May 9: Today in Royal History

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Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Empress of Austria; Credit – Wikipedia

May 9, 1849 – Birth of Empress Shōken of Japan, wife of Emperor Meiji of Japan, born Lady Masako Ichijō in Heian-kyō, Japan
Lady Masako Ichijō, the third daughter of Tadaka Ichijō, a government minister and the head of the Ichijō branch of the Fujiwara clan, married Emperor Meiji in 1869. The new Empress would be the first Empress Consort of Japan to play a public role but sadly, she had no children. Emperor Meiji had fifteen children by five official ladies-in-waiting but only five children survived to adulthood. The Empress officially adopted Yoshihito, her husband’s eldest surviving son by a concubine, as was the custom. Yoshihito succeeded his father as Emperor and is known as Emperor Taishō, his posthumous name.
Unofficial Royalty: Empress Shōken of Japan

May 9, 1867 – Birth of Marie Juliette Louvet, mistress of Prince Louis II of Monaco, mother of his only child Princess Charlotte of Monaco, grandmother of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, great-grandmother of Prince Albert II of Monaco, in Pierreval, France
Marie Juliette and Prince Louis met while she was working as a hostess in a cabaret in Paris, France. By the following year, she was working as a seamstress in a military barracks in Constantine, Algeria, where Prince Louis was also based. Later that year, Marie Juliette gave birth to the couple’s daughter Charlotte. The couple was not allowed to marry but their daughter Charlotte was later recognized as a member of the Princely Family of Monaco, and in 1919, was formally adopted by Prince Louis, becoming Princess Charlotte of Monaco, Duchess of Valentinois.
Unofficial Royalty: Marie Juliette Louvet

May 9, 1871 – Birth of Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia, son of Alexander III, Emperor of All Russia, at the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo outside of St. Petersburg, Russia
George was the second surviving son of Alexander III, Emperor of All Russia, and the brother of Nicholas II, Emperor of All Russia. At birth, George was weak and suffered from respiratory issues, and for a while, his survival was questionable. In childhood, George’s health was problematic and was a great worry to his mother. He later developed tuberculosis which caused his death at the age of 28. In July 1994, George’s remains were exhumed for DNA testing to compare his DNA with the DNA of the suspected remains of Nicholas II and his children. The results proved beyond a doubt that the remains were those of Nicholas II and his children.
Unofficial Royalty: Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia

May 9, 1892 – Birth of Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Empress of Austria, wife of Emperor Karl I of Austria, at the Villa Pianore, Tuscany, Italy
Full name: Zita Maria delle Grazie Adelgonda Micaela Raffaela Gabriella Giuseppina Antonia Luisa Agnese
Zita was the daughter of the deposed Robert I, Duke of Parma and his second wife Maria Antonia of Portugal. She had eleven siblings and twelve half-siblings from her father’s first marriage. In 1911, she married Archduke Karl who would be the last Emperor of Austria and the couple had eight children. Karl died in 1922 at the age of 34. Zita never married again and wore black for the 67 years of her widowhood. She died in 1989 at the age of 96.
Unofficial Royalty: Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Empress of Austria

May 9, 1949 – Death of Prince Louis II of Monaco at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco; buried at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco
Because Louis was unmarried and without an heir, the throne of Monaco was likely to pass to his first cousin once removed Wilhelm, Duke of Urach, a German nobleman who was the son of his father’s aunt Princess Florestine of Monaco.  In order to avoid this, Louis’ father Prince Albert I had a law passed recognizing Louis’ illegitimate daughter Charlotte as Louis’ heir and part of the sovereign family. However, this law was later ruled invalid under earlier statutes. In October 1918, another law was passed allowing for the adoption of an heir with succession rights. Louis legally adopted Charlotte, giving her the Grimaldi surname. Her grandfather created her Princess Charlotte of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois. Upon Louis’ accession in 1922, Charlotte became the Hereditary Princess of Monaco. She eventually relinquished her succession rights in favor of her son who eventually became Rainer III, Prince of Monaco.
Unofficial Royalty: Louis II, Prince of Monaco

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