Friday, September 30, 2011

Archduke Ernst's son is interviewed by American newspaper

On October 28, 1901, Baron Ernst von  Wallburg was arrested at Budapest "on a charge of attempting to practice extortion" upon Emperor Franz Joseph, the New York Times reported.

Wallburg is a morganatic son of the late Archduke Ernst of Austria.  A "consequence of his debts," he was "compelled to leave the army, after which he sank into poverty."

Two years later Wallburg was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times in Budapest where he worked as a waiter at the Café New York.  He had been deprived of his title "Baron von Wallburg" as his father, Archduke Ernst of Austria, never married his mother Laura Skublics.

He was 34 years old when his father died, and "up to that time he had lived a life of idleness, roaming about the estate, hunting shooting, indulging in outdoor sports, and enjoying himself as a man to whose future was secure."

But he and his siblings were unable to share in their father's estate.  Archduke Ernst died in 1899, and his properties were inherited by other members of the family.

"When it became evident that I was not only penniless, but that I must leave the home which had been my father's and my own for over a third of a century a friend of mine advised me to try my luck in Budapest, and I followed his suggestion.   After I had sold my personal belongings, I found that I had just $450 in cash wherewith to face the unfriendly world, and when I had paid the cost of taking my wife and children to Budapest, this sum had shrunk to $400.

"I took a cheap lodging of two rooms for $50 a month, but it was a terrible change for us all.  We had been used to the country and to living in a large, airy house, with every comfort and convenience, and the small, stuffy rooms, which smelt of poverty, were intensely distasteful to us.  The children suffered most of all, for they had previously had several hundred acres of beautiful country as their playground, whereas, now they could not leave the house unattended.

"I set about trying to find suitable work without delay.  I soon found that my education and upbringing had rendered me unfit for nearly all the occupations in which money was to be earned.  My title and descent were great disadvantages to me, for everyone to whom I applied for employment told me that the son of an Archduke could not be expected to take orders from an ordinary mortal.  It was in vain for me to protest that I was poor and that I was willing to work and obey as other employees did.  The invariable answer was that no doubt my intentions were excellent, but that the superior force of birth and habit would make it impossible for me to carry out my theories.

"When three months had gone by and I was still searching for employment and my money had decreased to a few dollars, for, economical as we tried to be, we found it impossible to keep expenses down.  I now realized that I must obtain work or face starvation, and the knowledge that my wife and children depended solely on my efforts spurred me on to fresh attempts.  I cannot tell you what rebuffs I sustained and to what humiliations I was subjected to. I suffered keenly, but I knew it was my duty to overcome my inherited prejudices and to be kicked out rather than miss the last chance of earning the money which I required so badly.

"At last all our money was gone, and I was beginning to pawn my watch and other articles of personal property so that we felt the pinch of poverty in earnest.  It was at this period that I yielded to the entreaties of my wife to write to Emperor Franz Joseph to tell him of the plight I was in and to ask if he approved of an Archduke's son being left to starve in one of his capitals.  To this communication, I received no reply whatever, and I have often doubted whether it ever reached the Emperor.  If it dies, his extreme severity -- I may his say his absolute cruelty -- to me and my family is inexplicable, for Francis Joseph is in most respects a kind-hearted, benevolent monarch.  I can only suppose that the facts of my father's marriage have been misrepresented to the Emperor.

"Soon all that we were able to pawn was gone and we were literally at the end of our resources.  Our landlord allowed us to stay with him for a week or two without paying the rent, but, finding that our prospects did not improve, he had us ejected one Saturday night.  There was I, the rightful son of a Habsburger, and the grand nephew of an emperor, standing in the street with his wife and five children, without shelter and without a cent wherewith to purchase a night's lodging.  It was a terrible situation. and I shall never forget the anguish I experienced at that moment.

"In this plight, I was driven to make money out of my misfortune, and I hurried to the office of an enterprising daily newspaper to offer the story of my fate for publication.  The editor jumped at it, and I came away an hour later with $50 in my pocket, an amount that made me feel as if I had become a rich man, so low had I sunk.  I was able to take another lodging -- only one room this time -- and to return to search for work with renewed energy,  The money, however, vanished with more rapidity than work appeared, and within a very short time, I was confronted by the same difficulty.

"At last when I was nearly mad with despair I found a post as clerk in an insurance office at a weekly wage of $5, and I thought myself lucky to get it.  The work was simple enough, and soon I was able to rescue my family from the degradation of being in an almshouse and to give them once more a small one-roomed home.  I did not keep my position long, but the fact that I had been engaged there enabled me to obtain other employment as a canvasser for a firm that sold rouge, complexion powder, and other such articles connected with a lady's make-up.  In this capacity, I had to go round from house to house and to hold forth to all the women I found at home on the exceptional qualities of the toilette requisites we had for sale. Here again, I was not a success, for the sales resulting from my efforts were insignificant, and it was not long before my new employer told me that he had no further need of my services.

"We were on the verge of being ejected for a third time when I received an offer to enter the service of the Café New York, as a waiter, the proprietor of that establishment calculating that the presence of a scion of the ruling house would be an excellent advertisement for his business.    He offered me a wage of $5 a week, and what I could make in tips, and without much consideration, I accepted the offer and went to work on the following Monday morning.  It was a trying ordeal at first, but it was not so bad as being ejected with wife and family or as sleeping out at night with the thermometer at several degrees below zero.  I soon learned how to carry cups of coffee without spilling all the contents, and how to take the guests' money and pocket their tips.

"I found my income from this latter source to be a considerable one, for many of our patrons thought it necessary to give a Habsburger more than they would have given an ordinary waiter.  I was stared at terribly at first, and the ladies especially used to come in great numbers to have a look at me, but I soon grew accustomed to these embarrassing attentions, and I received them as if I had been on show all my life.   Most of the American tourists who pass through Budapest come to see what I look like, and they give me princely tips.

"Taking all around, the lot of a waiter is not such a bad one. I am earning a comfortable income of $2000 a year, and I do not find that I am subjected to many humiliations -- or else I have gone through so many worse experiences that this appears to me to be a highly respected profession.  Recently, I intended to open a café of my own, and the capital to do so had already been promised to me when the newspapers got hold of the fact that I intended to call it the Café Habsburg.  The court was alarmed, and great pressure was brought to bear on my financier not to participate in an enterprise that would cast disrespect on the imperial family.  He gave way, and so I am still a waiter.  If I could get something better, of course, I should be glad to have it, but so long as I have nothing else I mean to remain a waiter and to be thankful that I have found a calling in which I can earn a comfortable income.

"I have not given up all hope that someday the justice of my claim on my father's estate will be recognized by either the present Emperor or by his successor and that I shall then inherit the fortune that is mine by right>"

To learn more about Archduke Ernst and Laura Skublics and their family, please read Daniel Willis's The Archduke's Secret Family, which is available from Amazon.

Princess Louise going home

September 30, 1879

Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, is returning to England on October 18, according to the New York Times.  She will leave Quebec on the steamship Sarmatian.   "Special arrangements" have been made for the princess' accommodation on board.   For some time, the princess, the wife of Marquess of Lorne, the Governor General of Canada, "has not been enjoying good health."  Her doctors have recommended that she needs a "change of air." 

The Princess, who is a daughter of Queen Victoria, is expected to return to Canada "in time for the opening of Parliament.

Read more about Princess Louise:

Royal Rebels: Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne

Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter   (UK)

Darling Loosy: Letters to Princess Louise, 1856-1939   (UK)

Rumor: Archduke Karl Ludwig to renounce his position as heir presumptive

September 30, 1891

One of the main Viennese newspapers, The Presse, published a rumor today that Archduke Karl Ludwig, the heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is about to "resign his title of heirship in favor of his son," Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Karl Ludwig is a younger brother of Emperor Franz Joseph.  He became the heir presumptive following the death of Crown Prince Rudolph, the emperor's only son, who died in 1889.   He was born in 1833, and has been married three times.  His first wife was Princess Margarete of Saxony, who died in 1858.   Four years later, he married Princess Maria Annunziata of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.  She died in 1871, and in 1873,  the archduke married Infanta Maria Teresa of Portugal.  

Archduke Franz Ferdinand is the first child of Karl Ludwig's second marriage.  There were no children from the first marriage.    The archduke was born on December 18, 1863.  He is unmarried.

The Duchess of Kent enjoys teaching

Here is an article from the Daily Telegraph regarding an upcoming TV interview with the Duchess of Kent, who teaches music in a primary school in Hull.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Funeral for Grand Duchess Alexandra

September 29, 1891

The imperial train today conveyed the body of Grand Duchess Alexandra, the wife of Grand Duke Paul from Moscow to St. Petersburg, reports the New York Times.    All "the highest court officials, the members of the ministry, and other members of the Government" waited for the arrival of the train.  Everyone "reverently bowed his head" when the train pulled into the station.

Emperor Alexander III and the King of Greece, father of the late Grand Duchess, and several other imperial and royal relatives, were in the private waiting room.

The coffin was born to the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul by the Czar, the King of Greece, Prince Waldemar of Denmark, Grand Duke Paul,  Prince George of Greece, a brother of  Alexandra; and Grand Duke Dimitry and Grand Duke Constantine.    

The streets were lined with troops as the cortege made its way to the cathedral.   Thousands of people "watched the sad procession," and there was great sympathy for the royal mourners. 
A grand mass for the late Grand Duchess was celebrated at the cathedral.

Grand Duchess Alexandra died on September 24, 1891.  She was 21 years old.  She was survived by her husband, Grand Duke Paul, a daughter, Grand Duchess Marie, seventeen months old, and the newborn infant son. On September 20, The Times reported that the Grand Duchess was "seriously ill" at her home, Illinskoe, near Moscow.  She had lost consciousness and "her condition was considered critical."  Her parents, the King and Queen of Hellenes, left Copenhagen for Russia to visit their daughter.

The Grand Duchess was seven months pregnant when she went for a walk with friends along the banks of the Moscow River.  She decided to jump into a moored boat but fell in the attempt.  She seemed to be all right, as she was helped to her feet.  But the next evening, at a ball, she collapsed in pain.  She gave birth prematurely to a son, fell into a coma,  and died six days later.

Grand Duchess Marie may become a US citizen

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September 29, 1931

Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna of Russia, daughter of the late Grand Duke Paul, who was assassinated at Petrograd in January 1919, entered the United States today on the French liner Ile de France "on a quota passport issued by the League of Nations," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.   When the Grand Duchess previously visited the United States, she arrived on a "visitor's permit."

This new document gives the grand duchess the "privilege of becoming an American citizen."   When asked by a reporter if she planned to do this, Marie responded:  "It is too soon to talk about that."

She was also asked about the possibility of a Romanov restoration in Russia. She replied, "that the day of restoration is passed."

No, Astrid is not going to marry Olav

September 29, 1925

An official denial of press reports of an "impending engagement" between Crown Prince Olav of Norway and Princess Astrid of Sweden," was issued today in Stockholm, reports the Associated Press.

Princess Astrid is a niece of King Gustav V of Sweden.

Duke of Aosta attacked in Italian press

September 29, 1921

The Duke of Aosta has been violently attacked in Rome newspapers, according to a dispatch to the London Times, and reported by the New York Times.   The criticism of King Vittorio Emanuele's cousin has created a "great sensation" in Rome.   The Duke is charged with "inspiring and protecting the Fascisti and striving to gain the throne with the support of certain Generals and other officers."    The Times adds that there have been "rumors of such a movement  in Italy for some time, ad it has been suggested that the Duke of Aosta, has been spreading discontent with the present regime of the carabinieri and the army generally."

There are also plans by the newspaper, Il Paesi, to carry out a campaign against the "royal leaders in the Italian Third Army."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

an heir to the Georgian throne!

HRH Princess Anna Bagration-Gruzinsky Batonishvili gave birth to a son, HRH Prince Giorgi Bagration Bagrationi of Georgia, on September 27. The birth took place in Madrid, Spain, where the couple lived.

Princess Anna is married to His Royal Highness Prince David Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili of Georgia. 

Mother and son are doing well.  This is the first child for the couple, who were married on February 8, 2009.

The official announcement:

The Grand Chancery of the Royal House of Georgia is delighted to announce that yesterday evening, on the 27th September 2011 at 10.40 p.m. Her Royal Highness The Princess Anna, wife of His Royal Highness The Prince Davit Bagrationi Mukhran Batonishvili, gave birth to a son, their first born and heir to the Dynastic Throne, who will be named and styled as His Royal Highness The Prince Giorgi Bagration Bagrationi.
The birth of the young Prince has been a source of immense joy and happiness to the Royal Family.
Praise be given to God.

Helene of Yugoslavia: why she said what she said to the police

When Princess Helene of Yugoslavia met with French police earlier this month, she was "forced to admit" that her name was used by her husband for "fraudulent transactions."

Police, investigating financial records in connection with the bombing in Karachi, presented to Helene numerous documents concerning a Bahamas-registered company, Cactus, which was registered under her maiden name Helene Olga Tamara Karageorgevitch.  This company was allegedly used by her estranged husband, Thierry Gaubert, to hide money from the French tax authorities.

The Cactus funds were used largely for the maintenance and installation of a ranch in Nilo, Colombia,  in the Andes, one of the the upcoming tourist areas.  Nilo is about two hours from Bogota.

Investigators have found a payment of 72,000 Euros from a bank account belonging to Ziad Takieddine, dated October 18, 2010.

The police are centering their investigation on Thierry Gaubert, but they say that his wife, in whose name the account was made, has benefited from the account's "largesse," made up of the sales of arms to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Threatened with being charged with "misuse of corporate assets,"  Princess Helene broke down in front of the investigators.  They showed her details of Gaubert's visits to Switzerland to retrieve "suitcases full of cash."   The princess swore to the police that she knew nothing about Cactus, and had only signed the documents through her husband while on a vacation in the Bahamas in August 2001.

The finca and swimming pool in Nilo are now for sale.

According to Paris Match, Princess Helene was the center of attention on September 22, when she attended the opening of the Mandarin Oriental, a luxury hotel on the Rue de Faubourg, in Paris. She was quickly surrounded by the chic crowd. Some want to ask her questions, others just want to watch the heroine of a state scandal involving her estranged husband, Thierry Gaubert, a long time friend and supporter of Nicolas Sarkozy.

She speaks about the nine hours she spent with investigators in Nanterre. She did always understand the questions, but was assisted by her lawyers. Helene repeated several times that she was not seeking revenge on her husband or to bring down the government. She had no choice, she said, because she feared that she would be accused of embezzlement.

Gaubert had humiliated her for some years, yet she did not seek revenge. They have been living apart for five years. He continues to live in an apartment overlooking the Bois de Boulogne in Neuilly, and he pays the rent for Helene's more modest apartment in Paris, where she lives with the couple's 14-year-old son, Léopold

In 1988, the French press described the marriage between the princess, a granddaughter of the last king of Italy, and Gaubert, an adviser to the then mayor of Neuilly, Nicolas Sarkozy. The princess played golf and was moved in Paris' social scene with her best friends, Tania de Bourbon-Parma and Hermine de Clermont-Tonnerre. Thierry's father Armand Goldenberg, a dentist, arrived in Paris penniless, after fleeing the anti-semitic persecution in Romania.

Thierry enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle, he drove a Bentley, attended all the best parties, and knew all the right people. Weekends were spent at their country home in Deauville, complete with a swimming pool. They also owned a large home in Colombia.

Their way of life did not surprise Helene, who said she was raised to never discuss money. Her friends describe her as a "simple woman, sometimes fragile." She enjoyed being a hostess. One friend stated that Helene was not "Mata Hari. More like gardening and apple pie."

But she did have the composure to "trap" her husband by taping a conversation between them without his knowledge. Gaubert asked her to lie to the police. "If you talk, you will not see the children. If I sink, you sink, because we are not divorced."

Gaubert is no longer permitted to leave France. He is also forbidden to contact his wife except by text messages.

Princess Helene has "finally cut her ties" with her husband, and a certain lifestyle. The princess is not wealthy in her own right.     Friends believe she will soon file for divorce.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Helene & Serge of Yugoslavia

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Prince Serge of Yugoslavia has been married twice, first to Sophie de Toledo    Although Point de Vue called the marriage as a triumph of love,  Serge's first marriage to Sophie de Toledo didn't last very long.  The engagement party featured family members including Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria Pia and Belgian and Luxembourg cousins.

The Roman Catholic wedding took place on November 30, 1985, at Merlinge, Switzerland, in the presence of Serge's grandmother, Queen Marie José of Italy.  Wedding guests included Archduke Christian of Austria and his wife, Princess Marie Astrid of Luxembourg, Prince Vittorio Emanuele and Princess Marina of Italy, with their young son, Emanuele Filiberto.   The groom's immediate family including Prince Alexander and Princess Maria Pia, and Serge's twin, Princess Helene.  The civil marriage took place earlier, according to Serge's older brother, Prince Michel, who was then living in Palm Beach, working for Sotheby's selling real estate.  Prince Michel was interviewed by the Palm Beach Post during the Prince and Princess of Wales' visit.

The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1986.

In the early years of Princess Helene's marriage to Thierry Gaubert, the couple was featured often in Point de Vue and Paris Match.  An apartment in Paris and a country home in Normandy.    Milena was born on July 8, 1988, at the American Hospital in Versailles.  Her godmother was her great-grandmother, Queen Marie José.

Natasia Marie-José Tania Vanessa Isabelle was born the Clinic Saint Isabelle in Neuilly on February 22, 1991. Princess Helene's second child's first name was a variation of Anastasia.  The other names were for Queen Marie-José, Princess Tania of Bourbon-Parma (Helene's cousin and close friend),  Vanessa (for Prince Serge's then-fiancee, photographer Vanessa von Zitzwitz) and Isabelle for the clinic where the birth took place.

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Prince Serge and Vanessa were engaged for several years but they never married.

Helene and Thierry's youngest child, Léopold Umberto Armand Michel was born at Neuilly on July 19, 1997.  The baptism took place at the family's home in Normandy.  Léopold's godparents were Tania de Bourbon and Nicolas Bazire, who is also involved in the Karachi cash scandal.   Prince Michel de Bourbon-Parma attended this baptism.  Prince Alexander did not.  Perhaps this had something to with the fact that one of the baby's four names is Michel, not Alexander.   Helene does not seem close to her brother, Prince Michael, so it is unlikely that the baby was named for him.

The former Thierry Goldenberg has been charged with various criminal offenses that are now wending his way through the French judicial system.

In 1998, Prince Serge was linked to an international cocaine dealer and was interviewed by police. But it appears that Prince, who was a part of Monaco's jet-set,  was cleared of the charges.   Today, Prince Serge lives in Italy with his second wife, Eleonora Rajneri.    They became engaged in 2003 and were married in a civil ceremony in Monte Carlo on September 18, 2004, in the presence of Prince Emanuele Filiberto and his wife, Clotilde Correau, and other members of the Italian royal family,  Prince Albert of Monaco was also a guest.  All three of Serge's siblings, Princes Dimitri and Michel and Princess Helene, were also present.

The ubiquitous family portrait included the bride and groom with the bride's parents and Princess Maria Pia and Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma.
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 Prince Alexander was not present at the wedding nor the reception.
 Prince Serge was the only member of his branch of the family to attend Crown Prince Alexander's 60th birthday in 2005 in Belgrade.

When Helene married Thierry Gaubert

HRH Princess Helene of Yugoslavia married Thierry Alexandre Gaubert on January 12, 1988 in a civil ceremony at Neuilly-sur-Seine.  The ceremony was performed by Neuilly's then mayor Nicolas Sarkozy.

There would be no religious ceremony as Gaubert was Jewish and divorced.  

The wedding ceremony was limited to family and a few friends, but Helene's father, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, did not attend the ceremony or the reception.  The official family photo included the bride and groom, the groom's parents,  the bride's twin brother, Prince Serge, and the bride's mother, Princess Maria Pia of Italy and Prince Michel of Bourbon-Parma. 

Princess Maria Pia and Prince Michel, who are now married, are said to have become lovers before the birth of the princess' second set of twins.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Milena Gaubert accuses her mother of seeking revenge

Milena Gaubert, the eldest child of Princess Helene of Yugoslavia and Thierry Gaubert, has accused her mother of wanting to exact revenge on her father.   Princess Helene was recently interviewed by the police investigating the Karachi scandal, and her statements  further implicated her estranged husband.

Milena, 23, told reporters: "A few months ago my mother told me she wanted to annoy my father."   She said her mother is suffering from depression.

"When I heard about the witness statements, I immediately realized it was her.  I went home, and ask 'How could you say such stupid things?'  My mother told verbatim: 'I do not care for truth. I want to piss off your father.'"

Milena, a student, said she was "very shocked" by her mother's statements, and she felt she no longer could "hold my peace.  I must speak."   She added that her mother has suffered from depression for many years, and has attempted suicide several times.  French news accounts note that Milena has admitted that she and her mother have not had a good relationship for many years.  Friends of Princess Helene have suggested that Milena and her sister are being guided by their father to "discredit his wife."

Investigators apparently have "numerous documents" to corroborate Helene's statements.   The Europe 1 journalist who interviewed Princess Helene on Saturday described the Princess as a woman who is "calm and composed, smiling," not the "neurotic depressive" described by her eldest daughter.   Helene told the reporter that she had received threats from her daughters, who are "manipulated" by their father.  The children live with Gaubert. 

Milena said her father was unaware that she planned to speak to the press.  "This has gone too far, it is too serious what has happened."  Milena added she had to go public with her comments.   "This is between my mother and I."

Thierry Gaubert, who served as Nicolas Sarkozy's adviser at the Department of the Budget (1993-1995) was indicted on September 21 for the "misuse of corporate assets" by Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke.

Princess Helene's younger daughter, Natasia's telephone conversation with her boyfriend was intercepted by investigators.  She said to him that Gaubert said to her that if "your mother cracks, the whole family jumps.  He said, 'we are in shit.'  My father told my mother: 'no one will help me because everyone is in shit... Sarko, he even wants to help  ... if Sarko does not win in 2012, uh,  really they are all in trouble."   She is supportive of her mother. She also told her boyfriend that investigators found an account in Bahamas set by her father who had signed her mother's name.

Investigators acknowledge that they have evidence that Milena and Natasia have threatened their mother. They also have evidence, including bank account numbers, linking Thierry Gaubert to the Karachi scandal.

Princess Helene was interviewed exclusively by Europe 1 on Saturday.  "I confirm what I said about my husband's travel, especially travel abroad, and coming back with bags.  There was money, but I did not know where the money came from."  She said the travel concerned "my husband and Mr. Takieddine."

She spoke about how she was called to the police.  "I stayed for nine hours.  They had the truth.  They questioned me about the documents they had found during the search.  And much to my surprise, there were documents I signed because I trusted my husband.  These were quite incriminating documents.  I nearly fell off my chair."

She said she did not make the statement out of revenge.  "Not at all.  I'm still married.  I am not yet divorced, and it is not in my interest.  I have no score to settled in the history of my divorce."  She acknowledged the threats.  "Yes, I'm afraid.  I have pressure. I am not very quiet, no."
[Perhaps Milena and Natasia are worried about what will happen to their comfy lifestyle, parties, the last fashions, trips abroad, and so forth, and are not interested in what might turn out to be the truth.]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Princess Helene of Yugoslavia talks to Le Monde

Princess Helene of Yugoslavia has been interviewed by the French newspaper, Le Monde, regarding her statement to the police about her estranged husband, Thierry Gaubert's actions.

She told the reporters that she met her husband in 1987 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, "where we both lived."  She added that she and her husband, Thierry Gaubert, a former advisor to Nicokas Sarkozy, have been separated for five years.

The princess first met Sarkozy through her husband. He was mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine at the time, and Gaubert served as the project manager for communications for Sarkozy.  Gaubert also worked in real estate.

Mayor Sarkozy married Gaubert and Princess Helene in 1988.

Princess Helene said that Sarkozy and her husband were very close.  "We often invited him for dinner, for the weekend.  He called my husband all the time.  Thierry had become indispensable to Sarkozy."

In 1993,  Nicolas Sarkozy asked Gaubert to become his Deputy Chief of Staff.  For Helene, life became "more intense, with constant trips to Bercy.  I was often at the ministry, especially for dinner."

During the 1995 presidential camapign,  Gaubert made numerous trips to Switzerland to obtain cash.

Helene acknowledged that this was true.  "Yes, he told me often, 'I'm going to Switzerland for money.'  He went about it systematically, and would return via London to avoid custom checks at the Franco-Swiss border."

When did the trips begin and for how long, asked the reporter? 

"It is difficult to say precisely.  I am sure it started in the early 1990s.  He went to Switzerland about every two months."   Helene noted that he could not justify the trips, nor would he speak about the amount of money.  He usually brought the money "back in small bags."

Helene also said that Gaubert told her that the money was given to Nicolas Bazire. But when asked if she made the connection with Balladur's presidential campaign, which was being run by Bazire.

"No, not at all.  Of course, I found it a bit strange, but my husband replied: 'It's like that.'  He told me he would explain to me later."

Did your husband cite other names.   "No, only that of Nicolas Bazire," she said.  She added that sometimes her husband went alone to Geneva for the money, and other times, he was accompanied by Ziad Takieddine."

She said she talked to police in September 8 because "I had been called!  I was merely answering police questions.  They showed me the documents proving that they already knew a lot.  I discovered documents signed by my hand.  I could not imagine that the documents were incriminating me.  He used me to open accounts abroad.  I realized that my husband had betrayed me.  It was only at this hearing that I discovered the link with the financing of Balladur.  I was really disgusted."

Helene also spoke of the pressure she had been under. "A lot of pressure and threats from my husband.  It started after his house was searched in July. He expected me to be called by the police.  Then he said, 'If you speak, you will not see your children.  If I sink, you sink with me, because we are not divorced.'  It became imperative that I talk about foreign accounts and remittances."

During her meeting with the police, Helene received a flood of text messages from Gaubert.  And then on September 14, Gaubert called me, saying 'I have something to give you, come down, I am parked in the street.'  Once in the car, he became angry, he was furious. 'What you told the cops, it seems you threw me? You're crazy,  You're going to the asylum.'   I understood he had very accurate information from my statement."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's a boy for the Fürstenbergs

HSH Princess Antonius zu Fürstenberg gave birth to a son on Thursday in Turin.  The baby is the first child for the former Countesss Matilde Borroemo and her husband, Prince Antonius, younger son of the Prince and Princess of Fürstenberg.

The baby is named Karl Egon, which are Fürstenberg family names.

The couple, who lived together in Milan for several years, were married in June.  Prince Antonius, 26, studied Visual Graphics in Italy, while his 28-year-old wife has a degree in agricultural sciences.

The little prince is described as healthy with dark hair and a round head.

Friday, September 23, 2011

New Interview with Prince William

No revenge says Helene's lawyers

Princess Helene of Yugoslavia was not motivated by revenge when she recently spoke to French judge in regard to a police investigation of her estranged husband, Thierry Gaubert.    The couple, who married in 1988 and have three children, separated three years ago.  The princess was able to shed light on 1994-1995, when her husband would travel to Switzerland with large suitcases, and return to France with the suitcases filled with cash.

Helene spent "long hours" with the police on September 8.  Her testimony was kept confidential for several weeks.   One of Gaubert's friends, who learned of Helene's statement called Gaubert to let him know what Helene had said.

Gaubert was incredulous.  He did not want to believe what he was being told.  "It's not Helen who spoke directly to the police," he apparently told his friend.    But Brice Hortefeux, a former interior minister, said that yes, "it was Helene.  She knows.  She was very aware of your activities."  

Taken into policy custody, Gaubert later confirmed, after being confronted with a recording a conversation between his daughter, Natasia, and a friend, he told Natasia that he had "confirmation that the anonymous witness" was his wife, Helene.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

King George arrives in England

September 22, 1941

King George II of the Hellenes arrived in London from South Africa today, reports the Associated Press.  He was met at Euston Station by King George  VI and Queen Elizabeth,  the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and other Cabinet Ministers.
The King was accompanied by his younger brother, Crown Prince Paul.
The Duchess of Kent, the former Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, is King George's cousin.  The king's niece, Princess Alexandra of Greece, and her mother, Princess Aspasia, were also present to welcome the King to England.

Greece and the English: British Diplomacy and the Kings of Greece (International Library of Historical Studies)

Princess George of Greece converts

 September 22, 1911

Princess George of Greece, the former Princess Marie Bonaparte, has "followed the example of her sister-in-law, Crown Princess Sophie, and has converted to the Greek Orthodox Church, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.   Princess George is the daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte, part-owner of Monte Carlo's public casinos.

The Princess, raised in the Roman Catholic church, recently decided to convert to the "Orthodox Greek rite, to which her husband, as well as her two children, belong."

It is "astonishing" that Princess George "should have refrained from taking this step before," as she did not obtain a dispensation from the Roman Catholic church when she married Prince George, a member of another religious denomination.   In the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church,  her marriage is not valid, and she has been unable to receive the sacraments.

Marie could have received a dispensation for the marriage, but only if her husband had agreed to raise their children as Roman Catholics.  Prince George could not do this as the Greek constitution requires that "all princes and princesses of the reigning house, born as such, shall be brought up as members of  the Greek Orthodox church."    

The papacy has been strict "in the matter of mixed marriages among the sovereign houses of Europe since its dispute with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Romania.    Crown Prince Ferdinand, as all members of the house of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, is Roman Catholic, while Crown Princess Marie, a British princess, is a member of the Church of England.  

Pope Leo XIII granted a dispensation for this marriage on the understanding that "the children should be brought up Roman Catholics.   The pledges were violated and the Crown Prince's children have been raised in the Orthodox church.

Belgian queen is not well

September 22, 1901

Queen Marie Henriette of Belgium's health is "not altogether satisfactory," according to the Brussels correspondent of the Times.   There has been a "recurrence of the fainting fits," which she suffered from last spring.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Princess Helene spills the beans on estranged husband

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... or sings like a canary.  The princess is separated from her husband. Thierry Gaubert, who has been detained by French police in connection with the 2002 Karachi bombing case.

Gaubert has been friends with French President Nicolas Sarkozy for more than than 30 years.  He is also awaiting judgment "in another case of frauds and misuse of public funds." 

Princess Helene and Gaubert are not divorced ... yet.  The princess, who is the official daughter of Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia and Princess Maria Pia of Bourbon-Parma, has told the police that her husband went to Switzerland with the noted arms dealer and middleman Ziad Takieddine "to withdraw cash from secret accounts."   She gave evidence on September 8 stating that her husband accompanied Takieddine several times to obtain "cases of cash," which were delivered to Nicolas Bazire, head of LVMH.  Bazire was Sarkozy's best man at his 2008 wedding to Carla Bruni.

The Princess was required by French law to testify.  Her lawyers told reporters that thier client had no desire to harm anyone, and regrets the suggestion that the princess' comments wer motivated to bring charges against her husband.

The princess is Gaubert's second wife.  His first marriage to Diane  Barrière was dissolved by divorce.

Princess Helene and Gaubert were married on January 12, 1988 in a civil ceremony in Neuilly-sur-Seine.  The wedding ceremony was conducted by the mayor of Neuilly,  Nicolas Sarkozy.

The couple have three children, Milena, Natasia and Leopold.   Helene and her twin brother, Prince Serge are said to be the children of Prince Michel de Bourbon-Parma whose relationship with Princess Maria Pia began in the early 1960s.

Two Queens off to Red China

September 21, 1961

Dowager Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, who is 85, and her 55-year-old daughter, former Queen Marie Jose of Italy, departed today in a Soviet airliner for a "three-week private visit" to Red China, reports the Associated Press.

The two women were invited by the Communist Chinese Women's Association.

Crown Princess Frederika accepts sponsorship

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September 21, 1941

Crown Princess Frederika of Greece "has accepted sponsorship for Greek participation" in a demonstration of the "cultures of ten of the occupied countries of Europe and Asia.  The exhibit will be held at the eighteenth annual Women's National Exposition at the Grand Central Palace Hotel, during the week of October 27.

The Crown Princess is now in South Africa with her husband, Crown Prince Paul. They fled to South Africa after the German invasion of Greece.   She will be represented by Mrs. Kimon Diamantopoulos, the wife of the Greek minister in Washington, D.C., reports the New York Times.

Crown Princess Martha of Norway, who is now living in the United States with her three children, will be "the sponsor of the Norwegian exhibit.

The other nations that will be represented in the exhibit are China, Poland, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and Free France.

Secret operation for Marie

September 21, 1931

A "carefully disguised secret" regarding Dowager Queen Marie's health was made public today, reports the Associated Press.   The Queen underwent a "a serious operation" in July "immediately after the marriage" of her youngest daughter, Princess Ileana.

The Queen's "symptoms were so threatening" that surgeons decided to perform the operation at the royal family's summer home at Sinaia.  An operating table and "seventeen cases of surgical instruments" were taken to the castle for the operation.

Franz Joseph washes his hands with the Coburg marriage

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September 21, 1905

Emperor Franz Joseph has given up all attempts to bring about a reconciliation between Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife, Princess Louise, who has refused to leave her lover, Captain Mattaich.    The couple are living in Paris, and the Princess has refused to return to the marital home, reports the Marquise de Fontenoy. 

The Austrian emperor has washed his hands "once and for all time" of Louise, and he has asked the grand master of his court, Prince Rudolf of Liechtenstein to make a formal demand for the princess to return the insignia of the Order of the Starry Cross.  She has been notified that her "name has been stricken of the roster."

The princess is not the first royal to be removed from the Order.  The Countess of Montignoso, the divorced wife of the King of Saxony, and an archduchess by birth,  "has been forced to surrender her insignia" as well. 

But Princess Louise, the eldest daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, had been permitted to retain "the order until last week," as she had been declared insane when she ran of with her lover and their "joint frauds by raising money on forged acceptances."    In the last few months, French medical experts appointed by the Austrian court have declared that the princess was not insane, that the original diagnosis was wrong, and she should never have been committed to an asylum.  

In other words,  Princess Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is "now entirely responsible for her actions."

But it was not until her determination to remain with her lover that Franz Joseph decided to take action, and strip her of her membership in the Order of the Starry Cross.  Franz Joseph had been very patient with Louise,  and she "owes her liberty and her allowance" from her husband, which she received after she escaped from the lunatic asylum, to  Franz Joseph's influence.

Franz Joseph, however, has had enough with Louise's behavior, and he has taken action.

Shot fired at Archduke Friedrich

September 21, 1901

A poacher shot at Archduke Friedrich of Austria today, according to a special dispatch sent from Vienna to London and reported by the New York Times.

The Archduke, a cousin of Emperor Franz Joseph, was at his country seat in Hungary, when the shooting took place. The bullet "traversed the Archduke's sleeve," but he was not injured.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Duke of Gloucester's wedding date set

September 20, 1935

The Duke of Gloucester and the Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott will be married at Westminster Abbey on November 6, according to an official announcement tonight at Balmoral Castle, where King George V and Queen Mary are staying.

King George V returns to Buckingham Palace on September 28 to attend a Privy Council meeting, where he will give formal consent to the marriage.

Westminster Abbey officials hae been "informed of the date and preliminary outlines of the ceremony are already under discussion."   

Lady Alice is a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry.  She is an "arden sportswoman and an accomplished artist."   The Duke of Gloucester is the third son of King George and Queen Mary.  He has decided on an army career, and he has already passed his "examination for the rank of major," and will be promoted once there is a vacancy.  Presently, he is serving as a captain in the Sifty-fifth Lancers.

A Romanov update

September 10, 1917

The Dowager Empress Marie of Russia "is critically ill with influenza and an affection of the lungs," reports the Marquise de Fontenoy.  Empress Marie has been staying at Ai-Todor, the Crimean residence of her son-in-law,  Grand Duke Alexander, since the "revolution last spring."   This news was followed by an "official announcement by the provisional government," which stated that the ex-emperor and his wife are "prisoners of state," and are now at Tobolsk.  The announcement added that "there no restriction whatever is placed upon the liberty of their children, who have accompanied" their parents to Siberia "of their own free will.

The statement was issued by "Dictator Kerensky, to relieve himself of the reproach of his native land, and especially abroad,"  of having banished "daintily reared young women," and the "terribly delicate and always ailing 13 year old" only son Alexis, to "so horrible and pestilential a penal settlement as Tobolsk."

The former tsarevitch  is unlikely to survive a winter in Tobolsk, and, thus, the provisional government is "seeking to disclaim and repudiate any responsibility in the event of his death."

The government "probably would be very glad" to allow Nicholas II's daughters and their younger brother to "leave Tobolsk," for the Crimea or the French Riviera or Algiers.   But for the fallen emperor and his wife, who is very much an invalid,  to be "condemned to the separation from their children, and especially their boy, in whom they are so entirely wrapped,"  they might become "objects of great sympathy even on the part of those who regard them as responsible for the revolution."

Martial law threatened for Finland

September 20, 1905

 Nicholas II of Russia has threatened to "place Finland under martial law if political assassinations continue in the Grand Duchy," according to the latest dispatch sent to the New York Times.   The Emperpr's attitude is "likelu to widen the breach between the ruler and the people," who remain angry at the "violation of of their constitutional rights."

Nicholas, however, "holds pronounced views" as the Grand Duke of Finland, and "thinks it is his bounden duty to exercise stern repression of political crimes."

Edward and Alexandra are in Sweden

September 20, 1901

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria arrived at noon today at Helsingborg, Sweden, on the royal yacht, Osborne.   King Oscar II of Sweden received them at "the landing stage," reports the New York Times.  

The royal party was driven to Sofiero castle, where they were met by cheering crowds.

Monday, September 19, 2011

William and Catherine visit Balmoral

This was Catherine's first visit to Balmoral as a member of the Royal Family

Surely, the funniest lines: 

"Royal author Ingrid Seward said the holiday in Scotland would also allow Kate to meet all the staff at Balmoral in preparation for her possible future role as mistress of the house.
Miss Seward, editor in chief of Majesty, said:"It is an important visit in many ways - not least because The Queen will want Kate to meet all the staff - one day she will be responsible for them. There will be a three-line whip on to introduce her to everyone. "

By the time, Catherine is the Queen Consort (and her husband the King, who will be the owner of Balmoral), one assumes that the current staff will either be dead or very old!

Bulletin: Grand Duke Constantine dying

September 19, 1889

The New York Times is reporting that Grand Duke Constantine, uncle of the Russian emperor Alexander III, is dying.  The Grand Duke "suffered a stroke of paralysis" two months.  He remains conscious but is unable to speak.

Grand Duke Constantine Nicolaeivitch was born on September 9, 1827, the second son of Tsar Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra, who was born Princess Charlotte of Prussia.

On September 11, 1848, Grand Duke Constantine married Princess Alexandra of Saxe-Altenburg.   She converted to Russian Orthodoxy and took the name Alexandra Iosifovna.   They had six children,  Grand Duke Nicholas, now in exile in Tashkent,  Grand Duchess Olga, who is married to King George of the Hellenes,  Grand Duchess Vera, the widow of Duke Eugen of Württemberg, Grand Duke Konstantin, Grand Duke Dimitri, and Grand Duke Vyacheslav, who in 1879 at the young age of sixteen.

The Hohenlohes narrowly escape death in rail crash

September 19,  1899

The Hereditary Prince and Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg "narrowly escaped death" as they traveled by train to Balmoral to visit Queen Victoria, reports the New York Times.  The young couple were traveling on a train that collided with another train at the Perth station.   

The royal saloon car "was half telescoped," and the Prince and Princess, who were in the back of the car "suffered only a severe shaking," and they continued their journey to Balmoral. 

There were no serious injuries.

The Hereditary Princess is the former Princess Alexandra of Edinburgh, the third daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  She married Prince Ernst on April 20, 1896.

Royal Marriage Market Slumps due to loss of thrones

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September 19, 1931

The Associated Press reports today on the fall of the "Royal Marriage Market," as the "scrapping of crowns, which has been going on for twenty years, has left a lugubrious situation" among Europe's marriageable princesses.

At this time, "two or three dozen" princesses are "eligible to be wives of kings or o princes who will someday be monarchs."  But the "marriage balance sheet" often makes these young princesses cry.

The only two eligible princes are the "globe-trotting but non-marrying Prince of Wales, the heir apparent to the British throne, and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Crown Prince Michael of Romania and Crown Prince Peter of Yugoslavia are future candidates, but far too young for marriage at this time.  Michael will turn ten on October 25 and Peter celebrates his eighth birthday on September 6.

Other European princes are "either married or vacationing abroad in a rather permanent fashion, living off the jewels of another era."

Some are even working in London and Paris as taxi drivers, interpreters, or shoe salesmen.  

The sad state of affairs for Europe's princesses was made known earlier this year when Princess Ileana of Romania married an archduke "without a dukedom." Her two older sisters, Elisabeth and Marie, married kings.

Only eleven thrones are left in Europe: Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia,  Romania, Albania, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. 

The last two princesses "to cross the threshold of throne rooms before the doors slammed" were King Albert's only daughter, Princess Marie Jose of Belgium, who "won the hand" of Crown Prince Umberto of Italy, and the latter's sister, Giovanna, who married King Boris III of Bulgaria.

Princess Astrid of Sweden preceded Marie Jose, by marrying the latter's brother, Crown Prince Leopold.  Astrid's sister, Martha, is the wife of Crown Prince Olav of Norway.

Princess Xenia's lingerie sets record price

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September 19, 1921

Princess Xenia of Russia's lingerie is the "mostly costly underwear produced in Paris" since the war.   The order was completed today.

The young Princess Xenia is soon to be married to William B. Leeds,  son of the late tin magnate, William Leeds and the former Mrs. Leeds, known as the "million dollar widow."

The "daintiest undergarment of all," which Xenia will wear on her wedding day, is made of "Alencon late and is worth a king's ransom."  The cost of the lingerie is about "hundreds of thousands of francs.

Princess Xenia is the younger daughter of the late Grand Duke George of Russia and Princess Marie of Greece.  Grand Duchess Marie and her two daughters were in England when war broke out in 1914, and they did not return to Russia.  Grand Duke George was killed by the Bolsheviks in January 1919.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Death of Alexander de Torre Tasso

Prince Alexander Torre "Sasha" Tasso

"Prince Alexander Torre Tasso AWENDAW, SC - Alexander Torre Tasso, also known as Sasha, died Monday, August 29, 2011 at home, after a long illness at the age of 71. He was predeceased by his father, Prince Louis Torre Tasso; his mother, Fannie Goodyear Streeter; his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Bradley Goodyear; his paternal grandparents, Princess Marie de Ligne and Prince Alexander Torre Tasso. Sasha was born in the wartime Czech Republic on February 26, 1940. He later escaped to the United States with his mother and father through Switzerland, and subsequently sailed to New York on the S.S. Gripsholm, arriving days before his fifth birthday. He grew up in Buffalo and Cooperstown, New York and spent the summers with his father in Europe visiting his large family there. He attended the Nichols School in Buffalo, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Syracuse University. He was a man of immense natural charm, spontaneous cordiality, impeccable manners, saying thank you effusively when more often than not it was the other party who should have been thanking him. Sasha will always be known for his ability to tell imaginative and entertaining stories and anecdotes. He laughed readily at himself, was a fiercely loyal friend, and was passionate about sports, old western movies, all while enjoying a nice glass of red wine. He adored his family, and was always doing for others. Sasha was survived by his wife, Connie; his son, Alex (Kim); two daughters, Louise Hoare (James) and Helen. He is also survived by his brothers, Daniel Streeter (Nancy) and Bradley Streeter. His grandchildren are Teddy and Nathan. His stepchildren are Jep Cobb (Cammie); Wade Cobb (Kim), and; Aimee Coker (Clark, Jr.). His step grandchildren are Helen Cobb; James Cobb, and; Nathan Cobb; Clark Coker, III and Blacksher Coker. He is also survived by numerous cousins and close friends. He will be greatly missed by all. The family will be receiving guests on Thursday, September 1, 2011 from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at their home located at 4317 Caledonia Lane, Awendaw, South Carolina 29429, and there will be a brief service at 6:30 p.m. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR MOUNT PLEASANT CHAPEL. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rein And Shine,, a therapeutic riding program, at 5282 Bedaw Farm Drive, Awendaw, SC 29429 or Odyssey Hospice, 5965 Core Road, Suite 603, North Charleston, SC 29406. "

Sasha's mother, Fannie, spoke about how she and her young son were repatriated to the United States in 1945 by the Red Cross.  Her "stirring account" before a "record crowd which nearly filled the auditorium" at East Springfield High School in Cooperstown, New York.  Her talk was part of a fundraising effort by the Red Cross.

Mrs. Tasso and her son Alexander were living in Czechoslavakia, and found themselves as refugees as the Soviets moved into the country.   She kept her audience "spellbound" as she spoke in detail about what "the Red Cross did for her and her family" on the long journey home.  The Red Cross provided food, clothes and toiletries for her family.   

She also mentioned the "fine work done by the Red Cross workers" who treated the wounded American soldiers aboard the Gripsholm.   The Red Cross' work continued after the ship docked in New York.  In her case, the Red Cross brought her and her young son by car to the hotel where her parents were waiting for them.    She had "only high praise" for the Red Cross in helping her "so much on her way back from war torn Europe."

Fannie Goodyear married Prince Louis Della Torre e Tasso at St. Joseph's Church in Buffalo, New York, on June 10, 1939.     Only immediate family and "a few friends"were present, reported the New York Times. 

The newlyweds "sailed shortly after the ceremony to spend the Summer in travel on the Continent."   Fanny gave birth to Alexander Frederick Bradley on February 26, 1940 at Schloss Mzell, not even nine months after the wedding.  The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1948.

 Alexander married Martha Singer at Camillus, New York, on September 6, 1966.  The couple had three children: Louise Jeannette (Mrs. James Hoare), Alexander and Helen, a Special Olympian.
Prince Ludwig Almerich Lamoral Alexander Konstantin Maximilian  Lucian was born on October 5, 1908, a son of the Prince Alexander of Thurn und Taxis, Duke of Castel di Duino and his first wife, Princess Marie de Ligne.  They were divorced in 1919. [ Prince Alexander married the former Miss Helen Holbrook-Walker of Detroit, Michigan, who was the second wife of James Hazen Hyde, the former president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society. }

  Prince Ludwig died on on March 25, 1985 at Camillus, New York. He had been a resident of Gardiner, Maine.  His older brother, Prince Raimund, succeeded to the ducal title in 1937.   He married Princess Eugenie of Greece and Denmark in 1949.   Their son, Carlo, the current Duke of Castel Duino, is Sasha Torre e Tasso's first cousin.  Ludwig's younger sister, Margarete, married Prince Gaetan of Bourbon-Parma in 1931.  They were divorced in 1959.

Fanny died on January 24, 1975 in Belleair, Florida, after a "brief illness."  She was survived by her husband, Daniel B. Streeter, and the mother of Alexandre Torre Tasso, Daniel W. Streeter and Bradley G. Streeter.  Her mother, Jeannette Goodyear (nee Bissell) died on November 18, 1983 at her home "Cary Mede" in Springfield Center, New York.

The Goodyears were a prominent Buffalo family.

Bradley Goodyear was the son of Charles Waterhourse Goodyear and Ella Portia Conger.  The family fortune was made in lumber and railroads.

Is Alexandra going to marry an Irish peer

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September 16, 1961

Britain's popular Princess Alexandra of Kent may soon become engaged to an Irish peer, reports the Associated Press.  The lucky peer is 28-year-old Lord O'Neill, a Protestant representative of the landed gentry with a flair for industry, a modern man in a traditional setting."

Rumors about an impending engagement announcement started when Lord O'Neill bought a ring, worth $19,600 from the same jeweler "who sold the duke of Kent an engagement ring for his bride."

The Duke of Kent is Princess Alexandra's older brother.   They are first cousins to Queen Elizabeth II.

Princess Alexandra and Lord O'Neill are "vacationing on the whisky distilling island of Islay off Scotland."   Reporters, who tried to call the isolated island, received the following message:  "The number is temporarily out of service -- at the request of the subscriber."

Those who called Kensington Palace, where the princess lives with her mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent,  were told that "she is on holiday."  A secretary added: "I know nothing of any impending engagement."

Princess Alexandra and Lord O'Neill are staying with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Morrison.     They have known each other for many years.  The princess attended school with Lord O'Neill's sister, Fionn.

Raymond Arthur Clanaboy O'Neil, 4th Baron O'Neil, succeeded his father in 1944.  He owns estates in Ireland and Leicestershire, as well as a townhouse in a "fashionable London area."  He also "runs a chain of garages," and is one of the original investors in commercial television in Northern Ireland.

Doctors considering radium treatment for Queen marie

September 16, 1931

Dowager Queen Marie of Romania's physicians  "held a consultation today to decide whether to try radium treatments."  The other option is to "proceed with an operation," reports the Associated Press.  
The Queen, who is staying at Bran, has "gathered some strength."

Former Saxony Princess and husband separate

September 16, 1911

This dispatch was sent by telgraph from Rome to Clifden, Ireland, and thence by wireless to the New York Times.

Enrico Toselli, the "young Florentine musical conductor," is seeking a legal separation from his wife, former Princess Louise of Saxony, whom he married in 1907.    Louise's recently published autobiography, My Own Story, is "too much for him," and he has "abandoned his discreet reserve" and has poured out "all kind of revelations and complaints" about his wife.

This new attitude "makes him almost the champion" of his wife's first husband, King Friedrich August  of Saxony.     He says her book will "dig an abyss," between her and the House of Saxony.

Signore Toselli said:  "The real truth is that she, whom I shall now call the Countess di Montignoso, arranged to write and publish her memoirs, not inspired by any high motive, but as a low, vulgar speculation, because she is the spoiler of her own fortunes -- and those of others, if she can lay her hands on them.
"I was depicted as a man who lived at my wife's expenses, while, as my poor parents can testify, I suffered the greatest sacrifice for her.  I lost all I had, but all my efforts for her were vain. She spent like a prodigal.

"After our marriage in London, we started on a wedding trip in an automobile, but on the way the machine was sequestered by her creditors, for she had, in  few days, and without my knowledge of over $10,000.

"Four months had not passed after our marriage when my life with her became unbearable.  The trouble was aggravated by several German ladies' maids, who she insisted on keeping with her, sharing her meals with them.  These women, thorough German types of their class, thoughtless and ill-mannered, displayed the greatest disdain for me and everything Italian, openly hinting that I liked to receive and spend German gold, the truth being that I have ruined myself and my parents in order to be financially independent of my wife."

Toselli has asked that the couple's son, Filiberto, "shall not be left" with the Countess, " who, by her actions, proved herself unfit to give the child proper education."

Before he filed the suit, Toselli believed that there would be a "possible reconciliation."   He exchanged telegrams with his wife, "which make interesting reading."    He expected Louise, an archduchess by birth, to abide by the Italian social code, where a "wife must always follow her husband.    The Countess di Montignoso was in London, arranging for the publication of her book, when she received the telegram from her husband, who asked her to return "immediately to the conjugal roof."

Louise replied: "If you wish, I can send you the baby."   Toselli answered, asking that their son be "sent to him at once, accompanied by a trustworthy person."  Instead of receiving further news regarding their son,  Toselli received a telegram from Louise stating that she was going to Brussels to see M. Giron, her children's former tutor.   She had fled from Dresden with Giron.

She asked Toselli to settle in Brussels with Giron.   This was "the last straw," and Toselli took "immediate action" by obtaining a legal separation.

Oh Dear, Mike Tindall caught embracing a blonde woman ...

and it is not his wife, Zara.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alexander and Marie spend their anniversary in a fishing hamlet

September 15, 1891

Twenty-five years ago in a "fisherman's hamlet called Jules Bockshusen," Emperor Alexander III and Empress Marie "first plighted their troth."   Today, the "imperial couple had the romantic idea to celebrate the silver anniversary in the same hamlet," reports the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The little poor fishing village is about one mile from Fredensborg castle, and only a few miles from Elsinore,  made famous by Shakespeare's Hamlet.

The couple celebrated in similar manner to the original betrothal.  In 1866, the then Tsarevitch and Princess Dagmar of Denmark "was celebrated in the simplest way under a tent erected on the beach."  After the meal,  King Christian IX of Denmark left the tent and addressed the fishermen, "clustered around," and asked them to drink to the health of his new son-in-law and his beloved daughter."

Today, on the same spot in the same village "a tent was erected" and Alexander and Marie "dined surrounded only by their family and fisher-folk of the place.    The morning "was lovely," and by "special request," the Imperial couple were left alone  to "their innocent enjoyment." 

Empress Marie looked happy and smiled "through her tears," and leaned upon her husband as he spoke to the fishermen, and the "simple affair ended as quietly as it begun."

Due to grief, Leopld will move

September 15, 1935

King Leopold III of the Belgians, accompanied by his mother, Dowager Queen Elisabeth, today left for the estate of Duchess Theodor in Bavaria for " a week's rest to regain his health after his recent tragic accident," reports the Associated Press.

Princes Axel of Denmark, sister of the late Queen Astrid, is carrying for the King's three children.   A spokesman for the king said the family will move to the castle at Laeken because Stuyvenberg Palace reminds  Leopold "too insistently of his wife, killed in an auto accident in Switzerland."

Crown Prince Umberto reaches his majority

September 15, 1925

Crown Prince Umberto of Italy celebrated his twenty-first birthday today.  According to the Italian constitution, he is now a member of the Italian senate.   Umberto is the youngest member of the Senate, as all "others must be forty years old to be eligible."     He will be sworn in at the next session,

According to the New York Times, the prince "spent his birthday quietly" with family at Racconigi," where the arrangements are being made for his sister, Princess Mafalda's wedding to Prince Philipp of Hesse.   The princess' wedding will be "celebrated in strict privacy" at the royal chapel at Racconigi.  The guests will include about a half a dozen royal princes, "representing as many reigning royal houses."  About one hundred guests are expected to attend the wedding.

Now that he has reached his majority,  the Crown Prince will soon take up residence "in a royal palace at Turin with his own personal household."

Grand Duke Michael shows signs of insanity

September 15, 1917

Since the transfer of former Emperor Nicholas II to Tobolsk, his brother, former Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovitch, has been "showing signs of mental derangement and bombarding the Government with requests for various privileges," reports the New York Times.

The Grand Duke has asked "for permission to go abroad to take a care."  He has also made demands for a trial of two officers "on whose evidence he accused of complicity" in a monarchist conspiracy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Prince Christian of Denmark in London

September 14, 1895

Prince Christian, eldest son of the Crown Prince of Denmark,  is reported to be engaged to Princess Maud of Wales.   The New York Times notes, however, the the young prince is "neither so handsome nor so well-endowed as his younger brother, Prince Carl."  But he is "certainly more popular" than Prince Carl.   Christian is said to be "unaffected, kindly, and simple, an excellent son."  He stands at six feet six inches, and is an "enthusiastic horseman," although owing to his height,  he sits on his horse in "somewhat awkward fashion."

Crowds cheer the newly engaged couple

September 14, 1961

More than 100,000 Athenians "turned out tonight" to welcome home Princess Sophia of Greece and her fiance, Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, reports the New York Times.   The couple were returning from Switzerland, where their engagement was officially announced yesterday.

No further details about the wedding have been released.

Don Jaime to live in Rome

September 14, 1945

Don Jaime de Borbon y Battenberg, the older brother of the pretender to the Spanish throne,  arrived today in Bologna, Italy, from Switzerland, reports the New York Times.  He is expected to arrive in Rome tomorrow.

Don Jaime, 37, renounced his "dynastic claims twelve years ago."   He and his wife, Donna Emanuela, and their two sons, Alfonso and Gonzalo, will stay with Emanuela's family at the Ruspoli palace.

The Spanish Embassy in Rome  stated today that Don Jaime's decision to move to the Italian capital  has "no political reasons whatsoever."