The English princess you’ve never heard of

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The English princess you’ve never heard of



“Maybe it was a little naive,” Mykytyszyn said, “but she thought that if everyone could come together in Fürstenstein, [the] war could be avoided.” As Europe descended into conflict, Daisy was a voice of reason amid the madness. “She saw how relations were deteriorating and did her best to arrange a meeting between Emperor William II and King George V,” Borkowy said. “Even though ultimately futile, his perseverance was heroic.”

The First World War would prove to be a watershed moment for Daisy. In Germany, many suspected her of being a British spy. The British, for their part, criticized his work for the Red Cross among German soldiers. The popular socialite was shunned by many of her friends. “It troubled her deeply,” Borkowy said. “In one of her letters she said she was considering drowning herself in a lake near Fürstenstein.”

The war was also a turning point in her marriage and she and Heinrich eventually divorced in 1922. Dependent on alimony, she remained in Fürstenstein and continued the humanitarian work for which she was already known.

“Hans Heinrich was 12 years older than him,” Mykytyszyn said. “Having never mastered German, her life here in Fürstenstein was lonely and she found solace in charity.” She introduced free pasteurized milk stations for children and founded a school for mentally retarded infants. “Such initiatives already existed in the UK,” Borkowy said, “but in Lower Silesia they were completely unknown.”

Daisy also established a cooperative for female lace workers, ensuring that profits remained in their hands, and recruited British bacteriologist Robert Green to identify pollutants flowing through the Pełcznica River. “This environmental effort was ahead of its time,” Mykytyszyn said. “It took years, but thanks to her, typhus and cholera were eradicated from the city.”

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