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Princess Pauline
Princess von Metternich
Spouse Prince Richard von Metternich
Princess Sophie von Metternich
Countess Pascalina Antoinette von Metternich - Sandor Winneburg
Countess Klementina Marie von Metternich - Sandor Winneburg
House House of Metternich
Father Count Moritz Sándor
Mother Leontine von Metternich
Born 25 February 1836(1836-02-25)
Wien, Austria-Hungary
Died 28 September 1921 (aged 85)
Wien, Austria
Princess Pauline von Metternich daguerreotype by Hermann Krone, 1854.
Princess Pauline de Metternich, portrait by Edgar Degas around 1865
Princess Pauline Metternich on the Beach, oil painting by Eugène Boudin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Princess Pauline Clémentine von Metternich - Winneburg zu Beilstein née Countess Pauline Clémentine Marie Walburga Sándor de Szlavnicza (February 25, 1836 in Vienna - September 28, 1921 in Vienna) was a famous Viennese and Parisian socialite of great charm and elegance. She was an important promoter of the work of the German composer Richard Wagner and the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana.



Princess Pauline von Metternich (also known as "de Metternich"and "von Metternich - Winneburg") was born into the Hungarian noble family of Sándor de Slawnitza. Her father Moritz Sándor, described as "a furious rider" was known throughout the Habsburg empire as a passionate horseman. Her mother Princess Leontine von Metternich was a daughter of the Austrian chancellor Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich (architect of the Concert of Europe) It was at his home in Vienna that Pauline spent almost her whole childhood.

In 1856, she married Prince Richard von Metternich, a son of chancellor Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich so they were a husband and a wife and an uncle and a niece simultaneously. They lived a happy conjugal life (despite his frequent love - affairs with actresses and opera prima donnas) They had three daughters.

Pauline accompanied her husband, an Austrian diplomat, on his missions to the royal court in Dresden and then the imperial court in Paris where they lived for almost eleven years (1859 to 1870).

She played an important role in the social and cultural life of Dresden and Paris, and after 1870 Vienna. She was a close friend and confidante of French Empress Eugénie, and Princess Pauline and her husband were prominent personalities at the court of Emperor Napoleon III She introduced fashion designer Charles Frederick Worth to the Empress and thus started his rise to fame.

Pauline was an ardent patron of music, and became a leader of fashionable society. Whether in Paris or Vienna, she set the latest social trends. She taught French and Czech aristocrats to skate and ladies to smoke cigars without fear of their reputations. She was acquainted with many composers and writers, including Richard Wagner, Franz Liszt, Charles Gounod and Camille Saint-Saëns, Prosper Mérimée and Alexandre Dumas), and corresponded with them.

She was an advocate for the music of Wagner in Paris and Czech music composer Bedřich Smetana in Vienna. She organised salon performances of abridged versions of many famous operas, including Richard Wagner 's Der Ring des Nibelungen' 'where she took part both as a stage director and singer.

In her private life, Pauline suffered several crises and disasters. As a child, Pauline was an eyewitness to the revolution of 1848 in Vienna. In 1870 she remained at the side of Empress Eugénie in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, and later aided her escape from Paris to Great Britain by secretly sending Eugénie's jewels to London in a diplomatic bag. Her first child was Sophie (1857-1941); her second daughter Pascaline (b.1862) married Count George of 'Waldstein', an insane and alcoholic Czech aristocrat who was said to have murdered her in delirium in Duchcov (today in the Czech Republic) in 1890. Her youngest daughter Clementine (d.1870) was badly injured by her dog as a child and decided never to marry due to her scarred face.

Princess Pauline died in Vienna in 1921. She lived through the glory and fall of the Austrian and French empires and was believed to be a living symbol of these two lost worlds.

A portrait of her by French impressionist Edgar Degas, painted from a photograph, now hangs in the National Gallery, London.


Princess Pauline was a notable patron of contemporary arts. She befriended music composers Richard Wagner (he dedicated a piano composition to her) and Franz Liszt and helped them. She organised the Parisian première of Wagner 's opera Tannhäuser in 1861. The failure of the project (it closed after three performances) became a celebrated fiasco and one of the greatest music scandals of the 19th century. Nevertheless, she went on and spread the music of Wagner and other now-famous composers. One of her protegés was the leading Czech musician of that time, Bedřich Smetana] whom she introduced to the music circles of Vienna and Paris. Thanks to her Smetana 's comic opera The Bartered Bride was produced in Vienna in 1892, to popular acclaim.

Her regular travels between, and extended stays in Paris and Vienna, permitted her to act as a cross-cultural transmitter of the many trends that interested her in music, political ideas, and sport.

She wrote two books of memoirs. The first, Gesehenes, geschehenes, erlebtes , in German, honored her grandfather chancellor Metternich and father Count Moritz Sándor, and the second, Éclairs du passé in French, recalled life and times in the court of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie. Both were published posthumously in the 1920s.


Richard and Pauline von Metternich had three children :

  • Princess Sophie von Metternich (1857-1941)
  • Countess Pascalina Antoinette von Metternich - Sandor Winneburg (1862-1890)
  • Countess Klementina Marie von Metternich - Sandor Winneburg († 1870)

Since his marriage produced three daughters, after his death, the title of "Prince von Metternich"passed to his half - brother, Paul von Metternich.


  • Pauline Clementine Marie Walburga (Sándor von Szlavnicza) FĂĽrstin von Metternich - Winneburg. The days that are no more : Some reminiscences . E. Nash & Grayson, London (1921). ASIN B000881512
  • Pauline Clementine Marie Walburga (Sándor von Szlavnicza) FĂĽrstin von Metternich - Winneburg. My years in Paris . E. Nash & Grayson, London (1922). ASIN B00085ZS7W


  • Octave Aubry, L 'ImpĂ©ratrice EugĂ©nie , Paris 1937.
  • Jules Gesztesi, Pauline Metternich. Ambassadrice aux Tuileries , Paris 1947.
  • Theophila Wassilko, FĂĽrstin Pauline Metternich , MĂĽnchen 1959.
  • Brigitte Hamann, Elisabeth. Kaiserin wider Willen , Wien 1982.

External links



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