Friday, April 25, 2014

Pope causing issues for royal couple

April 25, 1908

"Hostile influences" are behind efforts to prevent a marriage between Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Prince Alfonso of Bourbon-Orleans, reports the New York Times.

The princess is a niece of King Edward VII.

The young couple, whose engagement was announced last December,  are now in Nice "anxiously" waiting for word from Pope Pius.   Alfonso, a Roman Catholic, needs a dispensation from the Pope, in order to marry Princess Beatrice, a Lutheran.

The couple are said to be "devotedly in love."

The young couple have been subjected to a "campaign of pitiless gossip," set in motion for the "malicious purposes" by certain "exalted personages" said to be against the match.

The two names mentioned most in this campaign are King Edward VII and Queen Mother Maria Cristina of Spain, mother of King Alfonso XIII, a first cousin of Prince Alfonso.  Spanish Prime Minster Maura is also against the match, and is said to be "aiding and abetting the Queen Mother's plans."

All are opposed on the grounds of religion.  Princess Beatrice has no plans to convert to the Roman Catholic church, as did her cousin, Princess Ena of Battenberg, when she married King Alfonso XIII.

Shortly after the engagement was announced, a report was circulating in Germany that the marriage had been called off because Princess Beatrice, who celebrated her 24th birthday this week, was too old for Prince Alfonso.  She is three years his senior.

This was followed by another spurious take "launched: in a London society newspaper and "widely reproduced on the Continent" that the engagement was over because Princess Beatrice refused to "embrace" Catholicism.

Another report soon surfaced that Beatrice was unhappy because she was in love with another man, a "dashing Lieutenant of the Kaiser's Guards."

An alleged "authoritative" telegram from Madrid declaring that the marriage was "impossible" has now been declared a fake.

It is  "authoritatively" stated that Prince Alfonso has never asked Beatrice to convert, and her "continued presence" in Nice is "adduced as a convincing refutation" of all the rumors.

The marriage also has the support of the King and Queen of Spain.  The lovers "met and wooed practically under the chaperonage" of the king and queen at their country estate, La Granja, outside Madrid.

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