Monday, May 12, 2014

Heinrich-Borwin's visit to US causes embarrassment

May 12, 1914

The visit to the United States by Duke Heinrich-Borwin of Mecklenburg-Schwerin is causing embarrassment to officials in Washington, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy.    The Duke is currently in San Francisco, saying with American friends.  He has proposed to "make a stay of considerable duration on this side of the Atlantic."

Duke Heinrich-Borwin was forced to leave the Germany army because of his debt.  His parents, Duke and Duchess Paul of Mecklenburg are also in financial distress, which has received much attention in Germany, and have undergone an intervention by the present Grand Duke. 

The young duke is now working in the automobile business.  He is "connected" with a Paris firm, and is now representing the firm in the United States.

Some wonder about a scion of a European sovereign house, in the "line of succession to a throne, having to earn his own living, rather than "subsisting on idleness.  As a member of a reigning royal house, he enjoys the same privileges as diplomats.   He is "immune from the jurisdiction of all American and Canadian courts of law.  He cannot be sued, if, for example, he is involved in an auto accident here in the United States.

Thus, there is a real concern about the Duke working the United States, where he would have "the right of free duty" for importing French cars.   This would cause concern because it was "never contemplated" that foreign diplomats would make use of their diplomatic prerogative for "business purposes."

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