Alice Heine

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Alice Heine (February 10, 1858 – December 22, 1925), styled HSH The Princess of Monaco, and also The Duchess of Richelieu, was the American-born second wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a great-grandfather of Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Marcel Proust used her as a model for the Princesse de Luxembourg in In Search of Lost Time.

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Biography

She was born Marie Alice Heine at 900 Rue Royale, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Her French father, Michael Heine, was a scion of a prominent German-rooted Berlin and Paris banking family and a cousin of poet Heinrich Heine. He was born in France and moved to New Orleans in 1843, and become a successful financier and real-estate developer. Her mother was Marie Amélie Miltenberger, an architect's daughter, whose family had built three interconnected Miltenberger mansions on Rue Royale.

The American Civil War sent the family back to France, where the teenaged Alice's youth and beauty and her family's wealth, made a great impression in Parisian society. A & M Heine, her father's firm, helped finance Napoleon III’s war with Prussia.

A Roman Catholic by birth, Alice married her first husband, Marie Odet Armand Aimable de La Chapelle, Marquis of Jumilhac, 7th Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac, on February 27, 1875 in Paris. Their only son, Armand de La Chapelle (born in Paris on 21 December 1875), became the 8th and last Duke of Richelieu and of Fronsac and Marquis of Jumilhac on the death of his father on June 28, 1880. He died in New York City, New York, on 30 June 1952, without issue.

Alice's second marriage, to Prince Albert I of Monaco, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, occurred on October 30, 1889. The prince, whose first wife had been a daughter of a Scottish Duke, was an oceanographer and during his long journeys at sea, Alice took great interest in the Monegasque opera season. The courtesan Caroline Otero, La Belle Otero, who had been a part-time lover of the Prince between 1893 and 1897, recalled the Prince fondly in her memoires and claimed that he wasn't a virile man and suffered from erection difficulty.

She brought a strong business acumen, showing an understanding far beyond her years. Having helped put her husband's principality on a sound financial footing, she would devote her energies to making Monaco one of Europe's great cultural centers with its opera, theater, and the ballet under the direction of the famed Russian impresario, Serge Diaghilev. Her affair with composer Isidore de Lara resulted in Prince Albert slapping her in view of an audience at the Salle Garnier.[1]

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