Miss Mary Throckmorton

The employment of Miss Throckmorton is probably one of the first connections with English families and in all probability arranged by her sister Marie Sophia whose family had connections in Naples with the Acton family to whom Miss Throckmorton was related.

In 1868 the Empress’s fourth child was born, a girl named Marie Valerie, and in November she wrote to Miss Mary Throckmorton as follows:

4 November 1868


Dear Miss Throckmorton

Through my sister the Queen, who is one of your warmest admirers, I also have heard so much of you that ever since dear baby is born I had but the one wish that I might be so happy as to see you take charge of her education. Have I any chance of seeing this, my fondest wish ever fulfilled? She is such a loveable little creature that I trust you would not repent devoting her your life. As she will be 12 months in April I thought in case you are inclined to comply with my request, this would be the best time for your coming.

At this age children begin to attach themselves already and with Mrs Feebay who is I am glad to say a most trustworthy person, by your side, you would not be engaged too much with all those little troubles of early childhood.

Another reason of my asking you to come so soon is also, that the old lady who out of kindness took the place which, during the first months a person had who entirely disagreed with Mrs Feebay, can’t stay longer that spring, being married to a sickly husband who wont spare her any longer.

Pardon me, dear Miss Throckmorton for interceding so on you, and treating you already as quite an old acquaintance. With eager anxiety I am looking forward to your answer. May it please to be a good one for me and my beloved little Valerie.

Begging you to accept these photographs for you and Lady Acton, who I hope is in good health, I am dear Miss Throckmorton with sincere sympathy



On the 19th December 1868 she again wrote to Miss Throckmorton as she was pleased to hear that she has accepted the position. And, could she start in April?

On 15 May 1869 she writes from Godollo to say that she leaves for Ischl on the 29 May so could Miss Throckmorton go straight there on 1st June. ‘The house there is very simple. Baby has cut four teeth and is weaned this week.’

In the Throckmorton archive at the Warwick Record Office there are many letters and telegrams to Miss Throckmorton addressed to various houses in England that the family owned. Amongst the telegrams there is one from Marie Valerie in 1874 (from Ventnor) when the Empress was staying at Steephill on the Isle of Wight, and ‘wishes her happiness’. She would only have been 6 years old.

These child's chalk drawings are of, or by, the Archduchess Valerie when she was seven and a half years old and was staying at Godollo in Hungary. It shows the type of clothing that she would have worn, including the lovely bonnets.

In September1876 Miss Throckmorton received a telegram from Valerie in Miramare to Miss Throckmorton at Coughton, Alcester, Warwicks to:

‘give best wishes for your name day’

There were also telegrams from Rudolph, the Empress’s son and an invitation to her when he was visiting England to a reception at the Austro-Hungarian ambassador’s embassy at 18 Belgrave Square, London.

In June 1871 she was given a passport, No. 17, by Lord Bloomfield, the Ambassador in Vienna for her to travel to Great Britain through Belgium and France, with a maid. In October 1871 she was given another passport, number 40592, dated 5.10.1871 to travel on the continent with a maid servant. This was not the old navy blue British passport but a huge piece of thick paper and granted by George Granville on behalf of His Majesty etc etc. The name of the maid again was not given.

There were also packets of letters to her written in French, German and English from many people of Empress Elizabeth’s circle. It is not clear if she stayed with Valerie continuously throughout her childhood or if she spent part of each year with them. However in December 1898, after the Empress was killed in September, she received a letter from the Austro-Hungarian Embassy in Belgrave Square saying:

‘His Imperial Majesty confers on Lady Mary Throckmorton

‘The Order of St. Elizabeth’ and an insignia.

All the letters to her after this date were written with the following title:


Marie de Throckmorton

dame d’honneur de la Majeste

l’Imperiatrice d’Austriche