Countess Torby Wife of Grand Duke Michael Romanov of Russia - Photograph Cannes circa 1900


Rare snap shot style photo circa January 1900, taken in Cannes, mounted onto an album page of Countess Sophie von Merenberg, Countess Torby (1868-1927), in the grounds of the Cannes Golf Club, with friends playing instruments:

1. Princess Elena Orbeliani
2. Etter
3. Madame Louis van Loon
4. Countess Torby
5. xxx Brambeen
6. Vicomte de Mourtiers Merriville
7. Gaza Orbeliani

She was the eldest daughter of Prince Nicholas William of Nassau and Natalya Aleksandrovna Pushkina. Sophie was born in Geneva, Switzerland, first born of Prince Nicholas of William Nassau and Natalya Aleksandrovna Pushkina. Since the marriage of the parents was considered morganatic, it was considered inappropriate for her father's title and rank. His paternal grandparents were William, Duke of Nassau, and Pauline Princess of Württemberg, while maternal ones were the famous Russian poet Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin and Nataly Nikolaevna Goncharova .

For contracting this marriage without permission, Emperor Alexander III of Russia, stripped him of his military titles and banished the couple from Russia.

For some years he lived in Wiesbaden, Nassau and in Cannes. He settled permanently in England in 1900, leasing Keele Hall in Staffordshire and later Kenwood House on the outskirts of London. He became a prominent member of British society, one of his daughters marrying into the British aristocracy and another marrying a great-grandson of Queen Victoria. He lost his fortune with the fall of the Russian monarchy in 1918. Three of his brothers were killed by the Bolsheviks, but he escaped the Russian Revolution because he was living abroad. He spent his last years living under reduced circumstances with the financial help of his son-in-law Sir Harold Wernher.

Photo Size: 11 x 7 cm approx
Album Page Size: 11.5 x 9.5 cm approx

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