Princess Louise of Belgium
|Princess Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Born||18 February 1858|
|Died||1 March 1924 (aged 66)|
Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(m. 1875; div. 1906)
|Issue||Prince Leopold Clement|
Dorothea, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein
|House||Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Father||Leopold II of Belgium|
|Mother||Marie Henriette of Austria|
First marriage and children
Born Louise Marie Amélie, she married Philipp, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her second cousin, in Brussels, on 4 February/4 May 1875. Philipp was thirty-one at the time of the marriage; his new bride was seventeen. The couple had two children:
- Leopold Clement Philipp August Maria (Svätý Anton, 19 July 1878 - Vienna, 27 April 1916)
- Dorothea Maria Henriette Auguste Louise (Vienna, 30 April 1881 - Dischingen, 21 January 1967), married on 2 August 1898 to Ernst Günther, duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
The marriage was disliked by her father, who regarded it as an unwelcome alliance with Prussia, but her mother approved of it because Philipp lived in Hungary.
The relationship between Louise and Philip was not happy. Louise later wrote that she had fled the bedchamber as soon as possible the morning after her wedding, due to her extreme distress. Philipp is said to have been controlling, and Louise responded by living a lavish lifestyle at the court of Vienna, where she attracted much attention.
Scandal and divorce
In 1895, Louise became romantically involved with Count Geza Mattachich (1868–1923), stepson of Oskar Keglevich, Count of Buzin. Mattachich was a lieutenant in a Croatian regiment of the Austrian army. They met in the Prater in Vienna.
In January 1897, she scandalized Vienna by permanently leaving her husband, Prince Philipp, for Mattachich and taking her daughter with her. They traveled first to Paris, then Cannes, living in other destinations in the south of France and the rest of Europe. Her son became estranged from her, because he felt her actions had ruined his chance for inheritance. Her daughter soon left her mother at the advice of her fiancé, the duke of Schleswig-Holstein.
Louise and Prince Philipp were finally divorced in Gotha on 15 January 1906, almost eight years after Louise had begun divorce proceedings.
Estranged from her father, her husband, and her children, Louise's extravagant expenses brought her deeper and deeper into debt. Despite being the daughter of arguably the wealthiest king of the age, she was forced to claim bankruptcy after it became known that Mattachich had forged the signature of Louise's sister, Princess Stéphanie, on promissory notes for jewelry worth about $2,500,000. As a result of this episode, in May 1898 she was interned in an asylum for six years. Mattachich was sentenced to four years in prison for forgery. Once his sentence was over, he helped Louise escape from the asylum in 1904; they were together until his death in Paris. After Mattachich's death she was given a home by Queen Elisabeth, the wife of her cousin, King Albert I of Belgium.
Louise's memoir, My Own Affairs, was published in 1921.
After her death, the royal court in Brussels went in mourning for a full month.
- Louise, Princess of Belgium, 1858-1924. (2013). My Own Affairs. Project Gutenberg. p. 61. OCLC 914186377.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- "Princess Louise of Belgium Elopes". The New York Times. 1 February 1897.
- "PRINCE PHILIP IN A DUEL.; Wounded in the Arm by Lieut. Mittachich in Vienna". The New York Times. 19 February 1898. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- Leopold II of the Belgians: King of colonialism, Barbara Emerson, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979.
- "PRINCESS LOUISE'S FORGERIES.; Her Creditors Bring Action in an Attempt to Recover $2,500,000". The New York Times. 12 June 1898.
- Moniteur Belge 1924, p 1034
- Louise de Belgique, Autour des trônes que j'ai vu tomber, Albin Michel, Paris, 1921
- Olivier Defrance, Louise de Saxe-Cobourg : Amours, argent, procès, Racine, Bruxelles, 2000 (ISBN 2-87386-230-0)
- Ouvrage collectif, Louise et Stephanie de Belgique, Le Cri, 2003 (ISBN 2-87106-324-9)
- Comte Geza Mattachich, Folle par raison d'État : la princesse Louise de Belgique. Mémoires inédits du comte Mattachich, 1904
- Dan Jacobson, All for Love, Hamish Hamilton, Londres, 2005 (ISBN 0241142733)
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