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The Grand Ducal Family of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

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--- Quote ---Yes,it was a sad story about Marie`s youth.I read it in "Secrets of the Gotha" by G.de Diesbach and was horrified at Marie`s parents intention to kick their daughter out. >:(
--- End quote ---

I've often heard of that book but never read it. Considering QM's reputation for rigidity as well as the strict morals of QV, I always thought it wonderful that they both went to bat for her. A lot less judgmental than most. QV laid the blame for the whole mess on Marie's parents who she felt failed in their duty to protect her in the first place then bungled the aftermath so badly. QV could be quite sympathetic to things--more so than I think people realized when ascribing 'Victorian morals' to the Queen herself.

Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz' misshap could have been covered up and in fact even her grandmother Grand Duchess Augusta wished Marie's parents had not overreacted.  Instead a big scandal ensued, fueled by the republican press and the family, the grand ducal court and poor girl suffered greatly for it.

The child was given to a family to raise after Marie gave birth. Augusta kept her protecting eye over Marie and a few years later a quick, and highly unsuitable, marriage was arranged for her to a Count de Jametel, a very minor aristocrat, and a scoundrel by all accounts.  For years it was rumored that the main supporter of this alliance was the Infanta Eulalia of Spain, a troublemaker of the worst kind -yet a thoroughly interesting woman- who happened to be involved with Jametel, to the great consternation of her own family.

I believe the marriage to Jametel produced 2 children:George and Marie, both married, but only Marie is reported tohave produced offspring.

In 1908 and after 9 years of laborious  and abusive marriage, Marie Mecklenburg divorced Jametel and returned to Strelitz.  She was only thirty years olf by then.  It has been rumored that Jametel was responsible for the death, in a duel, of Marie's youngest brother Duke Karl Borwin.

Six years later Duchess Marie of Meckelnburg-Strelitz finally found a respectable husband who by all accounts seems to have been a farily nice man and husband.  In 1914 Marie [1878-1948] married Prince Julius Ernst of Lippe [1873-1952].  The couple had two children: Ernst August [1917-1990] and Elisabeth Caroline [1916].  Both married.  Ernst August married Christa von Arnim and had 4 children, 2 boys, 2 daughters.  Elisabeth Caroline married Prince Ernst August of Solms-Braunfels [1892-1968], by whom she had one daughter.

Little is known about the illegitimate child of Marie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Arturo Beéche

This story is new to me. I've read all the entries, but I don't believe any have mentioned the birth year of the child or the father of the child.


--- Quote ---This story is new to me. I've read all the entries, but I don't believe any have mentioned the birth year of the child or the father of the child.
--- End quote ---

Based on  Pope-Hennessey's bio on QM:
In the weeks right before the death of the Duchess of Teck (Augusta's sister and QM's mother) Empress Frederick of Germany had been hinting at the scandal in letters to Q. Victoria. QV wrote to EF in Oct 1897  '..you have left us all in great & painful suspense by your allusion to some dreadful report abt the M.S.s & I have cyphered to beg you to say what it means. The other day when May was here, she said that the eldest girl of Adolphus was vy unwell w.enemia to such an extent as to necessitate her being sent away at once to a warmer climate as she was in a state of Melancolia. This must be in connection with what you have just heard.' In later letters her annoyance at EF's reluctance to just spill what she knew was growing: '...I really must scold that you continue to speak of something _dreadful_ wh. if true wld make the whole Strelitz & Anhalt [her mother's family] wretched for ever & then refuse to say anything but go on in the same strain in every letter! You shld never have said anything if you wld not say _what_ is supposed...it is too unpleasant to have such hysterical hints thrown out--without saying what it is!' Apparently this scandal, which is so little-known of today, made the newspaper headlines in its day. QM arranged to join her Aunt Augusta (Dowager GDss of M-Strelitz) in the South of France in spring 1898. She found her aunt very upset as all the courts of Germany were abuzz with the budding scandal in Strelitz. The reason her aunt was in Menton, France was to be with her granddaughter Marie. The Strelitz court was apparently _very_ strict and formal with a very rigid code of etiquette. The GD and GDss turned the care of Marie and her sister Jutta over to governesses and rarely had much contact with them. The 2 girls were raised in almost complete ignorance of the ways of the world. [When Augusta announced the birth of Edward of York the girls thought it 'very odd' that May should have a baby. Augusta figured that they thought the baby must be over her own age.] Basically the girls were supervised but not looked after and in 1897 an incredulous GDss became aware that her daughter seemed to be expecting. Apparently the rigidity of the rules of court had contributed to the disaster--all the lamps in all the rooms, including the girls' bedrooms, were carried in by footmen rather than maids. The prospective father was determined to be Hect, a young married footman and he was dismissed without reference. This turned out to be a grave error as when he attempted to find another position in the area, the prospective employers wrote to find out why he'd been dismissed and it was said that he had stolen. Hecht took his complaints to a lawyer who happened (or perhaps because) to be a Socialist. He promptly released all the sordid details to the press. The Strelitz's then pensioned him off but he lingered around hoping for more money. Now the news was spreading around Europe. QV wrote to Augusta that she was peeved with Vicky for doing '...harm in writing to all the Courts.' Her parents were furious and embarrassed and all but disowned her and insisted the child be sent away. This angered QV who said that it 'is too awful & shameful & almost sinful to send the poor Baby away...I hear frm a reliable source that the _family_ have forbidden that poor unhappy girl's name ever being mentioned _in_ the family...I think it too wicked.' Of the German relatives, only Augusta supported Marie and believed she'd been wrong. Augusta believed Hecht had 'terrorized' her while QV believed she was  'drugged'. Wilhelm II believed she'd been  'hypnotized (a view also shared by the Duke of York). In spite of the furious gossip spreading around Europe, May undertook a very public trip to stay with her aunt and young cousin. She drove out in public with her everyday--'a noble and protective gesture'. May also advised her aunt to plead the case to Q.V. who was staying nearby in Cimiez. May also brought the Prince of Wales around to her side--'he has been so kind about it. & At. A is so grateful to her _English__ family for behaving so well & upholding her views--At looks much better and happier since I came. ' May wrote to George. George replied that he thought the English relatives have '...behaved better & are more sensible about it all. The parents are the worst and ought to be ashamed of themselves.' Much of this attitude has to be to May's credit as she tirelessly worked on her cousin's behalf. Her 'quiet gift for coping with the difficulties of life now amounted to a kind of genius. Her only regret was that he hadn't been consulted earlier.' It her opinion the whole thing had been 'mismanaged' and felt it a 'pity when it could easily have been arranged to send the girl away on the plea of ill-health' she wrote to George. Still life was difficult for the young girl--despite the support of her other relatives, her parents refused to see her and didn't attend her wedding to Ct Jametel (almost 20 yrs older) in 1899. Jametel had apparently only married her for money and continued on a blatant affair with Infanta Eulalia of Spain. After years of abuse and misery, followed by legal wranglings and the loss of most of her money, Marie obtained a divorce in 1908. Throughout all these troubles her 'Aunt May' was a strong source of moral support.

I found another photo of Duchess Marie at Hulton Archive site.As for the little girl from the pic above I think she was a daughter of Count Jametel

Marie and her children from 2d husband


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