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  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Princesses in north India become owners of palaces, vast fortune after court verdict

    NEW DELHI—It has all the makings of a bestselling novel. An Indian maharaja crowned as a toddler and rich beyond imagination falls into a deep depression in old age after losing his only son.After his own death a few months later, his daughters, the princesses, don’t get the palaces, gold and vast lands they claim as their birthright. Instead, they are given a few dollars a month from palace officials they accuse of scheming to usurp the royal billions with a forged will. The fight rages for decades.On Saturday, an Indian court brought this chapter to a close, ruling that the will of Maharaja Harinder Singh Brar of Faridkot was fabricated. His daughters will now inherit the estimated $4-billion estate, instead of a trust run by his former servants and palace officials....

  • Originally published 05/23/2013

    Edward VIII bugged by gov't

    Edward VIII was bugged on the orders of the Home Secretary in the days before his abdication as part of a wider Government campaign to control the impending scandal.Intelligence files kept secret for almost 80 years today reveal that phone calls from Buckingham Palace and the monarch’s Windsor residence, Fort Belvedere, were monitored while he decided whether to give up the throne for Wallis Simpson.The revelation suggested an extraordinary breakdown of trust between Edward and his Government amid the constitutional crisis in December 1936.The Cabinet papers also show the huge lengths the then Home Secretary Sir John Simon went to try and keep a lid on the looming controversy after a journalist leaked the story....

  • Originally published 02/05/2013

    New Dutch queen daughter of junta minister

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Prince Willem-Alexander’s ascension to the Dutch throne in April promises to be a shining moment on the world stage for his wife, Maxima, and her home country of Argentina. But there will be a glaring absence at the ceremony.Queen Beatrix’s announcement this week that she’ll step aside and let her son become king raised new questions about the future queen’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, one of the longest-serving civilian ministers in Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship.Maxima’s parents already missed out on their daughter’s 2002 wedding to avoid offending Dutch sensibilities about human rights violations by the South American junta. Anticipating more unpleasant questions, Maxima told the prime minister that her parents won’t attend her swearing-in as queen, either....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Queen Elizabeth II not expected to follow Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands into retirement

    LONDON — One European queen has announced her retirement. Any chance Europe’s most famous queen — Elizabeth II of Britain — might join her?Not likely, experts say....Author Robert Lacey, who has written several books about the British monarchy, said Beatrix’s decision would likely firm up Elizabeth’s resolve.“It would reinforce her feeling that the Dutch don’t know what monarchy is about, and that she should go on forever,” he said. “The crown is a job for life in the British system.”...

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Body of Yugoslav king long buried in America heads home

    The remains of Yugoslavia's last king — Peter II Karadjordjevic, who died in the U.S. in 1970 — were flown back to Serbia in a solemn ceremony on Tuesday, despite protests by some Serb royalists in America.The former king fled the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia at the start of World War II and never returned because Communists took over at the end of the war. He died in exile at the age of 47 and was buried at a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery in Libertyville, Illinois — the only European monarch laid to rest on U.S. soil.His son — Crown Prince Alexander, who lives in Belgrade — wanted the remains returned to Serbia. That reportedly upset some Serbian-American groups, who claimed the remains were being secretly exhumed and that before the king had died he asked to remain buried in the United States....