Thursday, May 20, 2010

Road Trip: oh where is the Duke of Montpensier

May 20, 1906

French Royalists are "much concerned about the safety" of the Duke of Montpensier, the only brother of the childless Duke of Orleans, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy in her latest dispatch. During the past few weeks, Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Montpensier, has been "engaged in a foolhardy automobile trip through the wilds of Cambodia." He is traveling only with his friend, the Count of Bernis, a man servant and a "native interpreter," and "nothing has been heard of the party for some time."
The "natives are intensely bitter against the French," and, indeed, against all the white races." The kingdom of Cambodia is also "infested with Chinamen," are are also to the French.
The duke is "carrying his life in his hands," during this motor trip. He is taking a great risk by visiting "the more remote districts," where he could be attacked or robbed" due to the "racial hatred." The 24-year-old Prince Ferdinand has been a source of distress to his family because of his "wildness." His family approved of his desire to visit India, Siam and the "French colonial possessions," due to the belief "that it would serve to keep him out of mischief."
Ferdinand serves in the Spanish navy, and is far wealthier than the Duke of Orleans as he inherited not only the title, "but also the greater fortune of his grandfather," the duke of Montpensier, who married Infanta Luisa, the younger sister of Queen Isabel of Spain.
Should anything happen to the young duke, the next in line of the succession, is his uncle, Prince Robert, the Duke of Chartres, who, during the American Civil War, served on Gen. McClellan's staff. He was known among his "comrades of the army of the Potomac," as 'Chatters.'
Prince Robert is 68, "older than his years, and he has only one surviving son, Prince Jean, Duke of Guise, who was educated in Denmark, as his sister, Marie, is married to Prince Waldemar of Denmark.
The Duke of Montpensier's family await word of his safe return home.

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