Thursday, August 30, 2012

Adolf of Mecklenburg-Schwerin forced to disavow wife

August 30, 1908

Duke Adolph of Mecklenburg-Schwerin has been happily married for several years now, and is father of two children, but there is no mention of this marriage or the children in the Almanach de Gotha.  The Marquise de Fontenoy describes this as a "tragedy of a shipwreck of the matrimonial happiness of a prince" who is being forced to disavow his morganatic wife and their children in order to "contract a loveless marriage for the purpose of securing the succession to the throne."

The Grand Duke and his morganatic wife, a commoner, who is "extremely attractive,"  are very happy together.   He is devoted to her and to their young children, but he is under great pressure to disavow her, and their "little ones," in order to contract a "loveless marriage."

The present Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Friedrich Franz IV, has been married for the past four years to Princess Alexandra of Cumberland.  They have no children, and there is no hope or expectation in their "union resulting in any offspring."   He has no brothers.  One uncle, Heinrich, is now the prince consort of the Netherlands, the husband of Queen Wilhelmina, and is no longer in the succession for the Schwerin throne.  Another uncle, the elderly Duke Johann Albrecht, the regent of Brunswick, was recently widowered.  He was much devoted to his wife, and "will not hear of marrying again."  

The Grand Duke's third uncle, Paul, is bankrupt, as is his son.  Moreover, on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Marie of Windisch-Graetz, a Roman Catholic,  he was forced to "surrender for himself and for any sons born to the marriage," the right of succession to the throne of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  Paul, his wife and son, due to the severity of their financial problems, are largely personas non grata among the "royal houses of Europe."  They are unable to live in Germany, and have been "subjected to the severest kind of boycott."

Thus, the only possible heir left is Duke Adolf Friedrich.  He is 35 years old, "handsome and popular," and he is looked upon by his family, and by the people of the grand duchy to "perpetuate this dynasty, which claims to be the most ancient in all of Europe."


Ronnie Hartley - Savill said...

Marlene I love articles like this one. It adds insights into a royal prince who would other wise remain just a name on a family tree.

Do you have any idea who the 1st wife was, what happened to her and her children? Are there any descendants?

Some parts don`t quite add up to my mind in this story. Adolf Frederick did marry a princess but not until more than 10 years after that article was written. The Grand Duke and Duchess ended up having 5 children including 2 sons.

I'm a little suspicious that something akin to modern day `spin` was going on. I would love to know more of the why's and wherefore's behind that story. Maybe there isn't any more to tell. I have questions and I would so love to know what happened next in that story.

Thanks for posting it Marlene.


Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

No idea. The Marquise de Fontenoy was a gossip columnist. The story might not be true.