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."
The Grand Duke and the Countess Torby lived in "great luxury" at Kenwood House, in London, for many years, before the war. 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 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, and they moved in the highest of social circles in London.
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.