Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg

Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg
Princess Julius Ernst of Lippe
Born (1878-05-08)8 May 1878
Died 14 October 1948(1948-10-14) (aged 70)
Spouse Count George Jametel
Prince Julius Ernst of Lippe
Issue Count George Jametel
Countess Marie Auguste Jametel
Princess Elisabeth of Lippe
Prince Ernst August of Lippe
House House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
House of Lippe
Father Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Mother Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt

Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg (baptised Victoria Marie Augustine Louise Antoinette Caroline Leopoldine;[1] 8 May 1878 14 October 1948) was the eldest daughter of Adolf Friedrich V, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth of Anhalt.

Early life

As a young woman Marie became pregnant by a palace servant.[2] The servant, a married man named Hecht, was responsible for turning off the gas-lights in the bedrooms of the grand ducal children.[2] Several of Marie's cousins, including the future King George V of the United Kingdom and William II, German Emperor, thought that Marie had been "hypnotised", while Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom thought that Marie had been "drugged".[2] Hecht was dismissed from service on the charge of stealing; his subsequent lawsuit against the grand ducal family made the details of the story public.[2] The story made radical newspaper headlines in its day.[3]

A daughter was born to Marie in 1898; she was raised under the protection of Marie's grandmother, Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (born Princess Augusta of Cambridge).[4]

First marriage

Marie's younger brother Karl Borwin, killed by Count Jametel while defending his sister's honour

Marie went to France where she met Count George Jametel (1859–1944), the son of Ernest Jametel, a banker and patent medicine manufacturer, and nephew of the politician Gustave-Louis Jametel ; he had received the title of Papal Count from Pope Leo XIII in 1886. Marie and George were married on 22 June 1899, at the Catholic Chapel of St. Elizabeth in Richmond Park, near White Lodge, the home of Marie's great-aunt, the Duchess of Teck (born Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge). There was a second Anglican wedding ceremony the same day at the Parish Church of Kew.[5] In spite of the fact that the marriage was morganatic, many members of Marie's family attended the wedding, including her grandparents, parents, and three siblings. The wedding breakfast was given by her great-uncle the Duke of Cambridge at Cambridge Cottage, Kew.[6]

Marie and George received a large financial settlement ($200,000) from Marie's father.[7] They lived in the Faubourg St. Germain in Paris. They had two children:

Marie's husband George had several affairs, most notoriously with the married Infanta Eulalia of Spain.[8] In January 1908, Marie applied for a divorce from George.[7][9] The Count was found to have married Marie for her money, and to have continued his affair with Eulalia.[2] In August her nineteen-year-old brother, Duke Karl Borwin of Mecklenburg, decided to defend her honour and challenged George to a duel in which Karl Borwin was killed.[10] Marie and George were divorced 31 December 1908.[11] Having lost her fortune due to the divorce,[2] Marie resumed the use of her Mecklenburg title and lived in the Blasewitz section of Dresden.

Second marriage

On 11 August 1914, at Neustrelitz, Marie married Prince Julius Ernst of Lippe (1873–1952), third son of Count Ernst of Lippe-Biesterfeld and uncle of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.[12] They were among the guests at the 1937 wedding of Juliana of the Netherlands to Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld.[13]

After their marriage Marie and Julius lived in Blasewitz. They had two children:

Marie died at the age of seventy in Oberkassel near Bonn. She is buried with her second husband in the Lippe family mausoleum at Heisterbach Abbey.[14]



  1. The Peerage – Duchess Marie
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pope-Hennessy, pp. 340-343.
  3. Pope-Hennessy, p. 339.
  4. Le Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et Irlande du Nord (Paris : Cercle d'Études des Dynasties Royales Européennes, 1989): II, 145.
  5. "A Morganatic Marriage", The New York Times ( 23 June 1899): 7.
  6. "Court Circular", The Times ( 23 June 1899): 6.
  7. 1 2 "Countess Wants Divorce", The New York Times ( 9 February 1908): C1.
  8. Ricardo Mateo Sainz de Medrano, "L'Affaire Jametel", Royalty Digest (vol. 8, no. 96): 360.
  9. "Royal Divorce Probable", The New York Times ( 1 February 1908): 4.
  10. Erstling, Frank; Frank Saß; Eberhard Schulze (April 2001). "Das Fürstenhaus von Mecklenburg-Strelitz". Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Beiträge zur Geschichte einer Region (in German). Friedland: Steffen. p. 184. ISBN 3-9807532-0-4.
  11. Almanach de Gotha, 1910, 61.
  12. "German Royal Engagement", The Times ( 29 April 1914): 7.
  13. "Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands & Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld -1937". Royal Forums.
  14. Royalty (Travel) Guide


External links

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