Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Strange Story of Daisy of Pless

Daisy of Pless

The British Princess - Daisy of Pless

Daisy of Pless, the British Princess was one of the most contentious people of her times and was known for her cheerful personality as well as her unconventional manners. The necklace which she had received from her husband became one of the most sought after artifacts after World War II. Daisy was born on 28th June 1873 at Ruthin Castle in Denbighshire, Wales, as Mary Theresa Olivia Conwallis-West and was strongly related to the British royal family. Col. William Cornwallis-West, was her father and Mary Patsy Fitzpatrick her mother.

William Cornwallis-West had been a great grandson of John West, the second Earl De La Warr and Mary had been related to the house of the 2nd Marquess of Headfort. The strong connection between Daisy and Queen Victoria was also very popular. Her early years of childhood were similar to the lives of the other girls from the royal families. However, owing to her charming personality she was known as Daisy and was chosen as the most beautiful British women in 1907. Daisy had married a member of the Hochberg family, Hans, Heinrich XV in 1891 and she together with her husband were the owners of huge estates as well as coal mines in Silesia presently Poland, though during her lifetime, Germany.

Presented with a Pearl Necklace – Became a Sensation

This brought about massive fortune to the Hochbergs and enabled Daisy to follow her extravagant lifestyle together with disastrous events as well as political and family scandals. The Ksiaz Castle in Silesia was the residency of the married couple but Daisy did not like the place and desired another castle which had belonged to them, the Pszczyna.

Her husband knowing her weakness for beautiful jewellery, presented her with a pearl necklace which was 6.7 metres long and one of the most expensive necklaces in the world. According to legend, the pearls had been cursed by the pearl diver who had died while collecting them.

Daisy would wear this extravagant necklace at the time of official meetings and whenever she appeared with this piece of jewellery in London she became a great sensation. Daisy preferred the life of a public person and maintained her connection with English society appearing with her children in Country Life magazine.

Pearls a Symbol of the Best Period of Her Life

It is said that the pearls was a symbol of the best period of her life, however after her death, several people were of the belief that they were the cause of most of the troubles in her life.All through her marriage, Daisy became a social reformer and had worked for peace between her friends William II, the German Emperor and King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

She had developed a strong bond with Emperor William which became a source of gossip in the European courts and in newspapers. Moreover she fuelled gossips by publishing a series of memoirs which were read widely in the United Kingdom, in continental Europe and the United States and became a big scandal which brought about several problems. Daisy preferred to travel, ride horses and motorbikes and as a princess grew up in a castle.

Besides this, she also like spending time in the countryside and indulge in play with her children. The golden age of her life seemed to end with the beginning of World War I during which she served as a nurse, touching several hearts of the Europeans by offering to help the soldiers on both side of the conflict.

Active in Charities during the World War II

She also enjoyed the experience since it provided her with an adventurous life together with the opportunity of meeting interesting people. At the end of the war, most of the nobles began to support Adolf Hitler, but Daisy supported the opposition of the fuhrer. She was also active in charities during the World War II that supported the prisoners of the concentration camp Gross Rosen.

Being considered as an enemy of the German Reich, she had been removed from Ksiaz when the same fell under the ownership of the Germans. Daisy of Pless died in a villa in the city of Wallbrzych and passed away as destitute and lonely women on June 29, 1943. As per local legend, she had been buried dressed in her pearls in the cemetery nearer to her last house. However, a stableman’s daughter had claimed that she had been buried in a family mausoleum in a park of the Ksiaz castle but after the soldiers of the Red Army had plundered her grave, she had been reburied in a safer place in a park.

Unfortunately, the new grave had drawn the attention of the Russian and hence Daisy was reburied once more in a protestant cemetery in Szczawienek. In 1980s the cemetery had been destroyed by the local authority of Silesia; however her body had been sent back to Hochberg’s castle. Many expeditions were attempted to locate the legendary treasure of Daisy and the pearl necklace became a kind of a `holy grail’ of the region. Luckily none of them found the grave of the British princess of Ksiaz Castle.

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