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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


Hague, where he lived many years and represented the Russian Government. It was a period when society in the capitals of Europe had reached an unprecedented pitch of splendor and extravagance, and the Princess Amalia was plunged into a life of excitement in one of the most brilliant courts. She is described as beautiful, gracious and eager for knowledge, intellectual in her tastes, of a most enthusiastic temperament and a strong character. Though in her heart she longed for a higher life her buoyant spirit led her into the gay world, where she was so much admired that she was called “The Star of Holland.”
    But the brilliant and beautiful princess soon grew weary of an empty round of pleasure, and her long concealed desire to abandon it and to devote herself to her own education and that of her two children was so strengthened and encouraged by Diderot, that she finally obtained her husband's consent to her withdrawal to a simple but charmingly situated residence between The Hague and Scheveningen, which she named “Nithuys,” (not at home) where for some years she led an almost ideal life. The children were trained in accordance with plans which for that day were unusually scientific, and though severe, were calculated to develop in them firmness, decision and healthy constitutions. Her own studies were incessant and carried her into the regions of the most advanced philosophies of the age. In her retirement she was sought by her husband's distinguished friends, and around her was a little circle which represented all that was best and brightest in Holland.
    But the lonely tranquil years at Nithuys came to an end when, after mature consideration and the consent of the prince, she removed to Muenster, at that time at the height of its fame as a University town, in order to give her son every educational advantage the world could offer. In the quaint old city many happy years were passed and agreeable as well as more sincere friendships were formed.
    The story of the influences which worked a great change in the princess' character and led her into the Roman Catholic Church is of peculiar interest, but must only be touched

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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