Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Princess Louise of Battenberg to marry a Russian prince

February 29, 1912

Vice Admiral Prince Louis of Battenberg has, "according to authoritative reports from St. Petersburg," has given his consent to the engagement of his younger daughter, Princess Louise, 22, to Prince Felix Yus.sopov.

The Marquise de Fontenoy reports that the Prince is the "only son and heir of the colossally rich Prince and Princess Yusopov."  Their wealth is even greater "than that of the Demidoffs."  A good portion of their wealth comes from "virtually inexhaustible mines of turquoise."

The engagement between the young couple "has been fostered by Princess Louise's aunt and uncle, the emperor and empress of Russia."  The Princess has spent a lot of her time at Tsarkoe-Selo  and at the Peterhof.  Empress Alexandra is the youngest sister, of Princess Louise's mother, Princess Victoria.

The Marquise also writes about the "almost forgotten fact" that Prince Louis of Battenberg's younger brother, Prince Alexander, was once engaged to Felix's mother, Princess Zenaide.

Alexander and Zenaide were said to be "completely infatuated with each other."  They had known each other since childhood.  "Fair Zenaide" would have become Prince Alexander's consort when he became the Prince of Bulgaria, if it were not for "the bitter hated which Czar Alexander III entertained toward Prince Alexander, who was his first cousin."

It was only after the betrothal had been officially announced,  that Alexander III, who had known about the romance for some time, "availed himself of the authority which he possessed to forbid the match."  He refused to give his consent, and compelled Princess Zenaide, "the richest heiress in Russia," to marry a man of his own choice.    The Russian emperor selected Count Sumarokov-Elston as Zenaide's husband.   As Princess Zenaide was the only heir to her father, Prince Nicholas Yusupov,  Alexander III granted special permission for Count Felix to bear the title Prince Yusupov, and pass it to Zenaide's heir. 

But Princess Zenaide never forgot her fiance.   When Alexander of Battenberg became ill in 1891 in Vienna, he "was tended with the utmost devotion until his complete recover by a supposed Sister of Mercy," who was none other than Princess Zenaide.

Princess Zenaide and her husband had two sons, Prince Nicholas, who was killed in a dueling incident in 1908,  and Prince Felix, now the heir apparent.

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