Thursday, August 27, 2009

Windisch Graetz prince jailed for child abuse

August 27, 1905

The Marquise de Fontenoy reports that the dispatches about the arrest of Prince Joseph of Windisch-Graetz are untrue. The prince, who is nearly 80, lives in Vienna, and is one of the "principal dignitaries at the court of Vienna, where he commands the Archer Guard." It is his son, Prince Franz, "who was arrested in Buenos Aires for the gross maltreatment of his six year old son."
Prince Franz is married to Countess Margarete von Harrach, and they have five children: Joseph, Marie Margarete, Johann Nepomuk, Alexander, Antoinette, and Ferdinand, who was born in Petropolis, Brazil, earlier this year.
The prince has had to seek refuge in South America, "due to all sorts of unsavory financial scandals, following his insolvency." Despite his father's influence in Vienna, Prince Franz was forced to leave Austria. Family members provide an allowance for his wife and children, who have joined him in exile, on the condition that Franz remain on this side of the Atlantic.
The family first lived in Brazil, but have since moved to Argentina, where Prince Joseph's "influence with the Argentine envoy in Vienna," allowed Franz to find a position as an instructor of the cavalry. The prince once served as an officer in the Austrian military.
The prince's mother is the famed ballerina Maria Taglioni. She turned down a marriage proposal from Duke Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, as the marriage would be morganatic. However, she became the "honored wife" of Prince Joseph. Because of her position as an exceptional prima ballerina, Marie's marriage to Joseph was not considered a mesalliance. She rarely went to court, "but her salon became one of the most popular in Vienna." Marie died in 1891.
The abused child is Prince Alexander, who was born in September 1899.

Note: Joseph was married to the niece of the famed ballerine Marie Taglioni. The niece, also named Marie, was a ballerina, but not a prima ballerina.

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