Whether it's the debauchery of ancient Roman emperors, the Tudor crime family, the shenanigans behind the Chair of St. Peter, or the Austrian elites’ attempts to save themselves by trading their daughters to other royal houses, it turns out that our betters have always been among our worst. Join Alicia and Stacie from Trashy Divorces as we turn our jaded eyes to a different kind of moral garbage fire: Trashy Royals! Thursdays. Brought to you by Hemlock Creatives.
46. Louis and Edwina Mountbatten | Let the Affairs Begin!
40:44It didn't take long for Edwina, young, rich, and alone while her husband Louis was away with the Navy, to begin flirtations and then affairs with various suitors. There were the young men of her social strata, to be sure, but there was also a scandalous rumored fling with the notably female American entertainer Sophie Tucker, "The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas." These affairs took a toll on her marriage and her relations with the British Royal Family, but also laid the template for the Mountbatten marriage. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
45. Louis and Edwina Mountbatten | The Wedding and The Honeymoon... Is Over
36:16While Louis and Edwina Mountbatten would have a 38-year-long marriage, it isn't quite right to say it was a happy union. That first six months or so though - when they traveled through Europe and the United States, meeting Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, and dining with President Warren G. Harding - was a magical time for the couple. Once they returned to England and settled into married life, things quickly went sideways. With Louis frequently at sea for long periods as a Naval officer, and Edwina living large on her huge pile of inherited money, perhaps they were destined to have an unusually promiscuous marriage. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
44. Louis and Edwina Mountbatten | Origin Stories and Engagement
45:05As many will already know, it was the youngest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine who would become a prominent figure in the lives of the modern world of the Windsors. Young Louis Battenberg, later Louis Mountbatten, was known as Dickie to his confidants, and was stung early when his father, First Sea Lord of the British Navy, was removed from his post at the outbreak of WWI because of his German origins. The episode would motivate his son to excel in a Naval career to reclaim the title, and the then-Mountbattens' familial closeness with the House of Windsor would give him an avenue to real political power and influence. Edwina Ashley, future wife of Louis Mountbatten, was born into a family of means, but not of emotional connection. While her grandfather, Sir Ernest Cassel, was kind and involved, her parents left her sister and Edwina to mostly be raised by governesses. After her mother's death, Edwina's father married for a second time to a woman Louis would later describe as "a wicked woman." Edwina was ultimately able to find refuge in her grandfather's home, where as a teenager she became a sophisticated society hostess and a friend to many in the monied elite. Sir Ernest Cassel's death, when Edwina was about 20, made her one of the richest women in England. Upon her engagement to the much-less-rich Louis Mountbatten, Sir Anthony Eden noted in his diary, "Edwina Ashley is engaged to Lord Louis Mountbatten. What a waste." Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Sources The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves, by Andrew Lownie (Amazon.com) Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own, by Janet Morgan (Amazon.com) Lord and Lady Mountbatten Wedding (townandcountrymag.com) THE LIFE AND LOVES OF LADY EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN - The Washington Post The Countess Who Counted - The Washington Post Inside the scandalous 'bed-hopping' marriage of Louis and Edwina Mounbatten | The Sun Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
43. The Mountbattens | George and Nada Mountbatten
35:22Prince George of Battenberg, later the 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, was the third child of Louis Battenber and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, and was by all accounts a pretty good dude. Like his father, he set his sights on a naval career, and excelled at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, entering the Royal Navy in time to participate in World War I. His 1916 marriage to Countess Nadajda de Torby, called Nada by her friends, would become a source of significant scandal in 1934, when a former maid became a key witness in the high profile custody battle over young heiress Gloria Vanderbilt. The mail alleged on the stand that Nada and the girl's mother, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, were lovers, and the story was so salacious for its time that the judge cleared the courtroom entirely. After the family dropped "Battenberg" in favor of "Mountbatten" in 1917, at the height of anti-German sentiment in England, George Mountbatten would continue being one of the few stable presences in the life of Prince Philip, and Queen Elizabeth II, his eventual niece-in-law, was extremely fond of George. His death at the young age of 45, from bone marrow cancer, was yet another tragedy in young Philip's life, while Nada would remain close friends with Edwina Mountbatten, her sister-in-law, and the wife of Philip's next mentor, Louis Mountbatten. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Listen Now: Even The Royals
8:10Admit it: you’re obsessed with royal families – watching them, gossiping about them, wanting to be them. It’s the stuff of fantasy. But for real life royals, the crown jewels can be more like shiny handcuffs. There are expectations and rules – and if you break them, the consequences are big, and very public. And no, we’re not just talking about Harry and Meghan. There are royal families and wild royal tales from around the world and throughout history that you have never heard before. From Wondery comes a new podcast called Even the Royals that will take you inside the cloistered world of royal families, past and present, where wealth and status often come at the expense of your freedom – and maybe even your life. This is just a preview of Even the Royals. Listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, or at Wondery.fm/eventheroyals_trashyroyals Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
42. The Mountbattens | Princess Louise of Battenberg
32:19The second child of Prince Louis of Battenberg (later, Louis Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven) and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine was Princess Louise, born July 14, 1889. While most royal were promptly shuttled into marriage, Louise was an independent, progressive young woman whose heart was set on marrying for love. There were suitors, to be sure, but Louise was insistent that she would never marry a king or a widower, and of course, that the union be based on love. This led her down some blind alleys, most notably with a Scottish portrait and landscape artist living in Paris, whom she met when they worked together at a military hospital during the First World War. Alexander Stuart-Hill was charming but eccentric, and was decidedly not rich. Fearing her family's reaction, Louise kept the pair's engagement secret for two years; by the time she revealed her secret, her parents asked that she delay marriage until the war had ended. After Alexander visited the Mountbattens a few times, earning the nickname 'Shakespeare' from his would-be in-laws, Louis Mountbatten had to sit his poor daughter down and explain to her that there were people called homosexuals, and he believed her fiance was one. It's unclear precisely how this resolved between Louise and Alexander, beyond the fact that the engagement ended in 1918. Princess Louise would find love at last, however, and in a most unexpected place. Sweden's Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, recent widower of Louise's mother's cousin, visited London in 1923 and took a real shine to Louise, then into her 30s. Sure, he was a widower, and sure, he was destined to be King of Sweden, but at long last, Louise had fallen in love with someone who loved her back. Her new in-laws loved her, and she became the devoted step-mother of Gustav's children. As Princess and then Queen Consort, she was beloved by the people of Sweden for her rejection of royal airs, belief in gender equality and civil rights, humanitarian work during World War II, and democratic reforms to the monarchy. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
41. The Mountbattens | Princess Alice of Battenberg
53:14After Louis Battenberg's (later Louis Mountbatten) successful campaign to marry Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, the couple set about having babies. The first of these, Princess Alice, was born in 1885, and came into the world congenitally deaf. Given the era, no particular accommodations were made for her, and while her condition caused many to underestimate her, she compensated by learning to lip-read (in several languages) and spoke English, German, French, and, later, Greek. Her marriage to Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark was happy only for a while, but the pair had five children. Alice occupied herself with charity work, and when hostilities broke out between Greece and Turkey, she served as a nurse at the front line, earning the deep affection of the Greek people. During the First World War, Greece exiled the royal family, and setting up in Paris, Alice and Andrew became estranged. He would ride out the rest of his life in the south of France with his mistress, while Alice's life became strange and complicated. She fell in unrequited love, though history has not retained the identity of her affection, and developed a religious fervor. She was hospitalized in sanitariums and treated with cutting edge techniques for schizophrenia, like hitting her abdomen with X-rays to destroy her ovaries. During her convalescence, which she wanted out of, her daughters married without her knowing and her youngest son, Prince Philip, gradually grew from a child to a man, with no real connection to his mother or father. Alice spent World War II in Athens, caring for the poor and hungry, and sheltering a Jewish family. When the Nazi occupiers came to search her home, she leaned into her deafness, pretending not to understand what they wanted until they were so bamboozled they left empty handed. She founded a religious order, but when Greece again abolished the monarchy, her son Philip, now married to Queen Elizabeth II, ensured her safe passage to Great Britain, where she lived out her days simply and humbly, as a quiet resident of Buckingham Palace. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Sources Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece, by Hugo Vickers (Amazon) The Extraordinary Life Of Princess Alice | Queen's Mother-in-Law | Real Royalty (YouTube) No, Princess Alice Wasn't Really Interviewed by a Guardian Journalist Named John Armstrong (townandcountrymag.com) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
40. Meet the Mountbattens!
36:45While royal houses are often insular and even incestuous (at least at the cousin-marrying level), new blood does manage to enter those gene pools from time to time. Meet the Mountbattens! The family's story begins in Russia, circa 1850, where the orphaned daughter of a Polish general named Julia von Hauke was serving in the household of Maria Alexandrovna, future wife of future Tsar Alexander II. Maria's brother, Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine, fell hard for the common-born Julia, a romance that was seemingly halted by Emperor Nicholas I, who wanted Prince Alexander to marry his niece. Unable to shake off their love, the two eloped, which left Alexander persona non grata in the Russian court. Returning to his native Hesse, Prince Alexander's brother, Grand Duke Louis III of Hesse-Darmstadt, granted Julia the title of Countess of Battenberg, named for a town in the north of the duchy, and later, Princess of Battenberg. But Europe's royal houses have both a long memory and an enormous snobbery, meaning that when Alexander and Julia's sons, The Battenberg Boys, began pursuing the granddaughters of England's Queen Victoria for marriage a generation later, the courtships - successful and unsuccessful - were rife with intrigue and scandal. But it was the marriage of Louis Battenberg to Queen Vic's granddaughter Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine that would eventually transform the family from a tainted, common-born Battenberg lineage to the British Mountbattens, the house of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. But that's a story for next week. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
39. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mother of Europe
43:33Eleanor's life was no less interesting following the death of Henry II. Rather than fade into the background, her son, King Richard I, instead made her his most powerful deputy in England while he went to the Holy Land on Crusade. In fact, Richard I was an extremely disinterested monarch and spent very little of his decade-long reign in the country. His brother, the future King John, at one point tried to raise and army and take the crown by force, but his mother put an end to that. Then there was the ransom of Richard the Lionheart, by Austrian Duke Leopold V. Eleanor personally traveled to negotiate with, and pay ransom to, Holy Roman emperor Henry VI. Eleanor's final years were spent in the reign of her youngest son, King John, during which she traveled among her children in Europe, arranging marriages for her granddaughters. By the time she died in 1204, at the age perhaps of 82, she had seeded her offspring among the royal houses of the continent, where they and their offspring would be players for generations to come. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
38. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of England
57:36After Eleanor finally succeeded in ending her marriage to Louis VII of France, she had a brief turn of wedded bliss to the future Henry II of England. It's not that the marriage was short, just her happiness. Henry II, it turns out, was a king of questionable judgment, as Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket would find out. He was also loathe to cede power to their children, and little was helped when Henry's head was turned by a young noblewoman named Rosamund Clifford - an affair that contributed to Eleanor urging her sons to rise up against their father in England. For her treachery, Eleanor would spend more than a decade and a half confined; their sons were welcomed back into the fold in a "boys will be boys" way. But this was not the end for Eleanor. Upon the death of Henry II in 1189, she was the extremely involved Dowager Queen of England while her sons, Richard the Lionheart and King John, would take their turns on the throne. But those are stories for next week, in Part Three. Listen ad-free at patreon.com/trashyroyalspodcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices