Author Topic: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte  (Read 230949 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« on: November 17, 2004, 08:44:43 PM »
Since this topic has the potential to be of interest and to keep it from overwhelming the original thread I switched this one to its own.

To get it started this is what I had posted last in response to a Waldemar/George query:

Here's some of what's said in her bio:
--at 14 his had gone to Denmark for naval training and entrusted to his uncle Waldemar who was an admiral in the Danish navy
p.85 "At the moment of his parents' departure he was with his grandfather..and his uncle, standing on the pier where the ship was moored. Suddenly a feeling of abandonment overwhelmed him. His uncle realized it and took his hand. Together they walked back to Bernstorff, the pricne's residence and Marie quotes George as saying 'From that day, from that moment on, I loved him and I have never had any other friend but him.' ..Nowhere else did he feel so happy as when he was in Denmark...'You will love him too', he concluded, 'when you meet him'. "

p.92:
upon her arrival in Greece for her marriage: "The person to whom Marie obviously paid most attention was Prince Waldemar...'Rather tall, slender and elegant, a pointed chestnut beard completes his face with its gray nearsighted eyes behind a pince-nez placed on a nose that is slightly tilted upwards. Czar Nicholas II and George, the Prince of Wales, are blond versions of him. Waldemar smiles and speaks kindly to me. I am happy to meet the great friend of the man I love and to see that he likes me.'...Waldemar adn the queen were 'what they call in Greek the Koumbaros and Koumbara, a sort of godfather and godmother of the couple being united.' It was they who put the rings on Marie's and George's fingers...."

p.94: "In a notebook entitled Le vieux compagnon (The Old Companion) dated Copenhagen, January 1939, Marie Bonaparte retraced thirty years of life shared with Prince George. ...she starts the pages that George most likely never read....He had talked to her about the Friend (Waldemar)...On the wedding night...when he came into her room, he was coming from his uncle Waldemar's, and 'you needed the warmth of his voice, of his hand, and his permission, to get up your courage to approach the virgin...You took me that night in a short, brutal gesture, as if forcing yourself, and apologized, 'I hate it as much as you do. But we must do it if we want children' Two days later, they left on their honeymoon, on the Amphtrite. Waldemar sailed with them. They spent three days together. George cried when they parted from his uncle in Bologna...."

Within a few months Marie felt like leaving Greece for good and never seeing George again but by then it was too late and she was pregnant. They went to her home in Paris for the pregnancy and Marie hoped for better relations.  

p.95: George...."had a set number of habits to which he found it natural that she should submit. For instance, he spent every summer in Denmark, at Bernstorff, his uncle Waldemar's cstle near Copenhagen. [I guess he inherited it from his parents]...describes a day at Bernstorff: She was ready at eleven o'clock..when she joined George, who had been with Waldemar since seven...She called them her 'two husbands' and went for a walk with them, kissing now one, now the other, until it was time for lunch. Then she wrote while Waldemar and George went into town. Around four o'clock, she heard the backfiring of motorycles under her window; George and Waldemar were returning. They all had tea together...[then] spent the evening in the 'deep sweet joy of a tete-a-tete a troit' George, myself, and sweet Waldemar'. "The next day she noted down what she called an evenign scene: Waldemar and George were in her room, where she was lying on a chaise lounge, Waldemar kissing her and George refusing to kiss her the way his uncle did. All this is casually written...She appears a slightly perverse ingenue rather than a young woman developing under the influence of love and approaching motherhood. The amorous games with Waldemar surely had something to do with this....[noting how clever Marie O. and Ernst of Cumberland were and how they stood out in their intelligence and decisiveness]...Waldemar was unable, before going out, to decide between two overcoats: 'Georgie, tell me what I shall put on.'...In her journal she addressed George: 'I would need to take refuge from the whole world, to nestle in loving arms. O my darling, understand this, open yours to me!' But there was no chance he would do so. George was not tender toward her,a nd she was realizing it more and more."

As the time grew to leave Bernstorff, George grew very nasty towards Waldemar's Marie accusing her of infidelity and drunkenness. Whenever Marie tries to talk to him he goes away leaving her 'chillled, wishing for death' and crying..."On the train taking them back...'My George, near his Waldemar, is like a day lit by the sun, and away from him like a day of fog...The day before our departure, Marie [Orleans] came to see me...'They're down there. It's the same scene every time when there's a departure. George is crying. Waldemar is as green as an apple.' The two women conferred. Nothing could be done about it. Marie-Waldemar [as Marie B calls her to distinguish between herself and the other] was used to it. She had understood for along time. Waldemar accompanied them on the train as far as the border of Denmark. Finally the train was put on the ferry. Waldemar remained on the upper deck of the boat, while George returned to the railway carriage and went to sleep. He woke shortly before Berlin. 'Now they are sitting down at the table,' he said, taking out his watch. His thoughts were in Bernstorff."

Later installments involved her taking up with Waldemar's son Aage (temporary fling) and her up and down relationship with George.  

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline Karentje

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2004, 05:05:52 AM »
My god, how tragic and sad for all those concerned!
How did she cope, how did Waldemar and George cope?
Are there other books, besides her biography that deal with this?

Alicky1872

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2004, 07:35:32 AM »
Thank you so much GDElla for taking the time to post all this fascinating info! All I can say is "Oh dear", where do you start? From what you've posted, I think I've changed my mind about them being "just like close brothers" to say the least! ;) That comment George made to Marie B on their wedding night sums it up for me. It must have been so incredibly difficult for all of them...

Jim1026

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2004, 07:54:44 AM »
As I understand it Pss Marie, Waldemar's wife was quite the gal also.  She followed the fire department to fires having even her own hat and she had a tatoo of an anchor on her shoulder being proud of the fact that she
was a "sailors wife'.  Interestingly enough Empress Dowager Maria (IE: Pss Dagmar) liked her and was exceedingly kind to her children upon Pss. Marie's death.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2004, 08:49:46 AM »
How interesting.  GDElla, what is the title of her autobiography/biography?
I have always admired Marie Bonaparte -  a beautiful, cultured and intelligent woman.  It must have been quite a shock for her to enter into such an unconventional marital arrangement.  Are we really to suppose that this was a complete relationship between the two men?  Does not the blood tie make it rather exceptional?  
What exactly was it that Marie Orleans (another fascinating intelligent woman) 'understood' and how was this relationship perceived by others in the extended family?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2004, 09:36:02 AM »
So many questions! Let's see:

Karentje: I haven't yet gotten to the part (if there is any) about how Marie O. coped. She seems to have been a very strong woman pretty well-liked in the family. Based on the comment she made to Marie B it seems like she had an acceptance of the situation and tried to make the best out of it. The Orleans women seem to be pretty tough.

Martyn: The name of the bio is Marie Bonaparte by Celia Bertin. I got mine used from the internet and I  think it's pretty common and not too expensive (unlike SOME biographies that are very interesting as well). I don't know if the relationship was ever physically consummated. The blood relation would make it exceptional but in royal circles cousins married (granted a much different relationship) and didn't some of the Bourbons (?) actually marry nieces, etc...? Marie O apparently 'understood' the relationship that existed--in whatever form--between her husband and his nephew. That she may be his wife but not necessarily the one he loved most and that there WAS this relationship and it wasn't something that was going to go away or be sacrificed. It certainly seems to have been a shocking marriage for Marie B on many accounts, not just his relationship with Waldemar. She went into her engagement believing it was a love match (something she desperately craved having a fairly loveless childhood) and that if G seemed rather distant physically (in regards kissing, handholding, etc...) for a fiancee she chalked it up to him being very chaste and that this would disappear upon taking their marriage vows. Another disillusionment. Her feelings seem to swing between love/hate, hope/disillusionment, acceptance/resentment and so forth. I think it's part of what drove her into the realm of psychoanalysis (I'll have to read more) and maybe helped her to cope with the situation.
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2004, 09:58:08 AM »
Thanks Ella.  You are right - so many questions so little time!
I have always understood that Waldemar and Marie d'Orleans had quite a good marriage - there was certainly no shortage of children (was it four or five, can't remember).  George and Marie Bonaparte managed to have two children, so he must have made the effort at least twice!
I must say that this relationship seems quite unusual, but I suppose they were lucky to be married to two extraordinary women, who seemingly tolerated the status quo (even if Marie B was less than  happy)
I gather that Marie O died quite young (in her forties?) but that the first person to rush to Waldemar's side to console him was, of course, George......
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2004, 10:40:39 AM »
Next parts I have time to type:

p.100: "Her diary entries through December 1908 center on her son [Peter]. She was dazzled and fulfilled by her motherhood. During these first weeks she and George enjoyed a sense of union they had not known before. George was as happy as she was...."

This didn't survive their return to Greece a few months later and she began to get bored and restless and no longer found fulfillment in motherhood. She was tired with her idle life and how her rank prevented her from mixing in what little society there was...."' Four months we spent with family gatherings three times a week. It's too much for me. Last week there were the visits of the aunts from Russia and England [Minny and Alexandra]. All royal bourgeois, these Danes, bourgeois virtues and defects, united, honest, good, simple, kind, desperately the common path.' "

p.101 "That summer [1909] spent again in Denmark, she became involved with Aage, the eldest son of Marie-Waldemar, who kissed her in corners and told her about his Paris flings. She had no illusions about him; Aage was shallow and allowed himself to be pampered, but he had the advantage of being young like herself. 'We never find the total object of love. So let us gather the beautiful fragments. I have found a beautiful fragment,' she wrote. Angrily she wrote of Waldemar: 'He does nothing from morning to night but slumber of the same newspaper, inactive, indolent, interested in nothing and incapable of having an interest, limited by his lack of intelligence.' The summer went by slowly. "

late Sept that year: " Marie remained very late at Bernstorff while George and Waldemar were hunting at the Cumberlands'. She was back at avenue d'Iena [home in Paris] with George, only a few days before November 12, when Waldemar and his three sons left for Siam. But they were to return to Denmark earlier than planned. On December 5, 1909, Marie-Waldemar died, at the age of forty-four. The travelers...took a large British liner [to Denmark]...Aage had a carefree time on the English ship, as Marie was to learn with no surprise. 'He is weak. He has not inherited his mother's character.' Marie was saddened by Marie-Waldemar's sudden death. "

p.104: "The summer of 1910, which like the previous ones she spent at Bernstorff, gave Marie little happiness. She realized to what extent the charm she had once found in the castle was owing to the imagination of Marie-Waldemar, that clear-sighted and unhappy woman...."

In the summer of that year, Marie's aunt Jeanne died following an operation. George provided her brief comfort by staying with her but she was devastated nonetheless. By this point her daughter Eugenie had been born and Marie's old nurse, Mimau, had left her service because she was convinced George was betraying Marie with a 'little nurse' (she'd harbored these suspicions after Peter's birth as well). This had shaken Marie's precarious sense of security as Mimau had been one of the few constants in her life and now one of the others--her Aunt--was gone as well.

"Rendered more sensitive by her grief, and also because Marie-Waldemar's absence made certain things clearer, Marie realized that the relationship between George and his uncle was not what she had imagined. 'Your body adverse to female bodies, you body like your soul devoted to man, chastely but ardently fixed on the one Friend [Waldemar].' It was while looking at a book on Michelangelo and comparing it to the drawings of athletes that adorned her husband's dressing room that she understood. George 'upright in soul as in stature..a being with abnormally strong and fixed passions...loved only one friend at the age of fourteen. Ten years his senior and like him devoted to the sea.' But who then was Waldemar, toward whom she now began to feel a nagging jealousy? In this text we see the image that had already faded in 1909 deteriorate still further: 'A very ordinary creature, neither very handsome, nor very intelligent, nor very generous, and often unpleasant, especially toward his children.' But Marie recognized that he had been able to inspire in George 'one of those great passions that, according to Rousseau, are as rare as great genius.' Discovering this shook her to the core. The period was anything but open about such strong attachments and her upbringing had been more restrictive than most. On the othre hand, there had been the precedent of Uncle Christian, who had strange accidents and disappearances adn was the subject of Mimau's and her grandmother's gossip. Although she remarked on Uncle Christian's searching for young men of classic Greek type when in Athens, it is by no means certain that she understood about his predilections..."

Marie then began to look for others to allow her to fill her female role. In her notes entitled The Men I Have Loved she writes of an affair she based on a tale she had read at 18, Pelleas and Melisande. "I took as Pelleas the young and vulgar ruffian, five years after having met him and having lost sight of him in the interval...Pelleas...fled. His wife, abandoned for six months, thought of killing herself. Drunken and coarse....[she enjoyed]...some orgiastic days...Her marriage could not have reassured her, nor had her recent amorous experiences...."
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Offline Martyn

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2004, 11:03:36 AM »
Fascinating stuff.  Can't quite get my head around it all at the moment...I think that I really need to read Marie's biography.
BTW is there a good biography of Marie d'Orleans?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2004, 12:41:10 PM »
I know they are probably on the site by the dozens, but could someone post pictures of the parties concerned on this thread ?  Sort of "illustrate" eho we are talking about.
I have long heard about this relationsghip, but never really looked into it as the parties did not interest me much. Haveing them sigled out as a topic though makes it more interesting.
Best,
Robert
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Offline Eurohistory

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2004, 01:20:40 PM »
Quote
Fascinating stuff.  Can't quite get my head around it all at the moment...I think that I really need to read Marie's biography.
BTW is there a good biography of Marie d'Orleans?


Martyn,

Sadly there is no biography of Marie d'Orleans, who happens to be one of my favorite royal ladies.  In the European Royal History Journal from about 4 years ago we had a biography of her written by Coryne Hall.  Marie was a talented painter and like many of her Orleans cousins a respected intellectual, albeit a litlte strange.  Her infatuation with firemen and firetrucks has always provided many of us, and her family as well, with more than a demure chuckle.

She unfortunately became addicted to pain killers, mainly morphine after a serious illness and this was a habit she could never break.  She died alone as her family were traveling when death surprised Marie at the still young age of 44 years.

I have some wonderful photos of her from the private collection of her parents, which is now housed in the Eurohistory archive.

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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Eurohistory »
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Jim1026

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2004, 02:11:38 PM »
Princess Marie of Orleans was first cousin to Queen Amalie of Portugal, Princess Helena, Duchess of Aosta.
Princess Helena was the love of Prince Albert Victor. :-/
Princess Marie was the Aunt to Princess Francoise, the
second wife of Prince Christopher of Greece and to Prince Henri Comte de Paris. ::)

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2004, 02:34:03 PM »
Marie Bonaparte & Prince George

Marie and son Peter

Marie and George w/daughter Eugenie

They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Prince George of Greece & Princess Marie Bonaparte
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2004, 07:02:53 PM »
Quote
Marie O apparently 'understood' the relationship that existed--in whatever form--between her husband and his nephew. That she may be his wife but not necessarily the one he loved most and that there WAS this relationship and it wasn't something that was going to go away or be sacrificed.


sort of like Irina Yusupov's "understanding of, & resignation to", the situation within her married life.    they both, obviously, cared much for their respective spouses, and early-on made the decision to make the best of it.   given the "morals" of the day, i'm sure all parties involved would avoid divorce (in Irina's case, she knew what was up before she married Feliks --- and married him anyway), and therefore, both knew that no matter what their husbands did in private, at "the end of the day", he would always be home.   there's a certain security in that, don't you think?


personally speaking, i have a abundance of respect for these two women for many reasons, not the least of which is the incredible strength of character each exhibited in the face of a situation that, in a very real sense, had utterly destroyed lesser women.    they were able to step back & look past the most obvious issues to see some positive aspects contained within the larger picture.  
  many of us aren't able to do that at all, not even when faced with trivial issues.

these were two remarkable people (MarieO & Irina); not just remarkable women, but remarkable human-beings...   their understanding and individualistic "acceptance" of  human-nature -- or, at least, the "nature" (to whatever degree) of their husbands would be out-of-the-ordinary, even today; but for their day?  utterly amazing!
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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by brnbg »
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