Marthe Bibesco - Early Life

Early Life

Born Marta Lucia Lahovary (also spelled Lahovari) in Bucharest as the third child of Ioan Lahovary and Princess Emma Mavrocordat, Marthe spent her childhood at the Lahovary family estates in Baloteşti and the fashionable French sea-resort of Biarritz. On her first introduction into society, in 1900, she met Crown Prince Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the Romanian throne, but after a secret engagement of one year, Marthe married at seventeen Prince George III Valentin Bibescu (Bibesco), scion of one of the country's prestigious aristocratic families. I stepped onto the European stage through the grand door, she wrote on her wedding day. Her father, who had been educated in France, held the post of minister of the Kingdom of Romania in Paris and, later, that of minister of foreign affairs of Romania.

Fluent in French at an early age (even before she could speak Romanian), Marthe spent the first years of her marriage under the tutelage of her mother-in-law, Princess Valentine Bibesco (née countess Riquet de Caraman-Chimay), who saw to it that the extensive education in European history and literature Marthe already had was reinforced. An old peasant woman, Baba Uţa, saw to it that she was also well-versed in Romanian folk traditions and tales. Meanwhile, her husband, George, was chasing fast cars and other women, but adding to the family fortune at the same time.

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