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iowabelle 02-25-2008 03:53 PM

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
 
Has anyone investigated the genealogy of Maria Teresa of Luxemburg? I have heard that her mother-in-law (who must have been a real dragon) complained about MT's African heritage. Does MT really have any African heritage? If so, it must be pretty remote. I am just very curious about this lady's background -- and if no one has dug into it, perhaps this would be a fun research project.

magnik 02-25-2008 04:14 PM

Something here:

HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa

MarÃ*a-Teresa Mestre y Batista

thePeerage.com - Person Page 11324

GeneAll.net - María Teresa Mestre y Baptista

Odette 02-25-2008 05:28 PM

At the time Prince Henri wanted to marry Maria Teresa The Grand Duc Jean opposed the marriage but the Grand Duchess practically imposed Maria Teresa to the court. Most of the extended family refused to attend the wedding because of rumours that Maria Teresa had black blood in her ancestry. As time went on Maria Teresa had issues with her mother in law who had a reputation of being a strong willed woman. At one point two years or so before her mother in law's passing, Maria Teresa gathered the journalists in her palace and spoke openly about the friction between her and her mother in law. At her 25th wedding anniversary she said that marriage is an "interesting journey". There are no confirmed reports but her marriage to GD Henri has not always been rosy. In any case, in family photos they always appear very united and happy.

HRH Kerry 02-25-2008 11:01 PM

Well I love the united front they are putting on.

BurberryBrit 03-01-2008 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Odette (Post 733965)
At the time Prince Henri wanted to marry Maria Teresa The Grand Duc Jean opposed the marriage but the Grand Duchess practically imposed Maria Teresa to the court. Most of the extended family refused to attend the wedding because of rumours that Maria Teresa had black blood in her ancestry. As time went on Maria Teresa had issues with her mother in law who had a reputation of being a strong willed woman. At one point two years or so before her mother in law's passing, Maria Teresa gathered the journalists in her palace and spoke openly about the friction between her and her mother in law. At her 25th wedding anniversary she said that marriage is an "interesting journey". There are no confirmed reports but her marriage to GD Henri has not always been rosy. In any case, in family photos they always appear very united and happy.

Wow, is that really true? If so, sad. But I know, different times. :ermm: I wouldn't be surprised if she had some African blood being Cuban, but she could "pass" so it's too bad they couldn't attend the wedding because of something that you can't even see.

Rayarena 04-13-2008 07:09 PM

I believe that the rumors that Grand Duchess Maria Teresa Mestre has African ancestry originated by the fact that her mother's maiden name is the same as that of the late Cuban President Fulgencio Batista who was a mulatto. What's more, MT is the goddaughter of Batista's late wife, Marta. This has lead many to believe that she is a blood relative of the late President. But, MT is not a blood relative of Batista's. In fact, Maria Teresa's maternal relatives are a whole different family not at all related to the undistinguished and poor Fulgencio family.

To add to further confusion, many people believe that MT was nothing more than a nouveau riche girl who married a prince. What they don't know is that MT has a very impressive family tree, and it comes from her mother's side. The Grand Duchess actually comes from a very illustrious family that is aristocratic in its own right.

Her mother, also named Maria Teresa, is a direct descendant of the Montalvo family. The Montalvo's arrived in Cuba from Spain in 1730. They became wealthy land barons and amassed an enormous fortune and then did what landed gentry did back in those days: they purchased a title of nobility from the Spanish crown. Remember, Cuba in the 1700's was a colony of Spain and Cuban citizens were subjects of the Spanish crown. This practice--of buying titles-- was common all over Europe. Landed gentry would aspire to join the nobility either through marriage or by buying a title if they had the money. A title of nobility meant greater rights and a higher social standing. This is what Princess Diana's ancestors did. They were landed gentry that obtained a title of nobility in 1603. Maria Teresa's nobility can be traced through many parts, but most directly through her ancestor Ignacio Montalvo who became the first Count of Montalvo in 1779. Among her distinguished ancestors, there are Mayors of Havana, Grandees to the Spanish Court, Marquises and bishops. One of her most impressive relatives was Maria de las Mercedes, Santa Cruz y Montalvo [1789-1852], the Countess of Merlin who lived in Paris and had the most respected literary saloon of her time. A writer in her own right, the Countess of Merlin wrote several books including popular travelogues about her visits to Cuba and the USA.

iowabelle 04-14-2008 03:05 PM

That's interesting, Rayarena. I knew there was confusion over the Batista name, but I didn't know that MT's maternal relatives were so prominent.

Rayarena 04-14-2008 03:56 PM

Yes, indeed. Maria Teresa's family is very prominent. What surprises me is that so little has been said about her family other than she came from a rich family. But, as we all know, there's a world of difference between being just plain rich and coming from an old family. MT's family is not only wealthy, they are also quite old. Among other distinguished members of her family we find:

--Vasco Porcallo de Figueroa--conquistador
--Capitan Francisco Perez Najarro--conquitador
--Don Martin Artegar Eraso-- Capitan of the Royal Armada
--Don Juan Francisco Nun~ez del Castillo y Sucre, 3rd Marquise of San Felipe and Santiago
--Juan Jose O'Farrill y Arriola [1721-79], Mayor of Havana
--Don Luis Chacon y Castellon [1650-1733], Coronel of the Royal Army and Military Govenor of Cuba

Basically, MT's lineage is a who's who of prominent Cuban families from colonial times.

Among the most prestigious Cuban families because of their wealth and their place in Cuba history were the:

Montalvo's
O'Farrill's
Pedroso's
Cisneros
Agramonte's
Calvo's
Pen~alver's
Gonzalez de Mendoza's

[There are more. I've only named a few]

And these families are all in MT's lineage. So you see, MT is a blue blood in her own right.

Here is a book on one of her family members, The Countess of Merlin:

Vanderbilt University Press - books

iowabelle 04-15-2008 11:37 AM

To me that's rather more interesting than descent from the Hanovers, again!

Hoorah to the royal mothers who bring such interesting new ancestors to their children.

I don't think it's a bad thing to bring Native American or African ancestry into these families, it's just interesting to know how these families have survived and adapted. I was surprised one time to see Queen Silvia described as "mixed race" when her Native ancestor lived in the 1600s or 1700s (by that definition I'm much more "mixed race", not that you'd know unless I told you).

tan_berry 04-15-2008 04:37 PM

Cuba was the last colony of Spain in America. Cuba was a jewel for Spain. They say that they still complain every day because of this loss. Cuba was independent in 1898, the last one of all latin american countries. Haiti was the first, in 1801. They were a french colony.

There were slaves in Cuba until that date, and lived in a kind of apartheid. Discrimination was huge, similar to the United States for the time being, and revolution could not erradicate it, like announced it would do. They could not give birth to a "new man", either, as announced, too. Homo sapiens is the same selfish animal everywhere. And there is only one human species in this planet, regardless the race or ethnic group: Homo sapiens sapiens. I call it Homo Sapiens Malus (malo meaning bad in spanish).

Batista family (nothing to do with the dictator) was a very prominent family in Cuba. I do not believe any member of this family never married anyone with a drop of black blood. And María Teresa comes from this legal lineage. But they are mediterranean type, like many spaniards, not northern european type. And arabs were in Spain for 8 centuries. They sure left many genes. They say, also, that there are not pure races in the mediterranean, since has been a way of merchants for far many centuries before Christ.

By the left, like everywhere, in Cuba white men had children with indian or african women. Alexandre Dumas father was grand-son of an african slave from Haiti, a woman, from whom he and his father (the son) took the name, and a french man, a military who worked there for a while.

"The Caribbean, imperial frontier", is the name of an extremely interesting book by Juan Bosch, an intellectual and ex president of my country, with pure spanish ancestors.

Rayarena 04-16-2008 08:00 AM

As tan_berry notes, there were slaves in Cuba in the colonial era and the situation there was the same there as it was in the antebellum south in the USA. Maria Teresa's family were in fact slave owners. I don't say this to indict them in any way, I have nothing but the utmost respect for MT and her ancestors. It's just a fact that if you were a very wealthy landowner in Cuba in the colonial era, as was the case in the Southern USA in the 1800's before the Civil War, you would have owned slaves. It's unlikely that MT's slave owning ancestors would have intermarried with their slaves since there was such a strict division between slave owner and slave.

What's more, one of MT's ancestors, the Irish side of her family, Ricardo O'Farrill O'Daly used to own a slave company.

Talking about MT's Irish side [this dates back to the 1600 and 1700's], I wonder if they were Irish aristocrats? Because as we all know, Ireland's aristocracy was destroyed by the British and many joined the Spanish Armada and some went to the new world including Spain's colonies. MT's Irish ancestors, the O'Farrill's, were very wealthy and illustrous in Cuba. One of them was a Mayor of Habana and the O'Farrill's ended up marrying into the ennobled Montalvo family. All of this means that the family had a very high social standing, i.e. mayor of Habana, marrying into a family of counts, etc..

I don't know enough about this, but there was something in Ireland called the "Flight of the Geese" referring to the Irish nobles that left Ireland when they were driven out by the invading Brits. The social standing of MT's Irish ancestors might suggest some type of noble origin. Knowing the mentality of the Spaniards in the 1600 and 1700's, they would not have named just a "regular guy" mayor of a city. Many of the leaders of the Spanish colonies were selected by the Spanish crown and were of noble birth.

tan_berry 04-16-2008 12:51 PM

My country is another of the big islands of the Caribbean and, like Cuba and Puerto Rico, was a spanish colony. In the XVII century, Spain gave in the western part of the island to France, 1/3, which is today Haiti. A long story within the saga of the Caribbean, imperial frontier.

Different to Cuba, this was a colony widely neglected by Spain, and Bosch says that spanish colonists were so poor that ate in the same table with the african slaves. As a result, population is almost totally mixed, only 5% are pure caucasian, and racial discrimination has never been here strong like in Cuba. The brazilian type is the rule. Europeans are fascinated here with so many different shades of skin color combined with so many different features and hair textures.

Several Hollywood pictures have been made here recreating La Habana, because the colonial part of Santo Domingo resembles so much La Habana, (The Godfather, Havana, etc.), only that seaside is much prettier here. But like in Cuba the proportion of pure caucasians in the population is more or less 60%, for recreating people they need to cast from the foreigners living here: european, american,and the natives that can "pass". :lol:

Like we have more than one million of haitian inmigrant workers (our population is 9 million), Robert De Niro used mainly haitians for recreating Africa in his film "The Good Sheperd". He recreated here, too, Guatemala, when the coup d´etat to then president Jacobo Arbenz and filmed a great state banquet with all american and european ambassadors, and the joke here was: Did they cast you? For Africa, Guatemala or the national palace? :lol:

Brad and Angelina were here with all their troupe and paparazzis from all over the world suddenly discovered our existence. :lol:

jmj21983 04-16-2008 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rayarena (Post 753465)

And these families are all in MT's lineage. So you see, MT is a blue blood in her own right.

Thank you for the interesting information, Rayarena. Since Maria Teresa has quite the impressive background then why do you think that she (supposedly) wasn't considered good enough to be Henri's wife?

Kelly 04-16-2008 08:14 PM

I think maybe because of her lack of a title and she is a latina, not and anglo saxon. Latin american people seem to face such racism towards them and I can imagine much more at that time.

pamk 04-16-2008 08:23 PM

I have felt that Josephine-Charlotte must have been an awful mother-in-law
I think that she really favored Guillaume's wife, Sybilla, over Marie-Terese.
I wonder what pushed MT over the edge to tell all her troubles to a bunch of
journalists over lunch - surely she couldn't be so naive as to think that someone wouldn't spill the beans and the word would get out.
But.... maybe that's just what she wanted to happen ... just a thought.

Rayarena 04-16-2008 09:42 PM

JMJ,

It's so strange, because originally I heard that Grand-Duchess Josephine Charlotte was Maria Teresa's biggest ally in her struggle to marry Henri and that it took her and Henri four years to convince Grand Duke Jean to allow the marriage. That is to say, Jean was opposed to the marriage not J-C. I, also, heard that Henri's grandmother, Charlotte, was dead set against the marriage. This I believe to be true, because if you look at the pictures of the marriage, Charlotte [the grandmother] looks absolutely despondent during the ceremony as opposed to the look of joy on her face during Marie Astrid's marriage to a Hapsburg. Who wouldn't want their granddaughter to marry an illustrious and regal Hapsburg after all?

Now, the news is that Josephine Charlotte was the one who was against the marriage and that she hated Maria Teresa and tried to have Henri divorce MT. I don't know if we will ever know the truth, but to answer your question [if J-C was against the marriage], I would say that her reason was that MT was not royal.

Remember, Josephine Charlotte was a princess in her own right, the daughter of a king and a queen. I mean, that is setting the bar pretty high. Royalty is the pinnacle of society. You can't get any higher than that. I would imagine that to someone like J-C anyone lower than a duke or a duchess would be somewhat too low in her book. Remember, we weren't talking about the marriage of one of her other children, we were talking about the marriage of the heir to the throne!

Even though MT's pedigree is quite illustrious by 99.9% of all standards, it naturally falls short in the eyes of some as throughly royal as the late J-C was. That's my take on it.

jmj21983 04-17-2008 01:10 AM

Thanks for your response, and I agree with your statement. Nowdays Maria Teresa would seem to be the ideal royal bride: well educated, wealthy and scandal free, but I guess to someone from the old school royalty that isn't enough. Henri's sisters followed the royal rules and married fellow royals, I suppose Jean and JC expected their son and heir to do the same.

Rayarena 04-17-2008 08:24 AM

Exactly. Nowadays, Maria Teresa would seem like an ideal royal bride, especially in light of the scandals that rocked Princess Di's marriage. What's more, Maria Teresa proved her harshest critiques wrong, she proved that she was the correct royal bride by the way in which she adapted so effortlessly into her role as Princess and Grand Duchess. No doubt thanks to her upbringing, which while not royal, certainly the result of that certain grace that comes from belonging to old money.

Among other things, Maria Teresa went to the best girl's school that money could buy. As a little girl, she went to the Marymount School in New York City, a school located in the most exclusive area of New York, she then went to the Institut Marie-Jose in Switzerland and she finally went to the University of Geneva. Her family were known philanthropists in Cuba and from them she learned that with wealth comes the responsibility of being charitable, a trait so important in a good monarch. Finally, because of her illustrious family, she no doubt learned from birth to feel comfortable and at ease around important and powerful people. Because she was born a "princess" figuratively speaking, that is to say, in everything but title [she even had a nanny growing up], she was well-grounded and didn't let her marriage to a real prince go to her head.

These are traits that are not easy to learn, because they are acquired from one's surrounding, one's home and one's environment.

Warren 04-17-2008 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rayarena (Post 754294)
I don't know enough about this, but there was something in Ireland called the "Flight of the Geese" referring to the Irish nobles that left Ireland when they were driven out by the invading Brits.

Thanks for making this thread so interesting Rayarena. :flowers:
One clarification: The "Flight of the [Wild] Geese" refers to the departure of an Irish Jacobite army from Ireland to France in 1691.
The "Flight of the Earls" occurred in 1607 when the ancient Gaelic aristocracy of Ulster went into exile.

Wikipedia: Geese, Earls

Rayarena 04-17-2008 09:17 AM

Warren,

Thank you for your kind words and for correcting me. Yes, that's what I meant, that Maria Teresa's Irish side, the O'Farrill's, who arrived in Cuba in the 1600's were possibly members of the "Flight of the Earls." Certainly, their high status in Colonial Cuba, their accumulated wealth, marriage into a family of counts and their position as ranking administrators for the Spanish crown would seem to indicate a very high social status, likely of noble birth.


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