All About Royal Families: juli 2015

Royal destinations - Rubens House in Antwerp, Flanders Belgium

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the Rubens House
(in Dutch: Rubenshuis) in Antwerp.

Rubens House Antwerp Belgium
Rubens House Antwerp, Belgium

This was the former house and studio of the famous artist
Pieter Paul Rubens. Now it is a museum.
On this link you'll find more information about the museum. 

Pieter Paul Rubens was born on June 28th. 1577 in Siegen (now Germany).
His parents were Jan Rubens and Maria Pypelincks. 

Jan Rubens became a legal advisor of Anna of Saxony 
(wife of William of Orange) and later he was her lover. 
When this was discovered Jan was captured.

Later the family moved to Cologne and in 1589, two years after his
father's death Rubens mother took her family to Antwerp
There Pieter Paul Rubens learned his craft by Tobias Verhaecht.

In 1600 Rubens made his 'Grand Tour' and traveled to Italy. In 1603
Rubens had a diplomatic mission. He had to offer gifts from the court
of the Gonzaga family to the Royal Court of Philip III in Spain. He
returned to Italy in 1604.

Pieter Paul Rubens - Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1608 Rubens returned in Antwerp and there he was appointed as court
painter by Albert VII, Archduke of Austria and Infanta Isabella of Spain,
they ruled then the Low Countries.

From them he received a special permission to stay in Antwerp instead of
Brussels (there was their Royal Court).

On October 3rd. 1609 Rubens married Isabella Brant, daughter of a leading
citizen in Antwerp. They would have 3 children.

In 1610, Rubens gave the order for the construction of an
Italian Styled villa. It became an Italian Renaissance Palace with a
portico and a courtyard.

Inside Rubens House Antwerp Belgium painting
Painting of the Rubens House

In 1626 his wife died. 

Between 1627 and 1630 Rubens made some diplomatic missions, he
traveled between the Spanish Court and the Royal Court in England.

In 1630 Rubens married Helena Fourment, daughter of a silk merchant.
They would have 5 children.

On May 30th. 1640 Rubens died at his house in Antwerp. He was 
buried in the St. James' Church in Antwerp.

Rubens House Antwerp Belgium Gardens
Rubens House outside, Antwerp Belgium

After his death his Italian palace was sold. The city of Antwerp bought
it in 1937. After a strong renovation, the Rubens House is open for public.
It attrackts many tourist from around the world. 

Rubens House Antwerp Belgium Gardens
garden of the Rubens House - own picture

A visit

I visited this museum in the summer of 2015 on a warm day. This wasn't the
smartest idea because of course the Rubens House has no airco.

However I liked the Rubens House very much due to its splendid cultural

Besides the house, the courtyard and the garden are very worth to pay a

Inside it was a bit dark but the fact that Rubens himself
lived here and this splendid history makes a lot good.

OTD 30 July 1683 Maria Theresa of Spain Queen Consort of France and Navarre

Maria Theresa of Spain was born on September 10th. 1638 at
the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, as a daughter of 
King Philip IV of Spain and his wife Elisabeth of France.

 Maria Therese of Spain, Source picture: Wikipedia

Maria Theresa was a member of the House of Habsburg and
she could use the titles Infanta of Spain and Archduchess of
Austria as well. 

In 1658 Anne of Austria, the mother of King Louis XIV of 
France (who was born in Spain) wanted to end the hospitalities
between her native country and her adopted one, France, so she 
desired a marriage between her son and Maria Theresa of Spain.

The negotiations for this marriage contract were very hard.
There was a fear that France would overrule Spain....

Finally on June 7th. 1660 Maria Theresa of Spain left her
native country and on June 9th the wedding took place.

On August 26th. 1660 the Royal Couple made their 
traditional Joyous Entry into Paris. It was said that Louis
was faithful to his wife for the first year. 

Maria Theresa liked to play cards and gambling, 
she had no interest in politics or literature. 

Maria Theresa tolerated her husband's infidelity with 
marquise de Montespan. 

As Queen Consort of France she wasn't involved in political 
life except for the years 1667, 1672 and 1678, 
when she acted as regent while
her husband was away on campaigns on the frontier.

In July 1683 Maria Theresa fell ill and she died a painful
death on July 30th. 1683 at Versailles. 

Louis XIV said about her death:
"This is the first trouble which she has given me."

OTD 27 July 1452 Ludovico Sforza

Ludovico Sforza was born on July 27th. 1452 at Vigevano (now located
in Lombardy). He was a younger son of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan,
and Bianca Maria Visconti.

Due to his mother he received a proper education and he learned inter
alia the classical languages, the instruction in the beauties of painting,
sculpture and letters. He also was taught the methods of government
and warfare.

painting of Ludovico Sforza : Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1466 his father Francesco died (the famous painting the last Supper
was painted next to his burial place). Ludovico's older brother,
Galeazzo Maria Sforza, became the new Duke of Milan. He ruled over
the Duchy till his assassination in 1476. Then he left the throne to his son,
who was at that moment 7 years old!

Ludovico and the boy's mother, Bona of Savoy, moved into a bitter
struggle for the regency and in 1481 Ludovico seized control of the
government of Milan, despite attempts to keep him out of power.

Love & Marriage

In 1491 Ludovico married Beatrice d'Este. She was a daughter from
Ercole I d'Este. In fact a double Sforza-Este wedding took place as
Beatrice's brother, Alfonso d'Este married Ludovico's niece Anna Sforza.
Leonardo da Vinci orchestrated the wedding celebration.

A shining court

Beatrice was at that time 15 years old and she quickly charmed the
court in Milan. She made from the Sforza castle a center of joy,
she organized festivals, balls and she loved to be entertained by
philosophers, poets, diplomats and soldiers. It was said that Beatrice
really had a good taste, and due to her, Ludovico became patron of
artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Donato Bramente. Beatrice and
Ludovico would have 2 children together: Maximilian and Francesco.
However Ludovico had several mistresses (although he kept only one
mistress at a time). By these mistresses several children were born.

Not only Beatrice did a lot for the court of Milan. Ludovico invested
in agriculture, horse and cattle breeding and in the metal industry.
Even a lot of workers were employed in the silk industry. Artists and
craftsmen transfered the court of Milan into one of the most splendid
of Europe. Ludovico also sponsored work in civil and military
engineering such as canals and fortifications.

Besides that Ludovico continued to pay for the work on the Cathedral of
Milan. It was no secret that the universities of Pavia and Milan
flourished under him, although people were grumbling that they
had to pay heavy taxation...

Source picture: wikipedia


In 1494, Alfonso the king of Naples allied himself with Pope
Alexander VI and this was a threat to Milan. Ludovico decided
to accept help from France, then ruled by the powerful Charles VIII.
Ludovico permitted the French troops to pass through Milan, so
they might attack Naples. Naples reacted immediately. Their King
claimed the Duchy of Milan as their own. Ludovico asked help
to Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. To rattify this ally, Ludovico
offered his niece, Bianca Sforza, to Maximilian I, as his bride.

Check also the page : House of Habsburg - Maximilian I - on top of my
blog or on this link

In 1494 his nephew died under suspicious conditions and the throne
of Milan fell to Ludovico. On January 3rd. 1497 Ludovico's wife

When Charles VIII died his cousin Louis became King of France
and he claimed the Duchy of Milan as his own, this led to the
Italian Wars...

Ludovico died on May 27th. 1508 at the Château de Loches,
as a prisoner of the French.

OTD 24 July 1561 Maria of the Palatinate-Simmern

July 24th. 1561 marks the birth of Maria of the Palatinate. This event took place
in Heidelberg (Germany). Her parents had been Louis VI, Elector Palatine
and Elisabeth of Hesse.

Mary of the palatinate - Source picture: wikipedia

In April 1578 Prince Charles of Sweden, who was Duke of Södermanland too, 
visited her home and proposed Maria. In this marriage proposal, religion played
a huge role. Maria was Lutheran and Charles was sternly Protestant.

On May 11th. 1579 the wedding took place and Maria followed Charles to
Sweden. There they lived in his Duchy.

Although there were no portraits of Mary, she was described as beautiful,
gentle and diplomatic and her marriage to Charles IX of Sweden was happy. 
She accompanied him around the Duchy as long as her pregnancies made it
possible. The Royal Couple would have 6 children.

Mary died on July 29 -th. 1589 in Eskilstuna. She was buried in the
Strängnäs Cathedral. It was said that then Duke Charles mourned her

The town Mariestad (founded in 1583) and the Royal estate Marieholm
are named after her.

OTD 21 July 1843 Establishment of the Antwerp Zoo

On July 21st. 1843, the Antwerp Zoo was established, which makes it one
of the oldest animal parks of the world.

engraving of the Antwerp Zoo -Source picture: Wikipedia

In 1844 King Leopold I of Belgium inaugurated the building and the
predicate 'Royal' was added to its name for this occasion.

During the Olympic Games of 1920 the Antwerp Zoo was the
host for boxing and wrestling games.

In 1969 the Antwerp Zoo emphasized his role in education with the
Zoo Classes. Several decades later even my husband and I went on
a schooltrip to the Antwerp Zoo. 

On January 1st. 1983, the animal park was classified as monument.
In fact there are besides the animals a lot of beautiful buildings like:

- the entrance;
- Egyptian temple;
- Moor temple;
- Aquarium (made in 1910 and designed by Emile Thielens);
- Winter garden.

National Day in Belgium - July 21st. 2015

No, this blogpost isn't written too early. Indeed July 21st. marks the National Day of
Belgium, but today there also are a lot of festivities. 

Monument Spa Belgium
Belgian monument in Spa

Already this evening, a concert will take place at the BOZAR palace 
in Brussels.The concert will be attended by King Philippe of the Belgians 
and his wife, Queen Mathilde and other members of the Royal Family.

Each year the King of the Belgians gives a speech on the occasion of the
National Day. In his speech King Philippe warned about the superficial
relations on the Internet. Meanwhile since now the Belgian Monarchy
has an official page on Facebook. Will there be one on Google+ too? :-) 

On July 21st. there will be several Te Deums, inter alia in Brussels,
Antwerp and Mons. Te Deum is a remembrance of the enthronement of
King Leopold I of Belgium.  

On the Twitter section of my blog, you can see some lovely pictures of  
King Philippe and his family.

In the afternoon of course the military Parade will take place in front of the
Royal Palace in Brussels. Despite the hoopla about the security of the
Federal Police they will participate!  

It was a beautiful parade but one member of the royal family found it 
quiet boring he took a snap. You can see the small movie on this link
(Comment in Dutch)

It also is interesting to know that July 21st. is a public holiday in Belgium,
although a lot of interesting buildings are open in Brussels, inter alia the
cabinet of the Prime Minister of Belgium & that's very unique! 

My happy weekend picture taken in Trier, Germany: Posthof

A pink façade and some history...
That's the least that I can tell about the Neo-Baroque Posthof in Trier.

It was used as Post office and it showed the representation of
the Post as an Imperial Institution in a very impressive way.

Trier Posthof Neo Baroque
Posthof Trier - own picture

With this post, I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Weekend. Thank you
for reading my blog, the likes and the reshares on Google+ and on 
Twitter as well!

OTD 16 July 1715 Charles de Rohan Prince of Soubise

16 July 1715 marks the birth of Charles de Rohan. This event took place
at the Palace of Versailles near Paris in France.


His parents were Jules, Prince of Soubise, a lieutenant captain of the
gendarmes of the Royal Guard and Anne Julie de Melun.

Charles was styled by birth as Prince of Epinoy till his father's
death  in 1724. That year in fact, both of his parents died due to smallpox.

The young orphan was then entrusted to his grandfather: Hercule Mériadec,
Duke of Rohan-Rohan. Charles grew up at the Royal Court and there he
became a companion of Louis XV. They had the same age...

In the army

At the age of 18, Charles became a Musketeer and soon he had a great

In 1757 at Rossbach, the Prince of Soubise, hadn't much luck he was
defeated by the Prussian army.He stayed in military service until
the Peace of 1763.

After Charles left the army he lived a normal life as a man of fashion
in Paris.

Love & Marriage

Charles married 3 times:

In 1734 he married Anne Marie Louise de la Tour d'Auvergne, The
couple would have one daughter. Charles' first wife died in 1739.

In 1741 he married for the second time. Now he even had a real
Princess: Princess Anna Thérèse of Savoy.They would have a daughter
too. His second wife died in 1745 at the age of 27.

Already in the same year Charles remarried.
He chose Landgravine Victoria of Hesse-Rotenburg as his bride. They
wouldn't have any children.

Charles died on July 1st. 1787 at the age of 71 in Paris.

OTD 13 July 1766 Amalie Christiane of Baden

Amalie Christiane of Baden was born on July 13th. 1766 in Karlsruhe as
the eldest daughter of Charles Louis of Baden and his wife
Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Amalie of Baden - Source picture: Wikipedia


Amalie was the twin sister of Caroline of Baden, who became later
Queen consort of Bavaria. She also was the sister of Elizabeth Alexeievna,
Empress of Russia and Frederica, who became Queen consort of Sweden.

Wedding negotiations

First of all Amalie 's aunt, Frederika Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt, Queen consort
of Prussia, wanted that her son, the later Frederick William III of Prussia
married her niece. However he didn't show any interest in his cousins of Baden.
Against the will of his mother Frederick William III of Prussia married
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Meanwhile there were other candidates like:
Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Anhalt-Dessau;
William, who became later William IV of the United Kingdom.

In 1811 Amalie, who was already 35 years old, visited the court in
Vienna. Emperor Franz I wanted to match his brother, Archduke Charles
with a princess of Baden. But Charles didn't have any interest in Amalie.

In 1816 Amalie was back in Baden, Eduard August, Duke of Kent and
Strathearn came on a visit to Karlsruhe. He didn't show any interest in
Amalie neither, so there became no engagement.


Amalie died on October 26th. 1823 in the arms of her mother.

My Early Happy Weekend Picture from a very old lady taken in Antwerp, Belgium

It is no secret that I love Antwerp. That city located near the Scheldt in the
Flamish region of Belgium, really has everything: special shops, nice restaurants
and a lot of historical buildings.

One of the most beautiful buildings according to me is the Cathedral of Our Lady.
It also is listed at the list of the World Heritage Sites.

Antwerp Cathedral of Our Lady Belgium
Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp, Belgium

Some history

Of course this building has a great history. It was built between 1352 and
1521, so 170 years of construction works...

But then in 1533 a large fire took place. In 1566 protestants destroyed a
big part of the interior during the Iconoclasm. In 1585 Antwerp came 
again under Roman Catholic Authority.

That wasn't the end of its misery. In 1794 French Revolutionaries who
conquered the region, plundered the cathedral again. Finally between
1965 and 1993 a complete renovation took place. So the cathedral can
shine again over its city: Antwerp.

Some facts

The tower is 404 ft high, it is the highest church tower in the Benelux!

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor commented that the spire should be
kept under glass.

Even Napoleon Bonaparte compared the spire with Mechlin lace.

Some literature 

Inside there are some major works of the painter: Peter Paul Rubens.
In the 19th century novel: A Dog of Flanders, written by Ouida, a poor
boy called Nello and his dog Patrasche visited the cathedral to see the
painting of Rubens. This story is very famous in Japan and this is why
many Japanese tourists visit the cathedral.

30.000 Times the Last Post in Ypres - Belgium

The Last Post will celebrate a very special occasion. It has been blown
30.000 times under the Menin Gate in Ypres.

Menin Gate in the evening 

Queen Mathilde of the Belgians will attend this event.

On this link you can read some more information.

On this youtube link you can see a short movie.

Under the imposant Menin Gate

In many places around the world (inter alia London, India, Australia and
Canada) notable people attended a similar event. 

OTD 9 July 1511 Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg

9 July 1511 marks the birth of Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg. This event took
place at Lauenburg Castle (a place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany).

Source picture: Wikipedia

Her parents were Duke Magnus I of Saxe-Lauenburg and his wife
Catherine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.

On October 29th. 1525, Dorothea married Christian of Denmark, although they
had their own courts. The couple would have 5 children.

In 1533 Dorothea became queen, however her coronation took not place
until 1537!

Dorothea liked politics but it was unclear if she had any influence over it.
She also never learned to speak Danish.

Dorothea was described as a strict person with a lot of discipline.
She had a strong control over her ladies-in-waiting and over her children
even if they were adults. She protected her younger children against their
older relatives and she hadn't a good relationship with her eldest son.

When she became a widow in 1559, she visited her children in Germany
regularly (once a year).

But she fell in love with her brother-in-law, Duke John II of Schleswig-
Holstein-Haderslev. This time her eldest son, King Frederick II of Denmark
opposed. She tried hard to accomplish her will but she failed.

In 1567 Dorothea tried to negotiate about the wedding between her son
Magnus and Princess Sophia of Sweden. This took place during the
Seven Year's War in which King Frederick of Denmark tried to conquer

Her son was very angry, he even regarded his mother almost like a traitor!
King Frederick II of Denmark sent Dorothea to Sonderborg Castle where
she spent the rest of her life in exile.

Dorothea died on October 7th. 1571 at the age of 60. She was buried
beside her husband in the Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark.

OTD 6 July 1789 María Isabella of Spain

On 6 July 1789 a noble girl was born in Madrid.
The girl received the name Maria Isabella of Spain.

Her parents were King Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma.
However at the moment of the birth of Maria Isabella there were a lot of
court rumors that King Charles IV of Spain wasn't her father at all.

According to the rumors her mother would have a relationship with the
young Godoy, who became later Prime Minister of Spain.

 Infanta Maria Isabella of Spain - picture: Wikipedia

The negotiations for Maria Isabella's marriage started soon. First she was
offered as a bride for Lucien Bonaparte (younger brother of Napoleon),
but Napoleon wasn't keen that he
should marry someone from the Bourbon family.

Then her mother tried to find another husband for her daughter. She wanted
someone who could become a King.

On July 6th. 1802, on Maria's 13th. B-Day, she married her 25 years old
cousin Francis of the Two Sicilies by proxy in Madrid. The two were
married by person on October 4th.. The festivities lasted till
October 12th., when Maria Isabella left Barcelona and traveled to Naples.

Unfortunately Maria Isabella didn't make a good first impression by her
arrival in Naples. She was described as short and plain. Some people
mentioned her as "Little and round as a ball."

Maria Isabella and Francis became a good match.
Maria Isabella was only 15! when she had her first child and the couple
would have 12 children, six daughters and six sons.

On January 4th. 1825 King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies died and
Francis, Maria Isabella's husband became King. King Francis was
a large and heavy man, in fact he was more interested in farming than
in politics.

And the new Queen? Well Maria Isabelle loved theater, balls and
public activities. Simple and generous she finally became more popular
than her husband.

After the death of her husband in 1830, Maria Isabella's eldest son
became the new King. He would reign as Ferdinand II.

 In 1835 Maria Isabella fell in love with Baron Peter von Schmuckher,
a married Austrian officer. In 1837 Schmuckher 's wife died and the
two love birds could finally marry, but he wanted a new title and she
rejected him. She appealed her son, King Ferdinand II and he expelled
him from Naples in January 1838.

But Maria Isabella was determinated to remarry. King Ferdinand II gave
her a list of young noblemen from which she could chose.

She selected Francesco, Count del Balzo dei Duchi di Presenzano.
Their marriage took place privately on January 15th. 1839. He was 34
years old, she 50.

Due to her character and her generosity towards the poor, Maria Isabella
stayed popular till the end of her life. She died on September 13th. 1848
at the age of 59.

Royal Destination - Tegerensee located in Bavaria, southern Germany

Tegerensee, a beautiful and royal spa town is located in Bavaria, southern Germany.

Tegerensee Bavaria Germany
Bahnhof Tegerensee Bavaria Germany

The recorded history of the town started in the 6th century AD with the
arrival of the Bavarians. The region was ruled by the noble family of the

Later the Tegerensee was known for his abbey. This was founded in 746,
by the brothers Adalbert and Ottokar. They were members of the family

In the 10th. century the abbey received from Pope Paul I the relics from

Tegerensee Bavaria Germany
Summer Residence of the Bavarian Royal Family Tegerensee in Germany

In the 19th century this abbey was acquired by the Bavarian Royal Family. 
The Wittelsbachs made it their summer residence. This is called:
Schloss Tegerensee. The present owner is Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria.

Many important members of the Bavarian Royal family were buried here,
inter alia:

Duke Maximilian Joseph in Bavaria (father of Sisi);
Princess Ludovika of Bavaria (mother of Sisi).
Infanta Maria Josepha of Portugal (mother of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium)

Nowadays the Tegerensee lives from tourism. The lake serves as
recreational era and it is surrounded by Bavarian Alps.

Tegerensee Bavaria Germany
Tegerensee Germany 

Today in History - July 3rd. 1676 - Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau

July 3rd. 1676 marks the birth of Leopold of Anhalt- Dessau.

Leopold was born as the ninth of tenth sons of John George II
of Anhalt-Dessau and Henriette Catherine of Nassau, daughter of
Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.

From his early youth Leopold was fascinated by the army.
In 1693 he entered the Prussian army, in the same year he inherited his

His first campaign (1695) took place in The Netherlands with
the Siege of Namur.

Leopold I, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau- picture: Wikipedia

The young prince fell in love with Anna Louise Föhse, a daughter
of a pharmacist. His mother tried to break up their relationship by
sending her son abroad. This didn't help, the two were married on
September 8th. 1698 and they would have ten children. First their
marriage was considered as morganatic (lower stand). Later, on
December 29th. 1701, it was made official by imperial decree.

Leopold and his wife - source picture: wikipedia

In 1702 the War on the Spanish Succession broke out. Leopold
took the command of a Prussian corps on the Rhine.

In 1703 he received the rank lieutenant-general.
Later he participated inter alia in:
the Siege of Bonn,
the Battle of Cassano
Battle of Turin
Great Northern war

Leopold also became one of the most influential members of the
Prussian Governing circle of King Frederick William I. The two
were volunteers in the army at the same time.

Between the battles Leopold served the army with training the
soldiers. He was nicknamed the old Dessauer.

Leopold died on April 7th. 1747 at the age of 70.