Prince Leopold Clement of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prince Leopold Clement
Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Duke in Saxony
Leopold Clement.JPG
Full name
Leopold Clement Philipp August Maria
House House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Koháry
Father Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Mother Princess Louise of Belgium
Born (1878-07-19)19 July 1878
Svätý Anton, Hungary
Died 27 April 1916(1916-04-27) (aged 37)
Vienna, Austria
Burial St. Augustin, Coburg
Religion Roman Catholicism

Prince Leopold Clement Philipp August Maria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (19 July 1878, Szent-Antal, Hungary – 27 April 1916, Vienna)[1] was an Austro-Hungarian officer and the heir apparent to the wealth of the House of Koháry. His death in a murder-suicide shocked the royal courts of Austria and Germany.

Background[edit]

Prince Leopold Clement was the elder child and only son born in the troubled marriage of Princess Louise of Belgium and Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, both of whom were Roman Catholic members of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He shared his name with his maternal grandfather, King Leopold II of Belgium, and a number of other Coburger relatives. Prince Leopold Clement was the sole heir to the wealth his father's family had inherited from their ancestress, Princess Maria Antonia Koháry de Csábrág.[2]

Fatal affair[edit]

A Hussar captain in the Austro-Hungarian Army, Prince Leopold Clement met a Viennese girl named Camilla Rybicka[note 1] at a charity bazaar[2] in 1913. Rybicka was one of the daughters of Court Councillor Rybicka, an officer in the Vienna State Police. Then in her early twenties, she belonged to high society, but was nevertheless a commoner. The two soon started a romantic relationship. Rybicka left the family home, and the two travelled around the Austro-Hungarian Empire before settling down in an apartment in Vienna.[3]

Rybicka, however, was not satisfied with being only the Prince's lover and demanded that he marry her.[2][3] In Paris on 1 July 1914, Prince Leopold Clement wrote her a letter, promising to marry her within six months, naming her his sole heir, and requesting his father to pay her 2 million Austro-Hungarian krones in the event of his death.[4] After Prince Leopold Clement was called to fight in the First World War, she insisted that he marry her before leaving.[3] Leopold Clement was aware that such a mesalliance would have deprived him of the fortune he stood to inherit[2] because his father had no intention of permitting the union,[3] and that marrying Rybicka would have forced him to resign his officer's commission.[2]

When her pleas, intrigues and threats all failed to secure her marriage to Leopold Clement, she was offered 4 million Austro-Hungarian krones as compensation. On 17 October 1915, the Prince called her to his first-floor flat in Vienna to say goodbye and sign the cheque, but Rybicka did not intend to take the money.[2] Instead, she fired five shots at him at close range and then smashed a bottle of sulfuric acid in his face,[2][5] before firing the sixth bullet through her heart.[6] Neighbours testified that they heard him scream in agony.[5] The half-naked Rybicka was lying dead by the bed when the police came, but the Prince was alive on the floor and still screaming.[5][6] Rybicka was cremated in Jena, Germany in December 1915.[4] Having lost an eye and much of the flesh on his face, Prince Leopold Clement died after six months of suffering.[2] His remains were interred in the vault of St. Augustin in Coburg.[7]

Aftermath[edit]

Following the death of his only son, Prince Philipp bequeathed his fortune to his grandnephew, Prince Philipp Josias.[2] The deaths of Prince Leopold Clement and Camilla Rybicka shocked the royal courts of Austria and Germany. They were reminiscent of the 1889 Mayerling Incident, an apparent murder-suicide involving Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, Prince Leopold Clement's maternal uncle, and Rudolf's teenage mistress, Baroness Mary Vetsera.[3]

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Her name is sometimes given as Lotte, and her surname as Rybika or Rybicska.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "The Peerage: Leopold Clemens Philip Prinz von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha". Retrieved 10 May 2003. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Was the Surrender of King Leopold a "Runs-in-The-Family" Tragedy?". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 21 July 1940. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Royal Love Tragedy: A Woman's Revenge". 1916. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Princes' Matrimonial Scandals". The Argus. 11 December 1915. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Ashdown, Dulcie M. (1981). Victoria and the Coburgs. Robert Hale Limited. ISBN 0709185820. 
  6. ^ a b Duff, Albert (1972). Albert & Victoria. Müller. "The last bullet she had kept for herself. She lay, half naked, by the bed, shot through the heart." 
  7. ^ Sandner, Harald (2001). Das Haus Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha 1826 bis 2001. Eine Dokumentation zum 175-jährigen Jubiläum des Stammhauses in Wort und Bild. Coburg: Verlagsanstalt Neue Presse. pp. 317–320. ISBN 3-00-008525-4. 

External links[edit]