All In The Family: The Princely Pleß Stepmother Who Married Her Stepson

doña Clothilde de Silva y González de Cándamo
Announcement of the marriage between Prince Hans Heinrich XV of Pleß and Clotilde de Silva y González
Article (c) Chicago Tribune (24 January 1925)
Hans Heinrich and Clotilde of Pleß are married at London
Article (c) The Philadelphia Inquirer (25 January 1925)

On 25 January 1925 at London, Prince Hans Heinrich XV of Pleß (1861-1938) took as his second wife doña Clothilde de Silva y González de Cándamo (1898-1978), the daughter of José de Silva y Borchgrave d’Altena (1866-1938), Marques de Arcicollar, and Clotilde González de Cándamo y Asencios (1870-?). Clotilde was thirty-seven years younger than her husband Hans Heinrich.

Prince Hans Henrich XV and Princess Daisy of Pleß
Sketch of Princess Daisy of Pleß by John Singer Sargent
Hans Henrich, Daisy, and their three sons

Hans Heinrich XV had formerly been married to Mary-Theresa “Daisy” Cornwallis-West (1873-1943), the noted diarist. The couple had wed in 1891 and divorced in 1922. Hans Heinrich and Daisy had three sons: Hans Heinrich XVII (1900-1984; married twice with no issue), Alexander “Lexel” (1905-1984; once engaged to Princess Ileana of Romania), and Bolko (1900-1936). Princess Daisy of Pleß was a confidante of both King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

Prince Hans Heinrich and Princess Clotilde of Pleß
Hans Heinrich, Clotilde, and their dogs

During the union of Hans Heinrich XV and Clotilde, two children arrived: Beatrix (b.1929) and Konrad (1930-1934). The marital bond between Prince Hans Heinrich and Princess Clotilde of Pleß gradually deteriorated: their marriage was annulled in 1934 in Germany, and the divorce of the couple was recognised in March 1936 by Poland, where the Pleß family had immense holdings. Reportedly, it was Clotilde who filed for divorce from Hans Heinrich.

Count Bolko of Hochberg
The funeral of Bolko on 6 July 1936
Pictured: Hans Heinrich XV of Pleß in a wheelchair being followed by his ex-wife/daughter-in-law Clotilde and his son Lexel at the funeral of his youngest son Bolko
Shortly after her divorce from Hans Heinrich, Clotilde married her stepson Count Bolko of Hochberg. The couple were wed on 5 July 1934 at Mittenwald. They had two children in swift succession: Gioia (b.11 October 1934) and Bolko (b.3 April 1936). Sadly, Bolko left behind his wife and surviving children when he died at the age of twenty-five on 22 June 1936 at Pleß. Bolko had been detained by the Gestapo on unspecific charges in March 1936.
Prince Hans Heinrich XVII of Pleß
Prince Alexander of Pleß

Bolko’s father Prince Hans Heinrich XV of Pleß died on 31 January 1938 at Paris at the age of seventy-six. His mother Princess Daisy died on 29 June 1943 at Waldenburg, aged seventy. Bolko’s widow (and former stepmother) Clotilde passed away at Munich on 12 December 1978 at the age of eighty. Hans Heinrich XV was succeeded as Prince of Pleß by his two eldest sons, Hans Heinrich XVII (2 February 1900-26 January 1984) and Lexel (1 Feb 1905-22 February 1984).

The children of Bolko and Clotilde (l to r): Bolko Jr., Beatrix, and Gioia.
Prince Bolko and Princess Elisabeth of Pleß
Countess Felicitas of Hochberg
Upon the death of Lexel in February 1984, Count Bolko of Hochberg (b.1936), only son of Count Bolko of Hochberg and doña Clotilde de Silva y González, inherited the title Prince of Pleß. Prince Bolko has one daughter, Countess Felicitas of Hochberg (b.1965) from his first marriage to Ruth Marie Therese Reuther (18 May 1940-13 November 2013). Prince Bolko wed again in 2013 to Elisabeth Malisse. The heir to the princely Pleß title is Count Peter of Hochberg (b.1956)
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