Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Is Princess Beatrice about to remarry?

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February 7, 1899

Princess Beatrice of Battenberg may be planning a second marriage, according to the Marquise de Fontenoy's latest dispatch.  Nothing else is "being talked about in English court circles," and the official announcement will be made shortly.

The man is a foreigner, like her late husband, Prince Henry, and "like him, too, not of royal birth."   Princess Beatrice is expected to marry Count Albert von Mensdorff,-Pouilly now the Chargé d'Affaires of Austria-Hungary to the Court of St. James.  He is the younger brother and heir to Prince Hugo of Dietrichstein, who is not a mediatized Prince, "but merely an ordinary Austrian noble."

Count Albert and Princess Beatrice are cousins, as his grandfather married a Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and his father,  Alexander Prince von Dietrichstein zu Nikolsburg, was the Prince Consort's favorite cousin and "intimate crony."

The count has spent his entire diplomatic career in England, and is "one of the most popular members of London society."  He is often invited to Sandringham and is a frequent guest of Queen Victoria.

 He has spent most of the winter at Osborne with the Queen and drives out "almost daily" with the Queen and Princess Beatrice, or with the Queen alone or Princess Beatrice alone.

Queen Victoria is very fond of the count, "feeling sadly in want of some male relative to remain by her side, to adapt himself to her whims and requirements."  In other words, a replacement for the much lamented "Liko" - Prince Henry of Battenberg, "whose full value at court was never thoroughly appreciated until after his sudden and premature death."

There is one slight obstacle to a proposed marriage.  Count Albert is Roman Catholic.  Beatrice cannot marry a Roman Catholic without losing her place in the succession.   The Count "would readily consent to become a convert to the Church of England" for the sake of "so grand an alliance."  He also would become a British naturalized subject, following the standard set by the Prince Consort, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, and Prince Henry.

In Europe, the marriage would be regarded as morganatic, as was the marriage of Princess Beatrice and Prince Henry.  But Princess Beatrice has never lived abroad, her children by Prince Henry, like those of the Duke of Teck, "only rank as morganatic issue at foreign courts."

It is also possible that Queen Victoria could raise her new son-in-law to the rank of duke after his marriage to Princess Beatrice.

On February 22, 1804, Princess Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld married Count Emmanuel de Pouilly, who was created Count of Mensdorff-Pouilly in 1818.  Sophie was the sister of Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, King Leopold I of Belgium, and Victoire, Duchess of Kent.   Count Albert Viktor Julius Joseph Michael von Mensdorff-Pouilly was born September 5, 1861, at Lemberg, the third child of Alexander Count von Mensdorff-Pouilly and Countess Alexandrine von Dietrichstein-Proskau-Leslie. 

Count Alexander was the fourth child of Count Emmanuel and Princess Sophie.

Count Albert and Princess Beatrice are second cousins.

Ernst I - Victoire - Victoria - Beatrice
Ernst I - Ernst II -  Albert -Beatrice
Ernst I -  Sophie - Alexander -Albert 

[Count Albert was close to his British cousins.  Both Edward VII and George V were fond of him.  It is unlikely that there was any truth to the Marquise's story.  In 1904,  Count Albert was named ambassador of the Dual Monarchy (Austria & Hungary to the Court of St. St James at the request of King Edward VII.

This appointment ruffled feathers in Vienna, as more senior diplomats were denied the ambassadorship.   Others, including Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir presumptive to the throne, did not trust the Count because he was alleged to be Anglophilic.  This mistrust was apparent in the weeks after Franz Ferdinand's assassination as Count Albert was left out of many of Vienna's discussions during the July Crisis.  The Count believed that Britain would not take up arms but on August 12, 1914,  Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary.  Count Albert returned to Vienna shortly afterward.
His papers reveal the Ambassador "as a faithful interpreter of the views of the British government to his own Government."  The events in "the weeks before the outbreak of war in 1914 must have placed Mensdorff in a position of great delicacy," according to his obituary in The Times.    

The war was a "severe personal blow" for the count as it "meant the rupture of many long-standing relationships." He was a "devoted servant" of the Habsburg monarchy.  After returning to Austria, he "used his influence to induce the Austro-Hungarian Government to consider every possibility of peace."
In December 1917 he met with General Smuts in Geneva to discuss peace, but this discussion as well as others, including meeting with representatives from the Triple Entente, led nowhere."  

With his "long diplomatic experience and moderate counsels,"  Count Albert represented Austria in the League of Nations.  He also resumed frequent visits to England, where he had lived for more than 20 years."  This had given him "an insight into English life ...and he always remained a sincere admirer of British institutions."

Count Albert Viktor Julius Joseph Michae von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein never married.  He was 83 years old when he died in Vienna on June 15, 1945.  He was 83 years old.]

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Ron said...

I've never been clear how Count Alexander von Mensdorff-Pouilly became Fürst von Dietrichstein zu Nikolsburg. Obviously, the title was connected to his wife's family, but she wasn't even the oldest daughter. Can you enlighten me?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Aline was the heiress of Joseph Prince von Dietrichtstein. In 1869, Franz Joseph gave this new title to Alexander.

Andrea said...

He was 83 years old.
The information is okay, for one time.

An interessting post.



Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Andrea He was 83 when he died in 1945