Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Royal engagement broken off

It was announced today in Vienna on August 5, 1902, that the proposed marriage between Archduchess Maria Annunciata of Austria and Duke Siegfried in Bavaria would not now take place. Their engagement, which was announced on June 15, 1902, was broken by "mutual consent."

Archduchess Maria Annunciata ("Miana") was born in 1876, the first child of Archduke Karl Ludwig and his third wife, Infanta Maria Teresa of Portugal. The archduchess was named for Karl Ludwig's second wife, the frail Princess Maria Annunciata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The archduchess' younger sister, Elisabeth, was married in 1903 to Prince Alois of Liechtenstein.
When Maria Annunciata was only 19, she was named as Lady Abbess of the Community of Noble Ladies in Prague. It was said that she bore "herself with dignity" during the solemn religious investiture. Membership was restricted to women of high noble birth, and previous abbesses included Marie Antoinette and Archduchess Maria Christina, who stepped down in 1885 when she married the king of Spain. The abbey was located in the castle of Hradschin.
The office of the abbess did not require a vow of celibacy, and women were allowed to marry.
The Archduchess was very close to her older half-brother, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. She and her mother were the only members of Franz Ferdinand's family to attend his wedding to Sophie von Chotek in 1900.
Marriages between the Bavarian and Austrian royals was largely a common occurence. Franz Joseph's wife, Elisabeth, was born a duchess in Bavaria. Siegfried was Sissi's nephew, the eldest son of Duke Max in Bavaria and Princess Amalie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
At the time of the engagement, Siegfried was described as "popular at Vienna as at Munich." It was during a visit to Franz Ferdinand's home where Siegfried met Maria Annunciata, and "fell in love with her." An excellent horseman, Siegfried was one of the few royal princes who achieved success as a steeple chase rider.
The future duchess in Bavaria was described as a "charming, accomplished and an attractive girl, having inherited much of her brilliancy, as well as good looks, of her mother."
The wedding was scheduled for early August, but Maria Annunciata was made aware of her future husband's private life, she chose to break off the engagement. She begged the Emperor to allow her to take holy orders as a Benedictine nun, but her request was denied. According to the Marquise de Fontenay, the duke was not guilty of any "dishonorable conduct," but he was deeply in debt, led a fast life, and had "all kinds of feminine entanglements, some of them of a sensational character." For the deeply religious Maria Annunciata, Siegfried's past was a shocking revelation.
In hindsight, the decision to not marry was probably a good idea. In January 1906, Duke Siegfried was placed "under restraint as insane." Maria Annunciata, who took her religious duties far more seriously than her predecessors, was described as "very serious, not to say melancholy,"after breaking off the engagement to a man she "loved deeply."
Siegfried's loss of reason, it was alleged, was due to Maria Annunciata's decision to not marry him. He was confined at Schloss Biederstein, until 1912, when he was moved to a private sanitarium near Munich.
Until the marriage of Archduke Karl to Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, Maria Annunciata served as first lady of the Austrian court.
Duke Siegfried in Bavaria died in Munich on March 12, 1952. Archduchess Maria Annunciata never married. She died in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, on April 8, 1961. The Prince of Liechtenstein -- Franz Josef -- was her nephew.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting,Marlene ! Go on with other stories from the past !

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

thanks ... I do wish people would sign their names and not be known as anonymous :)

aurelie said...

Ok,Marlene ! I am Aurelie,no more Anonymous ! Have a good night !

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Thank you, Aurelie! Have a great night.

Cabri said...


i found a very curious information that Siefried and Maria Annunicata married neverthess in 1903 under their Bohemian names Josef Gahn (=Siegfried) and Anna Karl (=Maria). This Gahn guy claims that the Imperial House dispatched unwanted members to Bohemia where they kind of lived under Bohemian names and in kind of mental care scenarios... Of course he is the descendant of one of these and in reality not a mere Mr Gahn but a Duke in Bavaria. Same old story isn't it?


Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Bull dinkies. There is far too much evidence that Maria Annunciata never married, and that she lived at court because she was the first lady of the court until Karl married Zita.

Cabri said...

I am wondering why so many people try to acquire at all costs some noble lineage. This one is partiuculary weird.

There are so many around like this chap "Prince Michael of Albany" who is simply a fraud from Belgium.

Well, we take it as entertainment, but isn't it really sad as some seems to real believe their own story...