June 7, 1903
The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz will celebrate their Diamond Anniversary on June 28. The Marquise de Fontenoy notes that this this celebration "cannot fail to arouse a good deal of sympathetic interest."
The Grand Duchess is a member of the British Royal Family. She is the sister of the Duke of Cambridge and the aunt of the Princess of Wales, whose mother was the Grand Duchess' younger sister, Princess Mary Adelaide.
Princess Augusta of Cambridge married the then Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Streltiz, her first cousin, at Buckingham Palace on June 28, 1848. The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated at the ceremony.
The Grand Duke is "quite blind." He lost his sight forty-five years ago "through the carelessness of his only son," then a young child. But the Hereditary Grand Duke's life has been "overshadowed by the sorrow" for the awful feeling that he was responsible for his father's blindness.
The Grand Duke is said to have "many American friends," as he spends "a prolonged stay" in Homburg each summer, where he can mix "freely in society." He is usually accompanied by an aide de camp, and most people do not realize that the "aged sovereign is blind, as " courteously acknowledging the salutations of people whom he cannot possibly see."
The Grand Duke, described as "old and frail," recently issued a "pathetic proclamation" that owing to his poor health, he and his wife will be "compelled" to celebrate their diamond anniversary "quietly and in the utmost privacy."
Grand Duchess Augusta is in far better health. She is said to be "cheery and [a] handsome old lady." She spends a good portion of each year in London, where she owns a house in Belgravia.
The couple have only one son, and several grandchildren. One granddaughter, Duchess Jutta, is the wife of the Crown Prince of Montenegro. She converted to the Orthodox faith. Her sister, Duchess Marie, is married to Count Georges de Jametel, the son of a very "wealthy French patent medicine manufacturer. The de Jametel title was bestowed by the Pope.
The Count and Countess de Jametel live in France. The marriage is morganatic but tolerated due to the young duchess' "almost inconceivable indiscretion with a groom, the victim of a scandal" exploited by the German newspapers.
Thus, Duchess Marie, could not remain in Germany after her marriage.
The palace servant was paid off with "a considerable sum of money," and exiled to the United States. Unfortunately for Duchess Marie's family, the young man, whose surname is Hecht, soon returned to Germany. He opened a beer garden in Hamburg, and exploited his connections with the grand ducal household by hoisting the Mecklenburg-Strelitz flag above his establishment on all major holidays until authorities intervened.