Archduchess Louise of Austria

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Luise of Austria
Crown Princess of Saxony
Luise, Erzherzogin von Österreich-Toskana.jpg
Luise of Tuscany (about 1911)
Born (1870-10-02)2 October 1870
Salzburg
Died 23 March 1947(1947-03-23) (aged 76)
Brussels
Spouse Frederick Augustus III of Saxony
(m. 1891 – div. 1903)
Enrico Toselli
(m. 1907 – div. 1912)
Issue From first marriage:
Georg, Crown Prince of Saxony
Friedrich Christian, Margrave of Meissen
Prince Ernst Heinrich
Princess Maria Alix Karola
Margarete Karola, Princess of Hohenzollern
Maria Alix Luitpolda, Princess of Hohenzollern-Emden
Anna Monika Pia, Archduchess of Austria

From second marriage:
Carlo Emmanuele Toselli
Full name
Luise Antoinette Maria Theresia Josepha Johanna Leopoldine Caroline Ferdinande Alice Ernestine
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Mother Alice of Bourbon-Parma
Religion Roman Catholicism

Louise of Tuscany (2 September 1870 in Salzburg – 23 March 1947 in Brussels), was by marriage Crown Princess of Saxony as the wife of the future King Frederick Augustus III.

Life[edit]

Crown Princess of Saxony[edit]

Louise was born on 2 September 1870[1] as the second child of Ferdinand IV, the last Grand Duke of Tuscany and his second wife, Princess Alice of Bourbon-Parma. Her full name and titles are: Luise Antoinette Maria Theresia Josepha Johanna Leopoldine Caroline Ferdinande Alice Ernestine, Princess Imperial and Archduchess of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, Hungary and Bohemia. Through her mother, she was a great-great-granddaughter of Charles X of France.

The 17-year-old princess attracted the attention of potential suitors, like Prince Pedro Augusto of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (grandson of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil) or Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria, but none of them found favor in the eyes of the spoiled Louise. Finally, in the summer of 1887 at Pillnitz Castle she met Prince Frederick Augustus of Saxony (eldest son of Prince George, who became in King of Saxony in June 1902). They married at Vienna on 21 November 1891, in a lavish ceremony which cost the groom the sum of 20,000 marks. In return, Louise fulfilled her royal duties, and bore him six children; however, she did not follow etiquette at the strict Dresden court, which resulted in arguments with her father-in-law, the Interior Minister Georg von Metzsch-Reichenbach and especially with her sister-in-law Princess Mathilde.

As her popularity among the people by far exceeded the rest of the Saxon Royal Family, they made her life difficult with big and small intrigues. Soon rumours began to circulated that Louise had an affair with a dentist named O'Brian and with French tutor of her children, André Giron. When in desperation, she sent a telegram to Giron, this was intercepted by the secret police and it turned out that she actually begun an affair with him. This was raised by her biographer Erika Bestenreiner, who described the French tutor as a slender black-haired man with a small dark mustache, of a lively nature, perfect manners and good taste for clothes.[2]

The scandal[edit]

Threatened by her father-in-law to being interned at Sonnestein Mental Asylum for life, on 9 December 1902 and with the help of two of her maids, sisters Sidonie and Maria Beeger –daughters of the royal court architect Eduard Beeger–, Louise (pregnant with her seventh child) fled from Dresden towards Lake Geneva, where André Giron was waiting for her. At first, in the Saxon court was believed that this trip was for recreation, but in fact there she met with her older brother Archduke Leopold Ferdinand of Austria, who began a liaison (and shortly after married with) Wilhelmine Adamović,[3] a prostitute and daughter of a postman. Three days after their arrival, the Beeger sisters leave Geneva. In the meantime, André Giron (who was with Louise' brother) contacted a notary in Brussels to made a false track to the Belgian capital; however the siblings where already identified at Geneva a few days later.[4]

The escape of the Crown Princess of Saxony was the first scandal of the German nobility in the 20th century, especially hurtful for the Saxon Royal Family, who were deeply Catholic. The conservative Baroness Hildegard von Spitzemberg noted in her diary:

"They were all met as we of the horrific scandals at the Saxon court, which really to repulsiveness unparalleled! Five children, a husband, a throne, all leaving with only 32 years, in the hope that the tutor provide these children - it's downright dreadful!... Thus, when the royal women forget themselves and whatever else was considered for decent, noble and catholic, then they take themselves the right of existence."[5]

Without consulting his son, King George of Saxony officially declared the civil divorce of the Crown Princely couple on 11 February 1903 by a special court, which he had set up on 31 December 1902.[6] One year later, on 15 October 1904, the Saxon monarch died after obliged his son and new King Frederick Augustus III to forbade the return of Louise to the Dresden court. In Geneva, the former Crown Princess led a happy life and even dared to show up with her lover in public, but unexpectedly a few days before the divorce was declared she separated from Giron for unknown reasons.

However, remained unclear the paternity of her daughter Anna Monika Pia, born on 4 May 1903 at Lindau. The Saxon court sent the director of the Dresden maternity hospital, Dr. Leopold, to Lindau to examine the newborn and established her true parentage. Due to her physical appearance and the bright color of eyes and hair, he declared that the Crown Prince was the father of the child. The doctor, however, refused to admitted further medical opinions. In consequence, Anna Monika Pia was recognized by Frederick Augustus as his own. King George gave Louise an allowance and granted her the title of Countess of Montignoso (in allusion of her Tuscan ascendancy) on 13 July 1903; in turn, he demanded that Anna Monika Pia must be sent to Dresden to be raised with the other royal children, but Louise adamantly refused.[7]

Later life[edit]

Louise lived firstly at Ramo Castle near Lyon, then in 1903 at Ventnor Castle in the Isle of Wight. In 1904 she moved with her family seat Wartegg Castle on Lake Constance, and later to Florence.[8] On 21 December 1904 she tried to see her older children at the Dresden Taschenbergpalais, but her attempts were unsuccessful because the police had surrounded the building. Later, she traveled in the company of her new lover, Conte Carlo Guicciardi, who lived separately from his wife but was still married.

Now, both Louise and her lover wanted to get rid from the 2-years-old Anna Monika Pia. They negotiated with the Saxon court an increase of her allowance from 30,000 to 40,000 marks for the child, but at the end Louise changed her mind and refused to send her daughter to Dresden.[9]

In London on 25 September 1907 Louise married the Italian musician Enrico Toselli, 12 years younger than her. They had one son, Carlo Emmanuele Filiberto, born on 7 May 1908. Shortly after her wedding (26 October 1907), King Frederick Augustus III finally located Anna Monika Pia, who was sent to Dresden to live with her siblings and be raised as a member of the Saxon royal house. In 1908 Louise separated from Toselli, and they divorced in 1912; their son remained with his father.[10]

Luise as Marie-Antoinette.

In 1911, Louise broke her silence and published a memoir blaming her disgrace on her late father-in-law and Saxon politicians, whom she claimed feared that when she became queen, she would use her influence to dismiss them from office. Throughout the book, she claimed that her popularity exceeded that of her father-in-law, King Georg of Saxony, and her husband, the future king. There is strong evidence to support this. Louise implied that her popularity had alienated her from the royal family and politicians. She was indeed popular with the Saxon people. She ascribed her popularity to her insistence on ignoring the etiquette of the Saxon court and, perhaps to cast herself as a victim, compared herself to her Habsburg relative, Marie Antoinette, who disliked court rituals at Versailles and, like Louise, had avoided the noble courtiers who depended on those rituals to affirm their places at court.

After the Habsburg monarchy collapsed in 1918, Louise called herself "Antoinette Maria, Comtesse d'Ysette"; after some time in Mallorca with her uncle Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria, she moved to Brussels, where she initially lived in the suburb of Ixelles. Stripped from her imperial titles and dignities after her second marriage, she could no longer bear the surname of Habsburg. After the German invasion ended with the little support that she received from some relatives, she suddenly became penniless. She died in poverty as a flower seller on 23 March 1947. Her urn was deposited in the Hedingen monastery in Sigmaringen, the burial place of the House of Hohenzollern, where a number of her children are buried nearby, including her son Prince Ernst Heinrich. Her estate is found in the Central State Archive of Dresden.

Children[edit]

From first marriage:

From second marriage:

  • Carlo Emmanuele Filiberto Toselli (7 May 1908 – 1969).

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Luise von Toscana: Mein Leben, ed. Ueberreuter Wien.
  2. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger, pp. 144–145, Ueberreuterverlag Wien.
  3. ^ Tobias Becker: Baden ohne Hose, Der Spiegel, June 2009.
  4. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger, pp. 145–146, Ueberreuterverlag Wien.
  5. ^ entry of 27 December 1902 in: Diary (ed. Rudolf Vierhaus ), Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1960, p. 424.
  6. ^ Rudolf Mothes: Lebenserinnerungen eines Leipziger Juristen, vol. A, 183p., Archives of Leipzig, according to the website of Klaus Schmiedel online [retrieved 30 September 2016].
  7. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger, pp. 149–152, Ueberreuterverlag Wien.
  8. ^ Luise Antoinette Maria von Toskana at zeno.org [retrieved 30 September 2016].
  9. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger, pp. 151–152, Ueberreuterverlag Wien.
  10. ^ Robert Seydel: Die Seitensprünge der Habsburger, p. 152, Ueberreuterverlag Wien

Bibliography[edit]

  • Almanach de Gotha. Annuaire généalogique diplomatique et statistique, Dieterich u. a., Gotha 1.1764 - 181.1944 (editions 1887 and 1931)
  • Luise von Österreich-Toskana: Mein Lebensweg, ed. Kunst, Dresden 2001, ISBN 3-86530-047-2
  • Erika Bestenreiner: Luise von Toskana. Skandal am Königshof, Piper, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-492-23194-2

External links[edit]