Thursday, July 1, 2021

The Princess and the ghosts

Rives-Troubetzkoy Cemetery

Amélie Rives’ novel The Quick or the Dead? was published in 1888 and quickly sold over 300,000 copies. In 1896, she became a princess when she married Prince Pierre Troubetzkoy after they had been introduced by the author Oscar Wilde.

Amélie and Pierre Troubetzkoy lived at Castle Hill; like so many places in Virginia history, the home is haunted. According to the late author L.B. Taylor JR., guests would smell the scent of rose perfume when there were no fresh flowers in the house and Amélie didn’t wear perfume. Some reported seeing an apparition of Amélie’s grandfather. And other guests of Castle Hill believed that apparitions simply wanted them to leave. This, of course, didn’t stop Amélie from hosting numerous visitors at Castle Hill, including novelist Julia Magruder, who was a frequent guest. Perhaps she wasn’t afraid of ghosts?

Countess Troubetskoy & Fang the wolf, Library of Congress

Amélie, her husband, and her grandparents, Senator William Cabell Rives and Judith Page Walker who was also a writer are buried at the Rives-Troubetzkoy Cemetery in Albemarle County on the historic property of Castle Hill.

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