A week out from the Invictus Games, the Royal Family has racked up a fair bit of international news thanks to the international travel of the Queen’s children. Let’s start with the Prince of Wales’s visit to Malta for the 75th anniversary of the George Cross, with which the island was awarded in 1942 by George VI for Malta’s heroism and service during the Siege of Malta from 1940-1942.
Next month marks the 70th wedding anniversary of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh and, as such, we’ll cover all that brought about the original 1947 pairing. But ahead of that I thought it was fitting that there was a post on Prince Philip’s parents, particularly since his origin story isn’t particularly well-known. His lineage is unique in the context of the British Royal Family and his entry into the House of Windsor was perhaps the most dramatic in its history, quite a bit of which had to do with his parents and siblings.
So, who were they? His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and his mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg. A couple years ago a guest at Buckingham Palace remarked that, like Philip, they were also Greek, to which he responded that he actually didn’t have a drop of Greek blood. That started a question in the papers as to whether that was true and the answer is, well yes, but you’d be forgiven for not knowing that given the styling of his father’s name.
Isabelle of Valois was born on November 9, 1389 to Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. Though she would eventually become the eldest of her parents’ children to reach adulthood, at the time of her birth she joined an older sister, Jeanne, and followed a son, Charles, who died as an infant. Jeanne died in 1390 and was followed by another Jeanne in 1391, Charles in 1392, Marie in 1393 and Michelle in 1395. These would make up the siblings that Isabelle grew up with before her first marriage.
There’s one piece of royal news from a couple of weeks ago that I just never got around to covering: the Duke of Cambridge posing the question of drug criminalization during a recent engagement with the Spitalfields Crypt Trust. Speaking with three people who have benefited from the drug addiction charity’s program, he said:
“Can I ask you a very massive question? It’s a big one, there’s obviously a lot of pressure growing in areas about legalising drugs and things like that: what are your individual opinions on that? I know it’s a big question, but you seem like the key people to actually get a very good idea as to, you know, what are the big dangers there. What are the feelings?”
The story of George I’s marriage to Sophia Dorothea of Celle sounds like the plot of fiction, or at the very least, as though it’s from another time. It’s a strange, barbaric tale, one which gave Great Britain its second ever divorced monarch. Unlike Henry VIII, George I never remarried, but he did found the House of Hanover. Sophia Dorothea would never be crowned queen, but her son would become George II and she is a direct ancestor of every British monarch since.
As expected, Meghan Markle joined Prince Harry for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games last night. After Harry spent the day attending the finale games for a number of tournaments, he gave an impassioned speech during the event, calling on participants to help pave the way for other veterans and service members and promising to see everyone again for the 2018 games in Australia.
After the excitement of the Invictus Games opening ceremony and the appearance of Meghan Markle at a tennis match on Monday, I was half expecting news coming out of the rest of the week’s events to die down and have been pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t. Harry has been greeted like a rockstar everywhere he’s gone, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden made a stop, and one toddler briefly became internet famous thanks to stealing Harry’s popcorn. Let’s get into it.
We’ve talked about Elizabeth Woodville’s wedding date, her siblings and what the significance of her filling the role of Edward IV’s consort was before, but we’ve never just straight up covered her life from beginning to end. Elizabeth has seen a surge in popularity over the last decade, which doesn’t surprise me – it’s honestly more surprising that it took this long for her to get trendy. She had two husbands, 12 children and seemingly nine lives. She was a commoner who married a king, accused of witchcraft and sensationally beautiful. She lived through the reigns of five kings, was mother to another queen consort, attached to one of history’s biggest murder mysteries and may have ended her days under glorified house arrest. In short, there was a lot going on.
A few weeks ago we covered the 1644 flight of Henrietta Maria of France from England to France in the middle of the Civil War. Her departure came on the heels of giving birth to her ninth and final child, a daughter she named Henrietta Anne (“Minette”). The Princess remained in England under the care of guardians for two years until she was spirited out of the country in the summer of 1646 to join her mother in France.
Her escape was like something from an adventure novel – the trusted noblewoman put in charge of her, Lady Dalkeith, disguised herself as a hunchbacked French peasant and passed off Minette as a boy named Pierre. Aided by servants who waited three days to sound the alarm that they were gone, the two managed to leave the country unscathed despite Minette’s insistence on telling everyone they encountered that her name wasn’t Pierre, but “Princess,” and her real clothes were much nicer. A girl after my own heart.
Prince Harry brought an unexpected guest with him to an Invictus Games event today – Miss Meghan Markle. After Meghan’s attendance at Saturday night’s opening ceremony, I was leaning towards the thought that we probably wouldn’t see her again until the Games’ close on the 30th, if at all. And yet, lo and behold, here she is, sitting directly next to and holding hands with Harry at an official royal engagement.