Friday, December 30, 2016

Scandal of Princess Louise and Her Riding Master, 1916

Most smaller North Carolina newspapers didn't carry much national and international news in 1916, so I thought this story of scandal was worth sharing. If your family was in Hickory in December of 1916, they were probably discussing Princess Louise and her riding master! "Lover of Princess Louise in Trouble,” from the Hickory Daily Record, Dec. 27, 1916. This Associated Press story was on the front page. 

Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 27 –The love affairs of Princess Louise of Belgium and her former riding master, Count von Matassich, a Hungarian subject and first lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian calvary, had an interesting aftermath recently when the count was ordered to leave Budapest for “political reasons.” He was ordered to remove to his native town in Croatia but eleventh-hour intersession by Dr. Visontai, the legal adviser of Princess Louise, influenced the police to permit Matassich to remain in the capital under surveillance.

Back of the action lies the continued endeavor of the family of the princess to separate her from matassich, who eloped with her when she was the wife of Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg in 1896.

Some time ago the family suggested that the princess place herself voluntarily under guardianship but the princess has not yet consented to this. She was not permitted to live in either Vienna or Budapest, but finally obtained permission to reside in Munich, where she now is. It is considered unlikely that count Matassich will be given permission to go to Munich, so that for the duration of the war, at least, the couple will be separated.

Princess Louise is the oldest daughter of the late King Leopold of Belgium. In 1875 she married Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg, who was 14 years her senior, when she was 17. She was 35 when she met Count Matassich, who was employed as her riding master, and soon their relations became the scandal of Europe. Shortly after the elopement County Matassich was arrested, charged with forgery aiding Princess Louise swindle Vienna money lenders by cashing notes with the forged signature of Princess Stephani. He spent a term in prison, while the princess was confined for several years in a sanitarium, from which she escaped in a sensational manner and returned to her lover, while Prince Philip brought suit for and obtained absolute divorce.

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