Sunday, April 4, 2010

Death of Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz

Photo: HSH Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz

Prince Edouard de Lobkowicz died in Paris on April 2. He was 83 years old.
The prince was married to Princess Francoise of Bourbon-Parma, and they were the parents of four children, Edouard-Xavier, Robert, Charles-Henri, and Marie-Gabrielle.

Although the Prince spent most of his life in France, he was born at Harbor Hospital, 667 Madison Avenue, in New York City on June 12, 1926. The prince was an American citizen, as well as being half-American, as his mother was Anita Lihme of Chicago. His father was Prince Edward de Lobkowicz, a stockbroker, a scion of a Bohemian princely family with strong ties to the Austrian court.

Edouard's mother was Anita Lihme, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Bal Lihme of Chicago and Watch Hill., Rhode Island. Lihme was a noted chemist, industrialist, and art collector.

Their engagement was announced by Anita's parents on June 27, 1926. The day before the engagement was announced, the Prince returned to America on board the Aquitania with the Lihmes, who had been his guests during part of their stay in Europe.

Prince Edward came to New York in 1925 and worked for four months as a department store clerk, but he fled back to Europe, "embarrassed because people continually pointed him out."

Anita Lihme, 20, was a noted golfer, a sport shared by her future husband. They were married on August 29, 1926, at the Watch Hill Union Chapel at Watch Hill, Rhode Island, where the Lihmes maintained a summer residence.
The ceremony was performed by the Rev. John F. Vincent, the pastor of the Roman Catholic Church at Westerly, Rhode Island.

The bride was escorted down the aisle by her father. She wore a gown of "cream-white crepe de chine elaborately embroidered with pearls in a point de Venise design," according to the New York Times. A "long square court train was suspended from her shoulders and was made from cream-white chiffon and velvet." Her wedding veil was held in place by a pearl tiara, and her bouquet included white orchids, lilies of the valley, with a "shower of small white orchids tied with a silver ribbon."

The bride's gown was designed by Molyneux of Paris.

More than 500 guests attended the garden reception at the Lihmes' home, Norman Hall. The bride and groom "received guests under the pergola in the flower garden."

After a honeymoon trip to Europe, including Vienna, where the new princess was introduced to her mother-in-law, Princess August, the newlyweds settled into a large apartment at 280 Park Avenue.

Although the couple received a special papal dispensation to marry Anita, who was not Roman Catholic, did not originally agree to raise her children as Roman Catholics. However, all three of the couple's children were baptized in the Roman Catholic faith. Anita eventually converted, as well.

On November 11, 1927, Anita gave birth to a second son, Prince George Christian, He died at the age of 21, on August 21, 1950, while on vacation in Paris. Prince and Princess Edward moved to Paris in the late 1930s, where Prince Edward worked. It was at the American Hospital in Neuilly, where Princess Edward gave birth to a daughter, Anita, on December 13, 1937. The family returned to the United States shortly before Germany invaded France.

During the first world war, Prince Edward served with the Austro-Hungarian army and saw action against the Italians. Between the two world wars, he was a partner in a Paris brokerage house. During the second world war, the prince was a captain with Czechoslovak forces attached to the British Army. In 1942 he was reported missing on the Egyptian front, and the family had no news for several months. Anita was completing a round of golf when she received a telegram informing her that her husband had arrived in Miami.

Prince Edward, a broker at Fahnestock & Co., was 59 years old when he died in Freiburg, Germany on January 2, 1959.

Anita's son, Prince Edward, who became known by the French version of his name, Edouard, was working in Paris in the late 1950s as a stockbroker with Robert Timpson & Co. He graduated from Harvard in 1951, and also attended the Sorbonne. Prince Edouard served in the U.S. Army from 1944 through 1947.

His engagement to Princess Francois of Bourbon-Parma was made in December 1959. Their wedding took place at Notre Dame on January 7, 1960. It was the first royal marriage held at the cathedral since 1816 when Princess Marie Caroline, daughter of the King of Naples and the Duke of Berry, was married.
The couple's honeymoon was spent in the Middle East.

(Prince Edouard's younger sister, Princess Anita, married on September 20, 1958 to Count Charles de Cossé-Brissac.)

Princess Francoise gave birth to the couple's first son, Edouard-Xavier, on October 19, 1960, at the American Hospital at Neuilly. On May 8, 1984, French police announced that they had found the body of Prince Edouard-Xavier in the Seine River, outside Paris. His parents had reported him missing on April 4, and the body was found on April 27, although his family was not notified until May 4. The body remained unidentified for several days because of an inaccurate description of the prince. The autopsy showed that the prince had been shot in the throat by a shotgun. A bullet was also in his left shoulder blade. (His murder has never been solved although a Spanish news service claims he was murdered by Moslem terrorists.)

Tragedy again hit the family on October 31, 1988, when Prince Robert, who was born in 1961, died of a brain tumor in Beirut, Lebanon. Prince Charles-Henri, who was born in 1964 is unmarried, and the youngest child, Princess Marie-Gabrielle (1967), is a nun. At age 24, the princess renounced a life of travel and haute couture clothes and joined the Little Sisters of the Poor in the United States, and "accepted the vows of extreme poverty."

Her brother, Charles-Henri, called her decision a "vocation. "I think it's very beautiful. Happiness only comes from fulfilling what's right for you. I think that was right for her. I think it was truly a calling," he said in an interview with W Magazine in 2000.

Prince Charles-Henri was to have attended Harvard, but due to security measures following his brother's murder, he switched to Duke University. Prince Robert attended the University of San Francisco.

Prince Edouard was in charge of the charities of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Lebanon.

In 1981, Prince Edouard was interviewed by the New York Times. He was described as a "tall and elegant man, gray of mustache and temple, given to wearing tightly woven woolens and challis ties." He and his wife traveled to New York several times a year, staying at the Carlyle, and hosting a cocktail party every December. In the interview, the Prince became very animated when he talked about his work with the Order of Malta in Lebanon. "It is always a wonder to see them working away amid the horrors of war in that country."

The former Anita Lihme married twice after Prince Edward's death. On May 24, 1960, she married Edwin Hoy Watts at St. Vincent Ferrer Roman Catholic Church in New York. A reception for close friends was held at the bride's apartment, 164 East 72nd, Street. Watts died of pneumonia at New York Hospital, on April 9, 1964. Anita's third husband was John Griswold, a senior vice president, and director of Eastman Dillon, Union Securities & Co. Inc. This marriage, an ecumenical ceremony with a Roman Catholic priest and a Presbyterian minister, took place at the Brick Presbyterian Church in New York on January 15, 1972. Anita Griswold died at her home, 50 East 77th Street, in New York City on May 14, 1976.

The color photo is from 1996 at the time of the Prince's 70th birthday. The photo shows the Prince and his wife, and their two surviving children, Prince Charles-Henri, and Princess Marie-Gabrielle.

Francoise's bridal attendants were Robert de la Rochefoucauld, Archduchess Andrea of Austria, Archduchess Monika of Austria, Prince Vincent of Liechtenstein, Archduchess Michaela of Austria, Princess Elisabeth of Liechtenstein, Archduchess Beatrix of Austria, Hughes and Charles de la Rochefoucauld and Pierre de Merode.

Prince Edouard's funeral will take place on April 8 at Saint-Thomas d'Aquin church in Paris.


Kalnel said...

Are the dates on the color picture and when Marie-Gabrielle entered the convent correct? If she was born in 1967 and entered the convent at age 24, that would have been 1991. Seems unlikely that she'd have been in such a worldly outfit for her father's birthday in 1996.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

It is entirely possible that Charles-henri was not correct - as I do not think Prince Edouard would have sent me the photograph in 1996.