Friday, May 6, 2022

The Princess Who Married A Parson: Princess Donata Reuß, Mrs. Peter Coleman (1932-2022)

Princess Donata Reuss and Bishop Peter Coleman after their engagement.
Photo (c) ANL/Shutterstock. 

On 24 April 2022, Donata Coleman died at the age of eighty-nine years-old. She was survived by her four children and six grandchildren.

Donata's parents: Prince Heinrich XXXIX and Countess Antonia.

Born on 8 June 1932 at Vienna, Princess Elisabeth Donata Regina Emma Clementine Reuss was the third daughter and sixth and youngest child of Prince Heinrich XXXIX Reuss (1891-1946) and Countess Antonia zu Castell-Castell (1896-1971), who wed in 1918. Donata had five older siblings: Fürst Heinrich XIV (1919-2012; married Princess Marie Luise zu Salm-Horstmar), Prince Heinrich VI (1922-1942), Princess Amadea (1923-2015; married Reinhold Sachs), Princess Gertrud (1924-2011; married Henri Grand d'Esnon), and Prince Heinrich VII (1927-2002; married Baroness Brigitte van Tuyll van Serooskerken).

Peter and Donata.

On 14 May 1960 at the Anglican Church in Vienna, Princess Donata Reuss married the Rev. Peter Everard Coleman (1928-2001). The bride, who wore "a heavy silk dress and robe of purest white with a white hat and veil," walked down the aisle on the arm of her eldest brother. Peter and Donata were wed by Dr. Eric S. Abbott, the Dean of Westminster. The couple's January engagement was a charming news item in many papers; Reverend Coleman was not aware of his wife's ancestry at the time he proposed. It was only days later that a friend informed him that Donata was a princess. Donata remarked: "I always said I'd marry for love and not for position. By marrying Peter I lose my title. But what do titles matter these days?" Peter Coleman was educated at the Haileybury and Imperial Service College and King's College London; he served as a chaplain at the latter until 1966. Coleman was the vicar of St Paul's Clifton; he then went on to become the Director of Ordinands in the Diocese of Bristol and finally Archdeacon of Worcester. In retirement, Coleman was the Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The couple had two daughters and two sons: Antonia (b.1961; married 1st Warren Nash; married 2nd Matthew Tregenza), Basil (b.1963; married Stephanie Pleister), Benedict (b.1965; married Jane Fielding), and Elena (b.1969; married Nathan Chubb).

Donata's obituary in The Times.

May the Princess Rest in Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Donata was a very friendly lady whom I met when Peter was Bishop of Crediton in the mid 1980s.My deepest condolences to her family, may they take comfort in the knowledge that Donata and Peter are reuntied once more never to part.

    ReplyDelete