Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Franz Joseph washes his hands with the Coburg marriage

September 21, 1905

Emperor Franz Joseph has given up all attempts to bring about a reconciliation between Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife, Princess Louise, who has refused to leave her lover, Captain Mattaich.    The couple are living in Paris, and the Princess has refused to return to the marital home, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.   

The Austrian emperor has washed his hands "once and for all time" of Louise, and he has asked the grand master of his court, Prince Rudolf of Liechtenstein to make a formal demand for the princess to return the insignia of the Order of the Starry Cross.  She has been notified that her "name has been stricken of the roster."

The princess is not the first royal to be removed from the Order.  The Countess of Montignoso, the divorced wife of the King of Saxony, and an archduchess by birth,  "has been forced to surrender her insignia" as well. 

But Princess Louise, the eldest daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, had been permitted to retain "the order until last week," as she had been declared insane when she ran of with her lover and their "joint frauds by raising money on forged acceptances."    In the last few months, French medical experts appointed by the Austrian court have declared that the princess was not insane, that the original diagnosis was wrong, and she should never have been committed to an asylum.  

In other words,  Princess Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is "now entirely responsible for her actions."

But it was not until her determination to remain with her lover that Franz Joseph decided to take action, and strip her of her membership in the Order of the Starry Cross.  Franz Joseph had been very patient with Louise,  and she "owes her liberty and her allowance" from her husband, which she received after she escaped from the lunatic asylum, to  Franz Joseph's influence.

Franz Joseph, however, has had enough with Louise's behavior, and he has taken action.

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