"the" Mrs. Astor

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I've been exhausted by the weekend and it's aftermath and haven't even uploaded the photos yet. I did received another message about the story I wrote a long time ago about Princess Mafalda of Italy and her tragic end. Like many stories of war and suffering, a daring rescue of a royal persists and I think it odd that someone would ask me to put such a fantasy to rest. It is similar of the story of Anastasia and the woman, Anna Anderson, who would live a life claiming of a miraculous escape.

At the age of twenty-five, in a German hospital, one might almost see the resemblance to what would have been Anastasia's oldest sister, Olga. I have read volumes on her story and even was convinced on the "ear theory". This theory is that one's ears are as identifiable as finger prints and Anna ears were remarkably similar. And although some of her cousins were convinced she was Anastasia, the vast majority dismissed her. When Prince Phillip, a cousin, donated DNA to test it against a sample of tissue saved from one of Anna's operations, the fact that it didn't match was fodder for the conspiracy theorists who believe the British monarchy stole the Romanov funds after WWI. Eventually her remains were discovered pretty much where Russian archivists thought them to be. Anastasia didn't survive, as much as romantics would believe.

Princess Mafalda was a beautiful, caring, generous lady caught up in an ugly world. She didn't hide her hatred of Hitler and his policies, especially toward the Jews, and she suffered dearly for it. When her father, the king, turned on Mussolini and the Nazis, Hitler took the first opportunity to take revenge on the member of The House of Savoy he despised the most and put the gracious princess in Buchenwald, where she certainly died from injuries suffered by an allied bombing.

There will always be those who dream of miraculous, even glamorous escapes as there will certainly be those who cash in on them. In the end, it is still just a dream. Mafalda never left that concentration camp alive as Anastasia never left that basement.


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