Archduchess Marie Valerie (1868-1924) (youngest daughter of Emperor Franz Josef)

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Feb 27, 2011
United Kingdom
Hello everyone my name is Shelley, I have joined the forum as i have an interest in the young life of Marie Valerie, as my great great grandmother was the nannie governess from 1868 & lived at the Emperial Royal Palace in Vienna. I would like to learn what her day to day life would have been like, what was her uniform like, her appartment.. oh everything really, i hope to hear from anyone very soon. Best wishes to you all. Shelley:wave:
Welcome to the Forums, Shelley!

Archduchess Marie Valerie used to write a journal for many years, maybe you can find there some informations.
I'm not sure if it has been translated in English, but surely it has been published in German ("Das Tagebuch der Lieblingstochter der Kaiserin Elisabeth") and in Italian ("La prediletta. Il diario della figlia di Sissi").
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Wow & thank you for your reply, i have at least 10 personal hand written letters the princess wrote to my great great grandmother, 3 work documents, 1 being them informing her she has the job & her wage, another is a big royal document regarding her travel & informing people who she is etc. I find the whole story amazing. I am so glad a came across this forum im sure i will be well educated by the members. Thank you so much for your time. One thing you may be able to shed light on is... one document states: From His Austrian Royal Apostolic Majesty of Our Most Merciful Lord, according to the highest decision of March 14th of this year (1868), His Emperial Royal Apostolic Majesty has most mercifully decided to appoint you to the post of governess in the apartment of the most graceful children J.J.M.M with the salary of 630 Gulden per year. You are also informed the delightful news that the Emperial Royal Court Treasury has been instucted to pay the above mentioned salary as from February 17th of this year as the day of your departure from England. The Emperial Royal Quarter Master & Emperial Royal Court Control Office are being instructed to allocate you an apartment in the Emperial Royal Palace in Vienna.
The part that says most graceful children J.J.M.M, what are those intials? I did notice her work was to start in the February of 1868, Marie Valerie was not born till April, would she have looked after all the children, i only have letters from Valerie? Thank you again for your time. Best wishes Shelley
I'm not sure about it, as my German is very very poor, but is it possible that J.J.M.M. is an abbreviation of something that means "of His Majesty/His Majesty's"?
In the context of the document, in English it would sound as "...governess in the apartment of His Majesty's most graceful children".
Thank you for your reply.. maybe its the initials of one or two of the children (J.J.M.M):ermm:, Best wishes. Shelley
What you read as J.J.M.M. is in reality I.I.M.M. and is the abbreviation of
"Ihre Majestäten" (as two of them, emperor and empress are meant, the I.M. of one is doubled).

So it means "Their Majesties, the emperor and the empress". I found the information in a document about the right form of adress of monarchs... You obviously can find anything on the net - it's really astonishing.

Hope this helps...:flowers:
Thank you for your reply.. im only a learner in this field so i appreciate any advice. Best wishes Shelley :flowers:
I did notice her work was to start in the February of 1868, Marie Valerie was not born till April, would she have looked after all the children, i only have letters from Valerie? Thank you again for your time. Best wishes Shelley

I checked a Elisabeth-biography and it said that the empress had decided to give birth to her fourth child in Hungary, not Vienna. So she departed Vienna for Budapest on February 7th of 1868, already 7 month pregnant. Her entourage included a court for the unborn child among them an English nanny, because the empress wanted the newborn child to be raised three-lingual, in German, Hungarian and English.
Ow WOW :TRFrules: what amazing infomation, thank you sooooooooo much, do you have any links you could give me to readup on personal stuff? Also that book, The Preffered one.. regarding Valeries journal that another forum member mentioned, would you know if i can get that in English? All the little letters i have that the princess Valerie wrote to my great great grandmother are beautiful (i have 12) i find the whole story facinating, i would love to know how she got the job? What her duties would have been? What her uniform was like? oh so many things i would love to know. Thnak you again for your help. Best wishes. Shelley. :flowers:
Marie Valerie and her sister Gisela are two of my favourite archduchesses, after Empress Maria Theresa's daughters.

It's fascinating that there are letters preserved from her governess.

This is what I know of her life:

She was raised by her mother, who insisted that Marie Valerie become the family's "Hungarian" child, and her first language was to be Hungarian. She was very shy as a child and this spelled "trouble" for her as she was deemed as distant and haughty, and certain ladies at court disliked the fact that she was a "Hungarian" child.

When she was born, her father Franz Josef wrote her siblings (who were in Vienna) about MV's birth, saying she had remarkable blue eyes, was a beautiful child and very strong. Rudolf and Gisela's reaction was to resent the "fuss" made over, in their view, the "outsider" (Rudolf & Gisela were very close, and almost a "separate unit" within their little family).

It was rumored (rubbish, of course) that MV was not the child of Franz Josef but of Empress Elisabeth's "favourite", a thing that quite bothered the young MV (who hated the guy in question). When she was finally allowed to speak German with her father, she was overjoyed. MV accompanied her mother in her travels.

Her brother Rudolf wasn't always very nice to her (because of jealousy; he wanted their mother's attention but it seemed that Sisi only had attention for her youngest) but she had a nice relationship with her older sister Gisela as adults. Rudolf & Gsiela bonded with each other even more after the "fuss" shown over MV. Fortunately, both girls inherited their father's calm character, very even tempered, unlike their mother and brother. MV was only 4 or 5 years old when Gisela married and moved to Munich but it seems that they had a great and close relationship later on.

I remember reading that MV, as a teenager, was very unhappy one Christmas because of Rudolf's "poor" treatment of her. I think this was the time when she wanted to marry their (penniless) distant cousin but Rudolf was very much against the match. Her father also thought a match with the Crown Prince of Portugal or Saxony was a much better prospect for his daughter but in the end, her mother supported her so she was allowed to marry her cousin.

As 19th-20th century royal, she didn't hold a job or any duties except to be present at court events. It's likely that MV, as an adult, was a big help to her father in that respect since Empress Sisi disliked such socials and was always traveling. But when she got married, she seemed to prefer to live quietly in her country home, far away from court. It seems that she didn't like the "atmosphere" at court. But she was a great comfort to her father FJ later on, who visited her often (although she tried to interfere in his relationship with the actress Katharina Schratt).

Ms. Shelley, as for your great-great grandmother getting a job as Valerie's governess, I'm guessing Empress Sisi picked someone of her own liking. She really disliked the governess of her older children. I also presume your great-great grandmother was from a noble family... royal governesses back then are always from the nobility. The head of Gisela and Rudolf's nursery was a countess, aided by a sub-"aja", a baroness. "Aja" is the term of the Habsburgs for their governesses and has Spanish roots (although they may have personal nicknames for them, I understand Rudolf's aja the baroness was called "Wowo" by him). As for her "uniform", I'm not very familiar with 19th century fashions but surely she dressed as the court protocol demanded.

A royal governess' duties (and ladies in waiting) included making sure the children ate properly, said their prayers, washed regularly, dressing them, teaching manners, being the child's first "teacher", admonishing them (or in some cases, spoiling them), among others. At age 5 or 6, they left leave the nursery and perhaps turned over to another person (a governor for the princes) or sometimes, in case of females, had the same governess (case to case basis).

I only have 1 book on that generation of Habsburgs, specifically on her father Franz Josef, but MV is mentioned every now and then so I'll look it up and post here.

I've got a couple of pictures of MV as a baby and a toddler. Do send me a PM (with your email address) if you wish to have them as I don't know how to post pictures here, LOL.

Finally, here is the link to another forum which has a thread that discusses the ladies in waiting, nannies, chamberlains, etc. of the Habsburgs. It seems that the only info/pictures posted are those from the time of Empress Sisi, which should interest you, Ms Shelley:
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Respectful remembrance of Archduchess Marie Valerie: April 22, 1868 - September 6, 1924.
Prince Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, had owned Schloss Wallsee.
The Archduke Franz Salvator and his wife, Archduchess Marie Valerie purchased Schloss Wallsee from Alfred in 1895.
Remembering Archduchess Marie Valerie: born this day, April 22, in 1868 (d. September 6, 1924)
I just finished reading "The Reluctant Empress" by Brigitte Hamann and "Twilight of Empire" by Greg King and Penny Wilson. Archduchess Marie Valerie really intrigued me. Amid all the chaos around her, she seemed to be very level-headed and perceptive. Her diary was published in 2005 and I found a copy on Amazon, but it is in German. I would love to read it, but I can't speak (or read) a word of German. Is it available in English, or can someone tell me how to successfully translate German?

Link to Amazon copy:
:previous: duchessrachel, Did you put in a request to one of the literary research companies that look for books and manuscripts? I believe that you only pay the company if they obtain the book.
:previous: duchessrachel, Did you put in a request to one of the literary research companies that look for books and manuscripts? I believe that you only pay the company if they obtain the book.

I don't know about these companies. Can you give me some names? Thanks.
Prince Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, had owned Schloss Wallsee.
The Archduke Franz Salvator and his wife, Archduchess Marie Valerie purchased Schloss Wallsee from Alfred in 1895.
It is still owned by her descendants
Archduchess Marie Valerie was born in the Kingdom of Hungary. However, she was not given a Hungarian name. Her sister Archduchess Gisela has a Hungarian name.
Marie Valerie and Franz Salvator had 10 children:
  1. Elisabeth Franziska Marie Karoline Ignatia Salvator (27 January 1892 – 29 January 1930); married in 1912 to Count Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil und Hohenems, and had issue.
  2. Archduke Franz Carl Salvator Marie Joseph Ignaz (17 February 1893 – 10 December 1918); died unmarried without legitimate issue.
  3. Hubert Salvator Rainer Maria Joseph Ignatius (30 April 1894 – 24 March 1971); married on 25 November 1926 and religiously on 26 November 1926 to Princess Rosemary of Salm-Salm, and had issue.
  4. Hedwig Maria Immakulata Michaela Ignatia Salvator (24 September 1896 – 1 November 1970); married in 1918 to Count Bernhard zu Stolberg-Stolberg, and had issue.
  5. Theodor Salvator (9 October 1899 – 8 April 1978); married in 1926 to Countess Maria Theresa von Waldburg zu Zeil und Trauchburg, and had issue.
  6. Gertrud Maria Gisela Elisabeth Ignatia (19 November 1900 – 20 December 1962); married in 1931 to Count Georg von Waldburg zu Zeil und Hohenems and had issue.
  7. Maria Elisabeth Therese Philomena Ignatia (19 November 1901 – 29 December 1936)
  8. Clemens Salvator Leopold Benedikt Antonius Maria Joseph Ignatius (6 October 1904 – 20 August 1974); married in 1930 to Countess Elisabeth Rességuier de Miremont, and had issue.
  9. Mathilde Maria Antonia Ignatia (9 August 1906 – 18 October 1991); married in 1947 to Ernst Hefel.
  10. Agnes (26 June 1911 – 26 June 1911)
Source: Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria - Wikipedia
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