Monday, October 19, 2009

Prince August of Coburg bags his 3000th chamois

October 19, 1899

The Marquis de Fontenoy reports that Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary, recently shot his 3,000 chamois, "thus maintaining his claim to the position of Europe's Nimrod." He killed his first chamois nearly 30 years ago.

Chamois hunting "is one of the most difficult and even perilous forms of sport." The game can be found only in the most "inaccessible and remote portions of the Austrian, Italian and Swiss Alps. To be a successful chamois hunter "demands not only remarkable certainty of aim but also sureness of foot and great powers of endurance."

Prince August was only 18-years-old when he was married Princess Leopoldina of Brazil, the second daughter of Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil. The couple had four sons, Peter, August, Josef, and Luis, before Leopoldina died at the age of 23 in 1871.

Prince August, who is the second son of Prince August of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary and Princess Clementine of Orleans, is the brother of Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria and Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Prince August and his first cousin, Gaston, the Count d'Eu, were sent to Brazil as the prospective husbands for Princesses Isabel, heiress to the throne, and Princess Leopoldina. The original plans was for August to marry Isabel, but Isabel and Leopoldina had other ideas. Thus, Isabel chose Prince Gaston, and Leopoldina married August.

August's eldest son, Peter, was the heir presumptive to the Brazilian throne until Isabel, after 15 years of marriage, gave birth to her first child.

Prince Peter is now a patient in a lunatic asylum near Vienna, "inflicted with incurable mania of a homicidal nature." His reason was "already shaken" by events in Rio that led to his grandfather losing his throne, and "the finishing touch was given by an accident which he met with while riding the Prater at Vienna."

Peter's incarceration came after several sensation incidents. He "barricaded himself on the top floor of the great Coburg palace" in Vienna, where he armed himself with revolvers and sporting rifles. He began a shooting siege that ended with several people being wounded by gunfire.

The prince was finally "overpowered by the Fire department, with the assistance of its hose, the entire top floor of the palace being deluged by water." He was incarcerated soon after this final incident.

Peter's younger brother, Prince August Leopold, a Captain in the Austrian navy, is married Archduchess Karoline Marie of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. They have three children, August, Klementine and Maria Karoline. Prince August Leopold and his family live at Pola on the Adriatic.

Prince August has lived in Austria since the fall of the Brazilian throne. He holds the rank of Admiral in the Austria navy, a position comparable to his rank in the former Imperial Brazilian navy.

Emperor Franz Joseph ranks second on the list of chamois hunters. His record stands at 2,300 chamois.

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