August 30, 1908
The Marquise de Fontenoy's latest column focuses on the dynastic issues facing the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The Marquise writes that "it is difficult to describe by any other name than that of tragedy the shipwreck of the matrimonial happiness of a prince of the blood who is forced to put aside a morganatic wife to whom he is devoted and take leave of her and of the children she has borne him." He must do this to "contract a loveless marriage for the purpose of securing the succession of the throne."
Duke Adolph Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin's marriage is not mentioned in the Almanach de Gotha. He is "happily married to a woman of bourgeois birth but of much refinement and education, as well as irreproachable antecedents." She is said to be "extremely attractive," as well. The couple are said to be happily married, and the duke is "passionately devoted" to his family. But so much pressure has been "brought to bear upon him, that he has been forced to "take the necessary steps for the dissolution of his marriage."
The Duke was "urged and entreated to take this step" by members of his family but also "by the leading statesmen and by the people of Mecklenburg, as well as other German sovereigns.
The reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin has be married to Princess Alexandra of Cumberland for the past four years. They have no children and "no hopes or expectations are entertained of their union resulting in any offspring. The Duke has no brothers. His uncle, Heinrich, is now the prince consort of the Netherlands, and he and his descendants are not eligible for the Mecklenburg-Schwerin succession.
Another uncle, Johann Albrecht, the regent of Brunswick, is an elderly man, whose wife recently died. He was very much attached to his wife, and is unlikely to marry again. A third uncle, Duke Paul and his only son are both bankrupt. Duke Paul, who married a Roman Catholic princess Marie of Windisch-Graetz, was required to renounce for himself and "and any sons born of the union all rights of succession to the throne of Mecklenburg-Schwerin."
Duke Paul, his wife and son "by reasons of their financial irregularities, under the ban of various houses of Europe, unable to live in Germany, and subjected to the severest kind of boycott."
This leaves the Grand Duke's only remaining uncle, Duke Adolph Friedrich, 35, "handsome and popular," who is seen "by members of the house and by the people of the grand duchy to perpetuate this dynasty."
If the Mecklenburg-Schwerin lines dies without male issues, the throne would pass to the neighboring Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Adolph Friedrich's morganatic marriage was a "purely ecclesiastical marriage," without the benefits of a civil contract. The couple are married in the eyes of the church, but not in law. Thus, Adolph Friedrich's marriage is not a legal marriage, according the the grand duchy's law.