My book, Eczema and Atopic Dermatits: The Best Websites has recently been published. I've also had many articles published, but I'd like to write more non-fiction books and, of course, a novel!
My articles can be seen at many websites, including Life in Italy, Crescent Blues, Paris Eiffel Tower Newsletter, and France This Way.
Beautiful Clara Ward had an interesting and tempestuous life. She married four times - her husbands included a prince. She was also reportedly the mistress of King Leopold of Belgium. Ward once wrote in her diary that she'd rather marry a murderer than live a boring life - she didn't want to be ordinary and she certainly wasn't!
Ward was the daughter of a millionaire lumberman with holdings in steel and silver mines and steamships. He was the wealthiest man in Michigan. Her father died when she was only 2, leaving her brother in charge of the family's inheritance.
The lovely heiress met the Prince de Caraman-Chimay in France when she was quite young. He was fifteen years older, not very handsome, and not very wealthy. But perhaps that doesn't matter if you're a prince! She charmed the older man and the couple married in Paris when Ward was only 17.
She was the toast of Paris, although she shocked society with her unconventional ways. The princess also liked to spend her money - she had an annual income of $50,000.00 and she reportedly spent it all!
Although the couple had two children, Ward remained restless. She caught the eye of King Leopold of Belgium, who 'showered her with attentions.' When she ordered him to bring her an ice, he immediately obeyed!
Clara Meets Her Gypsy
The princess liked to dine at elegant restaurants in Paris with her husband. She became mesmerized by a young Hungarian gypsy who played the violin at one of these restaurants. The princess ran away with the rather poor Hungarian gypsy, whose name was Rigo Jancsi. They married in 1904.
There was great interest in this 'beautiful couple' by the media. Unfortunately, the princess's husband was an opportunist. She spent bucketloads of money on her gypsy. She built him a white marble palace in Egypt, a $5,000.00 violin, and lots of jewels.
Clara eventually had to obtain money by desperate means. She appeared at the Folies Bergere and the Moulin Rouge in skin-tight costumes. She called these her 'poses plastiques.' Toulouse-Lautrec even painted the couple.
Jancsi was unfaithful so the princess eventually divorced him. Her last two husbands were Italian, Peppino Ricciardo, and a station-master. She met the station-master when she travelled on one of the trains that passed through the station.