October 4, 1912
The New York Times reports today on an engagement that will cause the "tongues of aristocratic European society to wage."
Prince Alexander Georgevich Romanovsky, Duke of Leuchtenberg, is engaged to marry Miss Marie Anna von Friedlanderfuld, the only child of the German "coal King" Fritz von Friedlanderfuld.
Miss von Friedlanderfuld is Berlin's "greatest heiress."
Formal confirmation of the engagement "was temporarily withheld," but the Times has learned on "indisputable authority" that the marriage has been "definitely arranged" and will take place in Rome in November.
This will be the "first case on record" of a girl of Jewish ancestry marrying a "Prince of royal blood."
Prince Alexander, 31, succeeded to the headship of his family earlier this year following the death of his father, Prince George Maximilianovich Romanovsky. George was the seventh child of Prince Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. Maximilian and his children were granted the rank of Imperial Highness and the title of Prince or Princess Romanovsky. Alexander is the only child of the late Prince and his first wife, Duchess Therese of Oldenburg.
He is a nephew of the Grand Duke of Oldenburg. His stepmother, Princess Anastasia, is the daughter of King Nicholas of Montenegro, and the sister of Queen Elena of Italy. Anastasia and Prince George were divorced in 1906, and she is now married to Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia.
Miss von Friedlanderfuld will inherit a fortune estimated between $25,000,000 to $30,000,000. Her father is one of Germany's self-made men. He was born in Silesia, the son of a coal dealer. He inherited his father's "bankrupt business" when he was a young man. Within a few years, he was able to parlay his own business acumen into a business that now dominates Germany's coal market.
Twenty five years ago, he married a young Dutch Jewess from Amsterdam, the daughter of a banker. Several years after their marriage, they converted to Roman Catholicism, and took name Friedlanderfuld as their new surname.
Herr von Friedlanderfuld has many many "generous contributions to public and philanthropic enterprises," and, in 1906, Kaiser Wilhelm "bestowed the dignity of Russian nobility on the family. Since then, the family's "social star has been slowly ascendant."
Their home on the Unter den Linden is "one of the most splendid in Berlin," and is the scene of entertaining on "a lavish scale." The house includes a "glass-covered tennis court" where Crown Prince Wilhelm and others come to "congregate in the winter."
Miss von Friedlanderfuld, nearly20, is said to be a "pretty brunette, rather small and slender." She is an accomplished equestrienne, linguist, musician and huntswoman."
Although Nicholas II has given his consent, the marriage will be morganatic. and the Princess will not be allowed to "exercise the privileges of an imperial highness in Russia."