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Marie Aguste von Anhalt

Why Did Princess Marie Auguste Adopt Adults?

Princess Marie Auguste of Anhalt was the daughter of Duke Eduard of Anhalt and Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Altenburg. Unlike most royals, Auguste was poor. But she found a way to turn her situation around. 

Princess Marie Auguste of Germany was so poor that she began adopting adult men and bestowing the royal title of “Prince” on them in exchange for money. She turned 35 ordinary men into “Princes” and received over a million dollars in return.

The First Marriage and Divorce of Princess Marie Auguste

Marie-Auguste married Prince Joachim of Prussia, the youngest son of German Emperor Wilhelm II, on March 11, 1916, in Berlin. She and Joachim, Wilhelm’s last unmarried child, had been officially engaged since October 14, the previous year. The wedding was held at Bellevue Palace and was attended by Joachim’s father and mother, Empress Augusta Viktoria, the Duke and Duchess of Anhalt, as well as other relatives.

Prince Karl Franz Josef Wilhelm Friedrich Eduard Paul was the couple’s only child. He was born in Potsdam on December 15, 1916, and died in Arica, Chile, on January 22, 1975. Prince Franz Wilhelm married Maria Vladimirovna of Russia, a pretender to the Imperial Russian throne.

The couple divorced shortly after WWI ended. The public is not aware of the specific reasons for the divorce; all that is known is that there had been no previous reports of marital problems before the divorce was announced. 

According to another report, Marie-Auguste had previously abandoned her husband and child to run away with another man, had been forcibly returned home on the orders of the Kaiser, and had filed for divorce as soon as the war ended, seeing that her husband’s family was at their lowest ebb. Regardless of the reasons, this was one of the main reasons Prince Joachim committed suicide just weeks after the divorce was finalized. (Source: History of Royal Women)

Princess Marie Auguste First Husband’s Death

Joachim committed suicide in Potsdam on July 18, 1920, just days after his divorce. According to one source, he was in financial trouble and suffered from severe mental depression. His brother, Prince Eitel Friedrich of Prussia, stated that he was suffering from a fit of excessive dementia.

Following Joachim’s suicide, Marie-son Auguste’s Karl Franz was placed in the care of his paternal uncle, Prince Eitel Friedrich. (Source: History of Royal Women)

The Second Marriage and Divorce of Princess Marie Auguste

She married her childhood friend, Johannes-Michael Freiherr von Loen, on September 27, 1926. They divorced in 1935, and Marie-Auguste took back her maiden name.

Princess Marie-Auguste legally adopted the businessman Hans Lichtenberg, who later took the name, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, in 1980. According to von Anhalt, who then went on to sell knighthoods and marriages associated with his new station, he gave her $4,000 per month in financial support. 

Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt passed away on May 22, 1983, at Essen in West Germany. It is said, that after adopting several adults, she was able to raise more than a million dollars. (Source: History of Royal Women)

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