Dukes of Brunswick I: Wolfenbüttel and the Unwanted Princess

In January 1820, Caroline of Brunswick, Princess of Wales, legally became Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Queen of Hanover, as consort to the new King: George IV. But the King made it abundantly clear that Caroline was to have no part in his new reign and would not beContinue reading “Dukes of Brunswick I: Wolfenbüttel and the Unwanted Princess”

The Anglo-Dutch Moment: the Bentinck dukes of Portland

The year 1688-1689 has been called by historians the ‘Anglo-Dutch Moment’, as the year when the ideas of English and Dutch limited monarchy came together in the person of William, Prince of Orange: King William III. Over three centuries later, one family, the Bentincks, still benefit from this relatively brief merging of national interests. HansContinue reading “The Anglo-Dutch Moment: the Bentinck dukes of Portland”

Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen

Where would you go if you wanted an incredible musical or theatrical experience in the later 19th century? One of Europe’s great music capitals—Vienna, Paris? The theatres in London? The capital cities of several small German principalities had either an orchestra or a theatre that punched well above its relative weight, like Weimar or Detmold,Continue reading “Dukes of Saxe-Meiningen”

Ansbach and Bayreuth: Secondogeniture lands for Hohenzollern princes

One of the benefits of the fragmentary nature of the German feudal states that made up the Holy Roman Empire was that small segments of a dynasty’s patrimony could be easily carved out to provide younger sons with a territory of their own to govern, a principality from which they could derive an income andContinue reading “Ansbach and Bayreuth: Secondogeniture lands for Hohenzollern princes”

A People Protected by a Prince; A People Proffered by a Prince: Germans who came to America in the 18th Century – My Ancestors

In the 18th century, thousands of Germans crossed the ocean to settle in the British colonies, many concentrated in Pennsylvania, where it is estimated that by the 1770s they made up about one-third of the entire colonial population. There were many motivations for this emigration from Germany, but two of the most significant, religious persecutionContinue reading “A People Protected by a Prince; A People Proffered by a Prince: Germans who came to America in the 18th Century – My Ancestors”

Dukes of Teck, Dukes of Urach

The castles of Teck and Urach are not instantly familiar to even the most seasoned travellers, but both lent their names to dynasties with interesting close connections to more well-known royal and princely families—notably the Windsors and the Grimaldis—and even to an ephemeral kingdom in the Baltic that vanished before the ink was dry onContinue reading “Dukes of Teck, Dukes of Urach”

Driving across Germany: Bavaria to Baden to Brunswick

Germany’s landscape is wonderfully varied, from steep Alpine peaks to unvaried flatness of the North European Plain. In the summer of 2014, I was lucky to enjoy not one but two research fellowships, in Vienna and Wolfenbüttel, so I took the opportunity of the week between them to rent a car and drive from oneContinue reading “Driving across Germany: Bavaria to Baden to Brunswick”

Dukes of Cleves, with Jülich, Berg and the Mark

‘Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived’. Possibly the most successful mnemonic in history; people who love Tudor history can even remember that Number Four (‘divorced’) was Anne of Cleves. But where on earth was Cleves? A misleading clue is in one of her historical nicknames, the ‘Flanders Mare’, though in the sixteenth century, Englishmen oftenContinue reading “Dukes of Cleves, with Jülich, Berg and the Mark”

Dukes of Oldenburg and Schleswig-Holstein

The name Windsor was chosen to represent the royal family of the United Kingdom in 1917, taken, quite rightly, from the castle that had been at the centre of royal operations in England since the 11th century. But if we go back to an older way of giving names to royal dynasties, the name traditionallyContinue reading “Dukes of Oldenburg and Schleswig-Holstein”

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”