Friday, March 29, 2013

Official: Archduchess Renate's marriage is unequal

March 29, 1909

Emperor Franz Joseph's latest official announcement by his Court Marshal Prince Montenuovo, has caused a bit of a flutter at court, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.

The announcement was made in connection with the marriage of Archduchess Renate to Prince Jerome Radziwill.  The Emperor has officially stated that this marriage is not "ebenburtig," but unequal, and the Archduchess has "forfeited her rank as an archduchess, and her predicates of imperial and royal highness."

Although the emperor gave the "necessary consent" for the marriage, he has made it quite clear that "in his eyes." and, according to the law.  the marriage is a "mésalliance."

Although the Radziwills are styled as Prince, and they have retained "some of their former Polish ducal dignities," they are considered a part of the lower nobility, and are included in part 3 of the Almanach de Gotha.

The Radziwills do not rank as high as the mediatized princely families, who are on "a footing of equality" with Europe's reigning houses.  There have been been a number of marriages between the mediatized houses and the Austrian Imperial family.

These marriages include Archduke Friedrich who married Princess Isabella, daughter of the Duke of Croy, their daughter Archduchess Maria Christina is married to Prince Emanuel zu Salm-Salm, and another daughter, Archduchess Maria was recently married to Prince Gottfried zu Hohenlohe.

The late Crown Prince Rudolf's daughter, Archduchess Elisabeth is the wife of Prince Otto zu Windisch-Graetz.

None of these archduchesses were required to forfeit their rank and titles, but were required to renounce their places in the succession "and content themselves with the precedence of their husbands." 

But Archduchess Renate, daughter of Archduke Karl Stephan, and a nice of Queen Maria Cristina of Spain, is no longer an "imperial and royal highness," and will now be styled as a "mere Prince Radziwill.

The emperor's "public proclamation" of Renate's marriage as a mésalliance, will not please the Radzwill family.  The late Emperor Wilhelm I was in loved Princess Elise Radziwill but was forced to disavow her due to her unequal status, and he entered into a loveless marriage with Princess Auguste of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

Sadly for Renate and her family,  Prince Jerome's "genealogical requirements" does not satisfy "admission into the great world at Vienna."

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