Princes of Battenberg

In a dramatic intimate moment of the first episode of the new season of ‘The Crown’, Prince Philip says to his daughter Princess Anne, “A Battenberg refuses to give in”. Who were the Battenbergs and why did this sentiment apply to recent members of the House of Windsor? More than just the namesake of aContinue reading “Princes of Battenberg”

Dukes of Elbeuf, another branch of the House of Lorraine

One of the most well-known ducal families in French history is the House of Guise, an interesting example of a cadet branch of a family being more famous (or infamous) than the senior branch, the sovereign dukes of Lorraine. The dukes of Guise dominated French politics and diplomatic and religious policy for much of theContinue reading “Dukes of Elbeuf, another branch of the House of Lorraine”

Savoy and Dauphiné Driving Tour: The Ancient Trans-Rhodanian Principalities

In the early Middle Ages, if you traveled from Paris to Rome, once you crossed the Rhône River at Lyon, you were no longer in France, but in French-speaking principalities that were component parts of the Holy Roman Empire. After 1349, the first of these you’d encounter on crossing the river, the Dauphiné, was propertyContinue reading “Savoy and Dauphiné Driving Tour: The Ancient Trans-Rhodanian Principalities”

Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, families of two British consorts

Anyone who is interested in the history of the British monarchy is familiar with the names Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha: Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria is certainly a well-known figure; Princess Augusta, the mother of George III, probably less so. Those who have read about monarchies in the 19th century more generally are also awareContinue reading “Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Gotha, families of two British consorts”

Dukes and Abbeys in the Midi: A Circular Drive around the Centre of France

Driving tours in France often include visits to the country’s periphery, the seacoast, the Alps, the Pyrenees. This long circular drive I did in the summer of 2000, to allow me to dig in to some regional archives for my dissertation about the Lorraine-Guise family, instead took me deep into France’s interior. Aside from exploringContinue reading “Dukes and Abbeys in the Midi: A Circular Drive around the Centre of France”

Dukes of Westminster

What do rural Cheshire and the most fashionable neighbourhoods in West London have in common? Both have been part of the extensive portfolio of the Grosvenor family for centuries. The dukedom of Westminster may be relatively new (1874), but their development of Mayfair and Belgravia stretches back to the early 18th century, and their controlContinue reading “Dukes of Westminster”

Leinster Dukes and Princes: An Irish Driving Tour

In September 2014, I attended a wedding of a dear friend in the south-east corner of Ireland, near Kilkenny. The wedding was hosted in a gorgeous country house called Borris. I knew nothing about this house with an odd-sounding name, but in the evening before the wedding, after the rehearsal dinner, I chatted with theContinue reading “Leinster Dukes and Princes: An Irish Driving Tour”