Princess Ira von Fürstenberg was born on 18 April 1940 as the daughter of Prince Tassilo zu Fürstenberg and his first wife, Clara Agnelli.
At the tender age of 15, she was swept off her feet by the 31-year-old Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and they married in 1955. After having two sons, the marriage quickly disintegrated and they divorced in 1960. Ira remarried the following year to Francisco “Baby” Pignatari but this marriage too ended in divorce four years later.
Ira embarked on a film career, she became a prominent socialite and a close friend of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, also her second cousin, to the point where it was rumoured that they would marry.
Ira: The Life and Times of a Princess by Nicholas Foulkes is a large hardcover book which comes with its own case. The cover is a beautiful back and white photo and simply reads: “Ira.” Although filled with beautiful photographs, the text is sometimes hard to read on the glossy pages. You can tell that the photographs are meant to be the focus of this book. I was surprised to find that the introduction began with an airplane crash in which Ira’s first husband was involved – seems like a strange introduction to a book about someone else entirely.
However, overall the book is well-written and I really enjoyed all the personal stories and quotes. It’s a great addition to any royal bookshelf. Ira: The Life and Times of a Princess by Nicholas Foulkes is available now in both the UK and the US.