Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marriageable European Princesses

August 25, 1906

The New York Times reports on the "comparatively numerous royal marriages in the last few months," which has been followed by another engagement: Princess Maria Immaculata of Bourbon-Two-Sicilies and Prince Johan Georg of Saxony. This engagement reveals a "veritable corner in the European royal marriage mart," which can be "further restricted" by the obstacle of marriage. A "difference of religion places in the way of what otherwise might be admirable matches."

English princesses, for example, lose their right of succession when they contract Roman Catholic marriages. Only two Princesses have done so since the Act of Settlement -- Princess Marie of Edinburgh, daughter of the late Duke of Edinburgh, who married Crown Prince Ferdinand of Roumania, and Princess Ena of Battenberg, who was recently married to King Alfonso XIII of Spain.
[The New York Times's writer wrote "Only two Princesses have done so since the Reformation.." This is incorrect on several levels. The United Kingdom did not exist at the time of the Reformation, and the Act of Settlement was not established until 1701. Charles I was married to a Roman Catholic, Henrietta Maria of France. Their daughter, Henriette Anne, known as Minette, married the Duke of Orléans. Charles II's consort, Catherine of Braganza, was Roman Catholic. James II converted to the Roman Church, and his second wife, Mary of Modena, was Catholic.]

The New York Times' article stated that Princesses of the House of Hohenzollern may not marry Roman Catholics, while Habsburgs "cannot ally themselves with Protestants."
[Most Habsburg marriages were with other Catholic families. Archduke Josef married Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia, who was Orthodox. Josef's second and third wives, Princess Hermine of Anhalt and Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg, were Lutheran.]

The number of marriageable royal Princesses "has grown distinctly less since the marriage " of Wilhelm II's two sons, Crown Prince Wilhelm to Princess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Prince Eitel Friedrich to Duchess Sophie Charlotte of Oldenburg. Princess Margaret of Connaught recently married Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden, and Infanta Maria Teresa of Spain was wed to Prince Ferdinand of Bavaria.
Of the four "Princesses of the first rank now awaiting suitors, three are English: Princess Victoria, 38, the daughter of King Edward VII, Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who was born in 1884, and Princess Patricia of Connaught, who was born two years later. The fourth eligible Princess is Princess Clementine of Belgium, who was born in 1872.

There seems to be not "enough Princesses to around among the eligible Princes of Europe, if the latter are to wed with brides of their own rank."

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