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Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton








Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton, also known as the Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton (11 December 1850 – 14 May 1922) was the Lanarkshire-born, Scottish great-grandmother of Prince Rainier III of Monaco, the fashion designer Prince Egon von Fürstenberg, the socialite and actress Princess Ira von Fürstenberg and the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Karel Schwarzenberg. She was the daughter of William Alexander Anthony Archibald Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton and of his wife, Princess Marie Amelie Elizabeth Caroline of Baden. Through her maternal grandmother, she was a third cousin of Emperor Napoléon III of France. She was a first cousin of Queen Carola of Saxony, Queen Stephanie of Portugal, King Carol I of Romania, and Princess Marie, Countess of Flanders (mother of King Albert I of the Belgians).

Her first marriage, on 21 September 1869 at Château de Marchais, was to Prince Albert, only child and heir of Charles III, Prince of Monaco. Mary Victoria bore Prince Albert a single son, Louis who would take the throne of Monaco upon his father's death. Their marriage was annulled by the Church on 3 January 1880 (although civilly it was dissolved only on 28 July 1880 by the Order of Prince Charles III).

Her second marriage, on 2 June 1880, was to Count Tassilo Festetics de Tolna. The couple had four children:

Countess Mária Matild Georgina Festetics de Tolna (24 May 1881, Baden-Baden – 2 Mar 1953, Strobl am Wolfgangsee), who married Prince Karl Emil von Fürstenberg (Grandfather of Princess Ira von Fürstenberg, Prince Egon von Fürstenberg and Prince Karel Schwarzenberg)
Prince György Tasziló József Festetics de Tolna (4 September 1882, Baden-Baden – 4 August 1941, Keszthely); who married to Countess Marie Franziska von Haugwitz.
Countess Alexandra Olga Eugénia Festetics de Tolna (1 March 1884, Baden-Baden – 23 April 1963, Vienna); who was married first to Prince Karl von Windisch-Grätz and later to Prince Erwin zu Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst,
Countess Karola Friderika Mária Festetics de Tolna (17 January 1888, Vienna — 21 January 1951, Strobl); who was married to Baron Oskar Gautsch von Frankenthurn.

During her 40 year marriage to Graf, and later Prince Festetics, Lady Mary oversaw enlargement and improvement of the Festetics' main seat, Festetics Palace, and its gardens, in Keszthely, western Hungary. On numerous occasions, she and her husband would entertain her brother the Duke of Hamilton, and his great friend, Prince of Wales. There are still portraits extant in the Palace of numerous members of her family, including one of her father in full Highland dress. Outside the palace, on either side of the main entrance there are the Armorial bearings of both the Lady Mary and her husband.

The Helikon Library at the Palace contains many works that were brought to Keszthely by the Lady Mary from her father and brother's collections at Hamilton Palace.

The Palace grounds, on the shores of Lake Balaton, contains a Mausoleum to the Festetics and is the final resting place of the Lady Mary and her husband. Festetics Palace Festetics Mausoleum

Titles and styles
11 December 1850 – 21 September 1869: Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton
21 September 1869 – 3 January 1880: Her Serene Highness The Hereditary Princess of Monaco
3 January 1880 – 2 June 1880: Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton
2 June 1880 – 21 June 1911: Countess Mary Victoria Festetics de Tolna
21 June 1911 – 14 May 1922: Her Serene Highness Princess Mary Victoria Festetics de Tolna



The New York Times
June 9, 1872

Our Italian correspondent, in his last letter, tells a curious, miserable story about a young lady, who is, in the present generation the only daughter of a semi-royal historic house, the Princess of Monaco. The recent annuals of her family have certainly been of a melancholy and humiliating character.

The Princess’ grandfather, the 10th Duke of Hamilton, married a daughter of the celebrated Beckford, of Fontill, author of Vathek. The Duke was a man of amazing pride and self-importance; and it is recorded that, when the intended marriage of the Queen with the late Prince Consort was announced, Hs Grace, in acknowledging the announcement of the event, which was forwarded to him, intimated that he thought that Her Majesty might have looked nearer home, which was understood to be his mode of signifying that he would himself have been the most appropriate father-in-law for Queen Victoria.

Eaten up with vanity, he objected to his son marrying a lady of charming disposition, to whom he was deeply attached, because she was not of the highest rank – although she did, curiously enough, subsequently marry a Duke, so his son ultimately married the youngest daughter of the Grand Duke of Baden, which brought very great satisfaction to the foolish old father-in-law, insomuch as his daughter-in-law thus gained recognition abroad as royal, although at the English Court she occupied only a sort of uncomfortable semi-royal position.

The 10th Duke, whose principal occupation in life had for some years been a preparation for his obsequies, which were to include the placing of his body, embalmed by methods for which he sent to Egypt, in an enormous black marble mausoleum, specially erected for the accommodation of his precious corpse, died in 1852. Two years before that event, the decline of his proud family commenced. His only daughter had married the late Duke of Newcastle, when she was eighteen – the marriage being no doubt brought about by the desire to her family to secure a desirable match. In 1850 this lady, having then a family of several children, misconducted herself in a manner which obliged her husband to seek a divorce.

From that time the whole of her family have, with one exception, gone wrong. Her eldest son is a bankrupt, another became mixed up with persons of the worst character, and to this hour it is considered by many very doubtful whether the announcement of his death, followed by a funeral, of which details were given in the papers, was not in truth a mere ruse to escape the penalty for misdemeanors. A third son misbehaved himself in his profession, had to leave it, and has also been through the Bankruptcy Court. The daughter married a drunkard, whose mind gave way through the habits he had contracted. So much for the 10th Duke of Hamilton’s daughter and her children! To turn to the son. His wife had no taste for country life, and preferred the atmosphere of Continental courts, where her pretensions to royal rank gained full admission. So they abandoned the princely homes in England and Scotland, whence they drew seven hundred thousand dollars a year, to live principally at Paris. The Ex-Emperor being the Duchess’ first cousin, received her with the utmost impressments, and indeed, Her Grace was of no little use in giving tone to the Imperial Court, which, being entirely ignored by the Faubourg, was at one time sadly in need of the presence of ladies whose rank and position were unexceptionable.

Some ten years ago, London and Paris were startled to learn that the Duke of Hamilton had died suddenly in the latter capital. The details soon followed. He had been supping at the Maison Dorée, and had been challenged by a friend to see which of them could carry the greater number of petits verres. In leaving the house he fell, struck his head, and within a few hours the 11th Duke of Hamilton and Brandon lay dead. An Imperial frigate carried his body to Scotland, for burial in the mausoleum which his father had erected, and his son, then a youth of eighteen, reigned in his stead.

And a fine reign his had been. Hamilton House in London, after passing into the hands of one of the most noted turf men of the day, was sold to the son of a successful ironmonger. The same gentleman, so knowing in horseflesh, and in those who think that they, too, know about it, rules in Hamilton Palace, and his presence these is almost calculated to bring t he grand old Duke out of the mausoleum to haunt the ‘horsey’ usurper.

The Duke’s only brother was a few weeks ago in the throes of insolvency, and his unfortunate sister is, as we read yesterday, trying to seek refuge for her child from its father, whom she dreads – all because her mother preferred making her a wife of a wretched Princeling of a trumpery petty State, mainly subsisting on the ruined fortunes of gamblers, to seeing her the wife of some honest-hearted Scottish gentleman.


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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018