Author Topic: The Gleichens  (Read 13511 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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The Gleichens
« on: November 01, 2006, 10:52:16 PM »
This couple came up on the Royal Interiors thread:

Thanks...But who is Princess Victor ? do you mean Princess Victoria ("Toria") ?  ???

No.  Princess Victor was married to Queen Victoria's nephew Victor von Hohenlohe-Langenburg.  She was was born Laura Seymour, an Englishwoman.  It caused a scandal in Germany because the marriage was morganatic.  She was created Countess Gleichen and Victor used the title of Count Gleichen. The couple resided in England and he served in the British navy.  He resumed using the title of Prince in 1885. And in Britain, due to the favour of Queen Victoria, his wife was recognized as Princess.  In Germany she remained Countess Gleichen, however.

After Victor's death, Queen Victoria granted his widow rooms at St. James'. 

Thanks for the info...I knew something about that in QV's letters but didn't know that she lived in St.James. thought Kensinston Palace was more a grace & favour residence ?  ??? Would really want to know about this interesting couple.  ;)

Just as a side note, not to get off-topic, but it was after attending Victor's funeral in Dec 1891 (in the cold rain, hatless) that Eddy became ill.

Like Eric, I would be interested in learning more about this couple. They appeared countless times in the Court Circulars over the decades and were close to their British relatives, as were their children. While the marriage was considered morganatic on the Continent, QV extended every courtesy and often referred to her niece-by-marriage as 'Princess Victor'.  I think the rank change came after the 1917 renunciations.

Viktor Ferdinand Franz Eugen Gustav Adolf Constantin Friedrich (1833-1891); m.1861 Laura Wilhelmina Seymour, cr Countess Gleichen 1861 (1833-1912)

Feodora, later known as Lady Feodora Gleichen (1861-1922)

Albert Edward Wilfred, later known as Lord Edward Gleichen (1863- 1937); m.1910 Sylvia Gay Edwardes

Victoria (Valda), later known as Lady Valda Machell (1868-1951); m.1905 Percy Wilfred Machell (KIA France 1916) [she's the only one who seems to have had a child (one) but I don't know if that child left descendants] 

Helena, later known as Lady Helena Gleichen (1873-1947)

Laura Seymour was the daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour and Georgiana Mary Berkeley. Victor had served with Admiral Seymour.  On Dec. 15, 1885 the Times announced that "we are requested to announce that Count and Countess Gleichen, by gracious permission of the Queen, have resumed the name and title of Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess Victor of Hohenlohe Langenburg, and that their children will retain their present name and title of Counts and Countesses of Gleichen." By warrant of June 11, 1913 Count Edward Gleichen was given precedence "next to and immediately before marquesses of England", his wife before marchionesses of England, and his sisters were given precedence "next to and immediately before the daughters of Dukes of England". 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 11:15:06 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2006, 10:58:20 PM »
Victor's older brother was Hermann who married Leopoldine of Baden. Their son, Ernst, married Affie's daughter Alexandra. Their son, Gottfried, married Margarita of Greece (Victoria Milford Haven's granddaughter), so the family remained closely tied to the British royals. 

One of Victor's sisters was Adelheid (1835-1900); who married Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg in 1856. They were Dona's parents.


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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2006, 11:08:06 PM »
Prince Victor entered the Royal Navy and had a distinguished career, even being recommended for the Victoria Cross, but had to retire, due to ill-health, on half-pay in 1866. He was appointed Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle. In 1887 he was given the rank of admiral on the retired list. He, like his cousin Louise, was a sculptor and studied under Theed, even establishing a studio near his apartment in St James's Palace. He sculpted this large statue of King Alfred at Wantage.

http://www.icknieldwaymorrismen.org.uk/Assets/The%20Vale/Alfred2a.jpg

He also did this statue:

http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/gleichen/2.jpg

Thomas and Jane Holloway at Royal Holloway College, University of London

Count Gleichen as seen by Vanity Fair:

http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/p-15151.jpg

Here is a page with 2 photos and information on his son, Edward:

http://lafayette.150m.com/gle3941a.html

His daughter, Feodora, would also share his interest in sculpture and maintain his studio at St James's. Here she associated with leading artists like Sir George Frampton, sculptor of the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. She was the first member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Her statue of Florence Nightingale, unveiled in 1914, is located on London road in front of The Derby Royal Infirmary.

http://www.derby.gov.uk/Environment/PublicArt/MaintenanceofPublicArt-CleaningFlorence.htm

Some bronze work she did is here:

http://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/faq/building_history/bronze_relief_panels

Vada, was also artistically inclined. She wrote at least one article on singing and singers for Girl's Own Paper.

« Last Edit: November 01, 2006, 11:35:03 PM by grandduchessella »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2006, 01:08:18 AM »
Thanks for the info...I wonder what Dona thought about her morganetic cousins in England ?  ;)

Offline Marlene

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2006, 11:02:41 AM »


ella,  I have long standing plans to do an article on the Gleichens as I have so much information on the family - as well as Edward's and Helena's memoirs.  Valda's son died unmarried and without issue.

This couple came up on the Royal Interiors thread:

Thanks...But who is Princess Victor ? do you mean Princess Victoria ("Toria") ?  ???

No.  Princess Victor was married to Queen Victoria's nephew Victor von Hohenlohe-Langenburg.  She was was born Laura Seymour, an Englishwoman.  It caused a scandal in Germany because the marriage was morganatic.  She was created Countess Gleichen and Victor used the title of Count Gleichen. The couple resided in England and he served in the British navy.  He resumed using the title of Prince in 1885. And in Britain, due to the favour of Queen Victoria, his wife was recognized as Princess.  In Germany she remained Countess Gleichen, however.

After Victor's death, Queen Victoria granted his widow rooms at St. James'. 

Thanks for the info...I knew something about that in QV's letters but didn't know that she lived in St.James. thought Kensinston Palace was more a grace & favour residence ?  ??? Would really want to know about this interesting couple.  ;)

Just as a side note, not to get off-topic, but it was after attending Victor's funeral in Dec 1891 (in the cold rain, hatless) that Eddy became ill.

Like Eric, I would be interested in learning more about this couple. They appeared countless times in the Court Circulars over the decades and were close to their British relatives, as were their children. While the marriage was considered morganatic on the Continent, QV extended every courtesy and often referred to her niece-by-marriage as 'Princess Victor'.  I think the rank change came after the 1917 renunciations.

Viktor Ferdinand Franz Eugen Gustav Adolf Constantin Friedrich (1833-1891); m.1861 Laura Wilhelmina Seymour, cr Countess Gleichen 1861 (1833-1912)

Feodora, later known as Lady Feodora Gleichen (1861-1922)

Albert Edward Wilfred, later known as Lord Edward Gleichen (1863- 1937); m.1910 Sylvia Gay Edwardes

Victoria (Valda), later known as Lady Valda Machell (1868-1951); m.1905 Percy Wilfred Machell (KIA France 1916) [she's the only one who seems to have had a child (one) but I don't know if that child left descendants] 

Helena, later known as Lady Helena Gleichen (1873-1947)

Laura Seymour was the daughter of Admiral Sir George Francis Seymour and Georgiana Mary Berkeley. Victor had served with Admiral Seymour.  On Dec. 15, 1885 the Times announced that "we are requested to announce that Count and Countess Gleichen, by gracious permission of the Queen, have resumed the name and title of Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess Victor of Hohenlohe Langenburg, and that their children will retain their present name and title of Counts and Countesses of Gleichen." By warrant of June 11, 1913 Count Edward Gleichen was given precedence "next to and immediately before marquesses of England", his wife before marchionesses of England, and his sisters were given precedence "next to and immediately before the daughters of Dukes of England". 

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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2006, 08:04:38 PM »
That is good news ! Have you decided the venue yet ?  ???

alixaannencova

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2008, 10:58:47 AM »
I know this thread has been dormant for a very long time, but can anyone throw any light on a query I have.

It is really about three marriages, but it does clearly link to that of Prince Victor of Hohenlohe - Langenburg. I would like to know why in Germany the marriages of the aforementioned Victor and Laura Seymour and that of Edward of Saxe Weimar and Lady Augusta Gordon Lennox were classed as morganatic, when the marriage of Hans Heinrich XV Prince of Pless to Daisy Conrwallis - West does not seem to have been regarded as such.

I have always been under the impression that Daisy was treated as a Princess with style and precedence in Germany and not as Hans Heinrich's morganatic wife. If this was the case, can anyone explain why Daisy was treated so favourably, when in fact her lineage and background was hardly comparable to that of either Laura or Augusta!

Perhaps I am missing the point on this as I am aware that de facto reigning houses maintained very strict rules about marriages of equals etc even long after 1918 as did mediatised houses such as the Hohenlohes, therefore perhaps the House of Pless was an exception to the rule and spouses of unequal birth were acceptable.  Perhaps their unique position was due to their vast wealth! I'd love to know what the Kaiser thought of the marriage and whether Daisy really was accepted as amongst equals! Was the princely title of Pless merely a peerage, if so that would make it more comprehensible as to why Daisy would have been allowed to style herself as such? If not, I think it terribly unfair that the Gleichens seem to have been penalized in Germany just because their mother happened to be the sister of a Marquess, and wonder how they must have felt about Daisy Pless' position and status as the daughter of an untitled gentleman.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2008, 11:11:30 AM by alixaannencova »

Offline Margot

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 01:47:50 PM »
No one seems to have been able to answer the above query about Daisy Pless and Laura! Never mind!

I have always found the Gleichens a curious and and interesting branch of the family! They were so talented! Prince Victor and Lady Feodora with their sculpture, Lady Helen and her painting and Lady Valda and her singing!

I remember yonks ago on another thread, some gorgeous floor plans of St James's Palace with coloured blocks showing various apartments! Sniff sniff they have been removed now and are MUCH lamented...boo hoo!!!!! I do have plain unadorned floor plans and think the Gleichens had apartments on Friary Court facing the garden but am unsure! Can anyone help to verify this! Also did Marlene's article get finished and published?

I am under the impression that Edward, Feodora, Helen and Valda all kept apartments at St James's Palace until their deaths but would love it if someone could just confirm this assumption for me!



Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 02:34:54 PM »
Were the Plesses even considered a mediatized house? I looked at the Online Gotha and they don't appear in either part I (hereditary sovereign status) or Part II (mediatized houses). Perhaps this makes a difference? 
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 02:41:54 PM »
A bracelet, given to Lord Edward Gleichen, British Ambassador to Egypt, in appreciation for his fund-raising efforts on behalf of the opening of the tomb of Tutankhamun, then passed on to his sister Valda



It was sold by Christie's in Dec 2003.

Edward



A plaque for the 3 sisters (courtesy of findagrave) at Golders Green Crematorium Golders Green Greater London, England

« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 02:50:11 PM by grandduchessella »
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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 02:44:44 PM »
From the National Archives

342,469/10

Home Office, received 17 Aug 1917

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty

The humble Petition of Albert Edward Wilfred, Count Gleichen, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Companion of the lost Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George and a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, Major General in the Army, and of Sylvia Gay, Countess Gleichen, his wife, and of Countess Feodora Georgina Maude Gleichen, of Countess Victoria Alice Leopoldina Ida Laura, widow and relict of Percy Wilfrid Machell, Esquire, Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, and of the Distinguished Service Order, Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, deceased, (styled Lady Valda Machell) and of Countess Helena Emily Gleichen, sisters of the said Albert Edward Wilfred, Count Gleichen,

SHEWETH

That Your Petitioners in accordance with Your Majesty's desire consent beg leave to relinquish the place, preeminence and precedence conferred upon them by Royal Warrant under Your Majesty's Sign Manual bearing date the Eleventh day of June 1913, and are also desirous of relinquishing for themselves and their issue the use of the titles of Count and of Countess and any other states degrees honours or appellations in the German Empire which may to them belong and of obtaining Your Majesty's Warrant and Authority to effect this purpose.

Your Petitioners therefore most humbly pray Your Majesty's Royal Licence and Authority that they may relinquish the place preeminence and precedence conferred by Your Majesty's aforesaid Royal Warrant and that they and their issue may relinquish the use of the titles of Count and of Countess and any other states degrees dignities titles Honours or appellations in the German Empire which may to them belong.

And Your Majesty's Petitioners will ever pray &c,

signed on behalf of my wife, and my sisters aforesaid

11th August 1917
Gleichen
Maj. Genl.
------------------------

In compliance with the request of the Secretary of State signified  in your letter of the 22nd ultimo (number 342469/17) I forward an engrossed warrant of precedence in favour of Captain Sir Leopold Mountbatten, G.C.V.O., for His Majesty's signature and return the draft Warrant.  As the latter is in accordance with previous Warrants I have not taken advantage of the suggested alterations in the margin, the word "therefore" appearing in the Warrant of Precedence in favour of Count Gleichen, his wife and sisters.  I understand that Sir Leopold Mountbatten's Warrant is to be dated anterior to that of Count Gleichen.
I am,
Sir,
Your Obedient Servant,

A. S. Scott-Gatty
Garter.

The Under Secretary of State,
Home Office,
Whitehall,
S.W.1

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2010, 02:47:27 PM »
I am under the impression that Edward, Feodora, Helen and Valda all kept apartments at St James's Palace until their deaths but would love it if someone could just confirm this assumption for me!

At least Feodora did--she died there in 1922.

Does anyone know about Valda's husband Percy? He was KIA at Warly-Baillon in 1916--he was about 52 when he went off to battle. Was he career military?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 02:51:53 PM by grandduchessella »
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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2010, 05:00:50 PM »
I know this thread has been dormant for a very long time, but can anyone throw any light on a query I have.
It is really about three marriages, but it does clearly link to that of Prince Victor of Hohenlohe - Langenburg. I would like to know why in Germany the marriages of the aforementioned Victor and Laura Seymour and that of Edward of Saxe Weimar and Lady Augusta Gordon Lennox were classed as morganatic, when the marriage of Hans Heinrich XV Prince of Pless to Daisy Conrwallis - West does not seem to have been regarded as such.

I have always been under the impression that Daisy was treated as a Princess with style and precedence in Germany and not as Hans Heinrich's morganatic wife. If this was the case, can anyone explain why Daisy was treated so favourably, when in fact her lineage and background was hardly comparable to that of either Laura or Augusta!
Were the Plesses even considered a mediatized house? I looked at the Online Gotha and they don't appear in either part I (hereditary sovereign status) or Part II (mediatized houses). Perhaps this makes a difference?

You are spot on. While the Saxe-Weimars were still reigning imperial nobility and the Hohenlohes formerly reigning (mediatized) imperial nobility, the Pless were in a bit more ambiguous position: As Imperial Counts of Hochberg and Princes of Pless, one of the schlesische freie Standesherrschaften (Silesian Free Lordships of Estate), they undoubutedly could have assumed the position of imperial nobility à la such Austro-Bohemian families as the Kinskys, Harrachs, Stadions etc. and assumed strict Ebenbürtigkeit standards like any self-respecting immediate imperial family. See this thread for a discussion of such Austrian families which were imperial in name only.

The point is, they didn't. Their identity was probably more directed towards being territorial Prussian nobility, like the Hatzfeldts, Dohnas, Henckel von Donnersmarcks, Bismarcks, Eulenburgs etc., some of whom also possessed such Free Lordships of Estate in Silesia. But it was more inconvenient to be minor imperial nobility in Northern Germany, because there were much fewer equal (minor) imperial noble families to intermarry with.

And important to note: You could be titled, as baron, count and even prince or duke, and still just be a member of the territorial Prussian nobility, outranked by minor imperial counts. (German grammar allows for a dinstinction between Hochadel (titled nobility, literally High Nobility) and hoher Adel (immediate imperial nobility, literally High Nobility!)

Being mere territorial Prussian nobility also meant that you were subject to Prussian (not imperial) law: Old Prussian territorial law stated that marriages between noblemen and "female persons of the peasant or lower burgher estate" were unequal. This regulation was abolished in 1854 and from then on no union between a Prussian nobleman, from a Prince Bismarck to the poorest Junker von Mausewitz, with any shoemaker's daughter Bertha Müller could be deemed unequal.

But even before this change, Daisy Cornwallis-West, as a member of the landowning gentry, would have been acceptable as the wife of a member of the territorial Prussian nobility.
I'd love to know what the Kaiser thought of the marriage and whether Daisy really was accepted as amongst equals!
From her entertaining memoirs, you get the impression that Kaiser Wilhelm II accepted and liked her very much. As a British-German, Wilhelm (perhaps unlike some die-hard Prussian reactionaries like his grandfather) understood that many armigerous British landowning and gentry families were just as noble as many of his own Junkers, even though they didn't have a noble predicate like von or de.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 05:18:31 PM by Rœrik »

Offline Margot

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2010, 05:22:59 PM »
Oh Ella and Roerik you really are two such generous loves!  Thanks so much for all the oodles of information you have so generously supplied! I always pondered where the children got their artistic abilities from as the Seymours are hardly noted for talents in that direction as far as I can tell! Perhaps it was an Hohenlohe-Langenburg trait!!!!


Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: The Gleichens
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2010, 01:09:11 AM »
You are welcome!
Old Prussian territorial law stated that marriages between noblemen and "female persons of the peasant or lower burgher estate" were unequal.
This must be the reason why Otto von Bismarck's non-noble mother, Luise Wilhelmine née Mencken, could be become the equal wife of a Von Bismarck: As daughter of Friedrich the Great's Privy Cabinet Secretary Anastasius Ludwig Mencken (himself the son of a professor - strange that he wasn't ennobled considering his career as royal aide) she was of the "higher burgher estate". BTW she and thus her son too were distant (?) relatives of the American democracy-critic H.L. Mencken.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 01:11:37 AM by Fyodor Petrovich »