Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Inconvenient Children - Part I

The Royal Fanzine editors Ashley Michael and Marcia Tracy decided to explore the subject of these “unwanted” -- or perhaps, just inconvenient -- children. Illegitimate children are as old as monarchies themselves, but the DNA to prove the relation between monarch and bastard isn't. DNA was just detected in the 20th century. As early as 1919, scientists began to recognize the microscopic substance that would later be used to hold deadbeat dads accountable and solve crimes. James Watson and Francis Crick constructed the double helix model in 1953, something they couldn't have done without the wizardry of Rosalind Franklin. There is no doubt in DNA. It doesn't lie. It either makes a liar or gives credit to a person's claims. It can be extracted from corpses and used to determine if a woman really is a Russian Grand Duchess or if she pulled off the best royal scam of all time. Real Romanov descendents like Britain's royal consort, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was all too happy to let scientists use his DNA to expose the greatest imposter of all time. Yet I doubt his ex-son-in-law, Captain Mark Phillips, was happy when a DNA test proved him to be the father of a child in New Zealand -- a girl born while he was still married to the Queen's and Prince Philip's only daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal. The results of that DNA test, performed in 1991, proved that Mark had been unfaithful to the Princess and it directly led to their divorce in 1992. At the same time, in the summer of 1991, Prince Albert of Monaco enjoyed approximately a fortnight of drunken sex with an American tourist named Tamara Rotolo. The following March 4, back in her native California, Rotolo gave birth to Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and named Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi on the birth certificate. Prince Albert just didn't want to publicly acknowledge his paternity of Jazmin, his first-born child, until his father was securely six feet under. In 2006, the Sovereign of Monaco admitted that he had been secretly providing for the 14-year-old girl. After more than ten years of avoidance, he at last submitted to DNA tests, which proved him to be the father or not one, but two children. Jazmin Grimaldi and Alexandre Coste are his heirs in one sense, as she is entitled, by European law, to his personal fortune; but the constitution of Monaco, as it was revised in 2002, doesn't allow the children of unwed parents to succeed to the throne. Marcia Tracy explores the story of Prince Albert's paternity issues in a separate article.

King Albert II of Belgium has not submitted to DNA testing, so his paternity of Delphine Boël is, though almost universally supposed, isn't a proven fact. Delphine is legally the daughter of a Belgian baroness whose affair with King Albert, at the time only the Crown Prince, was exposed in the press in 1999. Delphine, who was born in 1968, has claimed that she spoke to King Albert on the phone one time and he told her: "You are not my daughter." Delphine believes he is wrong. Most observers, it seems, believe he's wrong, or lying, or in denial.
The Dutch Queen Beatrix's father, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, had an illegitimate daughter named Alexia Grinda. Alexia Grinda's mother, Hélène Grinda, happens to be a maternal cousin of Thierry Roussel, the father of Athina Onassis de Miranda. Prince Bernhard was married to Queen Beatrix's mother, Queen Juliana, when Alexia was born on 10 July 1967. Hélène is sister of the tennis champion Jean Noël Grinda, winner of the Davis Cup in 1952. She is also the sister of Francine Grinda, who married Henri Roussel, Thierry's father and Athina's grandfather. Unlike the Belgian King Albert, Prince Bernhard acknowledged all of his children and even had a relationship, of sorts, with his illegitimate children. He had at least one other, a US-based woman older than Alexia named Alicia, but somehow he managed to keep the name of Alicia's mother out of the press. Alexia has two younger half-brothers from her mother's marriage to Baron Stanislas Lejeune. Sometimes, Alexia is called Alexia Grinda-Lejeune.

The Inconvenient Children of Royal History:
Points 1-5 haven't been covered yet, but will be explored in future parts under this topic.
  1. Britain’s King Henry VIII’s children:
    1. Queen Mary I
    2. Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Duke of Somerset
    3. Queen Elizabeth I
    4. King Edward VI
  2. Charles II had at least eight illegitimate children, among the most famous, the Duke of Monmouth, who dared to challenge his uncle James II's succession, staging the so-called "Monmouth Rebellion" that led to his execution.
    1. James Scott, Duke of Monmouth and Duke of Buccleuch (aforementioned orchestrator of the Monmouth Rebellion against King James II)
    2. Charles FitzCharles, Earl of Plymouth
    3. Lady Anne Palmer-FitzRoy (disputed)
    4. Henry FitzRoy, Duke of Grafton
    5. Lady Charlotte Lee, Countess of Lichfield
    6. Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans
    7. Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond and Duc d'Aubigny
    8. Lady Barbara FitzRoy
    9. George FitzRoy, Duke of Northumberland
  3. James II himself had at least five illegitimate children. To name a few:
    1. Henrietta FitzJames
    2. James FitzJames, Duke of Berwick
    3. Henry FitzJames, Duke of Albemarle
  4. Lady Mary Fox, daughter of Britain's King William IV (therefore, a first cousin of the great Queen Victoria)
  5. HSH Princess Charlotte Grimaldi of Monaco, daughter of Prince Louis II, mother of Prince Rainier III, grandmother of Prince Albert II
  6. Delphine Boël, alleged daughter of King Albert II of Belgium (he denies it to this day)
  7. Daughters of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld
    1. Alicia, of unknown mother and unknown surname
    2. Alexia Grinda
  8. Felicity Bridget Tonkin, daughter of Captain Mark Phillips, ex-husband of the UK's Princess Anne
  9. Children of Prince Albert II of Monaco
    1. Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (Marcia Tracy reports)
    2. Alexandre Coste (Marcia Tracy reports)

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