Re-inventing Kings and Queens

Embarkation of Prince Heinrich on board Prince Adalbert
Prince Heinrich accompanied by his parents, Crown Prince Frederick William and Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia. Illustration from Über Land und Meer.  Armchair Sailor’s Story Book Collection.

In The Sailor Prince in the Age of Empire I argued that “Sailor Princes” were an important monarchical brand. They advertised their respective dynasties  in a fiercely contested political and popular mass market. In the long nineteenth century, that is the period between the French Revolution (1789) and the beginning of the First World War (1914), Europe’s monarchies were challenged to legitimize themselves in new ways to convince their self-confident citizen publics of their continued relevance. By aligning with the national-imperial institution of the navy and the middle-class, meritocratic ideals of the naval profession, “Sailor Princes” helped their dynasties to project popular national, imperial and bourgeois images of themselves.

In the Armchair Sailor’s Story Book you can find out more about the remarkable re-invention / revival of a number of nineteenth-century European monarchies. And you can read about the strategies that modern monarchies still use today to demonstrate their continued relevance.

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Further information

Explore the fascinating website of the heirs-to-the-throne project for more information about the constitutional monarchies of nineteenth-century Europe. Trace intricate timelines, find a broad range of historical portraits of then future European monarchs (the famous Heirs of the month) or listen to selected podcasts. The website is a treasure trove.