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Questions and Answers: European royals edition

Earlier this month Royal Central announced that it would be doing a question and answer session on the royals of continental Europe. Our readers sent us their questions, and our Europe Editor, Brittani Barger answered them below.

Question: What will the new title of Princess Tessy of Luxembourg following her divorce?

Answer: Luxarazzi contacted the Grand Ducal Court about this very topic a couple of months ago to get clarification. Her title falls under the Nassau Family Pact (titles, styles and membership of the Grand Ducal Family held by a spouse (by marriage) are lost upon legal separation or divorce) meaning her title is not her property. Tessy ceased to be a Princess of Luxembourg upon the issue of the Decree Nisi in February. She is now can go by Tessy Antony (maiden name) or Tessy de Nassau but which has not been made clear. You can read more in detail here.

Question: Why is Haga Palace called that and where does the name come from?

Answer: After speaking with the Royal Court of Sweden, they explained that Haga was initially called “Barnens Palais” (the Children’s Palace) as it was built for King Gustav IV Adolf’s children. The name was changed in the 19th century to “Drottningens Paviljong” (the Queen’s Pavilion); it was named after “Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta (and Gustav III’s pavilion used to be called the King’s pavilion after Carl XIII),” the Court told me.

They also added, “From Oscar I’s time and onwards, the palace has been called Haga Palace since both the King and Queen started to live together in the palace.”

Haga Palace is located in Haga Park (a vision of King Gustav III), and many places throughout Sweden have “haga” in their name. So it is a relatively popular name for places in the Scandinavian country.

Look out soon for an article featuring the palace here on Royal Central!

Question: Is there a set protocol as to when a royal order sash is bestowed from one royal family to a member of another royal family? (Example: upon marriage, ahead of a state visit, etc.) Is there also a standard for ranks of order based on the status of another royal family member (for example, reigning monarch vs crown prince or princesses vs their spouses vs their lower ranked siblings)?

Answer: Each royal family has different protocols and rules for when and how royal orders are presented. They are usually at the discretion of the monarch. Often, the orders are given on outgoing and incoming state visits. So, for example, if the King and Queen of Jordan are on a state visit to Sweden, the King could present the Jordanian royal order to the King of Sweden; likewise, the King of Sweden could present the King of Jordan with the Swedish royal order. (King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden was gifted the Jordanian royal order in the past, and King Abdullah of Jordan has the Swedish royal order).

Orders are usually only presented to the monarch, their spouse and children. Although, the heir usually receives more orders than their younger siblings. An example would be Sweden where all three of the King’s children hold honours from Norway and Greece, but the Crown Princess holds honours from countries like Denmark and Monaco where her siblings do not.

Question: What’s the difference between a royal family and a royal house? Such as Spain is a royal family while Norway is a royal house.

Answer: A royal family includes the extended members of the family, but a royal house is only the those in the direct line to a particular throne. In the Netherlands, for example, the royal house includes the King and Queen, their children, the King’s mother, the King’s brother and his wife, and one of the King’s aunts and her husband. The royal family includes the King’s other aunts, cousins, sister-in-law and nieces.

In Norway, the only members of the royal house are King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and the Crown Prince Couple’s daughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra.

The royal family in the country consists of the Crown Prince Couple’s other two children (Prince Sverre Magnus and Marius Borg Høiby), the King and Queen’s daughter (Princess Märtha Louise), her children and the King’s sister, Princess Astrid.

Spain has a royal house (Casa de S.M. el Rey or House of His Majesty the King) that includes the King, Queen, their two daughters and the King’s parents – the former King and Queen. The sisters of the King and their children are members of the Spanish Royal Family.

Question: Exactly how are the reigning families of Europe related? How far removed is Victoria of Sweden from Prince William when he takes the throne?

Answer: Most of the royal families are related through Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, as well as King Christian IX of Denmark. Their descendants are currently on the thrones of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

For example, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is Queen Victoria’s great-great-grandson; she is also the great-great-grandmother to his first cousin, Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Additionally, she is the great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II and King Harald of Norway. King Felipe of Spain is her great-great-great-grandson.

King Christian is the great-great-grandfather of Queen Margrethe of Denmark, King Harald of Norway and Queen Elizabeth II. He is the great-great-great grandfather of Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, King Philippe of Belgium and King Felipe of Spain.

Many of these are distantly in line for the British throne with the exceptions of the Catholic King Felipe of Spain.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince William are distant cousins through their fathers (fourth cousins once removed). Queen Victoria is the great-great-great grandmother of the Crown Princess of Sweden and the great-great-great-great grandmother of Prince William.

  • Lauri Harner

    Wow, this is a great article and the answers provide quite a bit of information without being too much! Thanks for all hard work you put into this, I really look forward to seeing future questions!

  • Jo

    The current ‘Spanish Royal Family’ consist of 6 people: the Monarch, his consort and their children and currently, also, his parents.

    All the others (Felipe’s sisters and their children – also his brother-in-law Iñaki Urdangarin – Juan Carlos’ sisters and their children, hi brother-in-law and his aunt Anne of Orleans) are ‘Family of the King’.

    The ‘Spanish Royal Family’ should not be confused with the ‘Family of the King’, which refers to the extended family of the monarch.

  • antonia

    i never understand why jean baptiste bernadotte conquered the throne of sweden..Would you answer that? please..

  • Avery

    Luxarazzi posted a correction. It appears decree nisi isn’t enough for Tessy to lose her titles. Recently, she is Tessy Antony on a LinkedIn article but organizations and friends still refer to her as a Princess of Luxembourg. Perhaps her name will clarified whenever decree absolute is granted.

    • The decree nisi MAY not be the date of losing her title; however, she definitely will lose/has lost the title. There is no dispute that the title will be lost. That much is clearly defined in the Nassau Family Pact Bylaws and was confirmed by the Cour.

      The only dispute about the date is whether filing for a divorce and being granted a decree nisi meets the provisions of the Nassau Family Pact Bylaws as a “legal separation”, which it may. The definition of legal separation for the Pact needn’t necessarily be the same as the standards of a “legal separation” in the jurisdiction where the divorce is undertaken. It is unlikely that we will receive clarification from the cour on the specific date of legal separation as the Pact would define it, but there is no doubt that on the date of the decree absolute that the title, if remaining, is gone. The surname ‘de Nassau’ is also regulated by the Pact – Bylaws. Under it Tessy could not remain ‘de Nassau’ and if the divorce had been undertaken she would have needed Louis’ permission to retain his surname after their divorce. The last part concerning permission and the husband’s surname after divorce would apply to any ordinary woman filing for a divorce in Luxembourg not just the wife of a member of the GDF. As Tessy is filing in the UK she may well be allowed to retain the surname under British law; however, a British court has zero jurisdiction over foreign titles of currently reigning Sovereign Houses.

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