Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Prince Among Stones by Prince Rupert Loewenstein

Sometimes you fall into an opportunity that will not only change your life, but also the lives of the people you are advising.

Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, a British educated German prince (albeit a member of the morganatic branch of the Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg family, spent thirty seven years as financial adviser to the Rolling Stones, one of the mega rock groups.

Rupert, whose parents were divorced when he was a child, was educated at Oxford.  He did not have a lot of money, but that would change when he entered the financial business, first as a stockbroker for the American firm, Bache & Co., and then with several friends, purchased Leopold Joseph and Sons, a private investment bank.

The prince married Josphine Lowry-Corry, a young aristocrat without a trust fund.  Although her family did not approve of her marriage to a Roman Catholic, Josephine converted several months after her marriage. 

The young couple moved in the very elite of circles, which included royalty and the very rich, which is not surprising due to the Prince's only family connections.  His cousin was Prince Johannes of Thurn and Taxis.  His mother, Bianca, was a descendant of Pedro I of Brazil through his legitimated daughter, Isabel Maria.

It was at a party where he first met Mick Jagger, the lead singer for the Rolling Stones.  The group was already well known.  They sold millions of records and their concerts were hot ticket items.  Someone was making money off the Stones, but Mick and his few band members were not making money.  The band was in serious financial trouble.
The world of investment banking would soon prove to be not enough for Prince Rupert. Signing on as the Stones' financial adviser, Prince Rupert was able to bring his particular skills to a "rat's nest" of truly serious problems.  

The group was tied to one contract and wanted to extricate themselves in order to move on.  It took some years to put the Rolling Stones on the right financial path.  The group was making money (not going to the Stones), but not paying taxes because of all the bad financial decisions that had been made before Rupert signed on. 

Prince Rupert retired in 2008 after spending thirty seven years turning the Stones into a financial success for all ... including himself.

 Now five years later, the nearly 80 year old prince has written a charming memoir,  A Prince Among Stones (Bloomsbury: $27.00) that weaves a jovial tale of a well-educated but not well-funded prince who found his financial métier.

Although Prince Rupert moved in the Rolling Stones' circle, he was not a fan of rock music (preferring classical) and never even played a Stones record.    He advised the group on how to build their own financial empires, after they became tad exiles in France.  He bought a villa in Mustique (Villa Zinnia) and advised others to do so as well.

Rupert, a devout Roman Catholic, convinced the Stones that it was important to donate some of their concert earnings to charity.  He was active in the Sovereign Order of Malta and other Roman Catholic organizations.

He had to deal with the drug issues as Mick's divorces.  Bianca did not listen to him, and ended up with a lot less.  Jerry Hall, who nicknamed the prince as Rupie the Groupie, was more receptive to his financial acumen.

His marriage to Josephine Lowry-Corry took place at the Brompton Oratory in July 1957.  The bride wore white although the gown was designed to hide the fact that she was pregnant.  Their first child, Rudolf, was born four months later.  Konrad was born in 1958, and Dora arrived in 1969. 

Dora is married to an Italian count, and handles the Stones' PR.  Rudolf and Konrad are Catholic priests.

A Prince Among Stones offers insight into what it takes for a group to make money (and not being scammed, which is what happened before Rupert stepped in.)  Prince Rupert moved in the right circles, and got invited to the right parties.  He was able to parlay his skills into a career that seemed inexplicable to most.  A German prince, who never liked rock music, was able to built a rock empire for Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.

But the prince does not forget about his own life and his family history.  The Appendix: The Ancestry of Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg was written by noted royal expert Guy Sainty.

I certainly got a lot of satisfaction after reading A Prince of Among Stones.

The UK edition is published by Bloomsbury.

No comments:

Post a Comment