Agnes the Secret Princess: An Australian Story
by Belinda Dettmann and Jane Stevens

"Oh for her life back in Berlin...unaware of her heritage and her royal destiny."

With the advent of DNA testing and companies like and 23andme, customers are making interesting personal discoveries, even finding half-siblings that they never knew they had. Numerous memoirs have already emerged from such information, but this book will rate at the top as a fascinating royal secret that is both meticulously researched and elegantly written. Authors as well as sisters, Dettmann and Stevens make a convincing case that they truly are the great-great-grandchildren of a Prussian prince and his beloved "secret bride." Quotes and photographs documenting various events in gazettes, recovered personal letters, and other written documents help lend credence to this fascinating family history of Russian royalty.

Well-organized and superbly documented, the story that Dettman and Stevens piece together may very well be as close to the truth as anyone will ever come concerning Prince Wilhelm of Prussia and his beloved Elisa Radziwill. In the early 1800s, the Prince was never given permission to marry Elisa because she was not "royal enough." Apparently, the Prince "could not bring himself to break with the royal code, and in the end, he chose the path of duty over that of love." There is evidence, however, that Radziwill bore him a daughter, according to the authors' research. In 1848, daughter Agnes married and moved from Berlin to Australia (via London). It is at this point where Prince Wilhelm finally revealed to her, "Agnes you are one of us. You are my daughter and you are Royal." DNA tests, pedigrees, family trees, and archived materials emerge in the story, and although documented, the authors manage to spin the tale excitedly. Unlike the dreariness of many documentaries, this story unfolds more like a fairy tale come true.

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