A question about the Birstein-line:
Fürst Karl (1838-1899) and his wife Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria Tuscany had several sons.
The eldest son was Prince Leopold. He renounced his rights on February 2nd 1898 - according to Paul Theroff's genealogy* - in favor of a younger brother Franz Joseph, great-grandfather of the present Princess of Prussia.
* Note that Wikipedia claims that Leopold 'succeeded his father as Prince of Isenburg'.
Leopold married a Princess of Saxe-Weimar in 1902, which excludes a morganatic marriage as a reason for the renunciation. Neither is a big scandal likely as the brides parents would probably not have allowed the marriage.
I did find a newspaper notice in Dutch papers from 1893/1894 that speak of an engagement of Florence Pullman, daughter of the exuberantly wealthy American industrialist George Pullman (of the famous Pullman cars) to Prince Leopold. Articles state that the Pullman fortune is ten times as much worth as the principality. The last article is one where George Pullman denies such an engagement.
I also read an American article
where it said that the family was "mortgaged to the limit" and that Leopold was sent to the US in pursuit of rich heiresses, including Consuelo Vanderbilt. The article continues:
In order to pay his traveling expenses the elder (E)Isenberg borrowed nearly 60,000 on his estates and when Leopold returned minus a wealthy wife things were looking black in the principality. The servants went without wages, and the horses went without fodder, the princesses without pin money and the Prince himself without the where with all to play baccarat and other notable games.
It also states that in 1902 the prince went bankrupt:
The Imperial courts of Austria is in a turmoil because come ten years ago Prince Leopold of (E) Isenberg failed to marry Consuelo Vanderbilt and thereby acquire enough money to pay his own end his fathers debts. The matter became public through the trial of a suit brought by the estate of Lawyer Umlauff against Archduke Francis Salvator for the recovery of 30,000 florins loaned to Prince (E)Isenberg under his imperial highness’s guarantee.
In 1900 it seems that Leopold took his father's seat in the Prussian House of Lords (Preußisches Herrenhaus). I am not sure if his younger brother had a seat in the same house too.
A quick look on the website of the family does not bring us much further either: https://isenburg.de/das-fuerstenhaus/
Note that a 3rd broher, Karl, married Bertha Lewis "the daughter of a Jewish saleman from New Orleans" in 1895, which apparently did not do much to change the family's financial circumstances for the better.
So to finalize this post, I have two questions:
- Do posters know IF and WHY Leopold renounced his succession rights
- Do posters know if there is an open German or Austrian database of old newspapers where it might be mentioned?