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PRETTY PRINCESSES.

T2io Crop of Royal Brides ia Europe. This year of grace (writss Cuitis Brown, ! the London corespondent of the 2vew ! Orleans " Times-Democrat ") is going to see some oig royal weddings, the fruit of long and serious confabs 'between monarch and monarch behind palace doors. The question of mating prospective rulers is becoming so difficult tiilit the combined wits of alt tli© crowned heads of Europe, with Premiers and ambassadors at hand to help think, are scarcely equal to solving it. The obvious remedy for what uias become a really embarrassing situation is ' to let ■each young heir to a throne have !his way and many the American girl of his choice. Ifc looks as if that -would be the rule with the next crop of ■heirs, but the present generation of royal parents and. of loyal subjects is not educated up to it yet, and no amount of fascination on the part ol the American girl' or on the part of 'her mamma will "'be able to effect the necessary change while Europe's thrones hold' their present occupants. . So it becomes imperative to find brides for the heirs to the thrones of Germany and Russia, for the Kina 1 of Spain and for the less?* .young royalties now in the marriage market among the European princesses. AN TTGLY LOT. One trouble ' is that all the royal young folk are so closely related. Intermarriage lias steadily diminished the wits that crowned heads contain until such pessimist writers as Loihbroso and Max Ixordau and Dr Forbes Winslow are ibeginning to picture to tfcemsolves a future world ruled by madmen and idiots. There- is not a royal prince or princess in all Europe who is not a cousin in tome degree to every other prince and princess, and those who have the same religion and enough" traits in common to rank') them sympathetic have, as a rule, the same groat-grandparents — a fact that does not promise well for the future of ■monarchical institutions. Another result of constant intermarriage has been that tiie present lot of unmarried princesses in Europe is mostly far from good looking. Theoretically, of course, every princes:-; is lovely. It is as difficult j to i/'frain from mechanically writing <rbeautiful" before their nuvnes as it used to be for the country reporter to write of wedding presents without saying that they were " numerous and costly." Their heavy, stupid faces become a- source of embarrassment if their portraits accompany the text describing their, beauty. RELIGIOUS DIFFICULTY. There are some three dozen sovereign families in Continental Europe, and 'between them they can muster no more than twenty princesses who are eligible for marrhigo to reigning raonarchs. Six oi them belong to the Austrian Imperial rainily, .si:c to various branches of- the I'oui.bons, two to the deposed House of Hanover, and the others mostly to the minor German and grand ducal families. Fourteen of the twenty are Roman Catholics, four art; Protestantr. and two prof;.'--s the Orthodox Greek faith. This, ! of cour?2, greatly reduces the number who aro eligible* as the brides of the two best par.ties in Europe — the Russian heir-pre-sumptive, Grand Duke Michael, and the successor to the German Imperial throne, Crown Prince Frederick William. The O.arina must be an Orthodox Greek and the German Empress must be a Protestant, so that were Roman' Catholic princesses chosen as the brides of the future Cza» and Kaiser they would have to change their faith. Cases in ■which Roman Catholic princesses have renounced: their religion arc, however, extremely rare for ib is a rule without exception among the Hapsburgs, -the Bourbons and other sovereign lion sen that their daughters may not, even for the mo?t urgent political reasons, change their religion. There is nob one singlo contemporary 1 Catholic princess in Europe- who has abandoned her faith in order 1,0 contract a marriage with a sovereign of another persuasion, so that the Russian and German heirs will have -4 o seek their consorts in other directions. A change of faith is also almost unknown among! orthodox Greek royalties', w'hereas it is nothing uncommon for a Protestant prince?:? to embrace a new religion for politicornaU'iruonkil reason.?. Tlia present Czarina of Russia and tha Crown Princess of Montenegro were Protestants, who have accepted the orthodox Greek 'faith' for the sake of their husbands. A. GENUINE BEAUTY. There are only two royal- ladies of the Orthodox Greek "faith who would be eligible j as- the bride oi r the Russian heir-presump-tive — one of them is his cousin, a Russian. Grand BueLo.s of scanty personal.attractions, and tire other is Princess Xenia of Montenegro, the daughter of the reigning j Prince of Montenegro and sister of the Queen of Italy. Princess Xenia- is now j -twenty-one years of age and a brunette beauty of semi : oriental type. Sac was educated in St Petersburg and ! Paris, so that she is a young lady of fashionable accomplishments, with none of the. rustic limitations that might' bo expected in the daughter of a prince who still dispenses justice to his subjects under an ancient trea in front of his modest residence. Her lineage is of the best, for she can trace her descent back to a prince of the tench century, and her ancestors have been recognised as rulers of Montenegro for the lasfc two hundred vears. Her sisters, too t have made good matches, for Prince Nicholas of Montenegro has been remarkably successful in arranging matrimonial alliances for members of his family. One* of his daughters is Queen of Italy, another is a princess of Battenberg and two are - Russian orand duchesses, so that Princess Xeoia might well foe selected as the future Empress of Russia. _ Oh course, all sorts of minor royalties have been in love with, the beauteous Xenia, bub the members of the royal house of Montenegro are as shrewd aayljkhrifty in matchmaking as the royal house of Denmark, whence cam© , the Queen of England, the Russian Czarina and the King of Greece, besides various lesser personages, crowned or likely to be crowned eventually. So, while there is any hope of bringing off a match' between the Princess and the Grand Duke Michael, the other suitors will have to wait. Among them is the Grand 3Juke Ernest of .Hesse,. whose divorce from Princess Victoria Melfta i caused her august grandmother, the late I Queen Victoria, to be greatly disturbed. Failing Princess Xenia, Grand Duke Michael will have to . seek a wife among; the Protestant princesses of England and Germany who may bo willing to adopt the Orthodox Greek faith. AN AUSTRIAN BEAUTY. Another young beauty who stands high, in the imperial marriage mart is Archduchess Marie Henrietta of Austri^, who is nineteen years old and a distant cousin of the Emperor ' Francis Joseph. Her father, Archduke Frederic, is the head of the third branch of the Hapsburgs and brother to the queen-mother of Spain. , Archduchess Marie Henriette was brought" up in. the country, at her father's place in. Hungary, *but she now spends the wintermonths in Vienna, where she is a great favourite in society. If it were not that the Pope objects to the marriage of first cousins, the radiant Princess Marie proSably would be the choice of younjr King Alfonso XIII. of

Spain, who has a keen eye for beauty and ■who has begun to look about for a bride. In fact, he will soon make a tour of th« Continent, under his mother's guidance^ to pick out a queen for Spain. Unhappily for him, however, the princess has to be chosea solely on account of family and political considerations, regardless of whether she i* attractive or not. Another df the four notable exceptions to the general run of plain princesses^ Marie Josephine of Bourbon, is a granddaughter of King Ferdinand of Sicily, who lost his throne some thirty years ago. This deposed family resides at Cannes, in tha South of France. Princess Marie Josephine is tall and active, an expert yachtswoman,, a skilled rider and' a crack lawn tennis player. She is twenty-one years old, and an admirable match for a Roman Catholia prince, but, like the Archduchess Marie, i* debarred! by religion from the competition for the German and Russian thrones. A SAD STORY. But the most beautiful of all the marriageable princesses of (Europe is Wiltrud Marie Alix of Bavaria, who is now nineteen years old. She, too, is a brunette,, with wonderful dark eyes,, perfect features and long, brown, wavy hair. Of course,, all princesses are said to be as accomplished as they are beautiful, but here is one who would shine among brilliant girla anywhere, irrespective of her title. Sne is a musician -of Aigh order, a, painter of merit, a linguist and a classical scttolar, an authoress in, a small way, and also ai rider and a fencer. She has the reputa* tion of being an excellent revolTer shotShe is, in short, a genius ; but in he* veins flows the blood cf the Wittelbachs, who are tainted with insanity through and through. Insanity has been ia the family for three centuries, and has been cultivated by repeated intermarriages. The members of the 'house of Wittelt bach are, as a rule, either geniuses or lunatics, and those who in early life nave been geniuses have often developed lnsanity in later years. The mad King Louis of Bavaria., who was Wagner's patron, was first cousin to Princess Wiltrud> In these circumstances, the most beautiful of European princesses may well experience difficulties in making a good match. Germany's future empress. England Has fondly hoped that th« Crown Prince of Germany would choose his bride from among King Edward's nieces, one of whom, the young Princess Alice of Albany, has been selected for him time and again by English chroniclers. The Princess is not what you would call a baauty, but she is intelligent and nice, and would come nearer to the German Emperor's idea of a royal hausfrau than any haughty Austrian or Eussian princess. Ib seems more likely, however, that \the Grown Prince will marry another second cousin, Princess Alexandra of Cumberland,, and thus settle the old feud between tha Hohenzollerns and 1 the Hanoverians, caused! by the fact that the former family seizedl the throne of the King of Hanover, Princess Alexandra's grandfather.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TS19030328.2.10

Bibliographic details

Star, Star, Issue 7667, 28 March 1903

Word Count
1,715

PRETTY PRINCESSES. Star, Issue 7667, 28 March 1903

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