Friday, April 6, 2012

The Duchess of Orléans has died

April 6, 1932

The Duchess of Orléans died today in Alcsut, Hungary, reports the Associated Press.  She was 65.

The Duchess was the widow of Philippe, Duke of Orléans, pretender to the French throne.  When he died in 1926, he "cut off his wife from all rights in his estate," which was worth about $500,000.   The will gave no reason for her exclusion, but the couple had bickered for years, "in and out of the courts and in 1913 she sued for divorce."

Emperor Franz Josef of Austria failed in an attempt to reconcile the couple.  A year later, the Duchess, who was born Archduchess Marie Dorothea of Austria, won a legal separation.   Shortly before his death, the Duke of Orléans announced that he intended to apply for an annulment of the marriage.

Archduchess Maria Dorothea Amalie was born June 14, 1867, at Alcsut, her father's estate in Hungary.   She was the eldest child of Archduke Josef Karl of Austria and Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The marriage between Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans, and Archduchess Maria Dorothea took place on November 5, 1896 at Vienna.   The marriage was not a success, and by 1906, the couple were living separate lives.  The Duchess of Orléans preferred to spent more time with her family at Alcsut, as her health was becoming more delicate.

The marriage was childless. The Duchess is survived by two sisters, Archduchess Margarethe, who is the wife of the Prince of Thurn und Taxis, and Archduchess Elisabeth, and one brother, Archduke Josef August

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