Friday, June 7, 2013

Diamond Anniversary: the Mecklenburgs

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 June 7, 1903

The Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz will celebrate their Diamond Anniversary on June 28.   The Marquise de Fontenoy notes that this this celebration "cannot fail to arouse a good deal of sympathetic interest."

The Grand Duchess is a member of the British Royal Family.  She is the sister of the Duke of Cambridge and the aunt of the Princess of Wales, whose mother was the Grand Duchess' younger sister, Princess Mary Adelaide.

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 Princess Augusta of Cambridge married the then Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Streltiz, her first cousin, at Buckingham Palace on June 28, 1848.  The Archbishop of Canterbury officiated at the ceremony.

The Grand Duke is "quite blind."  He lost his sight forty-five years ago "through the carelessness of his only son," then a young child.  But the Hereditary Grand Duke's life has been "overshadowed by the sorrow" for the awful feeling that he was responsible for his father's blindness.

The Grand Duke is said to have "many American friends," as he spends "a prolonged stay" in Homburg each summer, where he can mix "freely in society."  He is usually accompanied by an aide de camp, and most people do not realize that the "aged sovereign is blind, as " courteously acknowledging the salutations of people whom he cannot possibly see."

The Grand Duke, described as "old and frail," recently issued a "pathetic proclamation" that owing to his poor health, he and his wife will be "compelled" to celebrate their diamond anniversary "quietly and in the utmost privacy."

Grand Duchess Augusta is in far better health.  She is said to be "cheery and [a] handsome old lady." She spends a good portion of each year in London, where she owns a house in Belgravia.

The couple have only one son, and several grandchildren.  One granddaughter, Duchess Jutta, is the wife of the Crown Prince of Montenegro. She converted to the Orthodox faith.   Her sister, Duchess Marie, is married to Count Georges de Jametel, the son of a very "wealthy French patent medicine manufacturer.  The de Jametel title was bestowed by the Pope.

The Count and Countess de Jametel live in France.  The marriage is morganatic but tolerated due to the young duchess' "almost inconceivable indiscretion with a groom,  the victim of a scandal" exploited by the German newspapers.

Thus, Duchess Marie could not remain in Germany after her marriage.

The palace servant was paid off with "a considerable sum of money," and exiled to the United States.  Unfortunately for Duchess Marie's family, the young man, whose surname is Hecht, soon returned to Germany.  He opened a beer garden in Hamburg, and exploited his connections with the grand ducal household by hoisting the Mecklenburg-Strelitz flag above his establishment on all major holidays until authorities intervened.


Rex said...

Marlene, Duchess Marie was seduced by this groom wasn't she? I read that her parents disowned her, and that Queen Mary of England, who was her cousin, took her publicly riding in her carriage as a show of support. I think I read too, that her marriage to de Jametel didn't last. Do you know what happened to her and the child she had to this groom?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Mary was her father's first cousin. She was duchess of York at the time. She was never queen of England. The Pope Hennessy bio has details about this. Infanta Eulalia brought the couple together as she was Jametel's lover. Marie's brother was in a duel because of Jametel. Ther got divorced, and Marie married a prince of lippe. The child was given up for adoption, most likely

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

If you use the search box. You may find other reports on Marie.