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Murtagon

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UPDATE: New MRCA found! Please read the 4th post of the thread, if you wish to know who that is.

Several weeks ago, I finally read the not particularly long article by genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner (1954 - 2010), titled "The Lesbian ancestors of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Brooke Shields and the Marquis de Sade". It has been discussed on this forum here.
 
Mr Reitwiesner shows four ways in which the rulers of Lesbos are ancestors of the above-mentioned individuals. What caught my eye and made me think was the part about the "Legitimist" claimant to the Monegasque throne. Then something occured to me.

It is widely known that John William Friso, Prince of Orange (1687 - 1711) and his wife, Landgravine Marie Louise of Hesse-Kassel (1688 - 1765), are the most recent common ancestors of all current European hereditary monarchs, as well as of many pretenders to abolished thrones on the continent. The descents are all through legitimate and recognised marriages.

Thing is, there is one monarch for whom this does not quite apply and that is Prince Albert II of Monaco. His paternal grandmother, Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois (1898 - 1977), was born unambiguously illegitimate and it was through the intervention of the French Republic that she was legitimated and put in the line of succession.

In that case, who is the "true" most recent common ancestor of present-day European royalty? Genealogics was going to be of enormous help here.

If Prince Rainier's mother was disqualified, then I had to examine the ancestry of his father, Prince Pierre, Duke of Valentinois (1895 - 1964). Unfortunately, he was not a close relative of his wife. I had noticed that both were descended from Lorenzo Mancini, (1602 –1650), a brother-in-law of Cardinal Mazarin (1602 - 1661). According to Genealogics, Pierre was the seventh cousin of his wife's paternal great-grandfather, Charles III - see here.

That wasn't much help, sadly. I thought of giving up and asking Peter for help.

Long story short, it is neither William the Conqueror (as may be tempting to think) nor Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou (1113 - 1151), as Genealogics had suggested (sort of).

The MRCA was actually Peter.

To be slightly more specific, the relevant couple is Peter I, Duke of Bourbon (1311 - 1356) and Isabella of Valois, Duchess of Bourbon (1313 - 1383). 

As our Peter has pointed out many times in his genealogical threads, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I is a universal ancestor of European royalty today. This link shows his descent from the Duke of Bourbon. 

Now, let us see how Pierre of Bourbon leads to Pierre of Polignac:

Pierre I, Duc de Bourbon > Marguerite de Bourbon Marguerite d'Albret Isabelle de Foix Seigneur Guy de Pons, Vicomte de Turenne > Antoinette de Pons, Dame de Montfort François II de La Tour, Vicomte de Turenne, Baron de Montgascon > Claude de La Tour Just Louis IV de Tournon, Comte de Roussillon, Baron de Durteil > Françoise de Tournon Louis Armand XIX de Polignac, Vicomte de Polignac > Scipion de Polignac, Vicomte de Polignac, Marquis de Chalencon > Louis Héracle Armand XXI, Vicomte de Polignac > Jules François Armand, 1.Duc de Polignac > Melchior, Comte de Polignac > Charles, Comte de Polignac > Maxence, Comte de Polignac > Pierre, Comte de Polignac, Duc de Valentinois

So, how did I do?

Peter

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Hmm, a few points. First, I would point out that Jan Willem Friso was inarguably valid MRCA from 1938 until the death in 1949 of Louis II of Monaco (who was himself the grandson of Charles III, his daughter Charlotte therefore being the latter's great-granddaughter not granddaughter). Was he valid after? I personally would say so, there seems no doubt of Princess Charlotte's biological paternity, she was legitimised later but acknowledged from the first. So there is a documented chain, which to me is all you need and weddings are a nice but not essential feature for the chain to have. I would be a bit more dubious were this an 'everyone knows' situation like Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine, but it is not, there was open and public acknowledgement.

That aside, it was an interesting idea and an impressive feat to find someone who on that basis is a possible MRCA. I say possible because over such a vast gulf of time you won't know the full ancestry of the most mighty sovereign of the most distinguished lineage, and when not working with full ancestries you can't be absolutely certain there isn't some other, nearer MRCA you simply don't know about. But Peter of Bourbon is certainly a plausible candidate and I know from my own projects of that kind just how much work it will have been to find him, so congratulations and well done there.
Murtagon

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Thank you for the kind words, Peter! It certainly was a challenge!

There may be a closer one (at least biologically, which wasn't what I had in mind), but not all rulers had the same standards for marriage. For instance, the Princes of Monaco seemed (and still seem) perfectly happy to make matches, which would be seen as non-dynastic elsewhere.

Although I had not touched on that in the first post, the "Legitimist" Monegasque claimant refers not to Patrick Guinness (as the Duke of Urach and his family had renounced their positions), but to the descendants of Joseph Grimaldi, a younger son of Prince Honore III. According to Reitwiesner, they did claim the throne in 1949. Of course, I do not question the legitimacy of Prince Albert II.
Murtagon

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It turns out that I was wrong - but not by much.

As Peter has noted before, when you investigate ancestries, you may notice some names, because they show up in unusual places or for some other reason. This time, that was Maria Christina van Egmond (1554 - 1622). She's an ancestor of Prince Pierre and I saw some familiar faces among her own ancestors.

Here is how she is related to universal European royal ancestor H.R.E Ferdinand I: third cousin once removed.

So, the MRCA couple is actually Ernest, Duke of Austria (1377 - 1424) and Cymburgis of Masovia (1394/7 - 1429). Sorry, Peter of Bourbon, you're out.

Here is the descent from Ernst to Pierre:

Ernst I 'the Iron', Duke of Austria > Katharina of Austria> Christoph I, Markgraf von Baden > Beatrix, Markgräfin von Baden> Sabina, Pfalzgräfin von SimmernMaria Christina van Egmond Alexandre de Bournonville, 1.Duc de Bournonville, Comte de Henin-Lietard > Ambroise François de Bournonville, 3.Duc et 1.Prince de Bournonville > Marie Françoise de BournonvilleAnne Louise de NoaillesDiane Adelaide Zephirine Mancini > Jules François Armand, 1.Duc de Polignac > Melchior, Comte de Polignac > Charles, Comte de Polignac > Maxence, Comte de Polignac > Pierre, Comte de Polignac, Duc de Valentinois

Note the Mancini descent towards the end. Maybe I should have paid more attention to that initially.

Now, to give some more explanation: I'm currently contemplating another genealogical project, in which legitimate descent is essential. Watch this space.

P.S. I would be pleasantly surprised, if there is an even more recent MRCA, but I think that's it (for now).
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