|Helene of Brunant|
|Name||Helene Andrea van Draak|
|Birth||3 March 1990|
|Reign||14 September 2013-present|
Helene Andrea Van Draak (born 3 March 1990) is the Queen of Brunant and head of the Armed Forces. She is Brunant's nineteenth monarch and second female queen regnant. Helene came to the throne on 14 September 2013, succeeding her father, King Anthony, following his abdication. She is married to Bernd Donia, with whom she has a daughter, Marianne and a son, Cristian.
As monarch, the Queen has become a highly popular figure due to being youthful and more modern, reflecting much of Brunanter society with her somewhat leftist views and less formal lifestyle.
Early life and familyEdit
Princess Helene was born at the Royal Koningstad Hospital in Grafstad, Koningstad to Crown Prince Anthony and Adriana Rojas at 04:27 CEST (02:27 UTC) on 3 March 1990. She was their second child and only daughter. At her birth, Helene was third in the Line of Succession to the Throne, after her father en older brother, Prince Alexander (1988).
The princess was christened at Dortmund Cathedral. Her godparents are Queen Aleksandra, her paternal grandmother, and Jose Luis Rojas, her maternal grandfather. Helene is of mixed Brunanter and Spanish ancestry, but from her father's side, she has a variety of Spanish, Lovian and German ancestors.
She has an older half-sister, Tania Riesberg (1985), from her father's side, and a younger half-sister, Carla Molina Rojas (2004), from her mother's side.
Helene, along with her brother, was given more freedom as a child instead of a traditional and more secluded childhood, going to a public preschool, Koningsberg Palace Infant School. She would further spend the summers and some autumns in Spain with her mother, or she would come to Brunant to spend time with them.
The princess went to Eldridge Primary School in Koningstad, starting her first year in 1996. There, she was an excellent student. She later studied at Fedde Laninga Middle School and Ambrosian College. During schooling and university she became friends with Jonathan Barras, Beatriz Navarro and Sofia Martins, and others which over time was named the Ambrosian gang by the media.
Helene took an interest in painting at an early age, which she continues to do as a hobby. She also took up tennis at the age of 7, which she regularly played.
In 2008, she went to Grijzestad to study at Grijzestad University and do a career in law. Helene finished her career in 2012 and is now able to practice as a lawyer in Brunant. At the university, she met her future husband, Bernd Donia, sometime in late 2009. The princess and Bernd developed a more serious relationship during those years and were expected to marry in 2012.
Wedding and marriageEdit
On 12 October 2011, Bernd, Helene's boyfriend since two years, proposed to her. She accepted following approval from both the government and the Royal Family, with preparations made for a wedding in the summer.
On 22 July 2012, the couple were married at St. Sebastian Church after a nine month engagement, the first royals to do so at that church. Their wedding was attended by The King and Queen, close members of the Royal Family (her brother, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc.) and the Queen Mother. Other guests included the Donia family (the groom's relatives), members from several European royal houses, President Henneman and Mrs. Henneman and other Brunanter and Lovian dignitaries in government, but also some close friends of Helene and Bernd.
After the wedding, the princess and her husband took up residence in Koningstad in a house in the old town. From March 2012, it was quickly rumored in the tabloids that Princess Helene might be pregnant. Helene and her husband initiatlly denied these rumours, but later confirmed the princess' pregnancy in July 2012, though several tabloid papers were sued for breaching the princess' right to privacy. On 4 February 2013, the princess gave birth to a healthy daughter named Marianne, who is now the Duchess of Middleton and heir to the throne since Helene's ascension to the throne.
On 26 April 2012, her older brother, Prince Alexander, renounced his claims to the throne, making Helene first in line after her father. As Crown Princess she takes on greater roles with and in place of her father. She was at the investiture ceremony of Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands along with her husband, representing Brunant. She has also been involved in official visits to Sweden, Libertas and Spain in 2012 and 2013.
Princess Helene served as acting monarch when the King went to Switzerland for cancer treatment in July 2013. After months of speculation, it was announced on 1 September that King Anthony would abdicate for health reasons. On September 14 Helene officially became queen, and becoming the first queen regnant of Brunant since 1663.
Personal beliefs and political alignmentEdit
The queen has been noted to be a more left-leaning person when compared to her father and grandfather. She is highly supportive of rights for homosexuals, immigrants and the disabled, and for the protection of the environment. The queen is not highly involved in politics, though she has spoken out against political extremism in the past, particularly the far-right. She has been criticized by some organizations and politicians for this, being as she is supposed to be politically-neutral. The Queen is known to be a supporter of FC Kings, and as princess has been seen at their matches, though she is officially a fan of every football club (and sports team) in Brunant as monarch.
Public perception and styleEdit
The queen is widely seen as a fashion-forward figure. She is known for wearing Cassals and Sarria dresses and suits, and is also seen wearing items from Dolce and Gabbana, Elie Saab and Swedish company H&M.
The queen has been patron of a number of charities and organizations, including the Carrington Children's Home, Organization for the Improvement of Visual Impairment, Smoke-Free Brunant and Forest Stewardship Council Brunant.
In private, Helene enjoys spending time with her children and family, watching the occasional sports match and looking after the family pets. She has a pair of rare Griffon Bruxellois, named Gisbert and Adenis, after Brunanter legendary characters.
On 14 September 2013, Helene was proclaimed queen after a coronation ceremony in Koningtad. After several events and a mass her father officially abdicated. The ceremony was attended by several members of foreign royalty, including Albert II of Monaco, Jean-Louis II of Cettatie, King Sebastian of Lovia and representatives of other monarchs and governments.
Following the wedding the new Queen and her family moved into the Realpaleis' apartments and sold their old residence. Most of the palace staff under he father and grandfather were retained, though Jeremy Ferrer was shortly after hired as her secretary.
Helene made her first official state visit in October, being hosted by the King and Queen of Spain alongside her husband, Prince Bernd, in Madrid. The queen hosted Strasland's King Oscar III in the royal palace in November 2013. She also had Tagogese democracy activist Vincent Ndengu at the Royal Palace that same month, prior to the Open Eyes and Ears for Tagog event later that week which she attended.
The Queen and Prince Bernd are godparents to Princess Sabine of Cettatie (daughter of King Jean-Louis II Queen and Amelie), born in 2012; Emma Augusta Holme of Strasland (daughter of Princess Caroline and Niels Holme), born in 2014; Martin Neves (son of Beatriz Navarro and Sérgio Neves) and Princess Mathilde of Libertas (daughter of Prince Alexander and Anna Pennington), both born in 2016 and Joeri Holten (son of Martin Holten and Gemma Robinson-Catelli), born in 2018.
On 20 September 2013 the Royal Palace announced the Queen's second pregnancy, with a boy being expected in May 2014. The queen gave birth to a boy on 26 May 2014, named Cristian Alexander.
In March 2014, the Queen and Prince Bernd traveled to Cettatie for the birthday of Princess Viviane. The Queen's first official visit of 2015 was to Denmark in February 2015, meeting with Denmark's Queen and Prince Henrik. She later joined her husband and children in Strasland for the baptism of Emma Augusta Holme, granddaughter of Oscar III of Strasland. She was a guest in October 2015 at the wedding of her close friend Sofia Martins.
In November 2016 it was announced the queen and her family would acquire and move into a much smaller residence, for comfort and to have a more manageable home for the children. That same month the family was present at the wedding of Princess Stephanie and Prince James in Kemburg, where Princess Marianna was a flower girl and Prince Cristian was a ring bearer. In January 2017 the queen purchased Hassel House for the purpose, which would be a private home and comes out of her own funds. It is being refurbished and would be occupied in early 2019.
In mid-August 2018, it was announced that the queen was pregnant for a third time, and she is expected to give birth in the spring. It was announced that the child would likely be born in April. On 19 April, she gave birth to a son, Prince Anthony.
The Queen's duties are of a representative and ceremonial nature. The Queen appoints Prime Ministers to congress, officially open its sessions and signs bills (alongside the President) to declare them law. She pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Brunant, opens the congress on its first session, regularly meets with the prime minister and cabinet to discuss politics and receives Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Brunant and signs those of Brunant to foreign nations.
As head of the armed forces, she has the right to declare war and make peace (on the consent of the Congress), and she may, at any moment, dismiss the President or Prime Minister if a situation were to arise where they are not acting in the best interests of the nation, though this has yet to happen.
The queen is paid a stately 242,000 € per year, but much of that is used to donate to a variety of charities to support. The queen thus pays taxes on 130,000-160,000 € on average.
Both as princess and queen, Helene has been patron to a number of organizations. These include:
- Carrington Children's Home
- Organization for the Improvement of Visual Impairment
- Smoke-Free Brunant
- Forest Stewardship Council Brunant
- Caroman Arts Fund
Titles, style, honours and awardsEdit
Titles and styleEdit
- 3 March 1990 – 26 April 2012: Her Royal Highness Princess Helene of Brunant
- 26 April 2012 - 14 September 2013: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Middleton
- Since 14 September 2013: Her Majesty Helene, Queen of Brunant, Duchess of Escalona, Marquise of Pabella, Countess of Barzona, Isla Fermina and Narvas, Baroness Van Damme, Lady of Isabela and San Esteban
Helen holds a number of formal titles used since the early days of the monarchy. These titles have only historical significance and are not actively claimed by the monarchy, though they have never formally been renounced.. Historically the monarchy has claimed the Duchy of Escalona (in Toledo, Spain), the County of Barzona (central and western Brunant), the County of Fermina (Isla Fermina, Traspes), the County of Narvas (Rose Island, Brunant), the Lordship of San Esteban (San Esteban Island, Traspes) and Lordship of Isabela (Isabela, Traspes]) but like her predecessors, Helene has not pressed those claims. She is also Marquise of Pabella since 2013 due to the extinction of the last heir of one of the commanders in the Conquest of Brunant.
Honours and awardsEdit
- Knight in the Royal Order of the Seraphim (2012)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Eagle (2013)
- Second Class of the Order of St. Andrew (2013)
- Knight of the Order of the Republic of Juliana (2014)
- Knight Grand Cross in the Order Isabella the Catholic (2013)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Olav (2014)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau (2015)
- Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (2016)
- Knight in the Order of the Elephant (2017)
- Grand Cordon in the Order of Leopold (2017)
- Grand Cross in the Order of Vintimille (2018)
- Grand Cross with Collar in the Order of Merit in the Italian Republic (2018)
- Knight in the Grand Eagle of Àrpàd (2020)
Other honours and awardsEdit
Although Helene never underwent military training or formally joined the Brunanter Armed Forces, she is head of the Brunanter Armed Forces, consisting of two branches, the Royal Guard and the Royal Navy.
Furthermore, the Queen is a honorary director of the Brandis Institute.
Her portrait is featured on the Brunanter euro coins since 2014.
Queen Helene has mixed ancestry, though primarily of Brunanter and Spanish origin.
Via her great great grandmother Queen Sophie and Sophie's father, Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, she is a third cousin once removed of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
Through King Cristian I's daughter Gisela, the Queen is a 4th cousin once removed of Enrico Basile, Duke of San Martin, the pretender to the Traspesian throne. Via King Ambroos I's daughters, Helene is related to King Sebastian I of Lovia (6th cousin), King Jean Louis II of Cettatie (6th cousin once removed), Queen Marianna I of Strasland (6th cousin), King Edward I of Kemburg (6th cousin once removed) and David de Bernières (6th cousin), the pretender to the Julianan throne. Her most common ancestor with King Hendrik I of Libertas is King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, making them 6th cousins.
Through ancestor George I of Great Britain, she is related to most European royal houses.
Through ancestor Zledin Ilava, Helene is a second cousin of Lovian Prime Minister Oos Wes Ilava. Through ancestor King Pieter II, she is a second cousin once removed of former President Gert Henneman, lawyer Cassandra Reading, fashion designer Alexander Hermite and Princess Helena of Lovia.
|16. Pieter II|
|8. Johan II|
|17. Sophie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin|
|4. Marten II|
|18. Miguel, Duke of Braganza|
|9. Maria Benedita of Braganza|
|19. Princess Maria Theresa of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg|
|2. Anthony I|
|20. Georg Michal Ilava|
|10. Zledin Georg Ilava|
|21. Elisabeth Maria Ilava-Ský|
|5. Queen Aleksandra|
|22. John Marok Ský|
|11. Anica Ský|
|23. Daniela Gašparovič|
|24. ? Rojas|
|12. Pedro Rojas|
|6. Jose Luis Rojas|
|26. José Maria Mascarenhas|
|13. Manuela de Mascarenhas|
|27. Teresa Maria Pinto Soares|
|3. Adriana Rojas|
|28. ? Ávila|
|14. ? Ávila|
|7. Mariana Ávila|
|30. ? Villa|
|15. Magdalena Villa|
|Royal Family of Brunant|
|Queen's family: Queen Helene • Prince Bernd • Princess Marianne • Prince Cristian|