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Reply with quote  #121 
Royal genealogy remains such a fascinating topic. It's amazing how such a complex system existed for so many years in Europe, and to see when practical considerations were more important than bloodline and when they weren't.

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Reply with quote  #122 

Thanks again; I have now incorporated most of your suggestions. Unfortunately I was not able to find a picture of Henri II of Navarre, let alone his little brother, at anywhere close to the correct age of 13/14; all available pictures seem to be from much later.


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Reply with quote  #123 

In Theodore’s blog post linked in #119, and also here for convenience, he mentions at the end how odd it is that it took approaching 400 years for the blood of Christian II, Danish monarch at the time of the Reformation, to return to Denmark’s throne, which it did in 1912 in the person of Christian X. I would have put it the other way round, the unusual thing is that it ever made it back at all. How it did is I think an interesting and intricate story, which I will attempt to recount below, starting with a brief historical background.

Christian II was of course born and raised Catholic. He did not remain so, converting to Lutheranism after his deposition and exile. His wife Archduchess Isabella, sister of the Emperors Charles V and Ferdinand I, also was swayed by the reformers and is known to have taken communion at least once in the Protestant fashion.

The shocked reaction of her family convinced her to conform after that, outwardly at any rate, and her husband likewise returned to Catholicism, though this was not from conviction but seeking advantage, he wishing to put himself at the head of Denmark’s Catholics in a bid to regain his throne. His uncle and supplanter Frederik I triumphed in the ensuing struggle, with Christian confined in quite comfortable circumstances for the remainder of his days, which were long. This had sadly not been the case for Archduchess Isabella, she having died six years earlier, aged only 24 but having already had six children of which three survived her, a son aged seven and daughters aged five and four.

Nowise trusting their parents’ religious affiliation, their maternal family ensured these were raised from the beginning at Burgundy’s Catholic court. The son, who would had things gone otherwise have one day become Hans II of Denmark and Norway and perhaps Hans (Johan) III of Sweden as well, lived only to fourteen so his adherence to Catholicism was never tested. The elder sister Dorothea displayed decided Lutheran sympathies throughout her life, so the precaution did not work with her.

She made it to fifty-nine but though married was childless, which left the entire posterity of Christian II to the youngest daughter, and child, Christina, who was a faithful and devout Catholic her whole life long. So too then were her children, of which there were none from her first, brief marriage to Francesco II Sforza of Milan but three from her second, to François I of Lorraine, two of these having issue themselves.

Lots of it, Christina had nineteen legitimate grandchildren (plus one illegitimate, a cleric), with lines from six of them continuing to the present day. Almost all in Catholic families, though; as an illustration, of the three Protestant monarchs today descended from Christian II, the King of Norway has three descents, the Queen of Denmark two and the King of Sweden one only.

In contrast the King of Spain is descended 217 times (!) by my count, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg 136, the Prince of Liechtenstein 44 and the King of Belgium 36 (the Prince of Monaco as usual does not figure). It will be noted that the King of Belgium, descended the least times of the four Catholic monarchs, still surpasses his nearest Protestant rival by a multiple of 12.

The reason for the disparity is simple; it has historically been very rare for Catholic princesses to marry into Protestant lines, so from the Reformation onwards there has been a range of descents shared only in Catholic royal houses, that from Christian II being among them. Nevertheless such a marriage has to have happened sometime, as how otherwise would this descent have reached the Scandinavian houses at all?

It did, twice or possibly thrice in fact in the particular chain of descent involved. But it very easily could have not happened at all. The story begins with Princess Magdalene of Bavaria (1587-1628), one of those grandchildren, being a daughter of Wilhelm V of Bavaria by Renée of Lorraine, elder daughter of François I of the same and Christina of Denmark.

Various Habsburg alliances were proposed for Magdalene at one time or another, including to the later Emperor Matthias, but all fell through. Then in 1613 she was married to a distant* Wittelsbach cousin Wolfgang Wilhelm, heir to Palatinate-Neuburg.

.I say ‘was married’ advisedly, this appears to have been very much an arranged match with the bride not altogether willing, but succumbing to family pressure. Her reluctance will no doubt have been at least partly due to the fact that, like the senior Simmern line which then held the Palatine Electorate, the Neuburgs were Protestant.

Why would the Catholic ducal family of Bavaria not merely allow but actively seek marriage to a Protestant for a daughter of their house? I don’t think it can have been from expectation of the Palatine inheritance; this did eventually come to Wolfgang and Magdalene’s only child Philipp Wilhelm, but not for another 72 years, and there was no reason at the time to anticipate the extinction of the Simmerns in male line.

Wolfgang Wilhelm himself though was a substantial ruler, holding the twin duchies of Jülich and Berg through maternal inheritance as well as having the expectation of Neuburg. He was also a close friend of Magdalene’s brother Maximilian, the Bavarian ruler, and perhaps Maximilian expected what actually did happen in fairly short order. The very next year Wolfgang Wilhelm converted to his wife’s faith, to the horror of his devoutly Lutheran father Count Philipp Ludwig.

Their son the eventual Elector Palatine was thus himself raised Catholic, which he remained despite taking a Protestant bride (who subsequently converted). The chain of descent to later Protestant sovereigns continues through one of his sons, but I think I will leave matters there for now.

I had intended to carry on all the way to 1912 in one post, but I have already gone on long enough to try people’s patience, and besides that I recently moved home and feel like a truant doing anything but unpack! Which I had better get on with, though I will finish this sometime in the next few days.

* Second cousin cognatically, but agnatically ninth cousin once removed; their lines unite with Ludwig II of Bavaria (1229-1294), who is in generation 11 of Magdalene’s paternal line and generation 12 of Wolfgang Wilhelm’s.

Maximilian and Magdalene’s father Wilhelm V was still alive at the time of the marriage, and for 13 years after it, but had in 1597 abdicated in his son’s favour and retired to a monastery. Famously devout and a zealous persecutor of Protestants during his reign, he was still involved in family affairs and apparently took part in pressuring his daughter to marry a member of the faith he himself had proscribed throughout his duchy.


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Reply with quote  #124 

Thanks for the background! I explored this genealogy myself in a recent blog post:


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Reply with quote  #125 

Glad if you found it interesting. Even though I had only covered the first three in a twelve-person chain between Christian II and his consort Archduchess Isabella and Christian X! I had seen your blog entry and planned to link it when I continued the narrative, but now you have saved me the trouble and I can just carry on in my usual perhaps over-discursive style, doing what I like to think of as putting flesh on the bare bones of a genealogy, though others might describe it in less favourable fashion.

I broke off the first part with mention of Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine, only child of Wolfgang Wilhelm of Neuburg by his marriage to Magdalene of Bavaria, the third person in my chain. To start the discursions straight away, Philipp Wilhelm did not hold the same Palatine electorate that I previously referred to, but a different one.

The original electorate had been taken away from his Simmern predecessors and awarded to the previously-mentioned Maximilian of Bavaria, brother of Magdalene of the same. Then as part of a peace settlement a new and junior Palatine electorate was created for the Simmern line, and it was this that Philipp Wilhelm inherited, along with the Palatinate itself.

The senior electorate continued to be held by the Dukes of Bavaria, henceforth known as Electors of Bavaria even though, strictly speaking, no such title existed and the Bavarian ruler and his cousin by the Rhine were both of them Elector Palatine. Anyway, and returning to the narrative, Philipp Wilhelm who both was and was called Elector Palatine fathered thirteen children altogether that lived to adulthood, five daughters and eight sons.

Descent survives though only from four of the daughters and one of the sons. The eldest daughter married the Emperor Leopold I and is a general ancestress of Catholic royalty today, including the current Catholic monarchs with the one inevitable exception.  The next daughter married Pedro II of Portugal and is a widespread ancestress of today’s Catholic royal houses, including the monarchs of Belgium, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein among her descendants though not that of Spain.

The third daughter married the last Habsburg King of Spain, Carlos II, whose infirmities were such that he was incapable of coition, so no fruit from that union. The fourth daughter was Duchess of Parma and the same remarks apply to her descent as to that of her eldest sister, the Empress. And the fifth and final daughter that lived to marry did so to Jakub Sobieski, who was seen as heir to Poland but never in fact attained that crown; in consequence, though descent certainly exists from him and his spouse it is not to be found in today’s royal houses.*

Well, four out of five isn’t bad, but one out of eight for the sons? That’s how it was, but it is that one son through whom the chain continues, none of his sisters being ancestral to any current Protestant monarch. He was the fourth-born boy; the eldest, Johann Wilhelm, succeeded his father but though married twice had no children that lived. He was succeeded himself by that fourth brother, nos. 2 and 3 having both been Catholic bishops and also having both already died. Number 5 wasn’t dead but was a bishop, and the same was true of no. 6, except make that archbishop.

Number 7 refrained from ordination and consecration, though that had been the career initially planned for him, but instead entered the military. This proved not to be a wise choice, as he died in battle aged 24 and still unmarried. Son no. 8 died at the same age and also while on military service, though from a fever not enemy action.  He was married, and even left a surviving daughter. She had children in her turn but not so them, and that was that for descent from the sons.

Apart that is from our no. 4, Elector Palatine as Karl III Philipp in succession to his brother, and last of the Neuburg line. Like his younger brother, he had been destined for the episcopate but chose a military career instead. He married thrice, having six children altogether, four from his first marriage and two from his second (both of these, as it happens, were to Polish noble ladies, though the matches were still recognised as equal; the third, childless union was with a daughter of the Thurn and Taxis line but not the princely branch, so was morganatic), but only one that lived to any age.

This was Elisabeth Auguste of Neuburg (1693-1728), who in view of her sex could not succeed to the electorate. So she was married to the next heir, Count Joseph Karl of Palatinate-Sulzbach. He had a Protestant father, going by the marriage patterns of his line, but Catholic mother, and since all his siblings that married did so to Catholics and one who did not was a Catholic abbess I am assuming that whether or not the father converted the children, including Joseph Karl, were all raised in their mother’s faith.

Another marriage of Wittelsbach cousins, then, but not so distant this time, they being third cousins agnatically, a far cry from ninth cousins once removed, and that being in fact their nearest blood relationship. And there, approaching the word count of the first part and having covered no more stages than in that, is where I will again break off. A third and final part will follow, and will I promise go all the way to the arrival of Christian X on Denmark’s throne.

* To be strictly accurate, some members of the formerly-reigning House of Reuß do descend from Jakub Sobieski and his Neuburg bride, including the present Prince Reuß, and so do certain members of the mediatised lines of Castell-Castell and Stolberg-Stolberg. The descent however goes nowhere near any currently reigning monarch, or even any pretender to a major throne.


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Reply with quote  #126 

I ended the previous part with the marriage of Elisabeth Auguste, only child to live to adulthood of the Elector Palatine Karl III Philipp, to Joseph Karl of Sulzbach, heir to the next most senior Wittelsbach branch and thus to the whole of the Palatinate. He did not in fact attain this inheritance, dying in 1729, a year after his wife and while his father-in-law had over a decade left of his own span.

Nor had he ever even been next heir to the Palatinate, as I not quite accurately called him, as that would be his father Count Theodor Eustach of Sulzbach, who survived until 1732. His heir would now have been his grandson by Joseph Karl, another Karl Philipp, had he not died several years before aged only six. Otherwise there were but three daughters from the marriage, all of whom would grow to adulthood but none of whom could inherit. So the heir now after Theodor Eustach was the younger of his two sons that survived infancy, Joseph Karl’s brother Count Johann Christian. Who did outlive his father, though not for long, and now the last male left of the Sulzbach line was his only son Karl Theodor, just eight years old when orphaned.

‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ was perhaps among the Wittelsbach mottos; as Karl III Philipp could not now have a grandson on the Palatine throne, he tried to arrange for a great-grandson instead, living just long enough to see Karl Theodor, his second cousin twice removed, wed his eldest granddaughter, another Elisabeth Auguste, the bridegroom having just turned 17 and the bride, his first cousin of course, being exactly 21, since the wedding took place on her 21st birthday.

Karl Theodor, a reforming and enlightened ruler and a great patron of the arts, was less respected for these things than he might have been due to a merited reputation for dissipation. He lived well into his seventh decade, inheriting the Palatinate six months after his wedding and Bavaria 35 years later. He had not been widowed, Elisabeth Auguste also surviving into her 70s, but had no legitimate children, the only fruit of the union having been a boy who died the day after his birth.

Several illegitimate children, yes, by several different mothers, and Karl Theodor devoted much time and effort to arranging inheritances for these, but of course none of them were eligible to inherit his territories as a whole. After his long-estranged wife did eventually die he married again, this time to a lady over 50 years younger, as opposed to all but four years older. But his second marriage was a worse failure than the first, his teenage bride, the high-spirited Archduchess Maria Leopoldina of Austria-Este, refusing to enter into any sort of marital relations with the septuagenarian roué her family had compelled her to wed.

So his predecessor Karl III Philipp’s second attempt at having someone of his descent eventually succeed to his throne had worked even less well than the first, as there was not even a daughter to perhaps marry to the next heir, and like Karl III Philipp and also Maximilian III of Bavaria, Karl Theodor’s predecessor there, Karl Theodor would die in the knowledge that a distant agnatic cousin would be taking his place.

This cousin, agnatically a fifth cousin to be precise, was Count Maximilian IV Joseph of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, known to history as Maximilian I, Bavaria’s first King. But the agnatic relationship is the third to appear in the link, preceded by two closer cognatic relationships, first and fourth cousin once removed. Maximilian Joseph’s mother was Maria Franziska of Sulzbach, youngest sister of Karl Theodor’s first wife and his own first cousin. So while there would not ever be a grandson of Karl III Philipp taking up rule of the Palatinate, as envisaged in the first attempt, a great-grandson as hoped for from the second would, just not arising from it.

Third time lucky, you could say. The union from which Maximilian Joseph sprang had in fact taken place over three years after Karl III Philipp died, but nevertheless did fulfil his original intent. All of it, as neither of Maria Franziska’s elder sisters had children that lived, so Maximilian Joseph was his great-grandfather’s cognatic as well as eventual agnatic heir.

He was also the son of the possible second marriage of a Catholic bride to a Protestant husband that I mentioned in the first part. Both Maximilian Joseph’s paternal grandparents were Protestant, and his father Count Friedrich Michael’s two siblings that married equally did so to Protestants, so there is every reason to think he was a Protestant when he married the Catholic Maria Franziska. He might have converted either before or after the marriage, I don’t know, but he surely had started out in life in the Protestant faith.

However that may be the children of the marriage were all raised Catholic, including Maximilian Joseph, which he remained despite taking two Protestant brides in succession. His offspring from the two unions were also raised Catholic in their turn, and his posterity today is widespread indeed, with living descendants of six of his altogether 12 children; Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein, eventual heir to that throne as well as to cognatic representation of Maximilian I, for example is descended from a son of the first marriage and two daughters of the second.

But we are concerned here only with the first daughter of the first marriage, and second child overall. This was Princess Augusta of Bavaria, as she became upon her father’s ascension to a royal throne. She was married aged 17 to Eugène de Beauharnais, the 24-year-old son of a minor French nobleman, now deceased. But it was far less important who his father had been than who his mother was, and stepfather; respectively the Empress Joséphine and Napoléon I.

What he lacked in royal blood was made up for in the Imperial rank conferred by his stepfather. And even at that young age he was already seen as gallant and accomplished and generally admired by friend and foe alike, so Augusta, who naturally would have been given no choice in the matter, was probably willing enough to proceed to the altar.

And in fact their union, cut short after sixteen years by Eugène’s death aged 42, was both happy and productive, seven children resulting, all but one of whom lived to adulthood, three having descendants today. Our concern is again with the eldest daughter, Princess Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, that ducal title along with the distinction of Serene Highness having been conferred upon her father by her maternal grandfather Maximilian I following Napoléon’s fall.

Joséphine’s marriage was to be the third, or possibly second, union of a Catholic bride to a Protestant bridegroom in the chain of descent from Christian II to Christian X of Denmark, and either way was the first of lasting significance. The first and the possible second resulted in Catholic children, in the first case at least following a post-marriage conversion by the husband. But Joséphine’s husband remained Protestant, and was always going to remain Protestant. And their children were raised in their father’s not mother’s faith, and were always going to be, allowing Joséphine’s Catholic royal blood to spread through Protestant families.

The future Oscar I of Sweden and Norway was born just an ordinary boy. In pre-Revolutionary France he would have been very ordinary indeed, his father the son of a provincial lawyer and his mother the daughter of a Marseilles silk merchant. In Napoléon’s France he was rather more than that, as his father’s successful military career had made him one of Napoléon’s leading marshals and his mother, at one time Napoléon’s fiancée, had been given in marriage to his father at the future Emperor’s behest.

Quite an important boy then, in that sense. But still no prince, let alone King, and perhaps as boys do he had daydreamed sometimes of being one. If he did the dream came true, as when he was eleven years old his father was elected Crown Prince of Sweden. Oscar too was made a Prince of Sweden by his new adoptive grandfather King Carl XIII, and Duke of Södermanland for good measure.

He rapidly learned the Swedish language (which neither his father nor mother ever came near mastering), his personality making him a favourite at Court and with the Swedish public. As he entered his twenties, now himself Crown Prince following his father’s accession in 1818, it was time for him to seek a bride and, despite his humble origins, one suitably royal.

His father the King drew up a list of eligible and suitable princesses for Oscar’s consideration, four of them in all. The first on the list was Princess Vilhelmina of Denmark, daughter of Frederik VI, but when Oscar travelled to Copenhagen to meet her he did not find himself attracted. Which was probably just as well, as she subsequently married twice and never conceived, so most likely was barren.

Third and fourth on the list were Princess Marie of Hesse, future bride of Bernhard II of Saxe-Meiningen and mother of the ‘Theatre Duke’ Georg II, and Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, whose great-granddaughter would marry a Crown Prince of Sweden but she would not. This was because Oscar had already met and fallen in love with princess no. 2 and decided to dispense with inspection of the remaining prospects.

She of course was Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, the only one of the four to be a Catholic and the only one not royal on both sides. But one side was deemed good enough, and she had been ranked as high as two because Oscar’s father Carl XIV Johan, having risen to great heights due to the convulsions of the Napoleonic era, was attracted by the idea of a connection to another family of the same sort, and one with a close affiliation to Napoléon himself.

The bride’s Catholicism caused problems, though not as many as there might have been. Her father reportedly would not have objected to her converting, but she was not prepared to even consider such a step. She nevertheless had to accept that her husband, who himself had converted or rather been converted to Lutheranism when he came to Sweden as a child, would remain so and furthermore all their children must be raised Lutheran too, the laws of Sweden requiring adherence to that faith for the King and all those in the line of succession.

The Church could have created difficulties, especially over the children, and in other cases had done so (and would in the future). It did not in this one, though, the Pope of the day, Pius VII, issuing the required dispensation without demur. The Lutheran clergy of the two kingdoms were not happy at all, but were powerless in the face of the King’s will, and so the two were wed, first in a Catholic ceremony in Munich and then a Lutheran one in Stockholm.

They went on to have five children, all living to adulthood though descent survives from only two. The first of these was Carl XV of Sweden and Norway (strictly, Karl IV of Norway, though the separate numeral was not often bothered with), who through his mother reintroduced the blood of Gustav I, founder of the modern Swedish monarchy, to its throne following a gap of two reigns. And the blood of Gustav I’s immediate predecessor Christian II after a gap of 18 reigns and 338 years. In Norway that gap had spanned 15 reigns and 336 years.

This was In 1859. In Denmark the gap still stood, and was then at 14 reigns and again 336 years. It was to endure for a further two reigns and 53 years before in 1912 Christian X, maternal grandson of Carl XV, followed his father Frederik VIII on the Danish throne. And so the story ends, with all the chances along the way more than justifying, I feel, my original assertion that this return after so long of Christian II’s blood to all his thrones might just as easily have never happened at all.


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Reply with quote  #127 

As a PS to the above, I have now been able to confirm that Count Friedrich Michael, father of Bavaria's first King Maximilian I, was in fact a Protestant when he married Elisabeth Auguste of Sulzbach, so there were three not two marriages of Catholic women to Protestant men in the chain from Christian II to Christian X of Denmark. Count Friedrich Michael's own Wikipedia article makes no mention of the question, nor does that of Maximilian I, but reading Heraldica's detailed account of the Bavarian and Palatine successions led me to check the article of Karl II August of Zweibrücken, childless elder brother of Maximilian, who thus was his heir.

The article states that his father had converted to Catholicism shortly after Karl's birth, which was actually in the same year as the marriage; the nuptials were on 6th February 1746 and the first child was born on 9th October. So it was probably also in 1746 that Friedrich Michael converted, but nevertheless he had been a Protestant when the marriage actually took place. I was also able to confirm that Count Joseph Karl of Sulzbach, son-in-law of the Elector Palatine Karl III Philipp (see the second part above) conversely was not a Protestant when married, and never had been one.

I had mentioned that while his father, going by the line's marriage patterns, had been a Protestant his mother was Catholic and so did he and all his siblings appear to be. Actually his father probably was too, Heraldica states that Joseph Karl's paternal grandfather Count Christian August was the first of the line to convert. He married from a Protestant line, that of Nassau-Siegen, and his Wikipedia article, which I had checked, mentions that he was notably tolerant, allowing Jews as well as Catholics and Protestants of all denominations to settle and worship freely in his lands, but not his own change of faith. Still, I have no reason to think Heraldica are in error on the point.

I also have no reason to suppose that anyone here cares very much either way. Still, having done the job I thought I might as well finish it off. One further little point which I found interesting; I mentioned that Karl II August of Zweibrücken was childless, which he was on his death. He had though had a son, who sadly died aged just eight, the sole issue of his marriage. Which was to Maria Amalia of Saxony, a niece of Maximilian III, last Bavarian Elector of the original line. Presumably, this marriage was made on order to establish the closest possible connection between Maximilian III, who had no children, and his eventual successor, which Karl would have been had he survived a few years more.

And then everything would have been different, especially if Karl's son had lived; another chance along the way that might have derailed the chain by which Christian II's blood returned to his one-time thrones. Incidentally, Bavaria's last King Ludwig III was also the first to have the affiliation that had been sought, being descended through his mother from Prince Maximilian of Saxony, Maria Amalia's brother. None of his five predecessors descended from any Bavarian ruler of the original line more recent than the 16th-century Wilhelm V, all the way back in the first part.


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Reply with quote  #128 
Theodore now has another interesting blog entry, sparked off by the 70th anniversary on Wednesday of the passing of Christian X of Denmark, endpoint of much of the discussion above. As he notes, after the death ten years later of his brother Haakon VII of Norway there were no monarchs left who had reigned before the cataclysms of 1918, going on to muse on other changes of reign during the post-war era; a subject on which there is of course a whole three-page thread in this section, though commencing in 1952 not 1945. A point I will add is that it was two years before Haakon VII did that the very last person to have reigned over any part of Germany died, that country having accounted for most of the monarchies lost through WWI. This was Ernst II, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, who had reigned in that small duchy from 1908 to 1918, a curious-seeming man. He along with the two Scandinavian monarchs appears in my 1914 threads, should anyone be interested in their ancestries and relationships.

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Reply with quote  #129 
Thanks, Peter, for the preceding interesting information concerning the Electoral Palatinate and the Counts Palatine of the Rhine.

 Elector and Count Palatine Ludwig IV died in 1449 leaving a one-year old son, Philipp. Ludwig was succeeded as Elector and Count Palatine by his younger brother Friedrich. Friedrich recognised his young nephew Philipp as heir to the Palatinate, and adopted him. In due time, Philipp succeeded him as Elector and Count Palatine. But Friedrich did make a morganatic marriage to a court singer, Clara Tott, which produced a son, Ludwig. Ludwig was gifted with the county of Lowenstein, and thus became Count Ludwig I (1494-1524) of Lowenstein. Ludwig was the father of Count Friedrich I of Lowenstein, who was the father of Count Ludwig III of Lowenstein. Ludwig III, like his eldest son (Christof), was evidently a Protestant. A younger son (Johann), was Catholic. After Ludwig's death, his sons apparently divided the County of Lowenstein between themselves. Christof founded the line which eventually became the protestant  Prinzen von Lowenstein-Freudenberg. Johann founded the line which eventually became the catholic Prinzen von Lowenstein-Rosenberg. Both these lines are still extant today, and seem to be well-fortified with heirs. A daughter of the Rosenberg line became the wife of King Miguel of Portugal (after he'd renounced the Portuguese throne). Through this daughter, Adelaide, the Lowenstein-Rosenbergs are  cognatic ancestors of the present-day monarchs of Belgium, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein, as well as the pretenders to Portugal, Bavaria, Austria, and Parma.

If the modern German bundesland (province) of Rhineland-Palatinate ever inclined toward restoring a provincial monarchy, they might do well to look to either of the Houses of Lowenstein, which are actually the genealogically senior (albeit morganatic) line of the Wittelsbach Dynasty.

Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."

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Reply with quote  #130 

Thanks, Windemere. Returning to various matters referenced in earlier posts, while there was only one Palatinate there were, technically, two Palatine Electors, each head of a separate Wittelsbach line. The more senior of these lines ruled in the Palatinate itself, and were actually known as Electors Palatine, but held the more junior electorate.

The more junior line held the senior electorate and ruled in Bavaria. Due to the obvious potential for confusion (to add to which, the Bavarian territories included a region called the Upper Palatinate) these were always known as Electors of Bavaria, even though there was not and never had been a Bavarian Electorate. Each line was always and unambiguously recognised as heirs of the other, that is if one line failed altogether the other would succeed it. And this did indeed happen, with Karl Theodor, penultimate Elector Palatine, inheriting Bavaria on the death of his kinsman Maximilian III. There was of course a War of Bavarian Succession, such was virtually a necessary ritual on any change of line in even quite minor territories, but happily it was also almost a ritual conflict, with little bloodshed.

The sticking point had been that the junior electorate had been created with the proviso that it and the senior electorate should never be combined, Karl Theodor therefore being required to renounce the Palatinate to his own heir, a fairly distant cousin, before acceding to Bavaria. But the Palatinate was his homeland where he had reigned for many years and was very popular, Bavaria to him almost a foreign country, so he was unwilling to swap.

Eventually the problem was solved with minor territorial concessions to Austria, which had been the chief instigator of the conflict, and the junior electorate lapsing altogether, Karl Theodor now being able to proceed to Munich as its ruler while retaining his original inheritance (he still never got to like Bavaria, and the Bavarians certainly did not like him, but that is all by the by). He was as said penultimate Elector Palatine, and also penultimate soi-disant Elector of Bavaria.

The last of the latter was Maximilian IV of Bavaria, a younger brother of Karl Theodor’s previous heir (who in the interim had died sonless). On the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire Maximilian took a step up in grade, becoming Maximilian I, King of Bavaria. His territories, which he was able to increase substantially by allying with Napoléon, continued to include the Palatinate, and by a shrewdly-timed switch to the Allied side he was able to retain his gains, or some of them at least, others being exchanged for different acquisitions.

His major territories, Bavaria itself and the Palatinate, were not contiguous, and when he changed sides he had been given an undertaking that they would be. As a result he obtained a generous annual financial award from Austria, which continued to be paid for many years, so had every reason to feel satisfied with his efforts. As the Bavarians were, he was as popular as his predecessor had been detested, and his line continued to reign until the fall of all the German monarchies and still holds a special place in Bavarian hearts.

Whether this is true in the Palatinate also I do not know, but would tend to doubt it, the line did become very identified with the Bavarian heartland, with which the riparian former realm probably now feels no particular association. So maybe in the sadly most unlikely event of a general revival of German monarchy the territory by the Rhine would seek its own ruler, with one or other Löwenstein branch as good a choice as any.

As our friend Windemere explained, the Protestant line of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg is agnatically the most senior of all Wittelsbach branches, followed in turn by the Catholic line of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg and then the also Catholic royal line of Bavaria, which exists in two main branches, descended from different sons of King Ludwig I. But as Windemere also explained the founder of the Löwenstein branches was born of a morganatic marriage, and also possibly prior to the marriage taking place, though this has never been determined for certain.

However the latter may be the former is not at all in question, and no Löwenstein has ever claimed any part of the Wittelsbach inheritance apart from that awarded to their long-ago forefather. There is absolutely no question therefore that the legal heir to the sovereignty of the Palatinate is Franz, Duke of Bavaria. I don’t suppose for one moment though that he ever expects to reign there. I am quite certain also that neither Ludwig, 8th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, nor Aloys-Konstantin, 9th Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg, will have any such expectation. Though it’s always fun to speculate.


Posts: 7,500
Reply with quote  #131 

Again not wanting a whole year to pass without a single post in the section, I meditated on what I might find to write about, and settled on something I have mooted one or two times before. This is the question of who, before Jan Willem Friso (1687-1711) became so, was the most recent common ancestor of the European monarchs of the day?

In one sense the question is forever unanswerable. This is because Jan Willem Friso attained his current status on 25th July 1938, the date of death of Franz I, Prince of Liechtenstein. At that date King Zog still reigned in Albania, not the Caucasian variety but the one inarguably in Europe, and had no traceable blood relationship with any other monarch then reigning, therefore no identifiable common ancestors with them either.

On that basis, it was not until 7th April 1939 and the fall of the Albanian monarchy that Jan Willem Friso’s ‘reign’ began. Confine oneself however to the Christian monarchs of Europe, a Christian continent after all, and we are back to 1938. So, taking all references hereafter as being to Christian monarchs only, Franz of Liechtenstein was not a Jan Willem Friso descendant, which all his contemporary peers were. His successor Franz Joseph II however was so descended, so on his accession the long-ago Prince of Orange displaced his even longer-ago predecessor.

Now, who might that have been? There were fourteen reigning monarchs on the day, Albania aside, five Protestants, five Catholics and four Orthodox, religious affiliation being of course relevant to relationships. Whoever the person was, he or she was most likely to be Protestant, Catholics and Orthodox tending to have a greater share of Protestant ancestry than Protestants did of either of the others.

But it was two Catholic monarchs I looked at first, Louis II of Monaco and the sadly soon to be late Franz I of Liechtenstein. The reason is that of all the fourteen they were the two most distantly related, both to the rest and to each other. Their ancestors in common would be few, meaning few individuals to look at, and the most recent among these that the other twelve all also descended from would automatically be the most recent common ancestor of all.

The nearest relationships of the two Princes were 5c3r and 6c2r through Ferdinand Carolus, Count of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rochefort (1616-1672) and twice 6c2r through Joachim Ernst I, Count of Oettingen-Oettingen (1612-1659). But although Count Ferdinand Carolus lived more than a decade longer and was therefore the most recent common ancestor of the Princes, he was not the most recent common ancestor of all.

This is because he wasn’t in fact ancestral to all. Being Catholic, which I knew without looking as he was of the Rochefort line, made him at this date not quite an impossible but certainly a highly unlikely universal ancestor of later monarchs. And anyway I had come across this somewhat rebarbative individual previously, and based on my knowledge of his descent felt sure he was not my candidate. Of course I took a look anyway. He wasn’t.

While of the other twelve monarchs of the day Haakon VII of Norway, Gustaf V of Sweden, Christian X of Denmark, Boris III of Bulgaria, Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy, Charlotte of Luxembourg and Léopold III of Belgium were of his descent the remaining five were not. To confirm this, those left over are Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Carol II of Romania, Peter II of Yugoslavia, George II of Greece and George VI of Great Britain.

Here is a listing of the descendants of Count Ferdinand Carolus to twelve generations, carrying us well past 1938. Click the link and wait for it to load completely, which I am afraid will take a long time, then search for any of those names. You won’t find them, ergo they are not descendants. Or instead of checking you could just take my word for it, which is what I would recommend. So, we are left with just Joachim Ernst I to look into, the previous front runner having been eliminated.

To settle the question of whether it is just him, the relationships link above also takes a fair while to load, though not as long as the descendants one does. This is because it is set at nine generations and a maximum five relationships. It has to be nine generations, eight or less will get you no relationships at all, since there is nothing nearer. It is five relationships to demonstrate that the four produced are it, any further relationships will be more generations, therefore almost certainly through more remote ancestors.

I say almost certainly because there is an outside chance of a bizarre generational anomaly producing a more distant relationship through a more recent ancestor. But having laboriously gone through the respective ancestries back to the relevant era I can confidently assert that no such anomalies occur, so if he otherwise qualifies Joachim Ernst I is our man.

And does he? Yes! The relationship calculator shows that the two Princes are descendants. Though I will demonstrate it I knew without thinking that all the others were, except I had a slight worry about the Scandinavian trio. No need to have, I soon found they were too, and a fair few times each.

I hope my logic has been followed so far, and people will agree that, subject to descent from him of the other twelve monarchs being proved, the otherwise immensely obscure Joachim Ernst I of Oettingen-Oettingen had this one claim to fame, that from 26th February 1922 (I’ll explain this later) to 25th July 1938 he was the most recent common ancestor of the European monarchs then reigning.

I could handle the proof by actually showing relationships through Joachim Ernst I between Franz I and all the other monarchs, as I did already for him and Louis II. But though this ought to be within the scope of the Genealogics calculator all links would be fantastically slow-loading and would take a very long time both to create and to view.

So I will begin with a listing, or rather listings, of his descendants through to some intermediate stage, then tracing from named individuals nearer to 1938 to the monarchs reigning then. Listings because despite living only to the not particularly great age of 47 Joachim Ernst I managed to marry three times and have multiple children from each union, with some from each surviving to provide descent down to the present day.

So even after only a few generations the number of his descendants was enormous. To mitigate this effect, I will show descent in turn from each of the first two wives, the third not being required for my purpose. First up then is the descent of wife #1, Countess Anna Sibylle of Solms-Sonnenwalde, to five generations. Not very far down, in the fourth generation, you will see ‘Karoline, Markgräfin von Brandenburg-Ansbach’. Better known as Caroline of Ansbach, this remarkable lady was the wife and Queen of George II of Great Britain, and the mother of all his children.

Of our twelve monarchs remaining to be connected, how many were descended from George II and therefore through Queen Caroline from Joachim Ernst I? Ten, not a bad strike rate. I will begin by showing that Christian IX of Denmark was a George II descendant; the British monarch will twice be seen among the great-great-grandparents of the Danish king. Turning now to Christian IX’s descendants rather than forebears, among his grandchildren were in order of occurrence Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway, then dipping down to his great-grandchildren we will find Georges VI of Great Britain and II of Greece.

So that’s four of the ten down, six to go. Obviously George VI of Great Britain was descended from George II in another way, five other ways in fact, and as it happened from Joachim Ernst I in more ways still that don’t involve George II. Similar could be said of the other three as well, but for my purposes all I need to do is show one chain of descent, not all those that might have occurred.

So, on to the remaining six. These are Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, Gustaf V of Sweden, Boris III of Bulgaria, Charlotte of Luxembourg, Carol II of Romania and Peter II of Yugoslavia. For the first two and the fourth, here is the ancestry of Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau, showing George II of Great Britain as again a great-great-grandparent. And among his descendants were his great-granddaughters Charlotte of Luxembourg and Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and his grandson Gustaf V of Sweden.

Three left, all in the Balkan region. For Carol II of Romania and his nephew Peter II of Yugoslavia I think it sufficient to show that they were respectively a great-grandson and great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. I highly doubt that anyone sufficiently interested to be reading this needs me to show that Queen Victoria was a George II descendant!

Finally Boris III of Bulgaria. His one and no doubt treasured descent from George II was through his great-great-grandmother in uterine line Princess Henriette of Nassau-Weilburg, a sister of Wilhelm, Duke of Nassau, discussed above. But I have shown her ancestry anyway, and in it George II can again be seen at great-great-grandparent level.

That’s the ten done, now for the two holdouts, both Catholics of course, that sniffily disdained to be George II descendants. They are Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy and Léopold III of Belgium, neither of whom refrained from being descendants of the Empress Maria Theresa, so let’s find her among Joachim Ernst I’s descendants.

She can be found here, in a listing of the descendants to five generations of the Swabian count’s wife #2, Countess Anna Dorothea of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein. Go down to 2. Albrecht Ernst I, 1. Fürst zu Oettingen-Oettingen, then 3. Christine Luise, Prinzessin zu Oettingen-Oettingen, followed immediately by 4. Elisabeth Christine, Prinzessin zu Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel who married the Emperor Karl VI and their daughter was 5. Empress Maria Theresa as shown.

Léopold III descended from Maria Theresa only once, through her daughter Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and Sicily. Vittorio Emanuele III six times, two of which were also through Maria Carolina, so let’s concentrate on her. The latter monarch’s twice great-grandmother Archduchess Maria Theresia of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, was herself a maternal granddaughter of Maria Carolina and thus a great-granddaughter of her namesake Empress.

As the somewhat inbred Archduchess also was though her father, Grand Duke Ferdinando III of Tuscany, but that’s by the by. And now we only have Léopold III to deal with. His first great-grandmother was Princess Louise of Orléans, as seen in his ancestry linked above. And she was a granddaughter of Maria Carolina and thus great-granddaughter to Maria Theresa, job done.

Except not quite, there’s still that 1922 date to explain. It was the day that Albert I of Monaco, not a Joachim Ernst I descendant, died and was succeeded by his son Louis II, shown above to be so descended, twice in fact, but only through his mother Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton. So it was on that day that Count Joachim Ernst began to enjoy his brief sixteen years in the spotlight. Or would have, had he not been over two centuries dead. There is a caveat to the date; the monarchs of Romania (twice), Belgium, Yugoslavia, Greece (don’t expect me to keep count) and Britain (twice) all changed after it. And of course the Spanish monarchy was still in being.

No problem, all those that reigned on the 1922 date and after, including Alfonso XIII of Spain, had the qualifying descent. With one exception, Alexander I of Yugoslavia, who was no more connected to any other monarch by blood than the not-yet-reigning Zog of Albania, yet undeniably a Christian. He died (assassinated) on 9th October 1934, to be succeeded by his minor son Peter II, who through his mother did have the requisite descent, plenty of times.

So until that 1934 date there is a * attached to Joachim Ernst I’s distinction. Who bore both distinction and asterisk before 26th February 1922 is a story for another time, maybe. Not that I have the foggiest idea who it was, mind. That will be a project for another time, maybe once more.


Posts: 453
Reply with quote  #132 
Thanks, Peter, for that interesting analysis in discovering Count Joachim Ernst I of Oettingen-Oettingen as the second (after Jan Willem Friso) most recent common ancestor of Europe's reigning monarchs.

Swabia was one of the great old Teutonic tribal stem-duchies which combined to form the German nation. It's located in southwestern Germany, and includes the present bundesland (province) of Baden-Wurttemberg as well as part of adjacent southern Bavaria. There is also a present-day bezirk (district) in southwestern Bavaria which is called Swabia (which contains the town of Oettingen).

The Oettingen family originated in the mid-1100s. In the 1300s, a daughter (Irmengard) of Count Ludwig VI of Oettingen married titular Count Palatine of the Rhine Adolph, and thus was ancestress of the later Counts of the Rhenish Palatinate who were discussed in earlier postings in this thread, as well as the Counts of Lowenstein.  The Oettingen hereditary lands lay on the border between Wurttemberg and Bavaria, and they had lands in each kingdom. The original House of Oettingen eventually divided into 3 branches (Oettingen-Oettingen, Oettingen-Wallerstein, and Oettingen-Spielberg). Like many German noble houses, they differed in religious affiliation. Oettingen-Oettingen (to which Count Joachim Ernst belonged) was Protestant, while Oettingen-Wallerstein was Catholic. Both branches shared the town of Oettingen from 1522 thru 1731, with Oettingen-Oettingen administering the western half, and Oettingen-Wallerstein the eastern half. The town's main street was the dividing line, and this led to the curious situation in which the western side of the street used the Julian calendar, while the eastern side used the Gregorian. In 1731, the Oettingen-Oettingen House became extinct in male-line, but not before Count Joachim Ernst, through his first two wives, produced the offspring who went on to become ancestors of today's reigning royalty, as Peter has set forth above.  Moreover, one of his daughters through his third wife married her relative the Count of Oettingen-Wallerstein, and so Count Joachim Ernst in also cognatic ancestor of the Wallerstein and Spielberg branches, which are still extant today, and still in possession of some of their old castles.

Religious affiliation was quite important in late medieval Germany. The Peace of Augsburg in 1555 had established the principle of cuius regio, eius religio, in which the religious affiliation of the ruler of each German state determined that state's religious affiliation, although it didn't prevent the religious disputes which led to the Thirty Years War. When Elector Augustus II of Saxony became King of Poland in 1697, his conversion to Catholicism, in order to obtain the kingship, caused a good deal of consternation in Protestant Saxony, and Augustus made sure to guarantee that Protestantism remained the official religion in Saxony, in spite of his own conversion.

The importance of religious affiliation in Germany appears now to have considerably diminished. The 2 sons of Prinz Ernst August of Hanover have both married within the past year or so. Although their marriages received a significant amount of publicity, none of the articles mentioned anything about religious affiliation. Evidently it wasn't deemed  relevent or important, and more ink was spent in describing  the brides' dresses and fashion accessories, which probably reflects the  sensibilities and priorities  of our  times.   Judging ( actually guessing)  only from the ethnic background of their brides, it  appears that the elder son made a Protestant marriage, and the younger son a Catholic one ( that is, if there indeed was even any religious aspect at all to their weddings). Both sons, as well as Prinz Ernst August Sr.  himself, are in the British line of succession, albeit far, far down, and due to the recent changes in Britain's succession laws, marriage to a Catholic spouse is no longer a disqualification for the line of succession.

Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."

Posts: 453
Reply with quote  #133 
Just for curiousity, I entered Jan Willem Friso, Prince of Oranje and Joachim Ernst I, Count of Oettingen-Oettingen into's Relationship Calculator to see if they shared a common ancestor. They do, in the person of Friedrich Magnus, Count of Solms-Laubach (1521-1561). Friedrich Magnus' wife, and mother of his children, was Agnes of Wied. Here is what turned up:

Friedrich Magnus, Count of Solms-Laubach (1521-1561), father of:
Elisabeth of Solms-Laubach (1549-1599), mother of:
Agnes of Sayn-Wittgenstein (1568-1617), mother of:
Amalia of Solms-Braunfels (1602-1675), mother of:
Albertine Agnes of Nassau (1634-1696), mother of:
Hendrik Casimir II, Furst von Nassau-Dietz (1657-1696), father of:
Jan Willem Friso, Furst von Nassau-Dietz and Prince of Oranje (1687-1711)


Friedrich Magnus, Count of Solms-Laubach (1521-1561), father of:
Anna of Solms-Laubach (1557-1586), mother of:
Margarethe of Erbach (1576-1635), mother of:
Joachim Ernst I , Count of Oettingen-Oettingen (1612-1659)

Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."

Posts: 7,500
Reply with quote  #134 

Thanks for that, Windemere, and also for the preceding narrative of the House of Oettingen. The relationship shown is 2c3r, which would be the (equal) closest by my scheme, though it is actually one of five within the same degree between Jan Willem Friso and his predecessor, his predecessor according to me anyway. One of the other four is this one again by a different route, and the three remaining are all 4c1r through Johann V, Count of Nassau Dillenburg, Jan Willem Friso’s male-line forebear and a maternal ancestor of Joachim Ernst I.

Johann V is actually a potential nearest common ancestor prior to the 1922 date mentioned in my original post, in that he was at least an ancestor of all the European monarchs reigning on that day, Alexander I of Yugoslavia aside. I know this as his descendant Jan Willem Friso was ancestral to all bar George V of Great Britain and the Princes of Monaco and Liechtenstein; George V was descended from William the Silent, Johann V’s grandson, and anyway was a multiple descendant of Joachim Ernst I, himself a Johann V descendant; and I have found Johann V in Albert I of Monaco’s ancestry.

The Prince of Liechtenstein is taken care of also by his Joachim Ernst I descent. However, for the long-ago count with the famous grandson to advance from candidate to nominee (if, indeed, he is the right person) would take a lot of work on my part. Which I may or may not do at some future point. Even if I do attempt it, working that far back a satisfactory result that I can back up with proof is not guaranteed.


Posts: 7,500
Reply with quote  #135 

I wanted to comment on Murtagon’s latest genealogical endeavour, but felt it better to do it here so as not to interrupt the flow on his thread. His fairly ambitious aim is to list all legitimate-line descendants of the Catholic Kings that were alive on 1st November 1700, and thus might be considered eligible for succession to the throne of Spain, left vacant by the childless death on that date of Carlos II.

Post #1 on the thread lists the qualifying descendants of Felipe III, paternal grandfather of Carlos II. These come in three lines, the first and most senior from Felipe III’s son and successor Felipe IV. Legitimate descent from him in turn now came only through his daughter Infanta Maria Theresia, Queen of France as consort of Louis XIV, and from her only through her son Louis, Dauphin of Viennois, ‘le Grand Dauphin’, shown here to the requisite date. Two lines of illegitimate descendants are also shown but may be ignored.

The second line from Felipe III is through his daughter Infanta Anna, generally known as Anne of Austria, and likewise Queen of France but as consort of Louis XIII. She had two children that had children of their own, these being Louis XIV and his younger brother Philippe, duc d’Orléans. Descent from Louis XIV and thus Anna exists in a number of lines, but legitimately only through the Grand Dauphin, already covered.

So the post turns to the interesting Philippe, who despite his openly-flaunted sexual proclivities managed to father children by two wives, with continuing lines from a daughter of the first marriage and a son and daughter of the second. Taking the son Philippe II d’Orléans first, his descent appears here, and consisted at the qualifying date of his first three surviving legitimate children.

Next is the daughter of the first marriage, Anne Marie d’Orléans, Mademoiselle de Valois, who was successively Duchess of Savoy, Queen of Sicily and Queen of Sardinia as consort of Vittorio Amadeo II of those realms. Her qualifying descent is here, and consisted at the time of her eldest two surviving daughters and eldest son.

And then the daughter of the second marriage, Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Lorraine as spouse of Duke Leopold of same. As can be seen here her qualifying descent at the time extended only to her eldest daughter. So much for the Orléans, now we turn to the third line from Felipe III, which is through his daughter Infanta Maria Anna, Holy Roman Empress as consort of Ferdinand III. The only remaining line through her was from, and included as he survived for another five years, her son the Emperor Leopold I.

And that completes the qualifying descendants of Felipe III. Murtagon’s next post turns to those of Infanta Catalina Micaela, Duchess of Savoy as consort of Carlo Emanuele I and half-sister of Felipe III. These descendants included some of those already noted but others were descended from Felipe II, father of both Felipe III and Catalina Micaela, only through her and are listed in that next post, which I will cover later as this post of mine is already of more than ample length.

To conclude it, who was the first person to be descended from all lines shown above? I would not like to be definite about this, but my nomination is Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy (the same through whom the Jacobite succession traces). The link shows her ancestry back to great-great-great-grandparent level. It can be seen that Philippe II d’Orléans and the Emperor Leopold I both appear at that level, while the great-great-grandparents include le Grand Dauphin, Anne Marie d’Orléans and Elisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Lorraine.

Which would seem to be the set. Princess Maria Beatrice was born in 1792 and maybe was not the first, but she is the earliest I can think of. If anyone can come up with an earlier candidate, well done and let’s hear about it!

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