The beautiful Princess Zita Bourbon-Parma in the day of her wedding with the Archduke Karl of Austria. 1911.


Queen Maxima today at the Prinsjesdag festivities. What is everyone thoughts on her outfit? I love it!


♚ VICTORIAN ROYALS A-Z; E is for Eugénie de Montijo, Empress of the French.

Largely written off as another quasi-Marie Antoinette, María Eugenia Ignacia Augustina de Palafox-Portocarrero de Guzmán y Kirkpatrick proved herself not only worthy of her status as Empress of the Second French Empire, consort to the Emperor Napoleon III, but capable of a regency that saw great advancements to the Modern day Paris we know today.

Born during a hurricane in 1826 to Spanish nobility, Eugenia possessed a will for greatness, and the dramatic, from her earliest years of adolescence. After her father’s death she inherited a number of his titles, including, in her own right Count of Ablitas, Count of Montijo, Count of Teba, and Marquess of Ardales, among others. With bright auburn hair, she was, to her annoyance, called “Carrots”.  Educated formally in Paris, she was at the mercy of her socialite mother, who many came to see as an ‘adventuress’ and ‘fortune-hunter’. Despite that, Eugenie did capture the attention of the newly appointed President of the Second French Republic, Prince Louis Napoleon. He unsuccessfully attempted to make Eugenie his mistress, yet she refused, and the Prince President gave in, to the dismay of many of his family members, and married Eugenie in 1853, firstly in the Tuileries Palace that was to become their home, and later in grand ceremony in the Notre Dame.

The Empress Eugenie had difficulty bearing an heir, and it was only after a series of miscarriages that her only child, Prince Napoleon Eugene “Lou-Lou” Louis was born in 1856, taking the title of the Prince Imperial.

Eugenie and Napoleon’s new Empire was widely discounted in many European circles. But the first to recognise them, and the Monarch who was to become supportive of the couple was Queen Victoria. A series of royal visits in the 1860s and early 1870’s cemented their friendship, and a lasting alliance was formed. The future King Edward VII was said to have been so overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness shown by the Emperor Napoleon that in this his love of France was born. Eugenie was godmother to King Edward’s niece, the Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, and her namesake.

The Emperor Napoleon III often consulted his wife on important questions, and Eugenie served successfully as Regent during his absences in 1859, 1865 and 1870. These periods saw great progress in Women’s liberation, homes for the needy and sick children, and orphanages and schools. It was during one of her regencies that the notorious German chancellor Bismarck called her "The only man in Paris."

Unsurprisingly to the royalty of Europe, the Second Empire was not to last. The failure of the Mexican Empire enterprise was piled against the Empress Eugenie, who pushed for another great Catholic nation- a premise held dear in her Spanish heart. It was in 1871 that Eugenie was forced to flee her adopted country, and the Second French Empire fell. She took refuge in Hampshire, England, and later was reunited with her husband and son from whom she had been separated since the start of the War. 

The Emperor was ill during the final years of the Empire, and his health deteriorated rapidly. He died in 1873, which devastated Eugenie, despite their rocky marriage. More grief was to be laid upon her, when, whilst fighting in the Zulu war, the Prince Imperial was killed in 1879. Eugenie made a pilgrimage to his place of death, and reportedly felt his presence among the natives.

During her final years, Eugenie was a popular figure in England. She again became close to the elderly Queen Victoria, of whom she kept a constant correspondence with until the her death. Both had undergone tremendous loss, and Queen Victoria often made sure to visit Eugenie regularly, dispersing with all formality in the woman she had come to know as sister. 

Eugenie died in her native Spain in 1920 at the ripe old age of 94, and was buried beside her husband and son in the Imperial Crypt at Farnborough. 


The King and Queen, and the King’s brother, Prince Constantijn and sister in law, Princess Laurentien at today’s Prinsjedag festivities


King Haakon VII, Queen Maud and Crown Prince Olav of Norway dressed for the coronation of King George V of the United Kingdom, Maud’s brother. 1911.


Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Grand Duchess of Hesse, later Grand Duchess Viktoria Feodorovna of Russia. She is wearing her diamond and emerald tiara, wedding gift from her parents. 

Princess Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxi

Line of succession to the ♦ British throne.


Princess Alexandra su Hohenlohe-Langeburg, neé Princess of Saxe Coburg and Gotha. Late 1900s.

She was the lesser known daughter of Prince Alfred of Great Britain and his  spouse, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia.