Monday, December 20, 2010

Irene learns about son's illness

December 20, 1898

Princess Henry of Prussia will learn when she arrives in Hong Kong that her eldest son, Prince Waldemar, "whom she was compelled to leave behind her at Kiel" has been critically ill with diptheria.  His condition was so serious that Professor von Bergmann, a respected surgeon was summoned from Berlin to perform a tracheotomy.  The young prince is now out of danger, but, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy reports,  his mother cannot forget that her mother and a sister died of this disease.
The Princess was "forced sorely against her will" by her brother-in-law, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to "undertake the long and arduous trip to China for political purposes at the shortest possible notice."
Prince Waldemar "has always been particularly dear to his parents."  He is a "bright and clever boy," but frail, due to the "blood relationship between his parents," who are first cousins.
After hearing of the little boy's illness,  Princess Louis of Battenberg, Princess Henry's eldest sisters,  "hastened to his bedside."   Princess Louis, the mother of three small children, could not "bear the idea of her sister's boy" alone in the care of strangers, "no matter how devoted they were."
It has been said the Kaiser also wished to go his nephew's bedside, but his physicians "would not allow hom to leave Berlin."

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