Princess Marie Louise of Prussia, the wife of Count Rudolf von Schonburg-Glauchau, recently interviewed by a local Spanish paper, Sur.
Princess Marie Louise is described as "tall and elegant." She resembles her cousin, Queen Sofia of Spain. Home is Marbella Spain, where the Princess has lived for the past 40 years, as her husband, Count Rudi plays a major role at the Marbella Club, a "global benchmark of luxury" designed by the late Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.
The Princess is the great-granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II. "He had six sons and one daughter. The only daughter was the grandmother of Queen Sofia of Spain. My grandfather, Prince Adalbert, was the third son of Wilhelm. The Queen's grandmother and my grandfather were sister and brothers. So we are cousins. Through my father. My mother was a Countess Hoyos. I have some Spanish bloood through the Hoyos line."
She had heard of Marbella before her marriage, but she believed that the people in Marbella were not serious, and their lives were easy. As in James Michener's book, Children of Torremolinos.
"I had never thought of coming here," the Princess said.
It was in Somalia where Marie Louise first met her future husband. She was working as a children's nurse. Rudolf's older brother had written Marie Louise a letter, asking if she could come out to Somalia for three months to help his wife, who was then expecting her fourth child.
The Princess agreed. She flew out to the country to start her new position.
[Rudi's older brother, Count Joachim married Countess Beatrix Széchényi de Sárvár et Felsövidék in 1957. They were the parents of Countess Maria-Felicitas, known as Maya, who married Friedrich Christian Flick, Countess Mariae-Gloria, now the widow of Johannes Prince of Thurn und Taxis, Count Carl-Alban, who renounced his rights of succession when he married Juliet Fowler in 1995; and the present head of the family, Alexander, who was born in Mogadishu in 1969. Alexander is married to Princess Irina of Hesse, who is a descendant of Kaiser Wilhelm II's youngest sister, Margarete. Joachim and Beatrix were divorced in 1986.]]
Count Rudolf, known as Rudi, was on safari in Kenya with the Marbella Club. He traveled to Somalia to visit his brother. Marie Louise was staying in the family's only guest room, so she was asked to leave in order to make room for Rudi.
"I was quite furious because I really liked Somalia, and I wanted to stay longer. We met at the airport, I got on the plane crying."
Rudi's grandmother and my great-grandmothers were sisters. Marie Louise knew from the beginning that Rudi, 14 years her senior, was the man for her. After their meeting in Somalia, Rudi became interested in the Prussian princess. She fell in love. He asked her to marry him, and she agreed. Prince Alfonso organized a large engagement party at the Marbella Club that lasted a week.
"It was fantastic," the princess said.
After the wedding, which took place at Schloss Donaueschingen, the Princess and her husband returned to Marbella to live. Count Rudi continued working at the Marbella Club. Marie Louise started to learn Spanish, but she realized she "needed something more." She went to see the local priest and Marbella's mayor to see if they could help arrange something. She wanted to work with children, but the priest told her to focus on her husband, and her life in Marbella.
Eventually, Princess Marie Louise became involved with UNICEF, but after the births of her daughter, Sophie, and son, Friedrich, she spent more time with her family. She also got involved helping those who suffer from AIDS.
AIDS is a bad lottery that touches many, she said. "Yes. Because we do not always know what a husband does when he travels on business. You can have a night of fun, go home, and then spread the disease. Or a woman does something she should have done, and then comes home and gives the disease to her husband. The disease also affects drug addicts and homosexuals. Today, the disease is spread by sex. I suggest always, and everyone laughs, abstinence. And if someone wants to sin, use a condom."
She believes in work. "I could not spend my time here playing golf, drinking cocktail after cocktail. Or spend the summer under a palm tree. That's not my life. My life is to help.
"People think that a princess lives differently or thinks differently. But we have the same problems, we go to the supermarket and try not to spend too much money on clothes. We live like everyone else.
"Yes, on one hand, life is easier, but on the other it is more complicated. For one thing, when you work and you have a degree you earn more than others. I think this is more important than my name. But there also many obligations. Here at the Marbella Club, I have to be with my husband when meeting the important people."
The princess was asked about commoners who have married into royal families, including the Princess of Asturias. "I think the princesses are more afraid because they know what it means to be queens. The others do not, they still have the illusion of being princesses and queens. The princesses know what it means and they do not want that life. They know that there will be little time for themselves."
She added that Palace life "is normal. But when you leave the palace, life is very rigid. The press is around every corner. There is very little privacy. It is very hard, very hard."
Marie Louise also pointed out that holidays in Marbella are always as "fun in the gossip magazines."
"There are fewer holidays," she said. "There are some that are beneficial and where you see good people. Unfortunately, nowadays you do not get anything for free. You should always give something to others who give to you. One hand washes the other. Then we have to organize these parties to encourage people to come, that they have a good time and return the next year. It is a lot of work for us to organize them. We live on that money. The State does not give us anything, and the City, recently."
She believes it is important to support charity. The Marbella shops and boutiques sell clothes and employ people to selll those dresses. With the Red Cross, I said that the rich can enjoy themselves in the name of a charity. If a gala is money, why not buy a nice dress, go to the hairdresser and get a gem."
When Princess Marie Louise was a child, she dreamed of "marrying someone who had a house in the country."
She added: "I love nature. And my father, he liked hunting. He always said to me that he wanted me to marry someone with a great forest so I can go hunting. In the end it was all wrong."
So there are no Princes Charming?
"No, I'm sure. None."
The Princess is the president of Concordia Marbella , the Anti-AIDS Association. The annual fundraising gala is a must for the rich who vacation at Marbella's Mile.
I used a translation service to translate the article. As online translators are not perfect, I did have to fiddle a bit with the wording, but I believe I was able to get the gist of the article.