The long awaited birth of the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has finally arrived. It’s a prince. I am so excited to have a new royal cousin…my 16th cousin twice removed to be exact. Of course, we don’t know the baby boy’s name yet but he weighed in at 8 pounds 7 ounces, so he was a good sized boy. He is just perfect. It is always so exciting with one of my royal cousins has a new baby. There has been much speculation as to what the couple might name the little prince, with names like James, Phillip, and Arthur. The bookies have started the betting process, so everyone can be involved, Personally I like the names Michael, Phillip and Spencer. In fact I would like a some version of the three together. Time will tell, and until William and Kate inform the Queen of the name, no one else will get to know what it is, but from what I’ve read, the Queen will have no say in the baby’s name. As a grandmother, and soon-to-be great grandmother myself, while I have my own ideas about good baby names, I do not think it is my place to try to force my opinion, and in fact, when I have thought a name would not be the best on for the babies in my family, I have found out that each of their names seem to fit them perfectly. That said, no matter what the name is, it should be totally the decision of William and Kate. We just wish they would hurry up and tell us already!!
With the birth of this baby boy, history will be made again. This new baby will be 5th in line to the throne of England, following his grandpa, Prince Charles; his dad, Prince William; his brother, Prince George; and his sister, Princess Charlotte. In times past, Charlotte would have fallen after this new baby, but the law changed before her birth, and she now holds her line in the succession to the throne. Many people are not sure how they feel about that, but since her great grandmother, Queen Elizabeth has successfully ruled England for many years, it would be hard to dispute Princess Charlotte’s ability should that position ever arise. This baby also moves Prince Harry, William’s brother, to 6th place in the line of succession, which pretty much guarantees that he will never be the King of England, unless something huge happens, which I pray it never does…obviously.
So, as an eventful first day of life comes to an end for the little prince, who was born of Saint George’s Day, a big holiday in England, we go to sleep still wondering what this little man will be named. Not that he really cares either way right now. After all, he has had a busy day, and all he really wants is dinner and a soft bed. Happy birthday sweet little HRH Prince of Cambridge, which is his official title. We look forward to knowing your name very soon. Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We are so happy for you!!
Wars always bring changes…especially in how nations feel about other nations. Sometimes, the whole world seems to be against one nation that has proven itself to be particularly evil. Germany was one of those nations that the entire world was against during World War I, as well as during World War II. It was during World War I that Britain’s King George V was quite concerned about the anti-German sentiment that existed in the world and in Britain. His family was of German descent, and the family name was very much a German name…Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to be exact.
George was born on June 3, 1865, the second son of Prince Edward of Wales, who later became King Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark, and the grandson of Queen Victoria. He embarked on a naval career before becoming heir to the throne in 1892 when his older brother, Edward, died of pneumonia. The following year, George married the German princess Mary of Teck, who was his cousin, a granddaughter of King George III, and who had previously been intended for Edward. The couple had six children, including the future Edward VIII and George VI, who took the throne in 1936 after his brother abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. As the new Duke of York, George had to abandon his career in the navy. He became a member of the House of Lords and received a political education. When his father died in 1910, George ascended to the British throne as King George V.
With the outbreak of World War I in the summer of 1914, strong anti-German feeling within Britain caused sensitivity among the royal family about its German roots. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, also a grandson of Queen Victoria, was the king’s cousin; the queen herself was German. Public respect for the king increased during World War One, when he made many visits to the front line, hospitals, factories and dockyards. Still, because of anti-German feeling George V felt led to adopt the family name of Windsor, so on June 19, 1917, the king decreed that the royal surname was thereby changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor, which it has remain since that day.
After the World War II, the current Prince Philip was granted permission by King George VI to marry the future Queen Elizabeth. Before the official announcement of their engagement, Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalized British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents. After an engagement of five months, he married Elizabeth on November 20, 1947. Just before the wedding, Philip was made the Duke of Edinburgh. He left active military service when Elizabeth became monarch in 1952, having reached the rank of commander. He was formally made a British prince in 1957. Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname used by the male-line descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Under a declaration made in Privy Council in 1960, the name Mountbatten-Windsor applies to male-line descendants of the Queen without royal styles and titles. Individuals with royal styles do not usually use a surname, but some descendants of the Queen with royal styles have used Mountbatten-Windsor when a surname was required.
Anytime a nation’s leader is killed, it’s a disaster, no matter how they died, but it is not so common for the disaster to still be felt when their child is killed, although the nation naturally feels a degree of collective sadness. In a monarchy, however, things are different. The child of the current king stands to be the next leader. These days, having a girl be the next in line for the throne is not a problem, in most nations, but that was not the case in England in 1120. At the time, the king of England was King Henry I. The Norman dynasty had not been in power very long, and the King Henry I was very eager to have the line continue on. His problem was solved with the birth of his only legitimate son, William the Aethling, who was called by the Saxon princely title to stress that his parents had united both Saxon and Norman Royal Houses. William was a warrior prince who, even at the age of seventeen, fought alongside his father to reassert their rights in their Norman lands on the Continent. As was common with kings, especially in that era, and maybe not so unusual in this era, the king had multiple concubines, and so several illegitimate children too. He did have a legitimate daughter named Matilda, but the throne belonged to his son. His illegitimate children were Richard, and oddly, a second Matilda. All seemed right in his world.
King Henry I was king from August 2, 1100, until his death on December 1, 1135, and expected that his son, Prince William would take his place as king upon his death. Then disaster struck on the November 25, 1120. This was a disaster that would have a dramatic effect, not only on the families of those involved, but on the very fabric of English Government. After a successful battle in 1119, which brought the defeat of King Louis IV of France, and the humiliation at the Battle of Brémule, the King and his entourage were headed home to celebrate. The king was offered a fine ship, the White Ship to travel home in, but he declined because he had already made other arrangements. He suggested that his son and some of the other men could talk the journey on the White Ship.
As the heir to the throne, Prince William attracted the cream of society to surround him. His entourage was to include some three hundred fellow passengers…140 knights and 18 noblewomen, his half-brother, Richard, his half-sister, Matilda the Countess of Perche; his cousins, Stephen and Matilda of Blois, the nephew of the German Emperor Henry V, the young Earl of Chester and most of the heirs to the great estates of England and Normandy. The passengers were all in a mood to celebrate, and asked the Prince for drinks. The prince had brought wine aboard the ship by the barrel-load to help with the festivities. Before long the both passengers and crew became highly intoxicated. Some even left the shop when things started getting abusive.
The people who remained were drunk, and decided that it would be a great idea to try to catch the ship the king was on. The king’s ship had already sailed out into the English Channel. The people kept pushing the captain to accept the challenge. The captain was sure that his ship could catch the king’s ship, so they set out that evening, and immediately struck a rock in the channel as they left. The ship began to sink, and Prince William was safely in a boat, but he heard his half-sister, Matilda screaming for help. So he left the boat to rescue her. The boat he was in was hit by a group of desparate passengers, and swamped. Prince William was lost and drown. The nation was devastated, and when King Henry I tried to get them to accept his legitimate daughter, Matilda, but they didn’t want to and when the king died, Matilda and her husband found themselves fighting for the throne in a war known as The Anarchy.
It’s always fun to find out that you are related to someone who is famous, and for me, it has been common knowledge for all of my life. The Spencer side of my family is full of aristocracy. Some are princes and princesses, and even future kings, and others were great strategists, like Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, who is my 15th cousin once removed. You will notice the hyphen, and while it isn’t in his name, it is nevertheless, correct. He was a product of grandparents who merged two wealthy family names, when his 4th great grandfather, Charles Spencer married Ann Churchill and they hyphenated the names. Later, family members either used the traditional Spencer name, such as Diana Spencer’s line, or they used the Churchill name, as Winston Churchill’s line did, even though they continued the Spencer part of the name in his line. People have often thought it was his middle name, but that is not so. I don’t know if they used the hyphen back then, but the names were both last names.
Churchill was born to Lord Randolph Spencer and his wife Jennie Jerome, on November 30, 1874. They were members of a prestigious family with a long history of military service and upon his father’s death in 1895, Winston joined the British Fourth Hussars. During the next five years, Winston Churchill enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he began serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911. Churchill foresaw a war that would bring with it a need for a navy that was ready, and well thought out strategies that would bring victory, and he worked to bring such a British Navy into existence. Churchill was a born strategist.
Winston Churchill’s military leadership took quite a blow during World War I, when he was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns in 1915, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned his commission, and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. In 1917, Churchill returned to politics. He became a cabinet member of the Liberal government of Lloyd George, a move that I suspect he would regret. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war. Then, in 1924 he returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of German and Japanese attacks. After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced Neville Chamberlain, an ineffective military leader, as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.” He rallied the British people to a strong resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis. Churchill proved himself to be the best military leader Britain could possibly have had at a time when he was desperately needed. Today would have been Winston Spencer Churchill’s 142nd birthday.
With a strong family history originating in Germany, for both my family and my husband’s family, German history has always been of interest to me. Most people know that Oktoberfest originated in Germany, but I don’t think that very many really know what Oktoberfest is all about. Everyone knows its all about a German party, and that is true, but why would there be a big party from late September to the first Sunday in October every year?
It all started with a wedding. The Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I, who would later become King Ludwig I of Bavaria, married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Bavaria would later become a state in Germany. The Bavarian royal family decided to make this a big event, and so they invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities. The festivities were held on the fields in front of the city gates, and in honor of the new crown princess, the fields were renamed Theresienwiese, which means Therese’s fields. That being a really long name, the locals have since abbreviated it to the Wies’n. The celebration was quite grand, and concluded with horse races in the presence of the royal family. The people were so happy with this chosen couple, that the event was one filled with joy and happiness. The wedding was celebrated in varying forms across all of Bavaria. Apparently the festivities were so much fun, that the royal family decided that it needed to be an annual event, including the horse races.
The decision to repeat the festivities and the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest, which now begins in late September and lasts until the first Sunday in October. Alcohol consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than 1 million gallons of beer are consumed annually at Oktoberfest. The royal wedding drew 40,000 people, probably a large amount for the time, but that paled in comparison to the 6.4 million people who celebrated the event in 1997. The horse races were eventually stopped, but held once more in 1811. Many other characteristics of the early Oktoberfest traditions have been retained in Munich to this day. So where did the name come from? Well, it is derived from Theresienwiese…or rather the shortened name, Wies’n which apparently translates…Oktoberfest.
When Prince William married Kate Middleton, the world became enthralled with the hats that were being worn by the elite female guests. It was as if the hat was the only part of the outfit that mattered. I watched when Prince Charles married my distant cousin, Diana Spencer, but I don’t recall so much fuss over the hats the women wore. Maybe there was a big fuss, but it just wasn’t what stuck in my mind. This time, however, the hats were the most important part of the pre-ceremony coverage. I was never one to wear hats much, in fact pretty much never by choice, so I couldn’t see the draw they seemed to have on the people in England. I suppose if I lived in England, I might think differently, and I also suppose that some of my English relatives would think I was a bit on the rogue side, for not conforming to the style.
I would also suppose that my grandmother, on my dad’s side, might be inclined to agree with them, if she were still alive, because she came from the era that had American women dressing somewhat similar to the English women…right down to the hats. When I look and those hats, all I can think, is how in the world do they keep their heads from flopping over from the weight of the hat. Now, I know that some of the hats were very light weight, even though they were big, but there were still those hats that weighed quite a lot. And the styles…well, wow!! Some of those women carried half a garden’s worth of flowers on their heads. They adorned them with peacock feathers, fake birds, ribbons, and many other such items. You could tell a woman’s social status by the hats they wore. And both the men and the women looked at the hats the women wore, although the men probably looked at the hats less that the other women at the event.
It’s not that I don’t like the look of a fancy hat on a woman, and in fact, I think many are just beautiful. I just wouldn’t want to have to wear one of them, myself. However, on my grandmother, those hats had a way of looking stunning. I have always thought my grandmother was beautiful, and so petite. She had an elegance about her that made you stop and take a second look.You just knew that she and her sisters were women of class and style. They knew what was the latest style, and they knew how to look elegant in those styles. They wore stylish dresses, carried parasols, and oh, those hats.
With her marriage to Prince William, almost 2 years ago, Kate Middleton added another facet to my family’s connection to the British Monarchy. I had always known that I was related to Diana Spencer, who became the Princess Diana that we all know of and loved, and later I found out that my husbands family also has ties to Princess Diana. Now, I find that my son-in-law has ties to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, or Kate as we all know her, even if the Queen hates it. Kevin’s grandmother’s maiden name was Hettie Middleton, and Kevin asked me if he might be related to Kate, when she and Prince William became engaged.
Now, we all quickly found out that Kate and William were actually distant cousins, as I have now also found out Bob and I are, and that tied her to my family and to Bob’s, but not to Kevin’s. I began researching Hettie Middleton’s background, and after a couple of hours, I had my answer. Indeed, Kevin is related to Kate Middleton, on his grandmother’s side, thereby adding another facet to the connection.
I know there are many people in the United States, who are related to the British Monarchy, and may be even more closely related than my family is, but having known about my British connections to the Monarchy and to Winston Spencer Churchill, has made me very aware of them throughout my life. I have always loved being related to them, but never more than with Princess Diana, who was so very special, and with William, Kate, and Harry, all of whom I consider wonderful people. William and Harry, and now Kate have managed to be so much more in touch with the people of England. The British Monarchy, like many monarchies, have always been known for a great degree of stuffiness. I have to credit that to their mother, Princess Diana who did her very best to teach them about the real world and those that they would someday be ruling over. I think she got that across quite well, in that they and Kate are much more comfortable talking to and being around the people of England, than any of the others.
Today Kate celebrates her 31st birthday, and this summer, she will give birth to the future King or Queen of England, and that will add yet another person to the connection that my family has to the British Monarchy. I am very excited for them, and I add my birthday wishes to Kate, as I’m sure many others around the world, do as well. Happy birthday Kate!! Have a wonderful day!!
Love is in the air, and it has landed on my niece, Jessi and her fiance, Jason. Today, they will say, “I do!” and begin their life together. It is the dream of most young girls…to meet their prince charming and live happily ever after. And it is the dream of most young men to find that one special girl that will make all his dreams come true…his princess. Today that dream comes true for Jessi and Jason.
When you see these two together, it is so obvious that they are in love. They are full of laughter and fun, but it’s in their eyes that you really see it…love. They are two people who are so full of life, and I love their sense of humor…both of them separately…and together. It’s funny, but their combined sense of humor seems almost better than each one separately, which seems impossible. I enjoy watching them together, because they can be so funny.
Yes, there are lots of laughs, but there is something in Jason that that I really liked…it’s how he lifts Jessi up…almost on a pedestal. We were having a cake auction at our church to raise money for the Sunday School. Jessi’s cake was up for auction, and the bids has been raised to a good price. But, that was not enough for Jason. Jessi’s cake had to bring more…it had to be spectacular…Jason insisted. So, out of the blue, at the top of his lungs, he yelled out, “What!!! That’s not enough!! I bid $100.00!!” Everyone in the place was shocked when he yelled out, but very please and impressed for Jessi when the bid was placed. It was just such a sweet thing to do, and in doing it, he placed Jessi up on that pedestal. He showed what he thought of her…how much he thought of her. I was so pleased with him and so proud for Jessi. To be lifted up that way is something every woman wants, and he nailed it. Well done Jason.
So today is the day!! The day when the two shall become one, and travel the rest of life’s journey together, and I am so excited for them. Marriage is such a wonderful place to be. And I can’t think of two people who are better suited for each other. I know that their life together is going to be wonderful…filled with much love and much laughter…and all of God’s greatest blessings. Congratulations Jessi and Jason!! I’m so happy for you!! I love you both!! Happy Wedding Day!!