Thursday, October 4, 2012

Russian prince to marry an heiress

October 4, 1912

The New York Times reports today on an engagement that will cause the "tongues of aristocratic European society to wage."

Prince Alexander Georgevich Romanovsky, Duke of Leuchtenberg, is engaged to marry Miss Marie Anna von Friedlander-Fuld, the only child of the German "coal King" Fritz von Friedlander-Fuld

Miss von Friedlander-Fuld is said to be Berlin's "greatest heiress."

Formal confirmation of the engagement "was temporarily withheld," but the Times has learned on "indisputable authority" that the marriage has been "definitely arranged" and will take place in Rome in November.

This will be the "first case on record" of a girl of Jewish ancestry marrying a "Prince of royal blood."

Prince Alexander, 31, succeeded to the headship of his family earlier this year following the death of his father, Prince George Maximilianovich Romanovsky.    George was the seventh child of Prince Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia.  Maximilian and his children were granted the rank of Imperial Highness and the title of Prince or Princess Romanovsky.  Alexander is the only child of the late Prince and his first wife, Duchess Therese of Oldenburg.

He is a nephew of the Grand Duke of Oldenburg.   His stepmother, Princess Anastasia, is the daughter of King Nicholas of Montenegro, and the sister of Queen Elena of Italy.  Anastasia and Prince George were divorced in 1906, and she is now married to Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia.

Miss von Friedlander-Fuld will inherit a fortune estimated  between $25,000,000 to $30,000,000.  Her father is one of Germany's self-made men.  He was born in Silesia, the son of a coal dealer.  He inherited his father's "bankrupt business" when he was a young man.  Within a few years, he was able to parlay his own business acumen into a business that now dominates Germany's coal market.

Twenty-five years ago, he married a young Dutch Jewish woman from Amsterdam, the daughter of a banker.  Several years after their marriage, they converted to Roman Catholicism and took the name Friedlanderfuld as their new surname.

Herr von Friedlander-Fuld has many made "generous contributions to public and philanthropic enterprises," and, in 1906, Kaiser Wilhelm "bestowed the dignity of Prussian nobility on the family. Since then, the family's "social star has been slowly ascendant."

Their home on the Unter den Linden is "one of the most splendid in Berlin," and is the scene of entertaining on "a lavish scale."   The house includes a "glass-covered tennis court" where Crown Prince Wilhelm and others come to "congregate in the winter."

Miss von Friedlander-Fuld, nearly 20, is said to be a "pretty brunette, rather small and slender." She is an accomplished equestrienne, linguist, musician, and huntswoman."

Although Nicholas II has given his consent, the marriage will be morganatic and the Princess will not be allowed to "exercise the privileges of an imperial highness in Russia."

[The engagement did not last long.  The news of the end of the engagement was made public on October 29.  Nicholas II would not give his assent to the marriage because of the bride's Jewish ancestry, although she was raised Roman Catholic.  Alexander was told he would lose his "rank, title and fortune" if he married Maria Anna.  He would also face expulsion from Russia and the Orthodox church.

Alexander acquiesced to the Emperor's demands.    According to the Vancouver Daily Province, Prince Alexander was "deeply in love" with the heiress and was now in "Crimea eating his heart out with disappointment and anguish," according to a friend of the couple.


phoebes in santa fe said...

Interesting. According to Wiki, they never married, but he married someone else in 1917.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

I hope to do an update ster this month when the engagement is broken

phoebes in santa fe said...

Thanks for the response. I don't check in here everyday - though you are bookmarked - and would it be possible to give me a headsup when you post it? Thanks.