Thursday, 19 November 2015

My latest article: Mountbatten in Sweden and Princess Esmeralda on her mother

Today the December issue of Majesty (Vol. 36, No. 12) goes on sale in Britain and this month I have contributed two articles. One of them deals with Lord Mountbatten and Sweden. Much has been written about how he tried to position himself as the power behind the British throne, but I look at how he tried to vield influence on the Swedish monarchy, of which his sister Louise was Queen, including how he tried to make Gustaf VI Adolf abdicate and his attempts at match-making for King Carl Gustaf.
In the same issue is the third and final part of my interview with Princess Esmeralda of Belgium, who this time talks about her mother, Princess Lilian, one of the most controversial royals of the twentieth century, whom her biographer Evrard Raskin has called "the woman who brought down Léopold III". That article also includes some rare photographs, including some from her last years, when Princess Lilian never appeared in public.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

My latest article: Kings consort

In a recent interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the Prince Consort of Denmark once again stated that in his opinion he ought to be King Consort rather than Prince Consort as the wives of kings are always styled Queen. This is far from the first time he has raised this issue, which he apparently considers a matter of principles and gender equality - by Berlingske's count (external link) it is in fact the eighth time - and it usually subjects him to criticism by the Danish media.
It has been claimed that there is hardly any precedence for the husband of a queen regnant being styled King, but in an article in the newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad today (external link) I point out that until the mid-nineteenth century it was in fact the norm rather than the exception that the husbands of queens regnant became kings. Examples may be found in Navarre, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Naples and Poland, and in many cases these kings by marriage also excercised power. But although the Prince Consort has historical precendence on his side, I also suggest that it might be wise not to keep insisting on a wish he must know that will never be granted.