Fine large antique photo of Archduke Anton of Austria (1901 - 1987) and his wife Princess Ileana of Romania, also known as Mother Alexandra (1909-1991), with their four eldest children, Archduke Stefan, Archduchess Maria Ileana, Archduchess Alexandra, Archduke Dominic, circa 1938, from the collection of Diddo Greer (1904-1942), nanny to their children, stamped Rohabdruck on the reverse.
He was an Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Tuscany. He was the seventh of ten children born to Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria, Prince of Tuscany, and Infanta Blanca of Spain, daughter of Carlos, Duke of Madrid.
She was the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania and his consort, Queen Marie of Romania. She was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of Czar Alexander II. She was born as Her Royal Highness Ileana, Princess of Romania, Princess of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.
In Sinaia on 26 July 1931, Ileana married the Archduke Anton of Austria, Prince of Tuscany. This marriage was encouraged by Ileana's brother, King Carol II, who was jealous of Ileana's popularity in Romania and wanted to get her out of the country. After the wedding, Carol claimed that the Romanian people would never tolerate a Habsburg living on Romanian soil, and on these grounds refused Ileana and Anton permission to live in Romania.
After her husband was conscripted into the Luftwaffe, Ileana established a hospital for wounded Romanian soldiers at their castle, Sonnburg, outside Vienna, Austria. She was assisted in this task by her friend Sheila Kaul. In 1944, she and the children moved back to Romania, where they lived at Bran Castle, near Brasov. Archduke Anton joined them but was placed under house arrest by the Red Army. Ileana established and worked in another hospital in Bran village, which she named the Hospital of the Queen's Heart in memory of her beloved mother, Queen Marie of Romania.
After Michael I of Romania abdicated, Ileana and her family were exiled from the newly Communist Romania. They escaped by train to the Russian sector of Vienna, then divided into three parts. After that they settled in Switzerland, then moved to Argentina and in 1950, she and the children moved to the United States, where she bought a house in Newton, Massachusetts.
The years from 1950 to 1961 were spent lecturing against communism, working with the Romanian Orthodox Church in the United States, writing two books: I Live Again, a memoir of her last years in Romania, and Hospital of the Queen's Heart, describing the establishment and running of the hospital.
On 29 May 1954, Ileana and Anton officially divorced and she married secondly in Newton, Massachusetts, on 20 June 1954, to Dr. Stefan Nikolas Issarescu (Turnu-Severin, 5 October 1906 - Providence, 21 December 2002).
In 1961, Ileana entered the Orthodox Monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God, in Bussy-en-Othe, France. Her second marriage ended in divorce in 1965. On her tonsuring as a monastic, in 1967, Sister Ileana was given the name Mother Alexandra. She moved back to the United States and founded the Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, the first English language Orthodox monastery in North America. She was the third female descendant of Queen Victoria to become a Mother Superior in a convent of her own foundation. She served as abbess until her retirement in 1981, remaining at the monastery until her death.
She visited Romania again in 1990, at the age of 81, in the company of her daughter, Sandi.
In January 1991, she suffered a broken hip in a fall on the evening before her eighty-second birthday, and while in hospital, suffered two major heart attacks. She died four days after the foundations had been laid for the expansion of the monastery.
Size: 24 x 12 cm approx