult.

Beck's style veers between a Ph.D dissertation (minus the footnotes) and a popular history.  The bibliography includes German and English language scholarly and standard books and articles.

Wilhelm II was a flawed man, his personality, his decisions made for family and country, were all formed by his deformed arm, his relationship with parents, his confused identity (British mother) and a desire to run a country and a family with an iron fist.

He could put boundaries on Henry and his wife, Irene (and Henry would have been a very different Kaiser had he been the older son), and Wilhelm's relationship with Charlotte, the sister closest in age, was the strongest although she had streaks of independence.  Charlotte, the wife of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, focused on herself - rather on the big picture.

Wilhelm's relationship with his three younger sisters, Victoria, Sophie and Margarete, was far different than with Charlotte or even Henry.  Victoria quickly went off the rails after her romance with Alexander of Battenberg was blocked.   No romance, no children with her husband, Prince Adolf of Schaumburg-Lippe, but what was missing from her life was the support of her family.

The author also has chapters on the two brothers, Sigismund and Waldemar, who died young.

Wilhelm, as a brother, did not have the mechanism to be the good brother.  He treated Sophie rather badly after she became the Crown Princess of the Hellenes, especially when he chastised her for converting to the Orthodox faith, not withstanding the fact that the Greek consort was required to be Orthodox.   His own personally and strident views would not allow him to comprehend the reality of Sophie's situation.

There was also no real support during the first world war and afterward when Wilhelm II was forced into exile.  Yes, there would be correspondence and meetings, but Wilhelm II's relationship with his siblings was supremely dysfunctional.

This is made clear by Barbara Beck.  This is one of more competent modern biographies on Wilhelm's relationship with his siblings.  (Someone now needs to write a biography on Wilhelm II and his children.)

The book is in German, and there are no plans to translate it into English, although ... this is a metaphorical stamping of my feet .. the book is, in my opinion, a very good candidate for translation, as I think there is a market (small as it is, but if marketed to the ideal readership, the book could sell.)

I hope Pustet Verlag will continue to publish more books like this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Helen Rappaport joins Royalty Digest

Royalty Digest Quarterly welcomes renowned author HELEN RAPPAPORT as a writer for the magazine. Her first article is called "Mr HEATH - The English Tutor who taught Nicholas II to be the Perfect Gentleman" and tells the story of a unique man in a unique position as both employed by and friend of the Russian Imperial family for many years. Read this fascinating story in the new issue of RDQ (2/2016) which has just been published.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Royal Collections Vol 1: Great Britain

For no other reason except to sit in a comfy chair and spend an hour or so losing yourself in the stunning new publication from  Royal Collections Volume 1: Great Britain.

In the late 1990s, former financial analyst and now publisher-cum-writer, Art Beeche began a royal image collection of postcards and photographs.  The collection has become massive, and numbers  more than 400,000 images.    Wow.  My own collection is diminutive by comparison.

This 258 page is pure delight, page after page of historical photographs from Queen Victoria to present day.  Many of the photos are familiar, while others come from private family collections, and are published for the first time.    Mr. Beeche has purchased several collections at auction or from dealers..  He also acquired personal collections from the late Princess Olga of Yugoslavia, who was the older sister of Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent.

Count Hans Veit of Toerring -Jettenbach, a first cousin of the Duke of Kent and his siblings, also contributed a series of photos that he took at royal events, including Princess Alexandra's 70th  birthday.

My favorite photo (and I wish it were published in color) is on pages 206-207, a two page spread of the group photo taken after Prince and Princess Michael's Service of Blessing in the Anglican church (not a wedding), which took place several months after their civil marriage in Vienna in June 1978.

Another nice photogryaph shows Prince and Princess Michael of Kent with  Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor with their first daughter,Maud,and  Lady Ella Windsor, taken a few months after Maud's birth.

The book is divided into chapters on the British monarchs from Victoria to Elizabeth II, the junior branches (Gloucester, Kent, Edinburgh, Connaught & Albany), the old royal family ( Cumberland and Cambridge) and the extended family (Carisbrooke, Cambridge, Athlone and the Mountbattens).

I could ramble on and on about this special book.  I could tell you about more unique and special photographs ... group and family photographs of Prince Philip with his siblings and their descendants.

Let's just say you will want to order this book ... for the photos. Because the photos are awesome.

This  is a unique compilation because of the publisher's personal collection includes many published and previously private photos.      Royal Collections is the first of what will be a series of books with photos from the Eurohistory Archive.

Don't take this book to the beach.  This is a book you keep on your cocktail table, and dip in it from time to time, savoring all the delightful "new" photos.  Well done,

Monday, April 25, 2016

NEW BOOK Wilhelm II und seine Geschwister

I am looking forward to reading this book.  Wilhelm II und  seine Geschwister by Barbara Beck.  The title translates to Wilhelm II and his sisters.

The publisher is Friedrich Pustet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Princess Grace of Monaco: a selection of books

Here is a selection of books published in the US and in the UK about Princess Grace and the Monegasque Princely family. If you purchase through my links -- or buy ANYTHING from Amazon using the search boxes here in Royal Book News or on my main blog, Royal Musings, I make a few pennies. Seriously, a few pennies, but these pennies can add up ... thanks.


Friday, April 15, 2016

New Books from

Two new books from  I hope to have reviews soon ... waiting.

Don't forget, if you click on my links, I make a few pennies (literally) from Amazon.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I Did it My Way ... by HH Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

A memoir or an autobiography is often difficult to judge because the writer may have a point of view that does not always match the truth or the reality of their life, the lives around them - and historical events.  Some memoirs are whitewashes, where the writer has real issues with reality.  Others are padded with nonsense and self-importance.   And a few are just awful that you wonder why the book was even written due to the obvious state of the author's lack of real clarity.

And then there is the rare memoir that actually is honest and refreshing.    This is the case with HH Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's  I did it my way.  

Prince Andreas was born in 1943 at his  mother's family home, Schloss Casel during the second world war.  The schloss was in rural Germany, away from Berlin and bombing by the Allies.  He was the only child of Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Countess Victoria of Solms-Baruth.  The bride and groom were first cousins, a marriage encouraged by both families.   Friedrich Josias was the youngest son of Carl Eduard, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a British prince and a grandson of Queen Victoria.  He was also an active and vocal supporter of National Socialism.

As the youngest son, Friedrich Josias was never meant to be the heir and the head of the household.  His eldest brother, Johann Leopold, was disinherited after making a morganatic marriage.  The second son, Prince Hubertus, was killed during the second world war, a few months after Andreas's birth, leaving Friedrich Josias as his father's heir.

It was a difficult time for Andreas's parents.  Victoria had doubts about the marriage even before the ceremony took place.  The end of the war left the Saxe-Coburg family - and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in tatters.  Victoria and Friedrich Josias were divorced.  Carl Eduard arrested,  Coburg separated from Gotha (in East Germany), and the family finances shaken.   Andreas' father was ill-equipped to handle the inevitable in a post-war Germany.  Andreas described his father as an escapist, unwilling or  unable to be a good husband and father and dealing with a father who was detained by the Americans.   Friedrich Josias' elder sister, Princess Sibylla, tried to help her brother with employment in Sweden,  Following the death of Sibylla's husband, Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf, in a plane crash in January 1947,  Friedrich Josias could have provided more of an emotional support to his widowed sister and her five children, the youngest of whom was 10 months old.  Instead, he fell in love with the children's nanny, Denise von Muralt.

Friedrich Josias' employer arranged for him to transfer to the shipping company's San Francisco.  He was accompanied by Denise, who had quit her job.  They married in San Francisco, where they lived for several years, before returning to Germany, and then to South America, where Friedrich Josias and Denise and their three children lived for more than decade.

Andreas was living with his mother and her family, when Victoria met and fell in love with an American soldier, Captain Richard "Dick" Whitten.  They were married in November 1947, and ten months later, Victoria gave birth to a daughter, Victoria Astrid,

By the time Andreas was 6 years old, he was fluent in German and English, the latter would come in handy on several levels as his stepfather was not fluent in German.   In 1948,  Dick received his relocation papers to return to the United States with his new family, eventually settling down in New Orleans.

Thus, the little German prince, second in line to the Coburg succession, was raised as an all-American boy, attending American schools, and largely forgetting his German.  Dick's job led him to positions in other parts of the United States, including Washington, D.C.   Growing up in the South, the young Andreas observed the injustices toward people of color.   He was also an Army brat, due to his stepfather's military positions.

In 1954, Duke Carl Eduard died, and was succeeded as head of the house by Friedrich Josias, but Carl Eduard's formidable wife, Duchess Viktoria Adelheid, and Herr Voights, the family financial advisor, would not turn over the Coburg Family Foundation to Friedrich Josias, who was deeply disappointed by their actions.

Andreas' mother was acutely aware of her son's destiny, and she encourage him to maintain a relationship with his father.  Neither she nor Dick would never speak badly about Friedrich Josias in front of his son.  In the mid-1950s, he was sent to Argentina to spend time with his father, and to get to know his stepmother and half-siblings.  Andreas was raised with strong "moral foundations," and was unable to compromise his views in order to gain his father's approval.  This became evident in 1961, when he traveled to Argentina to visit his father, only to learn that Denise was leaving Friedrich Josias, and returning to Switzerland with their three children.  That same day,  Friedrich Josias' new "prized possession," Katrin Bremme, 20 years his junior, moved in.       Katrin also accompanied Friedrich Josias and Andreas when they sailed from Argentina to Brussels as Andreas was planning to spend time  in Europe, meeting his Swedish cousins, getting to his his paternal grandmother in Coburg, and visiting his great uncle, Duke Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein, brother of both his grandmothers.

It was Fritz Holstein who believed that Andreas would be tied to the Coburg property, and with a sage-like view, suggested that "success in management of one's land was only possible when the owner felt one with his property."  This was sound advice, and Andreas would never forget it, when he took over the Coburg estate.

Andreas returned to New Orleans and enrolled at Louisiana State University.  He was not a good student, was more interested in GIRLS than his studies, and after one semester, he decided to re-examine his life.  He spent the summer in Coburg with his grandmother, and he soon came to a decision:  developing the link between his heritage and his land.  It was only after he returned to the United States that the decision became imperative.  It was the draft notice that would send him to Vietnam that led to Andreas making the decision to renounce his American citizenship, although he made it clear in his renouncement that he was not anti-American.  He was choosing his German heritage.

In Germany, he joined the German military, knowing that he would not be sent to fight in any war.  He also began the first steps that would eventually lead to a further disintegration in his relationship with his father, who was obsessed with Katja.  No one in the family liked her.  Andreas' Aunt Bylla (Sibylla) hated her for what she did to Denise.  She was also an issue at Friedrich Josias's employer, the Johnson Shipping company, in Hamburg.   Andreas' father and stepmother eventually moved to Schloss Greinberg, the family home in Grein, Austria, where Andreas, now the head of the family business, made sure they did not lack for anything.

Although Andreas' grandmother, Duchess Viktoria Adelheid had hoped that he would marry equally, she understood that this might not be possible as Andreas did not know German aristocrats.  He met and fell in love with a German commoner, Carin Dabelstein, a marriage that received approval from both his father and grandmother.

There are few similarities between Prince Andreas and his paternal grandfather, Carl Eduard.  Andreas offers no defense for Carl Eduard's decision to embrace National Socialism.  But the grandfather and grandson do share one thing:  both had to adapt to a new life, a new world, a new language.  Carl Eduard, who was known as Charlie, was a young British prince, who became the heir to Coburg after his first cousin, the Hereditary Prince Alfred, died, and the next male in line, the Duke of Connaught (and his son) chose to renounce in favor of Charlie,  the Duke of Albany.
Charlie, then a young boy at Eton, had to leave and move to Berlin with his mother.  The Duchess of Albany lamented that she had been raising a British prince, now she had to turn him into a good German.

Unfortunately,  Grandfather Coburg became a bad German, as his actions and beliefs would have serious consequences for himself,  his family and his property.  It would be his grandson, Andreas, who would rebuild the family fortune, who would regain family properties in Gotha, and turn over to his elder son, Hubertus, a healthy, well-established estate.

Andreas, the titular Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also repaired and renewed family relationships with siblings, cousins and other royal families, thus re-establishing the Coburg dynasty ... and, of course, it doesn't hurt that your first cousin is the King of Sweden.   Several years, Prince Andreas received an invitation to Buckingham Palace. He was accompanied by his son and daughter-in-law, and met the Prince of Wales who introduced them as his German cousins.   It was the first visit to Buckingham Palace by the head of the house of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha since 1936.

I did it my way is one of the best memoirs that I have ever read.  This is an honest, real and refreshing book, as Andreas has lived a life full of pathos, emotions and love.  Unlike his father and grandfather, Andreas has been successful in accepting and taking on his legacy.

The book is  well-illustrated, largely with photos from Prince Andreas' own family albums.

Although Andreas did it his own way,  he does take his readers on an exceptional journey through his own family tree -- we get to know his awesome mother, his dedicated stepfather,  as well as his Solms-Baruth grandparents and other family members.  Prince Andreas has lived a successful life. He has a happy, contented marriage, three children, two grandchildren, and a thriving estate ... the family business is now run by Hereditary Prince Hubertus.

I did it my way... the  Memoirs of HH  Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg was published by and is available from Amazon and   The Dutch bookstore, Hoogstraten, is also stocking book.

It is suffice to say that I really enjoyed this book ... and I recommend it without any reservations.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Books and more Books to commemorate the Queen's 90th birthday

If you purchase a book through one of my links - or use one of the search boxes to purchase ANYTHING from Amazon, I earn a few pennies for each sale ... and I mean it is a few pennies ... All pennies will go toward my trip to London in June!

The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in her Own words by Ingrid Seward

Ingrid Seward's book, The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in her Own Words  has been updated and is now in paperback.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Servant Queen and the King She Serves

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

King Constantine II looking for an English-language publisher

King Constantine II's memoirs have been published in Greek newspapers. A small market.   Now the king hopes for a more international market with an English-language edition.  It may not be all that easy because the book will not be a bestseller.  Of course, I would be interested, as will others who are interested royalty and history, but this interest will not generate into a huge volume of sales.  Being honest.

Translations are also expensive.   Fingers crossed!