Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Count and Countess Jametel

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection

A happy family - probably not.   This photo was taken in early 1906, most likely in France - and shows  Count Georges Jametel (1859-1944) and his wife, Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Streliltz (1878-1948) and their two children, Count Georges (1904-1982) and Countess Marie-Auguste (1905-1906).

This was a morganatic marriage, hastily arranged (not long after they met in France), less than a year after Duchess Marie gave birth to a daughter, who had been fathered by a servant.   Marie's parents were aghast, and kicked their daughter out of the palace (although it must be said that she knew nothing about sexual relations and had been compromised by the palace servant, whose name was Hecht,)

Marie's paternal grandmother,  Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a British princess by birth, came to her rescue, and made arrangements for Marie's daughter to be adopted.

The couple were married in two ceremonies: a Roman Catholic wedding at the Catholic Chapel of St. Elizabeth in Richmond Park, followed by an Anglican ceremony at the Kew Parish church.  Marie's great-uncle, the Duke of Cambridge, hosted the wedding breakfast at his home, Cambridge Cottage at Kew.

Marie's father, the Hereditary Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich, settled $200,000 on his daughter.   The newly weds settled into a house in the Faubourg St. Germain area of of Paris.

Jametel had no intention of remaining faithful to his wife.  He had several affairs, including one with Infanta Eulalia of Spain. He also acknowledged marrying Marie for her money.   She filed for divorce in January 1908.  That August, her brother, Duke Karl Borwin, wanting to defend her honor, challenged Jametel to a duel.  Karl Borwin was killed.

A divorce was granted in August 1908.  Marie resumed her title, and moved with her two young children to Dresden.  In August 1914, she married Prince Julius Ernst of Lippe (1873-1952).  They had two children:  Princess Elisabeth (1916-2013) and Prince Ernst August (1917-1990)

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