Category Archive 'Pride'

30 Dec 2010

Family Pride

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Rogier van der Weyden. Philippe de Croy’s Coat of Arms, the reverse side of the Portrait of Philippe de Croy. c.1460. Oil on panel. Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium.

The Cröys are one of the oldest families in Europe, and are ebenbürtig (“born on an equality”) with all the German Royalties. They therefore show no signs of respect to Archdukes and Archduchesses when they meet them. Although I cannot vouch personally for them, never having myself seen them, I am told that there are two pictures in the Cröy Palace at Brussels which reach the apogee of family pride. The first depicts Noah embarking on his ark. Although presumably anxious about the comfort of the extensive live-stock he has on board, Noah finds time to give a few parting instructions to his sons. On what is technically called a “bladder” issuing from his mouth are the words, “And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring with you the family papers of the Cröys.” (“Et surtout ayez soin de ne pas oublier les papiers de la Maison de Cröy!”) The other picture represents the Madonna and Child, with the then Duke of Cröy kneeling in adoration before them. Out of the Virgin Mary’s mouth comes a “bladder” with the words “But please put on your hat, dear cousin.” (“Mais couvrez vous donc, cher cousin.”)

— Lord Frederic Hamilton, The Vanished Pomps of Yesterday: Being Some Random Reminiscences of a British Diplomat (1921), p. 53.

The reference to cousinship with the Holy Family presumably alludes to a marriage of one of the Cröys with a female member of the Bagrationi dynasty of Georgia during the period of the Crusades. A number of such marriages to prominent Frankish crusaders are known to have occurred, and the royal family of Georgia traditionally did claim descent from the Biblical House of David.

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