Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The $65 million question about a king, a princess and a Shropshire country house

You have to admit that's a racy headline - even for the Shropshire Star. Naturally, it has walked away with our Headline of the Day Award.

And the story beneath does not disappoint:

According to villagers, you couldn’t want a better person to live near to you.

But Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein, the ex-wife of a German prince, has placed the village of Claverley at the centre of a story that has fascinated people across Europe.

It involves secret agents, mysterious offshore companies and the small matter of a $65 million gift from her ex-lover, the former King of Spain.

And the report then sets out the story in almost bewildering detail.

Claverley is a village near Bridgnorth. Unusually for a Shropshire village, it has not been visited by me, so the photograph above comes from the invaluable Geograph site.

And I hear you asking whether there is a connection between the Sayn-Wittgenstein family and the philosopher.

Looking at the Wikipedia for Ludwig Wittgenstein, the answer is yes and no:

According to a family tree prepared in Jerusalem after World War II, Wittgenstein's paternal great-great-grandfather was Moses Meier, a Jewish land agent who lived with his wife, Brendel Simon, in Bad Laasphe in the Principality of Wittgenstein, Westphalia.

In July 1808, Napoleon issued a decree that everyone, including Jews, must adopt an inheritable family surname, so Meier's son, also Moses, took the name of his employers, the Sayn-Wittgensteins, and became Moses Meier Wittgenstein.

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