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. ;)

13 February 2011

Off with Her Head Answers

1. Everyone knows the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked World War I, but he wasn't the only one to die that day. Who else fell victim to Gavrilo Princip?
Franz Ferdinand's wife, Sophie Chotek Duchess of Hohenberg, was with him that fateful day and suffered the same fate. She is less remembered to history partly because she was not a "royal" wife. Because she was of lower rank, theirs was a morganatic marriage, which meant that she was his legal wife but was denied his rank and style and she came after all of the archduchesses in precedence, even though she was married to the imperial heir. It also meant that their children were legitimate but not royal/imperial dynasts; they could not inherit the throne or their father's titles.

2. Likewise, the whole world is familiar with the Romanov murders in a basement in Ekaterinburg, but they weren't the only imperial victims of the Revolution. Who else met an end at the hands of the Bolsheviks?
We were looking for the one other female imperial victim, Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who had become a nun after her husband, the tsar's uncle Grand Duke Serge Mikhailovich, was assassinated in a bomb attack a few years earlier. Born a princess of Hesse, Elizabeth was also Empress Alexandra's sister. On 17 July 1918, she and several other imperial family members and a couple other people were beaten and shoved into a mine shaft. Hand grenades were then tossed into the mine. According to some accounts, Elizabeth survived the initial attack and was heard to be singing. When the bodies were later discovered, it appeared that she had even bandaged the head of one of the other victims before she died.

There were many other imperial family members who died. As Robyn H., D.C.R.E., points out, "The Bolsheviks clearly learned Revolution 101 from the French." However, they don't seem to have followed the French example of turning executions into public entertainment; most of the imperial murders were carried out in secret and shrouded with disinformation for a long time.

Others who died in the mine with Elizabeth were a different Grand Duke Serge Mikhailovich, the brother Princes John Constantinovich, Constantine Constantinovich and Igor Constantinovich and their cousin Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley.

Still more imperial victims included the tsar's uncle Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, his great-uncle Paul Alexandrovich, and imperial cousins Grand Dukes Nicholas Mikhailovich, George Mikhailovich, Paul Alexandrovich and Dmitri Constantinovich.

And, as many of you Royal Experts mentioned, the tsar and his family were accompanied by several members of their household: Dr. Eugene Botkin, Anna Demidova, Alexei Trupp and Ivan Kharitonov, who were permitted to stay with the family in their final captivity. Several other loyal retainers had been forced to leave. A pet dog also died with them.

3. Which imperial lady had a deadly encounter with a stiletto while on holiday?
This seems to have been the most challenging question in Royal Expert history. Perhaps it also stumped Google and Wikipedia...

The lady in question is Empress Elizabeth of Austria, often remembered as Sisi. The restless Elizabeth traveled frequently and was especially restless after the murder-suicide of her son Crown Prince Rudolph. (Read Tragic Death on Princess Palace.) On this occasion she was about to board a boat on Lake Geneva when she was stabbed by the mentally ill anarchist Luigi Lucheni whose only goal was to kill a royal. The knife was so small, that no one saw it and initially thought he had just run into her. She was rushed to safety aboard the boat. Wrapped in layers of corsets and clothing, even Elizabeth did not realize she had been stabbed. Then, she had trouble breathing. As clothes were removed, the wound was finally discovered, but it was too late for the boat to reach whatever help might have been available on shore.

4. Six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust; but even princesses were subjected to Nazi hatred. Which royal princess died in the concentration camp at Buchenwald?
Technically, Princess Mafalda of Savoy did not die at the hands of the Nazis. However, they had imprisoned her at Buchenwald, where she died of wounds received during an Allied bombing attack on the munitions factory that was being operated at the concentration camp. The 41-year-old princess was the daughter of the Italian king and the wife of Prince Philip of Hesse, who was himself a Nazi. She was traveling without her family when Hitler had her arrested for alleged subversive activities. Her death was not confirmed until Germany's defeat.

5. Henry VIII is famous for beheading his wives, but he wasn't the only queen-killing Tudor. Which queens or former queens were executed by Tudor monarchs?
The Tudors did seem to have a particular penchant for killing former queens. In addition to the two royal consorts--cousins Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard--deprived of their heads by Henry VIII, two queens regnant also met their fates at Tudor hands. Royal cousin Lady Jane Grey, a teenager who had usurped the throne and reigned for "nine days" after the death of Edward VI, was eventually executed by Queen Mary I, who feared uprisings in Jane's name. In the next reign, Queen Elizabeth I executed another royal cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, who had fled Scotland following her own abdication seeking refuge from Elizabeth. Although Mary was actually Elizabeth's heir, she could not trust her so she imprisoned her. Mary sealed her own fate by conspiring for Elizabeth's death. Eventually, Mary's son succeeded Elizabeth, uniting the thrones of England and Scotland. (For more, read Killing Queens on Princess Palace blog.)

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