Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Prince of Monaco achieves a goal

Duchess Sophie in Bavaria

June 22, 1898

The Prince of Monaco has at "length maintained one of the ambitions of his life," arranging a matrimonial alliance between his family and "one of the sovereign houses of Europe. The Marquise de Fontenoy reports the Prince of Monaco has negotiated a marriage between his son and heir, Prince Louis, 28, and Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, the second daughter of Duke Karl Theodor of Bavaria, the brother of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, and who is "celebrated throughout the civilized world as an oculist."

Members of Europe's royal houses have not been keen to associate with the Princely family of Monaco. This is a major accomplishment for Prince Albert, as the "rulers of the old world" have "displayed a marked reluctance to even admit" the Monegasque princely family to their courts.

When the Prince and Princess of Monaco announce their intention to visit St. Petersburg, they received word "in the most curt manner" that the Emperor "did not propose to receive them," and it "was unnecessary that they should take the trouble to come so far." Nicholas II also forbade his Ambassadors to provide a visa to their passports "without which they would not be permitted to cross the Russian frontier."

It is said the Emperor of Russia "regards" the Princely couple "with such undisguised contempt."

The present Princess of Monaco is the American-born Alice Heine. Although her father has Jewish ancestry, Alice was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.
The Prince's first marriage was to the sister of the Duke of Hamilton.

Prince Louis of Monaco "occupies a most peculiar position." Although his parents' marriage was annulled, the Prince himself was "declared to be legitimate," by the Vatican. A special clause regarding Louis' status was included in the annulment decree.

Prince Louis was raised by his mother, Lady Mary Hamilton, who had fled from Monaco with her son, due to her husband's "shameful conduct." Italian police tried to wrest the boy by force from his mother and return him to Monaco, but they were thwarted by Grand Duchess Helen of Russia, "who took mother and child under her protection and escorted them to Germany."

Prince Louis "is a rather fat-faced and stout-looking youth," who resembles his uncle, the Duke of Hamilton, but without the red hair and "almost purple complexion." He serves in a French regiment.

Prince Albert provides a small annual allowance - several thousand dollars a year --to his son, "a preposterously small amount" when one considers the income that the Prince receives each year from the gambling tables at Monte Carlo.

Prince Louis' financial position is likely to change now that he is to marry Duchess Sophie. Duke Karl Theodor would never permit his daughter to "make so extremely questionable an alliance were not the settlements on a most liberal scale."

The Duke and his wife, a sister of Dom Miguel de Braganza, and their three daughters are now visiting Monaco with the Prince and Princess. They are "quiet, sensible people," and "cannot but be offended and mortified by the vulgarity of the court of Monaco, the dignitaries of which are composed for the most part of noblemen whose lineage is as questionable as their antecedents."

No comments: