Boni de Castellane

Marie Ernest Paul Boniface de Castellane, Marquis de Castellane (February 14, 1867 – October 20, 1932), known as Boni de Castellane, was a French nobleman and politician. He was known as a leading Belle Époque tastemaker and the first husband of American railroad heiress Anna Gould.[1]

Boni de Castellane
Marquis de Castellane
Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane (carte de visite).jpg
Born(1867-02-14)February 14, 1867
Paris, Île-de-France, France
DiedOctober 20, 1932(1932-10-20) (aged 65)
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Noble familyCastellane
m. 1895; div. 1906)
Marie-Louise de Castellane
Boniface de Castellane
Georges de Castellane
Jason de Castellane
FatherAntoine de Castellane
MotherMadeleine Le Clerc de Juigné

Early lifeEdit

Comte Boni de Castellane was born in Paris as the eldest son of Antoine, Marquis de Castellane, and his wife Madeleine Le Clerc de Juigné.[2][3] His brothers were Jean and Stanislas de Castellane. Like his brothers, Boni bore the courtesy title of comte de Castellane, until he inherited his father's title upon the latter's death in 1917.[2]

His paternal grandparents were Henri, marquis de Castellane, deputy for Cantal, and his wife Pauline de Talleyrand-Périgord. His aunt, Marie de Castellane, was married to Prince Antoine Radziwiłł, a grandson of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł and Princess Louise of Prussia.[4]

Marriage and childrenEdit

On March 14, 1895,[5] he was married to heiress Anna Gould (1875–1961), the daughter of Jay Gould, the American industrialist and millionaire, in New York City at the home of her brother, George J. Gould.[6] Count Boni, as he was known in America, was "the first Frenchman to marry an American heiress."[1]

Together, they had four children:[7][8]

  • Marie-Louise de Castellane (b. 1896)
  • Boniface, Marquis de Castellane (1897–1946), who married Yvonne Patenôtre (daughter of Jules Patenôtre and his wife Eleanor Elverson, who was the sister of James Elverson Jr. and daughter of publisher James Elverson Sr. by his wife Sallie Duvall, the three of them owners of The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Georges de Castellane (1897–1944), who married Florinda Fernández y Anchorena (b. 1901)[9]
  • Jason "Jay" de Castellane (1902–1956)

Divorce and later lifeEdit

A parody of the circus-like atmosphere of the divorce proceedings of Anna Gould against her husband, Boni de Castellane. Amongst other things, she is shown holding a bouquet made of indictments against her husband.[10]

Anna obtained a civil divorce in 1906,[11] after he had spent about $10 million of the money given to Anna by her father upon marriage.[12] In 1908, Anna married his cousin, Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duke of Sagan, 5th Duke of Talleyrand, and Castellane then sought an annulment from the Vatican so that he could be free to remarry in the Church.[13] The annulment case was settled in 1924, when the highest Vatican tribunal upheld the validity of the marriage and denied the annulment.[14][15]

Time magazine wrote on April 13, 1925:[16]

Probably not since Henry VIII tried in vain to get an annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon has a matrimonial case been so long in the courts of the Roman Catholic Church as that on which nine Cardinals have just handed down a final decision. The male in this case is the son of one of France's most historic houses − Le Comte Boni de Castellane. The female is the daughter of a United States stockbroker, the late Jay Gould − the present Anna, Marquise de Talleyrand Périgord, Duchesse de Sagan. On March 14, 1895, Anna became La Comtesse de Castellane by a marriage solemnized in Manhattan by the late Archbishop Corrigan. After three children were born, La Comtesse obtained a civil divorce from Le Comte on grounds of infidelity. In 1908, she married Le Marquis de Talleyrand Périgord, Duc de Sagan. Thereupon, Le Comte asked the Vatican to annul the marriage, apparently that he might be free to marry again, within the Church.

  • Trial I. The Roman Rota upheld the marriage in 1911. Le Comte appealed.
  • Trial II. Anna refused to be represented at this trial. The marriage was declared void. Anna appealed.
  • Trial III. The marriage was declared valid. Le Comte appealed from the Rota to Pope Benedict XV.
  • Trial IV. The case was laid before a Commission of the Apostolic Signatura − the supreme tribunal of the Church. Six cardinals composed the commission. They held the marriage valid. Le Comte appealed to Pope Pius XI.
  • Trial V. The Commission declared the marriage invalid. Anna appealed to the Pope who, to settle it once and forever, assigned three extra cardinals to the commission.
  • Trial VI was before Cardinals De Lai (Italian), Pomphilj (Italian), Van Rossum (Dutch), Sbaretti (Italian), Silj (Italian), Bisleti (Italian), Sincere (Italian), Lega (Italian), Mori (Italian). The marriage was held valid. Formal proclamation will soon be issued.

The Marquis de Castellane died in Paris on October 20, 1932, a week after suffering a paralytic stroke.[1] His funeral, which his former wife did not attend, was held in Paris at the Church of Saint-Philippe-du-Roule and he was buried at St. Patrice.[17]


He was the grandfather of Elisabeth de Castellane (1928–1991), who married Jean Bertrand Jacques Adrien Nompar, Comte de Caumont La Force (1920–1986) in Paris on 7 December 1948, and Diane Rose Anne Marie de Castellane Fernández y Anchorena (b. 1927), who first married Philippe de Noailles, Duc de Mouchy and Prince-Duc de Poix (born in Paris, April 17, 1922) on 14 April 14, 1948. They divorced on 13 March 1974.


  • 1895 rue de Constantine, Paris, VII
  • 1895–1902 Hôtel particulier 9 avenue Bosquet, Paris, VII
  • 1902–1906 Palais Rose, 50, avenue du Bois, Paris, XVI
  • 1906 27 rue de Constantine, Paris, VII
  • 1906–1914 2 place du Palais-Bourbon, Paris, VII
  • 1914–1918 Hôtel Ritz, place Vendôme, Paris, I
  • 1918–1921 Hôtel particulier 71 rue de Lille, Paris, VII
  • 1921–1932 Avenue Victor-Emmanuel III, Paris

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "BONI DE CASSTELLANE DIES IN PARIS AT 64; Former Husband of Anna Gould Long Famous as "King of the Boulevardiers." CAME HERE AS WINE SELLER Ran Up $4,500,000 Debts After His Marriage to Heiress -- Wrote Several Volumes on America" (PDF). The New York Times. October 20, 1932. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b "COUNT CASTELLANE'S LINEAGE. His Ancestors Date from the Crusades and His Father Is Wealthy" (PDF). The New York Times. February 9, 1895. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ "TO ATTEND THE GOULD WEDDING Parents and Brother of Count de Castellane Arrive on La Champagne — Gifts for Miss Anna Gould" (PDF). The New York Times. February 25, 1895. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  4. ^ Radziwill (Fürstin), Marie Dorothea Elisabeth de Castellane; Robilant, Mario Antonio Nicolis di (1934). Lettres de la princesse Radziwill au général de Robilant, 1889-1914: 1908-1914 (in French). N. Zanichelli. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ "NOW A FRENCH COUNTESS Wedding of Miss Anna Gould to Count de Castellane. MARRIED BY ARCHBISHOP CORRIGAN A Civil Ceremony by Justice Andrews — The Gould Mansion Lavishly Decorated with Flowers. QUIET TRIP TO LYNDHURST. Gowns of the Bride and Her Maids — Rare Gifts from Friends — Feasts for Poor Children" (PDF). The New York Times. March 5, 1895. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  6. ^ "THE CASTELLANE-GOULD WEDDING Mayor Strong Says He Has Not Been Requested to Perform a Civil Ceremony — Gifts for the Bride" (PDF). The New York Times. February 28, 1895. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  7. ^ "CASTELLANE STILL SEEKS RECONCILIATION Continues to Believe That His Wife Will Yield in the End. BIG SCANDALS THREATENED If Witnesses Are Called, Some of the Highest Names in France Are Likely to be Besmirched" (PDF). The New York Times. November 2, 1906. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  8. ^ The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Newspaper Enterprise Association. 1908. p. 472. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  9. ^ Dodero, Alberto; Cros, Philippe (2007). 1889-1939: Argentina, los años dorados (in Spanish). El Ateneo. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  10. ^ Tribune, International Herald (8 July 2015). "1915: Vatican Will Not Free Comte". IHT Retrospective Blog. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  11. ^ "CASTELLANE DIVORCE SUIT. Countess Brings Action — Efforts at Reconciliation Fail" (PDF). The New York Times. February 6, 1906. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  12. ^ "CLEWS ON TAINTED MONEY. Sees Good in Great Fortunes — The Lesson of de Castellane Case" (PDF). The New York Times. December 9, 1906. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  13. ^ "COUNT BONI PLOTS FOR ENVOY'S RECALL Paris Thinks German Ambassador Will Soon Go as Result of Castellane Row. WIFE FAVORED MME. GOULD Also Advised Her to Favor Prince de Sagan's Suit, It Is Said — This Aroused Divorced Husband's Ire" (PDF). The New York Times. February 9, 1908. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Duchesse de Talleyrand Is Dead. Youngest Daughter of Jay Gould". The New York Times. November 30, 1961. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  15. ^ "Marriage annulled". Time. July 21, 1924. Retrieved 2008-08-04. The religious marriage of Boniface Marquis de Castellane, to Anna Gould (daughter of the late Jay Gould), in 1895; at the Vatican, by Pope Pius XI. She divorced Boniface in Paris in 1906, in 1908 married (in London) Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord, later the fifth Duc de Talleyrand.
  16. ^ "Castellane". TIME Magazine (Vol. V No. 15). April 13, 1925. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  17. ^ "THRONG AT FUNERAL OF DE CASTELLANE; Distinguished Gathering at Mass for Count Boni, Ex-Husband of Anna Gould" (PDF). The New York Times. October 25, 1932. Retrieved 11 February 2019.

Further readingEdit