Sunday, 22 February 2009

The British Royal Family and their Foreign Relatives, The last 1, 000 Years

The successor and eldest son of the current British monarch, Charles, will ascend the throne as King George VII and not as commonly believed King Charles III. He is English from his mother’s side and Greek from his father’s side.

1. Queen Elizabeth II, The British Queen (1952-) is married to Phillip Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh. He is a son of the late Princess Alice of Greece and Prince Andrew of Greece. He was 18 months in 1922 when the Greek monarchy was overthrown and his family were exiled. Interestingly his father was sentenced to death by the new republican Greek government in 1930.

His father, Prince Andrew of Greece, was also the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. Prince Philip’s own grandfather was King George I of Greece, the brother of Queen Alexandra, the current Queen’s Danish great-grandmother.

Phillip became a naturalised British citizen in 1947 (after 25 years as a Greek exile and 8 years in the British Navy) and at the age of 26 renounced his Greek royal title (as he was heir to the Greek throne in exile) and then married Elizabeth II the same year.

Prior to renouncing his Greek nationality and royal titles, his name had been Philippos Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksberg. After his marriage, his name and title changed to Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, Baron Greenwich, with the privilege of the name ‘His Royal Highness’, and made a Knight of the Garter. They had first met in 1934 and he started writing to her regularly in 1939 when she was 13 and he was 18.

Phillip Mountbatten is the maternal nephew of Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy to India, who changed his surname in 1917 from the German ‘Battenburg’ to Mountbatten to hide their German origins.

It was also in 1917 the British royal family altered their surname to ‘Mountbatten-Windsor’. It had previously been ‘Saxe-Coburg Gotha’, a German name they had been known as since Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in the 19th Century.

Queen Elizabeth II is also the daughter of the late Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother (who died in 2002 aged 101) and had a rich and proud Scottish heritage stretching back several generations.

2. King George VI (1936-1952), the predecessor and late father of Elizabeth II, was the son of Queen Mary of Teck from Germany.

3. King Edward VIII (1936), the older brother of George VI and uncle of Elizabeth II, was married to Wallis Simpson from the USA. Interestingly she was twice divorced before marrying Edward. They had wished to marry when he was still a prince and she had been introduced to both his parents, his siblings and other members of his family in the early 1930s but had decided against marriage at that point.

The British Constitution was not against a marriage of this kind, but ‘’convention’’ did not permit a presiding monarch to marry a divorcee and he refused to part from her. The result was to relinquish the throne in 1936 (after only 325 days of ruling the country as king) and leave England with her. They married the following year.

4. King George V (1910-1936), the father of both Edward VIII and George VI, was the second son of Queen Alexandra of Denmark and the second and last member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Anglicised German royal family.

He initiated the current House of Mountbatten-Windsor. The name ‘Windsor’ itself was the Anglicised form of the German name ‘De Wetten’, the original surname of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband.

5. King Edward VII 1901-1910), the father of George V was the son of the German Prince Albert. He was the first member of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Anglicised German royal family and had a very heavy German accent.

6. Queen Victoria (1837-1910), the last member of the House of Hanover from Germany.
She herself was the daughter of the German Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Saalfeld and Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent, who was himself from the German House of Hanover.

Whilst her father, Edward Augustus, was a son of King George III, her mother was the granddaughter of King George III, making her husband also her biological uncle at the same time.

Her parents had been forced to marry in the search for a living heir to the British throne as the presiding monarch of the time, King George III, was in his eighties and likely to die any minute, whilst his children were equally not so young.

Interestingly, Queen Victoria was Edward’s first and only child, despite living with another woman for several years (who he never married) although his wife had had a child, Sophia, much earlier with another man, whom she also may not have been married to. In later life, Victoria’s first grandchild, the only one her German husband, Prince Albert, would see with his own eyes, was Kaiser William of Germany.

7. King William IV (1830-1837) was the last king of the House of Hanover from Germany and the older brother of Queen Victoria’s father, Edward Augustus, the Duke of Kent. He was married to Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen of Germany.

The couple had wed for heirs alone, and only when William was in to his sixties. They had daughters who lived no more than a few hours. Whilst William IV was unsuccessful in producing children the standard way (marriage), he had up to ten illegitimate children by his mistress, Dorothea Jordan. They were legitimized during his short reign.

8. King George IV (1820-1830) was a proud German from the House of Hanover and the eldest son of King George III and during the last few years of his father’s reign was known as Prince Regent. He was married to Queen Caroline of Brunswick, who was both half-German and half-Welsh.

The couple later became estranged the following year and permanently separated. They nevertheless had a daughter, Charlotte, who died during the lifetime of both aged twenty-one in 1817.

George IV, however is best remembered for two main episodes in his life; his illegal marriage to a Catholic woman and his attempts at preventing his wife to attend his coronation both as a queen and as a normal participant in 1821.

9. King George III (1760-1820) was a German from the House of Hanover, but the first to be born in England and the first to speak English as his native language. He married Princess Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz-Mirrow of Germany, who was herself of Spanish Muslim descent.

He is largely remembered as an epilepsy sufferer, occasionally talking to trees, making unusual predictions and becoming a pathetic recluse even as king in his later life. Palace officials placed him out of the public eye to protect the interests of the British monarchy.

10. King George II (1727-1760) was a German from the House of Hanover and never developed an English accent. He came to England as an adult and as a German prince when his father was invited to become King of England.

11. King George I (1714-1727) was the first German monarch to sit on the English throne and was directly from the House of Hanover and never learnt to speak English. During most of his reign he spent more time in Germany than he did in England.

He brought two foreign non-German mistresses, several close family members, an entire royal assemblage of friends, acquaintances, ministers, advisors and other personnel, but excluded his wife.

She remained in a room in her native Germany secluded and isolated from the outside world since 1695 and remained so until her death in 1726. Her crime has been adultery with a butler (although this was later found to be false).

12. Queen Anne (1702-1714) was married to Prince George of Denmark. The unfortunate monarch endured 17 stillbirths, but with no living heir. Her only child to survive birth, a son, died in 1712.

13. Queen Mary II (1688-1702) was married to Prince William of Orange of the Netherlands, but upon coming to England the Dutch Prince William became King William III. He was also the grandson of King Charles I, an earlier British monarch.

14. King James II (1685-1688) was Scottish from his father’s side and Spanish from his mother’s side.

15. King Charles II was married to Princess Catherine of Braganza of Portugal (1660-1685). His more famous brother-in-law was Louis IV of France (1643-1715), helped finance his reign with, whenever Parliament developed differences with him.

16. Richard Cromwell (1658-1660) was English from both parents. After Parliament removed him from office in 1660, he fled to France but returned later under a different name and few English people mourned or missed him when he died years later.

17. Oliver Cromwell (1649-1658), the Oxford-born republican and ‘English gentleman’ who became ‘Lord Protector’ was English from both parents. Interestingly, he was styled ‘King Oliver or King Cromwell’ since he ruled like a royal and his period of governance is also known as the ‘Cromwellian Monarchy’.

Despite being a ‘strict Christian’ and patron of adherence to Christianity in the form of a movement then known as ‘puritans’, Cromwell ordered the massacre of Irish rebels in Ireland after the latter suffered defeat (approximately 100, 000 were slaughtered). Among his other acts was to ban Christmas and dissolve two separate Parliaments when they differed from his own opinions.

18. King Charles I (1625-1649) was married to Queen Henrietta Maria of Spain

19. King James I (1603-1625), the Scottish King of England (and previously King James VI, King of Scotland 1567-1603), was married to Queen Anne of Denmark

20. Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603), the so-called Virgin Queen may have been English from both parents.

21. Queen Mary I (1553-1558), the daughter of the Spanish Queen Catherine of Aragon, was married to King Phillip of Spain.

22. Queen Jane Grey (1553) was English from both parents. She was Queen for nine days and was executed by Queen Mary I, her successor, who was also responsible for ousting her from the throne.

23. King Edward VI (1547-1553). He was at one stage engaged to Princess Mary of Scotland (later Mary Queen of Scots), the engagement broke off only because of animosity between their two respective nations.

24. King Henry VIII (1509-1547) was once married to a Spanish princess (Catherine of Aragon), and another time to a German (Anne of Cleves).

25. King Henry VII (1485-1509) was a native of Wales

26. King Richard III (1483-1485) was English from both parents.

27. King Edward V (1483) was English from both parents. The son of King Edward IV and the twelve-year-old boy-king and his younger brother (known as the ‘Princes in the Tower’ disappeared the same year. His uncle, King Richard III, succeeded him soon after declaring both of them as ‘illegitimate’ offspring of their father.

28. King Edward IV (1461-1483) was the son of a French princess.

29. King Henry VI (1422-1461) was married to the French princess, Margaret Anjou

30. King Henry V (1413-1422) was married to the French princess, Catherine of Valois

31. King Henry IV (1399-1413). His second wife was the Spanish princess, Joanna of Navarre who he married in 1403.

32. King Richard II (1377-1399) He was married to Anne of Bohemia, a German princess and later the French Princess, Isabella of Valois. He never had any children.

33. King Edward III (1327-1377). He was the son of Queen Isabella of France.

34. King Edward II (1307-1327), the homosexual monarch was the son of the Spanish Queen, Eleanor of Castile. His partner was Piers Galveston, a Frenchman.

35. King Edward I (1272-1307) was the son of the French Queen, Eleanor of Provence

36. King Henry III (1216-1272) was the son of the French Queen, Isabella of Angouleme

37. King John (1199-1216) was the son of Queen Eleanor of France. He also had two half-sisters from his mother’s first marriage to a French King.

38. King Richard I (1189-1199), the half-English homosexual monarch was married to the Spanish Princess Berengaria of Navarre. He spoke little English and spent a total of nine months in England (despite two coronations) and preferred life in France.

He once said, ‘I would sell London, if I could find someone rich enough to buy it’. His male partners included King Phillip of France (in his youth) and Jean Blondel, also of France (in his adult years and until his death)

39. King Henry II (1154-1189) was the son of Count Geoffrey of Anjou, France and Queen Matilda.

40. Queen Matilda (1141) was the daughter of Princess Maud, a Scottish princess, and she herself was later married to Emperor Henri V, the Holy Roman Emperor.

41. King Stephen (1135-1141, 1141-1154) was the son of Count Stephen of Blois, a French aristocrat and veteran of the First Crusade and his mother was the French Princess Adela (an ex-nun forced to marry to produce an heir).

Adela was herself the daughter of William the Conqueror, an earlier French king of England. When she and her family received the news of her husband’s death in battle against the Muslims, they were overjoyed.

42. King Henry I (1100-1135) the British-born Norman monarch was French from both his mother and father’s side. His mother was Queen Matilda of Flanders in France. His first wife was the Scottish princess Matilda and his second wife was Princess Adeliza of Louvain (now in Netherlands and Belgium).

Although he had only one son from his wife, Arthur (who drowned in 1120 during his father’s lifetime), he is known to have produced up to thirty-five other children and possibly dozens more from several mistresses, many of whom were not English.

43. King William II (1087-1100) was a Norman French king of England. He never married, never had any children and was among the most despised monarchs in British history. He is also thought to have been a homosexual.

His father’s third and favourite son, he had a colourless reign, double crossing first his father at the time of his death, then his older brother for the throne a few years into his reign and after that the Barons and ordinary laity who had helped him secure kingship and retain it against others more worthwhile than himself.

Excessive taxation, self centred policies and aims as well as despotism ruined his image and damaged his credibility in the long run among the very people who once believed in his ability to govern them correctly and justly.

He was killed by a stray arrow whilst hunting in the royal forest by a foreign archer, who fled to France immediately afterwards. Few thought it was an accident, and even fewer of his subjects were sad to see him go.

44. King William I the Conqueror (1066-1087), the illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was a Norman French king of England and at the time of accession, the greatest general in Europe. He was also equally known as William the Great and William the Bastard.

He was also a descendant of the Nordic Viking monarch and tenth century pirate, King Rollo of Normandy, who was given the province in 911 as a gift to leave the rest of France then known as Gaul alone from further invasion.

45. King Harold II (1066) was the son of Princess Gytha, a Danish Princess and a near relative of the Norman French King, Edward the Confessor. He was killed in battle by a relative, William the Conqueror, but not before slaying another distant relative, Tostig of Norway, in an earlier battle.

46. Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), the Virgin King was a Norman French monarch of England, whose royal court was styled on Norman customs, had Norman advisors and made French the royal language of the country.

He was so named ‘The Confessor’ because of his strict adherence, passion, excess dedication and strong attachment to Christianity. He was also the son of the French Queen, Emma of Normandy with whom he had fled to Normandy soon after his father’s death in the early 11th Century and remained there for most of his childhood and the greater part of his adult life.

He was also the half brother of King Hardicanute (who invited him to the royal court in England as his personal guest in 1041, which was refused) and King Harold I, both earlier Danish Kings of England. He was also the stepson of King Canute, the greatest Danish monarch of England.

47. King Hardicanute (1040-1042) was the fourth, last in succession, most despised and deeply unpopular of all Danish Kings of England. He was quickly assassinated and few, if any, mourned his passing.

48. King Harold I (1035-1040) was the third Danish King of England, less able than his father and even less willing and eager to rule wisely and justly over his largely foreign subjects.

49. King Canute (1016-1035) the Great was the second, yet most well known Danish King of England as well as the most successful son of King Sweyn. Prior to being King of England, he was also King of Sweden.

He consolidated his control over England (after considerable bloodshed and atrocities) with more leniency than many of his earlier predecessors and ruled his new dominion with surprising success.

50. King Sweyn (1013-1014) was the first Danish King of England. It is said, his interest in conquering England was spurred on by the horrific slaughter of his sister on British soil by native soldiers.

51. King Edmund I (1016) Ironside may have been English from both parents.

52. King Ethelred (978-1016) the Unready. His third and final wife was the French Queen, Emma of Normandy (1002), who later married the Danish King of England, Canute the Great.

He was also the father of King Edward the Confessor, who fled from England along with his mother, Emma, to Normandy, France where her near relatives resided after the successful Danish conquest.

Interestingly, King Ethelred is recorded in history as England’s first truly evil monarch and the most fearful in successfully subjugating and containing the Danish threat personally.

He was in part also responsible for the brutal killing of his predecessor, the popular young monarch, King Edward the Martyr, who was assassinated after just three years on the throne, on the orders of Ethelred’s mother, so as to award Kingship to Ethelred after him.

Naturalised English Monarchs

King Charles I (1625-1649)

In what way was King Charles I English? Scottish-born King Charles I, was Scottish from his father’s side and Danish from his mother’s side. The Stuart dynasty that he stemmed from was Scottish in origin and had been ruling Scotland for centuries prior to his birth.

When Charles was born in 1600, his parents were King and Queen of Scotland. His father was King James VI and only after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, did he become King James I of England.

Queen Victoria

She was born Viktoria Alexandrina Saxe-Coburg to German parents. Named after her mother, Viktoria and her Russian godmother, Alexandrina, she was in her early years known only as ‘Drina’ (short for Alexandrina).

German was the first language she learned and was taught and only started English from the age of three. In later years, her chief confidants (outside of parliamentary advisors) were her Uncle Leopold of Belgium (after whom she named a son), her Hanoverian uncle, King William IV and later her German husband, Albert.

She was also known as the ‘Grandmother of Europe’ because her offspring and later grandchildren married into several royal dynasties across Western Europe during her long reign. She herself was the mother of nine children and the grandmother of forty-one children altogether.

All nine children married people who were not English and eight married spouses who were not even from the British Isles, the sole exception was John Douglas Sutherland Campbell and he was a Scot.

She had several of her grandchildren similarly married foreign monarchs with her consent and encouragement. Her eldest daughter was the mother of Kaiser William of Germany (1858-1941) and the last Queen (Czarina) of Russia was Victoria’s granddaughter. Unfortunately for Victoria, her husband and four of her nine children died in her lifetime.

Her children married foreigners-

Her eldest child, Princess Victoria (1840-1900) married Frederich III, German Emperor and King of Prussia. Their eldest child was Kaiser William of Germany (1858-1941).

Her third child, Princess Alice (1843-1878) married Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, a German prince.

Her fourth child, Prince Alfred (1844-1900) married the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. Their daughter was the last Czarina of Russia (1863-1918)

Her fifth child, Princess Helena (1846-1923) married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Augustenburg, another German.

Her sixth child, Princess Louise (1848-1939) married John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, a Scottish non-royal.

Her seventh child, Prince Arthur (1850-1942) married Princess Louise Margerete of Prussia, another German.

Her eighth child, Prince Leopold (1853-1884) married Princess Helena Frederica of Waldeck and Pyrmont, another German.

Her ninth child, Princess Beatrice (1857-1944) married Prince Henry of Battenburg, another German. He was the brother of Prince Louis of Battenburg who was in turn the future father of Louis Mountbatten.

Furthermore, Prince Louis of Battenburg, who adopted British citizenship in 1868 at the age of fourteen later married a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, but was still forced to resign from the British navy when World War I broke out because of resentment over his German origins.

In addition, he also admitted committing adultery with Lillie Langtry, a French socialite and entertainer in addition to fathering her lovechild, whilst married to Queen Victoria’s granddaughter.

Interestingly, Lillie Langtry had similar affections for King Edward VIII, who was reputed to be the actual father of her child, but was saved from public embarrassment by Prince Louis’s admission of guilt.

Among her grandchildren the foreign monarchs included,- Queen Sophia of Greece, Maud the Queen consort of Norway, Marie the Queen consort of King Ferdinand of Romania and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain.

Why did the United Kingdom invite a German to become King of England in 1714?

It was two centuries earlier, the only surviving daughter of the then King of England, James I, Princess Mary (b. 1596) married Prince Frederich V of the Palatine in Germany in 1616 at the age of twenty.

She left behind both parents and her younger brother, the heir to the throne, the future King Charles I, who became king nine years later in 1625. Her older brother, Prince Henry, had died of disease aged eighteen only a few years before.

Despite support from her younger brother, King Charles I of England, her husband lost his lands and much of his title in subsequent battles with his adversaries. At the time, there did not seem much significance to the marriage.

One of her children was the Half-German, Prince Rupert, a veteran of the Thirty Years War fought largely in German territory and was the chief general in the English Civil War on the royalist side in the 1640s.

The cause had been partially due to religion and by 1688, at least three British monarchs had been Catholic that century, that had been three too many and the country now wanted no more Catholic kings.

The real heirs however were all Catholic and had already made their presence known so the country looked elsewhere for a suitable royal bloodline, at first the daughters of the last Catholic monarch, James II, filled the void, but neither produced living heirs to succeed them despite several pregnancies.

It was later in the next century, the German connections, who were conveniently Protestant, suddenly became more relevant and tasteful as plausible monarchs in place of the Catholic English heirs.

The most significant member was Princess Sophia of Hanover, a committed and eager Protestant German granddaughter of the then forgotten Sixteenth Century German Princess Mary, who herself never even dreamed nor desired to become Queen of England.

Princess Sophia, her granddaughter however, was already in her seventies when offered the English throne in 1712 as the heir presumptive when Queen Anne of England lost her only son and heir to disease that same year.

Sadly for Princess Sophia, who had been groomed for succession and looked forward to becoming the next monarch of England, Queen Anne outlived her and died in 1714 and childless despite at least twenty stillbirths.

The next heir, George I, the eldest son of Princess Sophia and then Elector of Hanover, was less than energetic in assuming royal authority over his British subjects and delayed coming to England for seven weeks after becoming King.

He brought his grown up son and daughter, a stream of advisors, two mistresses (one of whom was Turkish) but not his wife with whom he was estranged to and would remain so until her death.

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