Thursday, September 6, 2012

The engagement of Archduchess Renata causes a sensation

September 6, 1908

The recently announced engagement between Prince Jerome Radziwill and Archduchess Renata of Austria has caused "something of a sensation" at the various European courts, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.

Archduchess Renata is the daughter of Archduke Karl Stephan, who lives in Poland, and is the younger brother of Queen Mother Maria Cristina of Spain.

The Radziwills are not a mediatized or former ruling family, and do not appear in the second section of the Almanach de Gotha, and, according to the Marquise, do not have the right to "mate with royalty on a footing of equality."

Several archduchesses have married "on a footing of equality" with members of mediatized families, including Archduchess Elisabeth, who married Prince Otto of Windsich-Graetz, Archduchess Marie Christine, the wife of Prince Emanuel of Salm-Salm, and Archduchess Anna, who married Prince Johann of Hohenlohe.

But this is the first case of an archduchess contracting a marriage "with the consent of the emperor" with an ordinary noble, such as Prince Jerome.  The marriage is not considered morganatic.

Much to Marquise's disgust, "to make matters worse," Prince Jerome belongs to one of the least noble branches.  His mother -- gasp! --is a "Spanish woman of the most bourgeoise birth," who was the widow of Fernando Avis, who did not die "in the odor of sanctity."

Prince Jerome's father, Prince Dominik, is the younger of brother of Prince Constantine, who contracted a marriage with Marie Blanc, and became part owner of Monte Carlo's "gambling establishment."

Archduchess Renata will become "closely related to a number of extremely queer and questionable people," which explains the amount of criticism of the match.

The Marquise does admit that there are "some charming Radziwills" as well.

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