"the" Mrs. Astor

Friday, May 02, 2008

Please Address It To Marie.....

Leopoldo has asked several times why mail to the house is delivered to someone titled, "Marie, Queen of Roumania". It always brings a smile to my face. Marie was one of these quirky characters in history, born into the highest of highest royal familes. Her father was Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and her mother, The Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Marie married, most likely, not of her desire, not an uncommon situation of the time-- to Prince Ferdinand of Roumania. She produce an heir, and five more offspring, although her loveless marriage seemed to assure the later children were from lovers. Ah, the glamour.

This has always been my favorite photograph of Queen Marie; over-the-top, elegant, and with a taste of Victorian adventurism, any of us could see us there. But, she was a complicated woman, a patriot of Roumania who embraced everything from its language to its place in history. After Roumania fought on the Allied side in WWI, suffered horrendous losses, and was being given the bum's rush by the victors, she appeared in Paris and America to argue the cause of her adopted country. Her elegance and eloquence secured loans to fight to the end of the war, at which Roumania was finally accorded all the land of the Roumanian-speaking people.

Her son, Carol II, was a weak, dissolute being, who vexed his mother. Fortunately, Marie died in 1938, just before her son and her country would be swept up by Hitler.

Every time I'm asked to give my name and address for a guest list, a museum mailing, or a politcal fete, I always sign, "Marie, Queen of Roumania" and I often adapt this look at South Beach teas.


At 11:16 AM, Blogger Countess Bedelia said...

Another wonderful history lesson!
You are a veritable encyclopedia of Victorian history. I always enjoy these posts so much.

And I get a kick out of getting mail addressed to the Countess Bedelia. I often wonder what my mailman thinks!

BTW, don't believe a word your sister tells you about our adventures in the Berkshires last night. It's all lies!

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Peter Barry said...

Attention all Royal Courts....

We have decided to hold an intervention for the Countess Bedelia for she has been up to no good....She almost killed Peter Barry last night with her drunk driving.....


Post a Comment

<< Home