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Topics - IslandDweller

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Scandanavian Royal Families / King Harald and Queen Sonja
« on: August 17, 2005, 12:14:35 PM »
I've always tried to get a sense of Queen Sonja's background, but with very little success. I know that Norway is a small country and that Sonja grew up when the country was recovering from the war, but I also know that there is a band of old families and families that were titled until Norway did away with titles in the first decade of the 20th century. So there must have been something like a polite society. Would the Haraldsen's have been part of this?

I know that they owned some sort of clothing store, that Harald and Sonja met at a party held by the very rich Johan Sternerson, that Sonja's brother built the apartment building near the palace that her mother lived in, and that the NRF used to holiday at a ski home inherited from Sonja's family. Sonja grew up in Vinderen, which I've heard described as a rather quiet section of Oslo, though I don't know if it's a particularly fashionable or affluent area. There are some things that would indicate her background is quite cushy, and others that indicate it isn't particularly top-drawer. It's been reported that she worked in a pub in England while perfecting her English in her student days; and then the Ecole Professionelle des Jeunes Filles she attended in Lausanne doesn't exactly sound like a finishing school.

My sense is that she comes from a comfortably middle class background, and that it would have been possible for Harald to have taken a Norwegian bride from a more distinguished one. I wonder, for instance, if he would have had an easier time getting permission to marry a Wedel Jarlsberg? (None of this is to say that I think he SHOULD have taken a more upper class girl).

If anyone knows anything more about the Haraldsens, I would very much appreciate having it passed along. It's always been extremely difficult to learn more about them. Ditto the Ferner and Lorenzen families. It's easy to discover that the Hoiby and Behn families, on the other hand, were definitely pretty ordinary, run-of-the-mill working folk.

The Greek Royal Family / Greek Nobility
« on: August 04, 2005, 06:10:23 PM »
Googling this princely Greek family turns up surprisingly little. I've discovered that they were famous patriots in the late 18th and early 19th century, and that Prince Theodore Ypsilanti was Master of Horses to the GRF in the reign of George I.

I had thought Greece free of any sort of hereditary aristocracy.

The Wittlesbachs / German Catholic Royal Families
« on: August 02, 2005, 01:20:09 PM »
Does anyone know off the top of their head which German royal families would have been Catholic (generally speaking)?

I believe the families of Bavaria, Saxony and Wurttemberg were; while the families of Hanover, Hesse, Lippe and Saxe-Coburg were Protestant, officially. I assume that the families of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Schleswig-Holstein-Glucksburg would also have been Protestant.

I suppose it would just be easier to name any other Catholic families, since there definitely would have been fewer.

Thank you,
Brian A.

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