August 26, 1930. Archduke Albrecht of Austria and his new wife, Irene Hudnay, made their first public appearance today on a tennis court on Margaret Island in the Danube. They also went swimming.
According to one Hungarian newspaper, Albrecht, who was then in Brazil, wrote a letter to his formidable mother, Archduchess Isabella, to say that he was going to visit the Brazilian interior. Instead, he caught a ship to England, where his bride-to-be was waiting for him.
The couple were married in a civil ceremony in Brighton on August 16th. The registrar described the bride as a "tall and very pretty woman." Albrecht and Irene stayed at a local hotel for two weeks prior to the ceremony, as required by English law. After the ceremony, the couple traveled to Vienna and then to Budapest. Leaving his wife behind, Albrecht summoned the courage to face his mother, Isabella, who appeared not to believe the news about the marriage. He showed her the marriage license. Isabella, "expressing bitter disappointment at his gratitude for all her efforts to secure for him the Hungarian throne."
The New York Times reports that Isabella did come around, but Albrecht's father, Archduke Friedrich remains adamantly opposed to the marriage, and refuses to see Albrecht.
Even before Albrecht told his parents about the marriage, he sent telegams to Empress Zita and King Alfonso XIII of Spain, hoping to enlist their support. It is understood that Zita, who has strong ties to the Vatican, was asked to help arrange an annullment for Irene's first marriage.
The Habsburg family law regarding equal marriages may be difficult to enforce for the Hungarian throne, as Hungarian law does not "recognize the disadvantages attaching to a morganatic marriage."
Despite this, it is understood that Albrecht will "bow to any decision" from Empress Zita regarding his title and name. But she is unlikely to deal with the situation because Albrecht's marriage largely removes him as an alternative candidate to her son for the throne.
Albrecht and Irene will reside at one of his Hungarian estates. The archduke remains a wealthy man, and is expected to inherit 60,000 acres of land in Hungary. Archduke Friedrich also owns estates in Poland, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Austria. But the majority of the family's wealth comes from Archduchess Isabella, who was born a Princess of Croy, who owns a fabulous jewel collection.