Monday, August 30, 2010

Dynastic problems in Mecklenburg-Schwerin

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August 30, 1908

The Marquise de Fontenoy's latest column focuses on the dynastic issues facing the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The Marquise writes that "it is difficult to describe by any other name than that of tragedy the shipwreck of the matrimonial happiness of a prince of the blood who is forced to put aside a morganatic wife to whom he is devoted and take leave of her and of the children she has borne him." He must do this to "contract a loveless marriage for the purpose of securing the succession of the throne."

Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin's marriage is not mentioned in the Almanach de Gotha. He is "happily married to a woman of bourgeois birth but of much refinement and education, as well as irreproachable antecedents."

She is said to be "extremely attractive," as well. The couple is said to be happily married, and the duke is "passionately devoted" to his family. But so much pressure has been "brought to bear upon him, that he has been forced to "take the necessary steps for the dissolution of his marriage." 

The Duke was "urged and entreated to take this step" by members of his family but also "by the leading statesmen and by the people of Mecklenburg, as well as other German sovereigns.

The reigning Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin has been married to Princess Alexandra of Cumberland for the past four years. They have no children and "no hopes or expectations are entertained of their union resulting in any offspring.

The Duke has no brothers. His uncle, Heinrich, is now the prince consort of the Netherlands, and he and his descendants are not eligible for the Mecklenburg-Schwerin succession.

Another uncle, Johann Albrecht, the regent of Brunswick, is an elderly man, whose wife recently died. He was very much attached to his wife and is unlikely to marry again. A third uncle, Duke Paul, and his only son are both bankrupt. Duke Paul, who married a Roman Catholic princess Marie of Windisch-Graetz, was required to renounce for himself and "and any sons born of the union all rights of succession to the throne of Mecklenburg-Schwerin."

Duke Paul, his wife and son "by reasons of their financial irregularities, under the ban of various houses of Europe, unable to live in Germany, and subjected to the severest kind of boycott."

This leaves the Grand Duke's only remaining uncle, Duke Adolf Friedrich, 35, "handsome and popular," who is seen "by members of the house and by the people of the grand duchy to perpetuate this dynasty."

If the Mecklenburg-Schwerin dynast is extinct due to the lack of male issue, the throne would pass to the neighboring Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Adolf Friedrich's morganatic marriage was a "purely ecclesiastical marriage," without the benefits of a civil contract. The couple is married in the eyes of the church, but not in law. Thus, Adolf Friedrich's marriage is not a legal marriage, according to the the grand duchy's law.


MAXny said...

A few things:

Thanks for summary, the Mecklenbergs are one of my favorite families.

Last week I saw members of your team on Top Chef.

Finally, thanks for the link to the RBN.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

My team - what's top Chef?

John said...

I saw that too! Marlene, the reality program 'Top Chef' pits would-be chefs against each other with unusual challenges. It is broadcast on 'The Food Network'. Last week, they were at Nationals Park and their challenge was to make gourmet food to be sold in the concessions stand. The loser of last week tried to sell tuna tartar (at a baseball game???) and she was voted off. Some of the players were briefly featured sampling the food. I have no idea when it was actually taped though, maybe some months ago..

MAXny said...

Top Chef is an Emmy award winning reality cooking show on Bravo. Each season a different city plays host, this season they are in DC. The show has some of the worlds best chef's as judges. Salman Rushdie, former wife, Padma Lakshmi is host.
It is a fanastic show.

MAXny said...

Sorry, the Nationals

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Oh - so that's what they were showing on the big screen .. actually, Max, I have three teams :)

John said...

So I guess the show's hostess Padma Lakshmi, being the ex-wife of Sir Salman Rushdie, could be styled Padma, Lady Rushdie?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

John - well, it would be rather tacky as he got the knighthood in June 2007 and they were divorced in July 2007

dragonsdream said...

so what did happen? did he leave his wife a marry 'properly'?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The original report was from a gossip columnist - no idea if actually true