The disappearance of Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg

anne lowenstein
by Bassano Ltd whole-plate glass negative, circa 1913 NPG x80285 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg was born Lady Anne Savile on 25 May 1864 as the daughter of John Savile, 4th Earl of Mexborough and Agnes Louisa Elizabeth Raphael.

On 15 May 1897, at the age of 33, Anne married Prince Ludwig of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, the eighth child and sixth son of Wilhelm, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg and his first wife, Countess Olga Clara of Schönburg-Glauchau. However, he disappeared just one year later in the Philippines in the Spanish-American War and was killed. Anne never remarried and remained known as Princess Anne of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg.

Anne had a lifelong passion for aviation and began flying as a passenger in 1914. She also joined Captain Leslie Hamilton, “Flying Gypsy”, as a passenger in the 1923 King’s Cup Race, though she would often use her maiden name when flying. In 1925, Anne and Captain Hamilton tried to fly from London to Paris but their aircraft went missing after passing Folkestone. It was eventually found near Pontoise, a suburb of Paris, where they had been forced to land due to engine trouble.

In 1927, Anna financed Captain Hamilton’s attempt to become the first aviator to fly over the Atlantic Ocean from England to Canada. She wanted to join him during his attempt as she wanted to become the first woman to “fly the sea.” On 31 August 1927 at 7.32 a.m., Captain Hamilton, Colonel Frederick F. Minchin and Princess Anne took off from Upavon in Wiltshire in a Fokker known as the Saint Raphael. Anne was dressed in royal purple and the Archbishop of Cardiff blessed the Fokker. A newspaper reported, “Clad in royal purple, built along modish lines, the princess expects to show the western world what she thinks women should wear when they hop over the ocean in aeroplanes. The first woman to set out for an air jaunt over the broad spaces of the Atlantic dressed the part. She sailed away wearing leather knee-breeches of purple with a jacket to match, a black crush hat, black silk stocking, and high-heeled, fur-lined boots. The 62-year-old princess is no stranger to the air and aircraft. She has been flying for 13 years, getting her first overhead thrill from an air journey in 1914. She and Captain Hamilton are old friends and they have challenged the hazards of the air together before.”1

The Fokker first headed west from the coast of Ireland and it was last spotted by the crew of the SS Josiah Macy. The aircraft was never seen again. Several searches failed to find any sign of the aircraft and five days after the crash her brothers announced they believed that Anne and the crew had died.2 Anne now had another record to her name, she became the second woman to disappear while attempting a transoceanic flight – the first being Mildred Doran who disappeared on 16 August 1927 during a flight from California to Hawaii.

On 6 February 1928, Anne was declared dead by court order, and there has been no trace of her or the aircraft.

  1. Ottawa Citizen – Aug 30, 1927
  2. The Pittsburgh Press – Sep 5, 1927

About Moniek Bloks 2592 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.


  1. I’m grateful to the author for dedicating her time to documenting the history of these royal ladies. Whilst there are numerous records of the high ranking noble women, it is often difficult to find facts reguarding those whose positions fall lower on the royal family tree. From an admirer of all things historic, I thank you.

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