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Princess Virginia von Fürstenberg (Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galdina Prinzessin zu Fürstenberg; born 18 April 1940), known professionally as Ira von Fürstenberg, is a European socialite, actress, jewelry designer and former public relations manager for the fashion designer Valentino Garavani. She is a member by birth of the princely family of Fürstenberg and a former member by marriage of the princely family of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Princess Ira von Fürstenberg
Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Ira von Fürstenberg - I Baroni cropped.png
Pictured in 1975 in the film I baroni
Born (1940-04-18) 18 April 1940 (age 79)
Rome, Italy
SpousePrince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (m. 1955–1960)
Francisco Pignatari (m. 1961–1964)
IssuePrince Christoph of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Prince Hubertus of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Full name
Virginia Carolina Theresa Pancrazia Galdina
HouseFürstenberg
FatherPrince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg
MotherClara Agnelli

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The daughter of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg and his first wife, Clara Agnelli,[1] she was born in Rome, Italy. Her paternal grandparents were Prince Karl Emil von Fürstenberg (1867–1945) and the Hungarian Countess Mária Matild Georgina Festetics de Tolna (24 May 1881– 2 March 1953), who was the daughter of Prince Tasziló Festetics de Tolna and Lady Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton. Her maternal great-grandmother was an American heiress, Jane Campbell (Princess di San Faustino, by marriage), and the elder of her two brothers was Prince Egon von Fürstenberg, a fashion designer.[1] She also has a younger brother, Prince Sebastian.[1]

Her former sister-in-law is the fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg, and an uncle was Gianni Agnelli, the chairman of FIAT.[1] She is a first cousin of Prince Karel Schwarzenberg, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. She speaks several languages, including Italian, French, German, Spanish and English.

She was reportedly an occasional companion and potential consort of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco after the death of his wife, the former Grace Kelly, but premature speculation in the press by her son about the marriage apparently dissuaded the prince from making a proposal.[citation needed] Like the late ruler of Monaco, who was her second cousin, she is a great-grandchild of the Scottish aristocrat Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, the first wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco. However, Princess Ira is descended from Lady Mary's second marriage with Tassilo Festetics von Tolna, a Hungarian count and later prince. Tassilo's sister, Countess Georgine Ernestine Festetics von Tolna, was the great-grandmother of the current ruler of Liechtenstein, making Princess Ira a third cousin of Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein.

The princess is patron of a number of charities, including the Children of Africa Foundation set up by Dominique Ouattara.

First marriageEdit

 
Ira von Fürstenberg with her brothers in 1955

Her first husband, whom she married at Venice, Italy, on 17 September 1955, was Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1924–2003), who founded the Marbella Club, a Spanish resort. At the time of the wedding, the bride was 15 and the groom was 31. They were divorced in 1960, and the marriage was annulled in 1969.

They had two children:

  • Christoph Victorio Egon Humberto (known as "Kiko";[2] 8 November 1956 – 5 August 2006), who died of massive organ failure a few days after being imprisoned in Klongprem Central Prison in Bangkok on charges of suspicion of illegally altering a visa. His health had been weakened from a weight-loss regimen at a Thai wellness center.[3][4]
  • Hubertus Rudolph (known as "Hubi";[5] born 2 February 1959), a musician and photographer who was on Mexico's Olympic skiing team in 1984, 1988, 1992, 1994, 2010 and 2014.[6] Married to Simona Gandolfi on 17 June 2019 in Vaduz.[7][8]

Second marriageEdit

Her second husband was Francisco "Baby" Pignatari (1916–1977), a Brazilian industrialist. They married in Reno, Nevada, on 12 January 1961. They divorced in Las Vegas in January 1964 and had no children.

Film careerEdit

Known for her plush silhouette, sloe eyes, and gift for light comedy, Ira von Fürstenberg (she and her brother Egon changed the zu to von for use in their public lives, although the former predicate historically implied a noble family's retention of ancestral estates, whereas von only suggests family origin) was a sumptuous star of European-made B-movies in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Her film appearances included the spy spoof Matchless (1968, co-starring Patrick O'Neal), I Killed Rasputin (1967), Dead Run (1967, co-starring Peter Lawford), My Bed Is Not for Sleeping (1968), The Vatican Affair (1968), The Battle of El Alamein (1969), Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970), No desearás al vecino del quinto (1970) and The Fifth Cord (1971).

Notable published worksEdit

  • Young at Any Age: Thirty Three of the World's Most Elegant Women Reveal How They Stay Beautiful (1981) ISBN 9780297779216
  • Tartanware: Souvenirs from Scotland (1996) ISBN 9781857935141
  • Princesse et Rebelle (2002) ISBN 9782741301271

Titles and stylesEdit

  • 18 April 1940 – 17 September 1955: Her Serene Highness Princess Virginia of Fürstenberg
  • 17 September 1955 – 1960: Her Serene Highness Princess Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
  • 1960 – 17 September 1961: Her Serene Highness Princess Virginia of Fürstenberg
  • 17 September 1961 – January 1964: Her Serene Highness Princess Virginia, Mrs. Pignatari
  • January 1964 – present: Her Serene Highness Princess Virginia of Fürstenberg

AncestryEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit