Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Charles and Camille: A Love Destined

 (I ask for indulgence from my usual readers to allow me to write about something that is not about Filipino genealogy. This article is nevertheless about genealogy, still, albeit about the British royal family.)

The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has brought a similar outpouring of grief throughout the British realm and the world, similar to or even more than the one we saw when Diana, Princess of Wales passed away tragically in 1997. Even though there had been multiple earlier rumors of Queen Elizabeth II's death and she was clearly old enough for everyone to anticipate her death, many people were still unprepared for the awful news. In particular, I wasn't ready for it. I have idolized Her Majesty since I was 13 years old. In 1993, when I heard about the union of Japan's then-Crown Prince Naruhito and Masako Owada, my love affair with royalty officially began. I searched the internet for everything regarding royal families since I have a natural curiosity and I find the idea of the monarchy to be particularly fascinating. My prize for reading through our collection of encyclopedias at home was a lengthy piece on the British royal family. Since then, I've gained expertise in the area. And, as Mike and Gavin, two of my fellow enthusiastic monarchists, would remark, individuals who are interested in genealogy, like we are, are inherently more royalist than the king (to be more royalist than the king). Given that I live in a republic, very few people understand my enthusiasm for the monarchy, which is the root of my love for genealogy and history.

At the center of this renewed attention and interest in the British monarchy is the new King, His Majesty King Charles III. Already, thousands of memes and videos have been posted online, from harmless poking fun at Charles from being "unemployed" for the past 70 years until suddenly becoming king, to blatantly comparing Diana to King Charles's consort, Camilla. More than anything, moralists are once more pointing out the affair Charles had with Camilla before later marrying her. Naturally, people who are unfamiliar with the entire story feel smug that they are right when in fact the story of Charles and Camilla has been destined generations ago. It is even suggested by some writers that when Camilla first met Charles in the 70s she told Charles: 'my great-grandmother and your great-great-grandfather were lovers. So, how about it?' or something to that effect. Intriguingly, the genealogical comment was accurate.

Whatever the truth about that first encounter, the genealogical connection between the two was well-established. It was indeed common knowledge within the royal family and the circle they circulated with that Camilla's great-grandmother, Alice Keppel (nee Edmonstone) met then-Prince Edward (later King Edward VII) in 1898 and became his mistress. While King Edward had a playboy reputation, Alice Keppel was unique in her position as the King's mistress because most people not only tolerated their affair but even approved of it. People said that the King, who had a temper, was a much better person when he started seeing Alice Keppel as she was the only one who could calm him down. Alice's husband, the Hon. George Keppel, would discreetly be out of the house whenever the king visited Alice at her home. Best of all, Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward, was not only tolerant of but approved of Alice Keppel. In fact, she was with the Queen in 1910 when the King was on his deathbed. Some might not really understand the arrangement, but this was from a different era and when seen from the lens of that generation we know that such things were common and accepted.

Almost a hundred years later, Alice Keppel's great-granddaughter, Camilla Shand, later Camilla Parker-Bowles, would meet Prince Charles, the great-great-grandson of King Edward VII and pick up where their ancestors left off. While their relationship had many challenges along the way, and almost everyone disapproved of it, as soon as the impediments were gone and Charles was finally able to marry Camilla, things started to get better. Camilla was able to quickly adapt to royal life and, just like her ancestor, she never called attention to herself. She followed royal protocol and earned the respect of the Queen. Because of this, instead of the original agreement that she would not be called Queen consort when Charles would accede to the throne, the Queen in February this year made it officially known that she wished for Camilla to become Queen Consort, instead.

The new King and Queen were destined to meet, that much is clear if one looks at their family tree. And while their ancestors were not allowed to be together in an official capacity, they now fulfilled the relationship that their forebears were meant to have. 

Once again, genealogy comes into play to explain something generations in the making.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

10 Things About President Fidel V. Ramos's Genealogy

As a tribute to the recently departed former President Fidel Valdez Ramos, here are 10 things about his genealogy.

Elected as the 12th president of the Philippines and the 2nd of the 5th republic in 1992, FVR was the first and only Protestant to be elected president and so far the only Filipino in history to hold every position in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, from second lieutenant to commander-in-chief. He headed the Philippine Constabulary from 1972 until 1986, Chief of Staff of the AFP from 1986 to 1988, and Secretary of National Defense from 1988 to 1991. He served as President from June 30, 1992 to June 30, 1998, succeeding President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Here are some information about his genealogy:

Number 1: The Ramos surname used to be Apelido

Although the surname Ramos can be found in Asingan from as early as the late 1700s and there is enough evidence that FVR’s family had used Ramos prior to the 1849 Claveria surname decree, they opted to adopt the surname Apelido when the decree was enforced and so for several years they were known as Apelido or Ramos Apelido. But, just like the Marcoses who also adopted another last name (Tabuebue) to comply with the decree but eventually returned to using Marcos, the family eventually dropped Apelido and resumed using Ramos. 

Number 2: FVR’s grandfather, Placido Ramos, was a Katipunero

FVR’s grandfather, Placido Ramos, though a cabeza de barangay, joined the Katipunan and fought in the historic battle of Dagupan from July 18 to 22, 1898 that brought an end to Spanish rule in the province of Pangasinan. He had two families; when his first wife died, he had a relationship with Ramona Rueca. For some reason, all their children, while acknowledged by Placido, were described as hijos/hijas natural, which meant Placido and Ramona lived together outside of wedlock.

Number 3: FVR and President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos were Second Cousins

While history books have discussed it in the past, people still forget that President Ramos was the second cousin of President Marcos Sr. FVR’s maternal grandmother, Crispina Marcos, was the sister of Fabian Marcos, who was Marcos’s paternal grandfather, both the children of Don Damaso Marcos and Dona Leona Galimba. This means that current President Bongbong Marcos and the daughters of FVR are third cousins.

Number 4: He was the fifth President of almost pure Ilokano ancestry

Aside from his cousin, Ferdinand Marcos, who was of pure Ilokano stock, three other presidents were also from families in the Ilocos Region. These were President Elpidio Quirino, who was Ilocos Sur; President Ramon Magsaysay, who was from Zambales; and President Carlos P. Garcia, though born in Bohol, was the son of parents with deep roots to Abra.

Number 5: His father, Narciso Ramos, was a Founding Signatory of ASEAN

He served as the Fifth District representative for Pangasinan in the Philippine Assembly from 1934 to 1946. President Roxas asked Ramos to establish the Philippines' diplomatic service and establish the country's first embassy in Washington, D.C. after our independence. He was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1966 to 1968 and later held positions as head of various missions. Being one of the founding signatories of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 1967 and his signature on the Ramos-Rusk Agreement, which reduced the 1947 agreement between the RP and the US about military sites from 99 to only 25 years, are two of his most enduring legacies. 

Number 6: FVR’s mother, Angela Marcos Valdez, was as accomplished as his father

Angela Valdez grew up in a family of educators. Both her parents were teachers and she and her 7 siblings were sent to and graduated from the University of the Philippines. She was also an educator as well as a civic leader. She was one of the leading figures fighting for women’s right to suffrage in the Philippines in the 1930s.

Number 7: FVR’s father, Narciso Ramos, married twice

Like his father before him, Narciso Ramos also had two women in his life. He first married Angela Marcos Valdez in 1927 in Batac, Ilocos Norte and they had three children: Leticia, Fidel, and Gloria.

Number 8: Narciso Ramos’s second wife was from Cebu

After the death of his wife Angela in 1977, he married Alfonsita Galeos Lucero in 1979. Alfonsita’s parents were both from Argao, Cebu and her father was a military dentist.

Number 9: FVR’ sisters were both accomplished in their own fields

The older sister, Leticia, was known as a a pioneer in the international women’s movement. In the 1970s, she led the drafting of a convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, also known as the international women’s bill of rights, and defied Cold War tensions by enlisting the Soviet Union as a co-sponsor to get it off the ground. She was Senator of the Philippines from June 30, 1987 to June 30, 1998. 

The younger sister, Gloria, was married to Lieutenant Aldo Jacinto Da Rodda, a jet pilot in the United States Navy. Gloria served as the Philippine Vice Consul then as Consul in Los Angeles and San Diego, California, USA.

Number 10: Both FVR and his wife, Amelita “Ming” Martinez, were Protestants

Although he was the first Protestant to be elected President in a predominantly Catholic nation, his cousin Ferdinand Marcos was also a non-Catholic, being a member of Aglipayan church, before converting to Catholicism right before his marriage to Imelda Romualdez. FVR and his wife Ming were married on Oct. 21, 1953 at the Central Church, now known as Central United Methodist Church in Manila. In a 1997 interview with the Chicago Tribune, First Lady Ming Ramos described how difficult it was growing up Protestant and how the Catholic Church continued to meddle during FVR’s presidency, accusing Cardinal Sin and former president Aquino of conducting a "hate campaign" against her husband "because he's a Protestant."

FVR, who came from a family of educators, leaders, and nationalists, would forever be known as one of the major players of the People Power of 1986. However history will judge him, it cannot be denied that he was instrumental in breathing life into the Philippine economy, earning us the moniker ‘Tiger Cub Economy in Asia.’ 


Vaya con Dios, President Ramos!