Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Reuss Sisters

A charming photo of five sisters was taken in Greiz, the capital of the principality of Reuss, in 1903. The five princesses, who were the daughters of Heinrich XXII, Prince of Reuss zu Greiz, and his wife Princess Ida of Schaumberg-Lippe. The Prince had died a year earlier, leaving the throne to his only son, Heinrich XXIV, who was mentally handicapped and confined to an institution. When Heinrich XXIV died in 1927, the Reuss zu Greiz (the older line) became extinct.
The five sisters were Emma, Marie, Karoline, Hermine and Ida. This postcard was mailed on May 14, 1903, the day of Emma's wedding to Count Erich Künigl-Ehrenburg. The couple were married in Greiz. The couple had become engaged a year earlier, and most likely after the death of Emma's father, as the official enagement photo shows the couple dressed in black. The couple had three children: Marie Hermine, Ferdinand and Heinrich.
I suspect there are more postcards published in 1903 in connection with this photo shoot. The photo of Ida with her dog, Pucki, appears to have been taken on the same day.
Emma was not the first of the sisters to marry. One month earlier, Karoline was married at Bückeburg to the Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. This was certainly a brilliant match in dynastic terms. But it was certainly not a happy marriage, and the princess died two years later.
Hermine was the only sister to have married twice. In 1907, she married Prince Johann of Schoenaich-Carolath. He died in 1920. Two years later, Hermine, the mother of five young children, made a truly grand marriage when she became the second wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Ida was the last to marry. In 1911, she became the wife of Christoph Martin, the Prince of Stolberg-Rossla.

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