Thursday, September 14, 2017

Royal Death: Countess Torby

September 14, 1927

The Countess Torby, wife of Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovitch of Russia, died today at her London home.  The cause of death of heart disease, reports the New York Times.    Since the Russian Revolution, her home has been "guarded by the police," because of her "fear of Nihilism."

She was 59 years old.

The Countess was the daughter of the late Prince Nikolaus of Nassau and his morganatic wife, Countess Natalya  von Merenberg, daughter of the "great Russian poet, Pushkin."

Before the war, the Grand Duke and Countess Torby lived in "great luxury" at Kenwood House, in London, for many years.   The Russian Revolution "greatly reduced" the Grand Duke's fortune.

Grand Duke Michael was "banished from Russia, lost his military rating, and was disinherited" when he married Countess Sophie von Merenberg.   This marriage was morganatic, which meant that Sophie and their three children were not entitled to the Grand Ducal titles nor did the children have succession rights to the Russian throne

The Grand Duke was able to maintain his private fortune, which included estates and forestry.

The couple were close friends of King George V and Queen Mary.

But it was the Russian Revolution that left the Grand Duke and his wife living in near penury.   He was forced to sublease his home and found a job as a clerk in an office near Westminster Abbey, where his yearly salary was £2000.

The Countess, who was given her title by her uncle, Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg, was admired by British and European royals for her "unflagging industry and loyalty," to her husband.

Countess Sophie Torby is survived by her husband, Grand Duke Michael, and their three children,  Lady Zia Werhner,  Nada, the Marchioness of Milford Haven, and Count Michael Torby.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The waist! cant believe that first photo is her actual figure even with an extreme corset,especially with the odd look to the sautoirs and corsage ornaments and the black space to either side when the rest of the cloak is illuminated.