The Immortal Helen Lewis: 
The American Beauty Who Became The Duchess of Croÿ And Then The Daugher-In-Law of Admiral Miklós Horthy
Helen, Duchess of Croÿ (née Lewis)
Helen’s mother Jane “Jennie” Bromley Lindsay Lewis in 1941.
On 22 October 1924, Helen Lindsay Lewis (b.Albany, New York 14 February 1898) became the second wife of Duke Karl Rudolf of Croÿ (1889-1974). Helen was the daughter of Thompson Howard Lewis (1869-1947), who worked for the Mutual Life Insurance Company in New York, and his wife Jane “Jennie” Bromley Lindsay (1871 – ?), the daughter of David Lindsay and Ella Augusta Bromley (1847-1910). The couple were married in a ceremony at Munich. This was the first marriage for Helen; for Karl Rudolf, it was his second. From 1913 until 1922 he had been married to Nancy Leishman (1894-1983). From his first marriage, the Duke of Croÿ had three children: Carl (1914-2011), Antoinette (1915-2011), and Marie-Luise (b.1919).

Elizabeth, Baroness du Moray (née Lewis)

Duchess Helen of Croÿ had a younger sister, Elizabeth Willoughby Lewis (b.Albany, NY 9 July 1901). In 1928, Elizabeth had become engaged to Baron Jean Le Couteulx du Moray (1886-1946), the son of Baron Jacques Le Couteulx du Moray. Although Elizabeth was not in love with Jean, and their engagement was broken off at least once, both Elizabeth’s sister Helen and her brother-in-law Karl Rudolf were keen for the union to take place. The Duke and Duchess of Croÿ convinced Elizabeth to go through with the wedding, and the younger Miss Lewis was duly united with Baron Jean Le Couteulx du Molay (1886-1946) on 21 March 1929 at Paris. As it so happened, the Baron du Moray was a drug addict, and he and Elizabeth were divorced on 16 April 1935.

Helen, Duchess of Croÿ
Karl Rudolf, Duke of Croÿ

In 1930, a divorce action was initiated by Duchess Helen of Croÿ to terminate her marriage with Duke Karl Rudolf. According to press reports at the time, one of the reasons that Helen cited for ending the union was that an Austrian Archduchess (who was never named) had been soliciting the attentions of the Duke of Croÿ. Interestingly, even though the contents of the case were sealed, it was alleged that one of the reasons that the marriage of Duke Karl Rudolf and his first wife Nancy ended in 1922 was due to the interference of the very same archduchess. Karl Rudolf and Helen, the Duke and Duchess of Croÿ, were divorced in 1931; they had no children.
Helen, Duchess of Croÿ
Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya II
On 22 December 1956, Helen Lewis, former Duchess of Croÿ, married Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya II (1907-1993) in Edinburgh, Scotland. By this time, Helen had reinvented herself as Helen Margot Lindsay-Lewis (b.Puerto Madryn, Argentina 14 February 1916); the new bride thus made herself almost twenty years younger. Helen’s second husband was the youngest child of Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya (1868-1957), the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary, and Magdolna Vilma Benedikta Purgly de Jószáshely (1881-1959).

Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybány, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary
Magdolna Purgly de Jószáshely
Countess Maria Consuelo Károlyi de Nagykároly

In 1927, Miklós II married Countess Maria Consuelo Károlyi de Nagykároly (1905-1976); the couple had two children: Zsófia Horthy de Nagybanya (1928-2004) and Nicolette Horthy de Nagybanya (1929-1990). Miklós and Maria Consuelo eventually divorced; it was after this marital rupture that Miklós married Helen Lewis.

Helen Lewis, Duchess of Croÿ, Mrs Miklós Horthy de Nagybanya II

Helen and Miklós Horthy did not have any children. On 23 March 1993, Miklós passed away in Portugal at the age of eighty-five. For decades, genealogists had an impossible time attempting to find when Helen Lewis had died. Due to her seemingly “immortal” status, the former Duchess of Croÿ was deemed to be a “Vampire of the Gotha.”

Helen’s Hungarian sister-in-law: Countesss Ilona Edelsheim-Gyulai de Marosnémethi et Nádaska

In 2016, Dutch royal historian and genealogist Netty Leistra discovered that Helen had passed away in December 1976 at Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Helen would have been seventy-eight years-old. Countess Ilona Edelsheim-Gyulai de Marosnémethi et Nádaska, the sister-in-law of Miklós and wife of his brother István, recalled in her memoirs: “They did not always live in complete harmony, but when Helen got sick, Nicky [Miklós] nurtured her devotedly, and when she died, he became completely shattered.

The resting place of Miklós Horthy II

After his death, Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya II was buried at the Horthy family crypt at Kenderes, Hungary. The final resting place of Helen Lewis is not known.


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