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News from the Royal Courts

During the eight months it has taken to repair and reconstruct the Baronage website operation, much of significant interest has happened in the Royal Courts of Europe. Here we mention three items of importance.



heraldry - Royal arms of Bulgaria
King Simeon II of Bulgaria, who at the age of nine was exiled from his country after a plebiscite rigged by the Communists, appears to be firmly established on his way back to the leadership of his nation. The political party he recently founded won 47 per cent of the vote in last month's parliamentary election, and although he will not be taking the post of Prime Minister in the coalition government now being formed, which as the largest party's leader he could do, he is undoubtedly the man to whom the electorate will look for solutions to the country's problems.
The extent of royalist fervour in the country has surprised most foreign observers and will doubtless have raised the hopes of some of Europe's other exiled monarchs. Earlier restorations of the monarchy (in England and in Spain) were notable successes, and in Bulgaria at present the signs are encouraging.
Simeon's father, King Boris III, was poisoned (on the instructions of Hitler it is generally believed) in 1943, and his uncle, Prince Kyril, was murdered by the Communists in 1945. His mother, Queen Giovanna, was the daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy. His paternal grandparents were King Ferdinand, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony, and Marie Louise (who died before she could become Queen), eldest daughter of Roberto I, Duke of Parma.
The royal arms ~ Gules a lion rampant crowned Or, armed and langued Vert ~ are unusual in having green claws and tongue. The collar and cross encircling the shield are of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
The Netherlands

Prince Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince of the Netherlands, has chosen for his future queen a young woman from Argentina whose father, who was a minister in the Junta government, has been heavily criticised for supporting generals accused of crimes against humanity. This paternal connection with the tragedy of the Argentine "disappearances" created substantial opposition to the match, but the undoubted charm of the lady, together with the guaranteed absence of her father from the wedding (planned for February), has won the Dutch over.

Maxima and Willem-Alexander
Maxima Zorreguieta has three half-sisters from her father's first marriage to Marta Lopez Gil ~ Maria, Angeles and Dolores ~ and three siblings ~ Martin, Juan and Inés ~ from his second marriage to her mother, Maria del Carmen Cerruti Carricart (whose immediate paternal ancestors bearing the name of Cerruti were Hugo, Jorge, Jorge, and Santiago). Maxima's father, Jorge Horacio Zorriguieta, was the son of Alina Zorriguieta, the son of Juan Antonio Zorriguieta (by Cesina Stefanini), the son of Amadeo Zorriguieta (by Maxima Bonorino). Dutch genealogists will soon expand these few details.
heraldry - Arms of Zorriguieta in Argentina
A correspondent has forwarded the blazon of Maxima's father's arms ~ "Gules a saltire Vert surmounted of a cross Argent, the letter Z Or overall" ~ and asked for comments.

The green saltire on a red field offends one of the principal laws of heraldry and suggests that the arms were invented by the family. (This may not be so, for the Argentine is a country of which we know little.) The use of a letter of the alphabet as a charge is rare (the city of Liège and the Priory of Bridlington are the only lawful examples that spring readily to mind), and this again suggests recent invention.

heraldry - modified arms
A small technical improvement could be achieved by amending the blazon to ~ Gules a cross Argent surmounted by a saltire Vert, the letter Z Or overall ~ as in the illustration on the left.
Princess Mathilde
Mathilde, the future Queen of Belgium, expects to be delivered of her first child in November. The new prince or princess will be second in line to the throne after the father, Prince Philippe.

We have learned that Philippe courted Mathilde for three years and that everyone in her village knew of the friendship. It is, of course, possible that somone informed the newspapers, but no editor thought it seemly to invade the royal privacy, despite Mathilde's radiant beauty. Other countries should learn from this.

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