Boni de Castellane

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Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane
Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane (carte de visite).jpg
Born (1867-02-14)February 14, 1867
Died October 20, 1932(1932-10-20) (aged 65)
Spouse(s) Anna Gould

Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane, the marquis de Castellane (February 14, 1867 – October 20, 1932) was a French nobleman known as a leading Belle Epoque tastemaker and the first husband of American railroad heiress Anna Gould.

Family[edit]

Comte Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane, known as Boni, was the eldest son of Antoine de Castellane, the marquis de Castellane, and his wife, the former Anne-Marie Le Clerc de Juigné. His brothers were Jean and Stanislas de Castellane. Like his siblings, Boni bore the courtesy title of comte de Castellane, until he inherited his father's title upon the latter's death in 1917.

First marriage[edit]

He married Anna Gould (1875–1961), the daughter of Jay Gould, the American industrialist and millionaire, on March 14, 1895 in New York City. They had the following children:

  • Marie Louise de Castellane (1896-?)
  • Boniface, Marquis de Castellane (1896–1946), who married Yvonne Patenôtre (daughter of Jules Patenôtre and wife Eleanor Elverson, who was the sister of James Elverson, Jr. (– 1929), and daughter of publisher James Elverson, Sr. (1838 – 1911) by wife Sallie Duvall, the three of them owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer), and had issue:
    • Elisabeth de Castellane (Paris, July 9, 1928 – Paris, November 13, 1991), wife (married in Paris, December 7, 1948) of Jean Bertrand Jacques Adrien Nompar Comte de Caumont La Force (Paris, February 4, 1920 – Fontaine Française, June 8, 1986), and had issue.
  • Georges Paul Ernest de Castellane (1897 or 1899–1944) who married Florinda Fernández y Anchorena (1901-?), and had issue:
  • Georges Gustave de Castellane (circa 1898-1946)
  • Jay (Jason) de Castellane (1902-?)

Anna obtained a civil divorce in 1906, after de Castellane had spent about $10 million of the money given to Anna by her father upon marriage. In 1908, Anna married his cousin, Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Sagan, 5th duc de Talleyrand, and Boniface then sought an annulment from the Vatican so that he could be free to remarry in the Church. The annulment case was settled in 1924, when the highest Vatican tribunal upheld the validity of the marriage and denied the annulment.[1][2]

De Castellane had a reputation as a wit. Soon after his ex-wife married de Talleyrand-Périgord, de Castellane encountered and failed to acknowledge the duke. He was asked if perhaps he did not know him. De Castellane, a former cavalryman who had served in the same regiment as the duke, replied “Si, nous avons servi dans le même corps.”[3]

In 1913, he was rumored to be engaged to Caroline Delacroix, the wealthy mistress and widow (though this was disputed) of Leopold II of Belgium.[4]

Divorce[edit]

Illustration shows the circus-like atmosphere of the divorce proceedings of Anna Gould. She is holding a handful of indictments against her husband, and Boni de Castellane.

Time magazine wrote on April 13, 1925:

Probably not since Henry VIII tried in vain to get an annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon has a matrimonial case been so long in the courts of the Roman Catholic Church as that on which nine Cardinals have just handed down a final decision. The male in this case is the son of one of France's most historic houses − Le Comte Boni de Castellane. The female is the daughter of a United States stockbroker, the late Jay Gould − the present Anna, Marquise de Talleyrand Périgord, Duchesse de Sagan. On March 14, 1895, Anna became La Comtesse de Castellane by a marriage solemnized in Manhattan by the late Archbishop Corrigan. After three children were born, La Comtesse obtained a civil divorce from Le Comte on grounds of infidelity. In 1908, she married Le Marquis de Talleyrand Périgord, Duc de Sagan. Thereupon, Le Comte asked the Vatican to annul the marriage, apparently that he might be free to marry again, within the Church.

  • Trial I. The Roman Rota upheld the marriage in 1911. Le Comte appealed.
  • Trial II. Anna refused to be represented at this trial. The marriage was declared void. Anna appealed.
  • Trial III. The marriage was declared valid. Le Comte appealed from the Rota to Pope Benedict XV.
  • Trial IV. The case was laid before a Commission of the Apostolic Signatura − the supreme tribunal of the Church. Six cardinals composed the commission. They held the marriage valid. Le Comte appealed to Pope Pius XI.
  • Trial V. The Commission declared the marriage invalid. Anna appealed to the Pope who, to settle it once and forever, assigned three extra cardinals to the commission.
  • Trial VI was before Cardinals De Lai (Italian), Pomphilj (Italian), Van Rossum (Dutch), Sbaretti (Italian), Silj (Italian), Bisleti (Italian), Sincere (Italian), Lega (Italian), Mori (Italian). The marriage was held valid. Formal proclamation will soon be issued.

Residences[edit]

  • 1895 rue de Constantine, Paris, VII
  • 1895-1902 Hôtel particulier 9 avenue Bosquet, Paris, VII
  • 1902-1906 Palais Rose, 50, avenue du Bois, Paris, XVI
  • 1906 27 rue de Constantine, Paris, VII
  • 1906-1914 2 place du Palais-Bourbon, Paris, VII
  • 1914-1918 Hôtel Ritz, place Vendôme, Paris, I
  • 1918-1921 Hôtel particulier 71 rue de Lille, Paris, VII
  • 1921-1932 Avenue Victor-Emmanuel III, Paris

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Duchesse de Talleyrand Is Dead. Youngest Daughter of Jay Gould.". New York Times. November 30, 1961. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  2. ^ "Marriage annulled". Time (magazine). July 21, 1924. Retrieved 2008-08-04. "The religious marriage of Boniface Marquis de Castellane, to Anna Gould (daughter of the late Jay Gould), in 1895; at the Vatican, by Pope Pius XI. She divorced Boniface in Paris in 1906, in 1908 married (in London) Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord, later the fifth Due de Talleyrand." 
  3. ^ Canellas-Zimmer, Monique. Histoires de Mode. Les Dossiers d’Aquitaine. p. 110. ISBN 9782846221191. 
  4. ^ "Count Boni Suitor of King's Heiress", The Washington Post, 28 March 1913