Karl, 8th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau
Spouse Countess Elisabeth Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht
Full name
Karl Rudolf Ferdinand Andreas
House House of Kinsky
Father Ferdinand Bonaventura, 7th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau
Mother Princess Maria of Liechtenstein
Born (1858-11-29)29 November 1858
Vienna, Austrian Empire
Died 11 December 1919(1919-12-11) (aged 61)

Karl, 8th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau (German: Karl Rudolf Ferdinand Andreas Fürst Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau; 29 November 1858 – 11 December 1919) was the 8th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau.

Early life[edit]

Karl was born at Vienna, Austrian Empire son of Ferdinand Bonaventura, 7th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau (1834–1904) the head of the princely line of the House of Kinsky dynasty and Princess Marie of Liechtenstein (1835–1905).

Karl born into the family's great equine tradition, inherited a love of horses. A servant, the Kinsky's master of the horse, Roland Reynolds, who had two great loves, England and the Grand National steeplechase, was to prove a great influence on Karel, passing on his passions to the young Count.

Karl first visited England as part of Empress Elisabeth of Austria retinue in the late 1870s. The Empress arranged to visit Liverpool and see the famous steeplechase, this provided Kinsky with his first opportunity to witness the event. Later, in 1883, he won the Grand National on his own horse, from the family's own Kinsky breed, the mare Zoedone.


Karl married on 7 Jan 1895 in Herdringen, Arnsberg to Countess Elisabeth Wolff-Metternich zur Gracht (1874–1909), they had no children.


An ambitious man, he achieved his two greatest British goals in rapid succession. First, he was made Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Britain, and second, he rode his own horse, Zoedone, to win the 1883 Grand National. He was distraught when Zoedone was poisoned on the race day two years later.

Relationship with Jennie Jerome[edit]

Karl was involved in an affair with Jennie Jerome, wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and American born mother of Sir Winston Churchill. Four years his senior, a famous socialite and one of the most beautiful women of the time, he was completely infatuated by her. Lady Randolph Churchill has been described as being a captivating woman, whose looks and demeanor made her almost irresistible to many who knew her. She was powerful, having social and romantic contacts that could make or break anyone wishing to climb in social status.

She later claimed that she would not have spent the time that she did with Kinsky were it not for the unfounded rumours of an affair being spread by the society gossips, and her desire to spend time with him was simply for spite. However, accounts from the time do indicate that the two were involved romantically, and the only motivation for quelling the rumours was that this affair was a semi-secret one.

Just as today, having affairs was not something unusual (Mrs. Patrick Campbell, a famous actress of the day, said, "One is free to do as one pleases, as long as one doesn't do it in the street and frighten the horses" [paraphrase]), and in most cases she made no attempts to hide them. Partners in her affairs included Edward VII of the United Kingdom, as well as other prominent, well-connected and powerful men. She had her affairs with the full knowledge of her first husband, and they might even have assisted in his career, and his political and social standing. Ironically, at the time of Kinsky's affair with Jennie Churchill, she likely wielded more power behind the scenes than did Kinsky, and it would have been he who would have benefited more from the affair. It should also be noted that while she certainly had friendships with many powerful men, it remains to be seen if every relationship was sexual.[tone] Although some certainly were, others may merely have been associations.[tone]

World War I and after[edit]

Karl remained in England until 1914 when Austria-Hungary went to war with Britain. Keen to do his duty, but unwilling to fight the country he regarded as his second home, Kinsky volunteered to fight on the dreaded Russian front. He survived but returned to a broken homeland and the knowledge that it was unlikely he would ever be welcome in England again. A broken man, shell shocked and likely suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, Karl died in 1919.


Notes and sources[edit]

Karl, 8th Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau
Born: 29 November 1858 Died: 11 December 1919
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Ferdinand Bonaventura
Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau
2 January 1904 – 3 April 1919
Succeeded by
Republic declared
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
Prince Kinsky of Wchinitz and Tettau
3 April 1919 – 11 December 1919
Reason for succession failure:
Austrian nobility titles abolished
Succeeded by