In light of the increasing number of spurious "royal experts" infiltrating the media, Princess Palace has created this online testing and training center/centre (a.k.a. trivia quizzes) to facilitate the recognition and certification of actual royal experts. Anyone receiving certification may add C.R.E. (certified royal expert) after one's name. This site is created and maintained entirely for fun. Its creator asserts no authority for certifying anyone's qualifications for anything. ;)

29 January 2011

"The Spare" Quiz

To submit your answers, you may use the comment box OR e-mail to

Princes William and Harry have often been referred to as "The Heir and the Spare." Throughout history, the British line of succession has been somewhat precarious.

1. How many English monarchs since the Norman Conquest have been directly succeeded by their firstborn son?

2. How many English monarchs since the Norman Conquest have been directly succeeded by their firstborn daughter?

3. Which English king had the most children become an English monarch?

4. Which kings were immediately succeeded by their grandchild?

5. Which 20th century British monarchs were not firstborn children?

View Answers

Interview with an Expert: Marlene Eilers Koenig

Marlene Eilers Koenig had a life-changing experience at the tender age of 12. While exploring a biography of Queen Victoria, she encountered the queen’s family tree and became immediately and permanently fascinated. From that moment, she began her own investigation into the queen’s vast progeny, trawling books and articles, eventually writing to and even phoning descendants. Over many years, she earned the trust and respect of the people she was researching, many of whom actively assisted her in her quest.

Eventually the research project morphed into a book project and Koenig found herself knee-deep in the kind of struggles faced by many first-time writers. “At first, it was very hard,” she recalls. When her first publisher went out of business, she was left was with unpublished manuscript. That’s when she met George Tantzos who connected her with Atlantic International Publications. Koenig’s first book, Queen Victoria’s Descendants, was published in 1987 as a comprehensive guide that sought not only to include all of the descendants in a genealogical volume but also to tell their real stories.

In the mean time, Koenig had launched another major project also borne from her consuming interest in royal history: Royal Book News, a subscription newsletter in which she reviews as many royal books as she can get her eyes on. In the last two and half decades, she has read and reviewed nearly every royal tome produced in English. In January 2011, she transitioned the labor-intensive and budget-busting printed publication to a more cost-effective blog, having first tested the effectiveness of the blogosphere for a couple of years with Royal Musings, a daily compendium of royal news stories from that date in history mixed with other commentary and observations.

In all of her writings and interviews, Koenig is ruthlessly honest in expressing her opinions about poorly researched books and articles about royalty. She is still ticked off that Kitty Kelley cited her in the ‘tell-all’ book, The Royals. Kelly attended a lecture Koenig had presented at the Smithsonian, but Koenig insists, “she learned nothing.” Koenig has also been loudly critical of the deluge of publications following the death of Diana Princess of Wales and the more recent announcement of Prince William’s engagement by authors she calls “hack writers” who rely on unsubstantiated claims, rumors, and speculation. She includes people like Lady Colin Campbell in this group, but asserts that others, like Andrew Morton, clearly use meticulous research.

And, Koenig is one who knows about meticulous research. She has amassed an extensive list of contacts among royal insiders and royals themselves as well as a personal library that includes more than a thousand royal books. She also maintains news clippings about European royals that date back to the turn of the last century. In fact, when European History Journal recently contacted her to write about the 2011 engagement of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia, she was able to begin her research by thumbing through her files at home, where she found original articles about the prince’s birth and the weddings of both his parents and grandparents, among other useful items.

She believes a personal library is critical for a royal expert. “I can pull from personal resources,” she says. “I can easily discover what Queen Victoria had to say about a particular event. You need to have access to material.”

Koenig is frustrated about the lack of English translations of excellent biographies and histories written in other languages, but she says the most difficult thing about her royal avocation is finding time for it outside of her full-time job as a librarian and her other obligations. Nevertheless, she has had a prolific career as a royal expert. In addition to writing, editing or contributing to several books—including last year’s The Grand Dukes, Sons and Grandsons of Russia’s Tsars—she has composed numerous articles for Atlantis, European History Journal, Majesty, Royalty Digest and Royalty. She’s been interviewed as a royal expert by ABC, BBC, CBC, CNN, and NBC as well as the Washington Post, New York Times, and London Daily Telegraph. All of this while still maintaining Royal Book News and adding daily postings on Royal Musings.

Her outspokenness has earned her some vociferous criticism, especially on the message boards. She was one of the first people to point out some of Diana’s less charming characteristics and to criticize Sarah Duchess of York. Since both formerly royal women have a broad base of extremely loyal supporters, Koenig has taken many hits for not being in love with them, too. Nevertheless, she says this has never hindered her ability to find publishers.

Koenig has also had run-ins with people asserting spurious descent from Queen Victoria. Decades of in-depth research on the topic has provided her with more than sufficient credentials to support or denounce such claimants.

In fact, she has continued to maintain such excellent relationships with undoubted descendants of the late queen that she is often invited to royal events and she is on several royal Christmas card lists. Just this week, she posted a copy of the Christmas card she received from the Prince and Princess of Venice on Royal Musings.

As for the changing atmosphere surrounding royalty over the course of her observations, Koenig doesn’t really see a difference in tone from today’s royal coverage. “If you look at the sons of King George III, there was certainly a lot of gossip and speculation about them, although they obviously didn’t have photographers following them around.” She is more concerned about the media outlets that are no longer covering royal news. For instance, “The New York Times doesn’t cover royalty the way it used to; royalty used to be front-page news, but it isn’t any more.”

One reason for her concern is that Koenig believes there is more than just romantic mystique behind royal traditions. “In Europe, among the most stable and wealthiest nations are the ones with monarchies. There seems to be something positive about having a head of state who is tied to history and tradition over one who is elected.”

So, Koenig will continue to share her royal fascination through meticulous research and forthright commentary. In addition to the Arts Journal assignment, she is currently working with publisher Ted Rosvall on a book about the descendants of Danish King Christian IX, who happens to share many descendants with the woman who launched Koenig’s royal career, Queen Victoria. Having published a new edition of Queen Victoria’s Descendants in 1997 and a companion book of updates in 2004, Koenig has continued to maintain her interest in the topic, periodically updating her information although she admits that some of the younger descendants are less interested in her project than their forebears.

Now well beyond her girlhood, Marlene Eilers Koenig has built a solid career as a royal expert by surrounding herself quite literally with Queen Victoria’s descendants. Few people have changed their own lives so completely by turning a page in a book.

Tenno Designation Answers

Provided by Yvonne Strong L.C.R.E.

Meiji-tenno among kami and emperors
1. Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor in the traditional order of succession. How many of those rulers have been female?
The list of Japanese Emperors goes back to the mythical Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC; he was supposed to be the great-great-great grandson of the Sun goddess Amaterasu. Actual real-life emperors (people for whom there's independent historical evidence aside from history books) came on the scene around the 5th century AD, but the emperors are numbered starting with Jimmu; Emperor Akihito is 125th in this list. From the time when the emperors were real-life people, eight women have ruled as Emperor: Empress Suiko (592-628), Empress Kōgyoku (642-645 and then again as Empress Saimei 655-661), Empress Jitō (686-697), Empress Gemmei (707-715), her daughter Empress Genshō (715-724, the only case of a woman passing the throne to her daughter), Empress Kōken (749-758 and then again as Empress Shōtoku 764-770), Empress Meishō (1629-1643), and Empress Go-Sakuramachi (1762-1771). Since it was required for members of the imperial family to marry within certain related families, all the emperors and empresses were related, so the line can always be traced back from one male to a previous male even when there were female rulers in between. In only one case did a woman pass the throne to her daughter, when Empress Kōken succeeded her mother Empress Gemmei.

The actual prohibition on female rulers came with the Meiji Constitution of 1889, an attempt to modernise Japan by creating a new constitution based on European principles. This new constitution was based on Prussian law, and the succession to the throne of Prussia excluded females; Article 2 of the Meiji Constitution specifies that the throne will be succeeded to by imperial male descendants. Nowadays it's claimed that it was this way all along in Japan and the female rulers were anomalies who didn't really count, with the succession eventually reverting to men (where it belonged of course), but at the time these women were considered rulers in their own right. Nowadays, with members of the imperial family marrying complete outsiders, the unbroken descent through the Y chomosome would be lost if women were able to succeed to the throne; however, there's more to genetics than the Y chromosome although certain dinosaurs in the IHA appear to have a fairly shaky grasp of genetics.

Since there's one legendary empress (Empress Jingū, 201-269) and since two of the eight empresses ruled twice and had different names for each of their two reigns, any number from 8 to 11 can be interpreted as a correct answer. Also, since the title Tennō is gender neutral, it's correct to call these rulers Emperor or Empress.

2. By what name is Toshi-no-miya better known?
Toshi-no-miya is more commonly known as Princess Aiko. Young members of the imperial family are given personal titles as well as names. Princess Aiko (whose name means "love child") has the personal title of Toshi-no-miya ("Toshi" means "one who respects others" and "no-miya" means Prince or Princess). Most female names in Japan, and all female names in the imperial family, end in "-ko," which means "child." In the imperial family, male names end in "-hito," which means "person" or adult." The personal title of Crown Prince Naruhito is Hiro-no-miya, and during his two years at Oxford in the 1980s he was known as Prince Hiro. The personal title of his brother Prince Akishino (whose actual name is Fumihito - Akishino is the name of the branch of the royal family that he heads) is Aya-no-miya, and the personal title of their sister Princess Sayako while she was still a member of the royal family was Nori-no-miya.The Emperor's personal title is Tsugu-no-miya.

3. What does the Imperial Regalia consist of?
The Imperial Regalia of Japan (otherwise known as the Three Sacred Treasures) are the sword (Kusanagi), the mirror (Yata no Kagami), and the jewel (Yasakani no Magatama). They're referred to as sacred because they're the most sacred relics of the Shintō religion, originating with Amaterasu the Sun goddess. Legend has it that Amaterasu hid in a cave from her brother Susanoo (god of the sea and storms), so that the world went dark. She was lured out of the cave by Ame-no-Uzume (goddess of dawn) who had hung the mirror and jewel outside the cave so Amaterasu would see her reflection and emerge from the cave, bringing light back to the world. The sword was found by Susanoo inside the tail of an eight-headed serpent that he slew, and he presented it to Amaterasu to make up for the incident that led to her going into hiding in the cave. She presented the regalia to her grandson Ninigi-no-Mikoto when she sent him to Earth. He was the great-grandfather of Jimmu, the first (legendary) emperor, and the possession of the regalia signifies the descent of the emperor from Amaterasu. The regalia are used at the enthronement ceremony, where they are presented to the new emperor. It is believed that the jewel (which is thought to be a piece of jade) is stored at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the mirror is stored at the Inner Shrine of Ise in Mie Prefecture, and the sword is stored at the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya.

4. What is the Utakai Hajime?
The Utakai Hajime is the annual new year's poetry-reading ceremony which takes place at the Imperial Palace in January in the presence of the Emperor and Empress. The tradition of poetry readings at the imperial court goes back for hundreds of years, to the time when the country was ruled by shoguns while the emperors sat in their palaces and concentrated on religious and cultural matters. The poems are the tanka (five-line, or short) form of waka poetry. Poems by the Emperor and Empress and the Crown Prince and Princess are read at the ceremony. The other poems to be read are selected from submissions by the public and professional poets, and the members of the public whose poems are selected for reading are invited to attend the ceremony. Each year there's a different theme for the poems; this year's theme was Leaf. The ceremony is televised, and the poems submitted by the imperial family are posted at the Imperial Household Agency website.

5. In the Meiji restoration of 1868, what was restored?

The Meiji Restoration transferred power from the Tokugawa shoguns, where it had resided since 1603, to the Emperor. Throughout most of history the emperors had been figureheads while various families of shoguns ruled the country on their behalf, but there had been times (usually fairly short-lived) when the emperors had taken power themselves. Hence the term "restoration," since power was being restored to the emperor. By the mid-19th century the Tokugawa shogunate wasn't all that formidable, and the arrival of Commodore Perry and his fleet in the mid-1850s showed how much more advanced Western technology was, while Japan was still a basically feudal society. Emperor Meiji's predecessor, Emperor Kōmei, was already asserting his authority over the shoguns, and after his sudden death in 1867, Emperor Meiji continued the policy. By 1868 he had formally taken power, and the stage was set for direct imperial rule, which was codified in the Meiji Constitution of 1889. After World War II, a new constitution was written by the Occupation, returning the Emperor to the status of a figurehead.

22 January 2011

Casting Royal Wedding Fans

Announcement via Mandy's Royalty/Royal Representative


Can you name William and Kate’s favorite London nightclub?

Do you run a blog that reports every detail of the royal wedding planning?

Did you grow up with a Princess Diana-obsessed mother?

Do you dream of marrying into the royal family?

If so, you may fit the bill for a major American cable network, currently seeking the country’s most obsessed royal wedding fans. We’re looking for outrageous, outgoing characters who can’t get enough Wills and Kate! Candidates must be American and willing to travel. To apply, please email and a producer will send you an application.

21 January 2011

Tenno Designation [For Japanese Experts]

If you wish to receive a special Tenno designation indicating your expertise regarding the Japanese Imperial House, you may respond to this exam offered by Yvonne Strong L.C.R.E. To submit your answers, you may use the comment box OR e-mail to

1. Emperor Akihito is the 125th emperor in the traditional order of succession. How many of those rulers have been female?

2. By what name is Toshi-no-miya better known?

3. What does the Imperial Regalia consist of?

4. What is the Utakai Hajime?

5. In the Meiji restoration of 1868, what was restored?

View answers -- no cheating :)

19 January 2011

The Title Test Answers

The Title Test ANSWERS

1. Who are the current Duke of Lancaster and Duke of York? And, are they still at war?
In the fifteenth century a struggle erupted between the descendants of King Edward III. Among the squabbles was whether the male-line descendants of his third son (the Duke of Lancaster) had a better right to the throne than the descendants of this fourth son (the Duke of York), who also happened to be descended in the female line from the second son (the Duke of Clarence). The first son's line having been left without descendants (and having been overthrown). Once all of that got straightened out with the rise of the Tudors, the tradition of giving the title Duke of York to the second son became firmly established. Since that time, several Dukes of York have inherited the throne and the titled has returned to the crown. Those who did not become king also did not have sons to inherit the title. The second son of the Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, is the current Duke of York--and he also does not have sons.

Back in 1399, Henry IV gave the title Duke of Lancaster to his eldest son, who subsequently became king and merged the title with the crown. The estate of the Duke of Lancaster (the Duchy of Lancaster) is still held by the Sovereign with honorary use of the title. Interestingly the title, which is restricted to male heirs, maintains the male form even the current holder is a woman, Queen Elizabeth II.

Favorite exam response: "As for the Duke of Lancaster and the Duke of york still at war - depends if mom is pissed at her son."

2. In both England and France, the eldest daughter of the king was often given a special title. What was the title in each country?

The eldest unmarried daughter of the French king was usually styled as "Madame Royale." After she married, the style could be passed to her next oldest unmarried sister. Initiated by King Henry IV for his eldest daughter Elisabeth, it passed to his second daughter Christine and then to his third Henriette Marie, who married the English King Charles I. Not to be outdone by his French in-laws, he gave his oldest daughter Mary the style "Princess Royal." The English style is not given automatically and remains the sole use of that princess until her death. So, if one Princess Royal is still living, another Princess Royal is not created. No Madame Royale or Princess Royal ever inherited a throne although several became royal consorts. The current Princess Royal is Princess Anne; she was given this honor in 1987.

3. What is a "dauphin" and where would you find one?
"Dauphin" or more specifically "The Dauphin of Viennois" was the title reserved for the heir apparent of the French throne. When the Counts of Vienne sold the estate to the King of France in the fourteenth century, one of the conditions was that the title "Dauphin" would be used by the heir. The word actually means "dolphin" and derives from the arms of the Count of Vienne.

Commonly repeated exam response to "where would you find one": "I'd look in the ocean. :)"

4. A male heir to a throne is often given a special title. What is the title in each of the following monarchies:
a. United Kingdom--Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. Rothesay has been given to the Scottish heir-apparent since the fifteenth century; the tradition continued to be observed when Scottish and English thrones were united under King James VI and I. Cornwall has been given to the eldest living son of the English king since 1337. As for Prince of Wales, the legend goes that after King Edward III defeated the last of the native Welsh princes, the people of Wales asked him to appoint a new Prince who spoke neither English nor French. Complying with their request, he cleverly presented them his newborn son, who eventually became Edward II. None of these title was ever given to a female heir, although some people did refer to Henry VIII's eldest daughter Mary as "Princess of Wales," but that was before he divorced her mother and declared her illegimate.
b. The Netherlands--Prince of Orange. Originally holders of an estate called "Orange" in southern France, the owners eventually became sovereign princes through their allegiance to the Holy Roman Empire. Then, the title was passed to a cousin, who also happened to be the Dutch stadtholder, later King of the Netherlands. For three generations, the Netherlands had female heirs, none of whom received the title.

c. Spain--Prince of the Asturias. The title was originally used for the heir to the Kingdom of Castile and later continued to be used when the Spanish kingdoms were united. Unlike in other nations, this title actually was given to a few female heirs, including most recently Infanta Mercedes, who was the heiress presumptive her entire life, first as the daughter of Alfonso XII and then as sister of Alfonso XIII, who inherited the throne upon his birth. Since her brother was unborn at the time of their father's death, it was unclear whether Mercedes would inherit the throne. Had little Alfonso been a girl, Mercedes would have been queen.
d. Russia--While English speakers may be more used to seeing the word "tsarevich" to refer to the heir of the imperial Russian throne. This is actually an older term meaning "son of the tsar" and could refer to any sons of the tsar. The correct term for the heir is "tsesarevich," meaning roughly "heir of Caesar." It was coined by Emperor Paul I when he established new rules regarding the imperial house, which included banning women from ascending the throne--he had issues with his mama Catherine the Great. The tsesarevich did not have to be the tsar's son, just his heir. For instance, upon his accession, the unmarried Nicholas II named his brother George the tsesarevich. Additionally, the title was never used alone, but always as "nasliednik tsesarevich" in which "nasliednik" actually means "heir." In Russia, the heir was more commonly referred to as "Nasliednik" rather than "Tsesarevich."

5. How many people are currently allowed to use the style "Royal Highness" in the United Kingdom?

This list is longer than you might realize. Therefore, we gave full credit to anyone who came close to the actual number. The style is allowed to any legitimate children and male-line grandchildren of the sovereign AND their wives. However, King George VI specifically denied the style to his abdicated brother's wife, the Duchess of Windsor. He also granted the style to his daughter and heir's husband, Philip, who had renounced his Greek royal titles before marrying the future Queen. Finally, in 1996, Letters Patent clarified that divorced female spouses lose their royal titles. So, the list of current royal highnesses numbers 20:

HRH The Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (granted HRH style by King George VI)
HRH The Prince of Wales (son of a queen)
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (wife of The Prince of Wales)
HRH Prince William of Wales (grandson of a queen)
HRH Prince Henry of Wales (grandson of a queen)
HRH The Prince Andrew The Duke of York (son of a queen)
HRH Princess Beatrice of York (granddaughter of a queen)
HRH Princess Eugenie of York (granddaughter of a queen)
HRH The Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex (son of a queen)
HRH The Countess of Wessex (wife of a prince)
Viscount Severn (As a grandson of the queen, he is entitled to be styled HRH Prince James Viscount Severn, but his parents have asked that he not be.)
Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (As a granddaughter of the queen, he is entitled to be styled HRH Princess Louise of Wessex, but his parents have asked that he not be.)
HRH The Princess Anne The Princess Royal (daughter of a queen)
HRH Prince Richard Duke of Gloucester (grandson of King George V)
HRH the Duchess of Gloucester (wife of a prince)
HRH Prince Edward Duke of Kent (grandson of King George V)
HRH the Duchess of Kent (wife of a prince--she is said to prefer not to use the style or title)
HRH Prince Michael of Kent (grandson of King George V)
HRH Princess Michael of Kent (wife of a prince)
HRH Princess Alexandra Lady Ogilvy (granddaughter of King George V)

Sarah Duchess of York is no longer an HRH because she is divorced from The Duke of York. She is able to use "Duchess of York" like a surname, but if her ex were to remarry, his new wife would be HRH The Duchess of York, even if Sarah were still living and calling herself Sarah Duchess of York.

16 January 2011

EXAM #2: The Title Test

To submit your answers, you may use the comment box OR e-mail to

1. Who are the current Duke of Lancaster and Duke of York? And, are they still at war?

2. In both England and France, the eldest daughter of the king was often given a special title. What was the title in each country?

3. What is a "dauphin" and where would you find one?

4. A male heir to a throne is often given a special title. What is the title in each of the following monarchies:
a. United Kingdom
b. The Netherlands
c. Spain
d. Russia

5. How many people are currently allowed to use the style "Royal Highness" in the United Kingdom?

View Answers--no cheating!

Exam 1 Answers

1. Which currently reigning European monarchs are NOT descended from Queen Victoria?
While many of today's monarchs are descended from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, a few of them are not. These include Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; King Albert II of Belgium and his nephew Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg; Prince Albert II of Monaco; and Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein.

Of this group, Albert of Belgium and Henri of Luxembourg are the most closely related to Queen Victoria. They are descended from Victoria's maternal uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium, who incidentally was first married to Victoria's first cousin, Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales.

Since this was the very first question, we have given full credit to anyone who gets both of the majesties (Beatrix of the Netherlands and Albert of Belgium) as some respondents may have interpreted "monarch" to mean "king" or "queen." We also gave full credit (because we are nice) to those who correctly identified at least three of the five.

2. Which currently reigning European monarchs are descended from Queen Victoria AND are married to a descendant of Queen Victoria?
Queen Elizabeth II, a great-great-grandchild of QV through QV's eldest son King Edward VII, is married to another great-great-grandchild, Philip Duke of Edinburgh, who was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark. He is descended through his mother from QV's second daughter, Princess Alice the Grand Duchess of Hesse.

King Juan Carlos of Spain, a great-great-grandchild descended from QV's youngest daughter Princess Beatrice of Battenberg, is married to Princess Sofia of Greece, who is descended from QV's oldest daughter Victoria The Princess Royal and Empress of Germany.

Interestingly, the Duke of Edinburgh is also cousins with Juan Carlos through a common Battenberg ancestor and he is cousins with Queen Sofia through their shared royal Greek roots. To be sure, Prince Philip is very royally connected AND, at 89, he is now the oldest living great-great grandchild of Victoria.

3. How many grandchildren did Queen Victoria have?
Aha! This was another question for which we allowed multiple correct responses because it depends on how you interpreted the question. From our perspective, we believe the most correct answer is 40, which includes all children BORN to QV's children. However, some people chose to omit two who were stillborn which makes the number 38 while others included these two and also added two who were miscarried, making the number 42. Whichever number you prefer, the fact remains that she had quite a large number of grandchildren despite the fact that one of her daughters, Princess Louise, was childless. Although Victoria confessed that she was hardly excited by the birth of yet another one, she was quite fond of her grandchildren and they of her--and, she certainly enjoyed meddling in their lives and offering them LOTS of advice.

4. Which of Queen Victoria's granddaughters became queens or empresses?
The Princess Royal's daughter Princess Sophia of Prussia married the future King Constantine I of Greece and went with him dutifully into exile, not once but twice.

King Edward VII's daughter Princess Maud married her maternal first cousin Prince Carl of Denmark and was rather distressed when he was selected for the newly re-created throne of Norway as King Haakon VII.

Princess Alice's namesake daughter Princess Alix of Hesse married the ill-fated Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and became known as Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. They and their five children were murdered by the Bolsheviks. The entire family has been recognized as martyred saints by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Prince Alfred the Duke of Edinburgh and of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's oldest daughter Princess Marie married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Romania when she was 17. She and her first cousin, the future King George V might have wished to marry each other, but Marie's Imperial Russian mother did not want an English husband for her daughter.

Princess Beatrice's only daughter Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg married King Alfonso XIII of Spain after her cousin Princess Victoria Patricia of Connaught turned him down. The marriage caused a stir in both countries--in Spain because she was merely a serene highness and in England because she had to convert to Catholicism. Her uncle, King Edward VIII made her a royal highness and allowed her to convert.

5. How many generations of her descendants were living at the time of Queen Victoria's death?
Okay, we'll admit that some of you got tripped on a technicality in responding that there were four generations living. The absolute correct answer is three; the fourth generation would have been Victoria herself who, of course, was no longer living once she was dead. So, depending on whether you were counting generations the moment before or the moment after her death, three or four would be correct. In short, by the time of her death, she was a great-granny many times over. She became a grandmother at age 39 and a great-grandmother at age 60. Had she lived just four years longer, she would have been a great-great-grandmother with the birth of Prince Philip's oldest sister Princess Margarita of Greece.

13 January 2011

EXAM #1: Descendants of Victoria

To submit your answers, you may use the comment box OR e-mail to

Queen Victoria 1887

1. Which currently reigning European monarchs are NOT descended from Queen Victoria?

2. Which currently reigning European monarchs are descended from Queen Victoria AND are married to a descendant of Queen Victoria?

3. How many grandchildren did Queen Victoria have?

4. Which of Queen Victoria's granddaughters became queens or empresses?

5. How many generations of her descendants were living at the time of Queen Victoria's death?

ANSWER TO THIS EXAM. (No cheating; the C.R.E. site relies on the honor system.)

How to Be Certified

The Royal Expert Certification process is a series of brief weekly (or so) examinations on various topics related to European royalty. After successfully answering five questions, the applicant will receive the next level of certification, as outlined below. The applicant may use the comment box or e-mail to respond to questions. Applicants also are welcome to suggest topics and submit possible future exams. As this is Very Serious Business, please enjoy at your own risk.

Certification Levels
Lord (L.C.R.E)
Viscount (V.C.R.E.)
Count/Earl (C.C.R.E.)
Duke (D.C.R.E.)
Prince (P.C.R.E.)
Grand Duke (G.D.C.R.E.)
King (K.C.R.E.)
Emperor (E.C.R.E.)

Click to take the first exam.