Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Fun Fridays (Royal Recreation and Sport)

The lives of Royalty is everything but "normal", yes they have jobs and "work" but not like most people. This also counts for the topic of recreation. Often what the general populous might see as recreational, like going to the movies or dressing up and going out for dinner, is exactly what Royalty consider to be work.

Princess Augusta at a film premiere.

A typical example of this antithesis can be noted in the famed appearances of Royalty at film premieres. It would be a dream for a member of the public to appear on a glamorous red carpet and then to do so to watch an entertaining movie. However, if you are Royal, you might be required to go as part of a charity you endorse or to focus attention on a locally produced movie. Whether you like the movie or not, whether you are tired after a busy day, you are obliged to attend. Its work.

Thus it is often the opposite and very normal pursuits like going to gym that may prove to be recreational for a working Royal. However, they are human and do also enjoy what we enjoy like going to the beach, although in their case it has to be a private beach in order to avoid being mobbed. Then there are the pursuits reserved for the selected few, the privileged elite. These exotic and sometimes expensive pastimes are indulged in the wake of having been deprived the normal joys of life. 

Here we see Prince Dillon of Swann enjoying what any of us might see as a typical recreational pastime.

His Royal Highness and a friend from his army platoon spend some time motorbiking at a private beach.

Tanning and swimming, not just motorbiking.  

Having an in-house games room in Duke's Court Palace affords the Duke of Swann the very "normal" pastime of playing Pool albeit in a very grand setting. 

Recreation may range to the more "unique" as our hardworking Royals pursue outlets for the personal creativity.

The Duke of Swann is an avid Spanish dancer attending lessons once a week for two hours at a time. 

A pencil sketch by the Duke of Swann shows one of his other interests.

Many Royals pursue latent artistic talent and may in their free time experiment with art, sculpture and photography. 

Horse riding is inextricably linked to Royalty due to the historic link of modern Royals to their cavalry leading ancestors. Today however it may often be employed for casual fun. Going for a horse riding outing is indeed recreational but keeping horses is expensive. The economic means of many Royals makes this an obvious pastime. 

The recreational aspect of horses may also be pursued formally by competing in equestrian sports, like horse racing, polo and horse jumping. Princess Marie-Elizabeth has even competed in the Olympics taking home a Silver Medal in Horse jumping. 

The very elegant sport of fencing is seemingly and obvious choice of Royalty but indeed very few have indulged in this historic sport. 

It is considered an ancient and noble discipline and has been practiced most notably by the Arch Duke Otto Von Fulco DÉste (pictured above), the Duke of Swann and the Duchess of Roswind. 

Another favourite in the Royal Games Room must be the ultimate mind game, chess. This game also has its historic roots deeply entrenched in the Royal Courts of medieval Europa. Amongst our famous Royals the ones who excel at this game are thought to be Lady Arcwhite, the Baron D'Rothchild and Prince Felix Youssoupoff.

 We hope this post has given more of a view of the private side of our public figures. Seeing the real people behind the glittering facade of Royalty. Recreation allows a person to relax and let their hair down. This does sometimes also show an ugly side as some controversial activities may prove. Hunting is often cited as such an activity and its most enthusiastic fan Lady Arcwhite has often been called to answer for her self-indulgent pursuit of it. 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (Coronets of Rank)

Everybody assumes that a King and a Queen have Crowns. Our reference of Princes and Princesses also allows for them to wear Crowns but that is where it stops for common knowledge. It is not very well known that all titles of nobility by right also have a "Crown", known as a Coronet, designating their rank. Unfortunately in modern times it has become an archaic practice to wear these Coronets and in some monarchies their use has been reduced to a mere artistic representation above Family Crests.

The United Empire of Scot-Britania did still employ a strict system of wearing actual Coronets for all their Nobility during the last Imperial Coronation Ceremony. This was carried over from the same tradition practiced in the separate Kingdoms of Scotney and Britania. In these Kingdoms the Nobles had historic Coronets which were remade into a standardized system for the new United Empire. As such all the nobility were required to wear the new Coronets for the Coronation of Emperor Christian and Empress Crystobel.

This old photo shows the then Duke and Duchess of Kent posed with the Duke of Kent's Ducal Coronet on the pedestal at left. This Coronet was remade during the advent of the United Empire into a standardized Ducal Coronet.

Unfortunately, many of these Coronets were destroyed in the revolution. Some have survived and we at least have a full photographic record of all the different Coronets assigned to each Noble rank.

The Coronet of the Crown Prince Imperial of the United Empire of Scot-Britania. This Coronet was a new invention designed for the advent of the Empire. The standard "heir to the throne" Coronet received the addition of the single arch in order to designate it an Imperial Coronet. 

This is the form of a Crown Prince Coronet (without the arc) as used in the Kingdoms of Scotney and Britania. The Coronet is a plain circlet in gold and pearls and displays eight diamond crosses all the way around. 

In this photo we see the new Imperial Scot-Britanian Coronets used by the Royal Princes of the Blood at the last and only Imperial Coronation. Clockwise from the top left; The Coronet uses by the sons and daughters of the Monarch, Then the Coronet used by children of the heir to the throne. Finally, the Coronet used by grandchildren. 

What many people do not realize is that every Noble title has a Coronet signifying their rank. So in  principle every Duke, Baron etc like a king in his own region sports a "crown" of his own. From the top left we see the various Coronets used in Scot-Britania in descending order of rank. 

The practice of owning and wearing a physical coronet has been entirely abandoned in all other monarchies however some of the ancient Noble Families still own their original historic Coronets. Here follow some examples.

The Normandian Margraves of Montrose have their original Coronet, dating back to the 1600's. It is made of Silver and set with Garnets and Amethysts. 

The Counts Szangusko also have a Coronet of very simple design but we could not procure a photo in time for this blog

The Syldavian Princes Von Thurn und Taxis have a very elaborate Coronet in keeping with the style of Rococco Europa in the mid 1700's when it was made. The Coronet is made from Gold and Silver and profusely uses small Diamonds.

Another ancient Coronet belongs to the family of the Barons Bagrazia. 

We hope that this post was informative and that it will help to identify some of the lesser known "crowns" as photos get posted here on the blog. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

What's Up Wednesday (Wedding of Viscount Hayz and Donna Hernanda of Aragon)

This past weekend saw yet another wedding in the string of weddings we have celebrated over the last year or so. This happy event, held in the ancestral home of the Duchess of Aragon in Hispania, was the first wedding for 2014 and even though the couple may be considered quite prominent, the ceremony was tiny and low key. Let us take a brief look at the wedding of the I.T. millionaire, Viscount Hayz and the heir to the preeminent Hispanic Duchy, Donna Hernanda of Aragon. 

This photo shows the very stylish couple and the bride is wearing a positively awesome Madame Frumsetta dress for this day time wedding. The spectacular feature of the hat finishes the ensemble in a way that a super nova finishes a solar system. Donna Hernada also chose to add the small detail of her mother's sapphire brooch as her something blue. 

From left we see the mother of the bride, the Duchess of Aragon wearing a distinct Hispanic National colour scheme, then the bride and groom and to the right, Drealle Mormaer close friend and business associate of Viscount Hayz. 

The bride looked awesome for her special day.

It is rumoured that the couple will settle in Arcwhite to accommodate Viscount Hays' commitments to his various business contracts with the government of Arcwhite. Their jet-set lifestyle however will certainly allow us to see them gracing red carpets the world over. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Tiaras and Trinkets on Tuesday (The Jewels Worn by Princess Augusta of Scot-Britania)

Sometimes its nice to group things together and I have often tried to assemble the complete collections owned or worn by some of our more illustrious Royals into one blog post. This however often leads to a post taking several weeks before it is finished. Today we feature the jewels worn by Her Imperial Highness Princess Augusta. As aunt to the Crown Prince Imperial she has not just played a pivotal roll in the tumultuous history of the Empire but also has had the privilege of wearing some of the most incredible jewellery. Many of these pieces are her private property and some belong to the Imperial Crown Collection and as such to posterity. Of her private pieces we are also left to speculate about their future as the Princess remains unmarried and has also passed the safe age for child bearing. So where might they end up after her passing? Regardless of the distant future, the Princess has hinted over the last year that a retirement might be on the cards sooner than we may think. But in the mean time let us take a look at one of the greatest collections worn by a "one-step-away-from-the-throne" Royal. 

In 2012 at the Annual Knights Meeting Princess Augusta wore what may be considered her most sentimental set of jewellery. The Rubies has been a firm favourite of the princess since before the 96 Revolution was a gift from her brother who became Emperor of Scot-Britania, to celebrate her elevation from Royal Princess to Imperial Princess. 

This Diamond Tiara is the one most worn by the Princess and has become a bit of a signature piece. It was momentously worn at the Crown Prince Imperial's Birthday Ball in 2009, making it a kind of  "first impression" tiara as that event relaunched the Imperial Family onto the world stage. In this photo we see her wearing it at the 2012 Christmas Ball paired with its matching earrings and the Princess' favourite necklace. The necklace is not part of a set but does match the tiara. The simple design of the necklace allows it to be paired with most jewellery and almost any outfit. The origins of the necklace are reported as having belonged to Princess Augusta's mother, who passed it to her on her 16th birthday. 

In the years of Pre-Revolution Scot-Britania, Princess Augusta eschewed the wearing of impressive jewels preferring a simple look and only wearing a tiara when protocol absolutely demanded it. However since the 2009 Imperial Birthday Ball, her role as the orchestrator of the new International Imperial Image, has required her to wear jewellery that portrayed that very image. As an Antique Jewellery Dealer it was easy for the Princess to acquire such jewels and even to use the wearing of them as advertising for her business while projecting the image of the quintessential Princess. Here we see exactly such a set of jewellery, acquired by the Princess and often worn by her to occasions requiring more impressive tiaras. The Drop Sapphire parure is reputedly of Ruskian origin based on its distinct Ruskian inspired Kokoshnik design. The craftsmanship is said to date late 19th century. More detailed information as to the origins are unsure as the Princess acquired it from a deceased estate without more documentation. 

Princess Augusta officially attends many events requiring her to wear a tiara. As such she has served her need for some variety by acquiring several coloured stone jewellery sets like these emeralds. After the revolution, those nobles who weren't killed were often completely dispossessed. Some had to sell their jewels to survive and Princess Augusta helped many of them through her international jewellery business to gain good prices. This emerald set used to belong to a Scot-Britanian Baronial Family and ended up being kept by the Princess as a personal acquisition. The set is dated to the late 1800's and was made for the 10th Baroness Bunting. The last Baron Bunting was killed during the revolution but his wife and daughter escaped to Americania where they sold the parure to Princess Augusta.

The Princess' first ever Parure of Royal jewels was this Amethyst set given to her by her father on her 18th birthday. In her young days she refused to wear any other set for many years. Due to the Princess' rank and copious formal engagements we still see the little Amethyst tiara worn but very rarely these days. 

The Augusta 18th Birthday Parure as it is officially referred to has two necklaces of varying design. The collar necklace, pictured in the center, was added at a later stage to add some sophistication to the otherwise very discreet set. 

The Imperial wedding in 2010 saw Princess Augusta wearing a small diamond fringe that she has worn very rarely. The tiara is actually a necklace that is placed on a rigid tiara frame giving it the dual purpose. The Princess has never worn it as a necklace but seems to wear the tiara version when she wanted to defer attention away from herself at events like the wedding. The origins of the necklace are presumed to be a new piece that princess Augusta had especially made for the Imperial Wedding. 

Even at work in the office Princess Augusta may wear very expensive and stylish jewels. Here we see her with the Duchess Di Giorgio and Madame Frumsetta where her skills were required in the Duchess' "makeover". Princess Augusta is wearing the earrings from the Black Pearl and Yellow Diamond Suite. 

The Black Pearl and Yellow Diamond Suite is another "new" set of jewellery that the Princess acquired in 2009. The set, along with some other new pieces are presumably worn by the Princess for publicity purposes to advertise her jewellery business.

Another more funky or modern set of jewellery is this Platinum and Gold  set worn here in 2011.

Princess Augusta designed the platinum and Gold set herself in 2010 along with the fringe necklace tiara mentioned above.

There is another set of jewellery that the Princess has worn on very specific occasions. Her rank as aunt to the Crown Prince Imperial gives her legal access to some parts of the Imperial Crown Jewel Collection. In the above picture the Princess wears The Princess of the Blood Tiara, reserved for the closest female blood relation to the Imperial throne. Until the current Crown Prince Imperial has a daughter, this tiara will be available to Princess Augusta to wear. She pairs it with her own blue pearl necklace and earrings. 

This close-up archive photo shows the Princess of the Blood Tiara in all its glorious detail. the tiara is part of a parure that includes earrings and a necklace. 

We hope that this expose of one of the more impressive collections has been informative and enjoyable. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Memory Monday (Prince Dillon of Swann's 2011-2012 Military Service)

In 2011 Prince Dillon of Swann, cousin and heir to the Duke of Swann, entered compulsory military service. It is also tradition in the Royal Family of Swann aside from conscription, that male members of the Royal Family serve at least a one year term in the armed forces. This is considered a duty of service to their country and a sacrifice aside from their life long commitment to serve as a Royal. His Royal Highness joined the Swann Royal Infantry and was treated like any other rookie serviceman during his training. 

After graduating from basic training, Corporal Swann, saw service and action in the Perlistan mountains where several separatist groups threaten the current Perlistan Government who have a mutual protection treaty with the Principality of Swann. In the above photo we see the Prince as part of the Swanobian Military Presence in Perlistan. He is pictured with some other members from his motorized platoon camping around an abandoned building in Karachi, a largely bombed mountain town near the conflict zone. 

Prince Dillon enjoys the life of a normal soldier and is quoted as appreciating being free from the less positive aspects of being Royal. Apart from our agreed upon feature, the Prince did not have to face off a single camera lens. In this photo we see the young Corporal with his tent mate and friend, Gunnery Sergeant Ruwan Els. 

This poignant photo alludes strongly to a State Portrait and with good reason, as even war cannot diminish the Prince's Royal bearing. 

His Royal Highness Prince Dillon completed his tour of service having also acquired his flight wings at the end of 2012. The Prince has admitted that he feels very close to the armed forces and will continue an intimate bond with them.

Wonderful Weekends (Retirement Portrait of Princess Beatrice, Dowager Grand Duchess of Hanoveria)

Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice the Dowager Grand Duchess of Hanoveria, Princess of Scotney has officially announced her retirement from public duty. The decision followed the shocking tragedy of her sister, Empress Crystobel's assassination last year. The aging Dowager and mother of the current ruler of Hanoveria has had to lose two close family members to the assassins bullet. She also lost her husband early in their married life. Princess Beatrice has served her adopted nation and her son the Grand Duke well in her life but has said that she would like to enjoy the peace of the countryside for the last part of it. Her retirement is officially sanctioned by her son who feels his mother deserves it.

An official portrait of Princess Beatrice was released to celebrate her life and to serve as announcement of her retirement. It was taken in the courtyard of her country estate Schmetterling Castle. 

Retirement for a Royal does not mean that we will never see them again at public functions. it just means that protocol does not demand that they attend meetings as representatives of their country and monarch. Their official duties are therefore disbanded along with the finances that cover those duties. Princess Beatrice will retire to her country estate and horse stud outside the Hanoverian capital where she will be visited by family and friends. We truly wish the Princess all the best and a peaceful retirement.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Fascinating Fridays (Thrones)

Thrones are as linked to the concept and mystique of monarchy as crowns. One cannot imagine a king without a throne as much as he cannot be without his kingdom. In today's post we will discuss in an introductory fashion some of the thrones of the Monarchies of Europa. For an explanation of the meaning of the word throne follow this link: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/throne. Many thrones have existed and have been lost or destroyed through history and the 96 Revolution was no different costing posterity some historic treasures. However thrones were fortunately not so aggressively targeted as were other symbols of Royalty.

Many Kingdoms my have more than one throne placed for different occasions in various venues. Sometimes even makeshift thrones are used and a mere fancy chair may be placed strategically to serve a monarch. There is the a preeminent throne usually referred to as the Coronation or Investiture Chair upon which a monarch is officially acclaimed. These thrones are usually, the most historic, symbolic and often embellished with gold and precious stones. 

This photo taken recently during the Duke of Swann's visit to Reichenthal, shows a small throne in the background. The so called "Small Throne Room" in the Palace of Reichenthal serves as a kind of  "welcoming room" and in days gone by the King of Reichenthal would receive his guests in full state here. This is not the main throne of the nation of Reichenthal.

In a hasty meeting in 2012 Lady Arcwhite officially received a Syldavian delegation headed by the Grand Duke of Serbieski. A simple black chair was drafted to serve as throne for this meeting. 

In contrast to the previously mentioned chair the very imposing Mirror Throne of Arcwhite is the official one of the realm and serves as Arcwhite's Coronation Chair. The Mirror throne is said to be made from the shattered glass taken from the mirrors broken by Ladies of the Veil in their induction ceremony. The are required to askew all personal vanity in favour of total devotion to the Lady Arcwhite and as such show their loyalty in swearing allegiance by breaking a hand mirror at her feet in these ceremonies. The shattered glass is then added to the throne. The throne is further embellished gold, silver, rock crystal and fiaence glass. 

The throne of Romagna has been preserved along with many other historic Royal relics in the main palace of the former Romagnan Royal Family. The current pretender, Duchess Di Giorgio was invited by the Democratic Government of Romagna to take a set of photos commemorating the country's history and to officially be welcomed back from exile. She accepted and this portrait in front of the throne was the result. The throne is made using indigenous Romagnan marble slabs, some gold and silver and meticulous hand painted art. 

All that remains of what was the Imperial Throne of the United Empire of Scot-Britania is this rough concept sketch. It went missing during the 96 Revolution and is thought destroyed. The simple design incorporated no precious materials but did display symbols of the Imperial Monarchy. 

The positively spectacular Throne of Swann is not very large but overwhelming in its use of gold which is also equaled in the detailed craftsmanship. It was commisioned for the first independent sovereign Duke of Swann from the famous Reichenthalian Carpenters Guild. World famous for their exceptional skills in furniture making, goldsmithing and other crafts, this throne stands as a testament of the level achievable by the Reichenthalian artisans. The throne, rich in symbolism is still in use by the Dukes of Swann and serves as Coronation Chair and for State Portraits. 

Many but not all of the thrones in Europa were born in Reichenthal's workshops so one would not expect the ruler of the small region to have one of the most awe inspiring thrones. The Throne of Reichenthal is of simple design and of unimposing stature but it does employ a high level of artistic execution and its claim to fame is that it is made almost entirely of gold. In the State Portrait above we can see the the elegant design and gleaming grandeur of this Reichenthalian masterpiece. 

More thrones exist and will be encountered on this blog as time passes but for today's post that will be it for now.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Wonderful Weekends (2014 State Portrait of Queen Maria of Hispania)

In keeping with the Hispanian tradition of releasing a State Portrait of their monarch in January every year we are happy to join in and publish the official photo of Her Majesty,Queen Maria here on our blog as well. 

The Queen posed for the photo in the gardens of Castillo Trono De Seguro wearing a traditional Flamenco dress. Her Majesty also wore the necklace, earrings and mantilla comb from the Crown Ruby Parure. 

The full length photo looks absolutely spectacular and does the nation of Hispania proud.