Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alice de Bourbon likes the Florida lifestyle

March 10, 1910

Princess Alice of Bourbon, who sailed from Naples for America in December, has "slipped into this country under the name of her present husband, ex-Capt. Lino del Prete, unnoticed," according to the latest column by the Marquise de Fontenoy. They spent several days together in New York "without attracting any attention." Alice and her husband are now "settled in Florida, where she has devoted a part of the considerable fortune she inherited on the death of her father last year to the acquisition of a large plantation," where she plans to raise horses and grow oranges.

Alice is passionately devoted to horses, and her husband was noted: "during his service with the cavalry as one of the crack riders and most daring horsemen of the Italian army."

In Florida, Alice will be able to live a "free and untrammeled life, without being subjected to all the humiliations and affronts which have fallen to her share during the last few years." She is very rich, and in the United States, she will be able to "forget the past and to live only for the present and for the future."
Princess Alice is a daughter of the late Don Carlos de Bourbon, the legitimist pretender to the Spanish throne, and his first wife, Princess Marguerite of Bourbon-Parma, whose father was the last reigning Duke of Parma.

One of Alice's sisters, Blanca, is the wife of Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria; another sister, Beatrice, is the wife of Prince Fabrizio Massimo, and the third sister, Princess Elvira, whose romance with a Roman painter Folchi caused great scandal ten years ago. Divorce does not exist in Italy, so Folchi, who has a wife, and Elvira live together in Milan.

Alice's first marriage took place in Venice, where she married Prince Friedrich of Schönburg-Waldenburg. The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1903, and three years later, the Roman Catholic church annulled the marriage. Alice and Friedrich had one son, who was born in 1902. The papal decree of annulment stated that the little boy was legitimate, members of Friedrich's family are in litigation to deprive the prince "of his name and title on the ground that he is not the offspring of the prince, although born in wedlock."

Friedrich's relatives "base their pretensions on the extraordinary evidence" that Alice and Friedrich gave during the divorce trial. The boy, now 8, lives with his mother in Florida. Alice also has two children by her second husband, whom she married right after the divorce. A church wedding followed the annulment of her first marriage.

One of the reasons for the annulment was that Alice had been "literally forced" into marriage by her father, "whose cruelty was also largely responsible for Princess Elvira's flight from her unhappy home."

During the Russo-Japenese war in 1905, Alice was one of two royal princesses "to nurse the sick and wounded." The other royal nurse was Princess Eleonore Reuss, who is now the Queen of Bulgaria.

Since her arrival in America, Alice has dropped "all attributes of her rank," and she prefers to be known as Mrs. del Prete. Her husband's sister is married to a "prosperous Italian manufacturer" in New York City.

Alice's inheritance comes through her mother, the late Duchess of Madrid, who had been left a large fortune by her uncle and aunt the Count and Countess de Chambord, and from the last reigning duke of Modena.

The Duchess of Madrid, who was most certainly an abused wife, left her husband, Don Carlos, a life interested, which, unfortunately, "amounted to virtual control of her property," which she had bequeathed in equal shares to her son, Don Jaime, and her three daughters. The understanding was that Carlos "should make liberal provision for his children."

Don Carlos failed to do this. He married a much younger woman, Princess Bertha de Rohan, and he "drove his children" from their home, and refused to "contribute anything to their support."

Don Jaime often found himself in "pecuniary straits." He was forced to pawn in Paris "a celebrated necklace that had once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette." Don Carlos also refused to pay Alice's dowery, which also contributed to her marriage's failure, and Princess Beatrice's marriage was so unhappy that twice she tried to commit suicide by "throwing herself into the Tiber."

Princess Elvira also suffered financially during this time period, and it was only after the death of her father, that she finally received her "share of her mother's fortune."


savoiabeatrice said...

Marlene, is there any information on Alice and her siblings relationship? I remember the article you had on her sister Elvira and their father's cruelty seemed to have such an effect on their lives. I wondered did they get along with each other. It was nice to read though that at least one found happiness. Bea

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Not in English. Their brother died unmarried so the Carlist claim passed to another branch. There are several biographies in Spanish, from what I understand, on Jaime that may reference the relationship between the sisters. The Elvira line appears to be far removed from the European connection as the two sons came to America. Alice and Beatrice's descendants might be aware of correspondence between the sisters, for example.

Eurohistory said...

In one of his books Juan Balanso discusses this family...the relationship between the siblings was seriously affected by the rejection suffered from their Bertha-whacked father...all too sad.