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. ;)

22 May 2011

Sisterly Love Answers

With The Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a Princess Catherine) and her sister Philippa 'Pippa' Middleton making headlines lately, I thought a quiz about royal sisters would be a nice challenge. Our Royal Experts were asked to identify the following pairs.

1. The Queen of England and the Empress of Russia
In the 19th Century, two European monarchs became the heads of two intertangling dynasties that would separately and jointly place descendants on nearly every European throne. The lines of King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of England first intertwined when his oldest daughter Alexandra married her heir, the future King Edward VII. Christian's second daughter Dagmar (later Marie) married the Russian Czar Alexander III and the two lines crossed again in the next generation when Marie's son Nicholas married Victoria's granddaughter Alix of Hesse. Raised in a cadet branch of the Danish royal house, Alexandra and Marie grew up relatively poor for royals and only rose to distinction when the complex line of succession landed on their dad. The two girls were always very close. Even after they each married, they continued to holiday together and even bought a home together in their native Denmark. There was a remarkable likeness between their sons, King George V and Czar Nicholas II.

2. Two discarded queens: One gone mad and One who 'lost' two English husbands
Having a powerful mother did not protect these two princesses from their powerful husbands. Although Queen Isabella of Castile had clearly proven that a woman could rule a kingdom, her daughters Juana and Catalina (Catherine) of Aragon were to suffer from prejudice against female rulers. Juana married and fell in love with the heir of the Holy Roman Empire. Her jealous behavior toward him quickly became overwrought. When Isabella died, Juana inherited Castile and a power struggle ensued between her husband and her father, King Ferdinand of Aragon, for control of Juana's throne. Whether she was insane or simply highly strung, Juana's behavior was odd enough after her husband's early death to enable her dad to lock her away for the rest of her life. Meanwhile, Catherine was sent to marry the English heir, Prince Arthur. When he died soon after the wedding, Catherine was a more-or-less a prisoner of her father-in-law who didn't want to relinquish her dowry. When Juana and her husband were temporarily shipwrecked in England, Catherine appealed to her older sister for help, but Juana was too focused on her handsome husband. So, Catherine languished for seven years until her father-in-law's death and the new king, her brother-in-law Henry VIII decided to marry her. Flash forward 20 son-less years later, Henry divorces Catherine to marry the second of his six wives. Both sisters died devoted to their husbands.

3. Queens of Revolution: One who lost her head and one who led a counter-revolution
Empress Maria Theresa of Austria also ruled as monarch. She had 11 daughters, all named Maria. The most famous of these are undoubtedly the two youngest Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, and Maria Antonia, best remembered as Queen Marie Antoinette of France. The two archduchesses were very close as children until their mother separated them in adolescence for bad behavior. Soon afterward, Maria Carolina was sent to marry the King of Naples and Sicily as a replacement for an older sister who had died of small pox. Despite an inauspicious beginning, the couple produced 18 children and Maria Carolina essentially took over the government from her ineffectual husband, who much preferred hunting to governing.
Unfortunately perhaps, Marie Antoinette was unable/incapable of governing in place of her also ineffective husband and both of them were guillotined in the French Revolution. Following her sister's execution, Maria Carolina abandoned the ideals of enlightened absolutism and launched a counter-revolution in her kingdome. Eventually deposed by Napolean, Maria Carolina died in exile just one year before her husband's restoration.

4. The pair who introduced Rasputin to the Imperial Family
This proved to be the most challenging pair for our Royal Experts. Most respondents selected a non-royal pair: Empress Alexandra's confidant Anna Vyrobova and her sister, also named Alexandra. However, the royal sisters responsible for helping make the naughty monk acceptable in Russian imperial and aristocratic circles were Anastasia and Militsa of Montenegro, daughters of King Nicholas I of Montenegro who married Russian Grand Dukes. Anastasia married Grand Duke Nicholas Nicholaeivich and Militsa married his brother Peter. Both of the princesses were deeply religious and drawn to the more occult aspects of the Russian Orthodox Church.
They championed several mystics including Rasputin. Although the Empress did not consider the princesses to be her friends, she became deeply attached to their protege Rasputin, which ultimately helped lead to the Russian Revolution. The sisters and their husbands all escaped the revolution, unlike many other members of the imperial family.

5. Scandalous sisters: One married a playboy but became an HRH and one ran away with the circus.
Technically these sisters are daughters of a princely house, and therefore were born serene highnesses rather than royal highnesses, however, they (and their children) are regarded as "royals" by the world's media. Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie of Monaco have each embarked on a number of escapades that brought little honor to their heritage or to the memory of their beloved mother Princess Grace. Caroline started by rebelling against her parents as a teenager and marrying a renowned playboy against their better judgement. With that marriage annulled, she started an affair with an Italian and soon became pregnant. After a shotgun wedding and two more children, Caroline was devastated by her husband's tragic death in a high-speed boat race. This and motherhood seemed to have settled her down. However, she married one more time to another playboy although this one is a prince of a deposed royal house. Once again, however, she was already pregnant at the time of the wedding. Little sister Stephanie was undoubtedly the most physically and emotionally scarred by their mother's untimely death since she was still a teenager and was in the car at the time of the accident. She launched into several un-princessly and largely unsuccessul careers like swimsuit model and rock singer and indulged in numerous unseemly love affairs. In fact, her name has been in the news lately with the release of her former lover Rob Lowe's memoirs. After that she had a child by her bodyguard, married him, had another child and divorced him. Then, she had a third child by a still unnamed father. Then, she began a love affair with a married circus trainer and took her children to live with him in a caravan following the circus. Stephanie and Caroline's brother has also led a rather undignified personal life filled with many high-profile romances and two acknowledged illegimate children. Now 53, he is set to marry his 33-year-old girlfriend after a year-long engagement. It will be interesting to see if his Princess Grace lookalike bride will restore some decorum to the princely palace.

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