29 December 2014

Jewel History: Princess's Jewels Held (1902)

Luise, Crown Princess of Saxony (source)

"Princess's Jewels Held"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 30 Dec 1902)

LONDON, Dec. 29 -- Facts concerning the jewels of the Crown Princess of Saxony [1], the whereabouts of which were in doubt, are told by The Times's correspondent in Brussels. Professor Giron, former tutor of the Princess's children and now her companion in Geneva [2], sent them to that city for safekeeping.

The packet arrived at Brussels a few days ago, addressed to Giron's brother, who is a resident of the city. The usual advice was sent by the customs officials to the brother. As the packet was insured for 800,000 francs, and its contents carried a heavy duty, the brother refused to accept it and pay the necessary amount.

King Friedrich August III of Saxony (source)

The authorities in the ordinary course of business should have returned the parcel to the sender. This has not been done. The inference is that the German government has been apprised of the presence of the jewels in the Custom House and has taken steps to confiscate them in the interest of the Crown Prince of Saxony [3].

1. In 1902, the Crown Princess of Saxony was Archduchess Luise of Austria (1870-1947), wife of Crown Prince Friedrich August (who would later become Saxony's last king). She was the daughter of Grand Duke Ferdinand IV of Tuscany and his second wife, Princess Alicia of Bourbon-Parma.
2. Why were the whereabouts of Luise's jewels unknown? Because three weeks earlier, she had fled from Germany with her "companion," André Giron, who was her children's French tutor. Complicating matters further was the fact that she was pregnant with her seventh child, Princess Anna; rumors understandably circulated that Giron, not Friedrich August, was the baby's father. Luise claimed in her memoirs that she chose to leave her husband because she was afraid that her father-in-law was about to have her committed to an asylum.
3. Friedrich August (1865-1932) and Luise were granted a civil divorce in February 1903. Four years later, Luise eloped with the Italian musician Enrico Toselli; although they had a son together, that marriage also eventually ended in divorce. Friedrich August never remarried. He abdicated in 1918 at the end of World War I.