Today, Kate had her baby and it’s boy. The Commonwealth monarchies now have three heirs (plus many spares). I mean, sure, we don’t really need that many heirs, but modern medicine leads to this result. Even Queen Victoria had three heirs in her own lifetime, and this was before antibiotics. Would have liked a girl, but as long as the kid is happy and doesn’t turn out to be a huge jerk, then I think everything will be OK.
If you’re not already sick of hearing about royalty, the next Queen of Hearts starts tomorrow! Our subject is Isabella of Parma, a rather more melancholy lady than Marie Louise ever was, sadly, but interesting nonetheless.
Going back to royal firstborns for a moment, I’m currently working on the third Queen of Hearts installment. It will feature Victoria, Princess Royal. She was born in 1840, the first child of Queen Victoria. Called Vicky by the family, she as heir to her mother from birth until the birth of her younger brother, Albert Edward (nicknamed Bertie). Unlike the new, as-yet-unnamed royal baby, Vicky was not able to hold onto her status as heir apparent because males always took precedence over females in Britain (and in places like France, females could never inherit the throne at all). If Vicky had only sisters, she would have become queen. Instead, she was given the title Princess Royal, the traditional title of the eldest daughter of King or Queen of the United Kingdom. The current holder of this title is Anne, eldest daughter of Elizabeth II. Her son Charles has no daughters, and if William has none either then this title might die off for a while after Anne passes away.
Back to the point. Vicky was a favourite of both her parents, despite having eight younger siblings, one of which was born about two years before Vicky married. She was highly intelligent and artistic. She enjoyed learning about all the new ideas on politics and science that emerged during her lifetime. She was very interested in nursing (as were all her sisters), the education and rights of women, and even read the works of Karl Marx (though she did not really agree with his views). Her parents had given her a thorough education, even compared to the standards of today. Even as a child she was fluent in English, French, and German.
Vicky’s marriage was perhaps the most historically significant of any of her sisters and brothers, besides her brother Bertie, whose wife would one day be queen consort and had to give birth to heirs. Vicky herself was married to the heir to the German throne, Frederick, known as Fritz. They would have eight children. The most important child was her eldest, Wilhelm (known in the family as Willy). Willy is mostly known to history as the German Kaiser of World War I. He was easily vilified, made worse by the fact Germany lost World War I and was largely blamed for starting the war. Willy’s own share of blame for the war is debatable. The correspondence between family members at this time shows that many, even those who disliked him (there were many, including his own sisters), felt he was too easily led by ministers who tricked him into a war he didn’t want.
The comic itself won’t focus on Vicky’s adult life. Instead, we will focus on her childhood living amongst her numerous siblings, specifically her brother Bertie and her sister, Alice. Bertie and Vicky did not always get along, leaving things to Alice to play peacekeeper. These three siblings were always to be close. Not insignificantly, William and Kate’s baby is descended from both Alice and Bertie: Alice is the baby’s great-great- great-great-grandmother, while Bertie is the baby’s great-great-great-great-grandfather (the lines were merged when Elizabeth married Phillip, her cousin).
As for Isabella, you’ll start to learn about her starting tomorrow.