Thursday, October 20, 2011

Charlotte of Schwarzburg celebrates her 96th birthday

October 20, 1911

Princess Charlotte of Schwarzburg, the "oldest scion of European royalty, has just celebrated her ninety-sixth birthday," writes the Marquise de Fontenoy.  The Princess celebrated the event at her country home in Switzerland, not far from Berne, "towards the Fribourg border."    Her home is remote, secluded, and not on a railroad line.  She is "almost forgotten by the public," but more than "fifty years ago, the romance of her marriage created a world wide sensation."  

The princess is a member of the sovereign house of Schwarzburg, a grant aunt of the present prince.   When she was a young girl, she spent many days "passionately fond of Alpine climbing," a sport to which she had become very adept.  

In one of her climbing excursions, she suffered an accident, and her life was saved "by the most wonderful presence of mind, muscular strength, and pluck of her Alpine guide, who narrowly escaped being dragged down the precipice," where the princess had already disappeared, suspended by a rope, "the other end of which was fastened to him."

The young guide, Johann Jud,  managed not only to "withstand the shock of her fall," but he was able to pull the princess to safety "with the utmost difficulty," to the risk of "himself slipping."

Princess Charlotte "naturally was filled with sentiments of gratitude" toward the guide, who happened to a very handsome man, and "possessed of sufficient education to qualify him for a commission in the military of his Canton.   She was determined "to prove her gratitude" by marrying the man.

The Princess was 40 years old at the time, and ten years the guide's senior.  But she was still "good looking" and wealthy.  Her family did not share her enthusiasm, and there was a "tremendous outcry" from her royal relatives. 

The reigning Prince of Schwarzenburg eventually gave permission for the marriage, but with the proviso that Princess Charlotte should live abroad with her husband.   As as wedding present, the Prince created a title of baron for Jud.

The marriage turned out to be "far more happily than mesalliances of this kind do as a rule."  The newlyweds bought a "pretty place" in the Canton of Berne.  The baron died after only ten years of marriage, and was "deeply mourned by his widow."   Since his death in 1866, Princess Charlotte has never left her Swiss home.

Princess Charlotte Amalie Friederike Albertine was born September 7, 1816 at Arnstadt.  She was the fourth child of Prince Karl of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen, and his wife, Princess Güntherine of Scharzburg-Sonderhausen.  (Güntherine was also Karl's niece).
 She married Baron Hans Heinrich von Jud on February 25, 1856 at at Münsingen.   He was born in 1825 and died at Malaga, Spain, on January 13, 1864.   

(Princess Güntherine was the daughter of Prince Friedrich of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen and his cousin, Princess Friederike of Schwarzburg-Sonderhausen.)

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