On October 2018 renovations were being carried out in the Vatican close to the Villa Borghese. Builders were restoring a floor in the janitor's lodge and unexpectedly a human skeleton was found. Immediately suspicions were raised, questioning if this was the remains of Italian teenagers which disappeared several decades ago. Eventually the search lead to the tombs of two German princesses.
JULY 2019 VATICAN CITY -- In an effort to discover the remains of two girls, Emanuela Orlandi, who disappeared on June 22, 1983, and Mirella Gregori another teenager who disappeared in May 1983 the tomb of two princesses were opened.
The graves did not end the mystery of the missing girls, but instead posed a new one since they were completely empty. The remains of the 19th-century princesses were not there either. What happened to them? The coffins were missing as well. They were buried side-by-side in 1836 and 1840 in Teutonic Holy Field near St. Peter's Basilica.
The search led the Orlandi family to this spot after the family lawyer Laura Sgro received an anonymous letter suggesting that a search be made of the tomb with a stone angel holding a scroll inscribed with "rest in peace" in Latin.
Princess Sophie von Hohenlohe's underground tomb which measure 13 feet x 12 feet was "completely empty". The same result was found when the lid of an adjacent sarcophagus belonging to Princess Charlotte Federica di Mecklenburg was removed.
A spokesman for the Holy See is researching its documentation issued during two structural projects involving the cemetery area. One dated to the late 1800s, and the other between the 1960s to the 1970s. The hope is to find information as to where the princesses were moved to. Their families were advised the tombs were empty.
During the search two ossuaries were uncovered beneath the floor inside the Teutonic College. The chambers were full of "thousands of bones" that are believed to belong to "dozens" of persons.
The Vatican announced they planned to conduct a DNA analysis of the bones. If any of them yield recent remains in comparison to the others, then it will call into question what use was made of the ossuary in later years.
Princess Sophie of Hohenlohe, was born on December 13, 1758., and died at Rome on January 13, 1836. She was the eldest of Ludwig Leopold, Prince of Hohenlohe-Bartenstein and Countess Polyxenia of Limburg-Stirum's seven children. She never married.
Duchess Charlotte Friederike of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was born December 4, 1784. She was the seventh surviving child of Duke Friedrich Franz I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Luise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg Friedrich.
On June 21, 1806 she married her first cousin Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark (1786-1848). Their first child, a son, born on April 8, 1807, lived only a few hours. On October 8, 1808, she gave birth to a second son, Frederik Carl Christian.
The marriage quickly soured and rumors circulated that Charlotte was involved in an affair with a singing teacher Edouard Du Puy. Disgraced, her husband divorced her in 1810, and she never saw her son again.
Despite being ousted from court she kept a lively social life as she moved to various locations in Europe. She entered into several affairs with Danish officers. In 1830 she moved to Rome
Aged 55, she died on July 13, 1840 and was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery, which was the final resting place for persons of Germanic origin.
The year before in 1839, Christian succeeded to the Danish throne and he was succeeded by his son Frederik VII upon his death in 1848. He did not produce any heirs and the throne passed to a kinsman Prince Christian which belonged to the Oldenburg dynasty.
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