Saturday, July 25, 2015

Princess Tatiana von Metternich

 From The Telegraph:
Princess Tatiana Von Metternich, who died at Schloss Johannisberg, her home in Germany, on July 26, [2006] aged 91, was the widow of Prince Paul Alfons, last Prince von Metternich-Winneburg; she was one of the most beautiful women of her day, highly cultivated and well known in international society. 
Living in Berlin, Bohemia and later on the Rhine during the Second World War, she witnessed the effect of Nazism on Germany, was close to those involved in the unsuccessful plot to kill Hitler in 1944, and was forced to make a 600-kilometre trek across Germany to escape the Russian advance. This she described in her memoirs, Tatiana - Five Passports in a Shifting Europe, and the story of those times was later re-told in the memorable Berlin Diaries 1940-1945 by her sister, Princess Marie Wassiltchikov. 
She was born Princess Tatiana Wassiltchikov in St Petersburg on January 1 1915, the second daughter of Prince Illarion Wassiltchikov, a member of the Russian Imperial Parliament, and his wife, Princess Lydia Wiazemsky. 
Her childhood was overshadowed by the deaths of many of her parents' friends and relations, victims of the Revolution. She owed her departure from Russia to King George V, who sent a British warship to rescue his aunt, the Dowager Empress of Russia, from the Crimea. The Empress refused to leave unless those who wished to escape accompanied her, and the British fleet obliged by sending as many ships as possible. 
Before sailing, the young Tatiana waited with other Russian children and their English nannies at Alubka, the grand folly of the Vorontzovs near Yalta, and sat patiently on a stone lion on the terrace. (The lion was still there when she returned with a group from Serenissima in 1982.) 
Thus, in April 1919, the Wassiltchikov family sailed in Princess Ena. All the children took with them were one toy and a few books, some of them lesson books. In due course they arrived in France, and Tatiana's early years were spent as a peripatetic refugee in France, Germany and Lithuania.

When she was 10 she went with her sister Missie (from whom she was inseparable) to the French Lycée of St Germain-en-Laye, on the outskirts of Paris, but money was short and they were quite often kept out of school due to unpaid school fees. Amongst their friends was Prince Felix Youssoupoff, murderer of Rasputin, of whom their mother rather disapproved.

The outbreak of the Second World War found Tatiana in Germany with Missie. In January 1940 the two sisters moved to Berlin in search of work, finding the city surprisingly normal, despite the nightly blackouts and food rationing. Within days Tatiana had been employed by the Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Ministry) because she spoke good French. (Read more.)
 Via Nobility. Share

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