Elise Friederike Hensler

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Elise Friederike Hensler, Countess von Edla

Elise Friederike Hensler (born May 22, 1836 in La Chaux-de-Fonds or Vienna ; † May 21, 1929 in Lisbon ) was an opera singer ( soprano ) who, as the wife of King Ferdinand II of Portugal, became the " Countess of Edla " in 1869 was raised.


Elisa Friederike Hensler was the daughter of the pianist Conrad Hensler, who took his daughter to America to perfect her musical education . In 1856 she made her debut as an opera singer in the opera Linda di Chamounix and soon after became a celebrated soprano in American opera. Elise has made guest appearances in Europe, including Italy, Berlin and Lisbon.

In 1860 she became mistress of King Ferdinand II (1816–1885), who was given the choice in 1869 of abandoning his lover or of accepting the Spanish crown as the successor of Isabella II . He decided in favor of Elise, whom he married on June 10, 1869 in the Palacio de Visme in Lisbon and was made " Countess of Edla " by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , a German relative of Ferdinand . Ferdinand owed his fame in America almost exclusively to his popular wife. Elise had met with rejection in the Portuguese royal family. Queen Maria Pia once demonstratively broke a glass when Ferdinand wanted to bring a toast to his wife. At the couple's first public appearance, the guests refused to shake hands with Elise.

The couple lived in the Palácio Nacional da Pena , where both an artistic circle gathered around them and made Sintra an alternative cultural courtyard. Elisa and her husband are considered patrons and patrons of the painter Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro and the composer José Vianna da Motta . Elise continued to live in the palace as a widow, as Ferdinand had designated his wife as sole heir in his will. However, under pressure from the press she had to sell most of the inheritance to the Portuguese state .

She died, meanwhile completely impoverished, on May 21, 1929 in Lisbon.


  • Julia Dent Grant, John Y. Simon: The personal memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant) , SIU Press, 1988, p. 276 ( digitized )

Web links

Commons : Elise Hensler  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Dama De Sintra , originally published in La Pen on June 12, 1997
  2. ^ [1] Gothaisches genealogical pocket book of the count's houses, 1922
  3. Fedor von Zobeltitz : Chronicle of the Society under the Last Empire , 1922. ( Online )
  4. ^ Eugene Tompkins: The history of the Boston Theater, 1854-1901 , Houghton Mifflin Company, 1908, p. 42
  5. Fedor von Zobeltitz: Chronicle of the Society under the Last Empire, Volume 1 , Alster-Verlag, 1922, p. 296
  6. ^ Marguerite Cunliffe-Owen: Within royal palaces , Union Publishing Co., 1892, p. 315
  7. ^ John D. Bowman: Guide to Selections from the Montgomery County Sentinel, Maryland, January 1, 1897-December 31, 1901 , Heritage Books, 2007, p. 175