July 2009 Newsletter: The 1950s
This month’s newsletter focuses on the 1950s, a decade marked by the Korean War and the beginning of the Cold War, which didn’t alleviate the political tension in which the world had been held since WWI.
Many royal families suffered the consequences of the war from the previous decade. Some became immensely popular, while others were on the brink of losing their position as reigning families, or trying to get used to their new non-reigning status.
But the 1950s isn’t all sorrow and misery, it is also the age of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley, the beginning of the European Union, Pop Art, television and Barbie dolls.
So let’s take a closer look at this exciting decade from a royal angle – enjoy our July Newsletter!
Lady Jennifer, LadyLeana, and Zonk (newsletter editors)
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Picture of the Month
Don’t forget to vote for June’s Picture of the Month. There are two polls this month. The official poll highlights the official side of royalty and is here. The unofficial poll features painted royal portraits and is here.
The Royal Forums Blog
The Royal Forums blog continues to thrive. We have nearly 40 bloggers, including 17 regular contributors also known as Royal Bloggers. Our latest Royal Blogger is BeatrixFan, who’s blogging about British royals.
The Royal Articles
Since we are unable to use professional photos to illustrate the articles, the editors are very interested in hearing from any members who have taken photos of royals and would be willing to have their photos used in the articles. Also, anyone who would like to try their hand at writing an article should contact one of the editors. The editors are Elspeth, Mandy, Marengo, and TheTruth.
2nd: King Albert II and Queen Paola’s golden wedding anniversary (blog)
18th-20th: State visit to Zambia by Mswati III (blog)
For more details, see the 2009 Calendar of Royal Events.
15 August 1950: Anne, Princess Royal, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At the time of her birth, she was third in line to the throne after her elder brother Charles and her mother, then Princess Elizabeth. She was still very young when her mother acceded to the throne. The Princess Royal married for the first time on 14 November 1973, to (then) Lieutenant Mark Phillips, at Westminster Abbey. The couple had two children, Peter (1977) and Zara (1981). The children of the Princess Royal do not carry any title. Princess Anne and Mark Phillips divorced in 1992. Later that year, the Princess Royal married Timothy Laurence, then commander in the British Navy. The Princess Royal is a known and celebrated equestrienne, who has had the honour to represent her country at the Olympics, and has won several medals.
21 October 1950: David Lascelles, Viscount Lascelles, heir apparent to the Earldom of Harewood and in line to the British throne. His godmother is Queen Elizabeth II. Viscount Lascelles is filmproducer. He married Margaret Rosalind Messenger in 1979, with whom he had four children (two of whom were born out of wedlock). In 1989 the couple divorced. Viscount Lascelles married again in 1990, to Diane Jane Howse.
15 November 1950: Princess Elena of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern, is the second daughter of King Michael I of Romania and Anne of Bourbon-Parma. She was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. She married for the first time in 1983, in Durham, England (and later in a religious ceremony in Lausanne) Dr. Leslie Robin Medforth-Mills. The couple had two children, but divorced in 1991. In 1998, the Princess married again, to Alexander Philips Nixon McAteer. The Princess is second in line for the leadership of the Romanian royal family, and is in line of succession to the British throne, as descendant of Queen Victoria.
January 1951: Mohammad bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud is the third son of the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, by his wife Princess Alanoud Bint Abdul Aziz Bin Musaid. The Prince has been educated at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After graduation, he returned to Saudi Arabia and established himself in business. In the 1980s, he started his political career as Assistant Minister of Interior. In 1985, he was appointed Acting Governor of the Eastern Province. The Prince has three sons and three daughters.
6 February 1951: Princess Marie-Christine of Belgium, eldest daughter of Leopold III and his wife Lilian Baels, Princess of Réthy. Princess Marie-Christine, half-sister to the Belgian King Albert II, was married twice and now lives in the USA. She has no children. She had a troubled relationship with her family, and did not attend the funeral of her mother in 2002.
5 April 1951: Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya, is the eldest daughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and his wife, Queen Sirikit. She relinquished her royal titles when she married American citizen Peter Ladd Jensen. The couple divorced in 1998. They have three children, two daughters and one son. Their son died in the 2004 tsunami. The Princess lived in the United States during her married life, but relocated to Thailand after the divorce in 2001.
23 August 1951: Lisa Halaby, later Queen Noor of Jordan, was born in Washington D.C. She is the daughter of former CEO of PanAm Najeeb Halaby and his first wife, Doris Carlquist. She grew up and was educated in the USA. She received a BA in Architecture and Urban Planning in 1974. She met King Hussein of Jordan while working on the development of the Ammam International Airport. She became his fourth wife in 1978. The couple has four children. Upon the marriage, Lisa Halaby converted to Islam and received the name Noor. She was Queen Consort until her husband’s death in 1999. Queen Noor was and still is very active with numerous charities and good causes.
1952: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the state of Qatar, was born as second son of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Bin Abdullah Al-Thani. He received his military education at Sandhurst. He became Emir of Qatar in 1995. He is known as one of the modernizers of the country. Sheikh Hamad is married to Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned.Â He is owner of the Arabian news channel Al-Jazeera.
28 July 1952: HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is the only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and his wife, Queen Sirikit. He went to school in the UK and Australia. He was given a military education at the Royal Military College Duntroon in Canberra, Australia. He is a certified military pilot for planes and helicopters. He was married and divorced twice, and is currently married to Srirasmi Akharaphongpreecha. He has seven children by his three wives, three of whom live in Thailand. His second wife, along with four of their five children, lives in the USA.
1953: Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah Bin Abdl-Aziz Al-Saud is the son of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and his wife Jawahir. He followed a military education at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In the Saudi Arabian National Guard, he holds the rank of General. He is Assistant Deputy Commander for Military Affairs.
28 February 1953: Princess Irina of Romania is the third daughter of King Michael I of Romania and Anne of Bourbon-Parma. She was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. She married Swedish-born John Kreuger in 1983 in Scottsdale, AZ, USA. The couple has two children, Michael and Angelica. They divorced in 2003.
1 January 1954: Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, youngest brother of the current Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, was the fourth son of Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III. He married Her Highness Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati binti Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman and they have three children. The Prince was once a top minister in Brunei, but recently his actions are being investigated, as the Prince is suspected of misappropriation of funds during his tenure as minister of finance and chairman of the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA).
17 February 1954: Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg (later Archduchess Marie Astrid of Austria) is the first child of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg. She studied in Luxembourg and Belgium, and has received her diploma as a registered nurse. She married her second cousin, Archduke Carl Christian of Austria, grandson of Emperor Charles I of Austria, in 1982 in Luxembourg. The couple has 5 children. Their eldest daughter, Marie-Christine, married Count Rodolphe de Limbourg-Stirum in December 2008.
23 August 1954: Haakon Lorentzen son of Princess Ragnhild of Norway (Mrs. Lorentzen) and Erling Sven Lorentzen. He married Martha Carvalho de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro in 1982, where he also resides. The couple has three children. His children are in line to the British throne, but Haakon himself is not, due to marrying a Roman-Catholic.
26 August 1954: Archduke Carl Christian of Austria was born at the Château de Belœil in Belgium. His parents are Archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria and Princess Yolande of Ligne. He has two sisters and one older brother. Archduke Carl Christian married Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg. The couple have five children. Their eldest daughter, Marie-Christine, married Count Rodolphe de Limbourg-Stirum in December 2008.
2 April 1955: HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is the second daughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and his wife Queen Sirikit. She is currently third in line to the Thai throne. She holds a position in the Thai Royal family which is similar to that of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, in the British royal family. The Princess has a doctoral degree in philosphy in educational development from the Srinakharinwirot University, along with her Master of Arts in Oriental Epigraphy and her second Master’s degree in Pali and Sanskrit. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.
16 April 1955: Prince Henri of Luxembourg (later Grand Duke Henri) is the eldest son and second child of (then) Prince Jean of Luxembourg and his wife Princess Josephine-Charlotte. He has two younger brothers and two sisters. He went to school in Luxembourg and in France, where he obtained his baccalaureate in 1974. He studied political sciences at the University of Geneva, graduating in 1980. The Grand Duke also followed a military officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England. He became Hereditary Grand Duke upon the abdication of his grandmother, Grand Duchess Charlotte in 1964. During his studies in Geneva, he met Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla. They married in 1981. The couple has five children, and two grandchildren by their third son, Louis. In 2000, upon the abdication of his father, Henri became Grand Duke of Luxembourg.
16 December 1955: Prince Lorenz of Belgium, born Archduke of Austria-Este, was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France as the second child of Robert, Archduke of Austria-Este and of Archduchess Margaret, née Princess Margherita of Savoy-Aosta. He studied economics at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and the University of Innsbruck in Austria. On 22 September 1984 he married Princess Astrid of Belgium, only daughter of the then Prince de Liége, Albert, and his wife Paola. He was created Prince of Belgium in 1995. The couple has five children, all of whom bear the title Prince(ss) of Belgium, apart from their Austrian titles. Prince Lorenz works at a private bank in Switzerland, and also holds a number of mandates as Board Memeber of several companies. He is currently the Head of the Ducal Family of Modena, a title given to his father and inherited by him upon his father’s death.
13 February 1956: Princess Alia bint Al Hussein of Jordan is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and Sharifa Dina bint ‘Abdu’l-Hamid. She undertook part of her secondary education at schools in the UK. She also graduated from the University of Jordan in 1977, and she holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature. She married Nasser Wasfi Mirza in 1977, with whom she has one son. The couple divorced in 1988, and Princess Alia married Sayyid Mohammed Al-Saleh in 1988, with whom she has two sons. She is an avid equestrienne and has initiated several events for Arabian pureblood horses.
22 March 1956: Maria Teresa Mestre y Batista-Falla (later Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg) was born in Havana, Cuba, into a family held in high regard in Cuba. During the Revolution in 1959, Maria Teresa and her parents left the island and the family settled in New York City. She also lived in Santander, Spain, and Geneva, Switzerland, where she studied political sciences. She met Hereditary Grand Duke Henri during her studies in Geneva. They married in 1981. The couple has five children, and two grandchildren by their third son, Louis. In 2000, upon the abdication of Grand Duke Jean, Maria Teresa became Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
30 September 1956: Princess Marie-Esméralda of Belgium is the youngest daughter of King Leopold III of Belgium & Lilian Baels, Princess of Réthy. She has one older sister and one older brother. She has also three half-siblings through her father: Josephine-Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, Baudouin I and Albert II of Belgium. She is a journalist, writing under the name Esmeralda de Rethy. She married Salvador Moncada, a pharmacologist, in 1998, and the couple has two children, Alexandra Leopoldine and Leopoldo Daniel. Princess Esmeralda was already pregnant with her first child when she got married. Princess Esmeralda always seemed to have a good relationship with her Laeken siblings. She has published a book with pictures of and taken by her father, King Leopold III.
23 January 1957: Princess Caroline of Monaco (later Caroline, Princess of Hanover) is the eldest child of Princai Rainier III of Monaco and his wife, Princess Grace. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, where she received a degree in philosophy. She was married first to Philippe Junot (from 1978 to 1980), then to Stefano Casiraghi, with whom she has three children. Her second husband died in a speedboat accident in 1990. The Princess later married Ernst August V, Prince of Hannover, and they have one daughter, Princess Alexandra. Because her brother, Prince Albert II of Monaco, has no legitimate heirs, Caroline is Hereditary Princess of Monaco.
27 February 1957: Ingeborg Lorentzen daughter of Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs. Lorentzen and Erling Sven Lorentzen. She married Paulo César Ribeiro Filho in Rio de Janeiro i1982. The couple has one child together, Victoria Ragna Lorentzen Ribeiro. Her daughter is in line of succession to the British throne, but she herself is not due to her marriage to a Catholic.
15 May 1957: Prince Jean of Luxembourg, second son of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg (then Hereditary Grand Duke). He is the twin brother of Princess Margaretha. He went to school in Luxembourg, Switzerland and France, where he obtained his baccalaureate. He followed a military education at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He also obtained an MBA. He renounced his rights in the Luxembourg line of succession in 1986. He married Hélène Suzanna Vestur in 1987. The couple has four children together, but later divorced. The children have received the titles of Prince(ss) of Luxembourg, but they are not in the line of succession. In 2009, Prince Jean married Diane de Guerre.
15 May 1957: Princess Margaretha of Luxembourg is the second daughter of Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg (then Hereditary Grand Duke). She is the twin sister of Prince Jean. She studied in Luxembourg, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 1982, she married Prince Niklaus of Liechtenstein, third son of Prince Franz-Jozef II of Liechtenstein, ambassador of Liechtenstein to Belgium and to the Holy See. The couple has two daughters and one son. The Princess also had a stillborn child in 1984. The couple live in Brussels, Belgium.
4 July 1957: HRH Princess Chulabhorn Walailak is the youngest daughter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and his wife, Queen Sirikit. She studied at the Faculty of Science of the Kasetsart University, and graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science. She continued to study science at Mahidol University, where she received her Doctoratal degree in 1985. She married Royal Thai Air Force Flight Lieutenant Virayudh Didyasarin, a commoner, in 1982. She did not, however, lose her title and style of Royal Highness. The couple has two daughtrs, but eventually divorced 1984.
29 October 1957: Princess Sophie of Romania is the fourth daughter of King Michael I of Romania and Anne of Bourbon-Parma. She was born in Tatoi, Greece. She married Alain Michel Léonce Biarneix in 1998. The couple has one daughter, Elisabeta-Maria Bianca Elena Biarneix. They divorced in 2002.
14 March 1958: Prince Albert of Monaco (later Prince Albert II of Monaco) is the only son and second child of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and his wife, Princess Grace. He studied at Amherst College in Massachusetts, USA, where he obtained a degree in political science. Prince Albert became Sovereign Prince of Monaco upon his father’s death in 2005. He has two illigitimate children with two women. The Prince has participated in many sporting events, including the Olympics. He also travelled to the North Pole. He is currently in a relationship with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock.
29 June 1958: Archduke Simeon of Austria was born in Katanga, Belgian Congo, as the third child of Archduke Rudolf of Austria and his wife, Countess Xenia Czernichev-Besobrasov. He is a paternal grandson of Charles I of Austria and Zita of Bourbon-Parma. He married Princess Maria of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the couple has five children.
10 May 1951: Archduke Otto, head of the Austrian Imperial Family, and Princess Regina of Saxe-Meiningen
31 August 1951: Ernst-August of Hannover and Duchess Ortrud of Schleswig-Holstein
9 April 1953: Hereditary Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and Princess Joséphine-Charlotte of Belgium
18 April 1955: Hussein I of Jordan and Dina bint ‘Abdu’l-Hamid (later Queen Dina and, after their divorce, Princess Dina)
18/19 April 1956: Prince Rainier of Monaco and Grace Kelly (later Princess Grace)
24 June 1957: Divorce of Hussein I of Jordan and Queen Dina (later Princess Dina)
2 July 1959: Prince Albert of Belgium and Princess Paola Ruffo di Calabria (later Albert II and Queen Paola of Belgium)
10 April 1959: Prince Akihito and Michiko Shoda (later Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko)
17 May 1951: Empress Teimei (Sadako). Empress Teimei, the mother of Emperor Hirohito, was born Sadako Kujo, a member of a branch of the Fujiwara clan which traditionally supplied consorts to the emperors. She married Crown Prince Yoshihito in 1900 and became Empress on her husband’s accession as Emperor Taisho in 1912. Emperor Taisho was mentally backward as a result of a childhood attack of meningitis, so his son Hirohito acted as regent for the later part of his reign. Unlike previous reigns, she rather than a concubine, was the mother of the heir. After her husband’s death, she became Dowager Empress, a title she held till her death in 1951.
20 July 1951: Abdullah I of Jordan (assassinated). Abdullah was the son of the Emir of Mecca and was a British ally during World War I. When the Emirate of Transjordan was established by the British after World War I, he became the ruler. In 1946 his country gained independence as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan (later Jordan). He was assassinated in 1951 by a Palestinian who was trying to prevent Jordan making peace with the State of Israel. He was succeeded by his son Talal, who was not mentally competent to rule, so Talal’s son Hussein took the reins of the kingdom from his father’s accession in 1951 until his own death in 1999.
25 October 1951: Queen Amelia of Portugal. Amelia of Orleans was the daughter of the pretender to the French throne, living in exile in England. She was born in 1865 and married the heir to the Portuguese throne in 1886. Three years later she became Queen Consort. In 1908 her husband and eldest son were assassinated in front of her by republican revolutionaries. Her youngest son became King but was deposed two years later. Amelia lived in exile in France until her death in 1951, although she visited Portugal in 1945.
6 February 1952: George VI. George VI was the younger brother of the Duke of Windsor and unexpectedly became King in December 1936 on his brother’s abdication. He led Britain throughout World War II and the postwar rebuilding. A high-strung and hard-working man, he was a heavy smoker, and the stresses of being a wartime king damaged his health. He suffered from arteriosclerosis and lung cancer, and underwent major surgery for these conditions. In the early morning of 6 February 1952, he died in his sleep after a cardiac arrest. His daughter Princess Elizabeth, who became Queen on her father’s death, was in Africa when her father died.
28 December 1952: Queen Alexandrine of Denmark. Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin married Christian X of Denmark in 1898 and is the grandmother of the present Queen Margrethe II. She was a restrained and supportive consort and affectionate mother and grandmother; she was also very popular with the Danish people. She and her husband led Denmark through World War II and the German occupation, and the health of the King and Queen suffered as a result. Christian X died in 1947, and his widow died a few years later in 1952.
24 March 1953: Queen Mary, widow of George V. Queen Mary was born in 1867 and married Prince George, only surviving son of Edward VII, in 1893 after having been engaged to George’s elder brother Eddy, who died during the engagement. She was Queen Consort from 1910 to 1936, and Queen Mother from 1936 until her death in 1953. She outlived three of her five sons: Prince John died in 1919 aged 13; George Duke of Kent died in a plane crash in 1942; and Bertie (George VI) died in 1952. Queen Mary thus lived to see her granddaughter Elizabeth succeed to the throne, but she died before Elizabeth’s coronation. In a gesture typical of a Queen for whom duty and support of the monarchy were paramount, she left instructions that mourning for her death should not interfere with the coronation celebrations.
5 April 1954: Princess Märtha of Norway. Princess Märtha of Sweden married her cousin Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1929. They had three children, the youngest being the current King Harald. Princess Märtha was very popular with the Norwegian people. She spent most of World War II in the United States, where she had been popular since a 1939 tour with her husband. After the war she suffered increasingly from ill health, and she died in 1954 after a series of illnesses. Her husband became King of Norway in 1957.
15 September 1956: Queen Elisabeth of Greece. Queen Elisabeth, the wife of George II of Greece, was born a princess of Romania. She was briefly the Queen Consort of Greece, from her husband’s accession in 1922 to his deposition in 1924. They divorced in July 1935, a few months before George was restored to the throne. She died in France in 1956.
21 September 1957: Haakon VII of Norway. Haakon VII was born Prince Carl of Denmark and was offered the throne of Norway on its independence from Sweden in 1905. He was married to Princess Maud, daughter of Edward VII of Britain. They had one child, Alexander, who took the name Olav when his father became King of Norway. He led Norway through World War II and was the focus of anti-German resistance despite repeated German efforts to make him abdicate. The King’s health deteriorated in the 1950s, and for the last two years of his life he was confined to a wheelchair. He died in 1957, his wife having predeceased him nearly 20 years earlier.
28 June 1950: Law of exile lifted for the French royal family, who were allowed to return to French territory for time since the French Revolution.
29 October 1950: Accession of Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, at age 67 upon the death of his father, King Gustaf V. He reigned until his death in 1973, when he was succeded by his grandson, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. During his reign, King Gustaf VI was widely respected and very popular. He had five children with his first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught, and one stillborn child with his second wife, Lady Louise Mountbatten, later Queen Louise of Sweden.
16 July 1951: Abdication of Leopold III of Belgium, after the political turmoil in Belgium following World War II. King Leopold III reigned from 1934, after the death of his father, King Albert I, until 1951, when he was succeeded by his eldest son King Baudouin I. King Leopold III had been living in Switzerland for several years following the war, because his position in Belgium was very unstable due to his behaviour during the war.
17 July 1951: Accession of Baudouin I of Belgium upon the abdication of his father, King Leopold III. King Baudouin reigned until his death in 1993, and was succeeded by his younger brother, Albert II. One of the most memorable episodes of his reign was the three day republic, which was proclaimed because King Baudouin, due to his personal religious beliefs, refused to sign an abortion-related bill passed by the Chamber and Senate. This resulted in a diminution of the constitutional power of the Belgian monarchs.
20 July 1951: Accession of Talal I of Jordan after the assassination of his father Abdullah I in Jerusalem. His son, Hussein, who was accompanying his grandfather at Friday prayers was also a near victim. He abdicated in favour of his son in 1952.
6 February 1952: Accession of Elizabeth II as Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, upon the death of her father, King George VI. She was in Kenya when her father died, and travelled back to London as quickly as she could to accede to the throne. Queen Elisabeth II is currently the longest serving Head of State of Europe, and the oldest reigning monarch the United Kingdom has ever had.
11 August 1952: Abdication of Talal I of Jordan in favour of his son, Hussein I, due to health problems.
11 August 1952: Accession of Hussein I of Jordan, at the age of 16, upon the abdication of his father, Talal I of Jordan. He would reign until his death in 1999. Because he was underage, he was enthroned only in 1953. He was succeeded by his eldest son Abdullah II after his death.
2 June 1953: Coronation of Elizabeth II as Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon at Westminster Abbey.
21 September 1957: Accession of Olav V of Norway upon the death of his father, Haakon VII of Norway. He reigned until his death in 1991, when he was succeeded by his son, Harald V.
22 June 1958: Consecration of Olav V of Norway as Head of the Church of Norway.
26 July 1958: Prince Charles created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, though his actual investiture did not take place until 1 July 1969.
26 July 1953-1 January 1959: Cuban Revolution. Cuba had been one of the Spanish colonies, and in the late 19th century the United States took effective control of the country, and despite ceding independence in 1902 the USA retained influence. In 1952 Fulgencio Batista staged a coup after realising that he was about to lose the election, and ruled as a dictator despite promising democratic reforms. The Cuban revolution, aimed at deposing Batista, started with the storming of the Moncada Barracks on 26 July 1953, during which the leader of the revolution, Fidel Castro, was captured. He was released in 1955 along with other political prisoners, and returned to the struggle to overthrow Batista. The rebels resorted to guerilla tactics against the government; these tactics were successful and led to the resignation of Batista on 1 January 1959 and his exile in the Dominican Republic. Fidel Castro replaced Batista as President, and after executing dozens of Batista’s supporters, established a Communist government which is still in place today.
29 October 1956: Start of the Suez Crisis. The Suez Crisis was an attack on Egypt by Britain, France, and Israel as a result of the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Nasser. The British had effectively controlled the canal since the 19th century, when the British government bought the Egyptian shares in the operating company in order to preserve access through the Canal to countries in the British Empire. British support for the postwar creation of the state of Israel, along with growing Egyptian nationalist feeling, led to the Egyptian government unilaterally withdrawing from the 1936 treaty with Britain which gave Britain a 20-year lease of the Suez base. Anti-British feeling was running very high after the British refusal to leave. The instability resulted in the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy and the establishment of an anti-British republic. President Nasser pursued anti-British policies including nationalisation of the Canal in July 1956. Britain looked to the United States for support, but the USA was pursuing its own agenda in the Middle East and North Africa, and did not provide aid. Britain, France, and Israel secretly planned an Israeli invasion of Egypt. This invasion was not to the liking of the US government, which applied pressure to force a cease-fire in November 1956. The Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, resigned. British influence in the Middle East was seriously damaged by this incident, and American influence was greatly increased.
25 March 1957: Creation of the European Economic Community, precursor of the EU. The original members of the European Economic Community were the Benelux countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg), along with France, Germany, and Italy. These countries were the signatories to the Treaty of Paris in 1951, which created the European Coal and Steel Community, precursor of the EEC. The intent was to create a community whose members worked together, thus preventing a recurrence of the divisions and competing alliances that had led to two wars earlier in the 20th century. The original intent was to create a federal state with political integration, but the French government objected. This led to discussions to set up an economic rather than political community. The Treaties of Rome, signed by the six member states on 25 March 1957, established the EEC among the member states.Filed under The Royal Forums
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