Today, 9 December, Fürstin Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, one of the most fabulous photographers of the Gotha and other milieus (actors and actresses, titans of industry, etc.), celebrates her 100th birthday.

Baron Friedrich Mayr von Melnhof, the father of Marianne
Marianne’s Habsburg ancestor: Archduke Johann of Austria
Marianne’s Habsburg ancestress: Anna Plöchl, Countess of Meran

Baroness Maria Anna (Marianne) Mayr von Melnhof was born on 9 December 1919 at Salzburg as the daughter of Baron Friedrich Mayr von Melnhof (1892-1956) and his wife Maria Anna (1897-1983; née Countess of Meran). Through her mother, Marianne is a descendant of Archduke Johann of Austria (1782-1859) and his wife Anna Plöchl, Gräfin von Meran (1804-1885).

Prince Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and Baroness Marianne Mayr von Melnhof on their wedding day
Fürst Ludwig and Fürstin Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn

In March 1942, Marianne married Prince Ludwig zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn (1915-1962), the son of Prince Ludwig (1880-1953) and Princess Walburga (1885-1969; née Baroness von Friesen). Marianne’s husband succeeded his uncle Stanislaus as Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn upon the death of Stanislaus in 1958.

Together, Fürst Ludwig and Fürstin Marianne had five children: Princess Yvonne (b.1942), Fürst Alexander (b.1943), Princess Elisabeth (1948-1997), Princess Teresa (b.1952), and Prince Peter (b.1954). In 1962, when her husband Ludwig was hit by a drunk driver in Sayn on the sidewalk in front of their house and was killed, Marianne took over the administration in Sayn until her son Alexander came of age. She then began a career as a professional photographer. Fürstin Marianne is the author of several books: Private Gartenkunst in Deutschland (1986), Mamarazza: Gesellschaftsfotografie von 1950 – 2000 (1999), Sayner Zeit (2005), Sayn-Wittgenstein Collection (2006), and ManniFeste: Fuschler Mittagessen 1974–2009 (2010).

We wish MAMARAZZA many happy returns of the day!

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