Author Topic: Daisy Princess of Pless  (Read 104704 times)

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Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #90 on: July 10, 2011, 12:21:34 PM »
This just gets more and more interesting. I really should buy the books.

Just what I was thinking! I don't know anything about Daisy, can anyone recommend a book to start with! Thanks :)
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #91 on: July 11, 2011, 06:37:27 AM »
I would give anyone reading them a bit of a health warning - she is very inclined to say how she didn't understand why everyone admired her and flocked around her, how she longed to be just with her children in a tiny simple English cottage and has rather sickly poetic thoughts.  As an Edwardian international socialite she is fascinating, however, though fairly coy about her love life or anyone else's - for example, Prince Francis of Teck and Lady Kilmorey are mentioned as part of a house party at Furstenstein - you have to know they were lovers to realise that she is conveying information in a discreet way which only people in those circles would have been aware of, but otherwise just looks like a catalogue of grand house-party guests.  Every now and again there are flashes of plain common sense, but you can become exasperated.  And of course there is the distaste at meeting with common or vulgar jews (though your Rothschilds or Sassoons are too kind and lovely) which sets the teeth on edge though Daisy wasn't particularly special in such views which in fairness don't crop up that much.  If you can get any books first from a library I would recommend that before committing to buying any, and although it's a long time since I read them through (and frankly, they're better to dip into), I think I recall the first and last volumes were the best.  They are handily summarised by Wikipedia:
- Princess Daisy of Pless, Princess Daisy of Pless by Herself, London, John Murray, 1929.
- Princess Daisy of Pless, Better Left Unsaid, New York: Dutton, 1931.
- Princess Daisy of Pless, What I Left Unsaid, New York: Cassell, 1936.
- Princess Daisy of Pless, The Private Diaries of Princess Daisy of Pless - 1813 - 1974, D. Chapman-Huston, editor, London: John Murray, 1950.
I think that what she left unsaid wasn't especially sensational but other Daisy-ites might disagree.

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #92 on: July 11, 2011, 09:26:40 AM »
Just to add that Adolphus Frederick's heir was a member of the branch of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz family that had been in Russian service for several generations asnd was a General in the Russian Army.

Ann

That is what I had put in the post regarding the pressures on AF. His heir, Duke Charles Michael, was a member of the opposing Army. Charles Michael wrote on 24 June 1914 (a few days after the death of Adolf friedrich V) to the new grand-duke Adolf Friedrich VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, to inform him of his decision to establish himself permanently in Russia and to renounce any claims he might have as agnate, for himself and any eventual issue from an equal marriage. Adolf Friedrich VI wrote back on 9 July 1914 to give him permission to be naturalized in Russia, but asked him not to make any renunciation at this point. Charles Michael answered back on 16 July an agreed to defer any renunciation until the matter arose. When Adolf Friedrich VI died, the only agnate left in the Mecklenburg-Strelitz branch was Charles Michael. As Germany was still at war with Russia, and Karl Michael was not only a Russian subject (in August 1914 becoming a naturalized Russian citizen), but also a serving officer in the Russian army, his accession was inconceivable. Jurists consider that the head of the Mecklenburg-Schwerin branch, grand-duke Friedrich Franz IV, could have either exercised a regency in Karl Michael's name, and, should the latter have a son by an equal marriage, until the majority of such son; or he could have excluded Charles Michael by a decision as head of the house. But, since Charles Michael had expressed an intention to renounce his rights when the time came to exercise them, it seemed logical to ask him to confirm that intention. In the meantime, by a decree of 27 February, Friedrich Franz IV took over the administration of the grand-duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The wartime situation made it difficult to reach Charles Michael; finally, a letter of 17 May reached Charles Michael on 6 August. He replied by a letter dated 10 August, from Kislowodsk, and unequivocally reaffirmed his renunciation. This letter did not reach Friedrich Franz IV until January 1919 in Denmark.

A petition to accept the throne was also sent to Charles Michael by the citizens of Mecklenburg-Strelitz upon AF's death as they wanted to maintain their independence and not be united with Mecklenburg-Schwerin. However Charles Michael never received it so he wrote the private letter confirming his desire to renounce his rights to reign in Mecklenburg-Strelitz (which didn't reach FF until 1919). As a result the succession issue could not be resolved in time and the two Mecklenburg grand duchies became separate free states in the Weimar Republic.

 Friedrich Franz agreed to act as regent and eventually for his son, Christian Ludwig, to become GD of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and it is for this reason that Christian Ludwig was left the fortune. If this agreement hadn't been reached or CL had declined to take up residency in Strelitz (another condition) the inheritance would be reduced to 3 million marks from an estimated 30 million.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #93 on: July 11, 2011, 09:53:15 AM »
To understand Daisy, Princess of Pless, one must understand her mother, Lady Olivia Fitzpatrick, who was the daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Headfort.  I quote from Leslie Field’s Bendor- the Golden Duke of Westminster ISBN 0 297 78046 8;

Lady Olivia was not Daisys mother she was her maternal grandmother. Patsy was a daughter of Lady Olivia.

Lady Olivia was reportedly banished from Queen Victoria's Court for flirting with Prince Albert.  :)  I think the story is recounted in Daisy's 2nd set of diaries. In it, she relates how Edward VII teased her grandmother of this. True or not, I would think the flirting went only one way. Albert was a handsome man in his day.
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #94 on: July 11, 2011, 09:55:11 AM »
In "Daisy, Princess of Pless by herself", Daisy wrote rather undramatically that she believed Adolphus Frederick had been severely depressed because of being torn between his pro-British sympathies and his love of Germany, and the death of his Grandmother Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (born a princess of Great Britain and a confidante of her niece, Queen Mary) - and because of debilitating hay fever!  The latter seems a bit of a stretch (although of course at the time there were few means of alleviating the symptoms and they can be very severe), but the others seem not unreasonable.  Daisy herself was very much the target of anti-British accusations in the press and Adolphus Frederick would have been perceived as tarnished by association, not a great leap to accusations of being Daisy's lover and acting under her direction to spy for Britain.  From Daisy's various memoirs the anti-British hysteria in the press and German society generally sound very much like those in Britain at the time and could be very wearing after a while, especially if Adolphus-Frederick had lost one of the few confidantes sympathetic to his internal conflicts in his grandmother.  Of course being depressed because of a bereavement and press hostility, and feeling ill, is not such a good story as a jealous Kaiser (although I think it was actually his son, Crown Prince Wilhelm, who had rather a crush on Daisy), blackmail, forced divorces, etc.

More on his romantic life:

"While Adolf Friedrich remained unmarried and without a son, there was an issue surrounding the succession, as his heir Duke Karl Michael had indicated to him just before war broke out that he wished to renounce his rights to the Mecklenburg throne.  During the war, the topic of his marriage was discussed by Adolf Friedrich and his friend Princess Daisy; however in war time it was difficult to arrange a meeting between Adolf Friedrich and an eligible princess.  Eventually, with the assistance of Princess Daisy a match was found.  The princess having secured the interest of one of her husband’s distant cousins, Princess Benigna Reuss zu Köstritz and as Adolf Friedrich was agreeable to the match his Minister President Heinrich Bossart began negotiations to bring about the marriage.

Although what appeared to be a simple process that only needed a public announcement so that a wedding date could be set was wrought with unforeseen challenges that to this day are rather sketchy. It seems, before an engagement could be announced there was the complication of a woman that Adolf Friedrich was rumored to have been involved with, and who he was said to have made a promise of marriage to and needed to be freed from before he could make Princess Benigna his wife.  The exact true identity of the woman involved is unclear.  One woman that has been mooted over the years was the Italian opera singer who Adolf Friedrich had begun a love affair with while Hereditary Grand Duke and who he had invited to his summer residence in 1916 and 1917.  From 1908 until his death ten years later, his mistress was the operatic soprano Mafalda Salvatini. An Italian by birth but raised mainly in Paris, she was a star at the Berlin State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Supposedly, Salvatini had two sons by Adolphus Frederick, Horst Gérard and the set and costume designer Rolf Gérard.  According to Adolf Friedrich’s nephew, Prince Ernst August zur Lippe, Adolf Friedrich was the father of the two boys, although it is not known for certain whether he was indeed the father and Rolf has stated he believes his father was Walter Gérard.

To add further, Adolf Friedrich also had been in a relationship with a Hungarian born woman Margit Höllrigl.  While heir to the throne he was reported to have given her a marriage proposal so he would not have to become grand duke and in so doing his brother Duke Karl Borwin would marry and succeed him instead.  But the sudden death of his brother in a duel with their brother-in-law, Count Georges Jametel, who had mistreated their sister Marie made it essential for Adolf Friedrich to remain heir and one day marry and continue the dynasty.  Faced with this new and unexpected dilemma, he tried to pay Höllrigl off to release him from his promise, but apparently she was in possession of letters linking Adolf Friedrich to homosexual relationships, which would have caused a great scandal and so blackmailed him to extract more money. 
With the war entering a fourth year, and his love affairs possibly going to become public knowledge before he contracted his dynastic marriage, on the evening of Saturday, February 23, 1918, Adolf Friedrich left his palace in Neustrelitz to take his dog for a walk.  When it was discovered the next morning that he had not returned a search was carried out.  Upon the emptying of a small lake on his estate he was found dead with a gunshot wound to his temple, thus bringing about a tragic end to Adolf Friedrich’s four year reign which had been blighted by war and his own personal sadness.

An autopsy found that he had drowned and no weapon was recovered from the scene.  The circumstances surrounding his death are still to this day unclear.  Rumors surfaced after his death that the German Secret Service had discovered that he had been spying forGreat Britain and that he had been given the choice of being tried as a traitor to the German Empire, or he could take his own life.  This story was refuted by his close friend Princess Daisy. Cleary troubled at the time of his death, the catalyst was probably a combination of factors such as the war, his impending marriage and potential scandal caused by his old lovers.  Or was it? He was also reportedly suffering from neurasthenia. "
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Offline ashdean

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #95 on: July 11, 2011, 10:02:55 AM »
This just gets more and more interesting. I really should buy the books.

Just what I was thinking! I don't know anything about Daisy, can anyone recommend a book to start with! Thanks :)
Eddie all the Pless books have gold in them...there is also 2 quite recently publisked biographies...one of Daisy (by I think John Koch) the other of her eldest son.Sadly I dont seem to have recorded exact details of them.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #96 on: July 11, 2011, 10:06:44 AM »
My, my, this just keeps getting better than All My Children !
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #97 on: July 11, 2011, 10:25:38 AM »
This just gets more and more interesting. I really should buy the books.

Just what I was thinking! I don't know anything about Daisy, can anyone recommend a book to start with! Thanks :)
Eddie all the Pless books have gold in them...there is also 2 quite recently publisked biographies...one of Daisy (by I think John Koch) the other of her eldest son.Sadly I dont seem to have recorded exact details of them.

Before you order, some (if not all) of the old diaries are available online if you prefer.
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #98 on: July 11, 2011, 11:17:01 AM »
Quote
Eddie all the Pless books have gold in them...there is also 2 quite recently publisked biographies...one of Daisy (by I think John Koch) the other of her eldest son.Sadly I dont seem to have recorded exact details of them.

The books referred to are W. John Koch's 'Daisy, Princess of Pless 1873-1943 - A Discovery' W John Koch Publishing 2002 and Michael Luke's 'Hansel Pless - Prisoner of History' The Cygnet Press 2001 - the latter is in some ways the better book, though of course Daisy is not the main focus.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #99 on: July 11, 2011, 11:22:53 AM »
Thank you, CK, very useful referrals.
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Tony de Gandarillas

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #100 on: July 11, 2011, 11:43:43 PM »
Quoting from Leslie Field's Bendor The Golden Duke of Westminster

Bendor by Leslie Field

Page 46

“Although the Cornwallis-Wests were members of the raffish ‘Marlborough House set’, they lived on a very small income, and Patsy’s financial ambitions were firmly established when her two daughters were still tiny children: they must marry rich husbands.”

“To emphasize her youthfulness, the children were taught to treat Patsy like a sister and always called her by her Christian name.  Their father was ‘Poppets’, Mary ‘Daisy’, George ‘Buzzy’, and Constance, ‘Shelagh’or ‘Biddy’.  While Patsy devoted herself to a life of pleasure, her daughters, were pretty well allowed to run wild.  What was unusual was the way in which George was brought up.  Unreasoningly Patsy loather him, and when he misbehaved she locked him up in a dark cupboard under the staircase, deaf to his howls of fear and misery.  She convinced her husband that instead of sending him to preparatory school, he should go to the local Ruthin Grammar Free School and , as added punishment, he was not given any pocket money.  The other boys, who expected the Squire’s son to be rich, did not believe this and bullied him into buying sweets for them.  When he could not pay a tenpence-halfpenny bill and the account was sent home, his mother gave it to the headmaster, who administered a sound thrashing.  Poor George made his painful way home, not only sore and bruised, but ‘boiling with rage at the injustice’”

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #101 on: July 11, 2011, 11:55:55 PM »
Sounds like she was a real female dog in heat....
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Tony de Gandarillas

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #102 on: July 11, 2011, 11:59:28 PM »
Page 52

Speaking of Bendor

“His natural glamour was much enhanced by his position as his grandfather’s heir, which made him infinitely desirable to any number of flirtatious young women and their fortune-hunting mamas. Unfortunately, aside from sporting pursuits, there was nothing particular he wanted to do; he had no special talent, and so much money that he had no reason to show any initiative or determination.  His grandfather, at seventy-two, was as vigorous as he had been twenty years earlier, and it seemed likely he would continue to run things for another ten or fifteen years.  The Duke envisaged Bendor spending more time with him in London as he trained him to administer the Grosvenor Estate, but there was no rush. ‘Plenty of time, let the boy enjoy himself,’ was the family attitude.

  In August Bendor went to spend a week-end with the Cornwallis-Wests.  He had celebrated his 18th birthday in March, and Shelagh her 21st in May.  According to Princess Daisy, they told her parents they wished to marry, but the Cornwallis-Wests were clever enough to say Bendor must discuss it first with his grandfather.  Marriage to a fortune-hunting Cornwallis-West was the last thing the Duke had in mind for his grandson and he was most emphatic that Bendor was far too young to know his own mind.  It would be much wiser for him to go abroad.  Shelagh’s parents quite agreed that no one should do anything hasty, but how they must have gritted their teeth at such a rich prize slipping from their grasp!”

Offline Tony de Gandarillas

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #103 on: July 12, 2011, 12:07:22 AM »
Page 60

“ In her memoirs, written many years later, his sister-in-law, Princess Daisy of Pless mentions in passing that even though Shelagh had been pursued by numerous suitors during Bendor’s absence, she remained independent and heart free and that on his return Bendor went again to Colonel Cornwallis-West, who this time gave permission for the marriage.  The truth, however, appears to be somewhat more complicated.  Patsy Cornwallis-West was anything but happy at having a daughter unmarried at twenty-four with no suitors who could compete with the splendour of the richest duke in England.  She resolved to do something about the situation.

After a family reunion at Saighton and some weeks in London seeing family advisers and lawyers, he retired from the Royal Horse Guards on 4 December.  Then, the most eligible man in England was invited to join a pre-Christmas party at Blenheim Palace, where the guest of honour was the Prince of Wales.  According to Bendor, who told the story many years later to Sir Shane Leslie, the Cornwallis-Wests were also there and conveniently he and Shelagh were left alone on a number of occasions, although he managed to avoid discussing the future in any detail.  Patsy saw that a firmer action had to be taken and she teased the Prince of Wales into taking Bendor aside and urging him to make plain his intentions.  In a firm, parental manner the Prince told the young man that his attentions towards Shelagh came close to compromising her good name, and that after her mother had found them alone together in the garden the night before his possible action, as a gentleman, must be to ask her to marry him.  (Some years later Bendor heard that Patsy had boasted of her cleverness in sending the pair of them out for a walk while she circled around waiting for an appropriate moment to accuse them of misbehaving.  By that time he was bitterly resentful of his interfering, greedy mother-in-law and the story made him intensely angry.)”


Offline CountessKate

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Re: Daisy Princess of Pless
« Reply #104 on: July 12, 2011, 03:00:07 AM »
That being said, Patsy was hardly a drain on the Westminster enormous resources.  As for her interfering, with what?  I can't recall in that book that she had any impact on his way of life, his interests or his relationships.  His marriage with Shelagh was the normal sort for his rank and for the period - if it hadn't been Patsy, some other managing Mama would have secured him for her daughter and it would have been a very similar sort of marriage to a girl of an aristocratic background and because he didn't need to marry for money, her looks would have been the important factor - unlikely to have been a great marriage of minds.  If his only son with Shelagh had not died, they would probably have stuck together in the approved pre-War manner and had their separate lives without any problem.  Bendor himself could be perfectly odious - his grudges were homeric and he put into them efforts worthy of better things (particularly his persecution of his brother-in-law Lord Beauchamp).  That he should have been furious for Patsy for getting one over on him is understandable but again his anger outweighed the sin, such as it was.  The only thing that was different about Patsy was that she was more open about what she did in arranging her daughters marriages compared to all the other match-making Mamas at the time who did it covertly.  While enough romantic notions had crept in to indicate that aristocratic girls should actually care for their future partners, marriage was a business.  They could not make a living themselves, having no education to do so, and their only real way of getting on was through a successful marriage, and Mama's duty was to obtain the best possible partner she could.  In that business, Patsy did splendidly for her girls.  I refuse to be sorry for poor, persecuted Bendor.  If he had really had fixed views about avoiding marriage, he needn't have gone anywhere alone with Shelagh - he wasn't stupid and matchmaking mothers were notorious for pouncing on unattached young men with titles.