Monday, November 13, 2023

HH Princess Carin of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1946-2023)


HH Princess Carin of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duchess of Saxony, died in Coburg on November 11. 2023.  She was 77 years old and had suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years.

The daughter of businessman Adolph Wilhelm Marin Dabelson and Maria Margarete Callan, Carin was born in Hamburg on July 16, 1946.   She studied at the Hamburg Foreign Language School and earned a degree in interpreting in 1965.  She was working as an interpreter at the Japanese Trade Center in Hamburg when she met Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the only child of Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the head of the former ducal house and his first wife, Countess Viktoria-Luise of Solms-Baruth.  Andreas had spent his childhood in Louisiana with his mother and her second husband, Richard Whitten.

In his memoir, I did it my way... Prince Andreas recounted how he met his wife.  "I was young, could afford a good life and wanted to have someone to share good times with.  A friend of mine, who was dating Carin's sister, arranged for a double date. It was a blind date. I liked what she was wearing, and I felt very attracted to her."

They began dating in 1966, and their relationship continued "for several years" but Prince Andreas could not make up his mind about marriage.   Andreas introduced Carin to his paternal grandmother, Duchess Viktoria Adelheid of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.   She approved of Carin although Carin was a commoner.  Viktoria Adelheid's eldest son, Prince Johann Leopold lost his dynastic rights because his marriage was not approved by his father, Duke Carl Eduard.

Andreas wrote about his grandmother: "But after everything she lived through, she was willing to " accept the marriage.

Andreas' father gave his consent as well, based on the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha 1855 House Law.

Prince Andreas and Carin Dabelstein were married in a civil ceremony on June 18, 1971, in Hamburg. Six weeks later, on July 31, the couple was married in a Lutheran church, also in Hamburg. 

Andreas and Carin settled in Coburg as Andreas began to learn more about his own inheritance which included several castles in Germany, Austria, and forestry.  When Friedrich Josias died in 1998, Andreas succeeded as the head of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

In 1997, Carin was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis.   She was, according to her husband, "consumed by a debilitating and terrible illness."  He was able to provide his much-loved wife with "the best care possible....She is never alone and the nursing staff helping us to take care of her are marvelous and deeply dedicated to making her as comfortable as possible."   Prince Andreas also has serious health issues.  Since 2011, he has suffered from Parkinson's Disease.

Princess Carin was patron for several organizations including Help for the Disabled Child Association, the Friends of Friedenstein, and a new shooting range in the local rifle club, according to the Neues Press.   She enjoyed "reading a good book, listening to music, and spending time with her family."

Princess Carin is survived by her husband, Prince Andreas, their three children, Princess Stephanie, Frau Stahl (1972) Hereditary Prince Hubertus (1975) and his wife, Hereditary Princess Kelly, and Prince Alexander (1977), and three grandchildren, Princess Katharina, (2014), Prince Philipp (2015) and Princess Madeleine (2017).

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.