Marie-Claude of Autelia

Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Queen in 2021
Queen of Autelia
Reign20 June 1979 - 20 June 2013
PredecessorAlexander III
SuccessorAlexander IV
Born(1943-01-26)January 26, 1943
Santerre, Autelia
Died7 January 2023(2023-01-07) (aged 79)
Viervers, Autelia
Prince Henry of Cambridge
(m. 1966; died 2007)
IssueAlexander IV of Autelia
Prince William
Prince Arthur
Full name
Marie-Claude Louise Henriette Alexandra
HouseCambron (dynastic)
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (by marriage)
FatherAlexander III of Autelia
MotherPrincess Maria Agata of Savoy

Marie-Claude (Marie-Claude Louise Henriette Alexandra; 26 January 1943 - 7 January 2023) was an Autelian royal, who reigned as Queen of Autelia from 20 June 1979 until her abdication 34 years later in 2013.

The only daughter from the marriage of Alexander III of Autelia and his first wife Princess Maria Agata of Savoy, Marie-Claude became his heiress in 1958 on his accession. In 1966, she married Prince Henry of Cambridge, a grandson of King William IV of the United Kingdom. They had three children- Alexander, William, and Arthur.

Her reign over three decades saw much change in Autelia. Some of these changes included the succession reforms in 1985, which made the move to absolute primogeniture.

After some health scares in the late 2000s, Marie-Claude decided to abdicate the throne in favour of her eldest son, who became King Alexander IV. Alexander's reign was unexpectedly short-lived after he died of lung cancer in less than two years following his accession. He was succeeded by Marie-Claude's granddaughter, Marie-Agathe, whom Marie-Claude has served for as a mentor during the early years of her reign.

Following her abdication, she largely retired from public life, although she sometimes made appearances at large family gatherings and state events. She latterly lived on a private farm in the Autelian countryside, where she died on 7 January 2023 at the age of 79.

Early life

Princess Marie-Claude was born on 26 January 1943 in Santerre, Autelia. Her father was Crown Prince Alexander of Autelia, the eldest son and heir of King Charles VI of Autelia. Her mother, Crown Princess Marie-Agathe was a daughter of Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Princess Elena of Montenegro. She was christened on 10 May 1943 in the Private Chapel at the Royal Palace, Santerre. Her godparents included her grandfathers King Charles VI and King Victor Emmanuel III, and her aunts Tsaritsa Giovanna of Bulgaria and Princess Nicholas of Battenberg.

Marie-Claude's mother died when she was three years old. She then spent her early years in the care of nannies and governesses. In 1953 when she was 10 years old, her father remarried to Louise, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom. After a short while, Marie-Claude became close to her stepmother and would spend a lot of time with her. Queen Louise encouraged Marie-Claude in her education, and taught her piano.

She was later joined by two half-sisters; Thyra in 1955, and Victoria in 1958.

On her 18th birthday, in 1961, Marie-Claude was officially created Crown Princess of Autelia and legally recognised as her father's legitimate heir apparent. It was at this time that she also began taking on more personal duties and affiliations, and attending governmental meetings alongside the King.

Marriage and children

Princess Marie-Claude in 1973.

In 1964, the Autelian royal family travelled to England to celebrate Christmas with Queen Louise's family. It was at Windsor Castle that she met Prince Henry of Cambridge, Queen Louise's nephew. Both Marie-Claude and Henry shared common interests, including a love of musical theatre, and struck up a correspondence that lasted long after the family departed for Autelia again in the New Year.

After months of letter-writing, Marie-Claude and Henry met again, this time when the Cambridge family visited the Autelian coast for a summer holiday. Marie-Claude gave Henry a tour of the Autelian countryside, and it became clear that the two were in love. It was on 13 August 1965 that Henry proposed to Marie-Claude in Port-Fortune. King Alexander and the Autelian Government gave their blessing to the union and a formal announcement was made to the press.

On 24 May 1966, Marie-Claude and Henry married at the Cathédrale de Saint-Seigneur de Santerre in the presence of 2,000 guests. They then embarked on a honeymoon in Italy, the home country of Marie-Claude's mother.

As Henry was marrying the future Queen, King Alexander granted him the titles Prince of Autelia and Duke of Tounesse. Henry also moved permanently to Autelia, and began public life there alongside his wife.

Marie-Claude and Henry had three sons:

Crown Princess

The newly-married Duke and Duchess of Tournesse had to quickly settle back into royal life, beginning with a tour of Autelia in the autumn of 1966.


King Alexander III died on 20 June 1979, with Marie-Claude succeeding him as Queen of Autelia. She was proclaimed two days later at the Santerre City Hall, and preparations for her coronation began shortly after. One of her first acts as Queen was to bestow the title Prince Consort of Autelia on her husband.

Later years and death

Following her abdication, Marie-Claude retired from public life, only making appearances at various family events and some state occasions.

Marie-Claude died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 79 on 7 January 2023 at her home in the Autelian countryside village of Viervers. Per Autelian custom, the late Queen's funeral took place at the end of a week-long mourning period. The state ceremonies and burial were held on 14 January 2023, and she is buried in the Royal Crypt at Lafontaine Palace.

Titles and styles

Monogram of Queen Claude
  • 26 January 1943 - 26 January 1961: Her Royal Highness Princess Marie-Claude of Autelia
  • 26 January 1961 - 24 May 1966: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Autelia
  • 24 May 1966 - 20 June 1979: Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Autelia, Duchess of Tournesse, Princess of the United Kingdom
  • 20 June 1979 - 20 June 2013: Her Majesty The Queen of Autelia
  • 20 June 2013 - 7 January 2023: Her Majesty Queen Marie-Claude of Autelia