LXVIII Wilhelmshöhe 8/VIII/1911

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Wilhelmshohe 8/VIII/1911

Dearest Nicky

I am sorry that I am again compelled to approach you with a request relating to Gen. von Lauenstein, who has the honour of being attached to your august person. When I chose him for his post -- with your approval -- he immediately drew my attention to the fact that his wife was of very delicate health. I know her personally and am aware of the fact. Yet I prevailed upon him to go to his post, as you had written so very kindly about him.

She now has just had her 3rd baby, which has so much affected her health, that the doctors have all agreed, that it is quite out of the question, that she should stand the climate of St. Petersburg. Accordingly Lauenstein has now again remarked his request to be relieved of his post. I have regretfully consented seeing that it is impossible to exact from him to lead a life permantly detached from his family.

I feel assured that you will approve of my decision taken under such serious considerations.

I propose to send as his successor Lieut. Gen. of my suite Count Dohna-Schlobitten, now in command of the Guards Cavalry Division. I daresay you re member my presenting him to you during your last visit to Potsdam -- which left wish us such pleasant recollections. He was then about to join my son for his trip to India and would have been on his staff during his stay at Zarskoje if the original itinerary of the journey had been carried out.

Dohna is alltogether a genuine cavalry man -- Frontsoldat -- a first rate horseman, passionate rider and sportsman and allround man. of the world. He has allways been popular with everybody in his different employments: as Captain in the Ist Dragoon guards, later as Colonel of my Hussars of the Guard then as Brigadier, and then as Leader of the Guards Cavalry Division. Last not least he won every officers esteem and sympathy in India; so much so that the Commander in Chief of the Forces there has invited him to the Coronation Durbar, to which I granted him leave. He will I trust on his return be able to give you vivid descriptions of the unique festivities and their unrivalled oriental splendor. His wife is good looking most sociable, and an old friend of mine from long standing. She enjoys an excellent position in the Berlin Court Society.

Dohna has my entire confidence, and I trust my choice will meet with your approval. We are deeply distressed by poor Knesebecks[1] sudden and untimely death. He was private secretary to my Grandmother for 11 and to my wife for 21 years! A loyal trusted and faithful friend and a thorough gentleman. With best love to Alix and the children (what is the Railway doing?) believe me dearest Nicky

Ever your devoted friend and cousin


  1. Herr Bothe von dem Kneesebeck, who died suddenly at Cassel two days before this, was Assistant Master of Ceremonies at the household of the Kaiserin.

Return to 'Willy-Nicky' Letters XLIX - LXXV (22 August 1905 - 26 March 1914)