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Royalty


Royalty in all shapes and forms

Razoumovska

The patron of the epoch who built the grandest palaces was without a doubt Catherine II of Russia. With unlimited resources at her disposal, she could build colossal homes, grander than all the palaces of Europe. In fact, Catherine was only imitating her predecessor, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. The latter was…

Family Portrait, VI

Maria Pia of Savoie, the wife of King Louis I of Portugal. She is pictured with her eldest grandson, Louis Philippe of Bragance, sitting on her knees. The Queen Maria Pia was perfectly original. My grandmother once told me a story of the Queen delaying a Te Deum at the Lisbon Cathedral so that when…

The Countess of Palmyra

I discovered Palmyra in the winter of 1964. It was cold, terribly cold. We were staying at the Queen Zenobia Hotel, the only hotel around. This structure, located amid the low and crumbling ruins of the area, had been built by Countess Margot d’Andurain. Margot, a French woman, had long ago married a garrison officer in Palmyra,…

Family Portrait, V

Princess Antonia of Luxembourg was the second wife of Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria. The prince was a staunch opponent of the Nazis, and joined in the battle against Hitler. His family was eventually arrested by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. Princess Antonia survived the camp, but left in such a vulnerable state…

The Love Story That Led To World War I

Many years ago, when I began attending the Salzburg music festival, I became well acquainted with my distant cousins, the Hohenberg princes. I was particularly fond of them. They were friendly, funny, and lively. They were also the grandchildren of one of most history’s most famous tragedies. At the end of the 19th century, Archduke…

Family Portrait, IV

Philippe, the Duke d’Orléans, and King Alphonse XIII of Spain at Wood Norton, England. The Duke d’Orléans, son of the exiled Count of Paris, like many of the House of France, had chosen England as his place of exile. He owned the sumptuous property of Wood Norton, the future site of the marriage between his…

Family Portrait, III

My mother Françoise with Amédée of Savoie, the Duke d’Aoste, her first cousin and brother-in-law. Everyone loved Amédée d’Aoste. He was tall, handsome, without airs and graces, and always of a warm manner. He was also a war hero. His mother, Helen of France was the sister of my grandmother Isabelle and, what’s more, he…

Tomb

The location of Alexander the Great’s remains continues to be one of the great mysteries of history. One that has passionately occupied the minds of generations of experts. According to some, Alexander was ultimately buried in Siwa. I couldn’t miss seeing this site, my hero’s resting place. Since visiting, my opinion had crystallized. – – – –…

Initiation

It was fifteen or twenty years ago. We took the desert road from Cairo to Alexandria, then turned left and continued along the sea until Mersa Matruh, the famous port used by Queen Cleopatra and General Rommel alike. From there, the road turns right, through the desert to the oasis of Siwa, some 200 miles…

Family Portrait, II

Me and my tank, military parade of the Greek National Festival, 25 March, 1962. Shortly after finishing my studies at the University of Political Sciences in Paris, I moved to Greece; I quickly enlisted in order to complete my military service. I was in the calvary, which is to say the modern day tank regiment….