My grandpa worked for Princess Gloria’s family.
That’s right, her.
Gloria, Princess of Thurn and Taxis, lived a jet set lifestyle. She rode a Harley, staged lavish parties, and was called “Princes T-N-T” and “punk princess.” She’s one of the most famous members of German nobility today.
Frantisek Petras and his wife Anna Teply Petras lived in house 61, an isolated house at the edge of the forest in Březiny. They were the parents of Anton Petras, and grandparents of Josepha Petras.
In 1986 Gloria spent $20 million on a three-day 60th birthday party for her husband Johannes, crowned by a costume ball held at their St. Emmeram palace, where Gloria appeared as Marie-Antoinette. 500 guests had been flown in on private jets to enjoy the party, including Mick Jagger.
Frantisek was born in 1760, Anna in 1768. They married February 8, 1791 at Borová. They lived with Frantisek’s parents at Březiny 61.
Today, there’s still a large forest on the north side of Březiny. And house no. 61 is still quite isolated.
The House of Thurn and Taxis controlled the postal services in Europe from the 16th century until the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. They became known as the owner of breweries and castles and estates. The family is one of the wealthiest in Germany and has resided at St. Emmeram Castle in Regensburg since 1748.
Here is the Petras house no. 61 on the 1839 map. It was isolated, tucked into the edge of the forest, and away from roads and the rest of the village.
The map notes that the forest is owned by Thurn und Taxis, of the Rychmburk domain.
The domain was administered from Castle Rychmburk, located in the village of Předhradí.
The castle dates from the turn of the 14th century. The Thurn und Taxis family was one of the last owners.
The Bohemian branch of the family was founded by Prince Maximilian Joseph von Thurn und Taxis.
One of the estates they owned was the Rychmburk domain.
Among its vast holdings, the domain owned the village of Březiny and half of Pustá Rybná.
Březiny is about 10 km south of Castle Rychmburk.
Frantisek and Anna Petras, like most of the inhabitants of the domain, were serfs of the Thurn und Taxis family.
Frantisek was a gamekeeper for the estate.
It was a conflicted occupation.
It was the gamekeeper who found and reported poachers, or found illicit game in the house of his neighbors. So he might not be popular with the village residents.
Frantisek Petras, 73, died July 10, 1840 at 2 am at Březiny 61. He died of consumption, that is lung tuberculosis. He was buried on the 12th at the protestant cemetery at Teleci.
Anna Teply Petras, 82, died September 17, 1851, at 7 am at Březiny 61. She died of old age. She was buried the 19th at Pustá Rybná.
Nibbles Extra Credit
REGENSBURG, GERMANY, OCT. 13, 1993 — Even before the hammer fell on the first lot — a homely 19th-century sofa that drew three times the anticipated price — there was little doubt that this week’s auction of the Princely Collection of von Thurn und Taxis would be more than just a rummage sale.
Partly it was the setting: the 500-room Castle St. Emmeram — larger than Buckingham Palace — overlooking the Danube in northern Bavaria.
Partly it was the booty: 400 tables; 170 clocks; 940 couches, chairs, stools and benches; 75 mirrors; 350 writing desks, chests and cupboards; 2,000 European ceramic pieces; 75,000 bottles of wine, and countless other accouterments of nobility, ranging from suits of armor to servants’ livery.
Partly it was the spectacle: Sotheby’s, which touted the sale as the largest such event in the firm’s 244-year history, printed 30,000 six-volume catalogues and on Tuesday squeezed 1,000 bidders, journalists and gawkers into the castle’s neoclassical carriage house for the first of 23 auction sessions to be spread over nine days.Washington Post – October 13, 1993
- The English Gamekeeper – 1855 – Richard Ansdell
- Map – Breziny forest – Mapy.cz
- Map – Rychmburk castle and Frantisek Petras house – Google maps
- Map – House 61 and Forest – Czech – Stable Cadastre Map – Indicative Sketch – 502018390 – 1839
- Photographs – Mark Jarvis – October 2019