Back in the days before the First World War most of Europe was ruled by Crowned Royalty. The various royal families were so intermarried that their family trees looked more like the rhizome root systems of a bamboo forest. At the time it was hoped that all the related rulers would not be going to war against each other. Kaiser Wilhelm II after all was the grand son of British Queen Victoria who in turn descended from the Royal House of Hannover and married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Czar Nicholas of Russia was married to a German Grand Duchess from Hesse-Darmstadt and several of the German royals married Russians. The royals were proud of themselves and whom they married as illustrated by this medal from the German State of Saxe-Weimar. It is the Medal of Merit for Women awarded for all kinds.of humanitarian activities. The medal was established by Grand Duke Karl Friedrich in honor of his mother whose name appears in the legend as Maria Pawlowna Grand Duchess of Saxony and Grand Princess of Russia. All this changed when WWI broke out and many foreign born royals found themselves and their loyalty under suspicion. That is when the British Royal Family changed their name to Windsor and the British branch of the Battenberg family became Mountbattens thus ending a very colorful historic era.
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