A German prince who moved to the UK after marrying an English woman has been killed after falling from a horse during a race at a £2.5million country house.
Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, 41, was thrown from the horse while riding with his friend Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten.
The prince was visiting the French professor, diplomat and former adviser to the Chinese government – where he was dubbed at the Red Baron – at his home in Apethorpe Palace, Northamptonshire.
Police and ambulance crews were called to the scene after receiving a 999 call at around at 8.30pm on Saturday, to a man suffering life threatening injuries. He was later pronounced dead.
Prince Georg-Constantin of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, pictured on his wedding day, died after he was thrown from a horse during a race on Saturday
A friend of both, Alexander Fiske-Harrison, revealed the prince died in the grounds of the palace, which where he proposed to his English wife, Princess Olivia.
He said ‘From what I have been told from friends is that Con (Prince Georg-Constantin) was visiting Jean Christophe and they went out for a hack (horse ride)
‘Con was a brilliant jockey, he raced at Cheltenham and wherever he went he rode.
‘On Saturday he and Jean Christophe went for a ride. He was wearing a helmet and was riding in the grounds.
The prince met his wife Olivia Rachelle Page (pictured) at the Last Night of the Proms in London’s Hyde Park in July 2011
The couple were married in a registry office in 2015 in civil ceremony in Wiemar which was attended by Prince Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
‘It was soft and flat and, from what I understand, was with Jean Christophe when he fell.
‘I don’t know the exact details of what happened. I understand his wife was not there at the time.’
Prince Georg-Constantin was successor to the House of Wettin and his family is linked to many of Europe’s Royal houses.
He was the youngest child of Prince Wilhelm Ernst Emich Georg Rudolf of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach and his former wife, Eva Kovarcz.
The Prince’s uncle Michael is in the succession line to the British throne as he is the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of King George’s II’s daughter Princess Augusta.
A tribute was posted by the Prince’s friend and fellow conservationist Alexander Fiske-Harrison on Facebook
According to German media, Prince Georg-Constantin would also have been next in line as successor to the throne in Germany if the Kingdom of Saxony had still existed.
He founded renewable energy firm Sustainability Factory Ltd and met his wife Olivia Rachelle Page at the Last Night of the Proms in London’s Hyde Park in July 2011.
The couple were married in a registry office in 2015 in civil ceremony in Wiemar which was attended by Prince Michael of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
After their wedding they are believed to have moved to London where Princess Olivia, 38, was originally from.
The incident happened in the grounds of Apethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire
She was a director at her husband’s firm until April and currently works as an office manager.
Mr Fiske Harrison said he knew the prince ‘very well.’
‘We were good friends. His wife and my ex-fiancee were best friends and neighbours in London. They would go off leaving us to go to the pubs in Chelsea.
A PROFESSOR, DIPLOMAT AND BARON: JEAN CHRISTOPHE ISEUX
Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten, 42, is a French professor, diplomat and former senior adviser to the Chinese government.
He served in the Chinese parliament from 2001 to 2005 and was referred to by the Chinese press as the ‘Red Baron’.
He was the first European ever to hold senior public office in the People’s Republic of China.
In 2013, he held a series of meetings on Iran’s nuclear program at his home in Burgundy, France, which were attended by senior officials from Iran, Israel, China, the U.S., France and the UK.
Baron von Pfetten, who is married, is a keen hunter and was elected President of the International Foxhound Association in 2012.
He is a joint master of the New Forest Foxhounds in Hampshire, UK, and the Equipage de Vens et Venaille in Burgundy, France.
He is currently master of his own hunt – Equipage de Selore – a private family pack of foxhounds and buckhounds based in the Chateau de Selore in St. Yan, Saône-et-Loire, France.
‘He was a genuinely lovely bloke. Despite being a prince he rarely spoke about it.
‘A friend once joked that technically he out-ranked the Queen because his family is older than the UK Royal family.
‘He wasn’t invited to any royal weddings or anything like that. He was very interested in conservation and was involved with the reintroduction of wolves to Scotland.’
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: ‘Police were called to reports of a sudden death in East Northamptonshire at about 9.25pm on Saturday, June 9.
‘Sadly a man in his 40s is believed to have died following a riding accident. His death is not believed to be suspicious and a report is being prepared for the coroner.’
A spokesman for East Midlands Ambulance Service, which attended the incident, said: ‘We received a call at 8.30pm on June 9 to East Northamptonshire.
‘The caller reported that someone had fallen from a horse and sustained life-threatening injuries. We sent two ambulances to the scene.’
A worker at the London office of superyacht builders Edmiston, where Princess Olivia works, said today: ‘It is incredibly sad and has happened very recently. We expect her (Princess Olivia) to be off for some time.’
A tribute posted by the Prince’s friend and fellow conservationist Alexander Fiske-Harrison on Facebook said: ‘Rest in peace my poor friend Prince Constantin von Saxe-Weimar.’
His tribute recalls dining with the prince in the hall of Apethorpe Palace and went on to say: ‘I remember you riding in that race at Cheltenham and polo in Berkshire and your stories of riding to your hounds in France.
‘That such a fine horseman should go out that way. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Goodbye my friend.’
‘ONE OF BRITAIN’S FINEST COUNTRY HOUSES’: HOW APETHORPE HALL WENT FROM ROYAL HAUNT TO FAMILY HOME
Apethorpe Hall was built in the late 15th century and is a grade I listed building situated near Oundle in Northamptonshire.
It was built by Sir Guy Wolston, who then sold it to Sir Walter Mildmay and it stayed in his family for 350 years.
It contains one of the country’s most complete Jacobean interiors and hosted 13 royal visits between 1565 and 1636.
It has a particularly important place in England’s history because of the role it played in entertaining Tudor and Stuart royalty at the pinnacle of its influence around the turn of the 17th century.
It also once played host to Queen Elizabeth I, King James I and King Charles I.
The country house’s state rooms are arguably the most complete in the country and provide a fascinating window on a rich period of English history.
From the windows on the east side of the hall, it is said that Mildmay watched the arrival of Elizabeth I.
Apethorpe was one of the Queen’s favourite overnight stops on the Great North Road.
It was also a favourite haunt of monarchs James and Charles I who enjoyed magnificent feasts of venison and wine.
James I himself is believed to have enjoyed homosexual trysts when he visited the home 10 times between 1614 and 1624.
The architectural importance of Apethorpe lies in the breadth of architectural elements which survive today from almost every period of English architecture since the late 15th century.
Once described as Britain’s most neglected grade I country house, the hall’s more recent owners include the Catholic Church – which used it as a school – and millionaire Libyan Wanis Mohammed Burweila.
After the shooting of WPc Yvonne Fletcher during the Libyan Embassy siege in 1984, Mr Burweila was among the many Libyans who fled the UK.
He had been negotiating to sell the property to a consortium led by Harold Winton, the honorary life president of Queen’s Park Rangers football club, which reportedly bought the property for £1.35million.
But two days later, on account of its dilapidation, the Department of Culture Media and Sport served the compulsory purchase order and took it off their hands.
After years of wrangling and a lands tribunal, the Government was eventually forced to pay £3.5 million for the house.
It was handed over to English Heritage, with additional grant-in-aid to carry out a major programme of repairs with the utmost care and expertise.
Since English Heritage took over, repairs costing £8million have been carried out and the building now stands in a secure state for the new owner to carry on the restoration work.
The house has been used for filming scenes of various television historical dramas as well as the 1984 film Another Country, starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth.
Restoration and attempts to sell the property were also the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary first shown on BBC Two in April 2009.