Queen Emma of Holland. When King William III reached 62 years of age he was without both a living descendant and a cousin. This meant that upon his death there would no longer be a king to rule Holland. He immediately set out in search of a wife and soon found a princess from a small German dynasty, Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, 40 years his younger. The two married and produced a single child, Wilhelmina. William III died when his child was only 10 years old. Queen Emma was successful in her regency, earning her a well-deserved popularity.
Queen Wilhelmina became Queen of Holland at age ten. She successfully maintained neutrality during World War I, but her country was cruelly invaded and occupied during World War II. She went into exile in the United States where she was warmly received by Roosevelt and from where she issued radio broadcasts encouraging her subjects to maintain courage and hope. Immensely popular, she abdicated after the war in favor of her daughter, Queen Juliana.
King Gustave V of Sweden had an impressive longevity. He was held before the baptismal fountain by his great-grandmother, née Désirée Clary, the former fiancé of Bonaparte, the future Napoleon, and died in 1950 after World War II. His attitude during this war caused hostility between his colleagues, the kings of Denmark and Norway.
Queen Victoria of Sweden was born a princess of Baden, and married King Gustave V, with whom she was far from happy. Her health forced her to spend the winter months in warmer climates, and for years she was a neighbor of my parents in Rome. Her intimacy with the strange doctor Axel Munthe caused a lot of gossip.
King Nicholas of Montenegro. The Prince Bishops of the Montenegrin dynasty are unique in history. One of them, after heroic battles, secured independence for his country from the Ottomans. This dynasty had quite a few colorful personalities. Nicholas I, despite himself, and despite fighting on the side of the Allies in World War I, saw his kingdom annexed after the war. He never recognized this annexation, and lived out the rest of his life in exile, still protesting against this injustice.
Queen Miléna of Montenegro. Despite being a relatively minuscule dynasty, the Montenegrins established prestigious alliances. One daughter of Queen Miléna would become Queen of Italy, two others married Russian grand dukes, a son married a Mecklenburg princess, and so on. One of the princes of the family, a rather scandalous playboy, was a model in the operetta “The Merry Widow”.
The Duchess of Parma, née Marie Antonia of Portugal, was the daughter of the famous pretender to the throne, the agitated, intriguing Don Miguel, who transmitted his qualities to his children. Duke Robert of Parma married Marie Antonia, his second marriage. His first wife had already produced twelve children and Marie Antonia would provide twelve more.
The Duchess of Parma, née Louise of Bourbon, Mademoiselle of Artois. Daughter of the assassinated Duke of Berry, granddaughter of Charles X, she married Duke Charles III of Parma. Once slim and pretty, she became enormous. She lived through her husband’s assassination under bizarre circumstances and lost her duchy following Italian unification.