Friday, February 6, 2015

The "grasping" Duke of Orleans waits for father-in-law's death

Archduchess Maria Dorothea renounces her rights to the Austro-Hungarian throne (at her wedding)

the wedding of Archduchess Maria Dorothea of Austria and the Duke of Orleans

February 6, 1905

The Duke of Orléans "possesses a very large fortune," which he inherited from his father and from his granduncle, the late Duke of d'Aumale,  remains "just as a grasping" as his late great grandfather, King Louis Philippe, according to the Marquis de Fontenoy.

The Marquise described the late King as the "stockjobber French king of inglorious memory."

The Duke of Orleans has had "many quarrels" with his father-in-law, Archduke Josef of Austria about money.   The archduke and his family were "much opposed" to his daughter, Dorothea's marriage to the French pretender.  Upon learning "something of the latter's character and antecedents,  Archduke Josef remained determined to protect his daughter's interests, and, at the last minute, declined to pay her dowry of two million florins.  He decided that he would furnish her with the capital, until his death.

The Duke was said to be "so angered by this" that he nearly called off the wedding.  A compromise was achieved when the archduke would gift the duke a quarter of a million francs after the wedding.  The Duke of Orleans would also be appointed as a Knight of the Order of Golden Fleece.

Archduke Josef realized that if he "placed the duke in possession of his wife's dowry on the wedding day," he would be able to take an "early opportunity to effect a separation from the duchess," while retaining control of her dowry.

The marriage took place on November 5, 1896.

The archduke's fears were soon "justified" by the Duke of Orleans' treatment of his wife, surely an "ill-matched couple."  The Duke subjected the Duchess to neglect and contempt.  The stories of their separation and the marital breakdown and their desire for an annulment has been the talk of "royalist circles" in France and at court in Vienna.

Archduke Josef is dying, and his daughter, the Duchess of Orleans, is at his bedside at his residence at Fiume on the Adriatic coast.  The Duke of Orleans has not joined her, waiting for that moment when he will gain full possession of her dowry.  The Duchess of Orleans will have no say in the "disposition of her dowry or inheritance."  Her husband will achieve full control, and his "chosen cronies and intimate associates" are already "rejoicing on the impending access to his fortune."

The Duke of Orleans is "compelled to wait" for his wife's money, and now that his father-in-law is near death,  the duke's followers "hope that better times are in store for them.

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