Sunday, March 15, 2009

Christiane Bernadotte-Grandmontagne

Christiane Grandmontagne nearly became a princess. She was the girlfriend of Prince Christian-Sigismund of Prussia, the fourth son of Prince Louis Ferdinand, the head of the former ruling house. The couple talked of marriage, but Christiane was not of equal rank, Prince Louis Ferdinand did not approve. The situation was complicated by the fact that Christiane was pregnant with Christian's child. Despite, Christiane's pregnancy, Prince Louis Ferdinand would not agree to the marriage. If Christian-Sigismund married Christiane, he would lose his succession rights. He was second in line, after his brother, Louis Ferdinand. (The two eldest brothers, Friedrich Wilhelm and Michael, had already lost their rights due to their unequal marriages.) In September 1969, Christiane gave birth to a daughter, Isabelle-Alexandra.
The following is from my newsletter, Royal Book News (November-December 2008)
"Christiane Grandmontagne is the wife of Count Jan Bernadotte af Wisborg, the eldest son of the late Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg. Jan and Christiane met in the 1960s, but did not marry until a few years ago.
She met Prince Christian Sigismund of Prussia, apparently, at a ball hosted by Count Lennart.
Thus began a romance between Miss Cinema 1965 and the Prussian prince. Prince Christian Sigismund wanted to marry Christiane, but his father would not approve of the marriage. Christian Sigismund’s two oldest brothers, Friedrich Wilhelm and Michael, had married commoners, and renounced their rights of succession. Louis Ferdinand was not going to allow another son to marry outside the royal caste.
Matters were further complicated by Christiane’s pregnancy. Christian Sigismund ended the relationship. In 1969, Christiane gave birth to Christian Sigismund’s daughter, who was named Isabelle-Alexandra, but in this book, Isabelle is called Marie Christine. (Lovely photos of the new mother and her infant daughter.)
You might think that Christiane might throw a few daggers at Christian-Sigismund’s family, but she really doesn’t. She gets on with her life, even though her little girl does not know her father. She gets married to a nice guy named Michael. Unfortunately, the abuse of booze would lead to his death. Not long afterward, Christiane called her friend Cia Berndotte in Sweden, to offer birthday congratulations. Jan has been asking about her.
In 2004, Christiane and Jan become engaged. She makes a comment about getting engaged to Christian Sigismund’s cousin, noting that Lennart’s grandmother, Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna is the older sister of Grand Duchess Kira of Russia, who is Isabelle’s grandmother. Jan responds by saying that he is now Isabelle’s Onkel.
Both certainly need a lesson in family history. Count Jan’s grandmother, Marie Pavlovna, was not Kira’s older sister. Marie Pavlovna was the daughter of Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich. Kira was the daughter of Grand Duke Kirill Wladimirovich, who was the son of Grand Duke Wladimir Alexandrovich, Paul’s brother.
Marie Pavlona and Kirill were first cousins. Lennart and Kira were second cousins. Jan and Christian Sigismund were fourth cousins, which made Jan and Isabelle fourth cousins once removed. Christiane also refers to her husband as Count Jan Bernadotte as Wisborg, Prince of Sweden. Oops. Jan’s father lost his princely titles when he married Jan’s mother.
The book includes photos from the couple’s religious wedding. The bride wore white and a tiara.
The title of Christiane’s memoirs is Von Kaiserin, Prinzen und Grafen, Leid und Kamp einer Prinzessin. The book is published to order by Digitalverlag Grossrosseln, but is available through Amazon.de (19.90 Euros.). The publisher’s website is http://www.grossrosseln.net/.
Christiane’s book was a mild surprise. Interesting photographs, good information about how she met Christian Sigismund and their relationship. I wish she had included more information about Isabelle (and more recent photos), but one cannot have everything.
Yes, the book is in Germany, but it is a book to add to one’s library, especially for information about modern royals, ie the Prussians and Jan Bernadotte. I think Christiane is the count’s 7th wife."

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