- By Claudine Zap
As a writer for Yahoo! covering the royal wedding, the last thing I ever figured was that I would have a link to the British monarchy. But it recently occurred to me that I actually do have a royal tie. OK, it's several generations removed, but I think, a story worth telling.
My connection to British royalty is my great grandmother. Her name was Alexandra Marie Oppenheimer. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1876. (While she remained in Europe her entire life, her son -- and my grandfather, eventually moved to America). Alexandra was known affectionately as "Sasha" to her friends, and "Granny" to my dad.
A photo of her 80th birthday at a French resort shows a cute, white-haired lady surrounded by her family, including my dad at age 12.
Alexandra's family was English. Her father was posted to Frankfurt as the British trade consul. When his daughter turned 16, she came out to society, and was presented to the British Queen: Queen Alexandrina Victoria.
According to family lore, Alexandra was quite excited to be presented to court, and her enthusiasm was enhanced because her name was an homage to the monarch.
This was no small thing: Queen Victoria was a major force of the time. The ruler, who formally dropped the "Alexandrina" from her name after she became queen, married Prince Albert, had nine children (the eldest, "Bertie", is played by Colin Firth in "The King's Speech"), and ruled a record 63 years and seven months.
Sasha practiced her deep curtsy, and a photo of her on the day of her royal introduction shows her in incredibly formal dress. But when her name was read at court, the debutante was introduced only by her middle name--Marie Oppenheimer. The disappointment stuck with Sasha a long time - so much so she shared the story with her children, who in turn, shared it with me.