Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Duke Adolf Friedich: suicide

March 7, 1918

The mystery surrounding the death of Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz has "now been cleared up and proves to be a remnant of true German mediaevalism, reports the New York Times by special cable from The Hague."

Many years ago, the Duke and his brother, Karl Borwin, agreed that "the latter should marry and continue the family," and Adolf Friedrich could "devote his life to painting."

Adolf Friedrich had married a woman "not of princely rank."  Unfortunately, for the the family,  Prince Karl Borwin was killed in a motor accident.  He was unmarried.  The next line to the throne is the late Duke's second cousin, Carl Michael, but he is now excluded from the succession as he became a naturalized Russian citizen.  Carl Michael serves as a General in the Russian army.

Shortly after the World War broke out, family members tried to force Duke Adolf Friedrich to divorce his morganatic wife, and marry a Princess.   Duke Adolf Friedrich, devoted to his wife, refused to even consider a divorce.   German newspapers have asserted that the wife is also strenuously opposed to a divorce.

The German press are also reporting that the Mecklenburg-Strelitz government continued to force the the issue, and the "situation preyed on the Duke's mind."   In public he appeared to be a "gay, debonair man of the world."  But privately, "he led a more and more lonely life."  The Duke would wander about "the woods of his estate at night," and finally, "he lost his reason and committed suicide.'

One small Mecklenburg newspaper published a statement to "dissipate many false rumors."   This newspaper stated that Duke Adolf Friedrich did intended to become engaged to a "Princess of a German house whom he loved," but he faced numerous obstacles in "breaking of connections with a person of lower rank, and that this affected his reason."

Strelitzers want to remain "citizens of an independent federal state," and do not wish to be "amalgamated with the Dukedom of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, an event which would ensue if the nearest heir were not allowed to succeed."

It appears that there is no real opposition to Duke Carl Michael succeeding to the throne, which would allow Strelitzers to "maintain the independence which they have enjoyed for more than 200 years."

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