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Balkan Royal Families / Re: Tzar Ferdinand of Bulgaria and his family
« on: February 27, 2019, 05:00:29 PM »
Having tried to research any Counts Ospenniy, my conclusion is that there are no Counts Ospenniy, only an untiled noble family. A few Russian random websites refer to Catherine the Great conferring a comital title on the vaccine provider, but they most certainly exaggerate. Comital titles were severely limited and only conferred in rare circumstances (and never on commoners unless they had shown exceptional merit), while nobility was conferred rather liberally. Google Books give a few glimpses into noted German nobility genealogist Detlev Schwennicke's listing in "Europäische Stammtafeln" of the Ospenniys being "Orlov bastards". No idea where this claim comes from, but it's enticing when you know the connection between Catherine II and Count Orlov.

In a way the connection between Eleonore and this Ospenniy sounds a bit like romantic fabrication trying to link her destiny to Bulgaria, Bulgaria's protector Russia and her distant relative Catherine II as a pioneer nurse, considering that this alleged fiancé with his imperially vaccinated ancestry died in Bulgaria (Телиш) in a Russian war that resulted in Bulgaria's national liberation. Compare this to the claim in her Bulgarian Wikipedia article, which has her first cousin Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Elder visiting Sofia to attend the unveiling of the Statue of Alexander (II) the Liberator (of Bulgaria) in 1907 and recommending her unmarried Reuss relative to the widowed Tsar Ferdinand!

I hardly think a noble, but untitled Russian officer (presumably) would be considered a suitable match even for a minor Reuss princess. Perhaps that's the reason why the engagement (d'inclination?) only lasted one day? Perhaps her parents (and her cousin Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna) asked the Tsarist authorities to call him back to Russia to prepare for the war?

Balkan Royal Families / Re: Tzar Ferdinand of Bulgaria and his family
« on: February 27, 2019, 11:14:57 AM »
I have read in Wikipedia:

"At the age of seventeen, Eleonore was engaged to Count Mark Alexandrovich Ospeni [ru]. The day after the engagement the Count was summoned to Russia because of the start of the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878). Count Ospeni is wounded after the battle at the village of Telish and later died from these wounds."

Does anyone knows who this Count Mark Alexandrovich Ospeni is? I couldn't find anything about him or his family, maybe due to wikipedia spelling...

Wow, Marc! Super interesting with a Reuss-Russian match, even though it came to nought. Thanks for telling us. Based on the link in Eleonore English Wikipedia page to the family's Russian Wikipedia page, I can tell you that the family name Оспенный / Ospenniy is an adjective derived from оспа, smallpox. So it means "having to do with smallpox" (but not "pockmarked"). It was bestowed on the six-year-old commoner Alexander (Danilovich) Markov by Catherine the Great together along with hereditary nobility and arms showing a naked arm with a small cut and holding a rose in 1769 in recognition of him providing the material for the Empress' famous smallpox vaccination! So that's a rather unusual origin for a noble family! But I found no mention of any comital title.

BTW Eleonore's German Wikipedia page says she was, for a long time, a deaconess in Lübben (Sorbian: Lubin) in the Spreewald (Sorbian: Błota) in Lower Lusatia, which of course is and was a Sorbian-speaking community. I wonder if she picked up any Slavic language bits there which came in useful when she became Tsaritsa of Bulgaria? (She was born in what is within modern-day Poland, but her native village was most certainly German-speaking when she grew up.)

Having Fun! / Re: are the British imperial days romanticised?
« on: February 26, 2019, 08:42:57 AM »
Considering how modern people view Kitchener the man, it's a shame that the Canadian city refused to revert its name to Berlin, out of pique.

Interestingly for us royalty fans, the city's Wikipedia article has this quote:
The Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught, while visiting Berlin, Ontario, in May 1914 (!), discussed the importance of Canadians of German ethnicity (regardless of their origin) in a speech: "It is of great interest to me that many of the citizens of Berlin are of German descent. I well know the admirable qualities – the thoroughness, the tenacity, and the loyalty of the great Teutonic Race, to which I am so closely related. I am sure that these inherited qualities will go far in the making of good Canadians and loyal citizens of the British Empire".

Having Fun! / Re: are the British imperial days romanticised?
« on: February 25, 2019, 02:27:55 PM »
I guess there is appeal in the image of an Old English summer. Sunshine and the sound of leather on willow, the cask of Crudgington's 4X Bitter, an urn of tea, and cucumber sandwiches.

You always hear about the English and tea and crumpets but why are the English way of them considered special?

Notice that it's the upper-class haunts (and middle-class dreams) of rural Southern England that feature in these romanticisings, not the industrial working-class Northern England.

Regarding cucumber sandwiches Wikipedia says this:
The popularity of the cucumber sandwich reached its upper-class zenith in the Edwardian era, when cheap labour and plentiful coal enabled cucumbers to be produced in hotbeds under glass through most of the year.

During the Edwardian era, the butter used in England (also for cucumber sandwiches) increasingly came from the expanding and export-focused Danish dairy industry, a process which was part of Denmark's economical, political, social and cultural reorientation after the devastating defeat to the Prussians in 1864.

Scandanavian Royal Families / Re: King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:56:18 PM »
I'm watching a Swedish portrait interview with Queen Silvia (Queen Silvia at 75 looks back, with Claes Elfsberg from STV) with discussion about her background, and I'm getting a more nuanced picture of her family's infamous past:

The factory in Berlin which her father Walther Sommerlath bought very cheaply in an Aryanisation process in the late 1930s, belonged to a Jew called Efim / Ernst Wechsler, who was born as a subject of Alexander III, in the pogrom-ridden Chișinău / Kishinev in Bessarabia, modern Moldovia, and who emigrated to Germany ca. 1900. He was able to emigrate to Brazil before WW2 and escape the Holocaust with his family, perhaps partially because (not Silvia's claim, but my speculation) he was compensated for his factory with Sommerlath's parts in a Brazilean coffee plantation and other land in Brazil. Here is his Swedish Wikipedia page.

Queen Silvia's two homelands, Brazil and Germany, were actually at war during WW2. Her mother's brother served as a surgeon in the Brazilean expeditionary force in Italy, who fought on the Allied side in the Battle of Monte Cassino etc. He survived, but never talked about it. (In general, Silvia's upper middle class family never talked about anything "bad".) Her mother suffered from severe depression during Silvia's childhood and youth, partially from the stresses brought on by WW2, when her land of birth and the adopted homeland she came to live in, were at war.

I saw a clip of him striding down the corridors of the Kremlin, with band music playing and servants opening doors for him as he approached.   I could easily see a Tsar getting the exact same reception.

In a German documentary about the (second) German Empire I heard something interesting about the similar German Ersatz monarchs: Already during the reign of Wilhelm II the deposed Bismarck was the shadow monarch (regarded by many as the more competent statesman), then during WW1 Ludendorff and after the abolition of the monarchy Hindenburg as president. Hitler combined the roles of organic national leader, visionary statesman and official political leader in the role of Führer.

A short while ago I read that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna Romanova would like the rules of accession altered so that her son Michael can marry for love.
Who is the authority that she could appeal to?

According to the Fundamental Laws of 1906, a change in the Fundamental Laws' rule about Ebenbürtigkeit would require the ratification of both the ruling monarch, the State Duma and the State Council of a restored Russian Empire. So no formally valid way of going about that untill the monarchy is restored. Informally she could probably get away with it if the Orthodox Church gave its blessing, Putin his tacit approval (by attending the wedding) and the bride was a Russian. But allegedly Grand Duke Georgiy Mikhailovitch's girlfriend is an Italian.

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: February 05, 2019, 05:24:18 PM »
Soviet nostalgia with wonderful 1980s symphonic movie music ("Concerto de Berlin") by Romanian-French composer Vladimir Cosma:

Fantastic Italian version of the infamous Cabaret song "Tomorrow Belongs To Me" with better lyrics and images from the Lord of the Rings movies: The song is an unofficial anthem of the Italian neo-fascist alt-right.

Scandanavian Royal Families / Re: Swedish Jewels
« on: February 05, 2019, 10:09:19 AM »
The main Swedish crown jewels have not been stolen, but a funerary set of crown jewels from the grave of King Karl IX and his Queen Kristina of Holstein-Gottorp in Strängnäs Cathedral. But they are precious objects of gold, silver etc.
See here for a picture and more information:

The missing crown jewels have reportedly been found in a garbage bin in a Stockholm suburb.

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill!

Yes. And a way for Greeks, both from the parties in power and the opposition, to make a political show of national pride in a world where Greece has very little control of the circumstances it finds itself in. What I find interesting is the context where the ancient name of Macedonian first was applied to a diverging Bulgarian dialect 200-150 years ago. Several of the Slavicists and philologists engaged in this had links to Russia. The Greeks didn't take too much notice of this in the 19th century, as the area today known as Greek (Southern or Lower) Macedonia didn't become part of the Kingdom of Greece untill 1913. But the way Orthodox South Slavs speaking rather diverging Bulgarian dialects assumed the name of the famous ancient Macedonians parallells how a mixture of Greek-speaking Rhomioi (i.e. Romans, i.e. Byzantine Greeks), Albanian-speaking Arvanites, recent Slavic-speakers and Romance-speaking Vlach Orthodox further south came to define themselves as Greeks / Hellenes and ethnic successors to the Ancient Greeks at the same time.

So, Greece has finally agreed to a compromize with Macedonia in the Macedonian naming dispute. Macedonia, which previously was forced to call itself FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) will now be allowed to call itself Northern Macedonia, provided they change all signs, money etc. at great cost and stop referring to Thessaloniki as Solun. I think it's so small-minded and ridiculous on Greece's part that we should refer to the Greek Republic as FOEMPYVS - the Former Ottoman Eyalet of Morea, Pashalik of Yanina and Vilayet of Salonica.

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: December 17, 2018, 01:21:58 PM »
Enticing campfire rendition from some right-wing summer camp in the 1970s:

BTW while researching this I happened upon this recent German TV report about a so-called 'Anastasia cult' from Russia that had adherents in Germany: Basically eco-fascism worshipping a blond goddess called Anastasia:

Having Fun! / Re: Youtube favourites. (NON-Romanov & Royality videos)
« on: December 17, 2018, 12:40:56 PM »
Catchy anthem of the emerging right-wing populist movement in Europe?

Marching song of the Greek Chrysi Avgi - Golden Dawn party: Οι τελευταίοι πιστοί - The Last Faithful Ones:

(The song as meme culture:

I became very enamoured with this song and wondered where it came from? Turns out it's an adaption of an Italian hommage to the heroes of the anti-Communist uprising in Hungary in 1956: (Avanti) ragazzi di Buda - (Forward) Boys of Buda:

Apparently it was written by the broadcaster Pier Francesco Pingitore in 1966 and has been in use by various neo-fascist football hooligan groups, most notably supporters of Lazio. Rocked-up version:

Fascinating how a hommage to the anti-Communist resistance in Eastern Europe now becomes a rallying song for those who align themselves with the stance on mass immigration of these countries of the Visegrád Group.

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 02:57:19 PM »
(Whereas the British have had so many: Lewis Carrol, Charles Dickens, A.E. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl etc.)

Can't believe I forgot J.K. Rowling for that list!

Having Fun! / Re: The Enid Blyton Thread
« on: December 11, 2018, 06:07:09 AM »
In Germany, Enid Blyton is HUGE, and they continued some of her series with German writers.

Which is ironic, considering that Ms. Blyton was British.

British culture is in its basics a unique blend of German (Germanic) and French (Romance) culture, just like the English language. Besides, there is in Blyton's work, as I've noted earlier in this thread, a perverse whiff of proto-fascism, the Übermensch and a rigid caste system. I'm not saying that Germans were deliberately seeking this out, rather that they in the postwar years came upon a popular writer of children's literature whom they trusted, as a Briton, to have "sound and democratic" values. But the reason why she appealed to them, besides writing a children's equivalent of mass-produced orgy porn, might have been her decidedly right-wing perspectives. Something she, as a writer on the victorious Allied side could be allowed to, but German writers couldn't, so their books were boring. (Read Siegfried Lenz's Deutschstunde, The German Lesson, for an entertaining discussion of this pedagogic issue.)

Do note I write this as someone whose political ideas some people would brand right-wing and right-radical. Besides not wanting to kill people and abolish democracy it's one of the ways I know I'm not a fascist: That I love many of the books the fascists burned. But it takes a better writer than Enid Blyton to write things that are good, true and beautiful. Thomas Mann is a great German example, but the Germans have had very few such writers of children's literature after the Brothers Grimm. (Whereas the British have had so many: Lewis Carrol, Charles Dickens, A.E. Milne, C.S. Lewis, Rudyard Kipling, Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl etc.)

I'm more amazed she was popular in France. But there are a lot of hidden, unexpected strains in French society, among them a very rigid class system which parallells British society as featured in Blyton's books very well.

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