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MY OWN STORY



MY OWN STORY

BYLOl SCANY

EX-CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY



TRANSLATED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF



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UioOL^'U^CCUc^



WITH 19 ILLUSTRATIONS



NEW V DON

(Tbe lintcltetbocfier pcegs



MY OWN STORY

BY LOUISA OF TUSCANY
EX-CROWN PRINCESS OF SAXONY



TRANSLATED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF
THE AUTHOR



WITH 19 ILLUSTRATIONS



G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

NEW YORK AND LONDON
XLbe fcnfcFierbocfiet press



COPTRIGHT, 191 1

BY

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

Copyright for the British Empire and the other countries signatory

to the Berne Convention

by

EvELEiGH Nash



Published, October, 1911
Reprinted, October, 191 1; December, 19 11



tEbc ImfckcTboclier press. 'Re* S«rt



PREFATORY STATEMENT

T HAVE frequently been urged to make a public
repudiation of the various inaccurate state-
ments which, for nearly ten years, have been
circulated regarding my life and actions.

Hitherto I have maintained silence, because
I have disdained to reply to those who have
maligned me. It has, however, been indicated
to me that as my sons are now approaching an
age when the mendacious assertions in question
may be communicated to them, it is my duty,
as their mother, to make public the actual
reasons which led to my leaving Dresden, and
to my ultimate banishment from Saxony.

That is my principal motive in publishing
my own recital of the facts, and I am likewise
desirous that future historians of the Houses of
Saxony and Habsburg should not perpetuate
errors through lack of contradiction on my part.

I also wish to give an unqualified denial to the
prevalent assumption that I am the author of
Confessions of a Princess. I neither wrote

5



6 PRE FA TOR Y STATE MENT

the work, nor supplied, directly or indirectly,
any of the material it contains, and I am at
a loss to understand how any woman could be
credited with writing such a revolting accoimt of
her amours.

In conclusion my thanks are due to my
dear friend Mrs. Maude Mary Chester ffoulkes
for her kindness in helping me to prepare my
book for the press.

LOUISA OF TUSCANY



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

My birth and parentage — The Grand Dukes of
Tuscany — How a princess became the mother-
in-law of her own sister — My father's childhood
— The Pitti Palace — Gloomy grandeur — Love
laughs at locksmiths — My father's first mar-
riage; his wife's death — The Grand Ducal
family leave Florence — " One longing, lingering
look behind" — My father's second marriage
— My mother and her family . . 19-36

CHAPTER II

Salzburg — The Palace — Early days — My father —
His genius for organisation — The education of
a princess — An impromptu bath — Lessons — A
dull life — The power of the priests — Palace
tyranny 37-54

CHAPTER III

All about my relations — My uncles — Duke Charles

7



8 CONTENTS

PACES

of Parma — His collection of watches — A rare
specimen — The teeth that did not fit — A ducal
wardrobe — " All-a-blooming " — Visits and visi-
tors — Vienna — The Empress EUzabeth — How
her hair was dressed — A long walk — The
Empress presents me with the Stem Kreuz
Order — Our last meeting . . . 55-70

CHAPTER IV

Marriage projects — Much of a muchness — Dom
Pedro — My first visit to Saxony — The Castle
of Moritzburg — The Coburg alUance — "Aunt
Coffee- Mill" — A screaming interview . 71-88

CHAPTER V

Domestic scenes — Arrival of Prince Frederick-
August of Saxony — I accept him as my future
husband — Our betrothal — "A chevalier sans
reproche" — Marriage formalities — My trous-
seau and jewels — I bid good-bye to Salzburg —
The Hofburg — The act of renimciation — My
wedding day — "Golden Roses" — My little
train-bearer — An old superstition — How it
came time — We leave for Prague — The Emper-
or's train de luxe .... 89-106

CHAPTER VI
Hradschin and its surroundings — The Ghetto at



CONTENTS 9

PAGES

Prague — ^A discourse on the chosen people — We
goto Dresden — Popular excitement — Our State
entry — Roses everywhere — The Taschenberg
Palace — Rococo furniture and bad taste pre-
dominant — The dog that bit every one — Excite-
ment and fatigue — We begin to settle down — I
resolve to make the best of my Ufe . 107-116



CHAPTER VII

A royal family — My father-in-law — His fanaticism
— Princess Mathilde — Her love of ants — Her
piety — Dress and appearance — Her curiosity
— Prince John George — Lives of the Popes —
Prince Max of Saxony — Cleanliness and godli-
ness — Mutual antagonism — " C'estmalheureux
que tu sois venue dans notre famille" . 1 17-134



CHAPTER VIII

My first visit to Berlin — The Emperor William —
What I think of him — The green chiffon dress
— Customs and ceremonies — The ghostly car-
riage at the Royal castle — The treasure-house
— Some stories about August the Strong — His
ugly daughter-in-law — A defiant Electress —
Carried away in earnest — The fate of a prac-
tical joker — The frightened blacksmith — The
strong man indeed .... 135-150



lo CONTENTS

PACBS

CHAPTER IX

Motherhood — Birth of the Crown Prince — A quar-
rel with my father-in-law — Popular enthusiasm
— "Our Louisa" — Domesticity — Country life
— Mathilde and the strawberries — An " enfant
terrible" — The creche — The Socialist's baby 1 51-172

CHAPTER X

The Court circle — "Noah's Ark" — Calico and
crochet — Drink and gambling — The German
Emperor — His power in Saxony — The invasion
of England — The Archduke Franz-Ferdinand
as a possible ally — The Opera at Dresden — I
see it from the gallery — The affair of the Collier
— Faust at the Court theatre — Royal visitors 173-186

CHAPTER XI

Why and wherefore — Explanations — Mixed blood
— A story of the French Revolution — The
bicycle craze — I am reprimanded — Petty
tyranny — The pearl necklace — The recipe for
a popular Queen of Saxony . . . 187-202

CHAPTER XII

Sturm und Drang — Death of King Albert — An un-
comfortable journey — The woman in black —
At Sibyllenort — Family disputes — " Le Roi est



CONTENTS II

PAGES

mort" — We return to Dresden — A thirsty-
princess — I meet the German Emperor — " My
political friend " — King Albert's funeral — A
wreath of water-lilies — The spectral cat — The
midwife's prophecy .... 203-214

CHAPTER XIII
J'accuse ....... 215-230

CHAPTER XIV
I leave Dresden ..... 231-250

CHAPTER XV

My arrival at Salzburg — A fruitless interview —
My brother protects me — We agree to fly
together — A night adventure — We start for
Switzerland ..... 251-262

CHAPTER XVI

I arrive at Zurich — My future sister-in-law — A rude
awakening — My terrible position — The only
way — M. Giron joins me — A wild-goose chase
— The secret police — Their fruitless journey —
Legal proceedings commence . . 263-278

CHAPTER XVII
Apr^s moi le deluge — The people's sympathy — The



12 CONTENTS

PAGES

Stone throwers — Blind justice — Money versus
honour — The letter that never reached me — I
enter La Maitcrie — Bolts and bars — A plague
of nurses — Cold food but comforting chocolate
— A spirit in prison — I look far back — My
awakening ..... 279-296

CHAPTER XVIII

I leave La Maiterie — A reconciliation with my
parents — Birth of Monica — The chdlet at
Wartegg — I interview the Socialist leaders —
The Red Queen — Death of my father-in-law;
his remorse — Hope deferred — The eccentrici-
ties of the Habsbm"gs — The story of John Orth
— " I will return " . . . . 297-320

CHAPTER XIX

The Emperor Francis- Joseph — His power in family
affairs — The tragedy of Meyerling — What I
know about it — The body under the cover —
The Story of Isabella of Parma — "Three hours,
three days, three years " — I resolve on a coup
de tete — Once again in Dresden — I am arrested
outside the palace — The attitude of the people
— I leave for Leipzig — A wonderful reception —
I learn the value of disinterested affection 321-346

CHAPTER XX
Popular feeling in Saxony — Life at St. Domenico —



CONTENTS 13

PAGES

I am not allowed to remain in peace — Alma
Muth, spy — The King of Saxony's lawyer
arrives in Florence — An interview at the Con-
sulate — I refuse to surrender Monica — The
siege of the villa — I turn Alma Muth out of the
house — She goes to Pegli with Dr. Komer —
What was overheard in the restaurant car — I
make the acquaintance of another spy, Frau
Ida Kremer — Her methods — A vile book — I
receive permission to see my children — Our
meeting in Munich — I resolve to let Monica go
to Saxony — My second marriage — I conclude
my story 347-367



ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

Louisa of Tuscany, Ex-Crown Princess of Saxony

Frontispiece

My Father: Ferdinand IV., Grand Duke of

Tuscany ....... 27

The Imperial Castle of Salzburg, My Birthplace . 41

My Husband: Kjng Frederick- August of Saxony . 93

My Father-in-Law : the Late King George of

Saxony ....... 121

My Sister-in-Law : Princess Mathilde of Saxony . 127

My Husband and Myself with Our Eldest Child

(lury) 155

My Eldest Son: George, Crown Prince of Saxony

(lury) 159

My Second Son: Prince Frederick-Christian of

Saxony (Tia) . . . . . .163

My Youngest Son : Prince Ernest-Henry of Saxony

(Emi) . . . *. . .167

15



i6 ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGB



Myself in Fancy Dress, as Marie Antoinette . 191

My Husband: a Snapshot Taken by Myself . 195

Baron George von Metzsch, the man who said of
me, " I will ruin this woman, but I wall ruin

her slowly " . . . . 219

The Schoolroom at the Royal Palace, Dresden . 241

My Daughters: the Princesses Margaret, Maria-

Alix, and Anna- Monica .... 247

The Royal Palace, Dresden .... 283

Monica ........ 301

My Three Boys: Left to Right, lury, Emi, Tia.

May, 1909 333

Princess Louisa . . . . . .361

Photograph by the Dover Street Studios, Ltd., London, W.



MY OWN STORY



CHAPTER I



My birth and parentage — The Grand Dukes of Tuscany
— How a princess became the mother-in-law of her
own sister — My father's childhood — The Pitti Palace
— Gloomy grandeur — Love laughs at locksmiths —
My father's first marriage; his wife's death — The
Grand Ducal family leave Florence — " One longing,
lingering look behind" — My father' s second marriage
— My mother and her family.



«9



CHAPTER I



T WAS born at the Imperial Castle of Salz-
burg on September 2, 1870. My father was
Ferdinand IV., Grand Duke of Tuscany, and
my mother was Princess Alice of Parma.

Genealogical details are frequently dull, so
I do not propose to write at any great length
about my family history. My father's ances-
tors had reigned in Tuscany since the death
of Giovan Gastone, the last Medicean Grand
Duke, in 1737, when Francis, Duke of Lorraine,
and his wife the Archduchess Maria-Theresa,
assumed the sovereignty until the death of
Charles VI. made them Emperor and Empress
of Austria. Their second son, Pietro-Leopoldo,
then took the title of Grand Duke, and he was
succeeded by his son Ferdinand III., who had
married Princess Louisa- Maria- Amalia of Na-
ples. Ferdinand, who was the first sovereign to
enter into diplomatic relations with the French
Republic, died in 1824, and his son, afterwards
Leopold 11. , was my paternal grandfather.



21



22 MY OWN STORY

Leopold being very^ delicate as a young man,
it was considered desirable that he should marry
early, with the object of securing the succession.
Princess A laria- Anna-Carolina of Saxony was
chosen for his future wife, and negotiations
between the two Courts resulted in a marriage
by proxy taking place at Dresden in 1817.

The Princess, a highly nervous girl, was so
terrified at the idea of meeting her unknown
bridegroom that she refused to leave Dresden
unless accompanied by her sister, to whom she
was devotedly attached; and cajoleries and
threats failed to change her decision.

The two girls, therefore, arrived at Florence,
and the unexpected happened, for the old
Grand Duke Ferdinand III., who was a widower
of sixty-nine, fell in love with the unmarried
princess. Ke shortly afterwards married her,
and in this way she became the mother-in-law
of her own sister.

Two daughters were bom of my grandfather's
first marriage; one died when she was sixteen;
and the other, Princess Augustine, married the
present Prince Regent of Bavaria, who recently
celebrated his ninetieth birthday. In 1833, my
grandfather married again, his second wife
being Marie- Antoinette, daughter of Ferdinand



MY OWN STORY 23

III., King of Naples, and his wife Caroline,
a sister of the ill-fated Marie-Antoinette of
France.

Queen Caroline seems to have possessed con-
siderable individuality, and she must have
been a woman of exceptional courage and iron
constitution, for she insisted on accompanying
her husband to the wars, and rode by his side,
indifferent to discomfort and fatigue. She had
sixteen children and nursed them all herself;
the youngest infant went through these cam-
paigns with her, in charge of a nurse, and the
Queen used to dismount at intervals and suckle
her baby, sitting by the roadside, undisttirbed
by wars or rumours of wars. Her last child
was in fact almost born on horseback.

Napoleon Bonaparte found an unexpected
champion in this strange woman, who was the
grandmother of Marie-Louise. She had always
regarded him as her peculiar enemy, but after
his downfall she was touched with compassion,
and strongly resented the efforts made by the
Viennese Court to separate him from his wife.
**I1 fallait," she declared, "que Marie-Louise
attachat les draps de son lit a sa fen^tre et
s'echappM sous un d^guisement. "

My grandmother had ten children, my father



S4 MY OWN STORY

being the eldest. I have dim recollections of
her, but she did not emulate her mother, the
redoubtable Caroline, in a single trait; she was
stiff, a slave to etiquette, and a bigoted Catholic,
entirely in the hands of the priests. She was,
however, intelligent. We were always very
much afraid of her, and she was mean to miser-
liness; indeed, to dine with grandmother meant
getting hardly anything to eat. She died near
Salzburg in 1898, a lonely, colourless woman;
and heredity, so strong in our family, gave to
her children the individuality she had been
denied.

My father's childhood was passed in Florence
at the Pitti Palace, which George Eliot has
described as "a wonderful union of Cyclopean
massiveness with stately regularity." The
story goes that Luca Pitti, the opponent of
the Medici, buUt it to outrival the Strozzi
Palace, and he is said to have boasted during a
banquet that he would build a palace with a
court-yard which would alone be able to contain
the whole of the Palazzo Strozzi. The build-
ing was not completed until the middle of the
sixteenth century, when it came into the pos-
session of Eleanor of Toledo, the wife of Duke
Cosimo L, and it was thenceforward the home



MY OWN STORY 25

of the Medici until my ancestors became Grand
Dukes of Tuscany.

The Pitti is too well known to need detailed
description. It has always struck me as im-
posing in its cold way, but I do not think it
could ever have been a "home" for its occu-
pants. The salons are splendid, the art trea-
sures are wonderful; but it is cheerless, and the
only rooms in it which I ever covet are the tiny
boudoir and bathroom of Marie-Louise, which
are decorated and furnished in the best Empire
style.

My grandfather's Court was as gloomy as
the Palazzo Pitti itself, and the Grand Ducal
children were brought up most strictly. Ai
five o'clock every morning they were expected
to say "Bon jour" to their parents, a proceed-
ing which entailed much ceremony. They were
taken to an anteroom adjoining their parents'
bedroom, and with their governesses and tutors
in close attendance the little princes stood on
one side of the salon and the little princesses
on the other. All conversation was forbidden,
and when five o'clock struck, the Groom of
the Chambers threw open the great doors and
they walked in solemnly and kissed their par-
ents' hands. Coffee was then served, and the



26 MY OWN STORY

children took formal leave and went to their
lessons. Ten o'clock was the luncheon hour,
when all the family met, and my great-aunt,
Princess Louisa, was always much in evidence.
She was a dw^arf, with the crooked, malicious
mind that so often goes with a crooked body.
She had very long, monkey-like arms, and when-
ever she was displeased she would fling them
out like the sails of a windmill and hit which-
ever of her ladies-in-waiting happened to be
standing nearest to her. She was an odious
little creature and hated everybody who
was young and pretty, with the result that
she was cordially detested even by her own
relations.

After limch the children played in the Boboli
Gardens, which were then better kept up than
they are to-day. I shall always remember how
disappointed an English friend of mine was
when I took her to see the gardens for the first
time. She is a romantic person, who quite
expected to see something very beautiful and
not the badly trimmed hedges and ragged grass
which met her horrified gaze.

At eight o'clock came the diner de ceremonies
which the children heartily enjoyed, as they
had had no food since ten o'clock in the morning,




Photo by Kollertanar, Budapest.

MY father: FERDINAND IV, GRAND DUKE OF TUSCANY

27



MY OWN STORY 29

and my father has often told me how raven-
ously hungry they used to become.

Papa was a handsome young man with black
curling hair, brown eyes, and an amiable expres-
sion. He was of medium height, slender and
well knit, full of energy, and possessed the
best disposition in the world. He was very
clever, and acquired any number of accom-
plishments, as well as being proficient in the
more serious studies which his future position
required.

Like most of the Habsburgs, papa was al-
ways attracted by a beautiful woman, and he
fell in and out of love very easily. At the age
of eighteen he had an affaire de cceur with a
petite bourgeoise, who lived near the Pitti Palace ;
but directly it was discovered he was shut up
in his rooms for a fortnight, and forbidden to
see or to correspond with the fair one. At last
the youthful lover discovered a means of com-
municating with his inamorata. He procured
a large sheet of cardboard, on which he cut out
the letters of the alphabet, and covered over
the cut-out portions with transparent paper.
When night fell he placed the sheet of card-
board before his open window, put a lighted
candle behind certain letters until he had



30 MY OWN STORY

completed a word, and in this ingenious way
conveyed his messages to the girl, who stood
in the street facing the palace.

Papa was only twenty-one when he married
Princess Anna, the daughter of King John of
Saxony, who translated Dante under the nom
de plume of " Philaletes. " Anna's mother,
Queen Amelia, was a daughter of Prince Maxi-
milian of Bavaria, and a twin out of two sets
of twin girls. Her own twin. Princess Eliza-
beth, married Frederick William IV., King of
Prussia; the other twins, Sophia and Marie,
married respectively the Archduke Franz-Karl
(father of the present Emperor of Austria)
and Frederick- August II., King of Saxony, and
it is thus remarkable that two sisters became
in turn Queens of the same country.

Princess Anna captured all hearts on her
arrival in Florence, and when she died in
Naples, three years after her marriage, from
typhoid fever contracted through eating oysters,
she was universally and unfeignedly lamented.
Her little daughter, Marie- Antoinette, was taken
to Saxony and brought up by her grandparents
at Dresden until she was fourteen, when her
father remarried. She was a gifted girl with
a charming talent for versifying, but she died



MY OWN STORY 31

of consumption at Cannes in all the promise of
her youth and beauty.

My family's connection with Tuscany as
reigning Grand Dukes terminated after the
defeat of the Austrians at Solferino. The terms
of the Peace of Villafranca compelled the
Emperor to surrender Lombardy to Victor
Emmanuel and also to consent to the incor-
poration of Tuscany into the Italian dominion.
My grandfather was intensely Austrian at heart,
and he refused to consider any decree which
made him a constitutional sovereign. The
political situation became so menacing that the
Grand Ducal family had to leave Florence in
precipitate haste on April 27, 1859. The fugi-
tives were my grandfather and grandmother,
my father, then a widower of twenty-four, and
his little one-year-old girl, my aunts and uncles,
and the widow of the old Grand Duke. It was
a magnificent day, intensely hot, with cloud-
less azure skies, and as the carriages containing
the Royal Family left the Pitti Palace, crowds
thronged the streets and impeded the horses'
progress. The Florentines viewed their Grand
Duke's departure quite calmly, many saying
with smiling affability which greatly enraged
my grandfather, "Addio, Babbo Leopoldo."



32 MY OWN STORY

The travelling carriages soon left Florence
far behind, and only clouds of dust showed the
road taken. The state of the Grand Ducal
family was not an enviable one, for they had
left home so hurriedly that they had no personal
belongings of any kind, and everything, even to
baby clothes, had to be bought en route.

The gorgeous tapestries, exquisite pictures,
jewels, enamels, gold and silver plate, and art
treasures of every description were left behind
at the Pitti; and when King Victor Emmanuel
went to the palace he slept between sheets
embroidered with the arms of the fugitive
Duke.

\Yhen the unhappy exiles reached the heights
from which a beautiful view of Florence is
obtained, my grandfather ordered the carriages
to stop, and he and his family alighted in order
to take a last farewell look at their home. They
were all very much affected, and with one
accord broke down and wept bitterly. They sat
by the roadside in a tearful row and endeavoured
to recover their composure, but when my aunt
proceeded to dry her tears the awful fact was
discovered that no one in the party had a pocket
handkerchief. This was certainly unpleasant,
for the tears, coursing down cheeks already



MY OWN STORY 33

covered with dust, had left dirty and gritty
channels which did not improve the appearance
of the "illustrious" family who were in despair
at their ridiculous position. The situation, how-
ever, was saved by my grandmother, who on
this occasion displayed a little of her mother's
originality. Lifting her voluminous skirts, she
took a comer of her equally voltuninous lace
petticoat and with extreme care and delicacy
proceeded to wipe away the tears and dust
from the faces of her family, until, at last,
somewhat more soignes they re-entered their
carriages and continued their flight.

After leaving Tuscany, my grandfather bought
the Castle of Brandeis in Bohemia, and another
residence near Carlsbad, called Schlakenwerth,
where he spent much of his time. My father
visited Schonbrunn, but he was very unsettled
and miserable, and finally went to Bavaria.
He spent his summers on the Lake of Con-
stance, where Princess Luitpold had a villa,
and eventually built a villa for himself, on quite
original lines, at Lindau. He would not
employ an architect, but had the work car-
ried out under his directions by an engineer
and a few workmen. Papa's interest in house-
building did not, however, commend itself to



34 MY OWN STORY

my grandfather, who wished him to many
again.

The Grand Duke always hoped to be re-estab-
lished in Tuscany, so he strongly urged my
father to look out for an eligible princess, and
he, hke a dutiful son, at once commenced a round
of visits "with a view to matrimony." His
choice fell on Princess Alice of Parma, whom he
met at the house of her uncle, the Comte de
Chambord, who resided at Frohsdorf near
Vienna.

Princess Alice was the daughter of Louisa,
Duchess of Parma, whose mother was the
Duchesse de Berri. She had married Duke
Charles of Parma when a mere girl, and her
handsome but flighty husband was murdered
(some say at the instigation of a gentleman
jealous of his wife's honour) at the early age
of thirty-two.

Troubles broke out in Parma which event-
ually ended in a revolution, and the Duchess
with her four children fled in disguise to Switzer-


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