Royal marriages in the past have tended to be arranged for dynastic or financial advantage. The feelings of the individuals for each other were considered pretty irrelevant, and indeed royal history is full of stories of mismatches, with indifferent or hostile spouses and extramarital affairs ranging from the decorous to the disastrous. However, there have also been some supremely happy marriages where dynastic convenience went hand in hand with true love. When a beloved spouse died, some grieving monarchs commemorated their loved ones with fabulous buildings and monuments. This Valentine’s Day blog takes a look at some of these.
The Order of the Golden Fleece is one of the oldest orders in Europe. It was originally a chivalric order, founded by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1430, to celebrate the Duke’s marriage to Isabella of Portugal, his third wife.
Christmas and New Year speeches by sovereigns to their people have become a tradition around the world. The advent of radio and then television has made it possible for monarchs to talk directly to the entire country (in Britain’s case, the entire Commonwealth). These days the addresses are often recorded ahead of time, allowing them to be interleaved with footage of royal events from the year or sometimes even filmed on location.
Every year on 15 November, Belgium celebrates its King and - as a matter of course – also the monarchy. Although it may not be all that self-evident in a country torn apart by republican and separatist tendencies, it is, especially these days, a matter of respect for the sovereign. It is therefore meaningful that not only did the three children of King Albert attend the usual ceremony, but so did the entire government and numerous politicians from different political backgrounds.
The First World War officially ended at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 after the signing of the armistice by representatives of the Allied forces and the German government in the railway carriage of Marshal Foch in the Compiègne Forest, France. This war had been grinding on since August 1914 and there had been massive loss of life on all sides.
Every 30 April, the Netherlands turn crazy. From high up in the north down to the southern border, from Rhine to North Sea coast, everyone is dressed in orange, there are orange ribbons in every street, flea markets, traditional games, and a general mood of cheer and fun.