Let’s not talk about Sussexit. Instead, let’s catch up on literally everyone else in the Royal Family, because surprisingly there’s been a fair bit going on. Most of what follows is from the last week, with a few tidbits that date back a little earlier but were lost in the Christmas shuffle.
Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, has garnered himself a reputation for propriety. At his worst, he is dull and responsible for some of the dreariness of his wife’s court. At his best, he can take credit for moving his wife away from the worst qualities of the House of Hanover and helping correct the reputation for gambling, womanizing and excess that defined the reigns of George IV and William IV.
As noted on Monday, we’re taking a look at the daughters of Empress Frederick (eldest daughter of Queen Victoria). Today we’re going to cover the second of four German princesses: Victoria of Prussia.
The most famous of Empress Frederick’s children is without a doubt Kaiser Wilhelm II. Ironically, this would also be the child with whom she had the worst relationship, for all told she produced eight children, six of whom reached adulthood. A year ago, I posted about her daughter, Sophie, who would end up marrying into the Greek Royal Family and became the Queen of the Hellenes in the lead up to World War I. Over the course of this week, we’re going to take a look at her three other daughters: Charlotte, Victoria and Margaret.
And so we turn now to one of my faves, Sophia of the Palatinate, a woman who, had she lived only a few weeks longer, would have succeeded Queen Anne on the throne. It is because of her that the House of Hanover was founded and she’s the line’s true matriarch, making her a direct ancestor to the current queen and the rest of today’s Royal Family.
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.
On Sunday, we examined the religious friction that defined the Stuarts, finally prompting the Glorious Revolution. The story ends with the death of Queen Anne in 1714 and the end of the Stuart line, but it’s worth zooming in on this time and examining how extraordinary the beginning the House of Hanover truly was. Echoes of it, further cemented by anti-German sentiment in the 20th century, can still be heard today in how we talk about the House of Windsor and its members, from Prince Philip joining the British Royal Family in 1947 to Earl Spencer’s eulogy of his sister in 1997. So, here’s what happened.
After a whirlwind five days, the final day is upon us. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Berlin this morning for their last few engagements in Hamburg and then they head back to the UK. Considering this trip has been on the horizon since the early spring, it’s hard to realize that it’s already behind us, but here we are. In the last few days we’ve seen nine outfits from Kate, five cities, three sights of Prince George and Princess Charlotte at airports and one meeting with Chancellor Angela Markel where she wanted to know how much German Kate spoke (hint: none).
I’m a little late to the party, but before we cover today’s engagements in Hamburg we need to wrap up last night’s rather fabulous reception in Berlin. If you missed it, you can catch up on Heidelberg here.