12 January 2018

Royal Lady Flashback: Donata of Castell-Rudenhausen

Donata Emma of Castell-Rudenhausen (1950-2015)
Her Illustrious Highness Countess Donata of Castell-Rudenhausen (1950-1975)
Her Imperial and Royal Highness Princess Donata of Prussia (1975-1991)
Her Highness Duchess Donata of Oldenburg (1991-2015)

Born into a large German princely family, Countess Donata grew up in Rudenhausen Castle and later trained as a nurse. At age 24, she married the younger Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, son of the Head of the former German imperial House of Hohenzollern. Since his older brothers married dynastically unacceptable women (see my post on Unequal Marriage Equals Happy Marriage?), the imperial line would pass through Donata and Louis Ferdinand to their son Prince Georg Friedrich, who was born 13 months after their wedding. The following summer, Louis Ferdinand was crushed between two vehicles while on military maneuvers with the West German Army. An emergency amputation of his leg failed to save his life. Six months after his death, Donata gave birth to their second child, Princess Cornelie-Cecile, who has developmental disabilities. For the next 13 years, Donata was a single mother until 1991 when she married Duke Friedrich August of Oldenburg. Fourteen years her senior, he was also the ex-husband of her sister-in-law Princess Marie Cecile of Prussia, who had divorced just over a year earlier. He had three children of his own, who were just a a few years older than their cousins, Donata's children. Unfortunately, Donata grew ill and died at the age of 65.

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