Monday, March 29, 2010

German Prince says he's heir to the Monaco throne

March 29, 1930

Prince Albrecht of Urach, Count of Württemberg, has declared his intent to claim the throne of Monaco, according to the Chicago Daily Tribune. The prince is the grandson of Princess Florentine of Monaco. He believes that the scandal surrounding Princess Charlotte's divorce "will help him win his case." He is now in Paris in "an attempt to make good his claim."
The Urach family has never recognized Princess Charlotte because she was born illegitimate. She was adopted and legitimated by her grandfather, Prince Albert. The Urach branch of the family assert "that according to the Monaco constitution such an adoption becomes illegal until all members of the family approve it."
The Urachs, a "German branch of the family," said they were never asked for their approval and never "approved of the adoption.
The Urachs' main residence is Schloss Lichtenstein, in Württemberg. but the castle is not "big enough for eight young Urachs," so Prince Albrecht decided to find a new home, by seeking the throne of Monaco, "about which his grandmother used to talk."

According to the Associated Press, diplomatic circles in Paris believe that Albrecht's pretensions "are not likely to be realized," despite reports in the German press. It has been reported in Paris that Albrecht's father, Prince Wilhelm renounced all rights to the Monegasque throne in 1924, and this renunciation "applied to all his heirs."
Princess Florestine was the sister of Charles III of Monaco. She spent the "winters of the last thirty years of her life, in Monte Carlo." Florentine was described by the Marquise of Fontenoy as "hard features, sour faced, generally dress in somber habiliments that set off the inflamed color of her complexion." She was "cordially disliked and was regarded as chiefly responsible" for the disastrous end of the marriage between Prince Albert and his first wife, Lady Mary Hamilton."
In 1910, it was reported that the Prince of Monaco planned to name the Duke of Urach as his heir. The Duke was married to Duchess Amalia of Bavaria, daughter of late Duke Karl Theodor in Bavaria, and a half sister to Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians. Should Albert go through with this change in the succession, and remove his son from the succession, many Monegasque citizens will have the impress of Florestine's "malign influence extends beyond the grave."
Princess Florestine Gabrielle Antoinette of Monaco was born on October 22, 1833 in Fontenay-aux-Roses, the only daughter and youngest child of Florestan I and Maria Caroline Gilbert Lametz. On February 15, 1863, the 29-year-old Princess was married in Monaco to Count Wilhelm of Württemberg, son of Duke Wilhelm of Württemberg, and his morganatic wife, Baroness Wilhelmine von Tunderfeldt-Rhodis.
Wihelm was 52 when he married Florestine, who was his second wife. His first wife was Princess Theodelinda de Beauharnais, daughter of the Duke of Leuchtenberg. They had four daughters, Augusta Eugenie, Marie Josephine, Eugenia and Mathilde before Theodelinda died in 1857.
Florestine gave birth to the couple's first son, Wilhelm, 2nd Duke of Urach, in 1864. A second son, Karl, was born a year later. In 1867, Count Wilhelm was created Duke of Urach.
Duke Wilhelm I died at his home, Schloss Lichtenstein, on July 17, 1869, and was succeeded by his young son. The Duchess of Urach died in Stuttgart on April 4, 1897.
Young Wilhelm spent much of his childhood in Monaco as his mother often acted as regent for her nephew, Prince Albert, when he was on his oceanographic explorations.
The Duke of Urach was second in line to the throne after Albert's son, Louis, was not married, and did not have any legitimate children. However, the French government did not want to see a German prince ruling in Monaco, so in 1911, Monaco passed a law that recognized Louis' illegitimate daughter, Charlotte, as the heir to the throne. Seven years later, she was officially adopted by her grandfather. This new act moved Wilhelm into third place in the succession, but his position was further changed in July 1918, when France and Monaco signed a treaty that required future princes to be Monegasque or French citizens. The Duke of Urach was not a citizen of either country.
In 1924, Duke Wilhelm renounced his rights in favor of a distant cousin, Count Aymard de Chabrillan. He died in 1928, and despite his renunciation, he never recognized Charlotte as heir.

The present 3rd Duke of Urach, Karl Gero, is the second son of the 2nd Duke and his first wife, Duchess Amalie in Bavaria. He has eight siblings: Marie Gabriele, who died in 1908; Elisabeth, who is married to Prince Karl of Liechtenstein; Karola; Prince Wilhelm (whose morganatic marriage took him out of the succession; Margarete; Albrecht; Eberhard; and Mechtilde. Amalie died in 1912. Duke Wilhelm was married for a second time in 1924 to Princess Wiltrud of Bavaria, daughter of Ludwig III.
Neither Duke Karl Gero and his younger brother, Prince Albrecht, are married. As Prince Albrecht is neither a citizen of France nor Monaco, he cannot succeed to the Monegasque throne.
The count of Chabrillan line descends from Prince Joseph of Monaco (1763-1816), second son of Honoré III. Prince Joseph's daughter, Princess Honorine (1784-1879) married the Marquis de la Tour du pine de la Charce, and their daughter, Josephine, in 1826, married Jules Guigues de Moreton, Marquis de Chabrillan. Their son. Fortuné married Princess Anne of Croy. The present Marquis succeeded his father in 1900. He is married to Felicite de Levis-Mirepox, and they have a daughter Anne, who is married to Count Armand de Caumont La Force, and their ten-year-old son, Count Jean, would become the eventual heir to the Monegasque throne, if Prince Louis's daughter, Charlotte, and her two children, Rainier, and Antoinette, are removed from the line of succession.
Despite the marital problems of Princess Charlotte, her father and the government are unlikely to amend the succession laws. Although Princess Honorine's descendants are French nationals, they have no ties to Monaco. It is more likely that Charlotte's son, Rainier, will become the heir to the throne.

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