European Royalty: Boys' Clothes
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
Figure 1.--Sailor suits from the reign of Queen Victoria have been one of the most common styles for both British princes and princesses. George V here is pictured with his children. The two older boys are George VI and Edward VIII. I believe the younger boy in the sailor dress is Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester. Note the lace collar he wears with his reeefer jacket.
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.
- Austria: The Habsburgs were one of the European ruling families with the longest histories. I 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 had no great influence on European styles in general or on the clothes of other social strata.
- Belgium: The Belgium crown only dates from the 1830s. I have little information on how the first kings were dressed as boys. The two sons of Albert I after the turn of the century wore Fauntleroy suits and lacey blouses.
- Denmark: 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.
- France: The Bourbons dominated the history of France for centuries. There was also the Emperor Napoleon and Louis Napoleon in the mid 19th century. 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--but I only have limited information at this time.
- Italy: I have no interesting Italian images yet, but would be interested in adding some to this website.
- Japan: The modern Japanese Constitution states that "the Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of them people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power." Modern Japanese royals, like other Japanese boys, have primarily been dressed in western clothes.
- Jordan: Some basic information is available on the Jordanuan Hashemite royal family.
- Luxembourg: Arch Duchess Charlotte reigned for decades after World War I when she was confirmed by a plebecite. I have only klimited informatiin at this time. Her two sons wore short pants suits a younger boys.
- Monaco: I have uploaded some images with historical data, but have little modern information.
- Netherlands: Still working on the Dutch monarchy.
- Norway: The Norwegian monarch is a relatively modern one,
dating from only 1907.
- Romania: The Romanian monarchy like most of the Balkan monarcies were, like their nations, relatively recent creations. Many of the available images are og King Michael.
- Russia: 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
- Scotland: Scotland has not had its own monarch since the
16th Century. British monarchs who once supressed Scotish national sentiment, have since
Queen Victoria dressed in kilts and tried to appeal to the Scotts.
- Spain: Still working on the Spanish monarchy.
- United Kingdom: British Royal families have always
influenced fashion, but primarily adult fashion. Until the late 18th century there were no
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.
Figure 2.--This photograph of the Austrian Habsburgs was taken about 1928, about 10 years
after the fall of the monarcy.
- Yugoslavia: 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.
Europe since the fall of the 500-year old Roman Republic in the first century B.C. was ruled by various monarchial systems, ranging from tribal chiefs to the absolutism of Louis XIV, France's famed Sun King. The Christian monarchs which emerged in first Western and then Eastern Europe and Russia claimed that they were anointed by God, the divine right monarchy which dominated Europe for a millenium. Some monarch were able to exert absolute control, symbolized the French bourbons which inherited a weak monarchial system and built a system of absolute control. Elsewhere in Europe, limited monarchies developed out of the struggle between monarchs and the nobility. In some countries, such as Poland, a strong monarchy never developed, in the end leading to the disappearance of Poland from the European map in the 18th century. In other countries this lead to the emergence of modern constitutional monarchies, such as in Britain (the United Kingdom). Democratic institutions appeared in many countries, including Imperial Germany. Led by able advisors like the Count von Bismark, the German Kaiser was able to dominate still weak democratic institutions. In other countries, such as Russia and and Austria-Hungary, the monarch still reigned with virtual absolute power at the turn of the century.
The turn of the 20th century saw a Europe still dominated by monarchial government. The only important republic was the France. All other European states, with only minor exceptions, were ruled by hereditary monarchs. This vast monarchial system was virtually swept away in a few years by the malestorm of the First Word War. At the time it was seen as a progressive democratic step, but the nationalistic passions unleased play a major role in the horrors of the Second World War. And as seen still today in the Balkans, where the First World War erupted, have not yet played out. The fall of the European monarchies left a large numbers of prentenders to vanished thrones. Details on these individuals are included in each of the national pages above.
These pages will focus primarily on the chilhood of the royals in an effort to describe their clothes and life style. ome basic background is also provided to show their accomplishments and impact on the following generation. Greater details are available on many interest sites. Excellent search engine for biographical information on the royals.
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Last updated: June 2, 1998