FeaturesHistory

'Darling Mama': The Tsarina and her mother, Princess Alice

Princess Alix of Hesse, sixth child and fourth daughter of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and her husband, Ludwig IV, Grand Duke of Hesse, was six years old when her mother died on 14 December 1878, incidentally the seventeenth anniversary of the death of Albert, the Prince Consort. This effect of this singularly shattering event on the young Princess Alix can…
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Vienna to Versailles: Marie Antoinette's bridal journey

On 21 April 1770, a procession passed by the imperial summer palace of Schönbrunn, consisting of 21 state coaches, followed by 36 fine carriages, with a total of 450 horses and an accompanying personal suite of some 257 people. This was the beginning of a two and a half week journey for the future Marie Antoinette, already French Dauphine by proxy, from Vienna to Versailles. She was…
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The royal sweet shop

Situated between Abergeldie and Balmoral is a house and little shop which claims a charming association with Queen Victoria’s grandchildren. The shop was originally owned by Mr and Mrs Symon, who were related to Queen Victoria’s devoted Highland servant John Brown and a…
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Alix and Countess ‘Juju’ Rantzau: An Imperial Friendship

“She was a rare flower, too delicate for this world, but rejoicing others with her fragrance and cheering them on the way…” With these words, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia described the death of her friend, Julia, Countess Rantzau in a letter of 1901 to Princess Marie Bariatinsky, who had become her lady-in-waiting in 1896 and who became a friend in her own right, after the…
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A King's grave and his dogs

Uniquely among the early modern kings, Frederick II – King ‘in’ Prussia until ‘of’ Prussia was finally adopted in 1772, who was already known as ‘the Great’ by an admiring Europe – does not rest in the ancestral vault of the royal house to which he belonged…
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Royal Wet-nurses

With the birth of a new royal baby, I would like to explore the history of royal wet-nurses. Why were they once a perceived necessity? In historical terms, a wet-nurse would have been engaged for a royal baby and taken on as part of an official appointment. The wet-nurse might expect a pension or some kind of financial reward, and in some cases, her entire family could benefit. These…
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