Princess Louise of Belgium

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For the current princess, see Princess Louise of Belgium (b. 2004).
Princess Louise
LouiseBelgie.jpg
Spouse Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Issue Prince Leopold Clement of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Dorothea of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Full name
Louise-Marie Amélie
House House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Father Leopold II of Belgium
Mother Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria
Born (1858-02-18)18 February 1858
Brussels, Belgium
Died 1 March 1924(1924-03-01) (aged 66)
Wiesbaden, Germany

Princess Louise of Belgium (18 February 1858, Brussels – 1 March 1924, Wiesbaden) was the eldest daughter of Leopold II and his wife, Marie Henriette of Austria.

Marriage and issue[edit]

Born Louise Marie Amélie of Belgium, Louise married Philipp, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry, her second cousin, in Brussels, on 4 February/4 May 1875 and had two children:

The marriage was disliked by her father, who regarded it as an unwelcome alliance with Prussia, but her mother approved of it because Philip lived in Hungary. The relationship between Louise and Philip was not happy: Philip is said to have been authoritarian, and Louise responded to his authoritarianism by living a lavish lifestyle at the court of Vienna, where she attracted much attention. In 1880, she suggested the marriage between her sister Stephanie and Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria.

Scandal and divorce[edit]

In 1895, Louise became romantically involved with Count Geza Mattachich (1868–1923), stepson of Oskar Keglevich, Count of Buzin. Mattachich was a lieutenant in a Croatian regiment of the Austrian army. They met in the Prater in Vienna.

In January 1897, she scandalized Vienna by permanently leaving her husband, Prince Philipp, for Mattachich and taking her daughter with her.[1] They traveled first to Paris, then Cannes, living in other destinations in the south of France and the rest of Europe. Her son became estranged from her, because he felt her actions had ruined his chance for inheritance. Her daughter soon left her mother at the advice of her fiancé, the duke of Schleswig-Holstein.

In 1898, Prince Philipp and Mattachich fought a duel in Vienna, first with guns, then with swords, in which the prince was injured.[2]

Mattachich had been arrested in Zagreb and imprisoned for four years for forgery.[3]

Louise and Prince Philipp were finally divorced in Gotha on 15 January 1906, almost eight years after Louise had begun divorce proceedings.

Later life[edit]

Estranged from her father, her husband, and her children, Louise's extravagant expenses brought her deeper and deeper in debt. Despite being daughter of arguably the wealthiest king of the age, she was forced to claim bankruptcy after it became known that Mattachich had forged the signature of Louise's sister, Princess Stéphanie, on promissory notes for jewelry worth approximately $2,500,000.[4] As a result of this episode she was institutionalized in May 1898 for six years. Mattachich was sentenced to four years in prison for forgery. Once his sentence was over, he helped Louise escape from the asylum in which she was interned in 1904; they were together until his death in Paris. After Mattachich's death she was given a home by Elisabeth of Bavaria, the wife of her cousin, King Albert I.

Controversy[edit]

A renowned flirt before her marriage, it is suspected that her lovers included her future husband's brother Ferdinand, tsar of Bulgaria, and Rudolf, crown prince of Austria and the future husband of her sister, Stephanie.

Ancestry[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Princess Louise of Belgium Elopes". The New York Times. 1 February 1897. 
  2. ^ "PRINCE PHILIP IN A DUEL.; Wounded in the Arm by Lieut. Mittachich in Vienna.". New York Times. 19 February 1898. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  3. ^ Leopold II of the Belgians: King of colonialism, Barbara Emerson, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979.
  4. ^ "PRINCESS LOUISE'S FORGERIES.; Her Creditors Bring Action in an Attempt to Recover $2,500,000". The New York Times. 12 June 1898. 

Sources[edit]

  • Louise de Belgique, Autour des trônes que j'ai vu tomber, Albin Michel, Paris, 1921
  • Olivier Defrance, Louise de Saxe-Cobourg : Amours, argent, procès, Racine, Bruxelles, 2000 (ISBN 2-87386-230-0)
  • Ouvrage collectif, Louise et Stephanie de Belgique, Le Cri, 2003 (ISBN 2-87106-324-9)
  • Comte Geza Mattachich, Folle par raison d'État : la princesse Louise de Belgique. Mémoires inédits du comte Mattachich, 1904
  • Dan Jacobson, All for Love, Hamish Hamilton, Londres, 2005 (ISBN 0241142733)

External links[edit]