The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Categories: Celebrities | History

The XIX century can rightly be called the golden age of courtesans, impostors and adventurers. No era has given the world so many mysterious personalities with dubious biographies and no less suspicious intentions. Without exaggeration, Lola Montes can be called one of the brightest and most successful representatives of this rebellious brotherhood.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

The real name of the woman who went down in history as Lola Montez is Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert. She was born in 1821 in Ireland, in the most ordinary family of a soldier and a housewife. When the girl was only two years old, she moved with her parents to India, to her father's new place of service.

The climate of a foreign country did not suit Liz's father and soon he died of a fever. Her mother remarried, but her daughter, so that she would not interfere with her personal life, sent her to England, paying for a place in a boarding school. Until the age of 16, Gilbert led a dignified life as a young British lady, but then she seemed to be replaced.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Barely reaching the legal age, Elizabeth marries an officer and together with him goes to India, to Calcutta, where she has already visited in early childhood. While her husband faithfully served the queen in one of her most troubled colonies, the young beauty spent time with local dancers, learning from them the wisdom of ancient skill.

A couple of years later, without her husband, Elizabeth finds herself in Seville, Spain, where she again masters the art of dance. The girl changes several schools and mentors until she finds herself as a student of an elderly gypsy Dolores, a recognized flamenco master. Gilbert does not part with this woman until her death.

After seeing off an old gypsy woman on her last journey, a young dancer takes the pseudonym Lola Montes, and appears in London in the role of a hot southern beauty. In 1843, on the stages of the capital's theaters and concert halls, the girl had an incredible success.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Posing as a Spaniard and masterfully performing passionate southern dances, Lola Montes conquered the hearts of men and generated the hatred of women. During the dance, Lola inadvertently exposed her hip or shoulder, which was especially appreciated by the representatives of the stronger sex.

Several times the beauty was on the verge of exposure. There were a lot of Spaniards in London and they immediately identified the impostor by her strong accent and specific mistakes in dance steps. But the success of Montes was so great that the voices of detractors were silenced by the roar of an enthusiastic audience and the thunder of applause.

The artist was cramped in the Foggy Albion and she began touring Europe. She especially liked Paris, where the audience was especially grateful. Among the fans of Lola Montes were such famous men as Balzac, Dumas and Dujarrier. For the latter, a successful journalist and a rich heir, Lola's infatuation became fatal — he was killed in a duel when he defended the honor of a dancer.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

During a tour in Dresden, Montes turned the head of the composer Liszt. The relationship, during which the couple broke up and then came together again, lasted for almost two years. As a result, a stormy and stupid affair with a touring artist began to weigh on the musical genius and he insisted on breaking off the relationship.

During performances in Berlin, Montes learned that Emperor Nicholas I had arrived in the city. In the head of the adventurer, a grandiose plan to seduce the Russian tsar has matured. It failed to materialize — shortly before the scheduled meeting with Romanov, Montes beat a policeman with a whip, for which she was expelled from Berlin.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Later, the scandalous "Spaniard" was expelled from Warsaw for dancing too passionately, and then expelled from St. Petersburg for a frivolous prank — during the dance, Lola took off her garter and threw it into the hall, outraging the Orthodox defenders of morality.

But the most high-profile adventure that influenced not only Lola's life, but also the fate of the whole country, was an affair with King Ludwig I of Bavaria. While on tour in Munich, Montes decided to meet the monarch at any cost and get his heart and wallet.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

They say that the dancer was not particularly expected at the residence of the king and Ludwig I intervened in the fate of the guest when the valets dragged her in a torn dress across the floor to the street. The young scandalous brunette interested the king and the meeting still took place.

The audience with the august person exceeded all Lola's expectations — the 60-year-old king was very nice and wanted to continue the acquaintance in an informal setting. The girl was not averse to getting such a boyfriend, and it all ended with Ludwig I making her his favorite and settling her in a luxurious mansion in the center of Munich.

The king was not only romantic, but also very generous — he literally showered Lola with jewels and other expensive gifts and favors. The girl became a prima ballerina of the Royal Theater, although she had no idea about classical ballet. But the most luxurious gifts were a large old estate and the title of Countess of Landsfeld, which turned her from a simple Irish girl and an impostor into a German aristocrat. The last step remained - to become a queen and Lola confidently walked towards it.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Unfortunately, along with the title, the old king could not give his young mistress a noble gloss and manners. Lola Montes appeared in high society in a man's riding suit, with a whip behind her boot and with the invariable cigarette in a long mouthpiece.

Lola behaved accordingly, not recognizing conventions and ornate appeals. The behavior of the royal favorite was so unpleasant to the local aristocracy that his ministers set a condition - either Montes is expelled from the kingdom or they resign with the whole cabinet.

Ludwig was not afraid of this blackmail and, choosing between ministers and a beauty, preferred Lola. It got to the point that the public began to demand the expulsion of the courtesan. One day, students gathered under the windows of the Munich Montes house and began shouting threats and insults.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Lola treated this as a new entertainment — she went out on the balcony half-naked and with a glass of champagne to toast her abusers. In response, stones flew into the windows of the mansion, and the police had to be involved in the dispersal of the youth.

After learning about the student action, the king issued a decree closing the university for a whole semester. But, despite the patronage of the king, the confrontation between Lola and the Bavarians could not last long. In 1848, the disturbances became so serious that Lola had to flee the country to save her life.

Following his favorite, the hapless Louis I also fled, who had to abdicate to calm his people. The former monarch soon returned home to mourn his stupidity born of love, and Lola went on to shine and seduce.

The girl was seen in Paris, London and Geneva, where she again danced and conquered men. Living in a big way, Lola could not always provide for herself and when money problems arose, she wrote to Ludwig in Munich without a twinge of conscience. The king, whose heart was broken by the beauty, sent her money, fearing the publication of intimate correspondence between him and the former favorite.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

But the former king could not solve all the problems of an adventurer greedy for money and fame — she needed someone who would pay for her most absurd whims and extol her to heaven. In 1849, the adventurer published memoirs that brought her neither financial independence nor literary fame. Then Lola takes a responsible step — she marries a wealthy businessman by calculation.

But luck turned away from her — information pops up that her first marriage to a British officer was not terminated. Lola Montes is arrested for bigamy and sent to jail. Using the connections and money of the unfortunate Ludwig, the woman gets out of prison on bail and tries to start life with a clean slate.

Like many of her dishonest contemporaries, Montes goes in search of happiness to a place where she is not known - overseas. There she unsuccessfully tries to earn money by dancing, but no longer enjoys the same success as in her younger years. Lola remarries and moves with her husband to distant Australia.

On the Green Continent, at that time two-thirds populated by convicts and gold diggers, Montes finds a grateful audience. She performs in the mines in front of prospectors, and her impresario is on duty at the improvised stage with a loaded revolver in his hand during the performance.

The story of the adventurer Lola Montez, who almost became a queen, but lost everything

Realizing that her time is in the past, Lola returns to Europe, and then goes back to the USA. Having settled in New York, a woman turns to To God and turns into a decent Christian and a volunteer. Montez helps during church services and cooks for the homeless, believing that this atones for the sins of his youth.

As a result, the past overtakes a courtesan and an adventurer who has become on the right path - Lola Montes, nee Elizabeth Rosanna Gilbert, died at the age of 42 from neglected syphilis.

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