Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Prince Arnulf's retirement recalls his affair with a countess

May 23, 1906

Field Marshall Prince Arnulf of Bavaria recently announced his retirement from the First army corps of the Bavarian army, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy.   The retirement has been attributed, at least, officially to ill health, but others are insisting that the Prince has retired due to a quarrel with his older brother, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria.

The Marquise notes that this quarrel recalls a "sensational affair" that the Prince had during the lifetime of the late King Ludwig.

Prince Arnulf apparently fell "deeply in love with Countess Alfred Dürckheim-Monmartin" and he became so "assiduous in his attentions as to compromise her in the eyes of the public." 

The prince's determination in woo her also caught the attention of the countess' husband, who tried to intervene, and challenged the prince to a duel.  Prince Arnulf accepted the call, and the duel was about to take place when King Ludwig "happened to hear about the matter."  

Naturally, the king was furious with Prince Arnulf, and would not allow the duel to take place.  He ordered the prince to "apologize to the count and countess," and publicly reprimanded  him "for his offensive conduct.   The King appointed the count as his aide-de-camp, and the countess was given a position as lady-in-waiting to the widowed Queen Marie.

The Countess, who was born Countess Helen Bobrinsky, eventually divorced her husband.  But it is not astonishing that the count became "deeply devoted to his eccentric sovereign," and he remained with King Ludwig II until the latter's death.

Prince Arnulf was born June 8, 1852 in Munich.  He is the youngest son of Prince Luitpold, Prince Regent of Bavaria, and Archduchess Augusta of Austria.  He married Princess Therese of Liechtenstein in 1882.  They have one son, Prince Heinrich, who was born in 1884.

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