The Kaiser’s Confidante

Mary Lee, the First American-Born Princess


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About the Book

New York City native Mary Esther Lee (1837–1914) first married in 1864 the Prince von Noer, brother of the Queen of Denmark, and was created a princess in her own right after his death. An active philanthropist to Protestant causes, she then married Count Alfred von Waldersee whose close ties to the Prussian court made her an intimate friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II and a mentor and valued friend to his young wife. Although she preferred to remain in the background, Mary’s influence caused intense jealousy by those at court who resented her friendship with the kaiser and kaiserin. This biography chronicles the remarkable life of an American woman whose wealth and influence enabled her to rise to power in the Prussian royal court.

About the Author(s)

Richard Jay Hutto served as White House Appointments Secretary to the Jimmy Carter family and was chairman of the Georgia Council for the Arts. He is an internationally recognized speaker and historical consultant often appearing in televised adaptations of his work. He lives in Macon, Georgia, and can be reached at

Bibliographic Details

Richard Jay Hutto

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6572-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2808-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. New Opportunities in the Old World 11
2. Married into the Royal Mob 21
3. A Princess in Her Own Right 33
4. Another Chance at Love 45
5. Mentoring a Future Empress 55
6. Religion and Philanthropy 71
7. A Clear Path to the Throne 83
8. Ensconced in Power 93
9. Father Figure 105
10. “The Empress’ American Rival” 115
11. Distaff Diplomacy 129
12. Command in the Boxer Rebellion 137
13. Alfred’s Return from China 160
14. The ­Long-Delayed Visit to America 166
15. Death and Solitude 174
Epilogue 182
Chapter Notes 193
Bibliography 213

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Excellent…a book you will want to add to your royal book collection. It is the research that stands out which makes this book fascinating reading”—Royal Book News
  • “Excellently researched…highly entertaining and educational…a great read”—Global Atlanta
  • “The Kaiser was an intolerable old brute. But Mary Lee had a subtle influence on him which until now has been somewhat overlooked. Hutto gives us much to think about in this impeccably researched book.”—Royal biographer Hugo Vickers, author of Elizabeth, The Queen Mother; Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story of the Duchess of Windsor; Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece; The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
  • “The extraordinary career of the influential American-born Mary Countess von Waldersee at the very heart of Berlin high society…and the political intrigues and sexual scandals prevalent behind the outwardly brilliant facade of the Kaiser’s court.”—John C. G. Röhl, British historian and author, University of Sussex, Wolfson History Prize winner.