Thursday, February 7, 2013

Princess Beatrice to marry


February 7, 1899

It appears everyone in Britain is talking about Princess Beatrice, widow of Prince Henry of Battenberg, who is about "contract a second marriage," with a Austrian cousin.  According to the Marquise de Fontenoy, "nothing else is being about in English court circles." 

Princess Beatrice is the youngest of Queen Victoria's nine children.   Her new love is a foreigner, and, like her late husband, "not of royal birth."  He is Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly, the Chargé de Affaires, Austro-Hungary to the Court of St. James.

He is the heir of Prince Hugo of Dietrichstein, who is not a "mediatized Prince, but a member of the Austrian nobility.

Albert and Princess Beatrice are second cousins, as his grandfather married Princess Sophie of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, sister of the Duchess of Kent, Beatrice's grandmother,  and King Leopold I of the Belgians. His father, Prince Alexander of Dietrichstein  is said to have been the late Prince Consort's "favorite cousin and intimate crony."   Alexander and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were first cousins.

Count Albert has spent his entire diplomatic career at in Britain, and is said to be one "of the most popular members of London society."  He is a frequent visitor to Sandringham, and is a favorite of Queen Victoria.

He has spent the entire winter at Osborne with Queen Victoria and drives out daily with the Queen and Princess Beatrice or "else with the Queen alone or Princess Beatrice  alone."

The Queen is "extremely fond" of Count Albert, and is "feeling sadly in want of some male relative to remain by her side, and Albert is seen a good choice.

But there is a "slight obstacle" to a marriage with Princess Beatrice.   Count Albert is Roman Catholic.  It is understood that the count would "readily consent" to joining the Anglican church "for the sake of so grand an alliance."  He would also become a naturalized British subject. 

The Austrian emperor also could bestow a ducal title on the Count in the even he marries Princess Beatrice.   He is rich, and his mother is one of Europe's great heiresses.

Count Albert Viktor Julius Joseph Michael von Mensdorff-Pouilly was born in September 1861, and is three years younger than his prospective bride.  He is the second son of Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly, Prince Dietrichstein von Nicolsberg and his wife Countess Alexandrine von Dietrichstein-Proskay und Leslie.

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