Text Box: Text Box: The history of Ruritania is well known.  From the first writings of Blessed St. Velvil, to the end of the 19th century, it is, like most European histories, a list of dates of when wars were begun or treaties signed, which monarch followed the last, the lives of inventors, artists, and kings.  Then, along came an Englishman who wrote a few little romances based here, and history flew right out the window.  They are well written novels and have certainly put a small nation, which might otherwise have been forgotten, in the public eye.  For clarification; the entire plot of ďThe Prisoner of ZendaĒ seems to have been suggested by a rather remarkable photograph of Czar Nicholas II and his cousin, King George V. Both men were grandsons of Queen Victoria, who were so struck by their likeness to one another that they exchanged uniforms for the photograph below.  There is some question whether their own mothers would have been able to tell them apart.  Also, itís the Hapsburgs, not the Elphbergs who have a tendency to red hair. 





 In 1861 King Stephan III (b. 1830) of Ruritania and Queen Amelia (b. 1843) had a son, who later became Rudolf V.  Queen Amelia died in 1867.  Shortly thereafter, King Stephan married again.  His second, and morganatic, queen, Louisa (b. 1852, d. 1883), was the daughter of a wealthy tradesman and not at all popular with King Stephanís court.  Their son, Michael, born in 1868, was ineligible for the throne by the conditions of their marriage contract, but was made Duke of Strelsau the following year.  Also in 1869, Grand Duke Rudolf was betrothed to his third cousin, Princess Flavia, born 1867. In 1873 Grand Duke Rudolf was sent to Prussia to continue his education in the Prussian Army and the royal court there.






On June 17, 1887, King Rudolf V was crowned in the Cathedral of Strelsau.  Although his half-brother, Duke Michael, died in an accident in late August of the same year, Rudolf V married Princess Flavia in Strelsau November 24, 1887. Their marriage was marred not by any discord, but by the kingís recurring illnesses.  According to Queen Flaviaís diaries, King Rudolf V was subject to severe attacks of depression.  These could, occasionally, go on for weeks at a time.  He was publicly, however, a very able king and a devoted husband.





Rudolf Vís reign was brought to an abrupt halt just three years after it began on May 24, 1890 when in the Strelsau Palace Gardens.  He was shot by a man who was believed to be an anarchist,  a Swiss national named  Bauer.  Queen Flavia, the closest heir to the throne, reigned until their son, Rudolf VI, was born December 14, 1890.   For the next eighteen years, Queen Flavia acted as regent.
The coronation of Rudolf VI in 1909 began a period of change in Ruritania.  The young king was not only a great admirer of Voltaire, Thomas Moore and Thomas Jefferson, but was a keen student of history.  He felt that the Peasant Revolt of 1847-48 could have been avoided had Northern Europe been less tied to its feudal past.  He had been raised and schooled entirely in Ruritania.  He was far less the Germanic Martinet, so typical of his day, and much more attuned to the people of his small nation.   He worked tirelessly to grant the lower classes more freedoms and to curb abuses and injustices within Ruritania.
The young kingís attitude and efforts at reform made him immensely popular with the people of Ruritania, but he was less well loved by the Ruritanian nobility.  He also frequently came under attack from other European rulers fearing the spread of such revolutionary ideas.  On June 14, 1912, the date of Rudolf VIís marriage to Princess Sophie of Bohemia, these attacks took a more violent form when a bomb was thrown at the royal carriage as it left the cathedral.  The king and new queen were unharmed, but several people in the crowd were killed.  Swiss Anarchists were once more blamed.
Grand Duke Rudolf was born February 21, 1914 and on August 1, 1915 twin girls, Grand Duchess Magdalena and Grand Duchess Margareta were born to King Rudolf VI and Queen Sophie, followed by Grand Duke Stephan, born June 2, 1918.
Ruritania maintained an uneasy neutrality during the first World War.  The Royal Family, related to both warring factions, felt unable to support either side in the conflict.  This accounted for the unprecedented treatment of Ruritania in the secret accords of the Treaty of Versailles which made the kingdom a de facto protectorate of Switzerland.
Tragedy struck in February 1924 while the Royal Family was on their way to the cathedral on the Grand Dukeís birthday.  A bomb had been attached to the floor of the royal limousine.  The resulting explosion killed Queen Sophie, Grand Duke Rudolf, Grand Duchess Margareta and Queen Mother Flavia.  Grand Duchess Magdalena died three days later of injuries suffered when she was thrown from the limousine.  King Rudolf had been riding behind the car and was uninjured, as was Grand Duke Stephan who had stayed behind at the palace due to a fever.
Following the funerals for the Royal Family, King Rudolf ordered a thorough investigation of the bombing.  The perpetrator, Max Todebusch, was caught and executed.  But it was then that the Swiss Conspiracy first came to light.  Professor of History at the University of Strelsau, Fr. Andreas Bickert, a Jesuit priest,  presented his study on the assassination of Rudolf V.  He was able to prove that both the recent bombing and the assassination of King Rudolf V had been committed, not as random acts of anarchy, as previously supposed, but as part of a much grander plan to eradicate the royal houses of Europe.  Both plots led inescapably to a shadowy group of Swiss nationals in Geneva known only as The Consortium.  Fr. Bickert also was able to tie this group, whose existence has since been documented to at least the early 1500s, to the untimely deaths of several other royal personages throughout Europe.
The Swiss government has persistently denied the existence of this group or any involvement in the deaths.
In October, 1929 a large, unidentified armed force crossed the frontier into Ruritania.  They quietly infiltrated the country, eventually reaching the capitol.  Guards were killed, the Royal Palace was overrun and King Rudolf VI was killed guarding the escape of Grand Duke Stephan.   The Swiss Embassy announced that their government was invoking the protectorate powers allotted them in the Treaty of Versailles and that every effort would be made to find young King Stephan. The rest of the world was plunged into the Great Depression and the fate of an eleven year old ruler of a tiny kingdom was forgotten.
Stephan was smuggled to safety in the Castle of Zenda by a small cadre of devoted officers.  Word began to spread throughout Ruritania that the young King was in Zenda and under siege.  Within a day of young King Stephan IVís arrival at Zenda the entire Ruritanian Army was camped outside the Castle.  The mysterious insurgents who were responsible for the attack on the capitol and the death of King Rudolf VI, disappeared as if they never existed.  King Stephan was returned to Strelsau surrounded by the Royal Cuirassiers.  Field Marshall von Tarlenheim assumed the duties of Chancellor and the Swiss Ambassador and his entire staff were escorted to the border.  From that day to this, Ruritania has been the only country in Europe which refuses to open diplomatic relations with the Swiss.
World War II was a dark and difficult time for Ruritania.  A tiny nation on the border of Germany, fiercely maintaining its neutrality, established during the First World War, and constantly fearing what seemed the inevitable onslaught of the Nazi war machine.  Amazingly, it was Hitlerís own belief in the superiority of the Arian race and his own propaganda which saved Ruritania.  Unable to believe that a Germanic nation, headed by the scion of an ancient royal house, could be anything but sympathetic to his own beliefs, Hitler relegated Ruritania to the list of nations to be absorbed once victory was his.  It was this hubris which allowed Ruritania to hide the many Jews who found their way across its borders.
Eventually, King Stephan met and married Charlotte Rothschild in February of 1947.  They had a son, Wilhelm-Rudolf Franz Nicholas, born March 15, 1948 and a daughter, Carolina Francesca Antonia Fredericka, born June 23, 1951.  
	While on a state visit to France in 1953 Queen Charlotte was pushed from a curb into traffic and severely injured.  Security for the royal family was increased accordingly, however both King Stephan and Queen Charlotte died in 1959 in an unexplained automobile accident remarkably similar to the one which killed Princess Grace of Monaco.  It is believed that the Swiss were involved in all three incidents.
	King Wilhelm-Rudolf was crowned in May of 1960.  He held a degree in Astrophysics and Nuclear Physics from the University of Strelsau and received pilot training from the United States Air Force in Texas.  In 1969 he met the Princess Royal of Lutha, Anastasia Sophia Maria Helena von Rubenroth.  They married August 29th, 1970 and have two daughters, Grand Duchess Julianna Elizabeth Aurora Eugenia and Grand Duchess Lydia Sophia Tatiana.
Text Box: A Modern History Of Ruritania And The House Of Elphberg