Princess Henriette of Auersperg was born on 2 September 1933 at Sankt Johann im Pongau, Salzburg, as the eldest child of Prince Alois of Auersperg (1897-1984) and Countess Henriette Larisch von Moennich (1903-1994). Known as “Hetty,” the little girl was followed by two brothers: Prince Alfred (1936-1992) and Prince Luitpold (1937-1985). The future was to have a great deal of interesting experiences in store for Hetty. For a spell, the young princess worked as a secretary.
Alfie of Auersperg and Sunny Crawford wed in 1957
Sunny von Bülow
On 20 July 1957, Hetty’s brother Alfred “Alfie” married Martha “Sunny” Sharp Crawford (1932-2008), daughter of utilities magnate George Crawford. Sunny had been Alfie’s tennis instructor at a Swiss resort. The couple had two children: Princess Annie-Laurie “Ala” (b.1958) and Alexander (b.1959). After Alfie and Sunny’s divorce in 1965, Sunny reportedly gave Alfie $3.5 million as a settlement. Sunny went on the marry Claus von Bülow (1926-2019) in 1966, with whom she had one daughter, Cosima (b.1967). Hetty Auersperg was subpoenaed in the 1982 trial of Claus von Bülow, who was charged with the attempted murder of Hetty’s former sister-in-law.
Announcement of the engagement between Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach and Princess Henriette Article (c) The Pittsburg Press of 23 December 1968
Arndt and Hetty at the 1968 New Year’s Eve party on the Kitzbühel estate of US millionaire Matthew Taylor Mellon
In December 1968, it was announced from Munich that Princess Henriette of Auersperg was engaged to Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach, who was considered West Germany’s most eligible bachelor as the heir to the Krupp arms dynasty. Four years younger than his betrothed, Arndt had been born on 24 January 1938 at Berlin as the only child of Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1907-1967) and Anneliese Bahr (1909-1998). Arndt’s parents had married in 1937 to the great disappointment of his paternal grandparents Gustav and Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach; Bertha especially considered the union a mésalliance – she offered Anneliese a significant sum of money to have an abortion when Bertha discovered her daughter-in-law was with child. In the face of such opposition, Alfried and Anneliese’s marriage quickly crumbled, and they divorced in 1941. At the time that Hetty and Arndt’s engagement was made public, it was reported that Hetty had been until then a particularly close, “seemingly permanent companion,” to Prince Johannes of Thurn and Taxis (1926-1990).
Hetty and Arndt at their civil wedding
The engaged couple at the pre-wedding press conference
The religious wedding of Arndt and Hetty at Schloß Blühnbach
The tall blue-eyed princess with blonde hair wed her “prince charming” in a civil ceremony on 1 February 1969 at Werfen bei Salzburg. The couple celebrated their religious wedding on Valentine’s Day 1969 (14 February) at Schloß Blühnbach, the Krupp property that was formerly owned by Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The ceremony was Roman Catholic, the faith of the bride; Arndt was still Lutheran, though he converted to Catholicism later in life. Hetty let Arndt plan the entire ceremony, from choosing the 300 strong guest list to selecting the bride’s wedding outfit, a Pongauer Dirndl. Hetty was quoted as saying: “His taste is perfect. Leaving all major decisions to Arndt is the way we plan to run our marriage.” Amongst the guests were were members of the Liechtenstein, Furstenberg, Hohenberg, Hohenlohe, and Thurn and Taxis families – American actor George Hamilton was also present.
Hetty and Arndt beside the pool of their villa in Marrakech
The glittering princess with her husband
Arndt and Hetty
Aware of the nature of their marriage of convenience, Arndt and Hetty quickly and happily began living mostly separate lives. Hetty was drawn to the family’s thirty-four-room villa at Marrakech. Arndt preferred Palm Beach and then getting away to a little house on the Isle of Sylt, off the German coast. The couple would typically spent August to October of every year at Schloß Blühnbach, where they enjoyed hunting and entertaining their international set of friends. In a 1985 Palm Beach Post interview with Arndt, it was noted that “the Princess is an avid sportswoman, and when not in Blühnbach is on the ski slopes of Gstaad or St Moritz. Their mutual respect and compatibility permits them a personal freedom that has cemented a happy marriage of fourteen years! Each Valentine anniversary, the Baron deluges the Princess with her favourite flower…Lilies-of-the-Valley.” Arndt went on to say of his wife: “She is exactly the opposite of me. She likes skiing, golfing, all kinds of outdoor things. She very reluctantly goes to parties, I must say. You see, she’s very natural. She doesn’t wear lipstick or anything.“
The funeral of Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach
Aged forty-eight, Arndt died on 8 May 1986 in the intensive care unit of a private hospital at Munich. He had been suffering from lymph node cancer since 1979 and had dealt with cirrhosis of the liver as a result of his alcoholism. Not surprisingly, Arndt and Hetty never had children. A widow at fifty-two, Hetty never remarried.
Princess Hetty of Auersperg
Long after her husband’s death, Hetty granted an interview in 2012 with Express from her home at Marrakech. She recalled when she had initially met Arndt after she approached the Krupp heir for a job: “Why not marry me? You lead your life, and sometimes we bring ours together.” he responded. And, marry him she did. Hetty remembered: “I know of some marriages where the husband is homosexual or bisexual. That is not necessarily the worst thing. We had a partnership. Arndt was not jealous. I could do whatever I wanted. We were a good team. I really liked Arndt.”
Death notice of Henriette von Bohlen und Halbach (née Princess of Auersperg)
Hetty survived her husband by thirty-three years. Her nephew Prince Alexander of Auersperg and her nieces Princesses Ala and Cecile announced that their beloved aunt had died on 30 May 2019 at St Johann in Tirol. Hetty was eighty-five years-old.
Princess Hetty of Auersperg
May She Rest In Peace.
For more on the Royal Families of Europe, please subscribe to ERHJ by clicking on the link: