Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 28 February 2013

"To be or not to be" Thursday (Esther Mormaer the Lady Arcwhite)

The mysterious Ladies Archwhite have ruled their icy islands for hundreds of years. Their history is steeped in legend, rumour and superstitions. To add to the mystery, the personal identities and histories of the women seated on the throne have been disregarded in comparison to the almost avatar-likeness of the office they occupy. In their enthronement oath the Lady Arcwhite has to deny herself with the following words: "...as I take this seat, who I was has never been and who I am now is all that will be..."

We live in an era of technology and information and even ancient traditions bow if not just bend before it. The mysteries of the Ladies Arcwhite are therefore far more accessible than ever before. In today's post we will discuss the private person of Esther Mormaer, the current holder of the title Lady Archwhite but we will also flesh out a bit of the history around the impersonal office which almost has an identity of its own stretching through time. 

In the year 666 after suffering tireless raids from pirates and defending against invasion from the Kingdom of Britania without any assistance from their liege lord, the King of Scotney, the nuns from the Convent of the White Veil felt neglected and abused. They began working towards taking their governance into their own hands. Amidst politics ruled over by men the women from the isolated  convent decided to declare their "realm" independent from Scotney. The Mother Superior, born a peasant orphan named Barbara Haelström broke her 33 year vow of silence in order to dictate the Decree of the Veil declaring their sovereignty that was delivered to King Bruce of Scotney. The King replied by sending his response written in the blood of the young nun who brought the message to him. The bloody Royal Decree accusing Barbara of witchcraft and the King's immediate declaration of war, was shot into The Convent of the Veil by one of the governor of Scotney's catapults whilst attached to the rotting corpse of the nun. The bereaved and now bitter Mother Superior cursed him stating that the governor and "his" King of Scotney will not only lose their power over Arcwhite but that the King will lose everything he holds dear.

This rare medieval engraving depicts Barbara Haelström, the first Lady Archwhite recognized officially by historic record. It shows her signing the Declaration of the Veil. Very few artistic representations of the historic people occupying the office exist as tradition was to keep the identity and even the person completely secret from the public. 

The full scale invasion of the King of Scotney was stalled by the winter season which made travelling by boat in the arctic waters around Arcwhite impossible, so the islanders had more than nine months to prepare for the invasion. By the time the Scotney fleet arrived under the command of the Duke of Stirling, the entire island chain and its original Scotney armaments were under control of the Order of the Veil and the peasant farmers who owed no loyalty except to the kind ladies of God who served them for years. The invasion was a total failure and the Kingdom of Scotney had to reluctantly concede to Arcwhite's independence now also forced by the capture of the Duke of Stirling who was the heir to the throne of Scotney. The hostage Prince who commanded the invasion was released but committed suicide a few months later after accidentally killing his younger brother in a hunting accident. Foul play was suspected but remains unproven to this day. The bereft King died without an heir and the crown passed to a distant cousin. Many legends surround the story of how the sin of the King in conjunction with dark spells cast by the Mother Superior led to the young Prince's demon possession and murder of his brother. Some say it was God's judgement in defense of the betrayed nuns, others say the nuns themselves made a pact with the Devil. 

The photo above shows the original and now ruined Convent of the White Veil. It is considered the holiest shrine in Arcwhite and also of their separate branch of religion. It is still used for very specific and secret religious rituals on rare feast days. 

For their violent act the Mithrandir, Head of the Church of Europa, excommunicated the Order of the Veil saying: "...what they gained in governance they lost in conscience..." The Order of the Veil has never renounced their act and has never been accepted back into communion with the church. They instead formed their own off-shoot of religion and declared their autonomy from any church upon the recognition of their independent sovereignty. This was immediately celebrated with the investiture of the Mother Superior as the first Lady Arcwhite. She was now, Head of State and Church within the sovereign territory of Arcwhite and over all its legal citizens wherever they were in the world.

This now sets the foundation for the modern Nation of Arcwhite still ruled over by a current Lady Arcwhite. A figure, traditionally shrouded in secrecy, citizens of Arcwhite at times couldn't even vouch for certain that the person of the Lady really existed. The Order of the Veil, which is the de facto governing body, however was visible and occupied almost all administrative offices. Even the army of Arcwhite is presided over by a Lady of the Veil. Historically it was common for people to never see the Lady but she would interact with the outside world through official envoys sent out from the Order of the White Veil and blood relatives of the lady would even marry Royalty and Nobility from other nations.

Where in other monarchies the ruler is often referred to as Your majesty, Arcwhite employs no styles of address for their ruler or Nobility. Lady Arcwhite is just commonly referred to as My Lady and the same goes for all Nobility. The office of the Lady Arcwhite was given the style Your Illustrious Highness by common consensus of all the other monarchies in 1786 but it was refused and was never used by a Lady Arcwhite. The current Lady Arcwhite is reputed to hate it and apparently finds it demeaning as it implies a generic collective Royal authority that she believes does not exist. 

In 2010 all precedence was broken when the current Lady Arcwhite decided to leave her realm and to attend, diplomatically, the Annual Royal Christmas Ball. Even though her official status was an invited one, she was not expected to attend and shocked the guests with her arrival. To compound matters, her time of arrival was in breach of protocol. Diplomatic immunity denied any and all correcting measures and the faux pas was turned into a media spectacular by the Duke of Swann who welcomed her and placated the atmosphere of shock by opening the dance floor with her. The current Lady Arcwhite has seemingly made it her aim to set new precedents for public appearances and acting directly in representing her office and nation abroad. Be that as it may, in accordance with the secret workings of her office, very little is known of the current holder of the title. It is however on a lighter side considered that her fashion sense, ruling of her country and the managing of her private business enterprises have been of such a high standard as is rarely seen in the world today or its entire history. She has definitely even set herself far above any other Lady Arcwhite that preceded her. 

Shortly after the Mithrandir excommunicated the Order in the year 668 it was agreed by the nuns that the Mother Superior may and should take a husband to perpetuate the newly established "Royal House". It was from this moment that the title of Lady Arcwhite was officially established as the Head of State of the small island nation. The remaining members of the Order of the Veil remained celibate and devoted to God and to the responsibilities of government and ministry. The husband of the Lady Arcwhite, who is given the title Lord Skeksis, may be anybody she chooses as long as the Order of the Veil sanctions the union. Girls born from the marriage are immediately taken into the Order from where new Ladies Arcwhite are elected. Other members of the Veil are sourced through voluntary new recruits and the daughters of the sons of Ladies Arcwhite who are encouraged to "marry well". 

The only photo that exists of the former Lady Arcwhite, taken in 1952 after a press conference that did not allow photography. A reporter "stole" this opportunity and only released the photo after her death. 

The current Lady Esther Mormaer was born the daughter of the former Lady Arcwhite. Although extremely gifted she struggled her way through the training and the ranks of the Order like any other member as none are given favour above the others. The strict education and physical and martial training within the Order of the Veil is kept partially secret but is known to be of an unequaled standard. The highest rank in the Order below the Mother Superior/ Lady Arcwhite, is that of the Sister of the Silver Cuffs. Currently this rank is held by Esther Mormaer's niece Drealle. This office is seen as the Lady Arcwhites right hand and personal assistant, it does not however secure succession to the throne. Esther Mormaer also remains unmarried and might remain so as enough blood relatives exist within the Order of the Veil from which a successor may be gleaned. 

Drealle Mormaer is the niece and the current protege Sister of the Silver Cuffs to her aunt. She is the most obvious choice at this stage to succeed her aunt. She is the daughter of the former lady Arcwhite's brother James Mormaer and his wife Brenda Van Der Bilt a distant cousin of Queen Gloria of Normandia. 

Esther Mormaer has a flair for business on a scale of the D'Rothchilds and Van der Bilts. Her company Arc Investments, a company solely owned by Lady Arcwhite in her personal capacity, controls several international brands like Mine Magazine. The takeover of the magazine by her corporate gobbling machine made headline news in 2008 and sparked huge controversy. Arc Investments employs an aggressive technological policy where automation and digitisation takes precedence over human employment. As such the takeover of Mine Magazine boosted the magazine as a profitable international company but caused the loss of almost 10000 jobs. It is a two way street which helps in both directions to own a global business and to be a Head of State. Some might question the ethics but it works in favour of her country and her own pocket. 

Esther Mormaer is a successful business mogul and amongst others owns the Mine Magazine in her private capacity.

In 2012 another break with precedent and feather in the cap of the current lady Arcwhite, came when the nations of Arcwhite and Swann settled a centuries old contention. For more than fifty years in the early 1300's, skirmishes raged between the two countries partially sparked by renegade pirates seeking to pick off both sides of a larger vendetta. After this devastating period during the early 14th century AD, known as the Hundred Year Raids, King James of Scotney stepped in forcing a peace between the two nations in 1346. The King saw this as an attempt to make amends for the sins of his distant predecessor but also shared in the financial benefits of not having to play referee any more. The Treaty of Avalon was signed on the small island of Avalon bringing an end to the petty wars once and for all. One of the strange stipulations of the Treaty of Avalon stated that neither of the respective Heads of State of the two countries might set foot on the others sovereign territory. Even though tensions subsided in the centuries since then, it never completely abated and the Treaty of Avalon itself has caused tensions between the countries as it strained trade and immigration procedures between Swann and Arcwhite. 

For more than 600 years the Principality of Swann and the Island Realm of Arcwhite have had a cold relationship at best. This contention came to rest in 2012 with the signing of a new treaty and the Duke of Swann's State Visit over Christmas attending the Ball in his honour. Scotney again played host in assisting the peace, again bearing responsibility for its share in Arcwhite's troubled history. 

The Lady Arcwhite is required to always wear white when operating in an official capacity whilst upon "sacred ground" blessed by the Order of the Veil. It is thus easy to spot when she is within these holy spaces as often she will wear colour when operating outside them or in other countries. In this photo we see the Lady Arcwhite as she appeared wearing an official headpiece at the 2012 Christmas Ball. 

As we said little is known of her personal history and she rarely shares her own opinions. It is clear however that the title bears its own personality and is currently exhibited in such a way that has strengthened the Island Nation of Arcwhite and pushed it to its highest height. Whether it is Esther Mormaer or the Lady Arcwhite seems to have lost all relevance, The Icy Islands and their ruler have become a noteworthy force to be reckoned with.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Aquamarines)

Aquamarines are the light blue version of the mineral known as Beryl whose famous green variety is called Emerald. Aquamarines derive their name from the term "aqua"which means water as their colour alludes to the colour of the Mediterranean sea. The stone is more common than emerald and as such slightly cheaper but good quality gems of a deep blue-green shade can fetch very high prices. They are also more readily available in larger sizes than emerald and these ones can fetch extremely high prices. Now let as look at some of the most impressive sets in the Royal collections.

The tiara in the Imperial Collection that is least famous and seemingly least worn and with the most unknown history must be the parure of impressive Aquamarines and Diamonds. There is no photographic or written historic account of it predating Princess Odeliah's wearing of it. This does not however directly imply that she has been the only owner as we know that most of the Imperial records predating the 96 Revolution have been destroyed. Empress Crystobel has never directly commented on the parure but if she does in future we will report it on this blog. For now we will simply call it the Imperial Aquamarine Parure.

The Hanoverian Crown Jewel Collection includes an aquamarine parure set with very large and high quality specimens. The photo above shows  the current Grand Duchess wearing the parure which also includes earrings and a matching bracelet with a huge aquamarine, not shown. The Hanoverian Aquamarine Parure shows the strong links between the Hanoverian Royal House and the old Empire of Ruskiana. The set was a gift to Grand Duchess Sophia of Hanoveria from her Ruskian cousins, the Youssopoffs upon her marriage. Many years later her descendant would marry a Ruskian Grand Duchess and his daughter would marry into the Youssopoff family. For historic reasons the parure is part of the Crown Jewels and not private property of the Grand Duke. 

The old Ruskian Empire was and still is the world's leading producer of gem quality aquamarines. It stands to reason then that many of the spectacular sets of jewellery have their origins from Ruskian mines. Therefor it is appropriate also that the current heir to the Ruskian Imperial House would own one of the most impressive and historic aquamarine sets of jewellery. The Ruskian Imperial Aquamarine Kokoshnik consisting of rare grey pearls, diamonds and aquamarines, has its origins in medieval Ruskia. In the mid 1500's Ruskia was not yet an Empire but the most powerful warlord, Grand Duke Kiril Kirilovich ruled his small Grand Duchy from Muskovi, today's capital. He desired the aquamarine mines of his rival Romanov cousins, the Grand Dukes of Petrograd. Instead of war Kiril opted to make a "trade" in the form of a dynastic wedding. He married his daughter off to the Romanov heir who received titles and prestige and Kiril got the mines. In recompense for his daughter's "sacrifice" he gave her the Kokoshnik headpiece as a wedding gift along with lands and serfs to even further placate her new family. What Grand Duke Kiril did not bargain on was that her descendants would eventually become emperors of all Ruskiana, not those of her brother, his son. Through that line, the Kirilovich Aquamarimes found their way down to the current owner, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna. The Kokoshnik is complemented by a more modern choker and earring added to it as a full parure only a few decades ago. 

Queen Gloria was required to wear official jewels from the Normandian Crown Collection for her Investiture Ceremony as Queen. (see below) This ancient set of aquamarines and diamonds did not however have matching earrings. Queen Gloria immediately had aquamarine earnings made up to match the official set but ordered an entire parure along with it. In this photo we can see the complete new set as it was worn to the Duke of Swann's Anniversary Festivities early in 2012. The tiara is very modest in typical Van Der Bilt style and was made for that purpose as the official jewellery is very large and cumbersome.

Part of the actual Crown Jewels of Normandia is the very old and spectacular tiara and choker necklace. It can be considered the regalia of the Queen Consort of Normandia as there is no crown for such a queen. This medieval period set of jewellery dates from  the early 15th century. It incorporates the national light blue colour by being set with aquamarines but it is accented by yellow and white diamonds .

The Franconian Royal Family in pretence own some impressive jewellery left over through inheritance. One set is this aquamarine parure said to have belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette and originally formed part of a larger set that included a small coronet. It is however clear from the design of the tiara that the set has been altered and modernised over the years. 

The Swann Collection had an extensive feature towards the end of 2012.  The aquamarines, depicted above was mentioned but not discussed in detail. The parure includes a matching necklace not worn at the occasion where this photo was taken. The Peruvian Aquamarine Parure is relatively new and was made for the current Duke's mother. She received it as a gift from the Peruvian president in the 1980's on her and her husband's first State visit to the South Americanian country, just a month after their honeymoon. The Peruvian nation is the world's second largest producer of aquamarines and gave the gift in celebration of the newlyweds and the diplomatic bonds between the two countries. It seems appropriate that the current Duke's sister has on occasion worn the set as she has been involved in extensive charity work in Peruvia. The jewellery is seen as private property and as such might end up being the Princess's property in her own right one day. 

The Marlboro Platinum and Aquamarine Parure has also been featured in a previous blog. This rather modern set of jewellery was made for the 10th Duke's wife in the 1980's especially for the wedding of the Queen of Scotney and the Crown Prince of Britania.

It was inherited by the Duke of Marlboro's second son Sir Michael Jennings who married Infanta Isabella of Hispania. She is often seen wearing the aquamarines as in the photo above. It is not known whether the jewels will return to the Marlboro's after her passing or might stay with her descendants. 

The current pretender to the Ruskian Imperial throne also owns a set of aquamarine jewellery consisting of a necklace and earrings. Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna inherited them from her mother who brought them with her into her marriage as a dowry. 

The Princes Youssopoff's great wealth have afforded them spectacular jewels for centuries. The fact that they owned and now still manage several mines obviously also helps a little. Aquamarine mining have formed a large byproduct of some of the more industrial commodities extracted by the Youssopoffs and it stands to reason that the highest quality aquamarines have found themselves into the jewellery worn by the Princesses Youssopoffs over the years. This set predates the 1920's and hearkens to the formal splendour of the Pre Great War Court of Imperial Ruskiana. The aquamarines were mined from one of several mines owned by the Youssopoffs. 

The wearing of this tiara along with matching brand new earrings tipped the world media off to the seriousness of the relationship between Prince Felix and Princess Kirsten. She was seen wearing it on the arm of the Prince to the Pariseum Opera, before their engagement was even announced. It shows how jewellery can convey a very strong message to the trained eye. 

The modest Cartwright Aquamarine Parure is regardless of its size, quite stylish. It also boasts relatively large  Aquamarines of good quality. It has been in the family since the current Dowager Countess received it as an eighteenth birthday present from her extended family who was the Royal Family of Britania before the Empire. 

The D'Rothchilds also own a tiara and necklace set with aquamarines. The set reputedly is made from stones that originally formed part of the set owned by the Franconian Royal Family in pretence. However, no formal statement about it is published and the jewellery has only been worn by the Dowager and current Baroness D'Rothchild. 

The Argyle Demi parure does not include a matching tiara. The Countess Dysart seems to have received it a an engagement present from her fiance, the Duke of Argyle. The demi parure was made for his mother to celebrate her 40th birthday and includes aquamarines the former Duke won in a wager against Prince Nikolai Youssopoff. We will undoubtedly see much more of these aquamarines on the soon-to-be new Duchess. 

What do you think of Aquamarines and which set is your favourite? 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Wonderful Weekends (Lost Pre Revolution Photos)

We used to post State Portraits and official photos more regularly on weekends but haven't done so in a long while.Today however we will follow on last week's Hanoverian State Portrait and post two extremely rare photos. They were recently discovered in a drawer in the bedroom of the former Countess Dysart. The current Countess had her mother's apartments refurbished when the photos surfaced. The one was apparently taken by the Countess' mother at the last official event in the history of the United Empire, the fateful night in 1996 when the missiles struck Roswind Castle. The old Countess seemingly took the photo from 1996 herself and kept it all the years since the revolution. The other photo discovered is a copy of the formerly lost official photo taken of the Imperial Couple at the reception after their wedding in 1986. Hardly any records or photographs exist of the Imperial Period which makes both these photos an historic find of the greatest importance and of the very few photographic records of the emperor. To also consider that the 1996 photo was taken hours before the Emperor's death also makes it very sentimental and it is considered that the Countess might give the photos to the Crown Prince Imperial in memory of his father. 

Ageing of the amateur photograph taken in 1996 has yellowed it slightly and it is faintly out of focus. It does however show remarkable detail. The Empress wears the Imperial Diamond Tiara and the St Christopher Cross made from sapphires. The iconic necklace has never been seen since the fateful night the photo was taken. The photo is a truly remarkable find.

The other photo found in the Countess' posession was taken ten years earlier in 1986. It shows a much younger looking couple at the dance reception after their wedding. This is the only copy known to exist of the reception following the wedding. The only other photos of the former Emperor known to exist have been posted on the post featuring the wedding of Queen Crystobel and Crown Prince Christian. Follow the "wedding" label below for more on that.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

What's Up Wednesday (Dysart Argyle Engagement)

We are very happy to finally report on the much awaited happy engagement party of the Countess Dysart to the Duke of Argyle. The high society coctail party took place in the gardens of Glen Coe Castle in Scotney and follows on the resurging wave of Royal interest in the former Kingdom now Republic of Scotney. The sunny outdoor event took place this past weekend and also saw many of the other "it" couples flaunting their blossoming relationships. So we expect this engagement to be the first in a wave for 2013. 

The beautiful and very historical seat of the Dysarts of Glencoe played host to its owner and her soon to be husband, the Duke of Argyle. The event has fanned the flame of interest in the old monarchic system that used to rule over the now Democratic Republic of Scotney. The media attended in force to report on the event in order to feed the interest of the public and the president of Scotney sent his official congratulations on the government's internet social feed.

Some of the other dating couples arrived hand in hand. At left we have Madame Mairi D'Bacquemme with the Earl Cartwright of Britania. At right we have Madame Francine D'Bacquemme with the Duke of Marlboro of Britania. 

The formerly exiled Empress Crystobel has been welcome in Scotney since the government lifted its ban in 2012. She was happy to attend her friend's engagement but surely took the opportunity to make her presence felt in her former kingdom. She looked radiant in historic diamonds and a bright pink coctail dress. To the Empress' immediate left we see Donna Hernada y Aragon on the arm of the Viscount Hayz of Scotney. 

Then the guests of honour arrived. Lady Dysart looked bright and beaming in pink and white, wearing the Argyle Aquamarine Demi Parure, no doubt an engagement gift. The Duke seemed almost speechless as he just continued to smile. The union in marriage will combine the wealth and influence of two of Scotney's most ancient and wealthy noble families. Their future sway over economic issues and public opinion bodes very well for a possible restoration of the monarchy. 

Other guests included the Duchess of Lancaster in the pink right in the center and the Countess Dysart's sister, Lady Ferrox, in the green at the far right. Now we look forward to the wedding set to take place in September 2013. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Similar Ruby Tiaras)

It does sometimes happen due to fashion trends or even unintentionally that some jewellery end up looking much alike. We discussed this in a previous post where we compared two sets of emerald jewellery that were very similar in design and over all appearance. In today's post we will refer to two tiaras that can only be distiguished by the cut of the coloured stones. The one tiara is very famous and often worn by the wealthiest Royal in the world. The other is less famous but has been infamously worn by the so called "Punk Princess". Let us compare these two ruby tiaras. 

Empress Crystobel is known to love rubies more than any other gemstone and her combined collection of rubies is the largest in the world. Here she is seen wearing the tiara in question. This Tiara is called the Ruby Dowry Tiara and forms part of a much larger set. 

Some pieces of the larger collection of Rubies called the Crystobel Dowry Collection can be seen in the above photo. The rubies in the Dowry Tiara is said to have belonged to the wife of the first King of Scotney as an independent Kingdom. They remained uncut for centuries until Queen Crystobel I of Scotney had them faceted and set into this tiara. This is where the rumour began that the dowry tiara's design was copied. 

Princess Oktavia owns a very large historic collection of jewellery of which this early 19th century ruby parure is probably the center piece. She wears it here in a typical punk mode for a gala event in 2011. 

The Von Hohen und Silberstein princely rubies are more than 200 years old. The set consists of a choker necklace, bracelet, long sautoire necklace and the tiara. The rumour is that the Imperial Tiara was made to copy this older version belonging to the Von Hohen uns Silberstein family as Queen Crystobel of Scotney ordered her version of the tiara shortly after a visit from the Hohen und Silbersteins. The square rubies in the older tiara are far larger than thr round ones in the newer Imperial tiara. The new stones however are of a better quality and a more modern cut. 

Which one do you prefer and which wearer pulls it off more successfully?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Memory Monday (Revolution and War)

The only constant in the universe is change. It is inevitable that things adapt, change and grow and so do nations and countries along with the political systems they employ. History is filled with stories of great Kingdoms and vicious wars that shaped the world we know. For our history lesson today we want to flesh out more of this story that forms the backdrop of our current Royal Families. 

The Franconian Revolution 1734 

The first Kingdom to abolish their monarchy was Franconia in 1734. They had an internal revolution that ousted the King due to economic strain and inequality in the government system. The new Republic of Franconia that emerged over a few decades from the ruins of the "Old Regime" consists today of 3 semi autonomous states that fall within the greater country. The 3 states are the Free Province of Champagne, the Bishopric of Andor and finally, Greater Franconia. Within the borders of Greater Franconia we also find the 1996 addition to the republic of the formerly independent Principality of Monagask. 

Historians are divided on the causes and the justifications for this revolution. Historic fact is blurred by contradicting accounts and even blatant deception that was rife within the chaotic first few weeks. Wholesale slaughter characterised this initial anarchistic period of execution but ironically was exactly what gave the revolution the momentum to permanently change the course of the country. The popular historic view claims, in generalised terms that the monarchy of Franconia had grown greedy and excessive but also technically useless. The populous was starving, the military was losing wars and the ruling class was having parties paid for by exorbitant taxes. This summary has some basis in fact but the bigger truth is that lots of it was just propaganda and insidious gossip designed to incite the masses and to justify to the rest of the world, what was about to happen. Conversely, the less popular Royalist perspective questions these romanticised "facts". The King was kept impotent in a gilded cage by bureaucracy and misinformation, the army was forwarding political expansion on the behest of government policy, not the King's private whims and the state op the nation was more often than not kept entirely from the King's knowledge by deliberately diverting his attentions to protocol laden commitments at court. This seemingly designed tension then finally exploded into the infamous "Period of Execution" where after a few weeks even the initial leaders of the revolution found themselves being slaughtered.

A contemporary painting of the last Queen of Franconia. Dressed sumptuously in full court apparel with small coronet on top of the very fashionable hairstyle of the day.

The replica of the infamous Guillotine in the Bastion Prison Museum in Pariseum. An army of these instruments of execution by decapitation took the lives of thousands during the revolution. They were specifically designed for efficiency, not just in the act of execution but also in the processing of as many of the convicted as possible. The guillotine became the symbol of the bloodbath that was know as the "Period of Execution" and meant to also inspire respect and even terror toward the emergent "New Regime".

In hindsight it can be speculated that an insidious middle class of politicians and bureaucrats were seemingly working behind the scenes and are thus more to blame for the Franconian Revolution. They set the two dogs of commoner and aristocrat against each other and waited to side with the winner. Regardless of historic fact and assumption, the monarchy fell, never to be restored and after almost a century of recovery, Franconia became the Europan bastion of  the republic ideal. This initial revolution now set a precedence for future abolishments of monarchies, not through dynastic shifts or war but purely trough forcing the will of the people.

Some descendants of the Franconian aristocracy survive to this day but in a spirit of modern equality, do not flaunt the fact. Many, like the baronial family D'Rothchild and the ducal family of Champagne are upstanding citizens with vast wealth and powerful businesses that work to forward the country's economy and assist in charitable endeavours. There has however always been the faint murmur, bewailing the bygone glory of Franconia and the splendour of the "Courts of the King". Currently Prince Louis D'Pont Du Lac III waits in the wings as pretender to a throne that might never be restored but has garnered a fair amount of popular publicity in recent years.

In this photo taken at the Roswind\D'Pont Du Lac engagement party in 2012, we see the Franconian Royal Family in pretence. From left, the d'jour King, Prince Louis D'Pont Du Lac III, then the younger brother who got engaged, Prince Valmont D'Pont Du Lac and their sister, Princess Antoinette D'Pont Du Lac.

The Germanic Empire and The Great War 1936-1949

The Germanic Empire was the pre-eminent nation of its day, rivalled only by its neighbour and nemesis, the Ruskian Empire of the East. The former Confederate Kingdom of Syldavia had declared itself an Empire in 1825 upon the 500th anniversary of its ruling dynasty and its inclusion of the then, Duchy of Fulco-D'Este into its sovereign realm. This was at that stage, preceded by an aggressive yet subtle 10year expansion through conquest and treaty that established the full extent of the Germanic Empire. At its founding, the Empire included its own semi autonomous regions of ; Reichenthal, Thurn und Taxis, Bo'hemia and Greater Syldavia and newly added the Kingdom of Hanoveria by Treaty in the north, the subjugation of  the Grand Duchy of Serbieski in the south and the virtual annexation of Fulco DÉste in the east. The Empire which was a fanciful attempt at uniting all Germanic speaking peoples under one throne was politically structured as a de facto Elected Empire but this was in reality only on paper. In theory the Empire was run by a council consisting of the monarchs of each of the aforementioned "Germanic"regions. In turn the council was chaired by an Emperor or Kaizer, elected from the ranks of monarchs to serve as Head of State and Ruler of the Empire for life. Succession was governed by election at the death of the former Emperor. The problem  started when it became clear that the election process did not allow for unbiased fairness but in principle always tipped in the favour of the most powerful member state which inevitably was always Syldavia.

The full extent of the Germanic Empire at its height before the Great War can be seen in shades of green on the map above.

This political anomaly was overlooked by the very proud citizens of the very prestigious Germanic Empire and economy and prosperity was bolstered by a sense of duty and patriotism. Only the Grand Duchy of Serbieski  had the occasional protest rally but these were decisively quelled. It was the outside world and in particular the Emperor in Ruskiana who found fault and indeed saw opportunity for expansion of his own territory if the Germanic Empire could be destabilised. Two Empires and perhaps more accurately, two egos were about to plunge the world into a desperate war, the likes of which had never been seen.

Tensions grew, Serbieski sought clandestine help from the Empire of Ruskiana in order to assert Independence and it was duely given. This interference in internal politics soured diplomatic relation between the two empires even more. An then the spark that set the powder keg off took place in Fulco DÉste. The son and heir of the Arch Duke was shot dead by what was reported to be a Serbieskian separatist while taking part in an official Royal parade. The heartbroken and shocked Royal Family and people of Fulco D'Este wanted revenge and the situation soon broke out in what we call the Great War. Two clear sides quickely manifested in The Germanic Empire allied with the Kingdom of Romagna. These Axis Powers collaborated in subjecting Serbieski and in invading the neutral Switzer Confederacy. This was followed by direct attack on Ruskiana and Wallachia. The Opposition Powers allied with Ruskiana were the Kingdoms of Scotney, Britania, Wallachia, and Hispania and the Republic of Franconia. Arcwhite, Monagask and Normandia remained neutral along with the invaded Switzer Confederacy.

Reichspantzers or Imperial Tanks scoured Europa for enemies

Due to the Germanic Empire being a Confederacy, it required a central marshal government during the war. The office of Imperial Chancellor or Reichskanselier was thus created. The post was in effect that of a Prime Minister that submitted to the emperor on paper but in effect held all the power needed to make quick executive decisions without the encumbrance of Royal protocol or bureaucratic red tape. The post was given by direct decree to the preeminent army general in the nation. General Count Otto von Bismarck was raised to the rank of field marshal and given the de facto executive power over the empire. Now the Empire was to wage its self justified war of invasion, starting with the complete subjugation of the Serbieski insurrection and the invasion of the Switzer Confederacy. The Germanic Imperial army was the most advanced and efficient force known to date but the Britannian fleet was the "Ruler of the Waves". In the air it was any body's game as flight was a new technology but Ruskiana had the power of sheer numbers. More people died in the ensuing decades than ever before in the history of man. 

The first chinks in the Germanic armour appeared when Hanoveria dissolved its allegiance with the Empire and sided with the Opposition Powers. Hanoveria, regardless of being a Germanic nation could not reconcile itself with the invasion of a sovereign state without provocation. The Grand Duke also questioned the power of the Reichskanselier which had at this stage rendered the Kaizer all but obsolete. Hanoveria's break with the Empire was met with the worst air strike attack to date. The Hanoverian Blitz as it was know killed almost one tenth of the entire populous. Next came the official invasion of Ruskiana, and Farnconia. Wallachia stood its ground as best it could but the main resistance came from Franconia who kept the enemy at bay indefinitely. The final victory came when the United State of Americania joined the Royal Opposition forces in Europa and so turned the tide. 

Count Otto von Bismarck, Riechskanselier of the Germanic Empire is seen here in dress uniform for an evening function. he committed suicide in his bunker when it became clear that the war was lost.

After the decisive victory the Empire was disbanded. Syldavia was established as a separate independent Kingdom with the Crown of Emperor being stripped from the Kaizer and the new Crown of King being given to his grandson and heir. The ex-Kaizer was then exiled. Fulco DÉste became a Republic and so did Romagna. The stigma of the war led to both nations abolishing its monarchies. Ruskiana's losses in the war and the cost to the economy was blamed on their emperor and an internal civil war and revolution lead to the abolishment of their monarchy shortly after. Serbieski was established as an independent Kingdom in its own right which was all the people of the war torn region ever wanted. Reichenthal became the world's smallest Kingdom and the Principality of Thurn und Taxis and the County Palatinate of Bohemia were mediatized within the Kingdom of Syldavia. The Count Von Bismarck was post-humously stripped of rank and his titles and estates went to his nephew who is the ancestor of the current King of Syldavia.

So ended one of the darkest hours in history and the stage was set for the next chapter.

The 1996 Revolution 1996-1998

The marriage of Queen Crystobel II of Scotney to Crown Prince Christian of Scotney was probably the biggest turning point in the entire history of Europa. It was the height of the 1980's and the entire world was abuzz with prosperity and goodwill. The Great War was long forgotten and economies across the board were showing the results of hard work and years of relative diplomatic peace. Queen Crystobel II of Scotney, was an archetype "darling" of the world media, wealthy and the Head of State of a prosperous nation steeped in history. Her new husband was the handsome heir to the wealthiest monarchy on earth and the neighbouring Kingdom of Britania. The wedding was an unprecedented and as yet unmatched media extravaganza laden with official protocol. It led, upon Prince Christian of Britania's ascension to the throne, to the establishment of a new Empire as the two countries united under one crown. What some saw as the dawn of a New Golden Age other insidious powers saw as an opportunity to exploit for personal advancement.

This photo was taken at the "Wedding of the Century" between the Queen of Scotney and the Crown Prince of  Britania in 1986.

The United Empire of  Scot-Britania was established in 1993 and set the stage for what was supposed to be an economic powerhouse and united nation unrivalled in all the world. History was to prove that the stage was actually set for a hidden powder keg underneath the raised platform of the apparently glorious aspiration.

In 1996, months of xenophobic protests, labour strikes and parliamentary debates on economic concerns and military power sharing,  led to riots breaking out in the Imperial capital. These eventually sparked a 3-sided pseudo civil war between rioting citizen, the military acting on a self declared marshal law and Imperial Guards protecting what they considered the only legal authority namely the Imperial Family. The decisive point-of-no-return, occurred when a peace amidst growing tension was reached in April 1996 over Easter. This was a step towards a permanent resolution but was in fact going to last a mere two weeks. A massive Easter Celebration was held at Roswind Castle where the Royal Families of the world gathered to pay homage to the Emperor and Empress to show international solidarity for the Empire. It was also intended to strengthen the precarious peace. To this day, what led to the following events have been left to pure speculation as no military records exist but the fact remains that two Britannia-class fighters were scrambled and fired two missile strikes each into the Castle of Roswind. The explosions and fire led to the deaths of most of the Royals and the staff attending the celebration. This dropped the entire Empire into a full revolutionary civil war, almost led to a second Europan War and by extension caused the fall of several Royal dynasties. 

The capital City of Londinium burns while Riot Police lose all control during the revolutionary civil war known to history as the 1996 Bloody Revolution. Aside from the direct attack on the Castle, Royal Palaces and other government installation became the targets of angry mobs. It is a complete miracle that the Empress escaped with her son amidst the chaos but perhaps the chaos served as the perfect smoke screen as initially no ordered plan was in place from any real side. It was only in the ensuing months that a proper military marshal law came into effect and was even able to exert a form of order. 

The ruins of Nonsuch Palace in Britania is all that's left of the Imperial Summer Palace. This palace was raided by a mob who after looting, set it on fire. It was just left in this state of increasing decay until it was declared a world heritage site in 2006 along with what is left of Roswind Castle in memory of the lives lost during the revolution.

The Bloody Revolution caused the the downfall of the United Empire of Scot-Britania and the deaths of the monarchs of Normandia, Syldavia, Monagask, Swann and Hispania. The convalescing King of Serbieski died of a heart attack after hearing of his wife's death. This led to some of those nations abolishing their own monarchies. Outside of the Empire, Syldavia was worst hit by an ensuing but short lived civil war on its own soil. After the 96 Revolution only, Hispania, Wallachia, Swann, Arcwhite and Hanoveria retained their traditional monarchies but under a very strained atmosphere. Wallachia all but totally hid their venerated monarchy from the public stage. Hispania's new Queen was a young mother kept out of the public eye in an isolated castle for fear of assasination. Swann's Duke was in a coma and eventually passed away leaving the throne to his overwhelmed teenage son. Royalty as a concept had never fallen so far from grace and power.

The Emperor, Empress and their son were believed dead and  the new democratic age settled like a pall over the world. The new millenium was to tell an entirely new story however.

Empress Crystobel as she is today, at left, at her son and heir's wedding to Odeliah Sorgenfrei in 2010. Both survivors of the revolution have re-entered the public stage. If the United Empire, or indeed the independent nations of Scotney or Britania ever considered a restoration of monarchy, the Crown Prince Imperial, Cristian Victor of the United Empire would be the man sit on any one of the three thrones. As this blog post proves, nothing is certain and anything is possible. History-in-the-making however, is always exciting.

Wonderful Weekends (Hanoveria State Portraits)

It is tradition for a nation to release State Portraits to the public to commemorate an official State Visit. This is especially true for the symbolic rich constitutional monarchies of Europa. The State portraits of the Royal Heads of State are usually taken a few weeks or months in advance of the State Visit and the published for free to the public in the spirit of national patriotism. Copies would also be sent as a token of good will to the heads of State of the countries to be visited. 

The Hanoverian Grand Duke and his wife will be visiting the Kingdom of Hispania and the Principality of Wallachia in March 2013 and have released these State Portraits to the public today. In the tradition of our blog we post them here today on our former popular Sunday State Portrait slot. 

His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Hanoveria.

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Hanoveria in commemoration of their 2013 State Tour. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Stolen Emeralds!)

Today's post has been delayed due to the nature of the event having taken up most of every body's attention in the last day. Yesterday, an armoured car carrying the historic Scot-Syldavian Emerald Parure was hijacked, guards killed and the jewels stolen. The Duke of Swann is understandably shocked at the news of the theft of the historic emeralds and the very sad deaths of the security staff involved in the transport of the national treasure. The set of emeralds were on their way for their annual polish and maintenance when the robbers struck in the street as the guards got out to enter the jewellery workshops through a back door. The timing of the heist was of such a nature as to imply knowledge of the inside workings of the Royal Household.

The emeralds, that only enjoyed the public glare for the first time in over a decade last year when they were displayed for the purposes of this blog, have now seemingly been lost forever to crime. Investigations will obviously continue full force as the motivation behind the event seems to be political and not financial gain. However if the speculations prove to be true that they were stolen to convey some message of discontent by Syldavian anti-monarchists then we can be assured that they will probably also be sold on the black market to finance the separatist group's terrorist activities. The same separatist terrorists who detonated an EMP device in mid 2012 in the Swann capital are considered the main suspects behind the theft. Their agenda was made clear last year as being that of overthrowing the newly restored monarchy in the Kingdom of Syldavia. The Principlaity of Swann who is considered a political ally of Syldavia is thus being incited to respond in some way. The Duke of Swann has since yesterday declined to make a statement as yet on the events.

An archive photo of the full set of valuable and historic jewellery. If they are not recovered it will be seen as a great loss to history and the Principality but a greater loss is that of the lives of the faithful security staff.