Minnie de Beauvau Craon, a life at the service of great heritage

The princess died after battling illness. Owner of the Château de Haroué, in Lorraine, she fought all her life to bring it to life and open it to the public.

Princess Minnie de Beauvau-Craon ped away on May 12 from the damn disease she had been battling for years. A few days earlier, she was still posting comments on social networks: the Princess of Lorraine, a solar and whole character, 70 years old, will have been in life until the end.

Marie Isabelle, known as Minnie, daughter of the last Prince of Beauvau-Craon and Maria Cristina Patiño y de Borbón, saw her life take a turn in 1982, on the death of her beloved father, Marc. She was then 29 years old, and lived in London, far from the land of her ancestors. While her sister Diane lives a hectic New York life, she will take over the reins of the family castle of Haroué, As much out of love for my father as out of duty », she said. This will be the fight of a lifetime.

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Located 30 kilometers from Nancy, the 18th century castlee and its illustrious owners, a long line of princes, have made the history of Lorraine. Built by the architect Germain Boffrand, to whom we also owe the Château de Lunéville, not far from Haroué, it stands at the heart of a 16-hectare estate, including a French-style garden. Remaining in the hands of the same family, it retains exceptional collections in its 82 rooms – most of which can be visited between May and November.

Minnie’s relationship with this palace with 365 windows, 52 chimneys, 12 turrets and 4 bridges will be complete. Known as the white wolf, living half in one of the wings of the castle, half in Paris, the princess will carry the castle at arm’s length. She organizes festivals, hosts open-air operas seven times, multiplies exhibitions thanks to her friend Hubert de Givenchy, and welcomed until recently, with his daughter Victoria, visitors. ” What keeps a chateau alive is the enthusiasm of the public. And the attachment of the French to their heritage will be our survival. We have, in France, an art of living envied all over the world, it absolutely must be preserved because it is part of our history. », she confided to FigaroLast year.

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Princess of Lorraine against rue de Valois

But Haroué is located in a land with few tourists, and he had to fight like a tiger to attract tourists. The money flew, of course. Formerly, these immense residences lived of their grounds, today, they are as much a glory as a load. Minnie will also be forced to part with a part of the “family jewels”, from 2005. The sales will help to get over the course, but will destabilize the castle. They will also create tension between the family and the Ministry of Culturethis last taking a dim view of the dispersal of historic ets. For years, the names of birds will fly between Rue de Valois and Haroué, the princess not being the last at this game.

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A year ago, the National Monuments Center had taken over the day-to-day management of the monument, starting an unprecedented partnership between the State and a large private residence. The feeling of private ownership must evolve, we must open up, that the owners change their mentalities », she told us when the agreement was signed. By burying the hatchet with the princess, the partnership with the CMN has allowed this landmark monument to continue its momentum.

In 2022, his daughter Victoria Botana de Bauveau Craon published a beautiful book on Haroué, magnified by photos by Miguel Flores Vianna (Rizzoli Flammarion Editions). The princess had let herself be convinced to appear there, posing with her two children, Victoria and Sebastian, in these walls that she will have carried to the end. Revealing the large rooms of the castle, but also its corners, its splendid decorations like the intimacy of the cupboards, the work summarizes well what was its spirit: a mixture of great history and simplicity. She was all at the same time, a sacred character, an immense heart, Haroué’s pion, respect for the lineage, the pride of her children and the taste for life. », says her friend today Alain Missoffe. His M of To God will be celebrated in the church of Haroué on May 19.

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