April 17: Today in Royal History

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Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, King Consort of Queen Isabella II of Spain; Credit – Wikipedia

April 17, 1818 – Death of Heinrich XLII, 1st Prince Reuss of Gera in Schleiz, Principality of Reuss-Gera; buried in the Princely Crypt at the Bergkirche St. Marien now in Schleiz, Thuringia, Germany
In 1779, Heinrich XLII married Princess Caroline of Hohenlohe-Kirchberg in Kirchberg an der Jagst. The couple had eight children but only three survived to adulthood. When Heinrich XLII’s father died in 1784, he became Count Reuss of Schleiz. In 1802, when Heinrich XXX, Count Reuss of Gera died without an heir, Heinrich XLII also became Count Reuss of Gera. In 1806, Heinrich XLII received the title of Prince from Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and his two counties were raised to the Principality of Reuss-Gera or Reuss Younger Line and Heinrich XLII was then titled 1st Prince Reuss of Gera. Heinrich XLII, 1st Prince of Reuss of Gera died on April 17, 1818, aged 66.
Unofficial Royalty: Heinrich XLII, 1st Prince Reuss of Gera

April 17, 1838 – Birth of Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg, Duchess of Anhalt, wife of Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt, in Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria, now in Bavaria, Germany
Full name: Antoinette Charlotte Marie Josephine Karoline Frida
In 1854, Antoinette married the future Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt and they had six children. At the age of 70, four years after the death of her husband, Antoinette, The Dowager Duchess of Anhalt died.
Unofficial Royalty: Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg, Duchess of Anhalt

April 17, 1902 – Death of Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, King Consort of Queen Isabella II of Spain; at the Château of Épinay-sur-Seine in France; buried at the Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real in El Escorial, Spain
In 1846 at the age of 24, Francisco married his double first cousin, the sixteen-year-old Queen Isabella II of Spain. Francisco and Isabella’s marriage was not happy and there were persistent rumors that few, if any, of her children, were fathered by her husband. Nevertheless, Francisco claimed all the children as his.  Only five of the nine reached adulthood.  His wife Isabella had officially abdicated in 1870 and after the First Spanish Republic collapsed, their son Alfonso XII became king. Francisco accompanied his deposed wife into exile in 1868 but they soon separated. However, Francisco and Isabella formed a friendly relationship after their separation. Francisco died on April 17, 1902, in Épinay-sur-Seine, France.
Unofficial Royalty: Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, King Consort of Spain

April 17, 1940 – Death of Katharina Schratt, confidante of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria; buried at Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna, Austria, adjacent to Schönbrunn Palace
In December 1873, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and his wife Empress Elisabeth attended a gala performance of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew at the Stadttheater in Vienna, Austria. No one could have foreseen that Katharina Schratt, the actress playing the female lead role, whom Franz Joseph saw for the first time that evening, would become an important person in his life. Katharina had a long-standing private relationship with Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria but the exact nature of their relationship is unclear. Some believe that Katharina and Franz Joseph were lovers while others believe that their relationship was platonic and that Franz Joseph, whose wife was emotionally distant from him and fled from him as well as her duties at court by frequent traveling, needed someone to support him emotionally. Franz Joseph also had to deal with the violent deaths of relatives. Certainly, the emotional support of Katharina helped Franz Joseph to deal with all these tragedies. Katharina always maintained the strictest discretion regarding her relationship with Franz Joseph. Katharina Schratt died on April 17, 1940, at the age of 86.
Unofficial Royalty: Katharina Schratt, Confidante of Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria

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