Allene Tew was born in Wisconsin on 7 July 1872 as the daughter of banker Charles Henry Tew and Janet Smith. Allene was famously married five times and owes her claim to royalty by her fourth marriage to Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz.
Her first marriage was to Theodore R. Hostetter with whom she had three children. When they married, she was already pregnant with their first child. One child died in infancy, her other two children lived to adulthood, though she did outlive all of them. She was widowed in 1902. Her second husband was Morton Colton Nichols but they were divorced just one year later. Her third husband was Anson Wood Burchard, whom she married in 1912. She was once more widowed in 1927 and remarried to Prince Heinrich XXXIII Reuss of Köstritz in 1929. This marriage too ended in 1935. Her fifth and final husband was Captain Count Pavel Kotzbue, whom she married in 1936.
Besides her claim to royalty, she is perhaps best known for her role in the introduction of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld to the then Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. She was a friend of Bernhard’s mother, Princess Armgard. She later became the godmother of Juliana and Bernhard’s eldest daughter Princess Beatrix.
The American Princess truly reads like a rags to riches story and flows like a novel. Allene faces losing all her children and builds up her fortune with her subsequent marriages. There is lots of factual information, which makes me happy. I’d really recommend reading this book about this unknown Princess and her amazing life.