Friday, August 20, 2010

Insults for new Coburg duke

August 20, 1900

The Marquise of Fontenoy reports on the "strained relations" between Duchess Marie of Coburg, widow of the late Duke Alfred and daughters with the new Duke, 16-year-old Carl Eduard. The widowed Duchess and her daughters "appear to regard the presence of the lad and of his mother at Coburg as a personal insult." It was not until Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Prince of Wales intervened on behalf of Carl Eduard "that a public scandal was averted."
Marie, particularly, sees the young duke as an interloper, "owing to the suicide of the young Prince Alfred of Coburg who was heir to the throne," which brought Carl Eduard to the throne.
Carl Eduard, the only son of the late Duke of Albany, "was obliged by etiquette to be at the railroad station" to meet the late Duke's married daughters, when they arrived for the funeral. One daughter, Princess Alexandra, is married to the Hereditary Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, who has been named as Regent for the young duke.
When the princesses alighted from the train, they "absolutely ignored" Carl Eduard. It was if his "presence was a personal injury." Later in the day, when Carl Eduard's mother, the Duchess of Albany arrived with her daughter, Princess Alice, "not a single one of the royal ladies of Coburg was at the station to receive her." They didn't even bother to send their ladies-in-waiting.
The young duke was made to "feel so awkward" by the widowed Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her daughters and sons-in-law. This attitude was noticed by the Kaiser and the Prince of Wales, and both took care to show their support for Carl Eduard. During the point of the service "where the divine blessing was invoked upon him as the new duke, Wilhelm and the Prince of Wales "each placed their hands so affectionately and paternally on his shoulders" that Carl Eduard, whose father died before he was bond, "burst into an uncontrollable fit of weeping."
When Carl Eduard emerged from the church, he wiped away tears from off his cheeks.
The Kaiser and the Prince of Wales "were most marked in their attention to the Duchess of Albany, as "if to atone" for the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha's "gross discourtesy."
The Kaiser also had "some pointed words" with his aunt, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, before making arrangements for the young Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his mother to return to Potsdam "without delay," and return to the "beautiful little palace in the royal park at Potsdam," near the Kaiser's residence.
Carl Eduard will remain under the "personal supervision" of the Kaiser, who is his first cousin, until he reaches is majority.

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