*** royalty Europe European

Royal Boys' Clothes: European Royalty

European and American Children's fashions, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries were strongly influenced by the way royal families dressed their children. Queen Victoria was especially influential as so many of her children and grandchildren maired into royal familes throught Europe. Kaiser Wilhelm II, for example, was the Queen's grandson. While the British House of Windsor was the most influential in this regard, other royal families also had great influence, at least in their own countries. The geneology of European royalty is a huge under taking, given the large number of countries and principalities. Major changes have ocurred over time with countries created, dismantleted, and reappearing. Some royal lines extend more than a millenium, others only a few generations. Royal lines can be looked up on the internet with a convenient search engine. The history of Europe until the 20th century was largely the history of monarchy. Of course there were the Greek city state democracies and the Roman Republic as well as various other republics over time. Ad of course there was the French Republic resulting from the Revolution. With these exceptions, however, Europe until the 20th century was largely governed by monarchies. These monarchies played a role in the gradual development of democracy--usually opposing it. There were a variety of limitations on royal power in Europe which varied from country to country. Many monarchs sought to expanded their power, culminating in Louis XIV's famous statement, "I am the state." The most asolute royal house was the Romanovs in Tsarist Russia. A small group of other dynasties dominated Europe, the Bourbons, Hapsburgs, and evetually the Hohenzollerns. The English royal family was also important, but here there were several different dynasties. In additin to these major royal dynasties there were a substabtial number of other royal lines that ukled the various European countries. Here the story becomes very complicated because of the large number of principalities in addition to the major countries. German and Italy in particular were divided into many small principalities.

Historical Background: Wars

Mankind throughout history has been ruled by monarchs sometimes with priestly connections. The Greek and Roman experiment with republic and democratic was an aberration to the general pattern. There were limits to the power of monarchy's based on historic feudal traditions and historic developments. Feudal was system that created duties and obligation both ways, up and down the social scale. As powerful nation states coalesced, many of these rights clashed with the the theory of divine right monarchy. The apogee of this theory was France's ruler --the Sun King Louis XIV. Louis famously said, "I am the state." It is the English speaking people that challenged absolutist rule. The English Civil War was the first challenge to divine right monarchy (17th century), Charles I lost his head. Germany was potentially the most powerful country in Europe. The Germans unlike other nationalities did coalesce into a powerful nation state. There were various reasons for this. One was the Holy Roman Empire, a kind of confederation of states in which no one state was powerful enough to dominate and the various states jealously defended their individual prerogatives. The second challenge by the English-speaking people was the American Revolution (1776-83). This was basically a great experiment until the Civil War settled the issue (1861-65). Shortly after the American Civil War, Germany finally unified. The Germans had been deeply divided by the Protestant Reformation (16th century). And then the rivalry between Prussia .and Austria delayed unification. The history of the German states is very complicated. Some like Prussia and Austria are well-known and were at the heart of European history for centuries. Other smaller principalities are virtually unknown outside of Germany. The territory and ruling families were determined in large part by major and smaller military engagements. The German states were in particular affected by the Napoleonic Wars (1800-15), the German Civil War/Austro-Prussian War (1866), Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), and World War I (1914-18). World War I was the end of empires and many storied ruling families. Many Europeans believe that the tragedy of World War I ended the rights of monarchs to rule. The Austrian, German, and Russian ruling families. In Austria and Germany, democratic republic were established. In Russia, totalitarian Communism and eventually a all-powerful emperor -- The Red Tsar, Joseph Stalin.



Italian dictator Benito Mussolini throughout the 1930s tried to seize control of Albania. The President of Albania had himself declared King Zog. He resisted Mussolin's efforts until the Itlians actually invaded in 1939, forceing King Zog to flee. Italian King Victor Emanuel was granted the Albanian crown. The monarchy was abolished by the Communist government which took power in Albania after World War II.


One of the longest ruling European royal families and the most powerful were the Hapsburgs. This renowened family of German origins was in various periods the ruling family of Germany, as a separate family and as part of the Holy Roman Empire. They also ruled Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Spain, and many smaller Euroean realms. The story of the Hapsburgs was in fact the history of Europe for centuries. Some of the most powerful Hapsburgs were the Spanish kings, Charles I (Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor), Philip I, Philip II, and Philip III. The Holy Roman Empire was disbanded in 1806 to ensure that Napoleon couldn't ascend the throne. We have some information about the family of the last Habsburg Emperor of Austria Hungary. The dress of the Austrian royal family appears to have influenced how wealthy families dressed boys within the Empire, but in recentb years do not seem to have had any great influence on European styles in general or on the clothes of other social strata.


The Belgium crown only dates from the 1830s. I have little information on how the first kings were dressed as boys. We have much more information on how the children of Albert I and the other Belgian kings were dressed. The two sons of Albert I after the turn of the century wore Fauntleroy suits and lacey blouses. Subsequent princes have not been dressed in such fancy styles.


Ottocar I assumed the title of king (1198). Ottocar II achieved further conquests, but subsequent Bohemian kings could not defend many of the conquered provinces. The Ptemyslide royal line went extinct (1306). Under the Lumembourg dynasty, Bohemia and the Czechs experienced their golden age. The most Emperor Carles IV's golden bull gave the kings of Bohemia the rank of electors within the empire. The Husseite Wars (1420-34) greatly weakened Bohemia and the Hungarian monarchy took the crown. After the Hungarian (Jagiello) line was ended by a catestrophic defeat by the Ottoman Turks, the Austrian Hapsburgs inherited the crown which it held until the birth of the Czechlovakian Republic in the aftermath of World War I (1918).


Bosnia-Herzegovina has mostly been ruled by foreign monarchies including the Romans, Byzantines, Hungarians, Ottomans, and Austro-Hungarians, before bring made a part of the Yugoslavain monarchy after World War I. There was an independent Bosnian monarchy in the 12th-15th centuries.


The modern Bulgarian state originated with the defeat of Ottoman Turk forces by the Russian Army and Bulgarian volunteers in 1879. I have only limited information at this time on Bulgarian royals.


The first monarch of independent Croatia was King Tomislav. An independent Croatian kingdom existed between 923-1102 A.D. The Roman CatholicPapcy hicwas at the heighth of its power endorse the crowning of King Tomislav ho was crowned in 925 and disappeared in 928. The NAZIs endorsed a pupet Croatian state during World II. With the breakup of Yugoslavia, an independent Croatian republic has been formed.


The Danish royal family is the longest unbroken history of rule in Europe. The fierce Vikings kingdom was one of the first to introduce constitutinal rule in Europe during the 19th Century. Like the German royals, the Danes were fond of sailor suits for the young princes. The monarchy stayed with the people to face the Germans during World War II. The institution and current queen continue emensely popular.


Britain and the United Kingdom is an 18th century creation. There were centuries of English kings before Britain was created. And befptr the Englshn kings came many earlier ruletrs, the Vingings, Anglo-Saxon kindoms, and the Celts. While some informatiion is available on the Anglo-Saxon kings there is vert little on the Vikings and Celts. And of course there is thevquestiin of just when you can begin talking about Engkand. Surely Engkand begins with Alfred which is why he is called Alfrrd the Great.


Although bordering on Sweden, the Finns are a separate people speaking a destinctive language different from the other Scandinavian languages. The Finns were conquered and Christianized by Sweden. Since that time until independence in 1918 as a republic, Finland was ruled by either Sweden or Russia. As a result, there was no Finnish royal line.


The Bourbons dominated the history of France for and much of Europe for centuries. There was also the Emperor Napoleon and Louis Napoleon in the mid 19th century. Napoleon I turned European royalty upside down and inspired nationalist movements that were to eventually dismantle the great empires of Europe. Since the 1870s, France has been a Republic.

German Empire

German royals were also outfitted in dresses as little boys during the 19th centuries. Sailor suits were a popular fashion, but the princes wore a variety of other outfits such as satin blouse and short pants outfits. Army uniforms were worn by the older boys.

German states

Germany until 1870 was composed of a pathwork quilt of independent principalities. They were united in 1870 by Prussia under the Hohenzollerns, but the various royal families were retained. Many of these German princes married into royal families throughout Europe, including the British royal family. Many dressed their children very fashionably. We have some information on Bavaria, but are just beginning to work on several other German principalities.


Greece was for years ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Turks in 1453 seized Constantinople and by 1460 controlled most of Greece. Thousands of Greeks went into exile in Christain Europe and had an important influence on the European Renaissance. For the next three centuries, the regional Christan powers (Venice, Austria, and Russia) warred intermitently with the Turks and Greece changed hands several times. Turkish rule was confirmed in 1718 under the Trety of Passarowitz. The cause of a subjected Greece became a romantic issue--the cause celebre of the early-19th century. The cause was championed by Lord Byron who even went to Greece during the War for Independence. With indeoendence came the question of a government. The Great Powers insisted on a monarchy. At the time, Europe was dominated by conservative mnonarchies that at the Congress of Vienna set out to turn back the clock. A republic was still tainted by the French Revolution. At the time, the United States was the only functioning democracy. The modern monarchy of an independent Greece was established in 1832. The first king of an indepedent Greece was a Bavarian prince. He proved incapable of ruling a fractous country. The Greeks favored a British prince as a replacement, but in the end settled on a Danish prince. The subsequent Greek monarchy was based on his line.


S�leym�n I known to history as S�leym�n the Magnificent at the Battle of Moh�cs in 1526, killed the Jagiellan Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia and most of the Hungarian nobels. Louis' brother-in-law, Ferdinand of Austria, future Emperor and brother of the Emperor Charles V, pressed claims to both crowns for the Hapsburgs, ending an independent Hungarian crown. This was to lead in the 16th century to a separation of the Hapsburg's Spanish and Austrian possessions. After Austria's defeat by Prussia in 1866, the Austrian monarchy was converted into a dual crown for Austria and Hungary in the 1867 Ausgleich. Hungary was raised from the status of a Crownland to a joint partnership in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. After the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I, Emperor Karl I made an unsuccessful effort to estanbish a new Hungarian monarchy.


I have acquired a little information on the Italian monarchy. It had a very short life from 1860 when the King of Savoy became the the first king of a unified Italy. Mussolini and his Fascists reduced the monarchy to a minor influence. After World War II, the Italian people in 1946 narrowly voted for a republic.

Italian states

Italy like Germany was not united until the 19th century. Until 1860, Italy was made up of a compicated and often waring mix of republics, the Papal state, kindoms and dukedoms. Large areas of Italy were at times occupied by Austria, France, and Spain and as a result the Bourbons, Bonapartes, and Hapsburgs have played prominently in the royal families of the Italian states. Italy was finally unified by Garibaldi in the name of the Kingdom of Savoy in northern Italy. We have only limited information here, but have begun to collect some information.


Liechtenstein is a small independent principality bounded by Austria and Switzerland. The history of te principality dates from 1342 and acquired its present boundaries in 1712. Liechtenstein is a largely German speaking principality, but became independent of the German Conferation in 1866 and immediately demobilized its army. The current prince is John III.


Lithuania was a major power in the 16th centuryhelping to block the growing power of the Teutonic Knights in the east. The rulers were styled counts with only one of those counts reaching royal status. The Lithuanian line merged with the Polish monarchy.


Luxemburg or Luxembourg in French dates it history to the 10th century. It was one of the few German-speaking principalities that did not join the German Empire after the Franco Prussian War (1870-71). Archduchess Charlotte reigned for decades after World War I when she was confirmed by a plebecite. We have only limited information at this time. Her two sons wore short pants suits a younger boys.


Montenegro is a small Balkans principality. We do not know much about the royal family yet. We plan to look into the history. An old engraving shows the six oldest children of King Nicholas. We are unsure what happened to the Montenegrian royal family when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was created after World War I.


We are all aware of Prince Ranier and Princess Grace, but the Grimaldi family has a long history. We have collected some historfy on the family.


Oranje Nassau is the Dutch royal family, since 1815, the legal dynasty of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The modern Dutch Kingdom was created after the Napoleonic wars, but House of Orange and the independent Dutch Republic played a major role in the Reformation and the dynastic wars of the 16th-18th centuries. The Dutch also agreed to loan money to the Amnerican colonies in their fight for independence from Britain.


The Norwegian monarchy is a relatively modern one, dating from only 1907. Some limited information is available on Norway.


Poland was in the early Medieval period a land without central control, racked by warring tribes. Prince Mieszko I was baptised in 966. Mieszko and Roman Catholic Christianity provided stability and cohesion for the first time. Polish kings in the 16th and 17th centuries played a major role in Polish fashion developments. Poland had by the 17th century had become the largest state in Europe. An elected kingship and the power of the nobility significantly impaired the development of a strong national state. Despite important reforms in the late 18th century, Poland was partioned between Austria, Prussia, and Russia and the Polish monarchy ended. Napoleon was aided by Polish nationalists in his campaigns against Austria and Prussia, but his devestating defeat in Russia, ended any hope of a restored Polish monarchy as the peace was dictated by the very powers that had partioned Poland.


The Portuguese monarchy was founded by Hernry of Burgandy, son of the poweful French Duke of Burgandy. Portugal was born from the struggle to reconquer Iberia from the Moors. There have since been five dynasties of Portuguese ruling families. There was only a short period in which the Spanish seized control of Portugal. Each Poruguese monarch has had a brief description attached to his dynastic name.


The Romanian monarchy like most of the Balkan monarcies were, like their nations, relatively recent creations. They developed as Ottomon power receeded in the Balkans. There was no medievak Romanian kingdom. Romania was formed out of medieval provinces that had been dominated by the Ottomans. The lack of defined boundaries and mixed borders created an unstable situation. Many of the available images are of King Michael.

Tsarevich Alexei
Figure 2.--This is the Tsarevitch Alexis in a formal uniform for a state occasion. He was murdered by the Bolshevicks in 1918, ending the Romanov line.


Sailor suits were the Zarevitch Alexis' principal outfit as a boy. He wore them almost constantly, until World war I began and he, like his father, began to wear army uniforms. The Romanov dynasty like many European monarchies ended in 1918, the Romanov's, however, met a more terrible fate than simplly having to abdicate.


Scotland has not had its own monarch since the 16th Century. The last Scottish king was James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scotts. He became James I of England. British monarchs who once brutally supressed Scottish national sentiment, have since Queen Victoria dressed in kilts and tried to appeal to the Scotts.


Serbia was a medevial Christian kingdom until conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Serbia remerged in the 19th century, first during the Napoleonic Wars, but after being again suppressed by the Ottomans, again later in the 19th century. Several other Balkan states rmerged as Ottoman power receeded. he lack of defined boundaries and mixed populations created a unstable situation and several wars, both with the Ottomans and other Balkan states. Serbian nationalism was the spark that set off World War I. After the War, Serbia became the nucleus for Yugoslavia


Many independent Christian kingdoms formed in the Iberian Peninsula following the barbarian invasions which destroyed the Roman Empire. The Visigoths dominated the Iberian Peninsula for over two centuries. North African muslims invaded the peninsula in the 7th century and defeated the Visigoths. Muslim attempts to cross the Pyranees and invade France failed. The Muslims south of the Puranees dominated the Peninsula for centuries, but gradually surviving Christian kingdoms in the north began the Recoinquista. For 7 centuries there was intermitten warfare between and among the Chritian and Islamic kingdoms. The modern Spanish nation owes its foundtion to the marriage of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile and the fall of Granada, the last Islamic kingdom in Spain. The ruling families since were Hapsburgs and Bourbons. The monarchy was deposed by the Republicands in the 1930s, but reinstated after Franco's death in 1975.


The hisorty of the modern Swedish monarchy begin with the era of the French Revolution. Gustavus III pursued liberal policies, but was assasinated when, after the French Revolution (1789) he became increasingly despotic. His son Gustavus IV Adolphus was only 13 years old when his father was assasinated. Gustavus was bitterly deposed to Napoleon, but an army revolt deposed Gustavus in 1809. Charles XIII formulated for the time a radical new constitution, but was, however, aging and childless. In an effort to appease Napoleon, the Riksdag chose one of Napoleon's trusted marshals as crown prince--Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, Prince of Pontecorvo. The marshal accepted and became a bitter enemy of Napoleon. The current royal familt descenced from Crown Prince Bernadotte.

United Kingdom

British Royal families have always influenced fashion, but primarily adult fashion. Until the late 18th century there were no special styles for children, thus there were no fashions to influence. After styles for children developed, the fashions for the royal children were of considerable interest to the public. Queen Victoria and her children and grand children were closely followed by the British public. Her children and future royal generations had a tremendous impact on European and American children's fashions.


The independence of the southern Slavs had been a dream for the centuries of Ottoman rule, despite their profound religious and cultural difference which continue in the countries formed from Yugoslavia today.


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Created: June 2, 1998
Last updated: 7:14 AM 4/7/2021