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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Daughter of Empire Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks

We can thank Lady Pamela Hick's younger daughter, India Hicks, for persuading her mother to pick up a pen and write her memoirs. The first volume India Remembered was published in 2007.

 Lady Pamela's first book focuses on India's independence, and roles played by her parents, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, as Viceroy and Vicereine. Now in her second book,  Daughter of Empire, Lady Pamela offers an open door to her life as a Mountbatten.

Pammy and her older sister, Patricia, have lived very priviledged but largely unorthodox lives. Lady Pamela's mother, Edwina, came from a very rich family, allowing her father, Lord Louis Mountbatten, to pursue his naval career combined with the comfort of a social position backed by his wife's bank account.

Lady Pamela was born in 1929, five years after her sister, Patricia.  She acknowledged that she and her sister barely saw their mother, as they were raised by nannies and governesses.  Lady Louis (later the Countess Mountbatten of Burma) had her charity work, but she was also a lost soul, at times,  She got bored when Lord Louis was at sea, so she took lovers. 

Lord and Lady Louis had what we would call an open marriage.  Louis was often at sea, leaving his wife with a lot of free time.  He was hurt by his wife's betrayal but eventually came to terms with it.  The marriage survived in spite of the infidelity.  They remained an effective team especially during the second world war and in India.

Lady Pamela offers an honest portrait of her parents. Having her mother spend most of a year traveling with her lover, Bunny Phillips (who later married Georgina Wernher, the eldest daughter of Lady Zia Werhner, whose sister, Nada, was married to Lord Louis' elder brother, George).  Bunny and Louis' longtime companion, Yola, became members of the family.

Lady Louis was definitely a hands-off mother, During one trip with her lover and her younger daughter (and nanny),  Lady Louis left Pammy and the nanny at a hotel in rural Hungary for some months because Lady Louis forgot where the hotel was located.

Lady Pamela has had a front-row seat in India where her father negotiated the separation of India and the birth of two independent nations: India and Pakistan.  She witnessed the marriage of her first cousin, Prince Philip of Greece, to Princess Elizabeth in 1947, and she served as Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting on the 1952 tour that included a stopover in Kenya.

She watched as Prince Philip took his wife for a walk, and told her that her beloved father was dead, and she was now Queen.  When they returned to the Sagana Lodge, Pamela wrote: "I instinctively gave her a hug but quickly, remembering that she was now Queen, dropped into a deep curtsy." 

Daughter of Empire is truly introspective, wistful, at times.  Lady Pamela's young life was shaped by historical turmoil as well as the turmoil of her parents' marriage.   Yes, her life was privileged, but I think Lady Pamela would think that it has been a privilege to live the life she has lived.

It has been an extraordinary life as a Mountbatten, but Pamela, much her parents were "slightly unsettled" by Pamela's unwillingness to embrace a public life. She was in her late 20s, unmarried, although she had turned down dozens of proposals.  One night in 1959, she went to a cocktail party, where she met a man who "bowled" her over.  His name was David Hicks, an up and coming interior designer.   They married in 1960 and became the parents of three children.

Daughter of Empire was published by (Weidenfeld & Nicolson: L20.00).

The book is scheduled to be published in the US in September 2013 by Simon & Schuster ($26.00)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Prince Rupert Löwenstein dishes on Mick!

Prince Rupert zu Löwenstein has written his memoirs, A Prince Among Stones: That Business with the Rolling Stones and Other Adventures,  which may prove to be of interest not only to royal readers, but also to rock fans.  For 40 years, Prince Rupert served as the financial advisor to Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.  Bloomsbury is the publisher for the US and UK editions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Other Grand Dukes

The Other Grand Dukes by Art Beeche and a few other people is now available through Amazon,  The price is $43.95.
I am one of the few other people who contributed to the book as I wrote the chapter on Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich.