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December 28, 2013

Cracking Photo of Princess Yvonne and Prince Alexander Taken by Their Mother in 1955

In this 1955 photograph, thirteen-year-old Princess Yvonne of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn in Germany is shown tipping back a bottle of Dry Sack sherry as her twelve-year-old brother Prince Alexander sits calmly by, his cigarette nearly finished. The photo was taken while the siblings were aboard a private yacht off the coast of Mallorca.

Before rushing to judgment on the lives of German nobility, it should be known that the photographer behind this image was the children’s mother, Princess Marianne Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn. Affectionately known as Princess “Manni” or her more artistic moniker “Mamarazza,” she was an accomplished photographer, her images becoming featured in magazines as well as gallery exhibitions. Given this background, one can only hope that the shot above is the result of intentional composition and not reckless parenting.

Princess Manni was born in Salzburg in 1919, the daughter of Friedrich Baron Mayr-Melnhof and his wife Maria Anna Countess von Meran. The eldest of nine children, she received a camera from her parents in 1935 and began a lifelong love of photography.

Fritz Mayr-Melnhof and Teresa Sayn-Wittgenstein at Glanneg during Christmas photo, 1956.

Baroness Teresa Thyssen with Count Ivan Batthyani, 1950.

Car accident after the baptism of Albrecht Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, 14 May 1950. The driver Prince Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein with Princess Beatrix zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Hohenstein, Hella Princess of Bavaria, and Princess Clementine von Croy.

Hunting lunch in Gracht, Germany, 1952. In the photo: Caspar Oeyhausen, Karl-Heinrich Sayn-Wittgenstein, Friedrich Praschma, Franz Eugen Kesselstatt, Ludwig Sayn-Wittgenstein, Bella, Carl and Wolf Wolff-Metternich and Sophie Praschma.

Prince Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein sunbathing, October 1956.

Studying at Munich during the war, she met Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein who was on leave from the front, and the pair were engaged within days. Married in 1942, their daughter Yvonne was born in December of that year with Alexander following a year later. When the war ended the castle at Sayn was severely damaged by bombs, and the family considered emigrating to Brazil before they decided to stay, rebuild, and put their farms back in order.

Prince Ludwig was killed in a car accident in 1962, and Manni had to manage the family affairs until Prince Alexander came into his majority. From the 1970s, her photographs began appearing in magazines, and from 1991 has been shown at exhibitions in galleries. Though 94 years old, the Princess is still going strong, as is her son Alexander Konrad Friedrich Heinrich, Furst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, who now serves as vice-president of Europa Nostra and president of Europa Nostra Deutschland.

1 comment:

  1. Very funny photo. I especially liked the first photo, where Princess Yvonne is with a bottle of whiskey, and Prince Alexander is with a cigarette)))




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